Growin' A Beard Mike Woolf

Growin' A Beard Mike Woolf
No, not part of a series of films on boredom (along with Paintin' A Wall, perhaps or Mowin' A Lawn), nor a Warhol-esque time-delayed art piece, Growin' A Beard is a 30-minute documentary that chronicles the annual beard growing contest (from January first to St. Patrick's Day) held in Shamrock, Texas. And while it might be light on white-knuckle excitement, this whole package is about as charming as they come. Grow a beard or go to jail! (It's true — a one dollar "shaving pass" is your only escape from town-wide humiliation.) And the beards must be traditional Irish Donegal beards (shaved neck and around the mouth). From one contestant who enters only every decade, and has won each time ('58, '68, '78 and '88), to a gentleman who takes little green pills to make his beard turn green, to the "hairy outsider" who comes from Austin to challenge the competition, Growin' A Beard is more about the traditions and culture of a small Texas town than about the vagaries of facial hair. It also features a score from Austin country-rockers the Gourds (who have their own growing contest), and a series of funny and charming "extras" on this two-disc package. (The second disc is a CD of the Gourds' soundtrack.) One short doc features a friend's attempt to eat a 72-ounce steak in an hour; others chronicle the film's premiere in Austin and back in Shamrock. Amongst the outtakes is an amusing "How Not to Make A Documentary," outlining all the things director Mike Woolf and his team did wrong, and Woolf joins two contestants and a Gourd for separate commentary tracks. This is enough fuzzy fun to shave a couple of hours off your evening. Plus: St. Patrick's Day 1939 footage, more. (Aspyr, www.aspyr.com)