1996 Portland Santacon 10th Anniversary Party


Ten years ago in December 1996, several members of the San Francisco Cacophony Society, including myself, put on Santa suits and boarded a SouthWest Airlines flight out of Oakland to Portland, Oregon. Yes, we actually flew in full Santa suits, including beards and hats. Imagine doing that now. In Portland we met up with other Santas from all over the country for the 1996 Portland Santacon, the first ever Santacon outside of San Francisco. This was back in my documentary filmmaking period, so of course I had my video camera with me and made a short (mock)documentary about the event called You’d Better Watch Out: Portland SantaCon ’96.

I realized that many people that I have met in recent years have not seen this video or even know that I used to make documentaries. So, to remedy that, John Law and I will be having a special documentary screening and 1996 Portland Santacon 10th Anniversary Party on Tuesday, December 19th at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. The doors will open at 8pm and we will be showing the documentary at 9pm sharp. The event is free and we are encouraging Santa attire, if that’s your bag. After the screening we will be having a Santa Open Mike, so any Santas or even Elves are welcome to take the stage and do their worst. The event will also serve as a post-Santacon 2006 event for Bay Area Santas and we would especially like the 1996 Portland alumni to join us and tell war stories and show off their scars.

It’s been years since I screened this documentary. It’s been on cable access, in Santa film festivals and I used to sell tapes. So now, for one night only, you’ll have your chance to see it again. At least until I get around to making DVDs. Here’s a review of the documentary written by Jack Boulware for the SF Weekly. Oh and check out the awesome Portland Police Memo that was sent out to warn the citizens of Portland about our impending invasion.

For more on this whole Santarchy thing, check out santarchy.com, especially Santa Melmoth’s write-up on the early history of the event.

illustration by Greg Reynard