It might seem impossible to celebrate both No Shave November and the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, but Cincinnati natives Julia and Anna Hider have just the solution.
Their blog-turned-book Badass Civil War Beards showcases the best facial hair the war had to offer, from the most recognized politicians to unidentified soldiers. There are many aspects of 1860s America that have thankfully vanished over the last century-and-a-half, but today’s modern man can learn plenty from the epic facial styles of Union and Confederate soldiers.
CityBeat recently sat down with Julia and Anna Hider to discuss their new book and all things beard related.
CityBeat: Where did you get the idea for the blog?
Julia Hider: I was watching a History Channel documentary about the Lincoln assassination, and I just noticed that everybody had crazy facial hair, and so I texted Anna and I said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna write a blog about this, will you go set one up?’ and she did. And she picked out the name and…here we are!
CB: Did it take off pretty quickly?
Anna Hider: I just have a personal Tumblr for stupid pictures, like dogs and stuff. We started getting followers pretty quickly, I was kind of surprised — there are obviously lots of people on Tumblr that have more followers than us, but I was surprised by the history fandom — I guess you would say — of Tumblr, and how many history nerds there are on there.
CB: Even though you were at different schools [Ohio State and Syracuse], did you collaborate on it the whole time?
AH: We each did one post a day.
CB: And how did it get on BuzzFeed?
AH: I did that! But the thing is, it was a community post, but it made it on the front page of buzzfeed.com
JH: So Anna just wrote it.
AH: And I just sent it out on the Internet.
JH: And the community editors liked it, so they promoted it to the front of the community page, then I guess more editors saw it and liked it and so they put it on the front page of Buzzfeed, which is impressive for a community post.
AH: It was like the first time they had done anything like that, so I’m like, ‘This is easy.’ It was actually my second Buzzfeed [post]; my first one was called, “9 Giant Rocks That Look Like Willies.”
JH: I really think Buzzfeed helped us get the [book] deal.
CB: And what made you want to turn it into a book?
JH: I first thought of it as a coffee table book, but I switched to the blog because it’s easier to do. But I was on Tumblr one day and saw that Chronicle...
AH: It’s like the biggest indie book publisher.
JH: ...out of San Francisco, I saw that they were having a contest and they were looking for the next Tumblr blog to turn into a book, and they wanted to have this contest so we entered it. And we didn’t win, but we got shortlisted, and that’s how we got it out there that we were interested in publishing a book, but we didn’t get the book deal for another year.
AH: It hasn’t even been a year, it was like mid-November of last year.
CB: Was it hard turning it into a book?
JH: Not really because we had a lot of stuff to draw on. When I write an everyday post, I normally find [photos] on Wikipedia because it’s easier to click through and you find one person, and that links to another person, and that links to another person…But we went through the Library of Congress to write the book, so all the pictures are from the Library and you can have the rights to those because they’re over 150 years old.
AH: And they’re in the public domain. There are tons that we had never seen before, like unidentified soldiers, doing weird stuff. There were two guys holding pipes up to each other, and we’re like, ‘We had never seen this before. This is incredible.’
JH: There’s a good mix of stuff that was popular on the blog or stuff that we really liked, and there’s also a good amount of new stuff, too.
CB: If you had to pick a side, who had better beards? The North or the South?
AH: This one constantly torments me, because I know people are going to ask this. I want to say the Confederates, but it’s probably the Union.
JH: I feel like it has to be the Union because they were more urban and cosmopolitan.
AH: And they had Ambrose Burnside, they had Abe Lincoln, they had tons of really creative stuff.
JH: The North just had way more people in general. I think that’s part of it.
CB: Do you think crazy beards like that will ever make a comeback?
JH: I think they kind of are.
CB: It’s kind of like the hipster look. Is it a bad thing, though?
AH: Of course not!
JH: You can express yourself through your facial hair.
AH: Everyone looks good in a beard.
