parade of spirits
event in review, 2015.
i’ve not been able to gather up ALL the photos yet, although you must, must, MUST see the large-format portraits that neil kohl was taking at krampuslauf philadelphia: parade of spirits in december of 2015.
and this is my absolute favorite of the year — by steve schultz.
so this was our FIFTH procession. and the second in a row where we were pitted directly against the “running of the santas” event, at least in terms of time and space. while last year was a nightmare of traffic and parking for many people 2015 was not. not sure how we managed to dodge that bullet but we did and i am grateful. we had UNSEASONABLY warm weather this year, and many people were hotter in their costumes than they expected to be — i think that manning das mädchen was particularly hard for chris, who, the most tireless and uncomplaining person i know, literally said, “i’m tired and i want to be done.”
i have never, and i think i’ve always been emphatic in my postings here, wanted KP:POS to be the biggest and the best of ANYTHING. that’s certainly not how janet plays, either. so i have to set my own goals for each year’s festivities, outside of just the obvious ones that everyone who attends has fun, and that everyone is safe.
this year, i had four goals:
— to have a new costume that reflected some personal experience/transformation
— to give janet a special present
— to have the kids’ mini-flow showcase (which last year was a freestyle, less-than-three-minutes in which the kids insisted they had done everything they knew halfway through it, and had to be encouraged to start all over again just to get through the song) level up with some choreography and faux fire props. (this beautiful tale began at our workshop at laurel hill cemetery in november…)
all my wishes came true… and more!! before i describe all the specific ways in which they did, let me mention some of the icing on the cake that we got as well!
— our friends stamatis, amy and xenia came from pittsburgh to lauf with us (and wow was stamatis’ mask amazing)
— the night BEFORE lauf, my friend juls, whom i had not seen since before claudia was born, suddenly declared she was driving to philly — from ATHENS, GEORGIA. i refused to believe she meant it, but she then kept updating her location from rest stops further and further north on facebook… which was thrilling and unbelievable. like being stalked, but in a cool and loving way.
(juls did get my favorite picture of tuck though — which is funny, because he’s right outside standard tap, holding hands with béla, which is exactly where and how my favorite picture of him was last year.)
so anyway — back to it —
— one of the FIRST people we saw upon entering the park that evening was… ODERUS URUNGUS, back from the dead, and i WISH YOU COULD HAVE SEEN BELA’S FACE
but oderus looked like this.
so those were just some of the many extras. just some of them!
let me SPECIFICALLY elucidate the ways in which my SPECIFIC dreams were fulfilled:
i DID have an entirely different costume this year. i was still frau perchta, but i was NOT perchta the crone.
i believed — initially, that i was going to be perchta the white. did i believe that i had become, or was going to become, beautiful and good in 2015? that i had had enough of embracing my inner crone? — no. i knew i was going to go back to the crone. but i needed to be different. sometimes, we just need something different.
i needed to not wear a mask. i felt — at least earlier in the year! — the VERY strong need to be unmasked. and so, while keeping my devotion to frau perchta — even to perchta the belly-splitter — i embarked upon a journey for discovering my inner perchta the white.
(it was decided early in the year that claudia, too — in her first year as something other than an angel — would accompany me as a smaller perchta the white.)
the idea for tall, illuminated frustums came very early in the process. (as a matter of fact, giant frustums — although much heavier then — were in play, at least on my head, in 2011.)
things stalled out, hard, when i studied — and lost my nerve at — working with makeup. i discovered that, when it comes to the body of a costume, a really cheap convocation or graduation gown is a great start. i found that couch throws from ikea are also really good tools to fill out a costume. but makeup — i am just not good at it, or not interested enough to GET good at it.
and in august, we’d had our workshop with larry hunt… and lo and behold, i came away from it with a giant crone face. made by tucker, yes, but there it was — i asked for it, and while it wasn’t going to be ON my face, i quite obviously had no intention of separating myself from the crone at all. i just didn’t know it then.
when i started to know it, i knew that the crone face would be used more as a shield — it seemed made for just that purpose.
okay, so maybe i was going to be perchta the white with a nod to perchta the belly-slitter emanating directly FROM my belly. i had an amazing illuminated frustum for my head, and claudia had a matching one (thanks, tucker, as always.) but i was still terrified to use makeup. and still very uncomfortable putting myself out there as perchta the white.
using a curtain liner from ikea, i attached several layers of net veil to the front of my crown.
this way, i had no face at all, other than the one on my body. i realized i had instinctually done what i needed to do to represent my own changes; i was NOT, this year, perchta the belly-slitter… nor was i perchta the white. i was some crysalis version in-between, not ready to show itself, not matured.
(note that this year ben set aside his black fur costume for a snow ghilie suit we got in kingston — the big morning-after-sinterklaas-rhinebeck shopping spree in kingston. happens every time.)
i will not, in 2016, be moving closer to perchta the white. i will be moving back to the belly-slitter, and possibly further, and deeper, into her than my expressionless green mohair mask had ever allowed. we shall see.
but in 2015, i was very different. i also found out before making it halfway across the park that i could not see through my veils. i stuffed them inside my crown, so i was as bare-faced as i had not wanted to be — i powder-pale and literally, unprepared to be viewed. it was fine. and claudia, of course, was gorgeous.
we had little baby krampus konstantin with us, in a sumptuously decorated infant carrier; as expected, claudia abandoned him almost immediately. “too heavy”.
i carried konstantin, and the felted wool head on a staff — covered with claudia’s cut-off dreadlocks from earlier this year — i don’t know how many photos that staff made it into, but it certainly didn’t go on procession with us. i had a lot of stuff to keep track of.
