Arts Devo

Krampus goes to Washington

Krampus in the White House.

Krampus in the White House.

Let’s start a Christmas war Last week, Melania Trump unveiled this year’s Christmas decorations at the White House, and brrrr … is there a draft in here? What a cold display. The video introduction to the First Lady’s “The Spirit of America” design shows her roaming alone through the sterile halls, dressed completely in white (including a full-length coat) as she surveys the decorations. It’s a chilling scene that doesn’t evoke any of this country’s traditional reasons for the season—be it Christianity, community or commercialism. And other than one closeup shot of an American flag ornament, there isn’t even anything that says “spirit of America.”

What Arts DEVO thinks is going on is that the first lady is aching for the traditions of her homeland. Her birthplace, Slovenia, is among the handful of Central and Eastern European countries that include Saint Nicholas’ counterpart Krampus in the holiday fun. No doubt she believes there’s at least one very bad (man-) child in her orbit that deserves to feel the punitive lashings of the goat-beast across his pasty white backside. And she’s set the scene: a frigid winter landscape, reminiscent of the Julian Alps of her childhood, where Krampus will feel welcome to land.

All that’s left to do is set out a bottle of schnapps and maybe a hollowed-out ram’s horn for Krampus to drink it from and then get out of the way. Tonight (Dec. 5) is the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas—aka Krampusnacht—the night when the real big guy will make his rounds, kick open the doors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and with swinging chains, or a bundle of prickly branches, or articles of impeachment in his hands, lay down the proper punishment to the most naughty child of all.

Now that would be a Krampusnacht miracle.

Art of the coffeehouse Years ago, when local renaissance man (and one of my best-est dudes) Alec Binyon was sales honcho at the CN&R, I loved nothing more than having a beer with him and listening to him share his big ideas on art, love, the nature of god, politics, pop culture, poetry, dirty hippies and whatever else. He was always down to go super deep on any subject and I’ve missed our regular open-hearted shit-shootin’ sessions since he’s moved on to work for himself on various enterprises—most visibly coffee businesses. He’s helped start or restart many of his own in town—Empire Tea & Coffee, Naked Lounge, Great State Coffee Co.—and consulted many others on the building of theirs.

It came as no surprise then when he told me that he was working on a manual for opening a coffeehouse, and that this past week his book that “demystifies the build-out process, helps you avoid common and costly mistakes, and ensures that you open your coffeehouse well” had been published.

Visit for info on how to purchase a digital or physical copy, and open an artisinal coffee roaster within a block of my house, please.