A few weeks ago we received a care package from the fine folks at The Bruery and we are happy to review the 2017 Or Xata beer. Thank you Cambria and awesome Bruery team for producing another great beer!
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As we start 2017 we wanted to kick it in the teeth and get it started by honoring a very dear friend of mine from Kawasaki, Japan. Mr. Toshiyuki Abe established an amazing barber shop in 1996 and has been flourishing for 20 years.
Not only has Mr. Abe created a phenomenal traditional barber shop but both of his sons are also barbers! That’s right the Abe family tradition will carry on the ancient profession of barbering in Japan for the next generation.
Take a look at the gallery of photos that range from when the shop first opened to the present day. There is a deep respect for the profession and a legacy is being forged one cut at a time. Thank you for the support in Japan Mr. Toshi. You can read about his legacy in a previous article we published.
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To celebrate the birthday of Eric Webb (11/17) we created a promo code that will enable you to watch the film for FREE (during 11/17/16-11/21/16). Make sure you click this link and use promo code HBD17.
Happy Birthday Eric!
Recently we posted a question on social media that stated “The Greatest Threat To Barbering Is…” and a few people responded with their perspective and anecdotal information. One individual provided data that we found interesting and shocking so we decided to use it as a case study. We verified the information and found it to be correct.
We are not going to out the individual and we really do not care that he has “success” but the point of the case study is to document what barbers have been saying about their profession and provide evidence to substantiate or refute their claims. We are not judging them but it is important to document the trends of this ancient profession before catastrophe strikes again (i.e. The Great Barber Depression 1960’s-1990’s).
So let’s get to the case study. The subject, from what we found, was a normal looking fella 3 years ago and was proud of his new job at a big box store. In 2014 there were no apparent tattoos on his torso, neck or arms but we may have missed a lower back or ankle tattoo. In 2013 he was an apprentice at a barber shop. This is vital data because it takes about 1- 1 1/2 years to become a barber after the apprenticeship.
Presently, the subject has tattoos that start on his neck and extend down to his fingers. So within the span of 2 years the subject had tons of ink put into his skin. Not sure if they all have deep meanings but nevertheless it happened. The subject has over 30, 000 followers on one social media platform alone! This is a huge symbol of popularity and creates credibility. The subject is also a “celebrity barber judge/educator” at several major barber/cosmo events and is sponsored by a major corporation. Typically to be a judge or educator in society you need education, experience and credibility.
How did this “success” and meteoric rise to being part of barbering elite or a “master barber” occur within the span of 2 years? Once again, we are not judging or hating on them or doubting their “passion” for the game/hustle. What does this case study mean to the ancient profession of barbering? That is a question that we cannot answer and we leave you to make a conclusion based on the data we collected.
Stay tuned because there is more case studies to come…. Why are we doing this? We are not barbers or pretend to be. We have a deep reverence for the ancient profession and believe that history must be documented as it happens and not after the fact.
Hopefully the catastrophe that many long-term barbers have predicted can be averted.
“Quick lil history lesson for all you up and coming barbers out there across the world who think it’s hip and cool, and are lucky enough to be tattooed with a good job; Eric Webb and his mentor Jake were the first two dudes out of Southern California in the early 90’s to introduce the ‘look and style’ of today’s “tattooed barber” movement across the world! He might just be the reason you became a barber without you even knowing it!”
Tim co-owner of Syndicate Barber Shop in Long Beach, CA
EXCLUSIVE interview with barber icon Eric Webb. Eric is one of two men who set the pace for the Traditional Barber Revival in Southern California that has now spread around the globe.
Eric and Phil Hernandez have created an amazing shop in Orange, California that is only a few steps away from the founder of the traditional tattooed barbering movement, Jake Bricks, original shop. Although, Eric does not seek fame or prestige and his humility in the profession of barbering is a rarity.
We also included interviews with Wolfman barber, Local Barber Hirakawa from Japan and Barber Harley from South Korea! Watch them discuss the influence of American Barbering on their culture and the consequences of being tattooed barbers in their countries. This is a super rare interview that you don’t want to miss and wont find anywhere else.
To watch the full 40 min film and trailer click here
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Exactly 137 years ago this article was published in the New York Times. It was believed that barbers use their position of influence over a patron to gain his favor and get whatever they want. It could be getting a job for a friend or influencing social policy. The barber had power and the power was persuasion over the patron that sat in their chair. In the writers mind this was, “terrorism”.
According to the article 78% of the insane asylum patients were in the habit of being shaved by barbers before they became insane and “if this does not mean that to be shaved by a barber is to incur the risk of being talked into madness statistics have no meaning .”
