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Entries in Jack Passion (18)

5:25PM

Mansome = Must See

"You can't let the mustache break you. You've got to wear the mustache!"

IF there is a summer flick I am watching - it's Mansome.  Already out in select theaters, this documentary explores a man's identity in the 21st century. "From America's greatest beardsman, to Morgan Spurlock's own mustache, executive producers Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Ben Silverman along with models, actors, experts, and comedians weigh in on what it is to be a man in a world where the definition of masculinity has become as diverse as a hipster's facial hair in Williamsburg. The hilarious follicles of men's idiosyncratic grooming habits are thoroughly combed over as men finally take a long hard look in the mirror."

In the age of manscaping, metrosexuals, and grooming products galore - what does it mean to be a man?  My answer - sweet facial hair.  Maybe I am wrong.... maybe I am right. To each their own. Let's watch the film.

11:39AM

Shit Brooklyn Beards Say

"We wear pants, you know? Someone had to do that, had to go through that, wearing pants, you know? So, um, I figured, you know, I'm a fuckin' try a beard."

If we believe Jack Passion, which we do, that the epicenter of US beards is undeniably the pacific northwest... it has to be told that it is so in mass, not per capita. That title belongs to Brooklyn, period, full stop, moving on.

Case in point, see Jana Schmieding (@janaunplgd) exposé on Brooklyn Beards... which we renamed, Shit Brooklyn Beards Say.

 

 

5:48PM

The San Francisco 'Stache Situation

I am new to San Francisco and like a jilted lover, I am finding it hard to leave behind and forget about the pace, overall awesomeness, cut throat attitudes, and general kick-ass vibes of being a 7.5 New York City resident. Or Christ, I can say it - a New Yorker (after all, I earned that description).  So I am trying to cope.  

No, really.  

I've already been to Napa for a weekend, which was lovely.  I've gone to almost every cool restaurant in San Francisco via Yelp. I've sampled my fair share of beer, whiskey, and wine. I love Bi-Rite market. I've checked-in every day on Foursquare to my work's office. I've started my mornings eating granola. I've ended nights with a vegan Rosamunde sausage. I've tried my best not to puke while admiring yet another North Face jacket. I'm not 100% sold on this city, but hell, it's not a bad city to be in when compared to others so perhaps I should stop complaining.  

But then... then... I run into Mission Mustache (put on by the California League of Adult Scavenger Hunters) and try not to wince as I hear people stating that they're going to participate in events where "10 teams of late 20 to early 30-somethings will descend on the Mission in fake mustaches, following clues and racing to earn the most points by drawing mustaches on walls, urinating on mustached portraits in alleys, and striking up mustache-related conversations with strangers."

Perhaps the latter statement of that quote is cool, but the rest... what an amateur hour.  We don't hold events like this in NYC.  We hold events like a Beard Ball and we fork over a chunk of change to a cool, local non-profit or The Coney Island Beard & Mustache Competition or The NYC Beard & Mustache Competition vs. "trying to pee on Ghandi" for a set number of competitive points. 

Check out this passage from The Mission Local blog: "Hipsters with real mustaches stare as the green team chugs pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the 500 Club, and people walking up Guerrero stop in their tracks when they come across a 15-person human mustache pyramid on the sidewalk.  The last clue calls for the team to shotgun cans of PBR. They set up on the steps of someone’s apartment, where they shotgun and spew, and then toss their empty cans against the building."
 
Stay classy, San Francisco.   

But I shouldn't judge the beard/stache scene here solely on this article alone or this group.  After all, World Champion Jack Passion calls this city his home... so there is some big-time legitimacy for facial hair enthusiasts.

Perhaps this is my call-to-action. Perhaps what San Francisco needs is a NYer to throw an organized event and raise money for a local charity while supporting those who truly love their beards and mustaches -- grow them out of dedication and desire -- vs. trying to style a stranger's stache in order to win a 6-pack of PBR. 

It's time. I'll be in touch with solid plans for a 2012 gala, but let's not also forget about local Movember efforts. And in the meantime, keep your dicks in your pants and stop pissing in the Mission for the "cause" of mustaches.  

 

10:29AM

Peanuts, Hot Dogs, Beards & Beer

 

The center of Amish life in America is closer to a donut than a whoopie pie. The outlying farmland of Lancaster, PA, is dotted with silos, buggies, propane tanks and volleyball courts. But the center of town is conspicuously devoid of the Donegal-sporting men of humble buttons. Not for lack of an invitation, though.

"The Amish are America's original beardsmen. And we would love for you to be a judge," Phil Olsen told a suspender-clad father of five in the last minutes of Amish camp Friday afternoon. The deal-breaker, as it probably would have been for any Amish he'd have asked, was the photography issue. Amish don't cotton to having graven images made of them or their families. And as many of the contestants Saturday will attest, the moment a beard entered Clipper Stadium for the Second Annual Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships, camera time was unavoidable.

Moreso this year perhaps due to a certain IFC reality show. Even seasoned bearding veterans could feel the momentum and stigma of Whisker Wars hanging over the competition. The show undeniably attracted a new breed of fan, giving the Championships a noticeable boost in attendance. But that same attention was painted with an expectation of drama and politics.

Jon Rice"Is Jack Passion really a dick? Are the Texas guys really that petty? How much of that show is real?" cooed a Whisker Wars superfan whose own whiskers appeared about as old as the series. Myk O'Connor and Jon Rice, who were waiting in the same will call line, were patient and polite, neither of them indulging in the opportunity to perpetuate the hype.

And there the hype stopped. On-show rivals competed on-stage together without a hitch. With the exception of the evil fifth Teletubby accosting Jack Passion at one point, most controversy revolved around the newly minted Full Beard Groomed category.

At last year's Nationals, the more tightly cropped among beards were forced to compete in either Full Beard Natural or Freestyle, leaving world-class Verdis and Garibaldis to stand alongside the likes of Aarne Bielefeldt and Willi Chevalier. The Full Beard Groomed category was designed to mitigate this issue and give those with shorter growth a fair chance to compete.

"It's a step in the right direction," remarked John Myatt, whose immaculately trimmed, crimson Verdi took top Groomed honors, "but there needs to be more categories. There were a bunch of big, wonderful beards that weren't very groomed."

Gormon wasn't alone in that sentiment as category talk occupied the bulk of the Beard Team USA meeting the next day in the Lancaster suburb of Intercourse, PA. There, concerns were voiced for category fairness, the limitations of the English language and the marginalization of moustaches.

 But after a meeting of mild grievances, competition announcements, screening invitations, Vegas talk and one wedding announcement (congrats Steve and Savannah), it was just a pleasant afternoon of beards, pulled pork, a couple Amish kids playing volleyball nearby and Jack Passion being photographed on a swing.

