Cinco de Mayo is probably best known as a reminder of American ignorance. Northern-dwelling Americans, including myself, are often raised to think of this Mexican national holiday as the equivalent of Independence Day in the US (it’s actually a holiday celebrating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla) and while correcting factual misunderstanding is somewhat easy, old habits die hard. That’s why we’ve thrown our good judgment out the window and made this list of great happenings on and around Cinco de Mayo.
Take this day to celebrate the great country that is Mexico, a beautiful place full of truly amazing people who tolerate the worst of what America has to offer: ruddy suburban-dwelling golfers who’d rather sleep apnea away the hours inside a gated community for Imperialists than check out what Mexico is like beyond the white picket gates, border patrol, and a widespread, undying thirst for illegal drugs coupled with some twisted refusal to acknowledge we like using them. So get to it.
If you haven’t been to a Lucha Libre match, you haven’t actually been to Mexico. Wrestling is huge in Mexico, and unlike in the U.S. where it’s the lowest of the lowbrow, it’s a pretty democratic affair there. And whereas the WWF has gone the way of Hollywood movies in exploding outward into ridiculous fantasy barely reminiscent of reality, which has its perks to be sure, Lucha Libre has retained a classical gracefulness about it usually reserved for ballet and opera. There’s something poetic about the hand-sewn capes, the modest masks, and the predictable yet exquisite way in which little people are launched in the air only to land with a delicate flop at the edge of the mat.
It’s unusual to be treated with such handsome showmanship in New York City, but lucky for us Don Pedro’s is hosting a Lucha Libre match on Seis de Mayo (which is apparently not just a solo album released by that dude from Phish) albeit with a twist. The central point of contact will be a kiddie pool filled with lube, unfamiliar territory for Mexican wrestling perhaps, but the characters and showdown are definitely recognizable: the good guys (Técnicos) and the bad guys (Rudos) will be there, as will tons of beer. Oh, did we mention beer will be free from 8pm to 9 pm? Wednesday May 6th, Don Pedros at 8 pm, Bushwick: $10
Margaritas at the Black Ant
You don’t make the upper ranks for the city’s best margaritas and live to tell the tale. What will happen when hungry beasts desperate to be doused in sugar, agave, lime, and salt show up in the hundreds to a small East Village restaurant on a fake drinking holiday? We dunno, but let’s hope they understand the tacos here are made of bugs before someone else makes it clear after it’s too late and those wee insects and stomach bile end up all over the floor. Just kidding! The food here is supposed to be fabulous so you should probably join the slop fest and head over to Black Ant, if you’re feeling nasty. All the frat boys will probably be over at El Cantinero anyway so we think going here will mean you’re relatively safe from that storm.
The restaurant isn’t revealing too many deets about what they have in store, but it’s going to be a “fiesta” they say and yeah, those margaritas are actually damn good so, um, this fiesta should be pretty great. If your bartender looks exhausted from banging out marg after marg, do them a favor and start ordering shots of sotol. Black Ant is located at 60 2nd Avenue, East Village.
Psych de Mayo / Psychic Reality
Are you convinced that celebrating Cinco de Mayo could be interpreted as slightly racist? Well, we’re not going to say we disagree with you. But this day isn’t completely spoiled for you if you’re not into getting blind drunk for absolutely no real reason and/or don’t have the approval of your Mexican friends. There’s a great electronic music dance party happening at Elvis Guest House in celebration of a new record released by experimental artist M. Geddes Gengras (who’s worked with the Congos and Sun Araw). This dude’s gonna play lord knows what madness. Dance party is perhaps a liberal description but anything is what you make it, people. The LA-based avant-garde musician is joined by local artists dabbling in similarly super freaky weird stuff, Xander Duell and Jordi Wheeler (Psychic Ills). Doors open at 7 pm, free beer from 7-8, music at 8:30, Elvis Guest House, East Village: $10
Cinco de Mayo at Roberta’s
When we first heard word of a Cinco de Mayo fest at Roberta’s we were all pssssshhhhh who wants freaking pizza on this special day, even if it’s made with tortilla crust? Well the answer to that question is absolutely no one, and shame on us for not trusting Roberta’s to know what people actually want to put in their mouths. These pizza geniuses know full well the solution to that riddle is tacos. Duh! That’s why Roberta’s won’t be serving just “tacos,” but “TACOS TACOS TACOS.”
An unnamed mariachi band will make an appearance as will some DJ, but as long as there’s live music to keep us going while we drink free Jell-O shots and frozen margs, we could really care less what of who is playing. Just be sure to avoid going belly up on alcoholic slurpees guys, save room for the Pacifico and shot specials. Tuesday May 5th at Roberta’s, Bushwick, 6 pm – 10 pm