Crown? Wait a second. It’s a trophy. But it does bestow the earner a certain regal air. It’s the big prize of the contest — the ‘Sweetest ‘Stache of the Bash’ award.
Get thee to the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell Street), tomorrow at 7:30 PM to see who will take it home this year. And while you’re at it, enjoy the Guinness Foam Retention test, the poetry, the pageantry, the special guest judges, the hosting gusto of Pierre Stroud and Jon Wolanske, and so much more. Admission is a sliding scale $5-20 and all the proceeds go to DonorsChoose.org.
Grower Marc Vogl grew with us many years ago, took some time off, went to grad school, got married, had a kid, and now he’s back again this year, and we couldn’t be more pumped. His wife? Ehh… not so pumped. But still, he sat down for a Q+A with us to share his insights into growing strong when you haven’t been growing (for a) long (time).
Marc, you’re back in the competition this year after a few years off. What was your mustache up to during the break?
My stache took some time off to pursue some side projects – ghost writing a book with Andre Agassi, helping Branson reintroduce lemurs to Necker Island, learning to cook with a convection oven – you know, keeping life interesting when not attached to my face.
We’ve heard your lovely wife is not the biggest fan of your mustache. How do you keep things copacetic on the home front?
That’s what the prenup is for.
Any growing/fundraising strategies you’ve adopted that have proved to be successful? Unsuccessful?
In both cases grooming is critical. I’ve been rewarded for trimming unruly whiskers and hand-curating my Gmail contact list when it comes to hitting up friends and family to kick down for M4K.
Are there any particular growing projects on your page that you think are extra cool?
I think there is one that has to do with sea turtles that’s pretty cool. Honestly, I don’t pay attention to that stuff, I’m focused on keeping uninvited hair out of my nose.
Who do you see as your biggest competition heading into Sunday’s ‘Stache Bash?
I got to be honest, Hurricane Sandy gave me pause. I think I can handle the on-stage competition but if a category 5 storm surge dumps the Pacific ocean on my stache at the Rickshaw Stop that could negatively impact my performance…and my dry cleaning bill!
And lastly, if you’re mustache were a breakfast cereal, which cereal would it be and why?
Aritos Sabor Miel – because much like this crunchy and delicious morning treat my mustache also captures 90% of the market in Argentina.
Give to Marc’s ‘stache by visiting his grower page
And come cheer him on at ‘Stache Bash this Sunday night at 7:30 pm at the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell Street in SF). All money raised goes to DonorsChoose.org.
Alex Estrovitz is typically a man of few words. But man, does he make those few words count. He’s the muscle and the soul behind the San Francisco chapter, and he was the chapter’s very first ‘Stache Bash grand champ way back in… uh… when was the first ‘Stache Bash? No one quite knows. But he reigned supreme! In some ways, he still does.
Alex, when did you grow your first Mustache for Kids?
I’m hairily certain it was in the fall of 2002: I got roped into what I think was the inaugural SF season by Mitch Goldman. The following year, Mitch asked me to take over when he left for NY.
You were the very first SF champion. Do you have any recollections of your costume? Or anything that happened that night?
Wow, that was quite a night. As I remember it, my strategy was a surprise reveal: I tried to look the part of a Longshoreman or Merchant Marine. I wore a high turtleneck and a beany (I really have no idea if that’s how these groups dress, but that’s the image I had in mind). When it was my turn to meet the audience, I tore off the beany to reveal a shaved head, I had A LOT more hair at the time, and so it was a startling change for the crowd. My shaved pate and high turtleneck really worked to frame my mustache.
Why have you stayed involved for so many years? You’re one helluva organizer!
Thank you. In addition to the fact that I really like the camaraderie we’ve built over the years. It’s also very rewarding to help out others, especially now that were teamed up with DC, the bang/buck ratio is incredible and directly evidenced in thank you letters. I think we’ve raised close to ½ a million dollars over the years, which is staggering when you consider that it’s just a mustache.
Any particular favorite high-lights from all ‘Stache Bashes past?
There are so many, every year I’m surprised by the growers’ panache and brass balls of commitment.
-Mustaches used to be outlandishly un-cool, I kinda wish that was still the case.
-Chewbacca leveled a Guinness smooth and fast and uttered no intelligible words all night.