 

This story was lovingly and kindly written by Build-a-Beard's first ever freelancer scout and gonzo journalist, John Benedict (aka America's Beard). From the bottom of our hairy hearts, thank you John!

3:01PM

Bearding Is A Sport - Whisker Wars Preview

"Some people like to garden, some people like motorcycle riding... my hobby is winning." - Jack Passion
 
"I won't sleep until I have dominated them and ruined their family name." - Jack Passion

 
Do these two quotes by the fabulous Jack Passion have your attention?  Great!  It's just a tid bit of what's in store for IFC's upcoming Whisker Wars.  

Watch for it - 
9:17AM

10 Qs with Burke T. Kenny -- USA FTW!

"If you can grow it with quality, do it. If you can't, no offense, but don't. Be humble yet proud—let people know it's not a joke." -- BURKE

So begins our interview with the world's youngest bearding champion Burke T. Kenny, the judge that eluded us for a Q&A at the National's, the beardo whose ghost we so loved at Dave Mead's event in NYC... the guy whom we shared a brew (or 4 or 10), the one whose top-hat skills are like no others, and the dude whom we've tried to nail down an interview for MONTHS now, finally sat down with me on his way to Norway.

Burke is somewhat of an enigma, he is humble but bold, young but mature, full beard but styled mustache, judge but a competitor, a competitor and a dominator. He is 3 for 3 in 2011 American Facial Hair Competitions (after a long hiatus): West Coast BMC in Oregon, Misprint Magazine BMC in Texas, and Motor City BMC in Michigan (via our awesome friends at GAFBO). He's now off to the Worlds in Norway, where we wish him and ALL of BTUSA to drink the metallic taste of German blood by the Stein-full... USA USA USA!!!

Sorry to say that at national's I was too late in my arrival and missed your band's performance... what style of music do you play and have you mastered the idea of beard banging?

We call ourselves Hitchkick and we're a heavy bottomed blues rock power trio from Olympia, Washington.  Robby Thompson plays drums, Casey Meehan plays guitar and sings.  I play my American Standard Jazz Bass, using mostly fingered and some doublethumb slap techniques (no picks).  Electric bass is a sturdy girl of an instrument and deserves to be caressed by flesh, not plastic.  My rig is a Gallien-Krueger 800RB solid state amplifier run through an SWR Henry The 8X8 speaker cabinet.  I'm not much of a beard banger, but I do get some serious boot stompin' going.

 

What are your top musical inspirations... any crossover to the hirsute inspirations? Give us a top 3 for each 'genre'.

I grew up with feel-good oldies and classic rock, but also enjoy heavy metal, progressive rock, hair metal, power ballads, movie and video game soundtracks, and 80s & 90s pop.  I was originally a guitarist, so in that respect my inspirations include Ed Van Halen, SRV, Jimmy Page, Steve Vai, David Gilmour, John Petrucci, and Leo Kottke.  As a bassist, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, Louis Johnson, John Paul Jones, Larry Graham, Justin Chancellor, Victor Wooten, and Rob DeLeo.  Aside from my father, my initial hirsute inspirations are 60s & 70s classic rock bands.

 

As you know yours is one of our favorite Dave Mead pictures, and frankly clearly one of the best styled mustaches that goes with a full beard... what's your secret? do you wax, glue, spray? Use beer cans for curlers?

Well, save for natural growing ability, my secret is hairspray and a blow-dryer.  I learned this technique by observing Heinz Christophel in a Manhattan hostel bathroom in 2006.  Yes, it achieves unbelievable gravity defying styles; however I only utilize it for competition or rare special occasions.  Why?  It takes a considerable amount of time and patience to complete, it smells horrible, it complicates eating and drinking, that being said it tastes horrible, and finally it leads to the eventual thinning and deterioration of facial hair.

 

We've had a great time that Friday night in Bend before the competition, perhaps too great of a time (perhaps too much Boneyard beer?), and you were late to the press conference... there is no question here, just asking for a comment on that great night with you, Jack, Devin, COMBS guys and Boneyard crew.

That was truly the greatest recreational day and rock star night I've ever had.  My band mates and I spent the day exploring lava tubes, lava buttes, and the surrounding molten lands, all for the National Park entry fee/lantern rental of $9.  We returned to town for setup and sound check at the Old Stone Church, then watched as hoards of beardsmen and a camera crew arrived fresh from the Deschutes Brewery.  We played our gig under the symbol of John Bonham (totally unplanned—it just happened to be there in the window of the church), and in retrospect all consider it our greatest gig ever.  During our encore I was rocking and sweating so much my top hat kept sliding down over my eyes, which for the record has NEVER happened before, hahaha.  Afterwards we were invited to the Boneyard Brewery, where delicious beer flowed for free and good times were had by all.  Oh and of course I formally (and drunkenly) met you, Alex.  Later at the hotel we took a soak in the hot tub, and in the elevator upon return to our room I had to manhandle my drummer to keep him from kicking the control panel!  The next morning after a wretched 6am-11am slumber I crawled out of bed to bathe and yes, appeared late to the official Beard Team USA press conference.  I was ridiculed for my tardiness, however was quite smug in my excuse, which was “I was up all night drinking with my band.  For free.”  As it should be.

 

And regardless of that great time you didn't think me deserving of advancing to the next round in the competition? I had suspenders, a zoot suit, AND a briefcase... oh did a mention my beard... as a judge, tell me, what did I do wrong?

First I must clarify: I was only one judge on a panel of eight, all hailing from different individual backgrounds, race, class, gender, etcetera.  Also, there were few categories at the 2010 Beard Team USA Nationals, resulting in broad styles and large numbers in each category.  You competed in Freestyle Beard, which pitted you against men with wacky, extravagant styles that seem to say, “look at me!”  I wouldn't say you did anything wrong, but your style did not fit that description.  The same would have been true if you'd have competed in Full Beard.  Though not always about length, it's proven to be a huge factor in that category.  My advice to you is to participate in competitions that have more categories.  At the World's there are 17, and you'd fit well in the Verdi category, which is a short, trimmed, sharp looking beard with a prominent moustache.

 

Talking about competitions... you were the youngest competitor at a BMC ever. Tell us about 2005 in Berlin, you roomed with another youngster, a certain unknown by the name of Jack Passion.

Yes, my first ever competition was the 2005 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Berlin, and I was the youngest competitor at age 20.  I took 5th place in the Full Beard Styled Moustache category, which has proven to be the category that best suits my abilities.  Most of the beards and moustaches I was up against were older than me.  Phil Olsen had arranged for me to room with the 2nd youngest competitor, a 21 year old named Jack Passion, and the two of us became fast friends.  Aside from a few twenty-somethings scattered here and there, we were the only younguns and the rest were two to three times our age.  Since then we've become brothers, best friends, traveling companions, world champions, poster boys, rock stars, trendsetters, role models, and inspiration for younger generations.  Nowadays our names (and beards) go hand-in-hand like bread and butter, peas and carrots, Page and Plant, Tyler and Perry, Axl and Slash, Van Halen and Lee Roth, MARTY MCFLY and EMMETT “DOC” BROWN!!  We are the true keepers of the Old Guard and have the quality and honor to receive the passed torch held high and proud with fist in the air.

