Cincinnati Goes Mustache Crazy For All-Star Game


As baseball’s All-Star Game approaches, the city of Cincinnati has gotten in the spirt in part by decorating its downtown with eight-foot handlebar mustache benches. Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds — originally the “Red Stockings” — were a team full of mustachioed players, and the city’s new decor reflects that heritage.

Huge mustache-shaped benches scattered around downtown Cincinnati, Ohio will help get guests in the spirit of things as the city plays host to the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 14th. The Reds, the team hosting this year’s big game, went mustache crazy to promote the team, the sport and the city.

Along with the 8-foot, 850-pound handlebar mustache benches decorated in a variety of styles, the team is promoting a mustache-focused logo and otherwise advertising that baseball and mustaches were once so intertwined it would take an experienced barber an afternoon to make sense of it all. City skycrapers near the baseball stadium are getting in the act, too. Already the nearby Scripps Center features an imposing mustache and old-timey baseball cap at the top of the building. Nearby another landmark tower will feature a 30-foot projection of a historic mustachioed player.

Mustaches absolutely dominated baseball in the late 1800s, as exemplified by John Ward of the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. Sadly, by 1895 mustaches had fallen out of fashion, and were essentially vanished by the early 1900s.

There once was a time when playing baseball mustacheless was unheard of. Nose neighbors dominated the sport’s facial fashions in the late 1800s before abruptly vanishing by the 1910s — save for the outlying team manager. Some say batters with mustaches interfered with the pitcher’s concentration. Others said the pitcher’s mustache was at fault, mesmerizing otherwise talented and focused batters. The players formed an agreement that none would wear mustaches during the regular season. At first, mustache-enamored fans revolted, only gradually re-warming to the game we know today as America’s national pastime.


Getting That Gatsby Facial Hair Look for Halloween

A compendium of whisker wisdom on Flickr can help you find the look you're after for a perfect historic Halloween costume.

A compendium of whisker wisdom on Flickr can help you find the look you’re after for a perfect historic Halloween costume.

For those looking to dress up for Halloween, nothing says class like an old-time mustache, especially for historical costumes. The Internet is a trove of useful information on the subject, including tips for Gatsby-esque looks. Key: very well manicured hair, slicked back on top with pomade to the point of looking wet.

Handlebar mustaches were en vogue in the time of The Great Gatsby, the 1920s, curled at the ends like the classic villain, but even the protagonists were doing it then. Absolutely no stubble. As barber shops were starting to get professional and standardized in the ’20s, men frequently had their hair trimmed and beards professionally shaved with a straight razor — all except that classy ‘stache, of course.

Looking for some visual inspiration? Check out this great Flickr photo collection of facial hair from the 1840s to the 1920s, with styles from conservative to outlandish, even comical. You’re sure to find something to help you create the look you’re after.


Shark Tank Makes a Photo Booth Deal

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Shark Tank stars, from left, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary goof off in a Pink Shutter brand photo booth on the ABC hit reality show about venture capital investments. Corcoran and John’s fun with Whisker Works props made it on air!

Whisker Works props helped loosen up the business moguls of the Shark Tank, ABC’s hit TV show, thanks to our friends at Pink Shutter Photo Booths, a national photo booth company based in Los Angeles. The show featuring Pink Shutter aired May 10th and can be seen at

Business interest skyrocketed after the show aired, said Lance Yabut, co-founder and CEO of Pink Shutter. “It’s been astronomical. We’ve had $4 million in franchise inquiries since then.” It came as something of a surprise, he said, because going into the show taping, which happened about 8 months ago, he was focused on the business, not fame. “Meeting some famous people? I didn’t really care about that, but improving my business, I cared about that part.”

Pink Shutter started simply enough — with inspiration from Lance’s own wedding. He said he hired a photo booth company to help make the event memorable for his guests, using a “friend of a friend of a friend,” as he put it. “It was OK, but it took an hour and a half to set it up, and we thought, ‘We can make a better mouse trap than this!'”

That was about two years ago. He and fellow founder Tom Kanemoto, the company’s COO, bought what they needed and ventured into the business for themselves. “We thought we could go out and do this and just make some extra money, and the demand was just astronomical,” Yabut said. “People forced us to expand!”

