Arts & Entertainment

The 17 best things to do on Cinco de Mayo weekend

A chihuahua, painted in the national colors of Mexico, poses during the Running of the Chihuahuas in Washington, DC on May 3, 2015. The annual event marks Cinco de Mayo, which is celebrated on May 5th.
A chihuahua, painted in the national colors of Mexico, poses during the Running of the Chihuahuas in Washington, DC on May 3, 2015. The annual event marks Cinco de Mayo, which is celebrated on May 5th.
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Mezcal or mint juleps? When the Kentucky Derby happens on Cinco de Mayo, you don't have to choose. From tacos and pies to hot pots and vegan desserts, this weekend is heavy on food and booze. There's also tons of other stuff to do in Los Angeles and Southern California. A street art exhibition... A "Saved By The Bell" pop-up... An anime convention... We've got you covered.


FLICK PICK

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

cra trailer

WHEN: Thursday, May 3 - Saturday, May 12
WHERE: various theaters around L.A.
COST: $14 general admission to most screenings; MORE INFO

The first weekend of the festival kicks off with a screening of "Crazy Rich Asians," one of the first American-made films in years to feature an all-Asian cast. Be on the lookout for "Searching," a thriller starring John Cho as a desperate father trying to find his missing teenage daughter, and "Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.," a documentary about the Sri Lankan/British music star. Take your pick from tons of other features, docs and shorts.


FOODIE PICK

Taco Madness

Al pastor tacos from Leo's Taco Truck in Los Angeles.
Al pastor tacos from Leo's Taco Truck in Los Angeles.
T.Tseng/Flickr Creative Commons

WHEN: Saturday, May 5; 6 p.m. - midnight
WHERE: La Plaza de Cultura y Artes — 501 N. Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE, 21+; MORE INFO

Celebrate the taco lifestyle in L.A. with micheladas, music, craft beer and a curated selection of tacos from top taqueros including Leo's Tacos, Mariscos Jalisco, Chichen Itza, Sonoratown, Guerrilla Tacos, Carnitas El Momo and more. Pro tip: Want to get in an hour before everyone else? Snag a $25 VIP pass.


FOODIE PICK

Good Food Pie Contest

A slice of pumpkin pie.
A slice of pumpkin pie.
Annie/Flickr Creative Commons

WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 12 p.m.
WHERE: Royce Quad at UCLA — 340 Royce Dr., Westwood
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Home cooks and professionals will compete to see who makes the best pies in nine categories: apple, other fruit, custard, savory, creamy, nutty, Oaxacan, vegan and kids. Evan Kleiman, the host of KCRW's "Good Food," presides over the afternoon, which includes pie tasting, food trucks, kids' activities, a scavenger hunt, an artisan marketplace and a free Fowler Museum talk on the origins of Mesoamerican ball games.


21+ PICK

Cinco de Derby

A woman in a festive hat talks on the phone before the 143rd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2017 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
A woman in a festive hat talks on the phone before the 143rd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2017 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, May 5
WHERE: Las Perlas — 107 E. 6th St., downtown L.A.; Seven Grand — 515 W. 7th St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Two major events — the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo — are happening on the same day. To celebrate, Las Perlas opens at 11 a.m. with a Cinco De Mayo menu featuring draft cocktails and live music by Spaghetti Cumbia. A few blocks away, whiskey bar Seven Grand opens at noon for a mint julep seminar, live music by the Po Boy Trio, betting lessons from an on-site handicapper and a costume contest, held immediately after the race. Wear your snazziest duds.

BONUS: Plenty of other bars around town are celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Mi Corazon in Silver Lake hosts a live mariachi band to go along with green, white and red tequila shots. Tonga Hut in NoHo throws a tiki-themed party. The El Segundo Brewing Company teams up with Bartz Barbecue to serve two-pound burritos, taco platters and pastrami beef ribs. Toca Madera in WeHo hosts an all-day celebration with $8 margaritas. Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks welcomes a live mariachi band and serves its special Pink Senorita cocktail for one day only. Wilshire and Bar Gramercy throw a joint indoor/outdoor party spanning both venues. Brack Shop Tavern in downtown L.A. has mezcal squirt guns, $2 tacos and an adult piñata raffle.

We shouldn't have to say this but we will: If you booze it up, DO NOT DRIVE! Call a Lyft or a friend or take public transit. Law enforcement will be looking extra hard for boneheads who are driving under the influence.


