Costa Ricans are a proud people, and no holiday is more patriotic than the annual Día de la Independencia. The holiday is packed with activity: First, the Torch of Independence will arrive in Cartago, completing a cross-country relay from the Nicaraguan border (Sunday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m.), followed by fireworks (8:15 p.m.) Throughout Sunday evening, “lantern parades” will take place all across the country, including thousands of children and their homemade lanterns. On Monday morning, President Solís will deliver a speech in Central Park in downtown San José (9 a.m.). Independence Day is also a chance to watch colorful parades and local bands playing favorite standards, including the Band of Cartago, the Band of Heredia, and the Band of Guanacaste, among countless others. Wherever you are in the country, find a central park or plaza and you’ll likely find a parade. Happy 193rd birthday, Costa Rica!
Here’s a glimpse of last year’s lantern parade in Alajuela:
Party: Fifth Anniversary of GAM Cultural
For five years, GAM Cultural has hosted the quarterly Art Tour, published listings of fun things to do, and helped boost culture and civic pride in San José. Celebrate with organizers and volunteers (and fans) at Steinvorth.
Celebration takes place Sept. 17 at El Steinvorth, downtown San José. 9 p.m. Free. Info: GAM Cultural.
Performance: Broadway Musical Theater
Musical theater students from High Point University in North Carolina strut their stuff during this Broadway cabaret. Proceeds benefit Fundación Ser y Crecer.
Performance takes place Sept. 18 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center, Los Yoses. 8 p.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: Cultural Center website.
Music: National Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra
The epic compositions of Richard Strauss come alive this weekend, thanks to a special engagement by the National Symphony Orchestra. “Ariadne auf Naxos” is a multilayered retelling of the ancient Greek myth, and the orchestra will present highlights from Strauss’ revered opera. The National Theater will also host the Youth Symphony, whose precocious musicians will perform everything from Mozart to Shostakovich.
All concerts take place at the National Theater, downtown San José. The National Symphony Orchestra plays Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 14 at 10:30 a.m. ₡10,000 ($20). Youth Orchestra plays Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. ₡7,000 ($14). Info: National Theater website.
Film: “The Mysterious Presages of León Prozak”
Art house fans, rejoice: The 2010 film “Prozak” is a surreal mix of film, animation, and fine art. See how Carlos Santa and his collaborators created a cinematic experience like no other.
“Los Extraños Presagios de León Prozak” screens at the Joaquín García Monge Museum, Desamparados. Sept. 13. 6:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAM Cultural.
Art: Fausto Pacheco
A retrospective of the emblematic Costa Rican artist and others inspired by his pastoral landscapes.
Exhibit continues through Sept. 28 at the Calderón Historical Museum, Barrio Escalante. Free. Info: Museum website.
Exhibit: “Toys, Memories, and Friends”
Feel the rush of nostalgia as you peruse vintage toys at the National Gallery.
“Juguetes, Recuerdos, y Amigos” continues through Sept. 30 at The National Gallery, downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. Info: National Gallery website.
Theater: “Shark Smile”
Theater company Ex-Ánima performs this kid-friendly “black light” show about marine biodiversity.
“Sonrisa de Tiburón” plays Sept. 12-14 at CENAC, downtown San José. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 2,000-4,000 ($4-8). Info: RedCultura.
Theater: “Sushi’s Journey”
In this case, “Sushi” is a cat – whose life is full of adventure. This children’s show by Pedro José Sánchez is an enlivening afternoon excursion.
“El Viaje de Sushi” continues through Sept. 14 at the Juan Enrique Acuña Theater, Barrio Escalante. Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: RedCultura.
Theater: “The Collection”
Did Stella and Bill hook up on their business trip? The National Company presents this classic 1961 play by Harold Pinter, here in Spanish translation.
“The Collection” will be performed Aug. 28 – Sept. 21 at Teatro 1887, CENAC building, San José. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 7 p.m. ₡4,000 ($8). Info: RedCultura.
“House and Street” Festival
Fourteen artists present multimedia works at this creative cooperative in Barrio Escalante.
“Casa y Calle” continues through Sept. 20 at Casa Batsú, Barrio Escalante. Free. Info: Batsú website.
Art: “Dirty Game”
Costa Rican artist José Miguel Rojas González explores the nature of winning and losing in this subversive series. Read our review here.
“Juego Sucio” continues through Oct. 11 at the Central Bank Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, San José. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ₡5,500 ($11). Info: Museos Banco Central website.
Peter Schaffer’s masterpiece about the life of Mozart (and his bitter rival, Salieri) receives an epic production at Teatro Espressivo.
“Amadeus” plays Aug. 7 – Oct. 12 at Teatro Espressivo, Curridabat. Info: Teatro Espressivo website.
Art: “The Day We Became Contemporary”
The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design celebrates 20 years of cutting-edge arts with a comprehensive, retrospective showcase.
“El Día Que Nos Hicimos Contemporáneos” continues through Sept. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Downtown San José. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Residents ₡1,000 ($2), foreigners ₡1,500 ($3), students ₡500 ($1). Info: MADC website.
Enamoráte de tu ciudad
Yes, you can go gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-round celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check out the event site for news on games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.