 

Speaking of youngsters... you hold one title that nobody can ever (ever, likely) take away... you're the YOUNGEST world champion beardo. How'd you manage that title win in 2007 in the UK? People must've underestimated you until it was too late.

Ah yes, at age 22, I won Full Beard Styled Moustache at the 2007 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Brighton, England.  Honestly I had no idea or expectation of winning.  I've found it’s how you must go into these things—if you get your hopes up, talk a big game, give the stink eye to your fellow competitors—you're missing the point.  These competitions are held in a different country every two years, and are organized and judged by different teams or clubs each time.  The judging, though somewhat general in criteria, is mostly subjective, so there's no guarantee you'll win.  If you go in with a big ego and end up losing, you'll look like a total asshole!  Right?!  I feel it's about honor, participation, self expression, making new friends and expanding cultural horizons.  This should be the prevalent content of character of men who wear such elegant facial hair.

Now, about my win, I'd trimmed my beard nice and neat, and styled my moustache big.  I also had the perfect backdrop to accentuate my moustache: the round brim of my top hat.  I didn't realize it at the time, but later upon viewing photos of my entire category shoulder to shoulder, I was the only competitor whose moustache was viewable from the back row of the Brighton Centre.  The two other finalists in the category were men of serious beard length and reputation, however contrary to popular belief it's not always about size or length.

 

You said you became the poster boy for facial hair... Regis and Kelly, a Topps deal, the whole nine... was the world ready for your spokesman-ship? How'd you deal with the fame?

After winning at the 2007 WBMC, I appeared on several Seattle based talk shows, and was interviewed by numerous local newspapers and magazines.  I then signed a deal with Topps trading card company to be featured in their 2009 Allen & Ginter's World's Champions set.  I was crowned Grand Champion at the 2009 New York City BMC, and was invited on Live with Regis and Kelly the following day.  I'd say the world was ready for my spokesmanship.  Not to toot my own horn but I consider myself a humble, well spoken young man.  The fame part was easy because when you look like me you get used to being stared at all the time.

 

On to Alaska... spill it... let me just say, that I know some not all of the dirty gritty details of lame and corrupt judging/organizing practices, but I'll just let you fill in the history... Go!

Well as I said before, I go into competition with a modest demeanor.  I don't talk shit or get up in people's faces.  I look them in the eye, shake their hand, introduce myself, and wish them luck in the competition.  This is exactly what I did at the 2009 WBMC in Alaska, regardless of the media attention I received asking me how I was “sizing up my competition as the reigning champion” or if I “thought I had a win in the bag.”  I've been told I step up the competition just by showing up, because in addition to my beard and moustache, I have a proud, intimidating look about me.  I've also been told it's general knowledge that I got robbed in Alaska.  There are plenty behind the scenes politics at these competitions, as well as the factor of the home court advantage.  It's difficult to not get suspicious when the individual who chose the judges wins the competition, and also happens to be the one upset by my victory in 2007.  On top of that the “head judge” (who basically puppeteered the other judges) happened to be the significant other of the individual who belittles Beard Team USA, and runs a club I'm not involved with here in Washington State.  Look, although I've become a poster boy for BTUSA, I'm not a cheerleader.  For the record I consider myself for the most part independent.

 

Water under the bridge... you are looking up and to Norway... what do you do to prepare, how do you get the rust from under the follicles and get back into the competitive mindset?

At the 2010 BTUSA Nationals in Oregon I chose to step down from competition, and instead took a seat on the judge's panel.  This was my way to remedy the corrupt injustice I had experienced, as well as giving me a new perspective on facial hair competitions in general.  I must say it was great, although I never realized how truly difficult it is.  I wish everyone who deserved to could've won, but unfortunately there can only be one 1st place winner in each category.

I recently returned to competition at the 2011 West Coast BMC in Portland, Oregon, and took 1st place in Full Beard Styled Moustache.  I also competed in the 2011 Misprint Magazine BMC in Austin, Texas, where I took 1st place in the Best Groomed category.  That makes me two for two with sights set on the 2011 WBMC in Norway.  It feels good to be back at the top of my game.  It hasn't been an easy road though.  There is a camera crew corrupting the outcome of recent events to suit their agenda and who they've chosen as main characters, and, my employer of 6 years, Ramblin' Jacks Restaurant, suddenly and unexpectedly laid me off and replaced me with a non-English speaking Hispanic boy.

 

6:57PM

Raging Beard Madness

With college hoops wrapping up, it's time to focus on Beard Madness.  What is this ah-mazing tournment of awesomeness?  According to BrianWilson38.com, over the next few days, 16 of the most delicious beards (14 now, since we're one day late reporting this) will match up against each other to determine the National BW38 Beard Champion.

The rules are simple:

1. Follow @BrianWilson38

2. Check out today's match-up and send your tweet to Brian noting the hashtag #beardbracket

BaB was happy to see Chuck Norris advancing to the next round and that Trammell made the cut, but where the hell is Jayson Werth's beard?  Jack Passion? Two huge beardos who could have been in it to win it - are big misses here.  

11:11PM

NYC BMC FTW

Just like after a wedding (or an engagement... read on), the party that was the NYC Beard and Moustache Competition has left me with the inevitable feeling of "well, now what?!"  The copious amount of planning that went into it, the tons of anticipation this brought on, so many nerves and butterflies filling many a stomach, the myriad of press and out-of-towners with millions upon millions of hairs filling chins and lips and descending to my hometown of Brooklyn... sadly, it's all over now... so, what do we do?!

   

Sob stories aside, I'm glad that my wife (and future son) gave me the opportunity to attend this monumental event... which is my long winded way of saying that I am still an expectant father and didn't get "THE Call" on Saturday, and was able to cover and partake in the festivities.

Myk O'Connor's rallying call prior to the event (as reported here) rang truer and truer as each category was moving through judging... fake beards out of the way, onto goatees, straight into freestyle, recession beards and finally... the piece de resistance, the full natural category... Myk ran the show like a smooth yet hairy operator of sorts, taking shots and quoting bearded literature sages (achem) while boosting the matchups and giving the IFC "Whisker Wars" people plenty of competitive fodder for their storylines.

  

That said, the one storyline that we took away from the event was the expertise that Build-a-Beard has bestowed on us, and the insane amount of information we eagerly retained through our hairy tribulations over the last few years... I, like Riss, am now an expert on beards... insanity.

