Krampus 2013 recap

Judging strictly by the quantity of vomit I encountered outside the Corner Brewery yesterday morning, I’d say Saturday night’s Krampus event was a success. Thank you to all of you who came out to shake your asses with us and join our midnight march by torchlight.

Here, for what they’re worth, and in no particular order, are my abbreviated thoughts on Krampus 2013.

1. My favorite thing about this year’s event was the fact that my daughter did my hair, which was pulled in clumps through holes cut in my ski mask, covered in paste, and tied up in stalks with dental floss. My son, as you can see in this photo, isn’t particularly fond of the exceedingly dark pre-Christian Alpine celebration. I guess you could say, he’s more of a Santa person.


2. The biggest improvement this year, from my perspective, was the addition of real torches. In the past, we’d used tiki torches, like the ones suburbanites burn on their decks in the summertime to keep the mosquitos away as they drink lite beer. This year, though, I decided to go old school, and make my own from roughly-hewn tree limbs covered in accelerant-soaked rags. And they were absolutely incredible. It’s difficult to articulate how satisfying it is to hoist a burning tree limb above one’s head, and walk into the darkness. There’s something really empowering about it, at a very primal level. Here are my torches; before and after. (Next year, assuming we do this again, I want to host a torch-making workshop prior to Krampus. I also want to incorporate a bonfire, but that’s a completely different story.)



3. This year, given the proximity to Christmas, the Detroit Party Marching Band was not able to join us and lead our midnight march. (Even if they had come, I don’t think they would have wanted to play in the rain anyway.) Surprisingly, though, another band did show up. About a dozen people dressed in blue marching band uniforms stumbled in about halfway through our dance party, and began making noise. When approached later, I was told that they’re the Ypsi Shitty Marching Band. And they were apparently just formed by Kurt Anschuetz, who, a week or so ago, had the foresight to purchased 200 band uniforms at an Detroit Public Schools auction for pennies a piece. As I understand it, anyone can join, regardless of musical ability. All you have to do is pay a $15 membership fee, which gets you a uniform and a place in the band. By the time we left on our march, only one member of the Ypsi Shitty Marching Band was still sober enough to walk with us. He had a tiny drum, and, if memory serves, one drumstick. I asked Kurt if they had plans to actually learn how to play together, like the Detroit Party Marching Band, and he said that they’d like to practice, but that they haven’t yet found a place where they could do so without complaints… I expect great things from them in the future.


4. My favorite non-torch-related moment of the evening came when, out of nowhere, Ben Connor Barrie handed me an inside-out squirrel. (In case it’s not evident from the photo below, it’s like a prehistoric, fur-lined condom, only there are appendages hanging from both sides, and sharp teeth protruding from the end.) He stuffed it into my pocket, where it spent the rest of the night, staring out at people throw hollow, leathery eye sockets. Also, it should be noted that Ben killed the squirrel himself, and ate it, before turning it inside-out and tanning it. So it’s not like he just grabbed a squirrel on his way into the Brewery, and turned it inside out, like a sock. That would just be crazy… Also, I should mention that the aforementioned squirrel now lives in the trunk of my car, as Linette said that I wasn’t allowed to bring it into the house. (I’m tempted to unwrap her Christmas present, and replace her brand new Fluevog boots with the aforementioned squirrel, but I think she’d kill me if she opened that beautiful blue Fluevog box, expecting to find the boots of her dreams, only to find an inside-out squirrel… And, yes, she already knows what she’s getting for Christmas, as I had to consult with her before ordering them. It’s not how I usually operate, but I didn’t want to fuck this up.)


5. There were a few glitches this year. Most notably, our midnight march didn’t really come off as planned. We’d had a portable, battery-powered PA lined up, and the plan was to have a musician friend screeching Krampus-inspired material and playing noisy electric guitar at the front of the procession. Unfortunately, the rain killed that plan, as we didn’t want said friend to get electrocuted. So, we drafted the Yspi Shitty Marching Band, but, as I mentioned before, by that point in the evening, their number of upright and ambulatory members had dwindled to one. And, as usual, everything by that point in the event was in disarray. We did’t effectively communicate to people inside the Brewery that we were getting ready to march, and, as a result, a lot of people probably didn’t know that more fun was to be had outside. And, of course, some probably did know, but didn’t want to walk in the rain, holding torches and howling like prehistoric Alpine child-beating monsters. So, our numbers were small, but our torches were awesome, and I had a blast. I particularly liked when we surrounded the car with the steamed-up windows in the parking lot by the recycling center, holding our torches, and staring in at the man and woman inside, who must have thought that the end of the world had come. Sadly, there are no photos… Here, however, is a photo of the torches lit.


6. This year was weird. I don’t know if it was the energy of the bachelorette party from Rochester Hills, but something strange was in the air, as evidenced by the beautifully athletic twerking of our Mayor, who literally owned the dance floor all night long. (Speaking of the dozen or so women in matching pink hair who descended on our event from Rochester Hills, a friend of mine came up to me at some point during the evening and congratulated me on their presence. “You know you’ve made it,” he said, “when you’re a destination for bachelorette parties. I’m not used to seeing that outside of gay bars.”) Here they are with a time traveling photo bomber from a distant ice planet. (They’re the worst kind, as they know exactly when you’ll snap the photo, and beam in right as you’re pushing down on the button.)


7. I wasn’t there for it, but my partner in all things Krampus, Chris Sandon, told me that he had an odd run-in late that night, as he walked home from Woodruff’s, where our march had ended. Apparently, Chris, who was, for reasons that I can’t get into right now, dressed like an enormous monster vagina, was accosted by two huge men on the street. He said he got the vibe from them that they were going to beat him to death. There was some exchange of words, at the end of which, one of the men thrust a mason jar half-full of liquid at Chris, telling him to drink. Chris doesn’t know how much he drank, but he did gulp some down, at which point the men left. Chris says he thinks it was moonshine. Whatever it was, though, it completely erased his memory of everything from that point onward. The next thing he remembers is waking up in his own bed the next morning.

There’s more that I could say, but that’s all I have time for right now, as Christmas presents need to be wrapped. If you came out, thank you. I hope you had a good time.

Those of you who didn’t come out, but would still like to help Ypsilanti’s Fly Children’s Art Center – the local non-profit we handed all of the night’s donations over to – can do so here. All gifts are tax deductible, and you’d be hard pressed to find an organization more deserving of your support this holiday season.

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  1. idea man
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I think you’d increase the popularity of the event a great deal in the future if you made it a little more wholesome. Perhaps you could add some dancing Santas.

  2. anonymous
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Fucking time travelers. Ruining everything.

  3. Posted December 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    For more inspiration, a gallery of Krampus-like figures from 19 countries:

  4. Idea for Next Year
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

  5. Mr. Y
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    This would be even better.

  6. idea man
    Posted March 6, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Krampus should evolve into something like this:

  7. site admin
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Krampus 2014 will commence the night of December 20 at Dreamland.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By “It’s beginning to smell a lot like Krampus” on December 12, 2014 at 8:15 am

    […] Here, for those of you who still aren’t sure if you’d like to attend, are four 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, 2013 recap. […]

  2. By Krampus 2014 recap on December 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

    […] For those of you interested in how Ypsi’s Krampus celebration has evolved over time, here are four links. If you follow them, I think you’ll get a pretty good sense of things: 2010 recap, 2011 recap, 2012 recap, 2013 recap. […]

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