Santo Claus, Santarchy, Leather Santa, and a Crackhead Elf Came to Town

Just another Christmas in San Francisco

My childhood friend rushes through my office door and stands there flushed and panting, impervious to the puddle of rainwater gathering at her feet as only someone who lives in Washington state can be.

"I, um, just saw, I don't know, like 20 or 30 wet Santas running, skipping down the block, chanting and, um, howling," she says without taking a breath. "They looked drunk, kind of dodgy. Your kind of people. For your column or something. C'mon! We're going to miss them. They're coming this way. You can ask them what the hell is going on."

I glance at the derisive little cursor blinking on my otherwise blank computer screen, then peer out the window into the torrential downpour.

"It's the Santa Stampede," I explain, hoping an explanation will be enough. "You know, Santarchy: mischievous, barhopping Santas. Nice guys. They do it every year."

Her perfectly black eyebrows rise in two perfect crescent moons, indicating wonder just as they did when she was a kid; then they plummet sharply toward the bridge of her nose, gathering in a storm there. She crosses her arms.


"Really!" I say, flinging open a closet door, clawing through wigs and crinolines and patched overalls and stupid hats and gingham short pants to find a ratty Mrs. Claus dress and a well-worn Santa hat. "Christmas mayhem. Every year. There's absolutely no shortage of deranged Santas in this town, believe you me."

My friend shrugs, her eyebrows falling back into their natural orbit, before she flounces down the hall to make tea.

It's wintertime at Incredibly Strange Wrestling, and a thick, white layer of corn tortillas already blankets the main ring. The tempest shows no signs of weakening; volley after volley of tortillas flies through the air, obscuring my view of the turbulent crowd below. The scrappy young punk leaning over the balcony at my side deftly dodges a tortilla whizzing at his head. "Nothing like a good tortilla storm around the holidays," he says, scooping up the once-edible projectile and flicking it back into the melee. Someone at my right rips open a package of 50 and whips them through the air like a maniacal shot-put champion while humming "White Christmas" between his clenched teeth. An unmistakable, plodding variation of the seasonal "Ho! Ho! Ho!" rises like a soccer hooligan's declaration from one corner of the floor below, and, as whole tortillas give way to handfuls of crumbled corn flotsam, I can make out its source: a writhing, wrestling knot of a dozen drunk Santas. The ISW crowd doesn't care or doesn't notice; the only interest lies in the holy trinity of tortillas, punk rock, and masked wrestling.

Still, this being the holidays, ISW promoter Audra Angeli-Morsethought it appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the true spirit of the season by offering a re-enactment of the Nativity scene prior to the regularly scheduled bloodshed. The Blessed Virgin Mary, played by the somewhat-less-than-virginal drag superstar Kennedy, arrives onstage in a halo and gold lamé hot pants that reveal just a hint of ass crack. She circles the large birthday cake at center stage, wielding a turkey baster, and taps its top layer three times. After a hard-rock serenade, out pops Baby Jesus, quite a manly specimen, really, with long chestnut tresses and thick facial hair. Obviously pleased with her offspring, Kennedy cuddles and fondles the Son of God until she is interrupted by the Three Wise Men bearing gifts: myrrh, otherwise known as anointing oil, or, in this case, K-Y jelly, carried by the sinister Flameus Caesar, disguised as a wise man; frankincense, carried by a giant lion in a turban; and bling bling, better known as gold, draped around the neck of El Pollo Diablo, a 2-ton chicken. While I'm fairly sure the biblical tale does not include the Blessed Virgin being sodomized by a giant chicken or Baby Jesus being beaten senseless by a homosexual emperor and his big pet pussy, I've never taken catechism, so I couldn't swear to it.

What I do know is a "super-plancha" swan dive off the balcony into the ring about 10 feet below has got to hurt, and that's exactly what Mexico's Frankie "Destruction" Deedoes during his grudge match against Libido Gigante, a formidable wrestler who trained in Mexico with the world-renowned Ultimo Dragon. Of course, this move means nothing to the Santas in the crowd; they are here for one reason and one reason only -- to see the big black Santo Claus(former WWF wrestler Kamala II, in tighty-whities and Santa garb) and his Crackhead Elf take on 69 Degrees, an insipid boy-band tag team that launches into song before entering the ring.

It's obvious from the start that 69 Degrees will be no competition for the Pole's Main Man, especially with the Santas in the crowd shouting, "Ho! Ho! Ho!," but the big surprise of the match is Crackhead Elf. A fierce little ball of homicidal energy in green short pants, CE is speedy and relentless. The way he leaps off the top rope, the way he rabbit-kicks his opponent and rides around on Santo's shoulders -- he reminds me of someone. I think I love him.

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