To exemplify this, just look at the winners and our predictions:

  • Full Beard --
    • Prediction: Jack Passion (unless Mark Krayenhoff enters and brings the Brooklyn thunder)
    • Result: Jack Passion wins, shocker (Mark enters Freestyle, gets bronze), Aarne Bielefeldt garners 2nd place for his gnomish effort.
  • Moustache --
    • Prediction: Ben Davidson (unless he hasn't been working out his arm strength and loses in the run-off arm wrestling)
    • Result: Ben got 2nd place (should've exercised more...), a Ned Flanders lookalike steals the stache gold.
  • Goatee --
    • Prediction: Steve Cline (since Paul Beisser is sure to have severe jet-lag)
    • Result: Steve Cline takes the local gold as expected (surprisingly, Paul went the "ZZ Top" Route).
  • Freestyle --
    • Prediction: A German Pretzel
    • Result: No Germans in attendance, so a US Born pretzel got the prize (our favorite twisted beard of the night, Jon Rice, got robbed...).
  • Recession beard --
    • Prediction: Someone from Detroit
    • Result: not sure where that guy was from... but he had a great outfit.
  • Fake beard -- 
    • Prediction: A girl with a bigger bosom than beard
    • Result: her fake beard was so mesmerizing I forgot to look at her bosom...

The highlight of the night for me, other than being treated as said expert by IFC production team (and even by the one and only Thom Beers himself!), was the marriage proposal that Myk surprised his fiance Karolina Gwiazda with, it was adorable... see it for yourself below:

With the cutesy formality out of the way, below are the videos of all the winners being announced... it was our pleasure to report on this for you all, both here and live on twitter/facebook... so just know, the source of all your up-to-the-minute hairy news is right here, www.Build-A-Beard.com... Major thanks to all those that showed B-a-B love at the event (and for those that didn't, surely you'll change your mind sooner than later)... to quote an IFC exec: Thank you Big Apple, you've been delicious.

P.S. You can find our entire collection of photos from NYCBMC in our Hairy Pics tab, or just click here (you lazy ass).

11:39AM

Brooklyn, Start Your Beards... NYBMC is here (there)!

REJOICE OH PEOPLE OF NEW YORK (aka OUR people)!!!

The New York City Beard and Moustache Competition (hosted by our good friends at The Gotham City Beard Alliance), a charity event (with proceeds going to The Feal Good Foundation www.fealgoodfoundation.com) and the northeast's largest and most important beard and moustache competition is happening TOMORROW!

Visit the Gotham City Beard Alliance site www.gothamcityba.net fill out the Registration form if you plan on competing, the tickets are available for purchase at TicketWeb, so get them now or donate an additional $5 at the door (for a total of $20 to play). Club Europa (98 Meserole Ave, where else, Greenpoint/Brooklyn) will be the location, and the festivities will start promptly at 6pm... don't be late.

What's better, is that the organizer is B-a-B's greatly hairy friend Myk O'Connor, who's rallying call ("This is the year of the Beards, with IFC rolling out a new show called Whisker Wars, America promises to be the dominating force in facial hair!") should energize any and every facial hair wearer (or wannabe) from Brooklyn to Burbank.

The night will be supplemented by the sounds of DJ Corn Mo and The Intergalactic Fighters, with on-site trimmings courtesy of Tomcats Barbershop... AND a giant cut-out of The Rockettes to boot.

Don't miss this, trust me, as you always have (perhaps more so)... your favorite beards and staches will be there, come out or miss out.

Categories (and our predictions):

  • Full Beard -- Jack Passion (unless Mark Krayenhoff enters and brings the Brooklyn thunder)
  • Moustache -- Ben Davidson (unless he hasn't been working out his arm strength and loses in the run-off arm wrestling)
  • Goatee -- Steve Cline (since Paul Beisser is sure to have severe jet-lag)
  • Free style -- A German Pretzel
  • Recession beard -- Someone from Detroit
  • Fake beard -- A girl with a bigger bosom than beard

 

Surely none of this would be possible without sponsors, and Myk as amassed many. The good people at Scenic Presents (www.scenicnyc.com), Beard Team USA (www.beardteamusa.org), Coffee Lab Roasters (www.coffeelabroasters.com), Tomcats Barbershop (www.tomcatsbarbershop.com), and Blue Beards Original (www.bluebeardsoriginal.com) all deserve our thanks and business for helping NYBMC come to fruition. KUDOS to you all!


Hope to see you there,
El Beardo and Riss


P.S. While I am planning on attending this awesome event... truth be told, I may not make it. My wife, let's call her El Beardette, is 9 months pregnant... and we are both anxiously awaiting the arrival of little beardo, whose actual due date is, wouldn't you guess it, Saturday 12/4... If at all possible, I will make an appearance, if not... well we got field reporters covering this from all angles.

Hairly Yours,
Alex "El Beardo" Aizenberg

2:52PM

10Qs with a Stache-o Ben Davidson

Ben (or Benjamin as facebook calls him) Davidson is a man who needs an introduction... his stache however, does not.

At the 2009 World Championships, By Mathew Rainwaters

I first met Ben back stage at the National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend Oregon this past summer, and his stache followed him everywhere, so i met it too, and what a stache it was... while of course not a match to the winner of the natural stache category in Bend, Ben's tache is something to behold, envy and of course in our case, commend.

This gent is a quiet yet fierce competitor whom has taken the gold (and bronze) both nationally, locally and even internationally (full scorebox for Ben's stache is as follows, all for natural stache category: 1st place, 2009 NYC BMC; 3rd place, 2009 World Championships in Anchorage AK; 1st place, 2010 Coney Island BMC; and most recently 1st place in the 2010 Ohio BMC, Dayton OH).

Given this track record and this being the month of the stache (Movember), we decided to award Ben the coveted (and arbitrary) title of "Beardo of the Month!" I sat down with Ben and talked bearding (or stache-ing), grooming, thunder, arm wrestling, and much much more... read on!

When did you first grow or start growing it? how long as it been since your upper lip saw any sun?
I started growing facial hair in 2007, I think. I had a small beard for a while and then shaved that off leaving just the stache in the summer of 2008. So it's been about 3 - 3 1/2 years since my upper lip saw some sun. 

How'd you get into competitive bearding (or staching in your case)?
I basically just happened upon an ad for the First Beard and Moustache Competition in Coney Island, NY in September of '08. I really had no intention of entering the contest, and just wanted to check out some crazy and hilarious facial hair. When I got there everybody said I should enter, I did, and won first place in the natural moustache category. That spurred me on to go to future competitions.

The staches are always well represented at competitions, but think often also get a back seat to the beards, why is that?
I assure you, I don't know. I suppose it could be because it can take a lot longer to grow an immense beard. I can grow my stache out in 6 months or so. Also beards are easier to see from a distance.