CB: I’ve tried. Last year I did No Shave November and it was terrible.
CB: So do you have a most badass Civil War beard?
JH: I mean I really like Ambrose Burnside, but I also like when people tried to copy him. Sometimes it didn’t go so well. This one guy in the book, Gabriel Rains, it just doesn’t look good on him. It just looks bad.
AH: I really like Joe Revere, because he had a normal beard then he waxed it into like three points. I don’t know why you would do that, but he did and it looks really cool. Or Roswell Ripley, who just had the biggest mustache ever, and it’s kind of gross looking.
CB: Is there any other period of time where you think beards would rival [the Civil War]?
AH: Maybe caveman times.
JH: I think that’s really the only other time.
CB: But they couldn’t shave, so that’s really sort of unfair.
JH: You could sharpen a rock so it’s sharp enough to shave, right?
CB: So do you still post on the blog?
JH: Yea, I think it was important to keep posting because I didn’t want to make our followers feel like we had abandoned them because we were trying to write a book.
AH: It wouldn’t make sense to stop. We want more people to find out about it, and start growing beards of their own.
CB: Do you have any next steps, plans after this?
JH: We don’t have anything solid.
AH: But if we could write another book, it might be about ladies, like Badass Civil War Babes.
JH: Because we’ve been looking at guys’ faces every single day for almost three years, and I kind of get sick of it. I try to bring in ladies whenever I can, but it’s not that often. We’d like to give them some attention.
Julia and Anna Hider launch the release of Badass Civil War Beards tonight at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. For some inspiration on growing your own badass beard, check out their blog at badasscivilwarbeards.tumblr.com.
Charles Phoenix, the California pop culture humorist who came to Dayton Art Institute last night with his slide show of retro-Americana images, managed to find time to visit Cincinnati and take some photos in advance of his performance. He included them in his show.
He called Cincinnati Museum Center’s Union Terminal one of the most magnificent Art Deco structures in America and expressed shock when he learned Hamilton County voters just passed a tax levy to save it. “Who would ever want to tear that down?” he asked.
He also showed slides of the American Sign Museum and asked the Dayton audience if any had ever visited it. Few had and he said that the museum was well-known and well-regarded in Los Angeles, where he lives. He also raved about lunch at Terry’s Turf Club and praised its abundant collection of neon signs — though he observed not all were politically correct.
Phoenix said he thought Ohio was a veritable ripe orchard of retromania, and he wants to do his show in other Buckeye State cities besides Dayton. Cincinnati Museum Center/Union Terminal would seem a pretty perfect place for him to appear next.
Good late morning readers! After an absence last week it's good to be back. I found plenty of Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (If you're feeling as hopeless about the midterm election results as I am maybe some vocab will cheer you up? Eh. Not likely, but we can try!)
Best word in this weeks issue is proscenium, found in Garin Pirnia's piece about a super cool new music venue in OTR. On its own, proscenium sounds like a name of a body part (but I never trust my gut on these things; it's usually wrong).
proscenium: the stage of an ancient Greek or Roman theater; the plane separating the stage proper from the audience and including the arch and the curtain within it (n.)
In this issue: "They’ve since gutted the place, leaving the plaster proscenium with light-bulb rosettes as the only original intact interior memorabilia."
Next best word is lascivious, which sounds to me simultaneously sexy and creepy. It's in Rick Pender's review of Into the Woods, the fairytale mash-up at the Covedale Center that earned a Critic's Pick.
lascivious: characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton; tending to excite lustful desires (adj.)
In this issue: "Alessi also plays the lascivious Wolf." (Pender is referring to the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood here.) Hmm. The use of this word suddenly seems wrong, very wrong. It's insinuating all sorts of nasty....moving on.)
Ply is the next word that caught my eye. It's in "Battling Barriers," this week's cover story abut sex work in Cincinnati. But seriously, read this.
