The latest addition to the city's menu of Valentine's Day activities bears neither the sweetness of chocolate, nor the scent of roses, nor the aura of a candlelight dinner. It's Give Up -- A Violet Valentine, and it carries the distinct aroma of irony.
Billed as an evening of sad music and "depressing discos," the event, Tuesday at the Echo, is a spinoff of the monthly club Give Up, which ran during the winter at the Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz before going on hiatus this year. The brainchild of Mark "Frosty" McNeill and Jimmy Tamborello, two of the mainstays in the Internet radio station and DJ collective Dublab, Give Up entertained a steady stream of Eastsiders with music downcast in both tone and content.
"You'd hear Nina Simone, Vincent Gallo, Cat Power ... 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' by Willie Nelson," McNeill says. "The music doesn't have to be lyrically sad; it just needs to have the timbre and tone." Despite its "stop dancing and cry" motto, the night was less tongue-in-cheek than it was a musical experiment. "It was a different soundtrack to socialize to. When people listen to gloomy music, they don't usually do it in a social environment. But even when you're sad, it's great to have a shared experience," McNeill says.
"Give Up" eventually became the title of the gold-selling 2003 album by the Postal Service, whose principal collaborators were Tamborello and Death Cab for Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard.
The Valentine's Day reprise of the club night will feature a rare performance by Tamborello, under the name Dntel, which he uses for his electronic music project. Becky Stark, the Long Lost and Winter Flowers also will perform, along with DJ sets and Chad Misner's video projections.
Did we mention free teardrop face painting?
Give Up -- A Violet Valentine, the Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., L.A. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday. $5; 18 and older. (213) 413-8200.