Aren't you happy/thankful that (THE) Jack Passion trims his stache and does not (yet?) compete in your category... be honest.
Haha, I love Jack's beard as most people do, but he derives most of his power from his beard's immense volume, and the fact that said volume is bright ass orange. If he were to shave down to just the stache he would lose some of his shock and awe. I think it would be a pretty close competition between us. I don't think I've ever seen a large orange handlebar moustache. That would be pretty sweet. But I suppose in the end, I'm pretty content with him competing in the beard category.

You had to arm-wrestle a guy at the Coney Island BNC for your title... not quite the traditional way to win, but it seemed to work in your favor (what was the age of that guy, 95?). Do you like traditional rules of say the national Competition or those on the local circuit like at Coney Island?
No way, that guy was 75 at the most! I'll take traditional rules any day. At least arm wrestling could be considered kinda manly. If anybody asks me to start singing and dancing it's over for me. I don't go there.

Let's talk grooming... Your stache is glorious, and it really really suits your face... how'd you train it to do what you want, or are you just blessed with the coveted stache gene our scientists are working tirelessly to isolate?
Well, I could go on all day about this, but I'll keep it short. I do have good moustache genes cause my hair grows fast and really straight. If you have really straight hair and a somewhat thick moustache, you can probably have a moustache similar to mine. Anyway, make sure you condition it in the shower but not too much. I have to find a happy medium, if you condition too much or too little, it frays out a lot and is harder to manage in general. Immediately when I get out of the shower I smooth it into the general shape, and put two little clips into it to hold it back away from my mouth. I leave them in just a few minutes then take them out and add some lotion. Regular hand moisturizer will do, you may have to try a few different kinds to see what works best. That's basically it. If you want to know more, hit me up on facebook or at a competition.

Seriously though, what are top 3 tips you can give on stache growing and upkeep?

  1. When you first start growing your stache, don't trim the hairs that grow from the middle of your lip. There's an awkward period when all those hairs will go in your mouth, which is kinda a pain in the ass. If you stick with it though, they will get long enough where you can spread them to the sides and they stay out of your mouth 90 percent of the time.
  2. Stay Healthy. If you're healthy, your facial hair will grow faster and more luxuriously. Have you ever seen a really fat guy with a terrible beard?
  3. Try using Elmer's glue to hold your styled stache in place. It dries in seconds and holds better than any wax I've ever tried. It washes right out with water, is non toxic and safe for kids.  

Who are your top 3 stache wearers through the years?
Rollie Fingers for sure… Ben Davidson (a football player from the 60's and 70's, he had a great stache)… I don't know... Tom Selleck?

It's Movember, or nearly the end of it, why do you think it's the staches that get the largest facial hair donations to charity each year? Our good friends at Bearduary is a distant second, but overall Movember is in a class all its own... is it just because its' easier to show the growth progress on a daily basis with staches, or is there something magical in the wax?
Because moustaches are funnier? Maybe because you have to make a concerted effort to grow a moustache. You could accidentally grow a beard, but you have to make the effort of shaving most of your face to have a stache. Also, people just want an excuse to grow a moustache.

Would you ever shave yours and start again if you couls have some high paying sponsors?
Oh Hell yes! I'd do it for low paying sponsors as well, if anybody has an offer.

Are you going to bring the thunder for the New York BMC?
I will be in attendance although, I'm still undecided about bringing the thunder…

 

P.S. While Ben's stache is amazing, and awesome, and hairy and all that... dont be fooled, Ben can grow a pretty sick ass beard too. Kudos!


10:23AM

10Qs with Beard Artist and #proveit Queen, Annie Hunter

Meet Annie Hunter, who’s been a devout fan of B-a-B since nearly our begining, why you ask (why not, damn it!)? Well, in her own words: “I love beards. I love mustaches. I love men. I love men with beards and/or mustaches.” Indeed sums us up pretty well, we are in effect a beard porn hub, full of hairy and facial fuzz filled kings among men (and some women). Cheers!

What caught our eyes was Annie’s amazing art (find all of her drawing, paintings and sketches here: www.octodream.com) which personally reminds me of Ralf Steadman's approach (i.e. caricature of the evils within versus the beauty outside) and her dark perspective, coupled with her devotion to facial hair, has yielded some amazing beard porn in and of itself. Really a huge way to #proveit, over and over again.

You can email Annie Hunter directly to secure any one of her awesome art pieces... think about getting all the Best beards in the world suite, we'd like an early Christmas gift, thanks.

1) First let me tell you how awesome your art is... do you have a philosophy that drives your dare I say dark perspective?
Well I have been watching horror movies and listening to Rock and Roll since I was a baby, which is probably the main reason I love everything horror and dark. I also have a fascination with gross stuff and my all time favorite band is Gwar, so I get a lot of inspiration from them.

2) Who are your major influences? Any from our Top 10 Artists with Beards?
I would probably say my main influences would be Alex Pardee and Salvador Dali, I just recently discovered the art of Killer Napkins (http://www.iamkillernapkins.com/) who is amazing. I do enjoy Van Gogh but Dali has a better mustache.

3) Tell us about your site, it's pretty bitchen... and we love us some Tumblr goodness.
I love Tumblr, and I feel like a website through tumblr is, in a way, better than just a regular website because instead of having to bookmark it on your computer you could just follow me and get instant updates on your tumblr for whenever I add a new piece or update.

4) Do you love beards more or less than Gwar?
HA! This is probably the most difficult question I have been asked time and time again. I honestly feel as though this cannot be answered. The only thing that would be better than Gwar OR beards would be Gwar WITH beards.

5) Speaking of bands, which is your favorite musical beard?
It's a tossup between Dallas Taylor from Maylene and the sons of Disaster and Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio. But I couldn't answer this question without mentioning ZZ Top because obviously no band could beat those beards.

6) Of all the beard art you did, which is your favorite? Does Jack Passion win another contest?
Actually although Jack's beard is mighty mighty, I would say my favorite out of the three would have to be Myk O'Connor's drawing I did, mostly because of the colors.

  

7) I think it's safe to say you love beards... what's your favorite beard style?
My favorite beard would be a big grizzly beard with a handlebar mustache. The bigger the better.

8) If you had to kiss someone with a goatee, stache, beard, or handle bar mustache - which one would you pick - and why?
Haha well the handlebar mustache is my favorite but I don't really discriminate. As long as the person who is attached to the beard/mustache is to my liking there shan't be a problem.

9) Have you ever dated anyone with a full face of hair? If so, have you ever felt the urge to cut it off while they slept? How about to put some rogaine on it?
I dated my best friend for a few months and he had a magnificent beard. He was one of those lucky ones that looked good with or without a beard but it would have been blasphemous for me to even think about cutting it off. If you have something so beautiful why kill it? And although the rogaine idea seems enticing I like my men all natural.