-The kissing booths didn’t really work out for us the way we’d hoped. (but, they worked out for some)
-The burlesque acts we used in between rounds for a couple years were fun and slightly inappropriate.
-The Magic that was the Three Mustacheers remains unparalleled: Wade, Gabe, and Ahmed were a force to be reckoned with and I miss them!
-One year a Grower recited a limerick instead of a Haiku, the Judges had a field day with that…. awesome.
-Some tall guy in a string bikini.
Any projects on your growing page that you have particular heart for?
I’ve got a 3.5 year old, so the play to learn project hit home:
Lastly, if your mustache were a superhero, what would his super power be?
Retaining massive quantities of beer.
Support Alex’s mustache by visiting his page here.
And come see the magic he works at ‘Stache Bash, this Sunday, Nov 4 at 7:30 PM at the Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street in San Francisco. $5 at the door – proceeds benefitting DonorsChoose.org.
Thanks to the generosity of the DonorsChoose.org board of directors – a group that includes one Stephen Colbert – there’s a $75,000 matching grant on the line now through Sunday.
If you donate to a stache, simply enter the word MUSTACHE in the match/gift code box at check-out and your donation will be doubled, up to $100. YESSSSS! Please spread the word.
Jack Sylvan is taller than God. We think. Maybe not. Haven’t seen God lately. But anyways… He’s a tall man. A generous man. We like the cut of his jib. So we were glad he sat down for the olde Q+A treatment.
Jack, you are one tall glass of water. Does height give you any advantage in growing a sweet mustache?
Well, this is a complicated equation. I’ve run a couple of euclidean geometric equations to measure the exact relationship between height and sweetness of ‘stache. The numbers are pending with the US patent office so I can’t give an exact figure … what’s clear is that there is absolutely a direct relationship. More height = sweeter ‘stache. This is undeniably true. However, there is a countervailing factor at play. The rest of the world does not stand 6’7″ … consequently, my ‘stache is typically viewed as if it were a magnificent sea bird flying up above in the ether … majestic and soaring … but so far away that it is often difficult for the average viewer to appreciate the density, complexity and detail that these furry wings of glory have graced the world with. The distant view can create such a situation that I’ve actually been asked if I was “growing.” This causes no end of frustration for me on a daily basis. Next year I’m going to get a limb reduction so that the earthly bound may appreciate the goodness that is growing right above the crown of their head.
Donate to Jack’s ‘stache by visiting his donor page here.
And come cheer him on in this year’s ‘Stache Bash, going down Sunday, November 4 at 7:30 pm at The Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell Street in San Francisco0). It’s the funniest charity event of the season, we guarantee it.
Maybe the students from Commodore John Rodgers E/M School in East Baltimore should tell you themselves. They might also be able to convince you to ”donate maybe.”
They’re just one group of kids M4K Baltimore are helping this year — and they speak for our chapter, too. Well done, Commodorians.
Kenny Taylor is an artist, comedian, filmmaker, bon vivant, and mustache enthusiast. He’s also been a judge and competitor for Mustaches for Kids for many years now. The alum recently sat down to share his thoughts on this season, the competition, and this year’s ‘Stache Bash judges.
Kenny, you’ve not only been a grower, you’re a former judge. What is it that separates the ‘Stache Bash grower/contestants from the champions?
Can a grower’s attitude overcome less than stellar coverage on the upper lip?
Connie Mack once said, “Pitching is 75% of baseball.” Well I say “attitude” is the “pitching” of the ‘Stache Bash. Yeah, it helps to have good hitting, but at the end of the day…wait, did this analogy break down already?
Anyway, yeah, the confidence and creativity shown by a contestant’s mustache are a very important part of the game. Also, go Giants!
Do you have any particular favorite memories from ‘Stache Bashes of the past?
That’s like trying to pick my favorite porn star. Too many to list here. Ron Jeremy.
Last year was a lot fun. It might just be my overactive imagination, but I seem to remember Ms. South Carolina getting cat-burgled by Mahatmas Ghandi at one point. Did that happen?
Any of the growers seem particularly strong this year – based on their photos alone?
Mark Hermano is a dangerous guy to have in the line-up. He won two years ago and was impressive again last year. I’m always excited to see what he cooks up.
