A Colorado Springs tradition is slated to make its Southeast debut on May 4 and 5: The 36th annual El Cinco de Mayo Scholarship Awards Gala and the Cinco de Mayo All-ages Fiesta and Car Show.
“There’s something for everybody,” Benjamín Gallegos-Pardo, chair of the presenting committee, El Cinco de Mayo, Inc., says. “We don’t want to put any sort of … restrictions on this family-friendly event.”
El Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not considered a major holiday for most of our neighbors to the south. But here in the U.S., it is a day to celebrate the many cultural and social contributions of Mexican-American residents.
Let’s be honest here: With national debate over a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and an American proclivity to, at least to some extent, misappropriate the holiday, there may be some misconceptions about El Cinco de Mayo. But there is much more to the Springs’ celebration, and the cultures it honors, than popular dialogue may suggest.
Gallegos-Pardo, 33, recalls going to the Colorado Springs fiesta as a young child. “It used to be a huge event,” he says. “I was going to these festivals since ’92, ’93, as a little kid, 6, 10, 12, 14 years old. It was one of the few cultural activities in the city that validated my Chicano side as a Mexican-American.”
The Saturday evening gala dinner includes a keynote address by Monikah Ogando, best-selling author and CEO of leadership development firm CEO Mastery, Inc. Following that, a social dance. This year the Southeast-based multi-agency RISE Coalition sponsored a $2,000 scholarship for one future collegian, but proceeds from both events will also support El Cinco’s scholarship efforts as they have for more than three decades.
Sunday’s free fiesta will bring with it a family-friendly hodgepodge of live music, food, performing arts, crafts, and information booths from area organizations and businesses. And that is to say nothing of the 100 or so cars of all types that will be on display for auto enthusiasts’ viewing.
“This is really a community effort,” Gallegos-Pardo says.
Sure, Mario Marchese may have been called “the best children’s magician in the world,” by magic superstar David Blaine (admittedly now disgraced), but if you’ve seen a Marchese show you’ll know that his family-friendly entertainment reaches adults just as effectively. Using homemade gadgets in his illusions, and ensuring he provides some solid slapstick laughs alongside mind-bending tricks, Marchese offers a different kind of magic that you’re not going to find any old birthday party scarf-stuffer performing.
May 3, 5 p.m. to midnight, S.P.Q.R. and The Modbo, 15B and 15C Bijou St., free, themodbo.com, spqrartspace.com.
Arts Alley’s two galleries, The Modbo and S.P.Q.R., have collected an impressive cadre of artists for their May exhibit. At The Modbo, Piece of Work features the artwork of some of the area’s most recognizable and renowned sculpture artists: Larry Kledzik, Wendy Mike, Sean O’Meallie, Daniel Romano and Phil Vallejo. Their pieces comment on everything from the current political landscape to the media, from the transformational nature of the human body to the similarities between “sausages and smiles.” (Can you guess that last one comes from master of playful artistic expression Sean O’Meallie?) It should be a superstar exhibit.
Meanwhile, S.P.Q.R. next door will present the work of painter Lupita Carrasco in an exhibit titled Oremus — a Latin term that means “let us pray.” Carrasco’s work, usually in oil, presents a thoughtful and detailed exploration of the human experience.
May 3-4, 7:30-9 p.m., and May 4, 2-3:30 p.m., First Congregational Church, 20 E. St. Vrain St., $20, outloudcsmc.com.
On June 28, it will have been 50 years since the Stonewall uprising that ignited the modern movement for LGBTQ rights. That anniversary means a lot to LGBTQ people who to this day must protest, advocate and fight for rights that, after 50 years, we likely should have won by now. But The Out Loud Men’s Chorus doesn’t deal in despair. In fact, they’re presenting this concert in commemoration of Stonewall and every major leap forward since, inspiring hope as they tend to do. Song selections will take you back to 1969, and the sense of community you find in the audience and onstage will certainly embolden you in the present.
Former Indy copy editor Kirsten Akens knows this city. She’s been a part of this community for 25 years, embedding herself in the culture of Colorado Springs and all it has to offer, from its food to its museums to its gorgeous great outdoors. Now, she’s collected all that knowledge for the rest of us, and put it out in a book: 100 Things to Do in Colorado Springs Before You Die. Hitting some mainstays like the Millibo Art Theatre, and delving into hidden gems like Story Coffee Company, Akens has put together a comprehensive guide to the Springs for tourists and locals alike. Get your book signed tonight at the FAC’s First Friday celebration, where you can enjoy all manner of other entertainment while you’re there.