10) You RSVP'd for the New York City Beard and Moustache Competition... you gonna compete?
Haha, If only I could grow a beard. I can't wait for it though, I've never been to a competition and luckily NY is just around the corner from me so I'll finally be able to go.

 

2:18PM

Dear Jon (Stewart)...

We love you, we always loved you, we love you even more now that you're embracing facial hair (even if in part, Go Beard or Go Home!)... but Jon... as we've noted, by way (THE) Jack Passion's bearding philosophy... Beardos need not explain their beards, nor reasoning for wearing a beard... a beard chooses you Jon, not the other way around.

That said, Jon's explanation as to why he went bearded is pretty funny:

"The truth is I'm a Japanese snow monkey. I've been hiding that from people and I can't live that lie anymore."

But... to his credit, Jon did indeed take "beard rubbing" to the next level this week, when he and Wyatt Cenac engaged in the act on 7/26... I consider this my Birthday present, thanks Jon.

7:22PM

"No Bitch Ever Wore a Beard" -- Jack Passion 

Well, if I may say so myself... this interview is Jack at his absolute finest. Vintage Passion. And it's exactly why he is who he is; an inspiration to us all, bearded or not.

I want each and every one of you to heed his words and advice day in day out... Not because he's the beardliest man in the world, not just because he's a published author of the bible of facial hair, and not because he was the MC at the first ever National Beard and Moustache Championships... but rather because he's 100% right, 1000% just, and 5000% inspiring.

Jack has undoubtedly transcended his prize-winning beard... which is no small feat, since it keeps growing and growing. As such Jack keeps proving it and proving it... and that's why we here at Build-a-Beard.com love him so. I miss you already Jack, this weekend came and went too soon, too fast. Until next time my bearded friend... and it better be under a year.

Jack in his element (pic by Michael Buchino)

10:42AM

10Qs with (Beard Team USA) Captain, Phil Olsen

It was about 120 days ago when we first told y’all about the first ever Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships to be held on Saturday, June 5, 2010, in Bend, Oregon (Get all the Nationals info)… well, it is organized by, like every major bearding themed event in the US, the US Captain at World Beard and Moustache Championships, the father of American competitive bearding overall, and the headlining photo we used for our original story, Mr. Phil Olsen (aka @tahophil).

Phil’s the founder and self-appointed captain of Beard Team USA. His first WBMC was in Ystad, Sweden, in 1999. Noticing that the event was dominated by the Germans who invented the game and that United States was underrepresented, he dedicated himself to making the USA a powerhouse in international facial hair competitions. In 2003, he organized the worlds held in Carson City, Nevada.

Build-a-Beard co-founder El Beardo had the pleasure to meet and mingle with the captain at the recent Magnificent Specimens exhibit by Dave Mead; where they chewed the fat about World Championships, German tears, Jack Passion, the legality of hair spray in competitive bearding, and the potential of El Beardo’s Corporate Beard. Capt. Phil is not a man of many words (though we did spot him with 4 beers at one time at the exhibit… read: our kind of man), and chooses his words carefully (it’s the lawyer background)… but as scores of beard enthusiasts across from the world before us, we heeded his every word… and so should you.

#1) Oh Captain my Captain you are like Moses for the beardos of America (he who brought bearding to us all)… And how did it all begin?! (Hopefully no burning beard sights in the middle of a desert)

I wandered into the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Sweden in 1999.  Wow!  What an event!  But America was underrepresented.  And not enough people knew about it.  Since then my mission has been to make the WBMC into the world class event it ought to be, with everyone included.

#2) So the Germans have occupied the sport pretty heavily until you came along… do they resent you, or do they welcome the competition (and their loses) with open arms?

Most of the Germans welcome the competition and all of them welcome the camaraderie.  They also point out that they did better that us in Alaska when you consider the ratio of trophies to contestants.

#3) We understand that there are still some inconsistencies in the definitions and categories for the World Beard & Mustache Championships… who is the governing board, and have you been able to debate with and convince them in anything, given your lawyer background?

There is no governing body that everyone recognized.  The host defines the categories.  I have tried hard to address issues with the categories but without much success despite my lawyer background.  I am hoping the simplified, inclusive categories at the Nationals will be an improvement.

#4) Well enough about the krauts… let’s talk about you. Yours is a Garibaldi Beard. How long have you had it? When did you decide to start grooming it, or was it never ‘natural’?

For years my beard came and went with the season.  I was bearded in the winter and naked in the summer.  But since I discovered the WBMC in 1999 I haven't shaved and have barely trimmed.  As my beard got longer I gradually developed a method for grooming it that did not involve trimming. Unfortunately, my beard won't get any longer.

#5) What are your top secrets/advice for beardos looking to get past the itchy first few months and get the thickness and mass akin to yours?

Do nothing.  Bearding is a great sport for couch potatoes.  I have never had itching problems, so I am not sure what to advise.  There are some kinds of moisturizers that supposedly work.

#6) The national championships are around the corner… give us your best pitch on why everyone who’s anyone in the world of bearding should be in Bend Oregon on June 5th.

It's THE event of the season.  Bend is a great place with spectacular outdoor recreation opportunities, a super hip, welcoming local population, and more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the known world.  And five beardsmen are going to go home $1000 richer.

#7) Jack Passion isn’t competing in the national’s so that to give others a chance to place atop the natty beard category… will this hamper the defense of the US title globally?

No, not at all.  Like the Pack, Jack will be back.  He's Woods, Ali, and Gretzky all in one.

#8) I can totally see Jack on the ice... No stick, he'll just slap the puck around with his beard... Anyway, can you describe the first time you met Jack and his beard, and perhaps comment on how he changed the game of competitive bearding?

I first met Jack when he came on the official BTUSA trip to Berlin for the 2005 worlds.  He took third place, but all of the other beards in his category were older than Jack himself.  The Euros were astounded that such a young person already had such a great beard.

#9) What is YOUR favorite facial hair style, you’ve surely seen your fair share of amazing chin manes, groomed follicles and elongated staches… is one better than the other?

Facial hair is about individuality.  It's hard to say one style is better than another.  Everyone has to find a style that fits his look and personality.  For me, my favorite is what I have.

#10) Finally, how did my beard look to you at Magnificent Specimens exhibit… do I stand a chance if I enter into freestyle (or any other) category at Bend?

Your beard looked GREAT, Alex. Solid, thick, excellent color.  But I doubt you will do well in Freestyle.  You don't have enough length to do anything outlandish with your beard.  I am expecting some crazy concoctions.  And in full beard others beards have much more mass.  Unfortunately there is no trophy for best potential.  So wait 'til next year BUT remember there is a $1000 prize for a contestant chosen at random.  That could be you!

Well Phil, it’s been a pleasure… I’ll see if Dave Mead agrees with your sentiment about my beard and whether I’m indeed a Magnificent Specimen… in the meantime, I WILL ENTER THE FREESTYLE CATEGORY IN BEND, as a Corporate Beard (and the Best Potential Beard)… after all, you are the perennial “also-ran” at these things, so I’ll be in good company at the bottom of the leader board!