I momentarily mistook ply for pry, but both words have similar meanings.
ply (as a noun): a layer of fabric, wood or a strand of fiber.
ply (as a verb): to make multiple layers, to work at, to keep supplying or to keep asking questions.
In this issue: "They also point out that not all sex work happens on the streets and claim that the Internet has made it safer and more liberating for those who wish to ply the trade."
Next word is progenitors, in the Sound Advice column for Carcass, a Grindcore and Death Metal band. Whatever that is.
progenitor: a forefather; ancestor in direct line; a source from which something develops; originator or precursor (n.)
In this issue: "Any discussion on the origins of Grindcore and Death Metal absolutely has to include Carcass on the shortlist of the genres’ progenitors."
Diametrically is the last word. I feel that most people already know this one. I do, but four words doesn't seem enough today, so I'll throw it in here.
diametrically: along a diameter; designating an opposite, a contrary, a difference, etc. that is wholly so; complete: diametrical opposites (adj.)
Halloween is officially over and I have to say, this year’s costumes — both celebrity and normal humans — left a lot to be desired (and I’m not even going there with the Ray Rice costumes). In my book, a costume can be scary, funny or sexy, but it has to be clever, one-of-a-kind or really well-executed. Enough with the “I’m a mouse, duh” getups, already!
One star who slayed the costume game was Iggy Azalea. I-G-G-Y: I know I slammed you last week for your lackluster SNL performances, but you totally redeemed yourself. A little background first: There have been memes going around comparing Iggy to the Wayons Brothers in White Chicks — both because of her apparent cultural appropriation of the Dirty South and, well, because she kind of looks like them.
Iggs had the last laugh on Halloween, dressing up in an eerie White Chicks costume with a friend.
did a killer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.
Also, Riri’s back on Instagram!
It’s always sad when a holiday ends — except, of course election season. Let’s toast to the end of campaign ads and at least a decrease in asinine political Facebook posts. To this photobomber!
Benedict Cumberbatch is officially off the market, and he made the announcement in the most Charlotte way ever. If you’re wondering what that faint sound is, it’s a million CumberBitches’ hearts breaking simultaneously.
Kevin Spacey went on The Tonight Show on Halloween and proved once and for all that he is an acting god, via the Wheel of Impressions.
Did somebody say, “wish”? If you were hoping for a new Pee-wee Herman movie, well, Jambi has granted your wish. Paul Reubens is working with Judd Apatow for a reboot I can definitely get behind for once.
Another mega-Yoncé album is coming this month. The Platinum Edition will feature everything from Beyoncé, plus two new songs, 10 live performances from the On the Run Tour, four remixes and some other swag if you purchase a physical copy.
Watching ignorant politicians make fools of themselves on The Daily Show never ceases to amuse. But when said ignorant politician is the Butler County sheriff, that just makes it all the sweeter (Richard Jones and his epic 'stache come in around the one-minute mark, and again at 3:30).
You may know T-Pain from his Hip Hop hits rife with Auto-Tune. Surprisingly, dude can sing for real. And he can buy me a drank any day.
Brian Stuparyk is the owner of Steam Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-The-Rhine that’s been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since opening in 2011. The shop uses vintage letterpress machines, a medium widely used to print for hundreds of years up until around the mid-20th century.
Steam Whistle is now selling their main card line nationally after receiving great reception at New York’s National Stationery Show, and Stuparyk also was a runner-up in ArtWorks’ Big Pitch competition.
CityBeat: How did you originally become interested in letterpress?
Brian Stuparyk: I was originally a photographer, and as I saw everything becoming digital I became less interested in that and wanted to do something more authentic. I studied print media in graduate school, and I was interested in things like letterpress because it’s actually a print, rather than a print-out. I bought my first letterpress about 15 years ago.
CB: Do you remember the first print you made?