Their presentation to the moguls on Shark Tank wasn’t without the typical tension, as they made their case to a room of potential investors for why Pink Shutter was worthy of investment capital. The duo invited the Sharks to grab some silly props from a display next to their booth and see why their customers were so happy. “They were stiff until they got into it (the booth),” he said of the Sharks. “They actually had fun!”

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Daymond John flashes a “Tease” smile, one of’s most popular photo props.

That’s where Whisker Works got its cameo — Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran mugged with a “Gentleman” mustache while fellow Shark Daymond John clowned around with a pink “Tease” smile, as they also donned brightly-colored sunglasses and hats. It was a lively scene as the shutter snapped, and the normally reserved group couldn’t hide their big smiles.

“Props are great,” Yabut said, “but with our photo booths, just the way they’re designed, we have people use themselves for props, too. Props are things a lot of clients want, though.” He said part of the change in Pink Shutter’s business is how they use those props. Instead of renting out the props, as they have been, they’re now going to sell them to their customers. “They get to keep them,” he said.

Ultimately Corcoran, the lone female on the venture capitalist panel, offered a deal they couldn’t refuse, but that was just the beginning. “Since then we’ve been working with her,” Yabut said. “We’re still in negotiations. That’s part of the process. There’s due diligence. We want to make sure everyone’s happy.”

Corcoran’s business advisers with The Corcoran Group have helped give Pink Shutter a push in a new direction that’s fundamentally changing his business, Yabut said. “We’re focusing more on expansion and franchising. Our plan was to open up 50 offices across the United States that were going to be our offices. That was our initial business plan, what we were going to do with or without the Sharks. Since then, our business plan is focusing on franchising.” Of The Corcoran Group’s business advice, he said, “They want to focus more on repetitive business.”

Though dollars and cents are at the core of the business relationship between Pink Shutter and the Shark Tank, Yabut said he’s still enjoying the photo booth business, even with more customer demand than he’s ever seen. “We’re having a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a ton of fun.”

Check out Pink Shutter Photo Booths at and see Shark Tank at Whisker Works mustaches and lips are available at

Resolving the Ice-breaker Dilemma

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task — reason enough for the wedding planning industry’s very existence. The amount of details to handle, and associated options, is boggling. One item that might not come to mind immediately, if at all, but makes a huge difference in your wedding’s overall feel, is how well the guests interact with each other at the reception.

Just like with any good party — and this advice does apply to them as well — thinking ahead about who will naturally interact with whom is important, if not critical.  The social butterflies aren’t the issue; your challenge is to figure out how to make everyone else mingle and loosen up in unfamiliar company. Imagine the almost inherent awkwardness of introducing a bride and groom’s parents to each other for the first time. Now scale that up to entire extended families and circles of friends.

There are a few tricks of the trade that work wonders in encouraging intermingling of mixed groups — not the least of which is an open bar. In-person introductions by a common bond, such as the bride introducing her sister to the groom’s sister, are ideal, but when a wedding includes scores if not hundreds of guests, there’s no practical way that can happen with everyone.

You’ll notice that there are common wedding traditions that are handled by a wedding planner or DJ, such as announcing the wedding party at the reception, and announcing planned toasts. Breaking with tradition, though, can really spice things up in a memorable way that leaves your guests smiling days later.

A friend of mine who married recently got the guests out of their chairs quickly, dancing, chatting and laughing, with a gift basket of glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets, along with an assortment of feather boas and hats, delivered just as the music cranked up. Those party favors proved quite the ice-breaker. My own wedding to founder Amber also brings up fond memories.

Silly ideas can help loosen up even the stiffest guests!

An assortment of silly mustaches on sticks at our own wedding were a big hit — bringing guests together and breaking the ice. It also gave me and my beautiful bride Amber the gift of delightful photographs on old disposable cameras to keep as mementos!

Back then, before the “mustache factory” we report to every day was even a glimmer in our eyes, Amber used what was a simple idea, making a home-made mustache and putting it on a stick, as a fun way to get strangers to interact. She set up a display with an assortment of handmade clay mustaches in a vase near the entrance to our reception site, along with a few disposable cameras. People like playing with those old manual-winding cameras anyway, which when paired with the inherent silliness of a fake mustache, helped our guests loosen up, smile at total strangers and goof off.