I would keep an eye on Marc Vogl as a dark horse contender. He’s walking that fine line between Inspector Clouseau and your garden-variety pervert, but he’s making it work.
Andrew Bancroft, Leslie Waggoner and Gabe Adiv are the judges this year. How do you think they will fare?
Firstly, I think we can all agree that it’s a good thing the NML referee strike is finally over. There can be some pretty bad calls when the officiating isn’t done by the pros. These three seem like an all-star line-up…
Adiv is a classy guy and has been a solid grower for many years, so he’ll be bringing that experience to the Rickshaw Stop.
Bancroft hails from the backwoods of Maine, so he knows a little something about facial hair…and goat breeding incidentally…but hopefully that won’t come into play during the ‘Stache Bash.
I think you can expect Waggoner to be tough. She will probably push some of these ‘staches to their limits. And just like in the presidential election that will also be decided the same week, any competitor who ignores the ladies (on the panel and in the crowd) is probably going home empty-handed. I don’t recommend that any of the mustaches suggest defunding Planned Parenthood.
Lastly, if your mustache were a “one hit wonder” which one would it be and why?
‘The Macarena,’ because even though we can all agree my mustache is tasteless and cheesy, it still made a welcome appearance at most weddings and Bar Mitzvahs during the late 90′s.
Catch the Fever! Come to this year’s Stache Bash! Sunday, November 4 at the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell Street, SF). Show starts at 7 pm. $5-20 at the door–all money goes to DonorsChoose.org.
Ghouls, Goblins, and Growers: there’s no check point meet up next week. But Wednesday is a “shave day.” So shave everything on the face save the ‘stache and have an extra scary and hairy Halloween. Note: the next time you’ll be able to see a roomful of awesome ‘stache growers will be at ‘STACHE BASH! The hairy charity party of the season. Sunday, November 4 @ 7:30 pm at the Rickshaw Stop. $5-20, sliding scale, benefitting DonorsChoose.org. Come for the Guinness Foam Retention Test, stay for the costumes, the ‘stache-kus, the celebrity judges, and TONS more surprises. And catch up with the archival photos from past ‘Stache Bashes right here.
Grower Mark Hermano has been a long-time ‘stache supporter and enthusiast. He’s also developed a reputation for his incredibly detailed costumes and committed performances — particularly after showing up a few years back dressed as the Bad Joke Robot – and taking the top prize. He sat down to fill out a stache Q+A for us, and we’re thrilled with the typically detailed responses he gave.
I first grew out my mustache in 2008, but I am not sure if you could really call it a mustache back then. I had never tried growing out my facial hair up until that point, and the hairs on my upper lip didn’t quite know what was going on. They were scattered and disoriented, like teen-aged girls after a Justin Beiber concert. It wasn’t pretty. But I’ve grown every year since then, and now I’m proud to say that the stache is ready to grow each season, and it looks halfway respectable. It’s still creepy, but a respectable creepy.
What is it that keeps you coming back to grow year after year?
You know, every year I say it will be my last. Unlike some people, growing a stache and sacrificing my appearance is not an easy. First off, Asians have a tough time with facial hair. We’re not like the Greeks or Russians; we’re handicapped from the start. Second, as a single guy, it would put a serious cramp on the minimal game I had. Third, my birthday used to fall right in the middle of the growing season, and it was hard to swallow my vanity and to look ridiculous on a day when you usually hope to look your best. But then when the growing season approaches, it’s impossible for me to turn my back on fellow teachers who are just trying to find anyway possible to give their students the best possible education that they can.
Plus, the smiles gained from kids when their projects get funded are far better to look at than my face with or without a stache, so that makes it a bit easier to deal with the “public humiliation and private doubt” that one must endure during the growing season.
You’ve had some of the more outrageous and audience-pleasing costumes and personas at Stache Bash in each year you’ve grown. Can you recount the names and describe these characters briefly? Also, do you have a favorite persona?
I even though I have lived in San Francisco for many years, I originally am from Chicago. So when choosing my first Stache Bash persona in 2008, I quickly went with what I knew, and I became a “Da Bears” Super Fan from Saturday Night Live fame. In retrospect, it was a bad choice to rep one of the cities that we compete against nationally for most money raised, and I was knocked out in the first round, but I don’t think anyone can fault me for wanting to tip my hat to my roots. Plus, as part of my persona, I walked around that whole night eating bratwurst and Polish sausage that I had cooked and brought from home. Losing never tasted so delicious!
