Thursday, December 27, 2012

VIDEO: 2012 Whiskerinas National Ladies Fake Beard & Moustache Competition

My latest video is a record of the Whiskerinas' Second Annual Ladies' Fake Beard & Moustache Competition, which took place in Las Vegas on November 10, 2012.  The women's creativity was astounding, and the hosts did a wonderful job; it was definitely a great event!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

VIDEO: Freestyle Beard Styling Demonstration (BeardCon)

A short, quickie video I made of the freestyle beard styling demonstration presented by Justin and Karen Kellermeier at BeardCon in Columbus, Ohio on October 6, 2012.

Thanks to Justin and Karen for taking the time to educate us, and to Thomas Maurice Smith and the whole BeardCon crew for hosting such a thorough whisker event!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

VIDEO: Promo for 2012 Whiskerinas National Competition

Here's a short video promo I put together for the upcoming (at the time of this writing) Whiskerinas' Second National Ladies Fake Beard & Moustache Competition, which will take place on November 10, 2012 in Las Vegas!

Thanks to everyone who appeared in the video (credits are at the end).  Last year's Whiskerinas National Competition was great, and I'm sure this year's will be as well -- I'm really looking forward to it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

VIDEO: 2011 National Beard & Moustache Championships

It's a recap of last year's Beard Team USA 2011 National Beard & Moustache Championships in Lancaster PA!  It's a preview for the upcoming 2012 Championships in Las Vegas!  It's only about a year overdue!  In other words, it's my latest beard competition video:
(Although I embedded the video above, you may want to go over to YouTube itself to actually watch the video so you can increase the resolution to 720 or 1080p; the split screen looks better that way.)  Enjoy, and I hope to see everyone in Vegas!

Monday, October 8, 2012

VIDEO: BeardCon 2012 Panel on Social Significance of Facial Hair

To everyone who wasn't at BeardCon 2012: what were you thinking?!? To give you a small sense of what you missed, this is a video of the (essentially) complete panel discussion on the "History, Benefits and Social Significance of Facial Hair," hosted by Thomas Maurice Smith and with panelists Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore, Dr. Paul Roof, and John D. Buckler. It's pretty long, but also very interesting.

Thanks to Thomas and the whole Ohio whisker crew for a spectacular event! (And just to be clear, this isn't my 'competition video' for BeardCon, but just an example of part of what went on that day.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

VIDEO: Whisker Fight Tonight!

I'm delighted to present my latest project: the world premiere of the music video "Whisker Fight Tonight!" by the Opinionated Whiskers (i.e., me):

The video is all taken from the 2012 East Coast Championship held by the Philadelphia Beard and Mustache Club on March 31, 2012, although the song is really meant to be an anthem for every whisker competition.

Here are the lyrics:
There's a battle going on
On our faces tonight
Some say we look the fool
But we're ready for the fight
So you can keep your Mercedes
And your nine to five job
The whiskers have arrived
It's the beard and moustache mob!

We take to the stage
To show what we got
The audience is dripping
'cause our facial hair is hot
Now we may not be pretty
But we all stand apart
Clean shaven guys are boring
We are goddamn works of art

The mc calls my name
And the crowd starts to roar
Hair flows like lyrics from my jaw
My whiskers reach the floor
I strut round the stage
So my fans can all see.
Men and women swoon alike
all daydreaming 'bout me.

I know I haven't been good to you.  It was you that made me a man, you that stuck by me through all the bad times.  You've always been there when I needed you. But lately I've let you down.  I know I don't touch you like I used to, caress you like I used to.  I'm always here with you, just like you're always here with me.  But I know just being there isn't enough.  I'm not going to take you for granted anymore.  I'm going to treat you like you deserve to be treated.  And together . . . we're going to take on the world!

Now we're all here competing
To be number one
And my brothers may be styling
But I'll never be outdone
Mine's the longest and the thickest
We all know it's true
I'm the undisputed boss
Of this pogonographic crew!

There's a battle going on
On our faces tonight
Some say we look the fool
But we're ready for the fight
So you can keep your Mercedes
And your nine to five job
The whiskers have arrived
It's the beard and moustache mob!
Next stop: a complete album?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

VIDEO: Pat and Bill in the Holy City (an Epic Poem)

I am delighted to announce my latest beard contest video -- Pat and Bill in the Holy City -- is now available:

The video was shot at the Third Annual Southeastern Beard and Moustache Championships in Charleston, SC on May 26, 2012, which was hosted by Paul Roof and the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society.  It covers the competition generally, but more specifically tells the story of Bill Mitchell (one of the judges) and his wife Pat at the event, and what it means to be a member of the bearding community.

