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On Sunday May 8th, I will bring Mustache Love to The Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconsin as part of the Listen To Your Mother Show.

I wrote Mustache Love after my daughter told me about being teased for having a “little mustache” at school. Earlier this year, I auditioned for the LTYM Show with the piece, was cast in the show, and am now preparing to unleash the love upon a live audience. Reading over the piece in preparation for the show reminds me of how a little blog post, on a lesser known blog, somehow turned into a movement of inclusion and would inspire a community to come together and stand vigil over a friend in trouble.

It began with a hashtag. My homey, @TheBusBandit, retweeted my blog post and added #MustacheLove to his tweet. The response to the blog post was huge, both on Twitter, on the blog, via email, or in person. So many people showing the hairy-ass love, and sharing their own versions of #MustacheLove. The mustache was different for everyone. For some it was their weight, others, bucked teeth, acne, height, skin color, the list went on and on. Everyone had a “mustache”. Everyone.

#MustacheLove became more than just a blog post. It was a common thread, a right of passage, the act of breaking free of what is “pretty” or “normal” or “handsome” or “good”. It was acceptance. It was courage. It was reminding each other that we’re all okay, just as we are. Because as grown as we are, we still forget sometimes.

Then came the mustaches. They came from everywhere. Mustache jewelry, mustache window clings, mustache pillows, mustache photos, a group of my running buddies ran a route in the shape of a mustache just to make me smile. In 2010, I needed #MustacheLove more than ever. I had two major surgeries, needed to ask for help more than I ever had in my life, and had to come to terms with a very different kind of “normal”. The months after the first surgery brought a roller coaster of highs and lows, emotionally and physically. Three months later, I needed another surgery. I talked a good game, but I was scared, pissed, and tired. I was gaining weight, I walked with a cane due to my deteriorating gait, and I looked sickly and shitty all the time. As much as I knew how to help my daughter deal with self image issues, I started feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. And I knew better, right? Sigh.

Then something happened.

I logged into Twitter the night before my second surgery to find that hundreds of avatars had been slightly altered. There, I found the usual faces of my Twitter feed, with one addition. Each one of them was wearing a mustache. A friend had created a Twibbon that overlaid a wickedawesome mustache over all of their beautiful faces. That night, #gosarago was a trending topic in Milwaukee. It was a glorious mustache vigil that I will never forget.

On Sunday, May 8, 2011, I will read Mustache Love to an audience of hundreds. And it isn’t the same Mustache Love that I wrote almost a year and a half ago. The words are the same, with some small additions and edits, but it feels different. When I talk about the day I made the decision to let my own (impressive, btw) facial hair grow (for 6 months) to show my daughter that good people will love you no mater how hairy (or heavy, or buck toothed, or pigeon toed…) you are, I won’t just be thinking about the good people who will love you in spite of your mustache.

I’ll be thinking of all the people who will wear one for you.

On June 19, 2010 Augie and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage.

We have been trying to think of something fun to do to mark another year of our totally kick-ass union. Then, it hit us. The Great Milwaukee Race! A totally kick-ass race to fully celebrate our kick-assedness! This is so totally kick ass you guys!

#thatsenoughsara

Ok, ok. I’m done. 🙂 We are so excited to have such a fun event scheduled on our wedding anniversary! We are all registered and ready to DO THIS THING! It’s 6 to 8 miles throughout the streets of our fair city, looking for specified locations, solving trivia, performing challenges, all kinds of wacky stuff, yo.

And, pay attention, because this is important.

Be ready for LIVE TWEETS from #teamsantiago throughout the race. I have a feeling this is going to be nuts.



Join us all at the Milwaukee Ale House to celebrate after the race!


A little more about The Great Milwaukee Race:

The Great Milwaukee Race is an adventure for everyone. Teams of 2-4 people will get clues to seek locations throughout the city. They will travel on foot and perform fun tasks at each location then move on to the next. The expected finish time is 2-3 hours. The winning team members will receive a free pair of shoes from InStep while the 2nd and 3rd place team members will get InStep gift certificates. Sponsors are InStep and Fit Milwaukee.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. in the parking lot to the east of InStep Running & Walking Centers, 403 E. Buffalo St. The lot is near the corner of Buffalo and Jefferson.

Winners will be the first team to cross the finish line at the Milwaukee Ale House after successfully locating all checkpoints and completing required challenges to receive all stamps for your passport.

This is a team race that is part foot race, part trivia and part challenges. Teams of 2-4 players must solve clues to find checkpoints throughout the downtown area. Once the checkpoints are reached, the teams must complete the challenge before moving on. Each team must determine their own route to the checkpoints. Depending on the route chosen, the total course mileage should be 6-8 miles.

Use of wireless devices (cell, texting, GPS, Blackberry, etc.) is allowed. Teams may call friends for help solving clues.

Teams may run, walk or use Milwaukee County Bus or Trolleys to travel to checkpoints. No other forms of travel are allowed (no cars, taxis, bikes, etc).

Challenges are mental or physical and range from deciphering codes, word searches, three-legged race, wheel barrow race, etc. Teams must get their passport stamped for successful completion of challenges.

At the end of the race the team captain must be able to show the team’s completed passport to receive an official finish time.

Read the following in Jimmy Fallon’s Barry Gibb voice:

“Talkin’ bout mobile. Talkin’ bout mar-ke-ting!”

I know, I know. Right now you are all thinking, I want to go to there. 😉

#thatsenoughsara

Previously posted on the BLOG@ROLL at http://whyroll.com

Sara Santiago will be speaking at unGeeked Elite on May 14, 2010. Sara will be talking about mobile marketing strategies and trends. It’s highly likely that she’ll also talk about beer. And moustaches.

(*sigh* We just don’t question it anymore…)

More information on unGeeked Elite:

Milwaukee is hosting its first nationwide unGeeked Elite event. Guests from all over the world are welcome to attend this social media, marketing and branding event. For three days, May 13-15th, you will have an opportunity to engage face-to-face in an open forum with eight social media super stars such as Chris BroganJason FallsSally Hogshead, Virtual Technologies, Scott Stratten, Hubspot, Dan Schawbel and Olivier Blanchard.

The loose format allows all attendees to take the microphone to engage and brainstorm with presenters and attendees. No long slide shows or short FAQ sessions.

And because at Soho we still feel you should receive more than just a great social and networking experience, cost to attend includes the following:

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Daily Lunch Buffets
  • Books from best selling authors: Chris Brogan, Sally Hogshead and Scott Stratten
  • Attendee only parties at three locations

Sohobiztube.com is also launching a series of smaller more personal unGeeked Elite seminars, designed to help you Engage (your internal and external audience), Enlighten (inform and educate your internal and external team), and Execute (internal and external campaigns) and Monitor (brand position, persona and value).

Join us as Milwaukee invites the nationwide social media, marketing and branding community to our lakeshores. RSVP at http://budurl.com/UnGeekedMay2010