The sweetest beards in Texas: Misprint Magazine reunites to host 6th AnnualBeard & Moustache Contest
For hundreds of hopeful bearded men (and ladies) of Austin, this weekend could be their claim to follicular fame.
Misprint Magazine, that caustic, jorts-hating East Austin periodical of yesteryear, resurrects their reign of mischevious frivolity with Saturday's 6th Annual Beard and Moustache Competition, presented in partnership with the Austin Facial Hair Club (AFHC).
It's no secret that every dude with the... well, chops to grow a beard in Austin has pretty much done so. And the popularity of the creative and monumental facial hairdo has swept the entire world.
Competitive facial hair growth has created an ever-growing sub-culture of wool lovers, complete with accompanying rituals, fans and documentation. The IFC documentary reality show Whisker Wars will most likely be in attendance at the Mohawk Saturday, following the triumphs and defeats of the hardcore beard competitors.
Bryan Keplesky of Misprint admits that he and his partner-in-snark, Anthony Moschella, never really realized the B&M Competition would turn into such a huge deal, drawing competitors from the other side of the globe. "It honestly started as a joke in 2007," Keplesky explains in his excited, rapid-fire delivery.
"We always just wanted to be able to drink for free and get our friends to drink for free too. So we thought, why not put on a show that's not about music in Austin! The beard contest was an awesome idea that kept growing into what it is today," he says. "It just felt so perfect for this city at the time. It's one of those things that just hit on the zeitgeist at the right time."
"We always just wanted to be able to drink for free and get our friends to drink for free too. So we thought, why not put on a show that's not about music in Austin!" - Bryan Keplesky
No, kidding. For the last two years, The Mohawk has been packed to the brim with over 1,000 attendees. The B&M has now developed into a complete weekend of AFHC events, including a BBQ Meet and Greet on Friday, a Shooting Range Expedition on Saturday, and a Hangover Brunch on Sunday.
There have also been so many female attendees to the Competition in past years wishing to partake in the festivities that a separate Ladies Beardette Competition will be held Friday night at the ND@501 Studios. Real and fake beards and moustaches are acceptable for competition; it is the judges' discretion as to what they are looking for in their ladybeards. (And, no, merkins do not count.)
"Ladies in this town love wearing fake beards, I guess," laughs Keplesky. "There's always been a ladies' category at the Competition, but eventually there were so many, we needed to break them up into several categories. The winners will also get to compete on Saturday with the men."
Much to Keplesky's and Moschella's mutual relief and surprise, the majority of the cohesive team that made the B&M Competition a hit back in 2007 are still a part of this year's event as well. Famously bearded comedian Matt Bearden returns for the sixth year as the event's emcee, and DJ Andy the Mouth provides the musical ambiance. Not to mention the stalwart support of the ever-growing Austin Facial Hair Club.
"I've always seen it as a speeding train that we're trying to keep from combusting. That's my measure of its success: Did anyone die...?" - Keplesky
"I'm kind of Zen about it right now," admits Keplesky, who handles much of the behind-the-scenes work at the event. "It's happening whether we want it to or not, so we might as well enjoy it. I've always seen it as a speeding train that we're trying to keep from combusting. That's my measure of its success: Did anyone die...?"
Rounding out the experience of the event are the incredible local sponsors who have long been supporters of Misprint since its inception. Birds Barbershop, Alamo Drafthouse, Progress Coffee, Monofonous Press and Transmission Entertainment are just some of the folks who are providing prizes and giveaways at the Competition.
Many eager East Austinites have wondered when the next Misprint edition will drop, craving their next dose of smart-ass hipster bashing. However, with both Keplesky and Moschella busy with their full time jobs (one of which is out of state), the magazine has officially been retired from regular circulation.
Instead, Keplesky reveals that he and Moschella are now working on an annotated collection of their 20 unforgettable issues to be released in a single bound 500-page retrospective.
"[Misprint] was always supposed to be a funny thing we did in our spare time," reflects Keplesky. "What's amazing, though, is that the book pretty well documents the changes that happened in town during those six years. Not all of the jokes make sense anymore, but anyone who lived here will appreciate it."
Come enjoy all the humor and the hair at The 6th Annual Misprint Beard & Moustache Competition on Saturday at Mohawk starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online through their website.