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 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 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.
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.
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?