Two special events on Saturday – one with distinguished whiskers, the other with music of love – will benefit two special charities.
The second annual “Beard, Mustache and Facial Hair Competition” by the South Carolina Beard Club – Myrtle Beach, will support Sea Haven for Youth – Emergency Crisis Services in Little River. The face-off in facial hair starts at 8 p.m. at Rockin’ Hard Saloon, 3352 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet.
The Sons of Italy Grand Strand Lodge 2868 of Socastee will welcome back crooner Aaron Caruso for a dinner concert to score extra funds for Special Olympics. That affair goes 6-11 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 101 Fantasy Harbour Blvd., just west of Myrtle Beach and along the Intracoastal Waterway, off U.S. 501 and George Bishop Parkway.
Contest in hair length, design
William Best, president of the local beard club, said the inaugural Grand Strand competition last year drew about 75 participants, with many from cities across the Carolinas, including Charleston, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, as well as Virginia. He credited the Myrtle Beach club’s founder, Wayne Mincey, with coordinating this competition, which resembles others in the region to raise awareness for charitable causes, an element “consistent with all these clubs,” Best said.
Best said Mincey also started the partnership to help Sea Haven, which assists individuals ages 13-21. The 2014 competition raised $900 for the entity, Best said, thanks to registrants, raffles of items from local sponsors, and audience members paying admission.
This competition spans various categories, for folks with mustaches and beards, or one or the other: Natural Stache, Styled Stache, Sideburns/Chops, Full Beard with Styled Stache, Goatee, Whaler/Donegal, Partial Beard, Business Beard, Freestyle, Full Beard Under 8 Inches, and Full Beard Over 8 Inches,
Women also are welcome, with divisions for Whiskerina Realistic, with use of their own hair, and Whiskerina Creative.
“One lady,” Best said, “had hair so long in the back, she brought it around and made one twist, and that was her mustache.”
In other competitions where Best has attended and competed, he’s floored by the freestyle entrants, where he said “these guys who have a lot of facial hair can manipulate it into designs ... where you see something out of the ordinary.”
Best called his beard “full beard natural,” without “any products in my beard,” and in July in Raleigh, he finished in first place with his full beard in the under-6-inches category.
Simply getting together with clubs marks a win in multiple ways for everyone involved, Best said.
“I enjoy it for the camaraderie,” the motorcyclist said, also drawing a parallel to ‘families’ of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, “and for the purpose of raising money for charities. You won’t meet a nicer group of people. They have a common passion.”
Asked about a referral in the original “Miracle on 34th Street” movie, from 1947, where Kris Kringle, played by Edmund Gwenn, is asked by roommate Fred Gailey (John Payne), if he sleeps with his beard under or outside the sheets, Best echoed Santa.
“I sleep with mine out,” Best said.
Spreading ‘the Italian gospel’
Calling Monday from Dayton, Ohio, where he entertained for another Sons of Italy function, Caruso said he has enjoyed every festival he’s played in the Myrtle Beach, so at the invitation of a friend known from New York, he’s honored to return for this night out for dinner and dancing.
Caruso said that in concert, “I generally tip my hat to Mario Lanza,” a 1950s star who’s “kind of like my idol.”
Blending Andrea Bocelli and Michael Buble, but more the former, Caruso said, “it’s not like a typical night at the opera,” because “I throw in a couple of arias” along with classical Broadway and Italian staples.
A resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., Caruso needs no convincing that Italian heritage is part of American culture, a fabric that’s deeper “in more ways than we know,” also around the world.
Even in Tibet, where Caruso said residents might never have heard of “Happy Birthday,” they know “O Sole Mio.” He said that classic was written in Neapolitan, which is “not a dialect,” but “a literary language.”
“A lot of people,” Caruso said, “don’t realize that a lot of these songs were written in Neapoliatn, a separate language.”
Other songs Caruso delights in delivering on stage include “Nessun Dorma,” which was “Luciano Pavarotti’s “anthem, if you will,” and Lanza’s “Be My Love,” a “million-seller pop song” also played on jukeboxes, “but it was a semi-classical tune the way he did it.”
Caruso still can’t believe more than a year has passed since the death of comedienne Joan Rivers, for whom he treasured the honor of opening for many shows.
Whether seeing her backstage or in interviews, Caruso said, “she was always on,” and in front of audiences live or on television, she played her role so well.
“She was a nice, kind, sweet woman,” he said, describing her “human side” and praising her knowing that she always played to “an educated, cultured audience.”
Caruso never forgot her trust in him with doing “a little bit of what I call comedy” among his music, and with her encouragement “to do all the comedy you want.” He said she said her warmup artists was usually a comedian or a singer, and she told him, “You gave me both.”
With every concert, Caruso said, “I spread the Italian gospel,” to keep the music fresh for generations to come, helping to save “the Italian culture one song at a time.”
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
‘An Evening with Aaron Caruso’ concert and dinner
‘An Evening with Aaron Caruso’ concert and dinner
BY: Sons of Italy Grand Strand Lodge 2868 of Socastee (www.sonsofitalymb.com)
BENEFITING: Special Olympics (www.specialolympics.org), letting people with intellectual disabilities share in the joy of sports
WHEN: 6-11 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 101 Fantasy Harbour Blvd., just west of Myrtle Beach and along the Intracoastal Waterway, off U.S. 501 and George Bishop Parkway
HOW MUCH: $45
INFORMATION: 843-655-1636, and www.aaroncaruso.com
Second annual ‘Beard, Mustache and Facial Hair Competition’
BY: South Carolina Beard Club – Myrtle Beach
BENEFITING: Sea Haven for Youth – Emergency Crisis Services, helping individuals ages 13-21 and based at 3892 S.C. 9 E., Little River (843-399-4045, 843-399-3125 or www.seahaveninc.com)
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Rockin’ Hard Saloon, 3352 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet (843-299-0319 or rhsmb.com)
▪ $10 general admission to see
▪ $20 to compete – enter on site (doors open 6:30 p.m.)
INFORMATION: Email firstname.lastname@example.org