LUV BITES: Like the state of Virginia, Valentine's Day is for lovers--or, alternately, those full of angst because they don't have a lover.

But, both lovers and the people who hate them come in all varieties: the dinner-and-a-movie sort, the stay-at-home-and-avoid-the-masses sort, and my favorite sort of all, the ones who relish the delightful power combo of liquor and live music. The great thing about this combo is that it works for each and all: If you've got a special someone to celebrate with, chances are pretty good the tequila and the bass rumble are gonna make things a bit more special, if'n ya know whaddeye mean.

And if you're alone and lonely, there's nothing better than a shot, a beer and a nice tearjerkin' ballad to dump your ass off in that wallow zone you're obviously looking for. (Hey, you're the one out on Valentine's Day all alone, you masochist!)

Luckily, Cupid or Al Capone or whoever's in charge around here saw to it that no matter what category you fall into this Feb. 14, there's some fine musical pickins for all.

Trying to Impress Her/Him With Your Cultured Ways (or, We've Got Kids; Is There Anything We Can Do as a Family?): Tucson boogie-blues diva Lisa Otey and her occasional partner in crime, Mr. Boogie Woogie (aka Eric-Jan Overbeek--that's right, he's from the Netherlands; what about it?), pair up for a night of sultry, jazzy blues and barrelhouse boogie that'll have you cutting the Rialto's rug all night long. Or, maybe it'll have you laughing at Aunt Dotty trying to remember the Charleston after three Bud Lights. Either way, it'll be a hoot. The performance also serves as a CD release party for Ms. Otey and Mr. Woogie's collaborative new album, Boogie Woogie Baby (Owl's Nest; 2002).

The proceeds from the event will go to the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St., where the event is being held. Advance tickets are available for $12 (or, $10 for members of TBS, TJS, TKMA, or KXCI) at Hear's Music, Antigone Books, all Zia Records locations and the Rialto box office. They'll be $15 at the door. For more information, call 740-1000.

Perfect for the Renaissance Couple: What's that? You're both smart, like to laugh, watch puppets and shake your tushy-tush? Damn, has the Vaudeville Cabaret got your back. Here's the deal: Show up early, at say 8 p.m., for some free improv comedy, then stick around for puppetry as only Tucson Puppet Works can do it. (Valentine's Day means naked puppets, we hope.) As if that weren't enough, the skank-stump, trash-funk of the mighty Pork Torta will have yer clogs a-tappin 'til its time to either bed your lovah or puke on your shirt.

It all goes down at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. For further details, dial up 622-3535.

OK, We've Sacrificed the Goat. Now What? If the gift you bought for your betrothed just happens to be an upside-down pentagram choker, the god of hellfire will surely direct you to 7 Black Cats for a performance by Tucson's own Molten Leather, the heaviest band of heavies since the dark lord himself sat in with the Priest. (That's Judas Priest, obviously.) Also on the bill are the 21st century boys of The Red Switch, and El Paso's Siva, whose better-than-you'd-expect churning melodicism should make fellow Texans like At The Drive-In and And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead proud.

The evil should kick off at about 9 p.m. at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Questions? Give 'em a ring at 670-9202.

Cheaper Than a Dominatrix: If you enjoy being insulted by a foul-mouthed Eastern European egomaniacal sleazo who fronts a band of his goofy-ass, fez-wearing brethren, you're seeking The Love Ball, featuring the Zsa Zsas. And just in case the rough stuff isn't your thing, know this: In between rants by head Zsa, Mr. Milos Sucrose, the ZZs play the most frighteningly dead-on cover versions of songs by everyone from U2 to Englebert Humperdinck you've ever heard. (They insistently claim to know every song ever written, but trust me, I've seen 'em butcher a few in my time.) Oh, and for those with really short attention spans, they play nothing but medleys. As far as we can figure out so far, there's nothing in the Patriot Act that disallows dancing and laughing simultaneously.

The Love Ball commences at 9:30 p.m. at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is $7. For more info call 798-1298.

I'm Broke, but I'm Cool--And I Love Tater Tots: OK, stay with me on this one. Leave it to the lovable oddballs at the Red Room in Grill, 100 E. Congress St., to bring you the Valentine's Day Massacre, which culls three local acts that couldn't be more different. First up is Electroshockbox: One dude--Tron-D--and the machines he loves; followed by the most side-splittingest musical comedy duo Tucson has seen since Bebe & Serge, or at least those two guys who used to sing that song about donuts. I'm talking, of course, about the wheelchair-bound, keyboard noodling, Jack guzzlers of Cum & Go. (Seriously, if I could only count the times I've caught myself, in public, singing, "That girl had a penis / hanging there --") Then, rounding out the eve is a set from Cathy Rivers, the finest DJ-turned-singer/songwriter we've heard since Rick Dees let loose "Disco Duck." Her brand-new, Teddy Morgan-produced album, Bleached (Horsethief), has been in heavy rotation at the Soundbites desk since it arrived a couple weeks back. It's gritty as gravel and smooth as honey.

The Massacre should get underway 'round 'bout 9 p.m. Admission is free, but the tots'll set you back a few bucks. Call 623-7621 for bonus info.

Get Yer Rawk On Before You Get Your Rocks Off: The Makers were playing garage rock back in their hometown of Spokane, Wash., back when Julian Casablancas was still figuring out why Beavis laughed every time Butthead said "stroke."

Then, about five years ago, the Makers decided they dug Bowie and the Dolls at least as much as the Stooges and Sonics. 2000's Rock Star God (Sub Pop) saw the band almost completely abandon the sound of what has become known as the "garage rock renaissance" for a quasi-concept album about a glam rock band, that, in turn, ended up being a just plain damn good glam rock album.

Call it crap or call it performance art gone too far, but last year's Strangest Parade (Sub Pop) continued the concept to its inevitable conclusion, perhaps intentionally evoking the protagonist of David Essex's glammer-takes-a-fall epic "Stardust," in which the once high-riding "rock star is down." Our guess is that the next album will be gloom rock, and that the lead singer'll hang himself on the eve of the band's first U.S. tour. And then the one after that, they go grunge and he blows his head off with a shotgun

The Makers headline The Curse of St. Valentine's at 9 p.m. at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Also on the bill: a holy trinity of rock 'n' roll, Tucson-style: the Knockout Pills, Winelord and Okmoniks. Admission is a paltry five bucks. Call 622-8848 for more 411.

COMPUTER LOVE: A quick note to anyone who's sent e-mail to me at in the past couple months: Due to a glitch in our e-mail system, there's a good chance I haven't gotten it. I apologize for any inconvenience, and humbly request that you please re-send all unanswered messages that are still pertinent. Thank you.

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