Once Halloween is over, you might notice many guys in San Francisco starting to sprout moustaches. No, they're not trying to stay warm or prepare for hibernation. Nor are they paying homage to Tom Selleck or Johnny Depp. Their facial hair has more significance than that: It identifies them as members of Movember, an international campaign in November to spark conversations about and awareness of men's health.
During Movember (which comes from "moustaches" plus "November"), men nurture and preen their moustaches, solicit sponsors for their whiskers and serve as 3-D, live, poster guys for subjects such as getting regular check-ups, leading healthy lifestyles and screening for prostate and testicular cancers and other health risks. Money raised in the U.S. goes to programs run by Movember, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which was formed in 1997 by cycling star Lance Armstrong to provide support services to people with cancer.
The annual Movember, which was conceived in Australia in 2003 and had its U.S. debut in 2007, has been attracting more buzz and more moustache-growers (dubbed "Mo Bros") each year in the socially-conscious San Francisco Bay Area. Co-workers and friends band together to monitor moustache progress, swap grooming tips and think up fun fundraisers. In 2012, the Bold Italic, a San Francisco online magazine, made Movember the beneficiary of its annual men's fashion show in early November. The winner of the November 10 Red Bull Flugtag ("flying day") competition here was a Movember-themed crew from the Bay Area (it beat more than 30 other US contestants by launching its human-powered flying machine off a high ramp and "flying" 54 feet before plunging into McCovey Cove). At ad agency Pereira & O'Dell, the Movember team hosted a bake sale of moustache-shaped cookies--and also implanted some facial hair in the company logo and changed its SoMa office sign and its Facebook page to promote the campaign.
Movember has boomed globally, too. In 2011, about 854,290 Mo Bros and their female allies ("Mo Sistas") around the world raised $126.3 million for the cause--up from 255,720 Movember-ites and $42.3 million in 2009. It's an official movement in countries including Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa. Airlines like British Airways and Qantas have even jumped aboard and painted moustaches on a few of their jets.
You needn't grow a moustache or know a Mo Bro to support men's health. Just go to any Movember parties or celebrations, which are meant to be open, slightly silly and raise some money, and are generally alcohol-lubricated. Here are some of the 2012 Movember events in San Francisco:
Mustache Madness at Hotel Adagio
Through November 30
The logo of the hotel’s Mortimer lounge is a top-hatted, moustached, monocle-wearing gentleman, so it’s only fitting that on “Mustache Mondays” (every Monday of the month), $1 from each of the three special “Movember” cocktails sold goes to the cause.
A “Get ‘Stached and Give Back” package, starting at $289 per night, includes an Art of Shaving travel kit and two Movember cocktails, and 10 percent of the room rate is donated to Mustaches for Kids San Francisco, a volunteer organization in which mustache-growers raise money for school projects and charities that benefit kids.
At Hotel Adagio, 550 Geary St., San Francisco 94102
Sweet Movember Guest-Bartends at Rye
November 14, at 6-8 pm
The Sweet Movember team goes behind the bar to mix drinks, though it notes that “real bartenders” will be on hand to make anything complicated. The team has sweetly persuaded Rye to donate tips and all proceeds from a special Sweet Movember cocktail. There’ll be Movember & Yelp give-aways.
At Rye, 688 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102. Free.
Movember Halfway There Party
November 15, at 6-9 pm
Fifteen days of moustache-growing down, 15 to go. Drinks, raffle prizes, music by the band Worth Taking, and a contest for the Best Halfway There Moustache.
At 330 Ritch, 330 Ritch St., San Francisco 94107. Sliding scale donation $5-50.
Tonic Happy Hour
November 16, at 6-9 pm
Mo Bros act as guest bartenders and serve Mo-themed cocktails. All tips will go to Movember.
At Tonic, 2360 Polk St., San Francisco 94109. Free.
Hult Students Movember Fashion Show
November 16, at 9:30 pm (doors open 9 pm)
Hult International Business School students walk a runway in urban fashions made by local designers, and a DJ spins music until 2 am. Ticket proceeds go to Movember.
At Monroe, 473 Broadway St., San Francisco 94133. Tickets $10.
Movember Mustache Scavenger Hunt
November 17, at 1-4:30 pm
You’ll learn all sorts of things about Union Square during this 90-minute scavenger hunt that entails photo clues, checkpoints, scampering, booze and awards. Come as a team of 2 to 6 players. Mustaches and drinks provided.
At the Hideaway, 291 Ellis St., San Francisco 94102. Registration $30-50.
Doc's Clock Movember Happy Hour
November 27, at 6-9 pm
During these happy three hours, 50 percent of bar sales will be donated to Movember.
At Doc's Clock, 2575 Mission St., San Francisco 94110. Free.
Wattle Creek Boys’ Mo Party
November 28, at 5-7 pm
Sip wines and nosh on appetizers from McCormick and Kuleto's. Proceeds go toward prostate cancer research.
Wattle Creek Winery, 900 Northpoint St., Suite E-211, San Francisco 94109. Admission $10.
Mustache Gracias Movember Bash
November 28, at 6-11 pm
Music by The Soonest and The Shanklys, a raffle, door prizes, and of course admiring of moustaches, arranged by the Mustache Gracias team. All proceeds go to Movember.
At Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St., San Francisco 94107. Cover $5.
San Francisco Gala Parté
November 29, at 8 pm-1 am
In cities around the world, Movember ends with “gala partes” to thank the Mo Bros and Sistas. Parade in your finest moustache (real or fake) and Movember costume. Judging at 9:30 pm for contests for Best Mo in Character, Miss Movember, and Man of Movember 2012.
At Ruby Skye, 420 Mason St., San Francisco 94102. Tickets $10.
Movember Moustache Bash
November 30, at 8 pm-12 am
A deal of a party: Drinks, refreshments, a DJ, fire dancers and stick-on ‘staches for women, topped off with free shaves at midnight! You can choose whether your ticket-donation goes to Movember generally or to an individual Mo Bro’s fundraising drive.
At 2926 Laguna St., San Francisco 94123. Ticket-donation $20 minimum. Ages 21+.