Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Bearded & Tschorn

Bearded & Tschorn: Chilean miners emerge -- clean shaven


The first thing I noticed when the first of the Chilean miners emerged topside was how clean-shaven they appeared. There was an occasional mustache, sure, but even in those instances the men appeared well-groomed. After more than two months trapped half a mile underground, I expected full-on Rip Van Winkle beards.

Apparently I'm not the only one surprised by the dearth of facial fuzz, because I heard the observation made during the radio and television coverage of the rescue efforts. 

Then, before I could dig into the matter any further, Constantino Diaz-Duran's post at the Daily Beast -- entitled "Why Don't the Miners Have Beards?" -- popped up in my RSS reader.

The article reminds us that razors and shaving cream were among the provisions sent down to the trapped men, so that part is no mystery. The real question is: With so many more-pressing issues (some literally life and death), why shave at all?

For many men (including this author), the shaving process is an important ritual, and my guess is that it helped the men maintain some manner of daily routine during the ordeal.

Unless one of the miners was in the habit of using an electric razor, of course.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Pedro Cortes, the 31st miner to be rescued, on Wednesday emerged from 69 days underground surprisingly clean shaven. Credit: Hugo Infante / Chilean government via Getty Images




Bearded & Tschorn: Plans for Movember's charity mustache grow goes from fuzzy to focused

It's Oct. 1 -- which means Movember sprouts anew in less than a month. The annual charity event, which takes place each November, is designed to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancers affecting men.

When all the lips were fuzzed and all the donations tallied, 28,000 U.S. 'stache-thletes helped raise $3.2 million last year, an amount split between the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. While that sounds impressive, note that on the international stage that put the U.S. squarely in fourth place -- behind Canada.

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Is 'Schmucks' tonsorial trademark infringement?


Since we had no intentions of going to see the Steve Carell and Paul Rudd movie "Dinner for Schmucks" (you can read LAT film critic Kenneth Turan's review of it here),  we probably would never have noticed the beard Doppelgänger unless our friend (who unfortunately had suffered through it) brought it to our attention.

Jonas, one of the photographers that shoots the European runway shows for us, called to let us know he thought he'd seen one of the whiskered wonders we've written about appear as a bit player in the movie.

He was referring to a character called "Chuck, the Beard Champion" played by Rick Overton (above right), and once we saw a photo, we instantly knew the root of the confusion.

Overton's faux facial fur was groomed into something extremely similar to multiple-title-winning, international beard champion Willi Chevalier's signature candelabra coif  (above left) that we have indeed mentioned many times here at Bearded & Tschorn.

Although Chuck sports four "pogono-prongs" per side and Willi wings it with three per cheek, that distinction is -- literally as well as figuratively -- splitting hairs. It seems that the beard -- if not the character -- was based on the German and his champion chin.

Too bad there's not a standing to sue for tonsorial trademark infringement, because we have a feeling Chevalier would win that kind of hair suit -- and not just by a whisker, either.

And Hollywood, we'll give you a little tip: If you think your next TV or movie project could benefit from a champion beard in the background -- even for purposes of gentle mockery -- why not go authentic and hire an honest-to-goodness champion beard? These guys are full-on exhibitionists -- and most would love nothing more that to share the follicular feats of derring-do with the world. (We can even put you in touch with them, just drop us a line.)

But please, don't Bogart the beard -- especially one as carefully tended and instantly recognizable as Chevalier's. It's like you're stealing part of his soul.

It's pogonic piracy, plain and simple.

-- Adam Tschorn

National beard battle begins with Germany's Willi "Hair Pretzel" Chevalier

Full results of the 2010 National Beard & Moustache Championships

Photos: Willi Chevalier's trademark tonsorial tusks (left, credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times) seem to be the inspiration for the faux facial fur of Chuck, the Beard Champion (Rick Overton) in "Dinner for Schmucks" (right, credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace).

Looking sharp at the new Baxter Finley Barber & Shop

Although the Baxter Finley barbershop has been open since early May, I didn't get a chance to darken the doorstep until a week or so ago, and, to be honest, I figured it was probably just going to be another indistinguishable entry in the increasingly crowded retro-hipster-vintage barbershop category.

I'm pleased to report how wrong I was. To be sure, at first glance the polished floorboards of reclaimed Douglas Fir, the marble counter tops and the tattooed barbers in matching Steven Alan gingham check pullovers seem to point that direction, but if you linger past the first impression, and let it all wash over you, it won't be long before you realize you've stepped into a true temple of the tonsorial.

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Bearded & Tschorn's razor blade redux: the power of one

Monday, the Wall Street Journal posted an article about guys who stockpile razor cartridges as a hedge against running out of their favorite blades as razor makers launch ever more advanced -- and expensive -- versions (among the men interviewed was a San Francisco investment banker who bought his Gillette Mach 3 cartridges 100 at a clip).

