Saturday was Schwaklakk.
Rather than diminish this wonderful tradition by making up a bunch of crap about it, I thought it would be nice to offer you some real information for a change. So here's our exclusive Greg & Deb on the Web's e-nterview with Kandy W., the person responsible for the holiday.
Greg: Kandy, let me know if I've got my facts straight: Schwaklakk is a holiday born from the yearly rite of kids being forced to bring bars of soap to school so they can carve sculptures from them?
Actually, the kids wanted a day off of school, so they decided a holiday was in order. I told them holidays usually required some sort of celebration/memorial/event to qualify and forced them to go to school. But that evening, I felt a little bad, brought home some soap and we declared it Schwaklakk. This was March 11, 1996. We've since moved our party to the nearest weekend, which the "kids" protest, because after all, it was created to get a day off, but the government has not officially recognized us yet. The boys have friends though, who throw their parties on March 11.
Greg: What else would you like people to know about this holiday?
You do need to use Ivory soap. It has the best texture for carving. And if this should become some a huge event, I wouldn't want everyone to be pronouncing it wrong. Both Schwak-and -lakk, rhyme with "clock". Oh, and the leftover soap carvings, are known as "schwakings". I could go on here, but I'll leave it at that.
Greg: Do you do a lot of dope?
Ivory fumes get me off. We do have an official drink, which everyone gets a shot of about half way through the carving. Equal parts Baileys Irish Cream, Kaluha, and Malibu coconut rum. You can use cheaper variations of these liquors, but the name "Baileybulua" came from these three.
Greg: How many bars of soap do you go through for each Schwaklakk?
I buy almost three times as many bars as there are people coming. Some of us are happy working on one bar all evening, where others go nuts and pump out five. It all depends on your skill and patience.
Greg: Of all the Schwaklakk creations you've seen over the years, do you have any favorites?
That's a hard call. Certain people never fail to impress me. My son's friend, Donny, took about six bars last year to build a robot with movable joints, and this year he made a sandwich, banana and pickle on the side. As for the 30+ crowd, Joel is a 3D artist and amateur potter, so his pieces have a lot of detail and texture to them. It can just be a fish, but it's a damn fine fish!
Greg: Did you ever consider other media like hot tar, for example?
Chocolate would be fun. Soap's cheaper. I personally like making snow sculptures, but they already have events for that.
Greg: Have you ever heard of anyone bathing with a Schwaklakk sculpture?
Yes, some of our early pieces have disappeared in that manner. And sculptors have the option of taking their work home, so God only know what they're doing with them. But most just leave them behind to add to our collection, which we display during the party every year. We now have three shoeboxes full.
Greg: My only frame of reference for this holiday are my family's celebration of more traditional holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving. So I'm wondering if anyone has gotten drunk and started screaming recriminations at one another during Schwaklakk?
The great thing is, you don't have to invite Uncle Bob, cause that jerk would ruin everything! If Grandma would be offended by seeing a penis or a set of boobs carved out of soap, don't invite her, cause I guarantee someone will most likely decide this is their year for it! Personally, my Grandma would be first in line to carve a penis.
Greg: What exemplifies the true spirit of Schwaklakk?
Bringing together generations of insane people to bond over knives and liquor for some "Good, Clean Fun!" -- our motto, by the way.
Greg: Are you afraid of the commercialization of your holiday? For example: If you noticed Bath & Body Works at the mall started displaying their Schwaklakk bath bars each year earlier and earlier until the Schwaklakk season started in late January would you be upset?
Guess I better hurry up and get this copyrighted then.
Greg: How would you respond to someone who might say, "I'd like to celebrate Schwaklakk! What do I need to do?"
If you can hold a bar of Ivory in one hand and a knife in the other without any damage to self, pets, or furniture, you can join in. And even if you do cut yourself? Hey, it's a clean wound.
Kandy's brilliant and Schwaklakk rocks. I'll do my best to keep a little Schwaklakk in my heart the whole year through. By the way, Kandy slipped me a couple of bars of Ivory. Allie and I will get busy and post the results of our belated Schwaklakk celebration here soon.
For more information about Schwaklakk you really should explore these sites: