Lip warmers, living oracles and members only

by Chris Aaland

At some point Saturday night, the razor appeared. The beard I’ve sported since July miraculously disappeared, red and gray trimmings littering the sink. For the first time in nearly 20 years, a guy with a mustache peered back at me from the mirror.

Men and their facial hair have weird relationships. Like many of my brothers in arms, I’ve bounced back and forth from clean-shaven to fully bearded to goatee-sporting with regularity. Is it boredom? Rebellion? Laziness? Superstition? All of the above?

Since I work in intercollegiate athletics, I’ll look to the sporting world for answers. Hockey players stop shaving once the postseason begins. By the time the Stanley Cup is lifted each June, nearly every player looks like he’s been stuck in an Alaskan fishing camp for months. Brian Wilson of the newly crowned World Champion San Francisco Giants wears the feared beard that spawned a thousand clones at AT&T Park. I, too, have fallen victim to hirsute habits once the chase for postseason hardware begins. In 1999, I began growing a beard for Fort Lewis College’s run through the NCAA men’s soccer playoffs. I did the same thing for other Skyhawk playoff pushes.

Thus, with the FLC women’s soccer team climbing the national rankings (they reached No. 3 in this week’s poll) and clinching their first-ever conference regular-season title, I considered my options. How could I grow a playoff beard when I’ve had one the entire season? The answer was simple: reverse the trend. So on the eve of Halloween, it all came off — all of it except for a porn-star quality mustache, ’70s-style sideburns and a cheesy dollop of a soul patch.

My wife hates it. My 3-year-old, Otto, isn’t too keen on the idea, either. But it’s my face. Coming up with a nickname for it seems to be the next step. The French Tickler? The Dirty Sanchez? I’m neither French nor Spanish. How about Thor’s Hammer? The Red-Headed Stranger? Caterpillar Rojo? Catchy, one and all. What I can tell you is that it’s the best lip-warmer since the Muffin Man busted out his own Dirk Diggler at Lady Falconburgh’s earlier this summer.

So with a little bit of The Captain in me, I’ll hold my head proud this weekend at the 2010 RMAC women’s soccer championships knowing that Shelly’s Bic Lady Twin disposable razor will bring luck to the home side. The Skyhawks, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, play at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Dirks Field. The championship is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Durango has celebrated facial hair for years in the form of the Snowdown Beard Growing Competition. I actually witnessed these shenanigans firsthand, as my little brother, Billy, entered last year’s competition. If you “Got Beer’d,” then show up to Carvers at 8 p.m. Friday for the official kickoff of the growing season. You’ll need to arrive at the back pub completely clean-shaven to have your mug shot taken as proof you didn’t get a head start. Then on Thurs., Feb. 3, the furriest of lads will be judged in such categories as best color, longest beard, best “Wolfman” and greatest beer absorption beard. Durango’s own hairy bluegrassers, Wild Mountain, will entertain. Being an equal-opportunity brew pub, Carvers will also host a best leg-hair competition for the ladies. This year’s Snowdown theme is monster- related: “Snowdown Bites.”

Speaking of hairy, bearded dudes, Michael Martin Murphey performs a Veteran’s tribute concert tonight (Thurs., Nov. 4) at the VFW Historic Mancos Opera House. Best known for his signature tune, “Wildfire,” and seminal albums like “Geronimo’s Cadillac” and “Blue Sky - Night Thunder,” Murphey has championed cowboy songs in recent years and dabbled in Western, bluegrass and other country sub-genres. Will-call opens at 6 p.m.

The Mancos Opera House also hosts theatrical Tarot card readings – yes, you read that right – from 6 - 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Six Living Oracles will be dressed in full costume and such characters as the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, the Hanged Man, the Sun and Moon, etc. Cost is $5 with a three-card maximum.

Don’t miss KSUT’s annual members-only silent auction, held at the Ska Brewing World Headquarters from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. In the long line of great fund-raisers and social gatherings, the auction includes such public radio favorites as music, collectibles, trips, ski packages and much more. Admission includes complimentary eats by Durangourmet and tasty Ska suds.

Native American singer, songwriter, actor, educator and lecturer Joanne Shenandoah will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday. A Grammy Award and 12-time Native American Music Award-winning artist, Shenandoah has emerged as the most critically acclaimed Native American singer of her time.

This week’s Summit lineup is highlighted by the Marinade Band on Thursday. This group features the talented Talia Keys on drums and vocals. Her drumming has been compared to that of Levon Helm. Friday finds Eric Keifer doing an acoustic happy hour from 6 - 9 p.m. and DJ Two Tone with a live visual artist at 10 p.m. Telluride’s Joint Point plays at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, while DJ Double D hosts the weekly karaoke and gong show at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The Starlight’s entertainment this week includes Salsa Night with DJ Dario and free dance lessons at 8 p.m. tonight, dancing with DJ Double D at 9 p.m. Friday, a CD release party for Diabolical Sound Platoon at 9 p.m. Saturday, and live music by Kentucky Deluxe at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Elsewhere: Waiting on Trial is at this week’s Ska-B-Q tonight in Bodo Park; the Miserabillies play a fund-raiser for the Vallecito Nordic Ski Club from 6-8 p.m. tonight at the Lost Dog; Black Velvet does the Diamond Belle Saloon on Friday and Saturday nights; and Durango DOT Comedy performs live improv at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Durango Arts Center.

This week’s Top Shelf list recognizes the Olympic medalists of sports mustaches:

- Gold: George Parros, enforcer for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Ivy League-educated and the son of a Toys-R-Us executive, Parros’ stache is championship-caliber.

- Silver: Lanny McDonald, NHL Hall of Famer. Yosemite Sam has nothing on the former Colorado Rockies right winger.

- Bronze: Rollie Fingers, MLB Hall of Famer. Ah, the handlebar! ï®

You been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long? E-mail me at



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