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'Movember' motivates City Hall staffers to sport mustaches

L.A. City Council produces a proclamation recognizing 'Movember,' a monthlong charity event aimed at raising awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.

November 19, 2012|By Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times
  • Branimir Kvartuc, left, communications director for Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, survived a bout with testicular cancer in 2010. They and others at City Hall have grown mustaches for "Movember," a monthlong charity event geared toward raising awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.
Branimir Kvartuc, left, communications director for Los Angeles City… (Christine Mai-Duc, Los…)

Some are slim and Zorro-like. Others are bushy, but well-kept. And still others, like Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino's, look like they belong on the mug of a biker dude named Bubba.

Buscaino's handlebar mustache, one of a handful that have recently sprouted on City Hall faces, was grown in support of "Movember," a monthlong charity event geared toward raising awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.

The sight of mustachioed staffers has become common along the corridors of City Hall in recent days — Tom Selleck look-alikes grabbing coffee or whispering asides to their bosses.

Council members honored their efforts Friday with a proclamation recognizing Movember, a mash-up of the words mustache and November.

Buscaino stood with half a dozen staff members and supporters, all sporting the extra facial hair, looking like a group of 1970s businessmen with better suits.

Australian executive Jason Hincks, the chief operating officer of Movember, acknowledged the challenges of grooming a mustache for an entire month. "It's itchy, your … significant other doesn't want to touch you. You make small children cry, and in my case you look like a '70s gym teacher," he said.

"While some of us are painful to look at, what is truly painful is allowing prostate cancer to go unnoticed," said Buscaino, whose entire male staff is participating.

Branimir Kvartuc, Buscaino's communications director, is participating in his first Movember. Kvartuc survived a bout with testicular cancer in 2010. He says it's been difficult to get used to daily facial shaving — he so loathes the activity that he normally sports a trim beard.

And there's always the danger of making a wrong move while shaping the masterpiece — a lesson he said a fellow staffer learned the hard way, when a trim put him at risk of looking like Der Fuhrer, and he had to shave it all. "You can't go Hitler-ish," Kvartuc said.

Standing before the council, Kvartuc, who has a handlebar mustache that matches that of his boss, said, "I wear this mustache as a reminder to all men to ... go get your pipes checked out."

christine.maiduc@latimes.com

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