Cypher event at Northrup King Building on July 15, 2023. Credit: Drew Arrieta

The Twin Cities art scene this weekend offers a Latinx music festival celebrating the Day of the Dead holiday and a Halloween-themed hip-hop cypher celebration.

The Twin Cities Film Fest also starts this weekend and runs through all of next week, spotlighting narratives that empower LGBTQ+, women, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. 

Twin Cities Film Fest 

The Twin Cities Film Fest returns this year with a diverse selection of more than 70 films tackling critical global issues. The festival will feature Q&A sessions with participating filmmakers and a special guest appearance by Terrence Howard, who will share his experiences in the indie film industry. 

This year’s festival shines a spotlight on healthcare disparities as part of its “Changemaker” series. Attendees can expect a lineup of documentaries that explore pressing issues like racial inequality, disproportionate mortality rates, challenges faced by multigenerational families, and more. 

In addition to the “Changemaker” series, the festival presents six additional film series that seek to celebrate the LGBTQ community, empower women, and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). These films encompass a wide range of themes, from the portrayal of Indigenous displacement in “Powerlands” to the intergenerational impact of the Black Barbie doll in “Black Barbie.” 

The comedy, “Dealing with Dad,”  explores generational trauma and chronic depression within an Asian American family. Find the festival lineup here. 

The event will be held in hybrid format, combining both online and in-person experiences for attendees. 

Date: Thursday, October 19 through Saturday, October 28

Time: Various times for different film screenings. Find the film schedule here.

Location: 1633 West End Blvd., Saint Louis Park, Minnesota 

Cost: Individual tickets start at $12. Festival passes provide access to five, eight, or 10 in-person films. Watch the films online for $9 per film or with a $55 streaming pass that provides unlimited access to the festival’s online film selection. The streaming pass does not cover admission to films being shown only in person. 

Buy individual tickets here and passes here

For more information: Visit

Photos from a previous Festival De Las Calaveras event. Credit: Irving Vazquez

Festival De Las Calaveras

The 11th annual Festival de las Calaveras: Twin Cities Latinx Music Festival will celebrate the Mexican holiday known as Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) and showcase a diverse range of Latinx artistic expressions. 

The Day of the Dead holiday is rooted in Mexican Indigenous cultures, and centers on honoring and remembering departed ancestors and loved ones. Deborah Ramos, a visual artist and the festival’s director, emphasized that the celebration, while festive and vibrant, is distinct from what some may perceive as ‘Mexican Halloween.’

“Please leave your Halloween costumes at home,” Ramos said. “We encourage folks to come with the intention of experiencing Latinx excellence, to remember their departed loved ones and their ancestors, and to celebrate life.” 

The festival originated in 2013, stemming from Ramos’ community gardening project in Minneapolis’ Central Neighborhood. The project explored the oral traditions and narratives surrounding corn in Mexican culture and its role in art. In an effort to raise community awareness about this endeavor, Ramos said the community hosted a Day of the Dead gathering, where attendees participated in the harvest, enjoyed performances by Aztec dancers and engaged in an offering ceremony to honor and remember their departed loved ones. 

Over the years, the festival, which is organized by Tlanlnepantla Arts, has been celebrated by a wider audience in various locations across Minnesota. This year at Union Depot, attendees can anticipate live musical performances, traditional dance, visual art, puppetry, and more. 

The festival’s ofrenda (the offering placed at a home’s altar honoring deceased loved ones) will be created by artist Margarita Sandoval, who invites attendees to bring photos of their loved ones and actively participate in the ceremony. Simply attending the festival with the intention of honoring a loved one is also considered a meaningful contribution. 

“The entire event is the offering,” Ramos said. 

Each element of the festival, from its vibrant atmosphere to the musical performances and art activities, collectively serve as a tribute to the tradition of the Day of the Dead. 

The festival’s visual art includes large puppets and alebrijes (spirit guides) mounted on bicycles created by puppet maker Gustavo Boada, and an immersive art piece by Booscapes projected onto the venue’s walls.

Family friendly art activities include creating skulls using Zote, a traditional Mexican soap, to mimic traditional sugar skulls that are placed on altars to represent deceased loved ones. Attendees will also have the opportunity to craft tissue paper flowers for the ofrenda and paint their own Day of the Dead skulls. Local artists will also provide face-painting services. 

Live performances feature Mexican rock bands Tijuana No! and Los Cogelones, Indigenous rapper Mare Advertencia, Afro Indigenous performance artist Lady Midnight, and more. Find the festival’s lineup here. 

Date: Saturday, October 21

Time: 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Location: Union Depot, 214 4th Street East, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101

Cost: $10 if you buy tickets online in advance. $15 at the door. $5 for youth aged 5 to 12 (with a school ID) and seniors aged 65 and over. Buy tickets here. 

For more information: Visit

Jigzart at Cypher event in Northrup King Building on July 15, 2023. Credit: Teddy Grimes

Spooky Cypher 

Summer Cypher Minneapolis, in collaboration with Hope Community, will host “Spooky Cypher,” a family-friendly outdoor celebration of hip-hop culture. The event will include musical performances, tribal fusion dance, and graffiti art. 

Featured artists will include musician K. Planit, Dj Minnie, DJ Mickey Breeze, muralist Jordan Hamilton, tribal fusion performer Papaya Evermore, and more. 

Interactive activities include a family-friendly scavenger hunt for candy in the garden, face painting, and freestyle rap sessions. 

Food and produce provided by Heal MPLS and tea and herbs provided by Hope Community will also be available. Attendees are encouraged to wear Halloween masks. 

Date: Saturday, October 21 

Time: 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Location: 1900 Portland Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

Cost: Free

For more information: Visit 

Myah Goff was a summer 2023 intern at Sahan Journal, and is currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.