In 2009, I came Tobias Fünke from the T.V. show “Arrested Development.” I loved this persona, and I fully committed to it, going the method actor route and shaving just the top of my head to really become the character. As popular as the T.V. show was, I don’t think everyone knew or understood the character, so I got knocked out in the first round again, but I was not as willing to take defeat so lightly this time, and I went through with a planned costume change for the second round and blue myself in the bathroom (fans of the show will understand what that means). And though I was given a reprieve for my efforts and allowed to compete in the second round, I didn’t make it any further than that.
Then in 2010, I decided to drop the famous mustache personas and went with a wholly original character I created called Bad Joke Robot #5. For those who were not there to see him, Bad Joke Robot’s name explains it all. He was a robot who somehow was able to grow a mustache and was programmed to only tell bad (as in not funny) jokes. It’s hard for this persona to not be my favorite because to my surprise, the crowd loved Bad Joke Robot and that crowd support took me right into the finals where I eventually won Sweetest Stache of the Year and got my name engraved on the coveted mustache trophy.
Last year, I almost did not participate in the Stache Bash as I was super busy with work, but after some prodding and encouragement from fellow growers, I dug deep into my costume creativity and created/borrowed a character called Grumpy Old Man. If you have ever talked to a senile old person who can’t let go of the past, then you have met Grumpy Old Man. Back in his day, there were no such things as mustache competitions or Stache Bashes. No, in his day, there was only one form of entertainment, and it was called staring at the sun! You’d open your eyes, and you’d stare at the sun as long as you could stand it, and your retinas would burn, and your eyes would crust over with goop, and you’d go blind, and you’d beg for help, but people would laugh at you and poke you with a stick, and that’s the way it was, and you liked it!
Can you give us any hints about who you may be dressing as for this year’s bash?
I don’t want to give away anything, but you can be sure that I have a couple ideas in the works. And if everything goes as planned, we might be seeing a bit more risque of a Stache Bash this year. Ladies, get ready!
What are some of your best tips and tricks — both for growing a mustache and for fundraising?
As for fundraising, I like to spam friends, family, co-workers, and distant acquaintances alike through social media. Daily tweets and pics posted to Facebook, just make it tough for people to escape the fact that it is growing season, and if they are going to laugh at your stache, then they better be ready to fork out some cash in return. Also, start off by asking for large amounts, and then work your way down slowly to smaller and smaller amounts. One $100 donation is worth just as much as ten $10 donations. I’m pretty sure you need calculus to prove that, and at some point in the conversion you might need to take a square root, but trust me, its true.
Lastly, if your mustache were running for president, whom would he pick as his running mate and why?
I think my upper lip would be the obvious choice, but my stache likes to bring all groups to the table. He’d let my tongue have a lick at it. He’d listen to what each ear would have to say, and of course, he would sniff out whether or not the nose could handle the responsibility. But in the end, I think my stache would pick my left eyebrow. Even though they grew up in different regions, they have similar backgrounds and beliefs. Plus, the left is not as conservative as that jerk right eyebrow. Together, I believe the stache and the brow can handle any hairy situation and they will bring change to the face of the nation Stache and Brow in 2012! Yes we can!
To give to Mark’s growing page go here.
And come cheer him on at this year’s ‘Stache Bash, Sunday, November 4 at the Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell Street, San Francisco). Admission is $5-20, sliding scale. All proceeds go to DonorsChoose.org.
Yes, it’s two days before the election. But that’s not the only reason why you should shave it. It’s also the M4KSF 2012 STACHE BASH! The one night, lay-it-all-on-the-line party and beauty pageant at which we will decide who has the sweetest ‘stache of the 2012 season. Well, WE won’t. Our celebrity judges and audience will. You do not want to miss the charity event of the season.
What: 2012 Stache Bash, Benefitting DonorsChoose.org
Where: The Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., San Francisco
What time: 7:30 pm
Admission: $5-20, sliding scale — all money going to DonorsChoose.org
What to expect: Guiness foam retention tests, feats of strength, kissing, poetry — all done by these guys and their mustaches. Also – lots and lots of hilarity. ALL ARE WELCOME! That means even you who cannot grow a mustache!