In fact, I was so inspired by Pat and Bill's story that, rather than just writing a normal prose script, I decided that only epic verse could do the tale justice.  So I wrote a 28 quatrain narrative poem in iambic septameter.  I'm pretty proud of the poem as a stand-alone piece too (in addition to as a script for the video), so, for anyone who's interested, I've reproduced it below:
Pat and Bill in the Holy City
Bill is a bearding man, known for the hair upon his face
Two mighty sideburns flank his chin in grand fibrous embrace
They curl most nobly round, with not one hair stray'd out of place
A stranger fame than some, perhaps, but Bill wears it with grace

But like a single chop alone or pants with one leg bare
Bill longed to find his other half with whom his life to share
And lo! The flowing strands of fate did answer good Bill's prayer
And so came Pat to join with Bill, like twined and braided hair

Pat quickly loved the man, but not at first his fluff'ed wings
'til Bill learned of odd battles where they crowned a barbate king
So off they went to distant lands where Bill entered the ring
And when Bill won, Pat grabbed his beard and said "I love this thing."

Meanwhile, the holy Charles' Town declared a jubilee
A day to honor facial hair by mayoral decree
The main event: a contest to select the attendee
With most impressive whiskers, be it beard, 'stache or goatee

So Bill with Pat rode into town one sweltry summer's day
Not to compete, instead to judge, so Bill could view and weigh
Which of the beards comprised the best follicular bouquet
And crown as winner he who had the the manliest display

The whiskers flocked from 'cross the land to enter in the fight
A crowd one thousand strong came too, to see the awesome sight
of seven score of beardos perched on stage in tufted flight
All wondering whose plumage would arouse the most delight

And though a competition all were mainly there for fun
These rivals came for friendship, not simply to see who won
They laughed with one another as tall whisker tales they spun
And knew they’d stay true friends long after this event was done

Yet still true fight it was, not merely puffing up in jest
Though all were friends, all too were foes as each beard was assessed
All there that night sought victory for his proud and virile crest
And on his chosen battlefield to be revered as best

So Bill greeted the crowd then turned all thought just to the job
Of picking out the best whiskers from this unshaven mob
But still the night grew hotter, and the heat set out to rob
All comfort from those present, turning man to dripping blob.

And yet the fight was joined as each contender took the stage
First came the salty dogs, their beards all grey and white with age
Their years have taught there's more to life than learning from a page
And that we all must step outside conformity's stern cage

Next came the whiskerina belles, with beards crafted by art
These ladies cannot grow their own, but still yearned to take part
And doing so, they had a mighty lesson to impart
Testosterone may grow a beard, but not as much as heart

Then came the college beards so younger men could have their chance
To show off youthful fuzz before new bosses looked askance
And goatees marched by too, each searching for that kindly glance
A sign from Bill of who would to the final round advance

The Donegal, or whaler beard, was next before the crowd
As worn by Amish men who have the moustache disavowed
And then the sideburns had their turn to show how they're endowed
But though their hair was his, Bill stayed impartial as he'd vowed

The next onto the stage were styled and natural moustache
Though shorn of chin hair these men still do make a mighty splash
If beards are complete vestments, then lip hair's a manly sash
And sometimes he who dresses down displays the most panache

Yet still the heat was growing worse, all skin coated in sweat
Which even for the heartiest can pose a  parched threat
Pat felt her head grow light  and was by dizziness beset
But still Bill judged, quite unaware of the arising threat

So groomed beardsmen came next, with whiskers full but also neat
You need a steady trimming hand in this class to compete
Just one uneven patch will lead to shame-face'd defeat
But honing every detail makes a win even more sweet

And now up on the stage gathered a most peculiar group
The freestyle men, with hair arrayed in hoop and swoop and loop
All well-gell'd against gravity, to make sure they don't droop
Like any work of art, mere words cannot describe this troop

Then beards not longer than one foot were on the stage amassed
The largest class by far, a tightly-packed and motley cast
And each one glad to be there, from the first man to the last
Each smiling, laughing, dancing, simply having quite a blast

And lastly, full beards natural were called to be appraised
A daunting judging task, though Bill remained wholly unfazed
He sized up all these regal men, each of whom should be praised
For beards so full and flowing, they leave one and all amazed.