The article concludes by stating that a barber uses his power of persuasion and gift of gab to sell grooming products and that he is able to break a man in order for him to purchase the product “the sale of tonic in the city alone during the period from 1864-1875 was so great that no man who wishes to maintain a reputation for veracity dared mention the number of bottles.”
In 1879 it was recognized that barbers had a place of influence in society but some people viewed it negatively and took it to an exaggerated extend by claiming that barbers were placing people into insane asylum’s because they were talking their ear off and driving them mad with conversation and constant manipulation.
I believe the article reinforces the authentic and special place a barber shop holds in society. The barbers responsibility is not only to groom the patron but also establish a friendship and a friendship that is not manipulative but honest and sincere (for those that want to have a friendship). It’s been said “they walk in as patrons and leave as friends” according to Danny Becerra from Gentlemen’s Parlor Barber Shop in San Jacinto, CA.
I hope that 137 years from now someone will read an article that I published about barbers and conclude that the barbering revival occurred worldwide and the great tradition did not die out and was upheld by professionals who stayed true to barbering.
May we all avoid the pitfalls of history.
An eight year old boy and his father get ready to partake in a bi-weekly trip to the local barber shop. As long as he can remember only one barber shop has cut his hair. This particular barber shop is located in a strip mall. As they approach the barber shop the sight of young and old sitting down patiently waiting for their turns as they watch sports on TV quickly floods the boys field of view. Upon entering the shop the sounds of laughter and muffled discussions fills the air. All the familiar smells and fragrances of musk and bay rum rushes into his nostrils as the father and son have a seat. Copies of Sports Illustrated and hunting magazines fill the shelves and it is the only time the young boy will have a chance to read these magazines. Suddenly his father signals the barber and the waiting begins.
Finally it is the young boys turn, as he gets up and looks around the barber shop he is fascinated by all the sports pennants hanging on the wood paneled walls. The only words that he is instructed to speak to the barber are, “please give me a trim and taper.” For the next 30 minutes the young boy sits on the same chair were young and old alike sit. Once the haircut is complete and he has examined it through the handheld mirror the boy slowly rises from the chair and once again becomes an eight year old but his father has given him one more responsibility because he must pay the barber. Not only will he pay for the cut but he will also give the tip. Before he leaves the cash register the barber produces a bowl full of candy and the man-child quickly obliges and walks away completely content.
Scenes such as these are played out all around the world and the setting may be different but barbering and life go hand-in-hand whether you’re young or old every man needs grooming. It seems like barbershops today are popping up on every corner and sometimes within a block or two of each other. Social media and superstar status have become the norm but in the college town of Fullerton, California one barbershop has been in business for over 50 years and its soul remains intact.
The shop is located a few miles from California State University Fullerton and Fullerton College. The city has a large college population and many people are only passing through but the barber shop is a constant. During the last 50 years a few cosmetic changes have taken place but the original barber chairs remain. The wood paneled walls and the back bar got a face lift but the shop layout and atmosphere is the same and the current owner has alot to do with that. Bruno Sanchez has been barbering since 1983 and took over the shop in 2011. Bruno is an old-fashion type of barber with the gift of gab. He may tell you stories that’ll make you question their validity but will be wholeheartedly entertaining. There is no sense of flare or “prima-donna-esque” tendencies.
Although Bruno may not have tens of thousands of followers on social media or possess any barber battle belts or trophies the shop is true to professional barbering. Make no mistake this is an old-fashion barber shop. What I mean by old-fashion is not a time warp or leap to another century because this shop is an original 1960’s men’s barber shop. We are talking pre-Beatles and pre-hippies! I cannot remember the last time I saw a shop in person or social media that had live plants. The colors just really pop and I am not sure if Bruno or anyone else realizes it but that is true 1800’s-early 1900’s barber decor.
The name of the shop has changed to American Razor Barber Shop and is an institution where men can receive grooming services. A place that is not work or home but is the magical third place where camaraderie and style are intertwined.
This is my childhood barbershop where I remained a patron well into my teen years and as an adult I have been back a few times and sat in the same chair. I may be older and have a few more accomplishments under my belt but that barber chair is not concerned whether I am a child, Mr. M, writer, publisher or a filmmaker because in that chair I am a patron.
Walking into American Razor barber Shop floods my mind and senses with memories of being a child and the awe in which I viewed barbers. That reverence continues because barbering is sacred and vital in all communities. I am sure if anyone would have mentioned barbering as a “game”, “hustle” or “brand” in this barber shop back in the day they would have been ridiculed and badgered.
