‘Knowledge is Power, Moustache is King,’ at Movember BashDuring the month of November, the Movember movement is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on men’s faces in the Grand Forks area and in more than a dozen countries around the world. The so-called Mo Bros groom, trim and wax their moustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s health. The Mo Sistas, the women of Movember, may not be able to grow moustaches, but they help raise money and awareness, too.
Just as bras often are a symbol of the fight against women’s breast cancer, moustaches are the symbol of Movember, an international movement to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.
During the month of November, the Movember movement is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on men’s faces in the Grand Forks area and in more than a dozen countries around the world.
The so-called Mo Bros groom, trim and wax their moustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s health. The Mo Sistas, the women of Movember, may not be able to grow moustaches, but they help raise money and awareness, too.
In Grand Forks, the fifth annual Movember Bash from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Empire Arts Center will feature comedy, music, a silent auction of works by local artists, activities for children and a moustache competition. Admission is $10. There will be a cash bar and food vendors.
Comedian Spencer Dobson will host, and guitarist and singer Tate Maris and bands Calamity James and The Butcher will perform. Attendees can vote (by contribution) for their favorite moustaches, and for a top Mo Bro and Mo Sista.
Last year, the Mo Sista to take home the tiara was a 6-year-old girl with a pink moustache and a determined campaign style, said Louie Hodgson, one of the organizers.
Another part of the fun is listening to the men trash-talk each other’s moustaches, Hodgson said.
How it began
The Movember movement in Grand Forks began with Jon Holth, the owner of the Toasted Frog restaurant and bar, and the first year included mostly the staffs of the Frog and two other downtown establishments, Crosstown Lounge (now called The Loft) and Joe Black’s.
Each year since, the event, the number of moustache-growing participants and fundraising has increased, Hodgson said. Last year, more than $3,000 was raised at the bash alone.
Another local Movember organizer, Roberta Pytlik, compares its humble beginnings here in Grand Forks to the founding of the international movement nine years ago in Australia. It all began with a few friends sitting in a Melbourne pub talking about what could be done to make men’s lip hair more popular.
“I get goose bumps thinking about four dudes sitting around talking about, ‘Hey, let’s bring back the moustache,’ and it becoming this,” Pytlik said.
When Holth moved to Bismarck, Hodgson and Pytlik took over the Team Grand Morks Movember organization, which includes, among others, Pytlik’s sister, Melissa Pytlik Monson, and Mike Riske, a Joe Blacks bartender.
During Movember, men are asked to grow moustaches from scratch. (If they already have one, they are to shave it and start over.) Seeing all those moustaches seems to encourage men to talk about the health of their man parts — not always the easiest thing to do.
For some, the movement is more personal. Riske was already part of the Movember movement three years ago when at at 30, he found a lump on one of his testicles. When tests showed he had cancer, he had surgery and underwent chemotherapy. He is now cancer-free.
Riske said he is happy to answer questions about what he has learned about men’s health from his own experience.
“If anyone ever asks, I tell them what they want to know,” Riske said. “I’m not ashamed of it. Yeah, I lost one of my boys, but I’ve alive. And I’ve had a kid since then.” He and his wife, Carrie, have a 10-month-old son, Jack.
Movember is a great cause, Hodgson said.
“Everybody knows somebody who has had cancer,” he said. “When Riske got it, it hit home. Sh— got real, as they say.”
Testicular cancer generally occurs more frequently in younger men than prostate cancer. But testicular cancer is almost always curable if found early and typically curable when discovered in an advanced stage. Men have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer if they are 50 or older, are African-American or have had a father, brother or son who has had prostate cancer.
These may be illnesses that affect only men but women, too, have become involved in the growing movement.
“I think raising awareness of cancer is important to men personally,” Pytlik said. “This is such a fun, funky way to get involved.”
If you go
• What: Movember Bash, a community party for families to raise awareness and money for men’s health, especially prostate and testicular cancer
• When and where: Dec. 5, 6 to 10 p.m., Empire Arts Center, Grand Forks
• Emcee: Comedian Spencer Dobson
• Performers: Tate Maris, Calamity James, The Butcher
• Other activities: Silent auction of works by local artists, food for sale, cash bar, moustache judging
• Admission: $10
• Info: Louie Hodgson, (218) 779-0190
• Donate online: us.movember.com
Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to email@example.com.