Sunday, February 28, 2010

correction: Boston Phoenix covered beardfest

It just happened a week after the fact.  My lackluster post-event posting exceeds even that gap, so I guess we're okay.  Article and slideshow here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Solid advice

Pete from Natick wrote to Boston Globe style columnist Christopher Muther, expressing fears that, if he let his scruff approach critical beard mass, he would be considered a hipster wannabe.  Muther quite correctly reminded him that a beard should be an independent venture, a growth of self-expression, and something that should be pursued with pride.  Huzzah.  I would add that a half-assed beard, the sophomore scraggle, should always be a faux paus.  Own it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Women with Beards" art exhibit

An installation entitled "women with beards" by artist Barbara Seigel is on display in a New York community college -- it features images of twelve real-life bearded women, and two contemporary performers.  Previously, it was part of the "Locks in Translation" exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn.  If only I'd started this blog last year -- it was on display in Boston last March.  A recent interview in University of Chicago Magazine covers some of the bases -- Seigel's sense of connection to bearded women, the challenges of sideshow performances -- but, as it seems the exhibit's been around since 2006, I'm betting she has a slew of cogitations just waiting to be released.  Now, onto cyberstalking her for an interview!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still not famous...local coverage of Saturday's Beard Contest

The Somerville Journal just published their coverage of last Saturday's event, including my shameless plug.  The The Boston Herald hasn't updated since Sunday's short blurb and single photo.  As for The Boston Phoenix -- nothing yet.

February beard update

February 3: This editorial in The Cornell Daily Sun covers the author's associations with beards, and his concern over their repression in American society.

February 4: Build-a-Beard, an NYC beard blog, hosted a Beard Ball in Brooklyn.  

February 7:  As a follow up to the Superbowl's anti-emasculation campaign, the Dodge Charger is sponsoring a Super Beard Contest.  They balance the urgency of the message: "Proclaim your manliness to the world by growing a beard...!" one paragraph later, with quick reassurance.  "Can't grow a beard?  Don't worry -- we have – we have Dodge Prize Packs full of great apparel and collectibles for voters who enter the sweepstakes!"  Message:  You're not a man, but if you buy our clothes, no problem.  Eh?

February 13:  All America City Beard and Mustache Contest, in Somerville.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All America Beard Contest Results

The house was packed.  The chins were covered.  The beer was free.
Alas, kitsch was celebrated above craftsmanship, and, despite the valiant efforts of my beard-building friends (see below), my Frank-Zappa-meets-Allman-Brothers-during-Rumspringa get-up did not even place.  The fiercest competitor in the fake beard category used clippings from her own head (game set match) and looked great, but the judges rewarded conceptual-art-girl, who made a fringed shawl of brown polar fleece, and Santa-Beard-with-lights-lady, who, while very pleasant, did not even both to hide her elastic.  Alas.

 Notable winners included a member of the Sikh community in the natural beard category, a Scotsman with devilish curls in the mustache category, and a middle schooler in the partial facial hair category.  I found a few pictures here and here, and expect more to appear in the Boston publications over the next few days.

I have pre-interviews with a winner and the handlebar stripper (you'll see), which I'll dole out over the week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy v-day

Photo and object from wifeofbrian on Etsy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Bearded Gentleman Book Release, May 2010

I've referenced Peterkin's One Thousand Beards several times-- turns out he's co-authoring a new book about beards.  On the downside, the subtitle (The Style Guide To Shaving Face) and a co-author with a specialty in men's grooming, I suspect that it will be written from a high-maintenance, low-follicle-density, pro-shaving perspective.  On the upside, the book's blurb promises "practical advice on choosing a facial hair style that's right for you, as well as insight into how facial hair has figured in the history of masculinity, including its impact on politics, class, and sexuality." 

Sweet lord!  If there's a chapter on identity politics and gender expression, or a more focused follow-up of the "Post-Modern Beard," I anticipate delight.

For the active pogonologist, there's still plenty of back-reading on the subject to get through before May (see below). 

I will shave. I will clean the sink after I shave.

As Jezebel writer Hortense just noted in her post, many Superbowl ads pushed products as means of combating emasculation.  In the following clip, a male voice over lists the minor infractions to "manliness" that he endures on a daily basis -- the Dodge Charger advertised at the end is his compensation, and "man's last stand."

My interest in this clip piqued at second 8: "I will shave.  I will clean the sink after I shave," simply because this is the first bit of pop culture I've come across that explicitly references female control over male facial hair.  Anecdotally, it's all over the place -- one man told me that he currently sports a beard because hsi wife told him that he looked like Homer Simpson the last time he shaved.  Clean-shaven men report that their girlfriends complain when their faces are rough (give it time, ladies). 

Freud postulated that shaving is a symbolic act of self-emasculation -- the tone of this ad suggests that women, and not society at large, are the ones forcing men's hands.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Beard commerce

This is inspiration for the false beard contest.  If winter were just ten degrees harsher, or one month longer, or this came in my hair color, I would be all over this.
Available here.  Knit beards are available in blonde and "creamy white," but I have something a bit more natural-looking in mind.