I hope that barber shops, wherever they may be, will be encouraged to develop an institution that is built upon tradition and is conducted in a professional way because you never know who that child may grow up to be. Maybe a man who will one day write about you for his website and barber magazine. Never underestimate the influence of this ancient profession known as Barbering. Thank you for taking the trip down memory lane with me.
In the early 1960’s American culture was conservative and the hippies and beat-nicks had not made their impact upon the world. The Super Powers (USA and Soviet Union) were engaged in a race to land on the moon and the birth control pill was approved by the FDA. These events were pre-1962 in which the Super Powers had a missile crisis in Cuba that led to the USA imposing a trade embargo against Cuba.
Before President John F. Kennedy signed the trade embargo he sent his press secretary to buy 1,200 boxes of H. Upmann Petit Coronas, Cuban cigars, before they were made illegal. This act by the President demonstrated the value and importance of Cuban cigars before politics.
Since 1962 Cuban cigars are no longer imported into the USA. Current policy only allows $100 worth of Cuban tobacco products that can be brought into the country which amounts to 2-6 cigars (depending on quality).
For the last 50 plus years Cuban cigars were a forbidden fruit in the USA. Cigar aficionados have differing opinions on whether Cuban cigars are the apex of tobacco but make no mistake the climate, tradition, seed and history is firmly planted on that island and incomparable. Cuban cigars hold such a high regard there are plenty of fakes on the market so buyer beware.
A few online companies sell them but do your homework and make sure they are credible and don’t sell fakes. One great website is www.TopCubans.com who supplied the Cohiba Siglos IV for this article. Make sure to visit their website and explore the extensive offerings and deals.
We have many different cigars in our humidor/coolidor and must admit the Cohiba’s are unique. It’s not only the iconic logo and black, gold/yellow color scheme that sets them apart but the quality of each cigar is amazing. The triple cap, embossed label and quality of the leaf is everything a cigar should be.
Much like everything else in life everyone’s five senses will not be identical but Cuban cigars should be highly regarded because the history and tradition can produce one of the best smokes of your life.
Cuban cigars are not “good” because they are the forbidden fruit their reputation and quality is what sets the benchmark for all others. Many companies state “Cuban seed” tobacco that is grown somewhere else which is an indicator of the powerful lineage and that is the true greatness of this unique tobacco that is planted on a beautiful island 90 miles away from Florida.
As soon as humanity was able to harness fire I am sure smoking tobacco soon followed. This long tradition is flourishing today due to amazing craftsmen that are forging traditional tobacco pipes with high grade materials.
History reflects a variety of men that enjoyed a tobacco pipe as a luxury and relaxation. And for many it became an iconic symbol of sophistication. J.R.R. Tolkien (left) the author of the Lord of the Rings famously enjoyed the pipe. This leisurely activity was not only reserved for the literary minds but also dictators such as Joseph Stalin (right) partook of the pipe.
The pipe is a DIY for tobacco connoisseur’s because you are able to blend various types of tobacco to produce a unique and enjoyable blend. Maybe you prefer a sweeter cherry flavor with a dash of vanilla or you may prefer a strong whiskey blend. Either way you can customize and experiment to your taste.
Recently we received a great pipe from Chris Morgan owner of Morgan Pipes and let me tell you I am impressed. He sent the BlackJack series Shape 20 that is made of briar wood “which is a tumor-like outgrowth that develops between root and stem of white heath (Erica arborea)” https://pipedia.org/docs/CharacteristicsOfBriar.pdf. This special wood is heat resistant and ideal for pipe making. The pipe has a nickel silver band and acrylic stem. The construction is solid and well made.
The pipe is handmade in Italy to Mr. Morgans demanding specifications with a sandblasted carnauba wax finish that provides just the right amount of matte. Although the pipe is black there is a great contrast with the nickel band and shiny acrylic stem. There is an imprinted Morgan Pipes rabbit on the pipe and model name. Every nook and groove of the pipe declares that it is handmade and produces tons of character. The pipe smokes wonderfully and every draw is smooth and enjoyable.
A major upside to smoking a pipe, besides producing your own blends and looking hell a cool, is that depending on the depth of the bowl and how much you pack it with you can enjoy on average 30-45 min smoke and up to 1.5 hours.
We highly recommend Morgan Pipes BlackJack Shape 20. All great products begin and end with the owner/craftsmen. Have no doubt that every detail of the pipe is a reflection of Mr. Morgan’s passion.
In addition to the handmade pipes from Italy there are highly sought after custom one-off pipes that Mr. Morgan produces in the USA on a commission basis. Another great product is the briar cigar that is really impressive. We hope to review more products from Morgan Pipes so stay tuned! On a personal note I really admire Mr. Morgan because in a day and age where people can become fake or a personality he is genuine and real.