Fantastic, Alex. See you soon!

12:55PM

A Night with Magnificent Specimens

There are many treasures that we've uncovered here at B-a-B throughout our tenure... but few (if any) can compete with the night that Dave Mead organized recently for his exhibit of "Magnificent Specimens." We'll get to the hairy goodness shortly, but first, a bit of background...

In 2009, Photographer Dave Mead and sponsor James Moody traveled to Anchorage, Alaska to capture portraits of the countless ‘Magnificent Specimens’ who had converged to compete in the World Beard and Mustache Championships. This summer, a large collection of Mead's beard portraits — unpublished and being seen for the first time — has gone on display throughout the retail concourse of the Chelsea Market in NYC... The celebrated images will be on display May 9th through June 30th, and are available for sale!

There, consider yourself informed... now, let's talk about the launch party on May 8th...

I guess for the naked eye (and chin) going to Chelsea Market after hours is a bit of a drag... walking in and seeing one massive beardo after another could indeed be daunting and even breed some anxiety and definitely some envy... I, however, have friends in high places... namely, (THE) Jack Passion and Beard Team USA Captain Phil Olsen... and the (hairless) man of the hour himself, Dave Mead (note: the Q&As are to follow).

I made the rounds pretty quickly at the party, mingling with local beardos, out of state facial hair aficionados, red faced devils, hot chicks, open bar and swag tables... thanks for the stache/beard comb and mirror combo, just what I wanted!

What I uncovered, in addition to the aforementioned awesome beardos and the resulting hangover, are some of the friendliest beardos and the best artistic facial hair shots I've ever seen... and trust me I've seen a TON, as you can imagine... I culled my Top-3 below. All are copies straight from Dave, excluding the bust of Jack Passion to give other's a chance.

In addition, check out my own artistic foray, which I call the 'Ghost of Beardo Past' (note the beardo in the reflection starring down the stache in focus), plus more beardos I met at the exhibit.

I highly encourage you all to come see this hairy shrine to all things hirsute... it's nearly as magical as watching Jack field questions and greeting fans while floating around a room like a giant ball of hair in the wind... almost.

B-a-B's Top-3 Magnificent Specimens (by Dave Mead)


#1) B-a-B Title: Farm-a-Beard (reality: Jordan of Wheatsville)

#2) B-a-B Title: Taxidermy Beard (reality: Fox Jerem of Kenai, Alaska)

#3) B-a-B: Ghost Beard (reality: Burke of Olympia, Washington)


B-a-B Shots from Magnificent Specimens Launch Party



10:01AM

Rock What You Got - Advice from Jack Passion

On Thursday night, at an undisclosed bearded location, we met up with the incredible Jack Passion to discuss the joys, thrills, and slight annoyances with sporting the best beard in the world!    

As a woman, it took me a while to take in the large-scale beauty of Mr. Passion's beard.  Certainly, as co-founder of this blog, I love facial hair of all shapes and sizes, but this got me to thinking.... what if... what *IF* your significant other wasn't down with your facial hair?

JackYour partner needs to understand where you're coming from and what this process can mean to a man. S/he is seeing the beginning stages and maybe cringing, but you're seeing the potential.  It takes a little time before the beard starts looking how you want it.  But if you're close with your partner and if you support one another, s/he will be there for the bad - before it gets good.  You could also just ask him or her if they love you... and follow it directly by saying - #PROVEIT!

I am sure eating gets in the way with a beard that size.  Am I wrong?  

Jack: It's only the mustache that makes eating difficult.  I keep mine trimmed, and I know guys who just manage.  If you can't handle the heat, get out the kitchen.  Sacrifices must be made in the path to legendary greatness.

How do you manage that mane?  Do you comb it?  Do you hire someone to handle it? 

Jack: I use a comb, but only because my beard is long.  You don't have to buy into the hype and get a really expensive comb, but just don't use a plastic one.  Avoid seams because seams snag.  Bakelite is cheap, easy, and readily available.  However, most guys only need a quality boar bristle brush to distribute oils and stimulate the face underneath.

And what about the men who have patchy beards?  Any advice?  

Jack: A lot of men's faces don't fill out 'til much later in their life.  Despite evidence that men peak sexually in their early 20s, they might not get a full beard until their 40s.  Rock what you've got.  So what if you've a patchy beard?  Nobody's going to know that because your mustache (or sideburns, or goatee, or whatever) looks so fresh.   

*Build-a-Beard founders hanging with Passion.

2:57PM

10 Qs with (THE) Jack Passion

No doubt you’ve heard the name… it rolls of your tongue like the feel of a cool breeze going through your beard on a hot summer day. Jack Passion (http://jackpassion.com and @jackpassion)… say it with us… Jack, Passion… yes, the very same that has amassed two wins in the Natural Beard category at World Beard and Mustache Championships at the age of 25… yep, that author who tackled beards chin on with The Facial Hair Handbook the must have beard growers book… the very same Jack Passion that signs his emails “Love and Passion”… people like that just warm our heart…and yes, the very same with a giant orange beard.

Jack Passion is to the sport of bearding what Tiger Woods is to the sport of golf.

— Phil Olsen, Founder and Self-Appointed Captain, Beard Team USA

B-a-B edit: Written on 5/29/2009… yes, that matters.

We try to be inspiring here at B-a-B, but truth be told we like nothing else than being inspired by the bearded community as well… Clearly, Jack is in a league all his own in terms of inspiration; Jack even was one of his graduating class’ speakers at UCSC among other things… we should probably continue writing up this interview while bowing our heads, and you should probably read it as such as well.

Either way, when we heard that Jack wasn’t competing in the 2011 World Championships we raced to meet this bass playing beard oracle to get some answers and gauge what this means for competitive bearding, do German’s cry, what the end of Street Fighter II looks like and much, much more… so, enjoy!

It’s an honor to be here by the side of such a beardo… your follicle awesomeness is an example to us all… how and when did you decide to grow it out and grow it proud?

The honor is mine!  I never gave bearding much thought until I placed highly on the world stage.  Prior to that, my beard was just another in a long line of facial hairstyles that I had worn.  At some point, I had no choice but to accept my role as America's beard ambassador; the alternative would have been to shave - no thanks!  Since that time, a great deal of thought and discussion has brought me and my beard to where we are today.  My beard is my career, and I work hard.

When did the decision to participate in competitive bearding come to be? And why, how’d you even hear about Beard Team USA?

Initially, I just wanted a story to tell my grandchildren one day.  I did not know the caliber of my beard, nor did I even know a fire burned in my heart to crush other men's dreams of bearded glory. Sometimes the spirit of competition must be awakened in the soul, like the premise of any good 80s action sports movie.  I heeded the call to brush and condition my way to the top, a position from which I can hopefully lead by example that a bearded life is an authentic, honest, and honorable one.