And so each of the classes had a victor duly named
But towards the biggest question of the night all thoughts soon aimed:
Of these class winners, who would now be publicly proclaimed
The overall grand winner, and so be forever famed?

But then a panicked beardsman from the crowd began to yell
That where once Pat had stood, now to the ground she'd senseless fell
The moment that Bill heard, beards were forgot in worry's swell
For Bill's one care was to make sure his treasured Pat was well

And so Bill fled the contest stage to kneel down by his bride
He promised from that moment on he'd stay right at her side
But when Bill rose to join his wife for her ambulance ride
She grabbed his hand, held tight and lovingly began to chide

She said, "I'll go alone, for we both know you're needed here.
We all have our odd passions; beards are one that you hold dear
And not just you, but all these folks need you to persevere
You took an oath to judge, and to that oath you must adhere."

And when Bill still looked torn, Pat just worked harder to persuade
"I simply got too hot; I should have rested in the shade
So put aside your worries; for my health be not afraid
But your health, dear spouse, is at risk when I am disobeyed."

So Bill stayed back and did his job of choosing the best beard
All thanks to Pat who steered him straight when off his path he veered
Too soon the night was over, and as time to depart neared
Both Bill and winners bade farewell as the audience cheered

Perhaps the humdrum herd will say that Pat had gone insane
When off she went for treatment while she bade Bill to remain
But that's what partners do, help one another to obtain
That which the other needs, whether outlandish or mundane

Pat knew this beard event was to Bill more than just a show
It was part of his life he loved, that he'd never outgrow
And letting him stay was a gift she'd happily bestow
To later have a chance to bask in Bill's post-contest glow

A beard is more than just some hair that dangles from the chin
It proclaims to the world just who you are and where you've been
Pat never stood onstage, yet she left Charleston with a win
Though Pat's chin may be bare, that night she proved her beard within
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed by Joe Palmer under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pogonophobia (the song)

A gentleman named William Tennant posted a cool video of his song "Pogonophobia" (i.e., the fear of beards).  You can watch it on YouTube (or right here, below), and you can also download this song (and more) for free at BandCamp[Update 10/24/12:] Whoops, Mr. Tennant appears to have made the video "private" for some reason, and it appears to be gone from Bandcamp as well.  I don't know why, and it's a shame, as I genuinely liked the song and the video.  Oh well.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bearded Men Eating Fancy Desserts

Artist Lucy Eldridge has a series of seven drawings of Bearded Men Eating Fancy Desserts In the Great Outdoors.

I find them pleasingly pastoral; they may not be complex, but their charming simplicity makes me smile.  They're also available in a small book for about $10.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Own a Giant Beard Man

I would love to hang this old circus poster on my wall:

And it is currently available on Ebay.  Unfortunately, it's available for $800. Which is a bit much for me, even for something as cool as this.  But maybe someone out there can give it a happy home.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Beard Flash Game

I can't actually say it's very good, but, if you're looking for a minor distraction, a beard-related flash-game for your browser (Move your beard icon up and down!  Avoid the flying razors!) can be played here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Video: Steve and Savannah Wedding Video

I've just posted the video of Steve Scarpa and Savannah Scarpa's wedding from back at the West Coast Championships on January 21, 2012.  This video is about them, not the competition as such, although there's lots of footage of various competitors wishing them well, as well as complete coverage of the ceremony.

Congratulations again, Steve and Savannah!

And lots more videos on the way in the coming weeks (most especially, the Charleston and Philadelphia competitions)!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Poem: The Romance of the Beard (a Ballade of True Love)

I posted this on Facebook a little while ago, so this is nothing new, but thought I'd add it here for posterity.
The Romance of the Beard
(a Ballade of True Love)

Since first I cared, love's been a magic door:
Friends could pass through, but I'm locked in my cell.
My grandma blamed my beard, "a coarse eyesore!
That facial hair marks romance's death knell!"
But one night at the bar where oft I dwell
a small hand on my back gently appeared.
I looked up from my toxic, lonely hell.
She looked not in my eyes but at my beard.

I gasped, so long untouched, now wanting more.
She pulled me close, out from my forlorn shell.
"Join me" she murmured, stroking the contour
of my rough beard as though entranced by spell.
I said "My name is UMPH" as she propelled
Her lips on mine (and on my moustache near).
But though a dream, one thing my ardor quelled:
She looked, not in my eyes, but at my beard.

