For some people, the unofficial holiday of Cinco de Mayo has mutated into one massive day of partying known as “Cinco de Drinko.” (This doesn’t make sense to us – drinko isn’t even a word. Shouldn’t it be Cinco de Beber or something?) Anyway, we know that there is a much more important reason why we celebrate May 5 as a day of significance. Like most folks, we can’t remember what it was exactly, but rest assured we suspect that it was probably something important.
Even if you don’t know really know why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated, you should still find a way to acknowledge it. In fact, why don’t you take the whole week to ring in the special day by romping around SoCal and indulging in some rad activities? As the following list shows, you have plenty of options to do just that.
Monday, April 30
Okay, we know. Clowns scare you. Clowns scare a bunch of people, so you’re not special. Besides, if you think the circus is nothing more than silly people with painted faces and oblong hairdos, you’re totally missing out on the true magic of the big top. Case in point: this legendary touring troupe, which is combining its usual dazzling array of acrobats, animals, and feats of derring-do this year with a touch of Broadway-inspired musical theatrics. Of course, there will be clowns on hand. Just deal with it.
TIME: 6:30 PM
COST: $25 – $60
Tuesday, May 1
Surf City Nights Street Fair and Farmers Market
Think that all farmers markets are merely havens to purchase mainstream and funky fruits and veggies? Think again. This weekly fete is a venerable coastal bazaar; filled with unique handmade crafts, scores of yummy prepared foods ranging from snacks to heartier mealtime fare, various opportunities for clothes shopping, and live entertainment for the whole family, from musical groups to balloon artists. It’s so lively, you could very well forget what fruit or vegetable you wanted to buy (you wanted tangelos, by the way – we’re here to help).
TIME: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, May 2
The heat is on in Saigon, as this award-winning, critically acclaimed musical written by the same tandem that gave the world “Les Miserables” takes the classic tale of Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” and sets it amongst the horrific backdrop of the Vietnam War. Raw, gripping, and intensely emotional, this story about the love and loss experienced between an American soldier and a Vietnamese girl speaks volumes about the fortitude of the human soul just as loudly as it decries the horrific consequences of combat.
TIME: 7:30 PM
COST: Adults $35 – $50; Seniors $30 – $45; Students $23 – $38
Thursday, May 3
Through the Looking Glass: Female Surrealist Cinema: Animation
The female Surrealist movement is an important era in art; one that is just as grounded in empowerment as it is in creativity. This special cinematic event is filled with prime examples of the faction’s indelible qualities, as it takes an in-depth look at over thirty years of experimental animated works that fearlessly explore the artists’ view of the world through raw sensations and trippy visions. Various subgenres of animation including collages, stop-motion animation, and phantasmagoria will be on display here, ready to blow your mind.
TIME: 7:30 PM
COST: General public $10; LACMA Members, seniors and students $7; LACMA Film Club members $5
Friday, May 4
Ralphie May first broke into the national consciousness with his appearance on “Last Comic Standing,” and he has not shown any signs of going away. While some may say this could be owed to the fact that he is a constant fixture on the televised comedy show circuit, the truth is he’s earned this place in society’s mind by crafting routines that are brutally honest, thought-provoking, and relentlessly hilarious. If you long for the days when powerful forces of nature like Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison ruled the stage, this show is right up your alley.
TIME: 8:00 PM
COST: $25 (21 and over, two items minimum per person)
Saturday, May 5
Cinco De Mayo Festival
What better way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo in the greater Los Angeles Area than by taking in a performance by L.A.’s very own Los Lobos? The legendary local band highlights this spectacular evening of fantastic music at of one of the country’s most breathtaking concert venues. Joining the boys on the bill will be alternative country star and occasional New Pornographers member Neko Case, roots rocker Alejandro Escovedo, the awesome Americanized mariachi stylings of Mariachi El Bronx, and quintessential SoCal punk band X. You simply won’t find a better alternative to spending May 5 surrounded by beers of various stripes than what’s being offered here.
TIME: 6:00 PM
COST: $29.50 – $65.00
Sunday, May 6
Taste of the Eastside
So you spent your Saturday drinking too much and eating too little. Owie. First off, grab a handful of aspirin. Secondly, grab a pair of sunglasses. Finally, make your way down to this daytime festival highlighting the trendy, diverse food scene that can be found in the collective neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Loz Feliz. Over thirty restaurants will be on hand to share the kind of bites that make this area such a cool culinary destination, from cuisine highlighting sustainable ingredients to handcrafted brews. Sure, you’ll have to deal with hipsters, but don’t let that stop you from chowing down on some truly sumptuous grub.
TIME: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM; VIP Entrance 12:00 PM
COST: General Admission $35 (Advance), $45 (Gate); General Admission Plus Bar $45 (Advance), $55 (Gate); VIP $65 (Advance), $75 (Gate); Kids 2-12 $5
Rich Manning is a writer in Orange County. See more of his work at OC Executive.