Available for parties, shows, picnics

Maybe this film isn’t considered a Christmas classic because there’s not nearly enough dancing squirrel in it, but I still think it’s worth a watch. Jimmy Durante gets bonus points for the joke about Krampus College.

Many thanks to Sean McNally for pointing me to this film. He knows a thing or two about squirrels.

Krampy notions

Judging from the response I got from yesterday’s post about my Schabfrau costume, it seems that a lot of you may have an interest in making your own outfits for upcoming Krampus activities. If you do indeed have this interest, you are in luck. Today’s Fancy Notions offering is a costume kit, in the form of three bundles of pre-cut jute in different colors.

You see, I was working on one of the arms of my costume when I noticed that I was quickly running out of jute, so I ordered two more bundles from the Ghillie Suits-R-Us. As soon as the extra jute got here, I found this box in the garage with the missing jute. I was able to finish my costume and I still had all of this jute left over. I never want to see bundles of jute again in my life. Please take them from me.

I also have some leftover net, but it is only a small bit that I cut off when I was shaping the suit. You wouldn’t be able to make a whole Schabmänn/Schabfrau outfit with this bit of net, but you could make a cute little Schabfraulein ballet shrug.

You don’t get the quarter; the quarter is there merely for perspective. I can’t go around giving people quarters, you know.

For anyone who is not sure how this works, here is the deal: if you would like these items, just write in to the comments section. The first person to write in that sounds sincere gets the notions sent to them free of charge. Good luck, fancy dancers!

Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Just scraping by

For much of this year, I have been tying bits of jute onto a large net. Why would I be doing that? Well, I became part of the Krampus LA Troupe, and when I was looking for costume ideas, I found a photo of some mysterious straw men with antennae running through the snow, and all was lost. I had to be a Schabmänn. Schabfrau, I guess. A sweeper of the path for St. Nicholas.

They normally travel in groups, but I didn’t think there was much hope in roping anyone else into this madness, so I proceeded on my own. First step, a ghillie suit kit, because finished ghillie suits are expensive, and I was going to have to make some alterations.

Oh dear. According to the directions, this was only going to take eight hours to complete. If you had tiny, nimble fingers that tied knots for a living, perhaps this would take eight hours.

Undaunted, I started on the foundation. I wanted a big haystack look, so I bought a hoop skirt, made some armholes, and sewed on a layer of burlap.

Then to the head: a bicycle helmet, PVC pipe, part of a bamboo shade, some rope, more burlap, and long sticks. According to one website, the sticks were supposed to be about 4 meters (13 feet long), but this was going to cause some mobility issues, so I went a little shorter.

Note traditional Krampus Crocs.

Halfway done with the ghillie suit, I thought of a faster way I could have done this. Too late now.

By October, I was almost done.

I needed to finish the sleeves, fix that bare patch at the bottom, and tack everything to the foundation. But I was getting close.

By November, I was done with the suit. Eight hours. Right. Onward.

Time was running out, but by last week I had made a little whip and some hay-covered gloves, and I was officially ready for the Krampus Ball. Maybe not ready to join the others at Bad Mitterndorf, but perfectly respectable for Los Angeles.

Schabmänner do not traditionally menace young children (that is the job of Krampus), but that little girl was drinking beer.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area and want to see this and other costumes in person, there are a few more events you can attend – please check out the Krampus Los Angeles site for further information. In the meantime, if you come across a random haystack in the city, please don’t step on it. It might be me.

Various photos above by Jason Hadley, Xian Pitt, Elizabeth Rowin, Jon Alloway, Phil Glau and Krampus Live From Austria Facebook group
Published in: on December 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm  Comments (4)  
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Long after the getting has ceased to be good

Today is my last day at work, at the job I have held for a little over 16 years. I have been telling people that it’s time for me to move on, find a new path, follow my muse, blah blah. But to be honest, the real reason I am leaving is that I’m scared for my safety. Where there were once funny faces on Post-Its and mysterious creatures made of fruit abandoned in the break room and messages on the garbage cans inspired by Magritte, now there is only violence and mayhem. To wit:


There is a theory that these signs inspired so much rage because our company has been employing a huge number of temps who are not considered fully “employees,” but this is just a theory. Sometimes people just hate being told to wash their own dishes. And then there are more lunchroom hijinks (please click on all photos for larger versions; it is well worth it):


I am supposing he preferred his lunch meat to the free Chinese food, which is perfectly understandable. It should be noted that this email was sent to all US offices as well as the head office in Berlin.

Here is a goodbye note when the author of the above email had finally had enough:


Now, I think this would have made sense if it had been sent to the head office in Berlin, as the photo appears to depict some Pennsylvania Dutch versions of Krampus and maybe the head office would have looked at the photo and wondered, “Have we been so naughty as to deserve switches to our bottoms this year?” and been frightened. However, this goodbye note was photocopied and deposited in physical form on certain employees’ desks solely in the LA office, so we recipients were merely frightened in a vague way without understanding the Krampus tie-in. Krampus isn’t really big in LA yet.

Oh, here is a Post-It that my perhaps-too-dedicated assistant affixed to some paperwork after trying to make some sense of something that would never make sense:


That’s never the answer, kid. Especially not for something as dumb as that pile of paperwork. And then finally, here we come to the grandaddy of  something that would never make sense:


I suppose it’s neat to know that you can send an anonymous fax; I never knew that before. I just don’t know why I got this fax, and I don’t think I’ll ever know, and I think if I stick around in the hopes of finding out, something pretty bad might happen.

So off I go to a new, safer career as a roller derby queen or a war correspondent or something. Wish me luck.

Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Krampus

While it’s a very nice chart, I’m not sure I agree with Jeffrey Vallance’s family tree of Santa Claus.


Everybody knows that the Krampus line is much closer to Santa Claus than is depicted here. Krampus is so close to Santa that he’s literally chained to him during their December travels. Santa gets to be the good guy who gives all the presents, and Krampus is the heavy who whips the children if they don’t dance well enough. So how did he get crammed all the over to Al Jolson here? I beg to differ.

Additionally, Père Fouettard (the child murderer pal of Santa) isn’t even included in this tree. Jeffrey had better fix this thing before he gets his tongue cut out.

Published in: on December 23, 2008 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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