PARTY PICK

May the Fourth

A stormtrooper dances at the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award after party at the Highlands on June 9, 2005 in Hollywood, California.
A stormtrooper dances at the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award after party at the Highlands on June 9, 2005 in Hollywood, California.
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

WHEN: Friday, May 4; 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.
WHERE: The Short Stop - 1455 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
COST:  $5 after 11 p.m. but FREE all night with a costume; MORE INFO

Inspired by the iconic line, "May the force be with you," May 4th has become a day to revel in "Star Wars" fandom. Festivities kick off with a "Star Wars" trivia happy hour at 8 p.m. followed by DJ sets that channel the cosmic sounds of 1977 to 1983. Themed drink specials make it more fun than a night at the Mos Eisley cantina. Costumes are encouraged but not required. RSVP to get priority entry at the door.


FAN PICK

Free Comic Book Day

Comic enthusiasts dressed as comic book characters including Batman, Spiderman and Superman pose for photos as they attend a Free Comic Book Day event in Manila, Philippines on May 3, 2014.
Comic enthusiasts dressed as comic book characters including Batman, Spiderman and Superman pose for photos as they attend a Free Comic Book Day event in Manila, Philippines on May 3, 2014.
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, May 5
WHERE: click here to find a participating store
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

The first Saturday of May marks a charming global tradition as shops around the world give away free comic books to anyone who turns up. Nearly 6 million titles will be doled out at this year's event. Many shops also host signings, panels and other events. Participating Southern California locations include Secret Headquarters, Golden Apple, Hi De Ho, Comic Bug, Blastoff Comics, Emerald Knights, Perky Nerd, Comics Unlimited, Pop!, Pulp Fiction, Big Red Comics and dozens of others.


STORYTELLING PICK

Comedian Aparna Nancherla performs onstage during Vulture Festival on May 22, 2016 in New York City.
Comedian Aparna Nancherla performs onstage during Vulture Festival on May 22, 2016 in New York City.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

Stories Of: Jealousy

WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 6 - 120 p.m.
WHERE: Regent Theater — 448 S Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: $12-20; MORE INFO

Shirley Manson, Aparna Nancherla, Nadya Okamoto and Kat Blaque are a few of the featured storytellers at this quarterly, female-identified evening of words, music and art. Tonight's theme is jealousy and features tales about a 16-year-old poet's resentment toward registered voters and a trans woman's struggle with tokenism. All proceeds benefit Peace Over Violence, which works to end violence against women and girls. 


VEGAN PICK

VegFest

Kresten Littles of Baby Sweetery Love serves a Cuppy Cake Kabob at the Healthy Junk Vegan Faire on July 31, 2016 in Anaheim, California.
Kresten Littles of Baby Sweetery Love serves a Cuppy Cake Kabob at the Healthy Junk Vegan Faire on July 31, 2016 in Anaheim, California.
DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images

WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Woodley Park — 6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

This vegan festival has an international food court, live music, kids' activities, animal adoptions, an eco-marketplace with more than 150 vendors and a slew of speakers on health, environmental, humanitarian and animal topics.


VEGAN PICK

Vegan Dessert Summit

Vegan cafe No Milk Today serves vegan Donauwelle cake on January 27, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Vegan cafe No Milk Today serves vegan Donauwelle cake on January 27, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Steffi Loos/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, May 5; 4 - 7 p.m.
WHERE: Resident — 428 S. Hewitt St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE with RSVP; MORE INFO

Teen baker Clara Polito of Clara Cakes is the star of a Q&A. She'll talk about how she started baking at age 12 and sold her goodies at DIY punk shows and dessert competitions, which led to a book of recipes. The afternoon includes a live taping of April Wolfe's "Switchblade Sisters" podcast, focusing on rare genre flicks — from a lady's perspective.


FOODIE PICK

L.A. Food Bowl

People share a hot pot at a restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China on May 13, 2005.
People share a hot pot at a restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China on May 13, 2005.
China Photos/Getty Images

WHEN: Tuesday, May 1 - Thursday, May 31
WHERE: various locations
COST: prices vary; MORE INFO

The month-long festival offers 31 days of tastings, dinners, discussions and screenings. This weekend, there's a Sichuan Summit ($18) with a cooking demo by legendary chef Yu Bo, a panel led by Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and an evening with author Diana Kennedy ($15). She'll be joined by Carlos Salgado (Taco María), Gabriela Cámara (Contramar, Cala) and Bricia Lopez (Guelaguetza) to honor and discuss Mexican cuisine. Next week, look for a fried chicken party and a tribute to Jitlada chef Tui Sungkamee, who passed away last year.


