Cinco de Mayo! Brother Mel's Birthday! Lots to Celebrate at Saturday's Art Crawl



“Alice in Candyland,” Matthew Deric Gore
  • “Alice in Candyland,” Matthew Deric Gore
This month's First Saturday Art Crawl will land on Cinco de Mayo. Originally, the holiday celebrated the Mexican defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Now, of course, the holiday serves as a celebration of Mexican culture and identity, and as an excuse for the rest of us to have too many margaritas.

I haven't heard of any special crawl events for Saturday night. Perhaps we could make the revelers crossing Fifth Avenue run through a bonfire, re-enacting a Celtic fertility rite that's an even older May tradition. Bob Dylan has a birthday this month — perhaps we could all sing that song where he "married Isis on the fifth day of May." I can't say how loco the crawl will get, but the openings of two big annual exhibits and a very curious installation of video art are sure to add to the festive feeling.

When it comes to keeping up with the crawl, a few events help me mark time during the year: the first stiflingly hot crawl, the first freezing-cold crawl and artist Brother Mel's annual trek to Nashville to celebrate his birthday at The Arts Company. Every May, the Marianist monk travels to town with his latest works in tow. And while this year marks his 84th birthday, Mel is still a prolific artist — he just received an honorary doctorate from St. Louis University, and the school also installed a permanent sculpture garden featuring his work in downtown St. Louis. Saturday's show will include Mel's abstract paintings and sculpture along with a number of Nashville-themed pieces.

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