Traditional Krampus-Nicholas Play Returns

Back by popular demand, we’ll again present an English-language production of an authentic 19th-century Alpine “Nicholas play,” style of folk play presented on St. Nicholas day featuring the Krampus (and believed to be an original source of the tradition).  In 2014 UNESCO recognized the “Nicholas play” (Nikolausspiel) as an element of Austria’s “intangible cultural heritage,” or in the parlance of the UN, a “Human Treasure.”  Our December 13 Los Angeles presentation is a composite of several village plays, incorporating not only the Krampus and Nicholas, but also a juicy tirade by the Prince of Hell, the “Lucifer Sermon,” usually presented as a standalone act, as well as “Death and the Youth” featuring an exceedingly clueless young man stalked by a remorseless Reaper. Below are photos from the 2014 production set in the Gothic revival Church of the Angels, our venue again in 2015.  More info on the play and tickets here.

Krampus Slideshow with Costumes 11/28

postcard-4inx6in-h-frontSaturday, November 28, 2015

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: Tickets for 6pmTickets for 8pm.

The Krampus, the dark companion to St. Nicholas once known only in German-speaking Europe, is currently experiencing dubious fame as an American movie star. Learn the myths behind the myths, as Al Ridenour of Krampus Los Angeles explores the authentic folklore and contemporary practice with slides, video, and appearances by a cavalcade of costumed associates.

Wildly out of step with our modern, gentle Christmas, the Krampus is actually far from shocking when viewed against his historic backdrop. Tonight, we’ll learn about the creature’s relationship to centuries-old witchcraft beliefs and explore the old, darker notion of the Christmas season as one offering access to the spirit world. In Germany and Austria, on these nights, ghost armies once rode the skies, witches gathered for their sabbaths, and magicians might transform themselves into werewolves. Even the Catholic saints could turn into monstrous apparitions — the hammer wielding “Bloody Thomas” of St. Thomas Night, the Luz, threatening children with her sickle on St. Lucy’s, and the moss-faced crones who even today chase young people with switches on St. Barbara’s Night. The Krampus and nearly a dozen of these monstrous relatives (including the towering goat-like Habergeiß) will be marshaled through the Goethe-Institut auditorium by Al Ridenour, co-producer, with Al Guerrero, of the Los Angeles Krampusfest, now in its third year. This 2015 Goethe-Institut presentation includes costumes and imagery not shown in 2014.

After the lecture there will be mulled wine (Glühwein) and a chance to take photos with performers and socialize in the Goethe Institut reception area.

The Goethe Institut, 5750 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100. PARKING: From Wilshire turn south on Courtyard Place for underground parking  (only $1 with validation).

RSVP on Facebook. See who’s going.

Krampus Ball Details Announced

postcard-4inx6in-h-frontThe Third Annual Los Angeles Krampus Ball

Saturday, December 5, 2015.

Held once again in our chalet-style venue in Highland Park, the Krampus Ball, is the scariest costume party this side of the Alps. Tonight it falls on Krampusnacht, the night the devils are summoned by St. Nicholas from their secret cave on Mount Lee, and marched toward Highland Park where the naughty and nice are assembled for judgment. Tradition says we dress to the “neins” for this night of reckoning, so we encourage whatever Krampus couture’s within your budget — lederhosen or dirndl, some Victorian fanciness, or just some sprigs of pagan holly – it’s up to you. While we await St. Nick’s judgment, we’ll pass the time with entertainment including classic German tales of errant children musically and theatrically interpreted by cabaret artist Christina Linhardt and vaudevillian “Tuba” Heatherton. You’ll have a chance to embrace your inner Bavarian as GTEV D’Oberlandler returns with their folkloric Schuhplattler dances, 10-foot alphorns, accordions, and tuned cowbells. Linda Herman and the Raving Polka roll out the barrel, and get your oompah running. Things get truly witchy when Tatzelwurm takes the stage. Performing in horns and hides and smelling faintly of the Black Death, this experimental neofolk ensemble makes the sort of music Odin puts on mixtapes for his Valkyries. There will also be the diabolically pleasing shimmying of Miss Krampest Storm, treats and blessings from St. Nicholas, and other surprises, the most terrifying being the arrival of the Krampus Los Angeles Troupe. When you hear that clatter of bells outside, you’ll wish you’d been good; nearly two dozen fantastically outfitted Krampusses and related demons are about to storm in, sweeping everyone into a furry maelstrom of horns and flicking switches.

KRAMPUS BALL: Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S Ave 57 Los Angeles, CA 90042, Doors: 7:30pm, Show: 8pm-12am, $20 (Advance tickets strongly recommended; this event sells out early every year.)


2013 Krampus Ball 2013 photos.  2014 Krampus Ball 2014 photos.

RSVP on Facebook. See who’s going.

2015 LA Krampusfest Events

Some of our 2015 Guests from Austria: Moorpass Maishofen.

Some of our 2015 Guests from Austria: Moorpass Maishofen.

THE KRAMPUS: Lecture with Media and Costumes: Saturday, November 28, 2015: The lore of the Krampus illustrated with a festive stream of rare images, film clips, and walk-ons by costumed members of the Krampus LA Troupe at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles in the midtown museum district.

THE KRAMPUS BALL: Saturday, December 5, 2014: Once again in its chalet-like home in Highland Park, the Krampus Ball, is the scariest costume party this side of the Alps. While we await the storming horde of devils and otherworldly beast of Krampus LA, we’ll be entertained by everyone’s favorite traditional Bavarian dance troupe, GTEV D’Oberlandler back with their alphorns, accordions, cowbells,and lederhosen, German cabaret from  Christina Linhardt and “Tuba” Heatherton, Polka with Linda Herman and the Raving Polka, the experimental, pagan neofolk of Tatzelwurm, and the diabolical dance of Miss Krampest Storm.

LA KRAMPUSLAUF, Thursday, December 10, 2015: This year the Krampus LA troupe will be joined by over a dozen members of the Moorpass Maishofen from Austria!  This first large scale outing by American and Austrian troupes together will cross paths with the Downtown Art-Walk, visit the Pershing Square Holiday Festival, an Austrian Cafe right in downtown LA, and take over a historic retail atrium.

KRAMMPSTEIN at ALPINE VILLAGE: Saturday, December 12, 2015: Rammstein meets Krampus as the horned hybrid Krammpstein performing this year in the über-deutsch ballroom of Alpine Village. Opening acts, and other costumed Christmas devilry TBA. The spectacle takes place in conjunction with Alpine Village’s European-style Christmas Faire, so in the bargain you get mulled wine, German beer, foods, sweets, and tons of snow carted in for the occasion.

ST. NICHOLAS 1888: Traditional Krampus Play and Film: Sunday, December 13, 2015, (Two shows): A traditional Austrian Krampus play from the 1880s complete with St. Nicholas, angels, Death, Lucifer, murderous innkeepers, and Krampuses. Presented with a rare TBA film themed to the occasion.  All in the gothic revival splendor of Pasadena’s historic Anglican Church of the Angels.

(Past Events: 20132014)