Tonight, from 8pm until 9pm, dozens of European-inspired Krampuses will run through the streets of downtown LA for the 5th year in a row, dispatching spankings to the deserving. “While naughty hipsters can expect playful yet much-deserved swattings, children and more timid grown-ups will be protected by the benevolent St. Nicholas, overseeing festivities from a 19th-century-style steam car built and transported every to LA year by artist-engineer Kimric Smythe of Beast Bay Krampus.” The Krampus Run, or Krampuslauf, will take place during the DTLA Art Walk on Winston Street, which will be closed to traffic between Main and Los Angeles.
Since the mid-1800s, Krampus, the horned beast of Alpine legend, has been carrying on the tradition of St. Nicholas’ dark companions who punish the naughty children as a counterpart to his benevolent rewards of gifts and sweets. Costumed in animal pelts and horns, villagers playfully chase children around with switches. Although the rugged topography of the Alps kept the folklore of Krampus regional for many years, it was just too much fun to be ignored and spread to America in the 21st century. In Los Angeles, the Krampus group was spearheaded in 2013 by Al Ridenour and Al Guerrero, veterans of The Cacophony Society and Santacon.
There will be an afterparty from 9pm until 10pm at the appropriately named nightclub, The Lash. Entertainment for the evening will include cabaret artist Christina Linhardt “interpreting Bertolt Brecht, Marlene Dietrich, and other Weimar-style favorites. Accompanying her will be musician and former clown/singing ringmaster for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Michael “TUBA” Heatherton.
(Photo by Billy Bennight for The LA Beat)