Men, it's time to put down the razor, step away from the sink and take a good look at the steamy mirror of Rage_gem your morning ritual. Do you really need to hoard blades the way "Seinfeld's" Elaine stockpiled the Today sponge? What's next -- having to decide if a particular date is "blade worthy"? 

When did we men stop being hunters and start being gatherers?

I understand the desire to gather. I was completely blade blind for years, with a follicular fealty to the Gillette Sensor Excel double blade cartridges that I'd been using for nearly three decades, forced to upgrade to a third blade -- albeit temporarily -- when I found myself stranded in Europe last summer without access to my blade of choice.

The piece I penned in the aftermath of that generated a lot of e-mail from men who expressed similar attachment to their blades of choice. It also resulted in a package arriving at my desk from book and blog author Michael Ham, containing a mid-1950s-era, double-edge TTO (twist-to-open) Gillette safety razor. "If you think two blades is better than three," read the enclosed note, "you'll probably find one blade better than two."

That was last September, and once I got up the nerve to use a vintage, second-hand razor sent by a complete stranger (the book does include detailed instructions on how to clean razors found at flea markets or on E-bay), I've not only been a total convert to the old-school double-edge (also referred to as a DE) safety razor, I've been buying different versions -- old and new -- wherever I can find them, and my collection now includes a brand new German-made Merkur, a Parker from India (both available on, and a Gillette TTO from 1965 (the year I was born).

I find the DE gives me a shave as close as any cartridge razor I've used, though as Ham points out in his "Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving,"  every face is different and the perfect blade - or number of blades -- for one face doesn't mean it's the best choice for the next. He recommends experimenting to find the right combination for your own face, and I couldn't agree more.

In fact, this week, I trimmed my blade count down even further, and started experimenting with a GEM single-edge razor I found at a Montana antique store over Memorial Day weekend for $15, and it may actually be the best shave to date (and it's as old-fashioned as I'm willing to go, since there's little chance I'd ever muster the the intestinal fortitude to wield a straight razor on my own face first thing in the morning.)

Maybe that investment banker interviewed for the WSJ piece knows the Gillette Mach 3 gives him the best shave of his life, but if he's like most men, chances are he's using the same thing he started shaving with (or close to it). And, until something forces him to hunt, he'll be content to simply gather.

Let the hunt begin, my hirsute brothers; the best shave of your life may be right around the corner. Will you really be able to stare at yourself every morning in that steam-clouded bathroom mirror knowing you don't at least try to put your best face forward?

-- Adam Tschorn

Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving

How many razor blades for a close shave? It's a close decision

Photo: A vintage GEM single-edge razor purchased for $15 at a Montana antique store, one of the many grooming hardware options available to men willing to hunt around for the best combination of blade and razor. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times.

Bearded & Tschorn: Full results and photos from the 2010 National Beard & Moustache Championships

Although we've already mentioned a few of the finalists who came within a whisker or two of bearded and mustachioed glory at the inaugural Beard Team USA National Beard & Moustache Championships held in Bend, Ore., last weekend, we're including the complete list below (listed from winner to third-place finisher), along with a link to a gallery of photos we shot over the course of the day.

Mustache Division
Larry McClure, Concord, Calif.
Paul DeLeone, Redmond, Ore.
Keith Haubrich (aka "Gandhi Jones")

Partial Beard
Toot Joslin, Tahoe City, Calif.
Eric Brown, Jersey City, N.J.
Matthew Bliss*, Eugene, Ore.
Gary Johnson*, Olalla, Wash.

(*tied for third place)

Full Beard
Aarne Bielefeldt, Willits, Calif.
Allen Demling, Austin, Texas
Devin Cara, Springfield, Mo.

Willi Chevalier, Sigmaringen, Germany
Paul Beisser, Santa Cruz
Charles Earnshaw, Anchorage

Random Winner (selected by raffle)
John Szerseen, Portland, Ore.

Dockers King of Whiskers (selected by audience applause):
Willi Chevalier, Sigmaringen, Germany

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo Gallery from the 2010 National Beard & Moustache Championships

California takes 3 of 4 wins at first nationwide facial-hair faceoff

Willi "Hair Pretzel" Chevalier makes U.S. beard sport debut

Dockers brand signs on as a sponsor to Bend's battle of the Beards

Results of the 2009 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Anchorage

Photo: A group of competitors in the full beard division on stage at the first nationwide beard and mustache competition, which was held in Bend, Ore., on June 5 and drew 189 competitors and nearly 3,000 spectators. Credit: Adam Tschorn.

Bearded & Tschorn: California takes 3 of 4 wins at first nationwide facial-hair faceoff

The Golden State's collective forest of facial hair dominated the first Beard Team USA National Beard & Moustache Championships on Saturday in Bend, Ore., with Californian competitors taking home tonsorial trophies, beard-related bragging rights, and $1,000 each in three of the four judged categories.

