Despite being more than 1,300 miles away from Mexico City, the Twin Cities are home to a significant Hispanic population — and Minnesota’s Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing in the country. Minneapolis and St. Paul host several events celebrating Mexican pride throughout the Cinco de Mayo weekend.
El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurante’s Cinco de Mayo Festival
The Mexican restaurant holds its annual block party on East Lake Street in Minneapolis with food, live music and entertainment, a beer garden, mariachi bands and kids’ events.
Where: East Lake Street between 27th and 29th avenues
When: Sunday, May 7 from noon–8 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo West Side St. Paul Fiesta
St. Paul’s District del Sol neighborhood is home to the city’s most active Latino community, as well as its largest Cinco de Mayo festival. The fiesta features a parade, a low-rider car and truck show, live Latin and Tejano music, authentic Latin-American food, kids’ activities, dancing and a jalapeño-eating contest.
Where: Cesar Chavez Street between Robert Street and Highway 52, St. Paul
When: Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m.– 6 p.m.
MN Salsa Fiesta
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Charanga Tropical, a nine-piece ensemble that combines traditional Cuban beats with modern salsa music, presents a night celebrating salsa music and dance. The lineup includes more than ten local salsa bands, including Charanga Tropical, Malamanya, Salsa del Soul and La Gran Charanga, an 18-piece, all-star group featuring four singers and a full Latin rhythm section, as well as salsa lessons from renowned, Cuban-born instructor Rene Thompson.
Where: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.
When: Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
Cost: $20 advance, $25 at the door
Mystic Lake Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Iconic Latino rock band Los Lobos headlines this festival, which also features a taco eating contest, food specials, live music from Los Palmeros Mariachis and lucha libre wrestling, which is known for its masked fighters and cartoonish style.
Where: Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake
When: Friday, May 5 at 6 p.m. (Los Lobos show at 8 p.m.)
Wizard World Comic Con
For one weekend every May, hundreds of “cosplayers” dressed like their favorite comic book and sci-fi characters descend upon the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Wizard World Comic Con. The multi-day geekstravaganza’s fourth annual Minneapolis conference includes three days of celebrity appearances, talks, podcast tapings, Q&As, geeky speed dating, shopping, artist meet-and-greets and costume competitions. Headlining guests include Peter Capaldi, aka the latest “Doctor Who,” along with Jenna Coleman, who played the Doctor’s one-time sidekick, Clara Oswald, in the British sci-fi show. Other stars appearing at the convention include Charlie Sheen, Nichelle Nichols of “Star Trek” fame, Lou Ferrigno of “The Incredible Hulk” and Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz of 1960s pop band The Monkees.
When: Friday, May 5 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, May 5 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S.
Cost: $35–$55 daily, $75–$85 for weekend pass, VIP packages starting at $175
MayDay Parade and Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring with the 43rd-annual MayDay parade and festival, a neighborhood tradition started by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in an effort to bring the community outdoors after a long winter. One of the largest May Day celebrations in the country, the event draws more than 50,000 spectators each year. The parade features 10-foot-tall puppets, papier-mâché masks, dancers and musicians, leading to a festival in Powderhorn Park with live music, dance performances, canoe rides, yoga, food vendors and people watching galore. The festival culminates with a Tree of Life Ceremony on Powderhorn Lake at 3 p.m.
When: Sunday, May 7
Where: Parade begins at 25th & Bloomington and travels south on Bloomington Avenue to East 34th Street before traveling to Powderhorn Park
The last time we heard from Minneapolis artist Ruben Nusz, in his 2013 exhibition “Severed Hues” at Weinstein Gallery, he explored color theory through a series of paintings in vividly pigmented shades in geometric configurations. With his latest collection of works, “B.C.,” he continues his exploration of color theory with 17 paintings on plaster and six oil pastel drawings. The art works introduce a new technique he dubs “fresco-secco” that updates the long history of painting on plaster and addresses themes of fragmentation, entropy and resurrection. The plaster paintings are created through a lengthy process that begins with pouring plaster in a mold of a canvas, which is then shattered into pieces. Guided by a hand-drawn digital composition, he then paints each broken section with acrylic and glues it back together for an image with qualities that are both random and intentional.
When: May 12–June 11; opening reception May 12 from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Where: Weinstein Gallery, 908 W. 46th St.
“Katharina Fritsch: Multiples”
The work of celebrated German sculptor Katharina Fritsch is at the center of “Multiples,” a retrospective of more than 40 works spanning the artist’s career, from her student work to more recent pieces, drawn from the Walker’s permanent collection. Fritsch’s innovative, conceptual work explores the nature of human perception and experience by mining German history, myths and fairy tales as well as her own thoughts and dreams, using everyday objects — animals, body parts, religious figures and other elements from man-made and natural worlds — as subject matter. The show is presented in conjunction with the June 3 reopening of the renovated and expanded Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which includes the unveiling of Fritsch’s “Hahn/Cock,” a 23-foot-high ultramarine-blue rooster that will be the artist’s largest public art piece in a U.S. museum collection.
When: May 11–October 15; opening day talk with exhibition curators Pavel Pyś and Victoria Sung on May 11 at 6 p.m.
Where: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave.
“Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery”
Korean-American playwright Lloyd Suh sparked national controversy in 2015 when he prompted a student production of his play, “Jesus in India,” to be canceled because the school ignored the play’s requirement of casting South Asian actors. His newest play, “Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery,” is no less controversial. It explores the legacy of Charlie Chan, a fictional Hawaiian detective most famously portrayed in films by Caucasian actors in yellowface in the 1930s and ’40s, through the follies of a literary hippie named Frank. The play is at once a razor-sharp analysis of the way Asian-Americans have been caricatured in pop culture and a satirical sendup of the murder mystery genre. Local Asian-American theater company Mu Performing Arts presents the Minnesota premiere of the play, which the New York Times called “very funny, antic and impassioned.”
When: May 13–28
Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St.