A Santacon Pictorial Tour

kmo.ladies.jpgOn Saturday, Dec. 8, the annual Santacon Santa Rampage took place in Los Angeles. It was a banner year for the Red Tide. Why? Five little words: DETAINMENT FOR POSSIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.

Click through to ride along with Santa and experience the TRUE glory of Christmas!

Photos by Kevin Rolly and Paynie.

The start of it all: Santa convenes at the most patient of establishments, Callendar’s on Wilshire east of the Page Museum. The day starts at the crack of noon with mimosas, Bloody Marys and breakfast.

A camera crew from Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit!” came along. Santa wasn’t too pleased about this, because Santa’s whole reason for his annual Rampage is to mildly mock consumerism and the media, and to promote participation rather than spectation. Santa thought the camera crew should have dressed up. But oh well.

Santa decamped from his breakfast and booze…there were just under 300 people…

…and proceeded through the La Brea Tar Pits park by the Page Museum.

Santa frolics in the grass…

…and learns to square dance! This cowboy busker do-si-do’ed us through our allamander-lefts and our grand promenades.
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Santa tipped The Singing Cowboy heavily and moved on, with a city to weird out and no time to waste. Here, Santa demonstrates that Santa don’t need no stinkin’ crosswalk. Everyone stops when you are Santa.

Santa proceeds in a giant mob up Fairfax on the east sidewalk. The lunch crowd at Mani’s Bakery alternately waves or ignores us. Santa finds this is often the average person’s response to a massive, ravening mob of Santa-hood. People either studiously ignore us as though nothing is unusual (“I’m cool, man, I’m cool…there’s 300 Santas walking by…it’s cool, dude…I see shit like this all the time, bro…”) or wave maniacally, giggling and taking photos. Santa strives to mess with the bland reality of the former, and to hug and amuse the latter, and possibly hand out non-sequitur toys along the way such as single American cheese slices and porn.

Santa claws at the bars of Park La Brea and is regarded with bourgeois amusement by the residents.

Santa knows all the hot ladies.

Santa believes in Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad.

Santa continues north on Fairfax. He has an objective in his rose-tinted sights. Santa wants high visibility. Santa wants to toss a giant, confusing red wrench into the cogs of consumerism. Santa is heading for LA’s shiniest cherry in its holiday pie of Buy More Shit….

…where could Santa be headed? Along the way, he passes through one of his favorite places, the Farmer’s Market at Third & Fairfax, bringing much joy to little old ladies, hipsters with kids, foodies debating the finer points of charcuterie and cheese, and, no doubt somewhere in the crowd, Huell Howser.
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Reaching his goal, Santa penetrates The Grove like a rough but caring lover.

Santa makes his way through the crowd of holiday shoppers, chanting “Buy more shit!” and alternately posing with gawping teenagers for photos, giving candy canes to kids on dad’s shoulders as dad laughs hysterically, and making his way to the house of the “real” Santa, where the good old jolly gentlemen–our fearless leader–takes a break from enduring the entreaties of small children and waves gamely to his genuflecting congregation. Boss Santa is a good sport.

Who is that fabulously-dressed couple? Only Santa knows.

Genuflecting before Grove Santa.

Security is utterly nonplussed. But their revenge would come.

Santa knows that lingering in the Grove is unwise. The mob moves on down Third Street, to Pan Pacific Park.

In the park, two Santas mudwrestle on the baseball diamond.

It’s a beautiful day outside. Lulled into a false sense of complacency by the jello shots, hard lemonade and shave ice aka “snow,” Santa frolics in the grass. This Santa is actually a large sock.

Adorable Santa chicks playing Twister on the gigantic Twister mat, made for the occasion. How gleeful we were! How carefree!

Santa threw himself into the piles of shave ice and threw snowballs. That air above Pan Pacific Park filled with glittering snowy missiles!
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The local kids joined in on the snowball battle.

And then…

The police arrived.

Ayup. The Grove had called the cops (and I’m not the least bit surprised that they did…I’m only surprised they didn’t teargas us…security at the Grove is ubertight so as to maintain its squeaky-kleen vibe. I often wonder, if a homeless person doddered in there, if men in black would suddenly emerge from hidden panels in the faux-neo-Tuscan walls and drag him away, never to be seen again).

Every year, Santacon makes for a disturbing pack of weirdoes with little regard for social convention. But there are a few who do the job of herding the [red] cats. One of these kind folks, a guy who’s about six-and-a-half feet tall and has a talent for defusing drama and drunks, was on a megaphone urging the Santas to debark the park, when he was surrounded by the police and cuffed.

They asked him if we were a terrorist group.

I don’t know what his answer was, but apparently it was adequate to convince the good folks of the LAPD that we were not planning to commit an act of “terror,” because they let him go.

So, Santa continued, dogged by the police copter but otherwise relatively unmolested. I applaud the cops for being reasonable, and I also understand why they were concerned. It’s cool. Besides, we were obnoxious. See?

As Santa schlepped down the sidewalks of LA towards Melrose,

…he was received with an almost unanimously positive response.

Once on Melrose, Santa patronized some upstanding establishments, like Drake’s sex emporium.

He interacted with the locals.

He imbibed with its natives. (Note again the studious ignoring)

He danced its dances.
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He attempted to hustle some elegant timepieces.

He wanted to get a bitchen’ new hairdo but the salon was all booked.

Santa finally stopped at the Snake Pit, Melrose’s dingiest dive, and gave the lone bartender there the opportunity to score the most tips she’ll ever make in a day ever again.
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Then Santa went to the Formosa, where he proceeded to get even more drunk than he already was.

A tipsy tree gets trimmed.

Santa’s last stop was a truly timeless establishment.


And that, my friends, is where Santa ends his jubilant trek for this year. Goodnight, Santa.

5 thoughts on “A Santacon Pictorial Tour”

  1. Awesome! I love the photo of santa rolling down the hill. I suspect many of the shops you passed do think you are terrorists: questioning uncontrolled consumption is an attack on business! ;)

  2. thanks for this photo post! I loved it, having only heard about this great event, it was nice to see some awesome photos and read some great commentary.

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