BS: I remember being at the supermarket right around the time I had bought that letterpress and I overheard these two older ladies talking about dissecting bull’s eyeballs in high school. One of them was sort of obsessed with the shiny blue stuff on the inside of the eyeball and said she had always just wanted a bathing suit like that. It was in my head when I got back home and so I made a print about it.
CB: So you can only print one card at once?
BS: Not only that, but I can only print one color on one card at once, and most of my cards have at least three colors. It’s a pretty labor-intensive process. That’s why it costs more than a Hallmark card printed in China.
CB: Sounds repetitive — how does it feel to go through the process? Is it meditative at times?
BS: Yeah, it can be meditative in a lot of ways. It’s run by foot, so standing on one leg like a flamingo all day is a little hard on the hips. But I’m only printing a couple hundred cards at a time right now, so it goes pretty quick. At maximum speed I can print about 600 in an hour, but that’s exhausting.
CB: You told ArtWorks that you love letterpress for the imperfections. Why is that and how does that relate to artistic value?
BS: Oh, I don’t know that it adds any artistic merit, but the flaws give it character that doesn’t come out of a machine. Being handmade, each card is unique. It definitely adds a certain authenticity to it because, you know, the color can even shift a little between prints.
CB: The medium is simply paper, ink and a press. How would you compare this to other forms of media like painting?
BS: It is very different. You might spend months working on a painting and then you only have one and it’s so precious, whereas with a print I make hundreds at a time. Maybe all together they’d be worth the same as a painting, but individually they’re that much more accessible. Not only one person can own it and it isn’t so precious that it needs to have this high price tag on it.
CB: Why did you choose Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati to open shop?
BS: If I’d moved to Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York, I would just be another letterpress guy doing more letterpress. But here in Cincinnati I’m the letterpress guy, and there’s a lot going on here.
CB: Many people say Warhol killed art by revolutionizing mass produced art via prints. Do you agree with that criticism?
BS: In terms of art, I don’t think so. Print has always been the democratic medium, something people should be able to afford. The reason etchings were made was to make reproductions of paintings people couldn’t afford, so it was always like that. I don’t know that he ruined something that wasn’t already stinking at the time.
CB: Since you were originally a photographer, do you think you might ever get into doing prints of your photography?
BS: Everyone’s a photographer now — everyone in the world has a cell phone. The world doesn’t need any more photographers. I think what’s charming about what I do is it’s authentic from the source. I’m not trying to take modern technology and shoehorn it into a letterpress the way a lot of people do now.
CB: Do you have a particular interest in vintage things beyond just letterpress?
BS: I definitely have an appreciation for well-made things, things that were built to last. When I get something, even in the modern age, I have a hard time not wanting it to last forever. The oldest press I’ve had was built in 1891, and if it’s well cared for it will literally last forever, and I think that’s what interests me.
For more information about STEAM WHISTLE LETTERPRESS, visit steamwhistlepress.com.
With Halloween coming up Friday, we’ve got lots of costumes to look forward to/dread: over-the-top celebrity ensembles, clever pop culture costumes, folks who didn’t get the memo that Halloween is not an excuse to be racist. But we get an awesome early costume from Paralympian Josh Sundquist. The athlete lost his left leg as a child and couldn’t be any better of a sport about it, as evidenced by his creative costumes year after year. This time around, he’s a foosball player.
Holy shit, Harry Potter can rap.
LeVar Burton has read countless books to children during his time on Reading Rainbow. But now, Burton just wants kids to Go the Fuck to Sleep.
Let’s talk about last week’s SNL. Jim Carrey hosted for the third time, this one in advance of
the upcoming Dumb and Dumber sequel (so help us, god). If you’re wondering why
the comedian never starred on the sketch comedy show, instead getting his big
break on In Living Color, he tried
— read more about his failed auditions here.
While the episode had its low points — more on musical guest Iggy Azalea later — Jim Carrey served up classic Jim Carrey insanity with plenty of physical humor, face-morphing impressions and even a walk down memory lane with his characters from the past 25 years. Best of all was his take on the weird Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ads.
