San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

A tattoo convention, Russian ballet and other happenings around Costa Rica

Paradise Tattoo Convention

Ink artists from around the world converge in Zapote this weekend to participate in the third annual Paradise Tattoo Convention. Featuring workshops, showcases, and body jewelry, Paradise brings together acclaimed experts from the U.S., Latin America, and beyond. Thanks to its growing popularity, the convention will double in size from last year’s, which means twice the artistry and opportunity to learn. Have a yen for a top-notch tat? This is the place to get it done. (Update: Celebrity artist Megan Massacre will not be attending this year’s convention).

The Paradise Tattoo Convention takes place May 30 – June 1 at Pepper Disco Club, Zapote. Fri., 10:30 a.m.10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. 9 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.10 p.m. $300 per booth. Info: Official convention website.

Wine Sensations

Like a party thrown by Bacchus himself, this massive event showcases more than 100 wines from all over the world. Learn about varietals, regional specialties, and exciting new labels, all set against the luxurious backdrop of the Costa Rica Country Club.

Wine Sensations takes place June 4 at the Costa Rica Country Club, Escazú. 6 p.m. $100. Info: French Paradox website.

Swan Lake

For folks who already have tickets, this Bolshoi production of the Tchaikovsky masterpiece should be a transcendent experience. For folks who don’t, you’re probably out of luck: According to the National Theater, this touring production of “Swan Lake” has nearly sold out.

“El Lago de los Cisnes” takes place June 1 & 2 at the National Theater, downtown San José. Sun., 5 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. ₡16,000-42,000 ($32-84). Info: National Theater website.

Film: “Italia 90”

The sports movie about Costa Rica’s rise to the 1990 World Cup hits national movie theaters.

“Italia 90” receives wide release June 5 at various cinemas. Info: Official film website.

Alajuela History Hike

Hike about a mile of historic trail and follow in the footsteps of Costa Rican freedom fighters during this educational tour.

“Hiking the Route of 1856” takes place June 1 and 8 at the Juan Santamaría Museum, Alajuela. 8 a.m. ₡5,000 ($10). Info: Museum 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.

Music: Guayabo Blü (and Live Painting)

Blue period: Latin jazz band plays while artist Siddhartha Mejía presents live painting.

Guayabo Blü plays June 4 at Jazz Café, San Pedro. 9 p.m. ₡3,000 ($6). Info: Jazz Café website.

Music: Ruta Tombouctou

Old-school reggae band plays El Sótano.

Ruta Tombouctou performs May 31 at El Sótano, Barrio Amón. 9 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAM Cultural website.

Film: “Winter Light”

Learn about Ingmar Bergman’s dark masterpiece at this public film appreciation workshop.

“Winter Light” takes place May 31 at the Joaquín García Monge Museum, Desamparados. 6:30 p.m. ₡2,000 ($4). Info: GAM Cultural website.

Fair: “Viva el Arte”

More than 60 regional artists display their wares at this public arts fair.

“Viva el Arte” takes place May 29–June 1 at the Paza del Sol commercial plaza, Curridabat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: RedCultura site.

Multimedia: “Micro-Theater” at Casa Ibero

A series of 15-minute plays, plus a half-dozen other avant-garde activities, take place this weekend at the Casa Ibero artists’ collective.

Performances take place May 22-24 at Casa Ibero, Los Yoses. Thu. & Sun., 6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 7 p.m. Info: Casa Ibero website.

Art: “A Family Portrait of Helvetica”

This dual exhibit features a fascinating exploration on the typeface Helvetica, by artist Mimiam Hsu.

“Retrato Familiar en Helvética” and “Ojalá el Sol Me Esconda” display through June 28 TEOR/éTica Gallery, Barrio Amón. Free. Info: TEOR/éTica website.

Art: Great Painters Exhibit

Paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and Andy Warhol arrive in Costa Rica. Presented by the National Gallery, this collection incorporates 158 artworks and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, based in the former penitentiary.

“Herencia del Arte” takes place April 28–June 28 at the National Gallery in Barrio Mexico. Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Info: National Gallery website.

Theater: “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

The classic Jules Verne science-fiction story receives an innovative Spanish-language adaptation at Teatro Espressivo. Enjoy this family-friendly afternoon adventure.

“Viaje al Centro de la Tierra” takes place May 8-July 13, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Sat. & Sun., 3 p.m. ₡6,000 ($12). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.

Theater: “Baroque Café”

A variety of Spanish-language one-act plays make up this comic revue.

“Café Barroco” takes place through July 6, Teatro Espressivo, Tres Ríos, Cartago. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. ₡5,000-10,000 ($10-20). Info: Teatro Espressivo website.

Exhibit: “Tintin”

A retrospective on the dashing young journalist, his pup Snowy and his friend Captain Haddock. Visit the Alianza Francesa to see the works of Belgian cartoonist Hergé.

The Tintin exhibit takes place May 2-31 at the Alianza Francesa, La Sabana. Free. Info: Alianza Francesa website.

Art: “Mayo en Verde”

Celebrate the coming of the green season with these colorful landscapes, painted by a variety of Costa Rican artists.

“Mayo en Verde” takes place at the López Ecarré Gallery, National Theater, downtown San José. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Free. Info: Gallery website.

Enamorate de tu ciudad

Yes, you can get gaga for San José – especially when the Culture Ministry is sponsoring Enamorate de tu ciudad, or Fall in Love With Your City, a year-long celebration of art, culture and urban parks. Check back for games, workshops, presentations and surprise performances.

Fall in Love with Your City takes place on Saturdays in various parks in downtown San José. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Info: Enamorate de tu Ciudad website.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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