Krampusfest 2015: A Cavalcade of Hairy, Horned Beasts

(Photo courtesy of KrampusFest)

(Photo courtesy of KrampusFest)

Do you enjoy being chased around by giant hairy monsters who whip and spank you? Did you once have a crush on any of the characters in Where the Wild Things Are? Wishing you had someplace to wear your Bavarian folk dress or drndl? If so, you are in luck. Krampus Los Angeles is hosting another series of exciting events this year.

While Americans are perfectly content to let bad little boys and girls face a lump of coal in their stockings, other countries are not letting those little brats off so easy. Central European Alpine counties like Austria and Southern Germany have a myth that St. Nicholas is accompanied by a monstrous beast known as the Krampus. In a good cop/bad cop scenario, St. Nicholas rewards the good little children while Krampus snatches up the bad kids and carries them off to his lair. All of the action happens on the traditional feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th or its eve.

The Krampus tradition in Los Angeles has sprung up from the ashes of The Cacophony Society, spearheaded by Al Guerrero and Al Ridenour of The Art of Bleeding. Participants spend months crafting elaborate costumes in preparation for the holiday season. Sadly, the popular Krampus Ball is already sold out. However, there are three more Krampusfest events to thrill and delight.

The Krampuslauf / Krampus Run Thursday, December 10th

The Krampus Run will be taking place Thursday, December 10, at the Downtown Art Walk. Over a dozen members of the Austrian Moorpass (Moor Troupe) will be appearing alongside our local Krampus LA Troupe. The Austrian Krampus will be donning their traditional animal hide suits, horns, and handcrafted wood masks. Bay Area artist Kimric Smythe will be chauffeuring St. Nicholas in his amazing Krampus-driven steam car. There will also be food and special Krampus-themed beverages available along the parade route from The Must restaurant.

In an interview last year with Roger Park for The LA Beat, co-founder Al Ridenour explained, “At the Downtown Art Walk, we’ll come closest to what Krampus traditionally does, and that is basically stride along creating a god-awful racket with his belt of cowbells and wave his switches menacingly…a light, playful blow from the switches represents good luck, much like a birthday spanking.”

According to the website, the “Meeting spot for spectators is 101 Winston (at Spring), with the Krampuses circulating along Winston between Spring and Los Angeles Street between 7:30 and 8:30. You’ll find them; just listen for the bells. Photos with the costumed beasties will be available until 9pm sharp when the street reopens. For those who just haven’t gotten enough Krampus by then, there are rumors of a gathering in the woodsy environs of Clifton’s later in the evening.” The event is FREE and family-friendly, although anyone naughty can expect their deserved swats. How often do you get the chance to get whipped by an Austrian?

Krampus at Alpine Village Saturday, December 12th

In a match made in heaven, Krampus LA will be hosting a show on Saturday, December 12th in the Bavarian ballroom at Alpine Village. The show will feature Krammpstein, “a high-concept, hard-rocking hybrid of Germany’s industrial-metal gods Rammstein with everyone’s favorite Alpine demon. Donning horns, masks, and pelts, the band led by Green Jellÿ alum Greg Reynard, tears through an apocalyptic set of Rammstein hits lyrically reworked to obsessively detail the child-beating lifestyle of the Krampus. Dazzling stage-show effects, infernal lighting, and Christmas cookies compliment the spectacle.” Also on the bill is Sapphic Musk, who will be there to rock you with some “seriously Nordic Viking metal” — and these women spank back!

“As if this weren’t enough to sate your Krampus-lust, you can expect to be thoroughly menaced and switch-smacked by costumed members of Krampus Los Angeles, entertained by the devil puppetry of Robin Walsh, and titillated by the naughty-nice indecencies of Lucha VaVoom performer Daisy Meadows. German food and drink from the Alpine Steinhaus is also available before and during the show, and table-seating will be available.” John (“Festmeister” Hans) Baumgaertner will act as emcee.

Holiday themed clothing and Krampus-style attire is encouraged – from demonic elves to traditional drndle dresses. Even a slutty St Pauli girl/Oktoberfest costume is welcome if you like (around 20 bucks on eBay). There will also be prizes, Pfeffernüsse cookies, bell ringing, Alpine horn blowing, and a raffle. And spankings.

The Traditional Krampus Play and Film Sunday, December 13th

OK, so maybe spanking girls in slutty Oktoberfest outfits while rocking out to the hottest lesbian band in town isn’t quite in line with Old World traditions. Well, has Krampus LA ever got something authentic for you. “Nikolausspiel,” or Nicholas Play, is so authentic, they had to translate ancient German scripts. The Nicholas play is the origin story of the Krampus, dating back to the 18th century. It is rarely performed these days, even in Austria. Krampus LA has carefully chosen only the most entertaining scenes from the ancient folk play. Sit back and enjoy “Krampus, Lucifer, butchered children, and the inexorable power of Death all represented in bouncy rhyme. Whether speaking of eternal salvation or the merciless tortures of Hell, the dialogue of the Nikolausspiel is inevitably delivered in cheery couplets worthy of Dr. Seuss.”

After the play concludes, there will be a selection of Krampus films from the earliest part of the 20th century through the present. “In rare footage from the Austrian State Archives, you’ll see characters from the Nicholas Play you just watched bursting into homes and taverns, Krampuses carrying off armfuls of children and engaging in pranks, property damage, attempted theft, and heavy drinking.”

The  Krampus play and film event will take place in the historic Church of the Angels, an exquisite Gothic Revival. Guests are invited to come in themed wardrobe, period clothing, or holiday attire. You should probably not come to church in slutty Oktoberfest attire as we do still occasionally have lightning storms in LA. Bay Area artist Kimric Smythe’s Krampus-driven Steamcar will also be at the event. Advance tickets only! Available online.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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