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.)