Weekend Passport: Mexican Mole, German cinema and Indian dance

May 25, 2012

Siri Bulusu

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Friday on Weekend Passport, we ride the Cinco de Mayo wave into Mole de Mayo. 

Every restaurant with a mole dish (pronounced MO-lay) boasts about it being the best in the city. Mole is a traditional Mexican chocolate sauce made up of chilies, nuts, spices, seasonings and of course, chocolate, originating from the Puebla region of Mexico. This weekend the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation puts their mole where your mouth is at their 4th annual Mole de Mayo Festival. It’s a traditional Mexican mole festival with a Chicago twist. Restaurants from around the city compete for the title of “Best Mole.” A panel of celebrity chefs judge, and you will too – for the coveted “People’s Choice Award.” Once you’ve sampled enough Mole, put down your spoon and grab a drink. There will be Micheladas – Bloody Marys made with beer – and Sangria.

The festival is packed with live entertainment both days, with everything from Samba dancing to Mexican wrestling to fire eaters!  Kids can make Mexican crafts with Alfonso “Piloto” Nieve Ruiz. Dance off the deliciousness with music by local performers. Saturday’s bands include hip hop group Phero, Hyrakan, Aztec music and Sones de Mexico, a two-time Grammy nominated group. Sunday features Danza Folklorica, the Luciano Antonio Trio and Son del Viento performing music that brought on the mariachi movement. Mole de Mayo; 18th Street and Peoria just off of Halsted. Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; suggested donation between $1 and $5.

Once you’ve had your fill of mole test out your language skills at the Dankhaus German Cinema – Now! showing of Ein Sommermaerchen (A Summer’s Fairy Tale). The documentary film chronicles the 2006 World Cup from behind the scenes of the German national soccer team. This film became the highest grossing documentary film in Germany, but Germanophiles aren't the only who will enjoy it – the film has English subtitles.

American soccer fans have a special reason to check out this filme: Former German national team coach Juergen Klinsmann is now the head coach of the U.S. national soccer team. Not only that, but Arne Friedrich, a former defender on the German team, now plays for the Chicago Fire.

Along with a cash bar you'll find German snacks like pretzels and sausage. Plus Luke Feron, the organizer of the event, argues their popcorn is better than any multiplex. Ein Sommermarchen; free on Friday in the Skyline Lounge at DANK Haus German Cultural Center, 4740 N. Western Avenue at 7:30 p.m.

Check out the trailer for Ein Sommermaerchen:

From the cinema to a dance studio: Next is the debut performance of Apsara, a member of the University of Chicago’s Dance Council. Apsara is a mix of students and Hyde Park community members who specialize in a variety of Indian classical dances. This weekend’s show is based on the theme "Love of Krishna."

The performance depicts the story of the Hindu God Krishna as told by the loves of his life: Radha, his soul-mate, Rukmini, his wife and Yeshoda, his foster mother.

The first piece is an imagined conversation between Radha and Yeshoda – an invented encounter not found in Hindu mythology. The two relate stories to each other about Krishna in order to feel closer to him. In doing so, mother and lover realize a common love for Krishna and gain a mutual respect for one another.

The second peice recalls the tale of Rukmini and Krishna's wedding. This is one of the more popular stories out of Krishnalore as Rukmini's older brother and Krishna are eternal sworn enimies. The story climaxes when Rukmini convinces Krishna to kidnap her. (Yeah, it get's intense.)

The show is hosted in true Indian tradition, with no raised stage. Kamaya, presented by University of Chicago’s Apsara Dance Troupe; Bartlett Rehearsal Space on the University of Chicago campus; 7 p.m. Saturday; free.

Safe travels!