In case I haven’t invited you personally, I wanted to let you know that we’ll be having our big, annual Krampus party this Saturday night in in Ypsilanti. As in years past, things will begin at 8:00, at the Corner Brewery (720 Norris Street). Entry is free for those of you who are degenerate lowlifes. Everyone else will be asked to make a donation of $2 (or more), which will be given to the FLY Children’s Art Center for their continuing work in the Ypsi public schools. Costumes, as always, are expected. And, if you dare to bring a child, it will be immediately consumed. As is our tradition, in addition to having incredible music to shake our asses to, there will be a special brew. I’ve yet to taste it, but I’m told this year’s concoction is a wheat beer brewed with beets. As it’s red in color, I’ve suggested that they refer to it as “Blood of the Krampus,” but maybe it would be more appropriate, given the fact that Krampus is known to quench his considerable thirst of the blood of naughty children, to call it “Juvenile Delinquent Juice,” or “Juice of Juvenile Delinquent,” or something along those lines. Regardless, at midnight, the dancing will stop, and the most courageous among us will take the War on Christmas to the streets, rattling chains, howling like demons, and terrifying the children of Ypsilanti, as we make our way through the City by the light of torches, ending up at Woodruff’s for their annual Krampusdeep celebration.
Here, for those of you who still aren’t sure if you’d like to attend, are three links. If you follow them, I think you’ll get a pretty good sense as to what the event is all about: 2010 recap, 2011 recap, 2012 recap.
And here, if you’re unfamiliar with the backstory, is a clip from something that I posted back in 2010, prior to our first event.
…I’ve been fascinated with Krampus for the past several years, since I first learned of his existence through my friend, the cultural anthropologist of all things strange and Fortean, Doug Skinner. Doug had sent me a turn-of-the-century Austrian greeting card. On it, Krampus, a large, shaggy, bipedal horned beast with wild, flaming eyes and a forked tongue, was lashing plump, rosy-cheeked children and stuffing them into sacks… I was hooked.
With Doug’s help, I began to learn about this fellow, who, in addition to Krampus, has gone by names such as Knecht Ruprecht, Perchten, Pelznickel, Black Peter, and Klaubaur. According to pre-Christian Alpine tradition, while old St. Nick went about the business of handing out treats to the good children at the turn of the new year, old Krampus would be dispatched to punish the bad. He, in other words, was the stick to Santa’s carrot – a tool used to ensure good behavior. Children, if they were good, would get candy and presents. And, if they weren’t, they wouldn’t just get lumps of coal come Christmas morning – they’d be thrown into the pits of hell by a cloven-footed monster covered in matted black fur. But, as brilliant of an idea as it is, for whatever reason, Krampus hasn’t made the leap to the shores of America, where all the children, regardless of how evil and disrespectful they might be, can expect to be rewarded with video games and cigarettes come yule-tide.
In countries like Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia, however, he’s still very much a part of the Christmas tradition…
So, if you get burned out on holiday parties and find that you could use an unseasonably dark release, or if you just find yourself wanting to lash out against the over-commercialization of Christmas, or even if you just like dressing up and drinking beer, come and join us as we take back the holiday season on behalf of Santa’s dark assistant…
And, for what it’s worth, our version isn’t terribly dark. It’s more like a glam, sci-fi monster dance party… Just imagine the cantina scene from Star Wars, only maybe a little sexier, and with a bit more spanking.
[Special thanks to Jason Youngs for the drawing at the top of the page, Chris Sandon for the design, and the folks at VG Kids for the printing.]