The last time we went out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, we waited two hours for our table at a popular Chestnut Hill restaurant that at the time was one of only a couple in a growing local chain. We don’t remember now what we ate as that evening-turned-into-night, only that it was expensive and not very good. The only good out of that long-ago experience was a lesson learned: For Valentine’s, plan a nice meal — or several — at home instead, and go do some other fun thing with your beloved this week.
In Beverly, go see “First Night,” a romantic comedy set in a 1980s video store. Described as “funny, bright, and warm,” the show is suitable for all ages and “will make you laugh, cheer, and leave you wanting to see it all again.” We can’t vouch for that last part, but you have four chances to see a performance: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis St. For more information, visit thelarcom.org.
Not too far from Beverly, the Marblehead Little Theatre is celebrating with music, song, and lovely beverages and desserts in “Relationships: A Valentines Cabaret” on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the MLT Firehouse, 12 School St. “MLT has gathered talented performers from all over the North Shore to share Broadway songs we can all relate to,” director Bobby Kerrigan writes on the theater’s website. “It’s the music that is meaningful to real-life couples and life-long friends: the music that touches people’s hearts and lives.” Visit mltlive.com.
In Foxborough, the Marilyn Rodman Performing Arts Center presents the Norton Singers on Friday in “Keeping the Love Alive: A Musical Celebration.” The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the theater at 1 School St. Visit orpheum.org.
The annual Boston Israeli Film Festival ends on Thursday, but before all the movies are gone you can catch “An Israeli Love Story” on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts Remis Auditorium. It’s a 2017 film in Hebrew and Arabic, with subtitles, and is described by the festival this way: It’s 1947, and 18-year-old Margalit, an aspiring actress from northern Israel, meets Eli, a passionate kibbutznik devoted to his work in the Palmach (Israel’s pre-state underground army). It’s love at first sight. But in a nascent nation in need of fierce protection, love can only take them so far. The story is based on the true story of theater director Pnina Gary and Eli Ben-Zvi, son of Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. Visit bostonjfilm.org.
More history? In Concord, the Concord Museum, The Old Manse, and the Robbins House are partnering to present “Concord Perspectives: The Garrison Men in Images and Objects,” exploring the lives of Jack and John Garrison, father and son, whose lives as both free and enslaved men are deeply intertwined with the history of Concord in the 1800s. The program takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Concord Museum’s new Rasmussen Education Center, 53 Cambridge Turnpike. Visit concordmuseum.org.
In Hingham, local author Martha Reardon Bewick will speak about her book “Tranquility Grove: The Great Abolitionist Picnic of 1844” on Tuesday . The gathering took place in Hingham and was attended by as many as 10,000 people, including Frederick Douglass. It was the largest abolitionist picnic in history, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the end of slavery in the British West Indies and, many believe, helping to push this nation toward its emancipation of slaves years later. The talk takes place at the Hingham Public Library, 66 Leavitt St., at 7 p.m. Visit hinghamlibrary.org.
In Danvers, historian Anthony Guerriero will lead a discussion on Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Guerriero will talk about Robinson in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. The discussion honoring February as Black History Month is on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan St. Visit danverslibrary.org.L. Kim Tan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.