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Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Night: 'Stache Bash at the Rickshaw Stop

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 9:30 AM

  • Hanna Quevedo
Mustache Bash
Rickshaw Stop
December 17, 2009
Better Than: New York mustaches. (And NY mustache rides, for that matter)

In the world of mustaches, there are wanna-bees, there are growers, and then there are serious competitors. The latter group wound up at the Rickshaw Stop last night, as 21 of San Francisco's finest mustache-growing competitors got up to the tips of their staches in beer froth at the annual Mustache Bash. By the end of the competition, when the foam had settled and the hardcore growers had been picked out from the masses, there was really only one thing left to say: We beat New York. 

Yes folks, the annual mustache bash isn't just a moment to celebrate the creepiest of the late 1970s fetishes. And no, competitors don't grow and share their staches just for the masses to ogle and swoon. These competitors did it for the kids, folks. This year, the San Francisco chapter of Mustaches for Kids raised more than $84,000 (no joke -- they did it with mustaches) -- which is nearly $10,000 more than last year's mustache fundraiser.By the end of the night, they had bumped that number higher than New York's competing mustache bash fundraiser. BOOM. Recession, what? All proceeds went to, an online charity raising money for the nation's public schools.

click to enlarge HANNA QUEVEDO
  • Hanna Quevedo
The key to the success of the mustache-based organization is, as they advertise on their Web site, putting the "fun" back in fund-raising. Here's the deal: On Tues, Nov. 10, all entrants shaved completely and agreed to the Mustache Bash rules to compete for the winning title of "Sweetest Stache, 2009." Each entrant raised money during their four weeks of growing, and last night, 21 of those entrants were judged based on a short but important list of amazing-stache criteria. The first test: beer froth retention.

The retention contest was only round one (*hint for contestants next year: try the shake-your-head-no technique while guzzling the Guiness ... all the winners did it!). By round two, the judges had whittled the hair farmers down from 21 to seven. Competition was fierce this year, as noted by MC Andrew Bancroft at the start of the show, when he pointed out all of the "burly motherfuckers" -- including folks dressed as body builders, cops, gym class instructors, airforce pilots, and cowboys -- who had decided to enter. But costumes didn't make the stache, as was evidenced by the fact that Banana Stache, AKA guy dressed in a banana suit with just about the best puns ever, didn't make it to the semi-finals. But he did make this review. Shout out to banana stache from banana land. 

In round two, contestants really had to prove that they had more than just a fine-looking, beer-retaining stache. Not only did they have to read a "Stache-ku" (haiku about their mustache) to the crowd, but they also put their sexy stache power to the test by giving the judge of their choice a giant smooch wherever the judge pleased. Things definitely got a bit dirty.

click to enlarge HANNA QUEVEDO
  • Hanna Quevedo
And then there were three. The final round had contestants weight-lifting with their staches using a Medieval looking contraption that hooked the two ends of the stache to one of three objects of various weights. It actually became two objects after the first of the final three ate the first object-- a flower. MC Bancroft was pretty convinced this contestant was on an acid trip, especially after he took off his pants and tucked his shirt into a pair of leopard-print skivies. Like I said, things got dirty.

By the end of the evening it was down to two of the best staches in the Stop: one belonged to a burly man from Moscow in a very form-fitting wrestling outfit who went by the name, Stache-a (pronounced "Stasha"), and the other to a soft-spoken cowboy named Cart. Both had been getting straight 10s all night from the judges, and so the final round had to be decided by a "Stache-o-war," which is sort of like a tug-o-war, except, well, with mustaches. They connected their mustaches together with the Medieval contraption and pulled until hooks fell off of Stashe-a's stache and Cart was declared to have grown the ultimate "Sweetest Stache."

The other big winner of the night, it should be noted, was an entrant by the name of Ahmad, who managed to raise $18,000 and was declared biggest fundraiser of the contest. He didn't say, however, whether he was going to be shaving that $18K mustache any time soon. 

Critic's Notebook: I'm not sure who the usual MC for this deal is (apparently someone very special, as certain entrants in the competition attempted to make-out with a framed picture of him featured on stage), but the MC this year, Mr. Bancroft, did a fine job of filling what appeared to be a gigantic upper-lip-sized vacancy. 

By the way: Also have to shout out all the "weak stache" growers who found they had little to show after four weeks, but still stayed in the competition last night. Sometimes subtle is sexy.

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Anna McCarthy


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