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Make this Valentine's Day pop

Color illustration of heart hovering above an outstretched hand. (Rick Nease / Detroit Free Press)
Color illustration of heart hovering above an outstretched hand. (Rick Nease / Detroit Free Press)

So, Johnny- and Janey-come-latelys, do you realize there are only six days left until Valentine's Day?

Yeah, didn't realize it was that close, did you? Well, don't panic. Your Friendly Neighborhood Newspaper Entertainment Guru is here to help. Man, I should see about having that title printed on business cards, but I digress.

Certainly, you could go with the old standbys. Flowers. Chocolates. Jewelry. Cash. Wait, scratch that last one.

But Valentine's Day is about personalizing your love. Why give that special someone something that looks like you grabbed it on the way home from work?

Note to all the guys and gals I see with flowers in the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store Feb. 14 — we're onto you.

Some folks say it with flowers. I say, say it with pop-culture references.

A quick guide to help you plan the perfect grand romantic gesture for the one you love.

For the old-school romantic:

Give the gift that sings, "I love you." Order a singing valentine from the Golden Valley Chorus. A barbershop quartet, dressed smartly in white tuxes and red bows, will show up at your intended's home, work, wherever and serenade him or her.

The Valengram costs $45 and includes a red rose, card, photo and — of course — song. The service runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. The chorus does deliveries throughout the Modesto, Ceres, Oakdale, Turlock and Merced areas.

To schedule, call 869-6298 for the Modesto area and 383-3908 for the Merced area.

For the indie charmer:

Profess your love "Juno" style by setting up a mock living room complete with armchair, lamp and rug on your sweetie's front lawn.

I would leave out the announcement of an unexpected teen pregnancy, but that's your call.

For the sci-fi/fantasy fanatic:

Get the sci-fi/fantasy geek of your dreams tickets to Paley Television Festival reunion of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" reunion March 20 in Hollywood.

The cast reunion will include Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Modesto's own Spike, aka James Marsters. For more information, visit Because nothing says I love you like a stake through the heart.

For the music lover:

Program your honey's iPod (or comparable mp3 player, we won't judge the Apple haters here) with a playlist of romantic songs.

Might I recommend some Yael Naim (the newest Apple superstar, thanks to those MacBook Air ads) or Feist tunes (the previous Apple queen, thanks to those iPod nano ads).

Or, for the truly ambitious, make your own V-Day podcast so you can whisper sweet nothings in your sweetie's ear in between songs all day.

For the tech savvy:

Send your beloved on a scavenger hunt by snapping pictures of places around town as clues and sending them to his or her cell phone/e-mail throughout the day.

End it up at a romantic dinner downtown, perhaps.

There, now aren't those better than a heart-shaped box of chocolates?

Elsewhere around the Scene:

Looking for more Valentine's Day love?

Merced artist Moon Trent is releasing his EP "Love Bytes" on the most romantic day of the year. The seven-song release includes an interview Trent did with B93.1 FM and a bonus cut. The release will be available on and iTunes. For more, visit ...

Indie artists and indie fans take note, the Central Valley Indie Fest is back.

The independent music festival, which began in 2002 and has been on hiatus for the past couple of years, returns April 10-19.

Led by co-founder Anastasia Rego and new marketing and creative coordinator Tina Braaten, the event will announce its full schedule Feb. 15. Visit ...

And finally, in case you missed the Buzzz cover story last week, be sure to check out the up-and-coming teen bands featured on the new CD compilation "Gem Splash I."

The release, produced by Brenda Francis of the nonprofit recording studio Modesto Sound, features 12 area teen bands. The groups hail from Ceres, Modesto, Patterson, Riverbank, Salida, Stockton, Turlock and Waterford. They are Undergrads, Hero's Choice, A Mover A Fighter, Radio Inflight, Chance Johnson, The Ninja Monkeys, Matthew Torres, Enajite Pela, Danny Deleon, Fall of Versai, Feels Like a Tuesday and Shawnee's Shrunken Head.

The release is for sale for $5 at For more, visit

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at or 578-2284. Read her blog SceneIt at