Preventing California's sweep of the inaugural event was Germany's Willi Chevalier (although a national competition, rules permitted contestants of any national origin or gender to enter). A multiple-time winner of facial-hair competitions in his home country (where the modern incarnation of the sport has its roots) as well as a several-time winner at the World Beard & Moustache Championships, Chevalier not only took home an award in the freestyle, anything-goes division, but he ...

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Bearded & Tschorn: Pogonophilia on parade

Rage_beards_misc The preliminary round is over, and the judges are deliberating on  who will move on to the final round of the beard and mustache competition, so I'm taking the opportunity to post some video from the pre-competition procession to the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Ore., (It was a procession, said Beard Team USA's self-appointed captain Phil Olsen, because the group lacked a permit for a parade.) as well as some photos of the competitors.

The final number of competitors hasn't been tallied yet, as entries continued to roll in until the final "anything-goes" freestyle category got underway at about 5 p.m.

Among them was Anchorage resident Charlie Earnshaw, whose beard was accessorized with seven fake birds (with an eighth tucked into his breast pocket). He said he'd been inspired to create a nest for his faux feathered friends after listening to an NPR show called BirdNote.

By far the fullest category -- both in terms of competitors and the volume of facial hair -- was the full-beard category, which boasted nearly a hundred beards.

At the conclusion of the preliminary round, all the bearded and mustachioed men in the crowd gathered on the stage for a group photo that will be submitted to the Guinness World Record folks in hopes of establishing a world record for the largest gathering of bearded individuals.

If the gathering ends up winning the recognition, it would be only fitting if it does so by a whisker.

-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Bend, Ore.

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Willi "Hair Pretzel" Chevalier makes U.S. beard sport debut

Dockers brand signs on as a sponsor to Bend's battle of the Beards

Photos: Charlie Earnshaw of Anchorage sports a beard styled with birds (top) and Larry McClure of Concord, Calif., (bottom) sports a mustache that took him nearly 45 minutes to style this morning. Both men competed in the 2010 National Beard and Moustache Championships in Bend, Ore., on Saturday. Below, the post-press conference procession to the competition. Credit: Adam Tschorn.

Bearded & Tschorn: National beard battle begins with Germany's Willi 'hair pretzel' Chevalier

The first-ever U.S. National Beard and Moustache Championship got underway at noon on Saturday in Bend, Ore., with a news conference that found judges and VIPs fielding questions on everything from the categories judges were most looking forward to ("I'm going to have to go with freestyle," said Miss Oregon 2009, C.C. Barber) to the connection between bass playing and beard-bearing ("The bass guitar and the beard both act like a kind of anchor," answered judge, former beard champion and bass player Burke Kenny).

But the highlight -- at least for those who move in the circles of competitive facial hair -- was the appearance of Germany's Willi Chevalier, a legend in the sport of bearding and multiple-time international champion, in his trademark black-and-white checkerboard jacket and white six-prong "hair pretzel" beard.

Chevalier, who was absent from last year's world championships in Anchorage (allegedly because of an accident that cost him part of his prize-winning beard), is an odds-on favorite to win (even though it's a national championship, there is no restriction on participation by international competitors), and he told the crowd -- through a translator -- that it took him nearly three hours to shape his tonsorial tendrils.

The preliminary round of judging is almost complete at the Les Schwab Amphitheater here, with finalists returning to the stage for a second round of judging at 7 p.m.

-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Bend, Ore.

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Photo: Willi Chevalier, a legend in the world of competitive facial hair, left, appears with Jack Passion, two-time world champion, at a Saturday news conference that kicked off the first-ever national beard and mustache competition in Bend, Ore. Credit: Adam Tschorn.

Bearded & Tschorn: Dockers brand signs on as sponsor for Bend's upcoming battle of the bearded


The haj of the hirsute is in full swing, with an impressive slate of fur-bearing faces descending on Bend, Ore., for the 2010 National Beard and Moustache Championships. And one of them will go home with a year's supply of Dockers.

The Levi Strauss-owned brand, which has recently been in a full-court press to accent all things manly with its "Wear the Pants" campaign (including a high-profile Super Bowl ad campaign), has signed on as a sponsor, which means the winner of the Best in Show: Dockers King of Whiskers award will receive a year's supply of Dockers (up to a $600 value, though that's barely three pair of the label's new premium-priced pants), with winners in the other categories each taking home a $100 Dockers gift certificate.

The brand apparently approached the event organizers about the sponsorship. "For us, it sounded like an exciting event," said Dockers spokesperson Shaun Lewis. "We like what it represents; it's all about being masculine, and what could be more masculine and manly than a beard and mustache competition?"

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