As yuletide spectacles go, the lighting of Pioneer Courthouse Square's "holiday tree" just can't compete with the sight of 200 drunken Santas swarming up West Burnside, swigging from Mr. Clean bottles and singing lewd perversions of Christmas carols. A joyously anarchic combination of Bad Santa, Mardi Gras, flashmob and peyote-eggnog hallucination, the bawdy barhop known as Santacon is organized (to use the word loosely) by the merry pranksters of the Cacophony Society and has expanded to more than three dozen cities worldwide since it first hit Portland 10 years ago. In our city, Santacon has attracted so many soused Santas that there will be two gatherings this month (details are on a strict need-to-know basis—but freely available on the Portland Cacophony Society website).
The draw of the event is obvious: If perpetuating the Santa Claus scam is a way of preserving childhood, then perpetrating Santacon is a way of reclaiming immaturity. The Kringle mobsters, who address one another only as "Santa" (and answer most questions that way, too), hand out candy to the kids and sex toys to the grownups. WW exchanged emails with a longtime Santacon carouser, a 32-year-old market-research manager who goes by the nom de noËl "Santa Curt."
WW: Ten years! How's Santa's liver doing?
Santa Curt: It's filled with holiday spirit!
This is the first year there will be two Portland Santacons. Are all the "cool" Santas going to be at the first one?
Only the procrastinating and ineffective Santas.
How does Santa decide when to hold Santacon, anyway?
Santa is sworn to secrecy, but it will suffice to say, it's a complicated and secret divination ritual involving a sacrificial virgin elf, a can of gelled cranberry sauce, pig's blood and a Ouija board.
Does Santa get misty-eyed about the "good old days" of Santarchy, before Santacon got all institutionalized?
Santa never looks back.
Does Santa worry about getting institutionalized?
Don't make Santa cut you!
Does he worry that Santacon might jump the shark? And what will the sign of that be?
Santas telecommuting to the event.
Billy Bob Thornton's "Bad Santa": Demigod or poser?
I can't believe cleaning-product bottles ever really lose that cleaning-product taste. Does Mad Dog in an old Pine-Sol bottle taste like retsina?
Are you kidding? It tastes like that in ANY container. Believe me...I know.
Does Santa go commando?
Would you cover up a masterpiece?
Does Santa objectify Mrs. Santa? And how comes it's not "Santa and Santa's husband"?
You lost me at "objectify." SHOW US YOUR TITS!
Is Santa omnisexual?
Santa's OMSIsexual. This is Portland, after all.
Santacon will drop in and raid Portland's liquor cabinet TWICE this month. For dates, locations, ground rules and more, visit portland.cacophony.org. Go to wweek.com for bonus lap time with Santa.