CULTURE VULTURE PICK

Beyond The Streets

Stephen Powers: Onward Forward & Deep in The Feels.
Stephen Powers: Onward Forward & Deep in The Feels.
Matthew Kuborn courtesy of ESPO's Art World 2

WHEN: Sunday, May 6 - Friday, July 6; Tuesday - Sunday, 12 - 7 p.m.
WHERE: Werkartz — 1667 N. Main St., downtown L.A.
COST: $25; MORE INFO

RISK, Revok, Kenny Scharf, Maripol, Patrick Martinez, Andrew Schoultz and Dabs Myla are the stars of a massive, immersive showcase of graffiti and street art. It was inspired by the groundbreaking 2011 exhibition "Art In The Streets." That show, curated by Roger Gastman, broke attendance records at MOCA. The  graffiti historian and urban anthropologist is back and this show will also be major.


RETRO PICK

Saved By The Max

The Saved by The Max diner wants to makes fans of
The Saved by The Max diner wants to makes fans of "Saved by the Bell" feel like the kings and queens of Bayside High
Saved by The Max/ TYLINER

WHEN: Tuesday, May 1 - Dec. 31; Tuesday - Sunday
WHERE: 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
COST: $40, entry ticket + cost of food; MORE INFO

This "Saved By The Bell" pop-up revives The Max, the diner from the tweentastic '90s sitcom. Chef Brian Fisher, whose Chicago restaurant Entente earned a Michelin star, oversaw the menu. It stars AC sliders, the Mac & Screech, Tori's fried chicken and the Kelly Kapowski Monte Cristo. Reservations are a must.


TRIPLE AXEL PICK

Free/Skate

A girl performs on ice for
A girl performs on ice for "Thank You from Tohoku" during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy on November 25, 2012 in Rifu, Japan.
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

WHEN: Sunday, May 6; 7 p.m.
WHERE: Pasadena Ice Skating Center — 300 East Green St., Pasadena
COST: $50; MORE INFO

Athleticism, elegance and sparkly costumes. That's what ice skating is all about. But even pros rarely get to skate to live music — except for today. Jonathan Cassar, Michael Valdez and Karolina Calhoun will skate to sets performed by the Orchid String Quartet, Bryan Pezzone and other musicians.


SPORTY PICK

OC Marathon

A runner dressed as an Aztec Conchero dancer participates in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 18, 2018.
A runner dressed as an Aztec Conchero dancer participates in the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday, March 18, 2018.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

WHEN: Saturday, May 5 - Sunday, May 6
WHERE: Orange County
COST: $45-$145; MORE INFO

On Saturday, lace up your sneakers for the 5K or Kids Run. Come back on Sunday to cheer for competitors in the full and half-marathon. The race starts near Fashion Island in Newport Beach and finishes by the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa.


OUTDOOR PICK

World Naked Gardening Day

A nude scene from an unknown religious film, circa 1925.
A nude scene from an unknown religious film, circa 1925.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

WHEN: Sunday, May 6 
WHERE: all over
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Is this a real holiday or an invented one? Either way, to participate all you have to do is strip down and start weeding, planting, harvesting and watering. It's billed as good, clean, fun and a way to get some sunshine where the sun don't shine.


JAZZ HANDS PICK

School of Rock

Cast members of the Broadway musical
Cast members of the Broadway musical "School of Rock" perform during the Lotte New York Palace Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29, 2016 in New York City.
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Lotte New York

WHEN: Thursday, May 3 - Sunday, May 27 
WHERE: Pantages Theatre — 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
COST: $25-$145; MORE INFO

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical follows the same basic plot as the 2003 movie starring Jack Black. An out-of-work rock singer pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and puts together a group of fifth-graders in an attempt to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands.


DRESS-UP PICK

AniFest

Chloe Stockwell (dressed as Newt Scamander) and William Conley (dressed as Judge Enza) visit
Chloe Stockwell (dressed as Newt Scamander) and William Conley (dressed as Judge Enza) visit "Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction," an exhibition at Barbican Centre in London, England, on August 2, 2017.
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, May 5; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
WHERE: Torrance Cultural Arts Center — 3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance
COST: $15; MORE INFO

This new anime festival offers all the things you'd expect from a convention — panels, vendors, cosplay — but "with a matsuri twist."


How are you spending your weekend? Let us know on Twitter @LeoHasACat.