Then there was Iggy Azalea. The musical guests so far this season have all catered toward a mostly younger audience, but that’s typically the case. And whether you’re sick of her faux Atlanta rap-cent or you still have “Fancy” as your ringtone, Iggy has churned out hit after hit over the past year and she should have been able to produce at least a mildly entertaining performance. But she did not. Both performances flat-lined, plagued with bad lip synching to less-than-stellar pre-recorded tracks, awkward quasi-dancing (you don’t have to have choreography just because you’re a girl, you know) and featured artists with whom she had zero chemistry. And I know following every episode of SNL someone writes a “Was this the worst performance in SNL history?” commentary, but you really have to watch the uncomfortable, dead-eyed performances for yourself.
It seemed more like a skit making fun of white girl
rappers than anything. But it stands as a reminder that ass alone does not a rapper make.
Blog You Should Follow: Drunk J. Crew
Pardon my Seinfeldism, but what is the deal with kids on competition shows? First there was MasterChef Junior, where kids who have been cooking since they were in diapers compete to impress Gordon Ramsay and other chefs. Now there’s Project Runway: Threads with little Tim Gunns that know their way around a sewing machine better I can ever dream (hot glue is my savior). Do you want me to feel inferior to 9-year-olds?
Apparently you can permanently alter the color of your eyes if you hate yourself just enough!
Marcel the Shell is back! Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s lovable personified shell returns for the first time since 2011 with a new video and a book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On went viral in 2010 but the short film actually has critical accolades, too: It was awarded Best Animated Short at AFI FEST 2010, was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the New York International Children's Film Festival. (You know, just in case you needed any further proof that Jenny Slate is the best.)
And speaking of new installments of viral videos, there’s a new Between Two Ferns with — as Zach Galifianikis calls him — Bradley Pitts.
New movie trailers to hit the Interwebz: Paddington Bear, a character made popular through children’s books since 1958, gets the live-action treatment in Paddington; A troubled young man finds the will to live when his young but more mature niece is put in his care in Before I Disappear; and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti has a stand-up special coming to Netflix next month, One of the Greats.
This American Life, the true storytelling public radio show hosted by Ira Glass, is one of the most popular radio programs and podcasts today. Each week since 1995, Glass presents a theme — cars, summer camp, break-ups — and a variety of writers, comedians, journalists and everyday people share stories of their experiences with that subject. For the few unfamiliar with TAL, it’s one of those shows that will keep you in your car with the radio on long after you’ve pulled in the driveway.
Ira Glass will present his
live show, Reinventing Radio, this
Saturday at the Aronoff Center. CityBeat spoke to Glass about his history with
public radio — check out our interview here.
To celebrate the program and its adorable bespectacled host, CityBeat staffers have compiled a few of our favorite episodes (in no particular order).
Why not start at the beginning? This American Life’s very first episode — back when the program was called Your Radio Playhouse — aired on Nov. 17, 1995. The theme: New Beginnings. One of the guests is Ira’s mom.
Fear of Sleep (Aug. 8, 2008) features tales on various things that go bump in the night. Comedian Mike Birbiglia shares his astonishing stories of sleepwalking, which later inspired his movie, Sleepwalk with Me.
This American Life has done a few live productions over the years. On May 10, 2012, Glass
and friends took the stage at New York University’s Skirball Center for Invisible Made Visible,
a performance that was streamed live in movie theaters across the country. It
was an incredible interactive experience that included music, dance, comedy and
a short film. Check out photos here.
From mistaken identity to evil twins, Dopplegangers (Jan. 11, 2013) has it all. Including Fred Armisen’s impeccable Ira Glass impression.