Though hard to pull away, away I tore.
"Tonight my beard makes your passion upswell.
But what of days to come? And weeks, and more?
To last, our spirits must be matched as well."
She said, "I know, but that concern dispel,"
then smiled in hope that I not think her weird,
and donned fake hair of yarn and crushed pastel.
I looked not in her eyes, but at her beard.

And now we're joined like hairs with wax or gel
Our fates like face with facial hair cohered.
And when my grandma asks, to her I tell:
"Look in our in love eyes, see both our beards!"

(c) Joe Palmer 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: A Book of Beards by Justin James Muir

A Book of Beards (2012)
Justin James Muir
Available for $45 at

This is a beautiful book.  Photographer Justin Muir presents stark black-and-white photographs of 86 bearded men (with some lucky subjects getting more than one picture), and each photo, at a luxuriant 8.25 by 10.5 inches, is riveting.  The lack of color or other distraction (each picture is taken against a dark grey backdrop) focuses the viewer on what is important: the individual beardsman, and the aspect of his personality that he chose to project during the shoot. 

And as someone who knows several of these guys, it is interesting to see how each portrayed himself.  For example, the photos of Jonathan Rice capture the happy, friendly guy I've always found him to be:

And although I don't know Joe Camacho on a personal level, his photos certainly capture the cheerfulness and joie de vivre he routinely displays on stage:  

Travis Oliver's photograph, on the other hand, emphasizes the intensity and focus I've seen him bring to discussions on topics he cares passionately about, such as how the world of competitive facial hair should evolve:

Of course, a photo can hide as much as it reveals.  For example, consider this photo of Anthony Francolino.  Sorry, buddy, but as much as you like to play the cool, tough guy on stage, we all know you're a big softy underneath (he knows the eyes would give him away):

Although the images are definitely the focus of A Book of Beards, the book also contains short essays by, or interviews with, several of the beardsmen (with brief quotes from a few others). Each is separately interesting, but most focus on the theme of individuality - a worthy and germane topic, but also, perhaps ironically, somewhat repetitive if one is reading straight through.   I admit that my favorite essay is cover model Mike Cummings' meditation on how the nature of time intertwines with growing a beard:

Growing a beard is not something that can be rushed.  It's a slow process, staring at you in the mirror everyday.  It is the epitome of the word "time".  And time can do a lot of things to a man.  It can build him memories, friendships, and loves.  It can take those very things away.

The question I am inevitably asked when meeting someone is, "I wish I could grow a beard like that.  How do you do it?"  To which I respond with the only truthful answer there is... time.

The $45 price tag is steep, but well worth it for the right audience.  As I said above, it's a beautiful book.  Mr. Muir self-published the volume, which could have been disastrous: self-published art books are frequently shoddy affairs with poorly reproduced images.  That is not the case here.  The book is sturdy and the large images are crisp and clear.  A Book of Beards may be expensive, but quality costs money, and this is definitely a quality production.

In addition, the high cover price is not lining Mr. Muir's pockets.  Initial proceeds from the book are being donated to a friend of the photographer who has been struck by cancer but is without health insurance.  Later proceeds will be donated to cancer charities.  So it's all for a good cause, mirroring the laudable trend among the beardsmen themselves to use their facial hair competitions and events to raise money for charitable causes. 

Nonetheless, A Book of Beards' hefty price tag may make it a hard-sell to people not already part of the facial hair community.  But for anyone who already has an interest, it's definitely a worthwhile investment.

(All photos above courtesy and copyright Justin James Muir.  Also, in case the FTC is reading: I bought and paid for my copy of A Book of Beards through Mr. Muir's normal ordering process.  No promotional or review copy was offered or received.)


Welcome to my (temporary) blog about my various facial hair projects.

With all of the facial hair competition videos I've been making and various other pogonographic projects also underway, I feel that I need somewhere other than just Facebook to be an index of, and repository for, my various completed projects (although I'll continue posting everything there too).

So here I am, for the moment, on Blogger, using a stock template.  I hope to put together a more personalized and useful blog or website in the near future.  Or at least fill out this template better.  But with so many 'irons in the fire' at the moment, I just wanted to get something up, so, subject to continual revision and improvement . . . here we are!

(And if I do switch to a different blogging platform or just put together a website, the address "" will always take you right there, wherever "there" may be.)