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Red Octopus takes on Valentine's Day 

THURSDAY 2/2

LANTERNS! FESTIVAL

6 p.m. Wildwood Park. $5-$10.

Winter usually isn't the time of year for outdoor festivals, but this isn't your ordinary festival. Coinciding with the first full moon of the lunar year, Lanterns! Festival offers its attendees the chance to wander through the woods along paths illuminated by fire pits and lanterns of all varieties. Gazing into these lights will present one with an occasion for self-reflection and ruminations on the year past, the year to come and all of the years and decades and centuries stretching out before us, eons disappearing into the churning void of infinity, beyond the scope of "time," beyond the ability of man to comprehend, beyond comprehension itself. Looking into the fire pits hearkens back to something deeply, eternally human. Just as our prehistoric ancestors surely stared into the flickering blaze — source of light, warmth, safety — and contemplated their place in the known world, so too are we modern-day homo sapiens entranced by the combustion of carbon-based materials and the resulting warmth and flames. And while our understanding of the universe dwarfs that of our ancient predecessors, our minds can no more grasp the true scope of the cosmos than could theirs. So if you're out there staring at the lanterns and fires and all of a sudden you get real hungry, there will be food and drinks from several great area restaurants available for purchase. In addition to the luminaries, Wildwood and its sponsors have recreated the feel of different cultures and cuisines from around the globe, including China, Paris, India, Venice, Americana with a baseball theme and Shakespeare's England. There will be performances from Ballet Arkansas, Arkansas Shakespeare Festival and more. Check Wildwood's website for the schedule. The event continues nightly through Saturday. RB

THURSDAY 2/2

SIGNING DAY IN THE ROCK

6 p.m. Verizon Arena. $65.

If you're unconvinced of money's centrality in college football — i.e. you haven't been paying attention — try this one on: The Little Rock Razorback Club, the local arm of the almighty Razorback Foundation, is hosting a dinner at the biggest event space in Central Arkansas where Razorback coach Bobby Petrino and staff will talk about the 17- and 18-year-olds who on Wednesday signed binding letters of intent to play for the Hogs in the fall. For this, attendees will pay $65. Monday night, the Razorback Foundation tweeted that 1,200 had purchased tickets. If the Hogs manage to sign Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckman, regarded by many recruiting specialists as the best high school player in the country, expect the arena to be full. LM

FRIDAY 2/3

RED OCTOPUS THEATER: 'THE DATING GAME!'

8 p.m. The Public Theatre. $8-$10.

While Valentine's Day and its attendant last-minute gift scrambling is still a couple of weeks away, it's never too early for some bawdy, romantic skit comedy. Red Octopus promises a "long, hard, turgid look at the primeval setting of the dating world." And with such sketch titles as "Key Swapping? Is This a Good Idea?" and "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" (there's a free one-month supply of Valtrex for the first person to correctly guess what this skit concerns), that description sounds right on the money (shot). Also promised: riffs on "The Dating Game," "The Newlyweds" and "The Brady Bunch." That last one is just ripe with romantic comedy potential. As with many other Red Octopus productions, this one is for grownups that possess a sense of humor, and isn't intended for the young'uns, squares, prudes or scolds. RB

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