A lot of This American Life segments are anecdotal, but sometimes the show has taken on newsier issues — and one time, they got it all wrong. On Jan. 6, 2012, Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory aired. Mike Daisey spoke about the conditions of an iPhone factory in China, including vivid details and interviews with workers. Soon after, it was revealed that Daisey had fabricated his story and lied during the fact-checking process. Retraction is not only an interesting correction to the original Daisey program, but a commentary on journalistic integrity, the importance of fact-checking and the lengths people will go for a moment in the spotlight.
Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-ARTS or cincinnatiarts.org.
Good late morning, readers. Roughly 13 more work hours until the weekend... we got this. I think.
This week's issue was filled with Words Nobody Uses or Knows, most of which were found in our cover story, Lost in Wilberforce, a piece about how the country's oldest historically black college is dying a slow, sad and dysfunctional death. Nobody is sure if it can be saved. Not what I would call a light read, but wonderfully written and important nonetheless.
Best word of the issue, found in that cover story, is promulgated.
promulgated: to publish or make known officially (a decree, church dogma, etc.); to make widespread, i.e. to promulgate learning and culture (v.)
In this issue: "Dr. Algaenia Warren Freeman, a veteran HBCU
administrator, has taken the reins from interim president Wilma Mishoe
and is painted by the board — and the university’s PR firm
Trevelino-Keller — as emblematic of the 'force of change' promulgated in
the university slogan."
Next best word is fealty (also found in the cover story).
fealty: the duty and loyalty owed by a vassal or tenant to his feudal lord; an oath of such loyalty (n.)
In this issue: "Jarred, a Pittsburgh native, pledges fealty only to the University of North Carolina." I enjoy the comparison of the university to a feudal lord here.
And then there's salvos, a great sounding word that has two completely different meanings and is Italian.
salvos: the release of a load of bombs or the launching of several rockets at the same time; a burst of cheers or applause (n.) I find it amusing that this word can mean something deadly and delightful simultaneously.
In this issue: "'Your cerebral cortex cannot comprehend the complexity
of my complex bars,' says Jarred, with the kind of theatrical cadence
and gesturing that makes me think these might be introductory salvos in
an impromptu face-off right here. 'You can’t fuck with me.' " OK. Does anybody understand the use of that word in the above sentence? Because I've read it three times and I'm still not getting it.
Another terrific sounding word in this issue is coquettish, which for whatever reason reminded me of Cosette in Les Miserables. Or croquet? Coquettish Cosette played croquet. I don't know. It's in Rick Pender's review of An Iliad at Ensemble Theater, which, by the way, is an astounding production. Really. I see a lot of theater, sometimes multiple shows a week, because my husband works in theater, and let me tell you, this was by far one of the best productions I've seen in the city since I've moved here, like, two months ago. But I digress.
Coquettish: As a young, flirting girl. (adj.)
In this issue: "He is called upon to recreate a dozen or so characters from Homer’s sweeping epic — the professional warrior (and demigod) Achilles; the brave Trojan Prince Hector; Achilles’ protégé Patroclus; pretty boy Paris who lit the fuse on the war by stealing another man’s wife; the arrogant Greek King Agamemnon and his aged, disconsolate counterpart from Troy, King Priam; even several women, from the coquettish Helen and Hector’s steadfast wife Andromache; and a god or two, especially and humorously the fleet-footed Hermes, 'a young man with fabulous sandals.' "
Last word in today's vocab lesson is prescience, found in this week's Big Picture column, which is about the late George S. Rosenthal, a Cincinnati photographer who took photos of the city's West End neighborhood before it was destroyed by the construction of I-75 in the 1950s.
prescience: apparent knowledge of things before they happen or come into being; foreknowledge (n.)
In this issue: "I mean them no disrespect to focus this story on Rosenthal, but his work fascinates me for his prescience.
October is synonymous with Halloween, haunted houses, harvest festivals and more-sexy-than-scary costume balls. Whether you plan on being a slutty nurse, a moody John Snow, your basic zombie or Dracula, the Tristate offers more than enough events for you to get your freaky on all haunting season.BAR EVENTS