Tell us about your first competition on the global level … did other beardos give you a hard time because some of their beards were older than you?

The first world competition I attended was in Berlin, and I "only" got third.  There was quite a bit of outrage, but since it was in German, I had no idea.  Later on, I was told that the older, German elite thought I was totally un-serious and that my pirate costume was disrespectful.  They don't have to like me, as long as they fear me.

My world standings are as follows:

2005, Berlin, 3rd place, Natural Full Beard

2007, Brighton, 1st place, Natural Full Beard

2009, Anchorage, 1st place, Natural Full Beard

We know that people love the beard… did having a few titles help to milk even more love from envious women (and scores of men)?

Yes.  ;-)

Nice, we dig… Anyway, then comes Alaska… you win that championship too… how’d you do it? What is it about your routine that you think sets you apart?

I spell out my entire regimen and all of my trade secrets in my book, The Facial Hair Handbook.  My program is pretty simple in concept, but I actually follow all of it to a tee, and I am unrelenting in my pursuit of perfection -- no detail is to be overlooked.

We will most certainly get to your hairy manuscript a bit later…Why is the natural beard the most coveted title? Did the Germans cry like little babies after your 2nd win in a row?

I don't know if there is one title more coveted than another, but Full Beard Natty is certainly the most competitive because of its size; more than half the competitors at the Anchorage contest were in my category.

I don't know if they were crying, nor do I care.  Nobody can hear their pitiful sobs over the roaring cheers of Passionate victory, anyway. Really though, everyone's a beardsman and after they warmed up to me, the Germans have always been really happy for me when I win.  And if you've ever beaten Street Fighter II as Ryu, it's like that: I'm already on to the next match; I live for the thrill of the fight.

Also, despite the sometimes (ok, often) inflammatory rhetoric, I grow and wear a beard for many reasons higher in priority than competition.  I have made some men jealous, but if there is envy or rage, it is only because I have yet to connect with these guys on a personal level.  If I have a beard and you have a beard, we have something in common of great social and moral significance; a bond that makes us real friends before we even meet.

So now you are a two time champ, and yet you chose to not compete in the upcoming National Championships… what’s the deal? Is winning THAT boring?

I've logged the forest bare, and I need to let a few bearded trees grow again so that I can obliterate and tarnish their family names for all time once again.

I've been a very prominent figure on the team, and since we're hosting it, I thought it'd just be a good move to sit it out.  When I brought this up, the event planners offered the MC gig, and that's right up my alley, so I took it.  I'm excited to relax and just have a good time with a bunch of good guys over a beautiful weekend in the Pacific Northwest, which to be fair, out-beards Brooklyn 10:1.

I really encourage everyone in beards to come to Bend.  It's super cheap to fly there, and this is not only your chance to do really well in a beard contest, but it's also shaping up to be the biggest facial hair event in history.  Guinness will be on hand to record the number of contestants and spectators.  Beard competitions are finally rising to the level of sports like World's Strongest Man and hot dog eating competitions.  Anyone can do roids and get overpaid to play with balls.  I say let's eat hot dogs, throw kegs over walls, and grow beards!

We'll start booking our trip tomorrow! In the meantime, tell us about your book… is a sequel planned? Perhaps a guide to manscaping, or a tome about sideburns? Stache excellence? Do tell… and also, who is your favorite author?

There is a lot of information on facial hair care in the world, but let's be honest:  There's still a lot of shitty beards, and a lot of guys trying to grow beards end up quitting (and I say quitting instead of shaving, because it really is quitting; as in giving up, folding, submitting, and forfeiting) because it itches or someone tells them it sucks.  I provide the motivation to go beards out, and the skill set to grow and wear facial hair to the best of your biological ability; in a practical and easy to follow format.  Facial hair is an honest and natural thing, and I take a very holistic approach to equipping you with everything you need and nothing you don't.  I know it sounds like a shameless plug, but it really will change a man's life. Plus, it makes a great gift. :)

The book has done really well, and I'm just about to release a revised second printing.  The content is almost identical, but some design things have changed, most notably the cover.

I don't really have a favorite author, but I tend to read a lot of philosophy and other non-fiction if that helps. But when you ask about a favorite author, I have to ask, were you guys trying to get me to plug garyvee

Haha, thanks for that… but not since he shaved... You’re an author and we figure you must be inspired by someone… bearded philosophers surely fit that bill. Finally… have you heard of Mane n’Tail, if so… would you recommend it or even use it?

It smells good, it's inexpensive in bulk, and it gets the job done well, but it's a age-old myth of the beard community that it's some miracle beard wash/condish.  Beard hair isn't head hair, but it sure isn't horse hair, either!  That said, if they offered me an endorsement, I'd take it.  You can do better ($$$$), but you can do muuuch worse.

10:57PM

Gentlemen, start your beards!

By now, either from reading this or hearing about that, you have heard of the World Beard and Moustache Championships, Team Beard USA and competitive bearding overall.

Well gents, it’s that time again, and you better get ready for the big leagues lest you be late to the festivities… you have 150 days to be exact. The event is Beard Team USA National Finals in Bend, Oregon. Wondering why we are giving you so much of a lead time? Well you have you ask yourself: are those 5 months of your chin's and upper lip's bestest effort enough to beat THIS guy?!

Didn’t think so… but, if you still want to try your hand at the national finals (which are apparently classified as a sporting event by the way), the hairy throwdown will take place at the Les Schwab Amphitheater on June 5th. Per website: $5000 in cash prizes will go to best beards and mustaches in the USA. The competition is open to everyone. Even Canadians!

Beware that the competition is stiff and Beard Team USA is fresh from placing atop the world at the Anchorage, Alaska games last year. Oh yeah, and also don't forget B-a-B favorite Jack Passion, the 2007 and 2009 World Beard Champion in the full beard natural category (the most competitive category of all)... yeah, he'll be there, and he's only 25... our money is on him for the Trondheim, Norway games anyway (mark your calendars: May 14, 2011).

Nationals seem to be out of your league huh? It's ok, it's out of ours too... nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, Bend Oregon is far away... But, if you do make it out to the west coast next year and are into facial hair contests in remote towns... come right down to Taft, California, where the annual Whiskerino competition that started yesterday will crown their town's best beard during the Oildorado festivities in October. Read about it here, make sure to watch the segment, classic.

Well, what say you? You going to try your hand? Huh? Hmmm?! Right, that's what we thought... us too... the good thing we'll always have each other.

ack Passion can rightfully claim to be the current world beard champion, having taken first place in the full beard natural category, the most competitive category of all, at the World Beard and Mustache Championships both in Brighton, England, in 2007 and in Anchorage, Alaska in 2009.