Unfortunately, I was out of town this year's Santacon, so I didn't get to witness the ritualistic ruination of thousands of ho-hum dipshits (jk!) participating in the festivities every San Franciscan is too cool to like. And while I'm not particularly sorry about missing out on the final year of wrinkled old men in ass-less Santa suits prematurely triggering my gag reflex, I am bummed I didn't get to catch a ride on this guy's motorized Santa sleigh (even if it is drifting dangerously close to desecrating our bike lanes).
Sadly, there aren't any great close-up shots of this guy zigzagging down Valencia, but, in the spirit of the event, there is a solid blurry one.
As I paced around Civic Center searching for a place to discharge all the whiskey in my bladder, I overheard a Santa, clutching his treasured Bud Light Lime, joyfully exclaim, “This is the new Bay to Breakers.”
Perhaps this costumed connoisseur of fine beverages is onto something. After all, B2B is once again under pressure to 'rein it in' and have vowed that there will be no alcohol at the 2011 race. Maybe this is the new event in which the Mission, the Marina, and Livermore can come together for an afternoon of costumed intoxication? The events certainly are becoming similar. Let me submit the following into evidence:
THE ROUTE: Much like Bay to Breakers, Santacon follows an established route. However, unlike the silly bastards that organize B2B, the anarchic masterminds behind Santarchy have split up the race to the bottom into three courses, thus reducing the chances that NIMBYs will get angry at the crowds by 66%.
BONUS: Santa has cemented itself as one of the San Francisco community events that have made some sort of public declaration that C.H.U.D.s live in the Marina/Japantown, thus earn the event “props” from the other 85% of the city. Excellent PR move.
THE COSTUMES: Just as Bay to Breakers has moved beyond the simple running outfit, Santa no longer views the simple Santa suit as adequate. As The Dude, caucasian in hand, and the costumed individuals photographed below show, Santacon is has transcended beyond the “Santa suit pub crawl” image to a full-on costumed adventure.
COSTUMES: Indiana Jones Santa demonstrates how the use of props can bring your Santacon experience to the next level.
COSTUMES: iPod Santa shows how vintage technology can make your tomfoolery culturally relevant.
COSTUMES: Chuck Taylor and PBR trucker hat Jesus speaks volumes. For lazy Santas, merely wearing what you would ordinarily wear, only pantless and pulling a cross, will suffice.
THE FLOATS: Just like B2B, floats are only increasing in presence during Santacon. Sure, the Oakland-SF Ferry might be more of a literal float than some Jersey Shore-themed travesty, but this year's Polk St. parade of flannel had some of those as well:
INTERESTED ON-LOOKERS: Just as B2B has necessitated a demand for stoop and rooftop parties along the route, Santacon has grown into such a spectacle that even crackheads don their Santa hats and peer out the windows of their SROs.
DISINTERESTED ON-LOOKERS: Much like B2B has a crowd of neighbors who roll their eyes at the antics going on around them, Molotov's had this dog who was contently sleeping as 50+ Santas guzzled shots and pints of PBR.
BADASS DUDES WITH AWESOME MUSTACHES THAT LOOK LIKE THEY KILL PEOPLE IN ROBERT RODRIGUEZ MOVIES: Word.
RUNNING UPSTREAM: Similar to B2B's Salmon Run!, in which costumed salmon run the race backwards, the result of Santarchy 'going mainstream' was Bananarchy. Bananarchy, as you might have guessed, involves a bunch of hooligans in banana costumes running the wrong way through a crowd of Santas yelling silly stuff like “BANANAS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!”
What's the verdict? Compared to previous Santacons I've been to, the 2010 edition seemed to involve more brown bags from bodegas and walking from neighborhood to neighborhood than hanging out in bars. Then again, that might be because of the nice weather and the fact that the recession has made us all more broke-ass. Ultimately thought, it doesn't matter if Santacon has “replaced” B2B; this town will just take any excuse it can get to barf its way through the Western Addition.
This year's Santacon marked the first year I ventured to Oakland for the 10am pre-party. If you've ever wanted to know what Santacon's early risers look like, Candy Raver Santa pretty much sums it up. Rather than the typical parade of frat boys, Oakland was full of something much more loathed by civil society: Burners. Half of the people there had dots of glitter glued to their heads. Most were in costumes far more creative than the ordinary Santa suit. Some had Burning Man tattoos. Most smelled like they had been getting sauced since sunrise.
One woman in the crowd had a red Radio Flyer wagon that was full of boxes of sugar cookies, liquor, speakers bumping techno, and a stuffed animal snowman with a long plastic tube sticking out of its head. The tube struck me as suspicious, but only cops ask questions, so went to procure something that would make me forget that I was in Oakland. As I emerged from the bar, a woman was screwing a nitrous canister into the back of the snowman's head. I attempted to dump an Irish Coffee down my esophagus out of desperation, but the landscape was dominated by a crowd of people knocking back whip-its.
Say what you will about Burners, but they had already won at Santacon before most of you even got out of bed.