Q: How many Santa Clauses live in the Lower Haight?
A: I don’t know either; I lost count after about a hundred.
San Francisco experienced its annual gathering of Santa Claus impersonators yesterday, with several hundred to possibly a thousand meeting in front of City Hall and then fanning out all over the city, not doing what Santa Clauses do; instead of handing out presents and letting children bit on their laps in department stores, a thousand Santas went pub-crawling. Either in bars or on sidewalks walking to the next bar. And that is what I do not understand; isn’t that something Santa would do on December 26?
Then again, this is San Francisco; in simple English, we don’t do normal Santas. We do Santa differently here. What follows is a list of as many unusual Santas that I can recall:
- Hundreds of Santa Claus-ettes in Santa Claus dresses with hemlines all the way up to there, and I bet their legs got awfully cold once the sun started going down and the wind started kicking up.
- A Protest Santa, carrying a protest sign: “Occupy North Pole!”
- A Gandalf the Grey Santa.
- A Dr. Frank-N-Furter (from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) Santa.
- A transvestite Santa.
- A George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic) Santa.
- Female go-go dancer Santas.
- Male go-go dancer Santas.
- A tap-dancing Santa Claus who asked for my business card, but I think I’m much too old for her. But I could be wrong.
- A blue Santa Claus who was not singing “Blue Christmas,” so he probably was not a fan of the Indianapolis Colts.
- A Patrick Willis Santa Claus (linebacker, #52 for the San Francisco 49ers, and anything but a Santa Claus to opposing offenses).
- A Cowboy Santa Claus, yep with a red cowboy hat and red velvet chaps (possibly a Brokeback Mountain theme?).
- A 19th Century St. Nicholas in the traditional brown and green outfit.
However, and I feel proud of my city to be able to write this, I did not see even one Elvis Santa. This is San Francisco. We have imagination here. Now if only we didn’t have so much of it
Vonn Scott Bair