More than three years later, that same simple ice-breaker idea has helped delight literally thousands of people at group gatherings of all types. Weddings, just like big parties, offer people, even when dressed to the nines, the opportunity to loosen up and have fun in good company. The more you treat it like a party and plan for breaking the ice between strangers, odds are, the more fun guests will have.

Air Force Acknowledges Mustache March Legend

The annual rite of facial hair abandon known as “Mustache March” may be officially and technically over for the year, but it’s still going strong in spirit, and on the faces of proud deniers now deep into Mustache Mapril revelry.

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside clean-shaven comes the revelation that the U.S. Air Force, or at least one unit within it, released a video acknowledging the existence of Mustache March and the official connection between the military branch and the now simultaneously beloved and reviled tradition.

Check out the Air Force Mustache March video at

It’s still Mustache Mapril for two more weeks, to be followed by Mustache May, Mune, Muly, Maugust, Meptember, Moctober, Movember (recognized outside fanatic circles), Mecember, Manuary and Mebruary. Bear in mind that for those ashamed to have shaved “prematurely,” still shamelessly supports mustache junkies with prosthetics that may actually outshine what you were, are or believe to be capable of growing yourself.

End of a Presidential Mustache Legacy

President William Howard Taft may not have known it, but when he left office in March 2013, he took the presidential mustache with him.

President William Howard Taft may not have known it, but when he left office in March 2013, he took the presidential mustache with him. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)

America bid farewell to mustaches in the Oval Office 100 years ago this month with the departure of President William Howard Taft, the nation’s last leader to sport facial hair of any kind while in office. As a bellwether of national trends, presidential styles help establish what is acceptable, popular and admirable.

America has long held men of mustachioed magnificence in high regard, some of them celebrated to this day. Take Taft’s predecessor, President Theodore Roosevelt, the adventuring man’s man, legendary in his horseback-riding and gun-slinging, love of hunting and of wild lands. Once shot in the abdomen immediately before a scheduled campaign speech, Roosevelt famously opted to forgo hospitalization to deliver 90 minutes of oratory, bleeding through his shirt as he spoke. He clearly was a man who lived the philosophy, “with great mustache comes great responsibility.”

Albert Einstein, a man whose mind single-handedly advanced the course of civilization, too found might in a nose neighbor. Eccentric painter Salvador Dali, with his famed upside-down handlebar mustache, and Charlie Chaplain, renown silent-film comic star, both delighted the public in part through mustachery. Later on, “talkie” actor Tom Selleck wielded his own mustache against criminal scum in a T-top Ferrari.

Geraldo Rivera, a rare modern mustachioed professional, carries on the tradition of fashionable, high-profile mustaches with his broad, bold statement of shaving defiance. Each of these men deserves a plastic mustache in their honor. You’ll find them at Geraldo’s and Dali’s will be easy to find — and Tom Selleck’s, well, that’s “The Captain.”

Think you can find the rest?

April Fools Day — 2,500 Years of Tomfoolery

The tradition of silliness that is April Fools Day offers a welcome opportunity to eschew seriousness.

The tradition of silliness that is April Fools Day offers a welcome opportunity to eschew seriousness.

April Fools Day takes different names and forms, but the concept of a day of pranks and silliness has been around for centuries — possibly dating back to 536 BC. Iranians treat the 13th day of the Persian new year, which falls on April 1 or 2, as a holiday for pranking familiar to much of the western world. Called Sizdah Be-dar, the holiday is focused mostly on celebrating the start of the spring season, but among its traditions is prankery.

Similar traditions are celebrated throughout the world, including in Belgium, Italy, France and French-speaking Canada, where it’s common to attach paper fish to victims’ backs surreptitiously as a joke. References to the day in these nations make direct reference to fish, such as “Pesce d’Aprile” in Italian.

Traditions vary, including the extreme practice in Belgian Flemish culture of children locking their parents out of their homes with a demand of treats in exchange for entry. Light-heartedness, though, is typically the order of the day. What better way to inspire merriment than to cavort about with a perpetual smile, a la “The Tease,” or a big silly inspector’s mustache and monocle? Check ’em out at, where there’s a 20% off sale through the end of March.

However you celebrate April 1, have fun!