DID I MENTION THAT I MADE JANET A FOUR-FOOT TALL KNITTED GOLEM?
to be honest i started knitting this right after lauf in 2013. and then i set it aside for a long time. my m.o. was “i will knit the parts i can figure out myself and then have tucker figure out the parts i can’t.” and i have to say — i did more of it on my own than i thought i would. not to say that i COULD have done it without tuck at all. particularly the feet and the hair. and, the idea for what should go on the scroll in the mouth of the golem (tuck stained paper with coffee grounds to make a proper scroll):
the afternoon of lauf, we were at the community center. jeffrey magut (who always comes with his son michael, from connecticut!) had stopped by the community center on his way to the park from the rec center before lauf, with the message for janet that i had something i needed to give her.
she texted me back, reasonably irritated that i wanted her to come to me to do anything. i rationalized that if she would not let me give her “something” in the privacy of the rec center, i would have to give her “something” in front of hundreds of people.
she came to the community center.
we ALL come away from parade of spirits with some pretty funky photos of ourselves — and you can find the ones of janet actually realizing she’s getting a giant knitted golem in the 2015 set on flickr. (which still, as of this writing, grows.) i think she is perhaps ok with me reposting this one though, which came from jeffrey magut’s camera:
i am glad janet got a big golem because she did LOSE a very nice bear skin this year — are we REALLY going to have to be more careful with the share box, people? — but, continuing on with positive things…
TUCKER AND I MADE ADAM A “MANTERN-THING”, AS TUCKER CALLS IT. because adam really loves man-thing.
another personal goal! accomplished with affection and gratitude. i was having the best krampuslauf ever and we had not even left the park!
we did eventually leave the park. after rob did his yearly invocation. it is time to buy a megaphone for rob’s invocation. i did not hear a word of it. again, all photos are not in at this time but my favorite photo from procession itself so far is also from steve schultz. it shows no costumes at all, and in fact shows some people who seem to have wondered off the set of whit stillman’s “metropolitain” and are trying to politely tell us we can’t come in.
so how many other things did i need to experience to meet all my goals? ah! THE KIDS’ MINI FLOW SHOWCASE, which had no mutiny and no injury, and therefore was… PERFECT!!
i am so grateful to lux arati for giving the kids all the special attention to make this happen, and i want to particularly thank izzy dickstein, who memorized all the kids’ choreography and was there to cue them on the side when they needed her.
(plans for 2016, at least in our household — moving up to actual fire! yes, it can be done and is done! with kids! safely!)
after talking to those i would not consider making such a decision without, i came home from this krampuslauf philadelphia knowing there would not be another.
there was a reason that we added rob’s beautiful phrase “parade of spirits” to our name in 2013. we entered that park as krampuslauf philadelphia, but thanks to rob’s invocation, we left as krampuslauf philadelphia: parade of spirits. and as much as we love krampusse — and expect to continue to have many of them — there are krampus events everywhere now, and for heaven’s sake, trademarking…
(that movie… i did not hear a good thing about that movie, nor did i see it, our family’s theatergoing budget timewise only allowed for “creed” and for the 60% of us who cared to go see the new star wars movie, of which i do not even know the title, so you know where that puts me in the percentages)
with gryla and the yule lads and the yule cat and the WORLD of winter folklore — some of it, frankly, becoming entirely new in and of itself — we needed a name that held us ALL in its arms. it is funny to me that as we now plan our 2016 costumes at our house, MORE of us will be krampusse than ever have before at one time. we love krampus. but there is so much more room to grow this way. and so much more to learn. and to invent.
we did, however, just renew the URL, so i would not expect the name-change to take place here — or on the soundcloud account where we store our VOICES pieces — anytime soon. it is not a big deal. it is getting to be too much of a job for one person to archive everything there is to archive about our event — so many photos…. we really don’t pay that much attention to press or articles, and we only made clip videos in 2012 and 2013, i think… but i do need to do some updating on our FAQ and bibliography/videography pages. we are also adding a glossary.
i will try to stay on top of all of this, but this thing has enough of a life of its own that i can’t worry too much about documenting its every step. looking forward is more fun (even though i DO love the yearbooks and will keep making those… 2015’s should include some of the best of the VOICES pieces.)
another change we are implementing is using the platform slack to communicate about specific costume builds, plans, et cetera. slack is much better for team building and sharing information than facebook, and people can sign up to get notifications only from the “channels” they are interested in. (for example, there is currently a channel for ben and bela’s reticulated foam builds.) so maybe you want to learn about a new material — OR maybe you want to be surprised by certain costumes and DON’T want to follow — with slack, this is possible. there can also be private channels where you can have private conversations for SUPER secret surprise projects! and we do enjoy surprising each other. that is something i have noted about us.
we are trying to keep slack more community-minded and keep communication flowing — and are asking anyone who wish to join the parade of spirits slack, let us know, and when you are sent an invite, please post a hello to the community. feel free to e mail me directly at email@example.com if you need more information. we DO have some “big builds” in mind this coming year, as well as plans for more workshops as well.
so, that was our fifth go at it, and now we are reborn with a new name… and as we often do, the next morning we got up and headed out to cut down our christmas tree, first having breakfast at the oregon diner, but this year, having our pittsburgh friends with us, which was super fun. (they are our fun diner friends in EITHER home city… remember dios de los muertos in pittsburgh in 2013?)
the VOICES series will re-appear here shortly (the kids need to re-record the intro and outro segments!) and again, i want to thank everyone, everyone, everyone — there are so many faces flashing through my mind right now — for continuing to be part of our tribe.