Heart of the Beast Mayday parade and festival at Powderhorn Park. As always, it was a beautiful, leftist channel of the zeitgeist (despite the little knot of marchers in support of the recently-endorsed Republican candidates for governor and congress -- what were they thinking), improvised by Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, and a loving band of amateur volunteers.
The first parade was in the spring of '75, two weeks after the Fall of Saigon. The festival has always used spring as a metaphor for popular awakening. This year's theme was "Uproar." The paraders urged us watchers to become fully present to the changes our world is going through. I had to look that up on the Heart of the Beast Theater's website, since the message wasn't as explicit as in years past. Formerly the parade was full of warmongers and evil moneybags, sticking it to Pachamama, and her humble-but-destined-to-triumph majority. The heartache and devastation continue, but our understandings seem to have become sadder, more complicated, and less amenable to caricature, since the 2008 economic correction and the ambiguous presidency of Barack Obama. The parade had no villains, and the giant, trademark HOB puppets, with their enduring, mourning faces had a very small presence. Design was prettier than in other years. There were lots of skeletons, causing the boy next to me to remark that it was like Halloween. There were seedlings and butterflies, as well as a clever use of orange and blue, dampening the mordant note, drowned out by rage in years past.