HOBT Prepares for Black Lives Matter MayDay Parade and Festival

Alex Lauer
A volunteer works on a parade piece
This Sunday, the 41st annual MayDay Parade will march down Bloomington Avenue South and flow into an all-day festival at Powderhorn Park. Helmed by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT), the spring celebration takes on a new theme every year that reflects the hearts and minds of the theater's community. This year's theme? Black Lives Matter.

"The theme grows out of lots and lots and lots and lots of conversation, wrangling, deep thinking, research, disagreements, and people trying to speak the truth of their own lives," says Sandy Spieler, MayDay cofounder and the theater's artistic director since 1976. The event's debut was a 50-person parade; nowadays it includes around 2,000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators who come from all over Minnesota and beyond.

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Eight Día de los Muertos Events Happening This week

Categories: Art, Festivals
Photo courtesy Tammy Ortegon
Edoardo Alejandro Ortegon paints faces at a past event
Not to be confused with Halloween, Dia de los Muertos is the other holiday that will be celebrated this weekend. The event, which has roots in Indigenous Latin American traditions that were co-opted by the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Spanish empire, has grown in popularity here in the Twin Cities, perhaps due to our rising Latino population. 

There have been some growing pains, however, with the increasing mainstreaming of Dia de los Muertos, such as calls of appropriation when those without Latino heritage put on the Calaveras face paint. For example, this last week Gallery 122 at Hang It was the subject of an open letter for an exhibit, "Afterlife Merriment," that celebrated the holiday but didn't feature any Latino artists or input from the Latino community.

Still, we wanted to give a heads up of some cool things that are going on this next week, all of which we believe have some connection to the Latino community and/or feature artists of color. 

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What To See at Twin Cities Film Fest: Other Film Fests Weigh In

The Twin Cities Film Fest opens tonight for its fifth year. But with a lineup that includes 50-plus screenings over 10 days at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre in St. Louis Park, how do you pick what to see? Do you go for Wild, the Reese Witherspoon Oscar contender based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir? Or is the grab-bag of short films titled Evil, Enemies, and Aliens for you?

In the spirit of camaraderie, the directors of the more established Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival each chose three films that they think you should check out at the TCFF. Their events have been running for a combined total of 40 years, so they know their stuff.

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Park(ing) Day Returns

Categories: Festivals
Provided photo
Park(ing) Day 2013
Park(ing) Day is back for its second year, turning parking spots in southwest Minneapolis into mini festivals of art, food, and fun. Sponsored by Experience Southwest and Minneapolis's Great Streets program, the event this year has increased the number of intersections that will transform parking spots into community spaces.

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Minnesota State Fair: Cheap and free things to do

Tomorrow, the gates of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will open for 12 days of foods on a stick, baby animals, award-winning jams and flowers, friendly carnies running Mighty Midway rides, and free concerts on multiple stages. The fair is an event that is notorious for eating wallets, but with some frugality you can have fun for less, have things to take home, and even possibly win big prizes.

The following is a list of some of the cheap or free things to do, such as $1 food items, and what booths to hit up to enter contests with big wins (they're giving away cars this year, people!). Looking for free stuff? We've also got the best of the free items as well, such as sunglasses, backpacks, ear buds, and playing cards.

See also:
Top 10 concerts to see at the MN State Fair

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Three tips for internet cat video stardom

Tonight is the night, crazy cat folks. For the third year in a row, the cutest film festival ever created will dig its adorable little claws into the Twin Cities for the Internet Cat Video Festival. 

Taking place back where it started, the Walker Art Center, the Internet Cat Video Festival has become one of the most famous film fests in the country with thousands of people flocking to see the best that the internet has to offer. This year's event will be hosted by Tom Weber, co-host of MPR's The Daily Circuit, and features a special appearance by internet cat video icon Lil Bub. Attendees will also have the chance to vote for their favorite video of the night, which will be awarded the prestigious Golden Kitty Award.

While it's too late to enter your cat into this year's competition, there's about 364 days until next year's festival. To help you get started on your own viral video sensation, we're giving you three can't-lose tips for creating the ultimate cat video. Let the cuteness begin.

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Renaissance Festival 2014: How to enjoy ye olde Shakopee on a budget

Categories: Festivals
George Day
These fair maidens know how to get a good deal
Why does it seem like some of the most expensive happenings of summer come at the very end when we're broke? After weekends where concert tickets, drink purchases, and barbecue budgets ate away our bank account, now we must worry about making it through the Minnesota State Fair, back-to-school shopping, and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival without breaking the bank.

But fear not: There are plenty of ways to enjoy Ren Fest on the cheap, whether you are totally broke or are planning on making a big purchase (hello, authentic Vikings hat) and need to be frugal elsewhere.

This weekend kicks off the beloved festival, in which freaks and geeks convene in a field in Shakopee to watch old-school sports, play chess, drink beer, and more. There are many free and cheap things to do, the following is merely a suggestion of things to check out. (But who wouldn't want to drink some free wine after taking in some jousting?)

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Five rides to enjoy during Pedalopolis

Categories: Cycling, Festivals
Photo Courtesy Twin Cities Bike Fun 
This week, the Twin Cities will be exploding with over 20 informal bike rides aimed at providing fun ways to get out and enjoy the city without the pressure of competition. Hosted by Twin Cities Bike Fun, Pedalopolis originated as an international bike festival, called BikeSummer, that was a critical mass-inspired event. It grew in popularity over the years, and continues today in the form of Pedalpalooza in Portland and Velopalooza in Vancouver. Inspired by these types of bike-centered festivals, Nickey Robo, a cycling advocate and co-founder of Twin Cities Bike Fun, hatched a plan to create Minneapolis's own festival, featuring a week full of crowd-sourced bike rides that emphasize enjoyment and accessibility for all different kinds of cyclists.

"We wanted to create a space where people of all kinds of athletic levels could get together and have that experience together," Robo says. "The Twin Cities has amazing alley cats and racing, but not the same community around social rides. We wanted to encourage the idea that you don't have to be a hardcore racer to enjoy this festival. It's for everybody."

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Seven ways to improve your improv experience

Categories: Festivals
Jen Van Kaam
Pictured: Troy Zimmerman, Michael Ritchie, Eric Knobel
Huge Theater executive director Butch Roy still remembers the time he had to bring up the house lights and ask an audience member to stop shouting out during the middle of a performance.

"When you shut a heckler down it ruins the show for everybody," Roy says.

Improv comedy is tricky in the sense that the audience is expected to participate, but must also know when participation is inappropriate or unwanted. With the eighth annual Twin Cities Improv Festival starting today at HUGE Theater, we spoke with local improv performers to put together seven ways to get the best experience out of a show without ruining it for the audience, the performers, and yourself.

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OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: Lawrence Ferrara's Power Erotic

[Editor's note: Out Twin Cities Film Fest is hitting the Theatres at Mall of America next week with special screenings and events showcasing LGBTQ-themed cinema. Leading up to the festivities, we'll be highlighting a few of the participating filmmakers.]

Ever wonder why gay men are seemingly obsessed with the idea of masculinity? Look no further than Lawrence Ferrara's Power Erotic. The gritty documentary dives deep into the sex lives of gay men, addressing the idea of masculinity, dominance, submission, and the root of sexual desires. While some may find its brutal honesty to be a bit disturbing, Ferrara is hoping it will open a dialogue about gay sexuality.

The Cambridge-based filmmaker caught up with City Pages before the Out Twin Cities Film Festival to chat about his in your face, NSFW film.

See also:
OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: Stewart Wade: Bringing screwball comedy to gay cinema

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