Naughty n' Noice: Santarchy Saturday Plus Solstice Sumkidz

Santa's 2005 hedonism fix. Get yours this weekend, but you'll need the costume -- and a strong liver.

You may recognize the beard, hat and red nose, but in this case Ho Ho Ho means something a titch naughtier. When Toronto's own Santacon lets loose this Saturday for the city's fifth annual holiday-themed, liquor-fueled chaos spree, you're encouraged to shout, but you'd still better not cry -- either don a red suit, glug down that liquid courage and wade into the mayhem, or get out of the crimson mob's way.

The boozy tour de fun has evolved from the first Santacon 13 years ago organized by San Francisco's Cacophony Society, and now takes place in many cities worldwide. But although some cities' Santacons act in part as a response to consumer Xmas culture or to raise awareness of homelessness, the needy and social services issues, various reasons spur on Santa's annual mayhem. And as Santa's most-official-looking workshop notes: "We do not condone or encourage any kind of vandalism or violence at a Santacon event. Our santas do not destroy property, steal merchandise or do harm to others. ... Santarchy is not a movement, that's what you do in the bathroom. In addition to that, the annual Santacon events are not a protest against Christmas or commercialization. Really, it's just a bunch of santas getting together to have a good time."

I can vouch for that. In Victoria, B.C. a few years ago, my first Santacon involved security booting Santa off the steps of the Legislature, followed by Santa crashing high tea at the Empress, which resulted in a protest-style Santa march, each "ho!" matching our gloved fists pumping the air ("Ho! Ho! Ho!"). At one point, Chapters employee "Jessica" read to all 20-30 of us sprawled across the kid-sized bleachers, incredulous stares from toddlers cast our way. Then Chapters staff ejected us for taking pictures (they needed something to kick us out) before retreating to another watering hole. (All Santa styles are welcome, too: I'd affixed a sticker to my red felt cap that said "Santa is your rabbi." Hanukkah Harry who? Point being, I have nothing to do with Xmas, and really, for me, neither does Santacon.)

This time out, Santa in Toronto has posted all the info you need to get involved. "DO address every Santa as Santa, in the first, second, and third person, singular and plural." This from Santazon in her rules (incl. DOs and DON'Ts), just one of many tips Santa has so kindly provided. (These include Scarols for the sleigh ride, the route for which Santa advises you check for any last-minute changes before heading out on Saturday.) Costume-wise, variations on Santa and other holiday characters work just fine -- think naughty elves or saucy reindeer; "On, Vixen!" could make for spankingly good debauchery -- and you'll want a unique Santa name, too, for Santa's reference between Santa, Santa and Santa ... got it? (Also, the funny-ass flyer is here, for now.)

Similar rules from Santa Rampage (Ottawa, also Dec. 16 this year) include this gem:
"The answer to important questions that may arise:
* Who's in charge? "Santa"
* What organization are you with? "Santa"
* What are you protesting? "Shitty holiday parties"
* How did you get here? "A sleigh and eight tiny reindeer"
* Where are you going? "I'm only allowed to tell you if you dress like Santa"

After Santa's pub crawl and downtown shit-disturbin' (again, please see who not to fuck with via Santazon) the official place to get down til' sunrise in all your bearded, cockle-warmed glory is, fittingly, a Winterwoven Überfunland. Sumkidz's annual winter solstice party this year features many much-loved usual suspects: Maracatu Nunca Antes, Yoshi and Chie on sitar and digeridoo and Telefunk Sound System and kNeptune doing their respective live audiophreakin' styles, plus techno, dub, breaks and more from DJs including Noah Pred, Mike Lambert, Rollin' Cash n' Splee3kebo, Chocolate, Violet, Siren, Karma, and live visuals from the one and only Peter Mettler and others. All this in addition to warm, costumed good times with the Om Reunion Project community ('cause no matter what it's called, it's always about community), reuniting and being happy and such. And you'll have your Santa outfit already, right? So with that or any other costume, the all-night freakathon at Zero Gravity Circus' home base (out at Gerrard and Greenwood) will only run you 10 bucks. Donations of winter clothing also accepted on behalf of Eva's Satellite Youth Shelter.

Image from Toronto Santarchy.

Note: Zanta is his own entity. Join Santa on Saturday and see who turns up. I have no idea.

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