Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla, in which Mexican troops beat French troops in a most French-troop-humiliating way, back in 1862. We think the holiday could be updated to just celebrate Puebla, which is currently one of the awesomest towns in central Mexico. Not only is it beautiful, with plazas full of graceful trees, but it has the only bookstore by day/rock venue by night we've ever seen, Café Teorema. Then there's the nun/food connection: Sisters in Puebla invented the famous sugar skulls of Dia de los Muertos and also one of the world's most delicious sauces: Mole Poblano. There are 20-some universities, and amazing ruins in Puebla, too. Let's review: Cinco de Mayo celebrations could use beautiful communal spaces, live music, creative nuns, and good food. Actually, most of that is already done, year after year, at the Mission Neighborhood Centers' Cinco de Mayo Festival. (San Francisco could really stand to have a bookstore that transforms into a bar at night, though. Could someone get on that?) So attend the party in the park in the spirit of Puebla: with historical chutzpah, plenty of candy, and a strong compulsion to dance. The entertainment is perfect: Several outstanding mariachi bands (including Nueva Generacion and Berta Olivia), a youth jazz getup, the roots-folk of Los Cenzontles, and the Mission District's own proud and dramatic Xiuhcoatl Danza Azteca.
Sat., May 3, 11 a.m., 2008