Good morning. Today is “Mayday Day” in Minneapolis. Mayday is a holiday widely celebrated by the community of South Minneapolis. People from North, Northeast and Southeast are welcome, but I’m not sure they know about it. People from “soutwest” Minneapolis ARE from South Minneapolis and they need to learn that using the term “Soutwest Minneapolis” is elitist and exclusionary, which is not the way of the culture of South. No, not at all.
Typically, you won’t hear about Mayday in the news because mainstream entities such as news agencies don’t quite know what to do with it. Thousands of people get together and have a great time and make a handful of strident and important political statements. The very same people who get arrested for protesting the war-mongering party will be applauded and celebrated here. The very companies that many Minnesotans work for but who are also ruining the planet as the blindly blunder forward with their plans to take over the world are vilified here. The press has no facility for handling this. So they don’t.
This year may be an especially interesting parade because of what has been happening lately regarding unions, and as has been the case for some time, we have two wars instead of one to criticize.
The parade is organized and in many ways dominated by the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. This theater has taken puppets and puppetry to new heights, they run a local theater and apparently you can rent them out for your own fund raisers or other events, so do click on the link and check out their web site if you want to go see an interesting show (great for the kiddies) or do something spectacular in your local neighborhood.
The Mayday parade is fairly short … several blocks long. If you are a group in Minneapolis chances are you are in the parade. Minnesota Atheists will march. The Mayor will march. The Anarchists Bicyclists from the Hard Times Cafe will … well, not march but ride.
And the puppets will march. There will be dozens (hundreds?) of small puppets, roughly human size, and a smaller number of giant puppets. Later, in the park to which the parade marches, the puppets will put on some sort of show. Typically, the show involves puppets paddling across the lake on large Kwakiutl style vessels (starting from an island) onto the shoreline, which is behind the stage.
People like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will be there. (As puppets, of course.) I’m not promising anything, but if they are there, bad things may happen to them. There is a just thawed but still frigid lake right there, after all.
Along with the puppet show there will be a large number of artisans, political groups, and food vendors with booths all around the park. There will be pottery, radical Native American groups, localvores, and mini-donuts.
At the end of the puppet show (which starts at about 3:00 and goes at least an hour) several dozen people (some of which are sometimes me) will drum before/and/or/after the mass singing of the song “You are my sunshine” during which time, if it has been raining (which it often is) the sun will come out. Possibly. Nobody is expecting miracles.
The current temperature is about 34 degrees with a steady fetch from the west and overcast not expected to open up to sun shine before the parade starts. It will be in the upper 40s. I don’t think I’ll be one of the people who sets up over night with a blanket on the slopes overlooking the lake to get a spot. Well, nobody actually does that but still… But I’ll be there and I hope to see you there!