Some six years ago, brothers Nick and Zeke Callanan, along with some selectively hirsute friends, got together at a local bar and realized, in the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “I look good.” And, deciding to share their love of lip whiskers with the world, they, further summoning the Burgundy spirit, announced, “Everyone come in here and see how good I look!”
And thus the Stache Pag was born.
Now entering its sixth year, Portland’s Mustache Pageant and Film Festival, taking place on Friday at Port City Music Hall, is a glorious celebration of all things upper-lipular for mustache wearers, mustache enthusiasts and, for the second year in a row, fans of movies about mustaches, with a 40-minute short film festival of mustache-related films from all over the world.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 day of the event and $20 for VIP treatment, including early entry, reserved seating, a goodie bag and a private bar. For information and to purchase tickets, visit stachepag.com or portcitymusichall.com.
I spoke with Nick, Zeke and their producing partner Connie Pacillo from Portland’s Creative Content Partners (creativecontentpartners.com) about the Stache Pag, this year’s film festival and the state of the union, mustache-wise.
OK, quick: What’s the current best mustache on TV or movies?
Connie: Ron Swanson (on “Parks and Recreation,” played by Nick Offerman). Plus, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his name’s Nick.
Nick: Wait, does he not have a full beard, because he nicked himself shaving? Sorry. Also, Will Ferrell does a great job in “Anchorman,” and his website Funny or Die does some great work with mustache promotion. Sadly, what’s missing from the realm of cinema these days are Westerns, which were always a great pool of mustaches to swim in, so to speak.
Zeke: Agreed on Nick Offerman. He exemplifies all the glory of the everyday mustached man. A lot of actors have given the ‘stache a shady character – we have to bring back the guys who look natural in a ‘stache.
How about all-time?
Zeke: (Burt) Reynolds and (Tom) Selleck, obviously, but I pick Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (2007). It’s a specific character, a sinister character – he totally pulls off the role and ‘stache. You can tell he’s been growing it for the perfect amount of time.
Nick: We’ve seen some really good ones in our little film festival, but Charlie Chaplin deserves a lot of respect. As far as his likeness to that evil guy – he didn’t know what was gonna happen. He just chose an unfortunate style, historically speaking.
Connie: Clark Gable.
Mustaches are more often than not grown nowadays by actors to indicate that they’re backwards in some way (Jack Black in “Bernie,” Matt Damon in “The Informant!”) How can we redeem the ‘stache?
Zeke: It’s at the studio level – they’re not doing movies with mustached-Americans in the lead. It’s the white men in the little room. There’s a level of commitment implied in a mustache. Not just commitment to marriage and life choices, but to that ‘stache as well.
Nick: There’s not enough attention on the average mustached man on the street that’s making a lot of difference in America.
Connie: Women looked at the mustache as just rogueish; now they’re seeing it as responsible.
What impact do you feel the pageant/festival has had?
Connie: Well, there was a mayoral proclamation that the last Friday in March is Mustache Appreciation Day.
Nick: I will say the two hours before the mustache contest starts, that moment where there’s 40 guys competing, checking each other out – there’s a camaraderie. Gay fashion designers mixing with Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, there’s a greater sense of acceptance. If we had something to do with it, great, but it’s a wicked good time.
Zeke: We’re connectors. It’s a joy to see the event grow from what we thought was a gathering of friends to a regionally celebrated event.
Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.