On Cinco de Mayo we remember the Battle of Puebla when General Ignacio Zaragoza and a small but brave group defeated the French, allowing Mexico to come together with a renewed sense of national pride. Though the victory was short-lived, that date in history — May 5, 1862 — allows Mexican-Americans to rejoice in this rich culture through celebrations of mariachi, parades, baile folklórico, music y mas. And there's no need to wait for the 5th, because the fiesta starts now.
Relive that fateful battle firsthand when New York's Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performs Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo this Friday night. Experience folkloric and native traditions with live music, traditional and contemporary dance, and colorful costumes in this new story by Calpulli's Artistic Director Alberto Lopez Herrera. "La nueva historia del director artístico Alberto López Herrera habla de la imposible victoria mexicana sobre el ejército francés, la fuerza militar más fuerte en ese momento, en la batalla de Puebla el 5 de mayo de 1862."
A performance is scheduled for May 3 at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 832-487-7041 or visit calpullidance.org. $45 to $150.
Technically not Cinco de Mayo, but those technicalities will result in a foul and cause you to miss out on Latin Grammy® nominees Flor de Toloache. Dubbed New York's first and only all-woman mariachi group, they made it onto Paul McCartney's Holidays Rule (Vol. 2) album, were featured in Oprah Magazine, and released the single "Te Lo Tije" with Miguel. The performers hail from diverse cultural backgrounds, giving a unique flavor and sound — and a fresh, edgy take — to traditional Mexican music. This special event is presented by Society for the Performing Arts.
A performance is scheduled for May 3 at 8 p.m. Friday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit milleroutdoortheatre.com/performances. Free.
When it comes to authentic Mexican culture, look no further than Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery in the Heights. Proprietors Macario and Chrissie Ramirez tell us that the Battle of Puebla (La Batalla de Puebla) is really a David and Goliath story when a small and mostly untrained group battled 6,000 French soldiers under the command of Napoleon III for their freedom. On Saturday enjoy live salsa and popular music by Jesus and Maria Lozano of Bossa II, screenings of a History Channel film about the battle, and works of art inspired by the Loteria bingo game. Cinco de Mayo 2019: A Celebration of Culture also includes a free paper flower making workshop at 1 p.m. Saturday. Come back Sunday for more screenings of the movie and another look at the Loteria-inspired art.
The celebration of culture is scheduled for May 4 and May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420 or visit facebook.com/Casa-Ramirez-FOLKART-Gallery-76060185584.
Get up and get dancing at Discovery Green when it celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Kinder HSPVA. The afternoon of performances include a Selena tribute by Amanda Solis, dancing by J-Dance Company and Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston, singing by Kirsten G, a play by Nueva Luna Ballet Folklorico and a headlining performance by the Kinder HSPVA Mariachis. Bombón’s La Comadre (Mel Gomez) and DJ Gracie Chavez emcee the event.
A performance is scheduled for May 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/1560093. Free.
Ay yi yi. Can Lupillo Rivera really be taking the stage at Miller Outdoor's Cinco de Mayo event? The award-winning Mexican singer, producer and songwriter, known as El Toro del Corrido, made his way onto everybody's playlist with 2001's chart-topping "Despreciado." Since that hit he's released more than 15 top singles and won the Grammy Award in 2010 for Tu Esclavo y Amo. Expect a rollicking, exuberant style and unpredictable, percussion-driven horn arrangements in his lively Mexican roots music. Rivera's visit is presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in Houston.
A performance is scheduled for May 5 at 8 p.m. Sunday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit milleroutdoortheatre.com/performances. Free.
Laugh 'til you cry at The Secret Group's South of the Border: Cinco de Mayo Comedy Show. Nathaniel Amador and Jessi Saldana play host for a showcase of Houston's funniest Hispanic stand-ups in this 21-and-up show sponsored by Southern Star Brewery.
A performance is scheduled for May 5 at 8 p.m. Sunday at The Secret Group, 2101 Polk. For information, call 832-898-1088 or visit thesecretgrouphtx.com. $5.
Cinco de Mayo festivities continue all weekend, which means it's always five o'clock somewhere. Read our companion stories below for the inside scoop about what to do and where to go for celebrations at local eateries and bars, including tequila tastings, pub crawls and special occasion mole dishes.