Saturday, November 28, 2015
ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: Tickets for 6pm. Tickets 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.