Sunday, May 4, 2008

a Day in May Parade

Minneapolis, which has been known to be called the little apple, reason being: the large amount of culture wrapped into a much smaller than new york population, hosted the May Day Parade, an event that showcases collaboration of culture groups in at the very least an unusual fashion. Although May 4th is not May Day (May Day is May 1st) the parade ran today anyway. The parade started in 1975 shortly after the end of the Vietnam war which has influenced it's primary goal of bringing peace and understanding to all. It's clear that the May Day celebration does not wish to live up to the call of "May Day May Day!" and the fact that the parade is named such seems like a delightful irony to the producers at the Heart of the Beast Theatre. The website description is as follows:

Every spring, the MayDay Parade explodes onto Bloomington Avenue! We own the
street for the day, dancing and playing instruments with fiery verve. We tell
our story, section by section, each designed musically and visually by MayDay
staff artists as a walking theatrical performance.

Perhaps it is the use of the words "explodes" and "fiery" or their misunderstandings on legal ownership that caused a rough half of the Minneapolis police department to be out their today. Apparently the crowd maintenance is required for all 50,000+ groups of people, whether you are peace-lovers or not. Note: I did notice an unusual level of kindness as a I bumped into, shuffled by or excused as I hunted for that coveted road side parade viewing spot. However, despite presence of law enforcement, a wad of credit card receipts was found stolen from the May Day T-shirt both. Perhaps they were busy warding off explosions on Bloomington Avenue.

I first became aware of the May Day Parade production when I was somewhere in grade school. At the time, I got as far as thinking that "paper mac he looks fun". However it wasn't until this year that I had a chance to observe the actual event. (okay, so I'm a bit of a procrastinator). Apparently my fiance goes every year?!? Each year has a unique theme, but it all works out the same end: "Renewing the Tree of Life" . It's a combinations of theatrics, music and a your general parade stuff. The theatrics involves eccentric costuming, and a few brief sketches. Music entails full bands, drum lines and the sound of anything being hit (tarps, tin, etc.). Your general parade stuff includes kids (smiling, crying and showing their genuine emotions), a few men in dresses (a parade must), abnormal bikes, floats and everything else I forgot to mention.

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