San Francisco Institute of Possiblity

Events

The Krampus – Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

  • Date: October 23, 2016
  • Time: 20:30
  • Location San Francisco, California
  • Venue: Elbo Room

Sponsored by Green Apple Books….

Join us for this FREE event, an evening of Krampus lore, slides, and video, Bavarian and Eastbanian polkas by the Philip der Stein Oompah Experience (renegades from Philip Der Stein Sextet) devilry from Beast Bay Krampus, Krampus Kwiz, exotic dancing Oktoberfest girls, and molten lead fortune-telling — all of this in celebration of the release of the new book “The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas, Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil” by Al Ridenour (the late “Reverend Al” of the Cacophony Society).

Over the last years, Ridenour has obsessively translated his way through countless 19th-century compendiums of folk tales and superstitions, medieval witchcraft documents, and rhymed folk plays, networked with contemporary Krampus groups and mask-carvers, corresponded with Austrian anthropologists and museums, and traveled to the Alps to be properly smacked by whips and tossed into snowbanks by rampaging devils. He’s even sweated inside his own handcrafted suit as part of LA’s annual Krampus festival, which he helped found in 2013 and now directs. With the publication of “The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas,” Ridenour offers a summation of these explorations in one entertainingly written lavishly illustrated volume examining not only the Krampus but related folklore of Alpine witches, ghosts, spectral armies, diabolical huntsmen, and murderous saints.

Ridenour will illustrate his lecture with slides, startlingly odd and rare archival Krampus film clips, and episodes from Der Struwwelpeter, (“Slovenly/Shockheaded Peter”) an obscure and creepily charming 1955 ballet rendering of the classic German tale of naughty children and dreadful punishments. If the spirits allow, Ridenour will also demonstrate a form of Alpine fortune-telling using molten lead associated with the haunted nights (“Rauhnächte”) that form the background to the Krampus mythology.