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September 2, 2014

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Shorn enough: St. Baldrick’s experience is a bald move

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Sam Morris

John Katsilometes has his head shaved by Tricia McCrone during a benefit for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation at New York-New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Saturday, March 2, 2013.

The St. Baldrick's Experience

Kats Donates a $50 Haircut

John Katsilometes has his head shaved by Tricia McCrone during a benefit for the St. Baldrick's Foundation at New York-New York's Brooklyn Bridge Saturday, March 2, 2013. Launch slideshow »

There is a moment when you are having your head shaved where you reach the point of no return. We now refer to that as being all-in, and on Saturday afternoon, it was when I felt the trimmers glide from the middle of my forehead and over the top of my scalp.

I would soon be bald, or inches from it, as my longtime friend and KUNV 91.5-FM "Kats With the Dish" co-host Tricia McCrone delicately and with great trepidation navigated the trimmers during the St. Baldrick’s Day head-shaving event at New York-New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. The event was to benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the national organization that raises money to combat childhood cancer.

The event ran all afternoon and into the night, with music supplied by such popular local bands as The Spazmatics and Phoenix, which was blasting classic Journey’s “Separate Ways” when we arrived around 4:30 p.m.

Head-shaving parties tied to St. Baldrick’s Day were held at New York-New York, Ri Ra Irish Pub at Mandalay Place and McMullan’s Irish Pub. St. Baldrick’s was launched in 2000, and events were first organized at McMullan’s in 2007. The pub’s owners, Brian and Lynn McMullan, lost their 2-year-old daughter, Krya, to a brain tumor 16 years ago. “Shavees” collected donations for volunteering their time and locks, and contributions are still being taken online at St. Baldrick’s website.

Celebrity shavers at New York-New York included members of the casts of “Absinthe,” “Jersey Boys,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Rock of Ages” and Thunder From Down Under. The guys onstage when Dish and I took our turn were Martin Kaye and Marc Donovan, who play Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Phillips, respectively, in “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s. I vaguely recall Kaye eyeing me as I walked onto the stage and eagerly asking, “Do I get to do this?”

No. We had us a shaver. And she was quite nervous, judging by the gingerly way she dragged the clippers across my head, and also by the way she said, “I am quite nervous!” Dish tried to keep a couple of inches in play, but one of the volunteer shavers seized the implements and took my hair to within an eighth of an inch of my scalp. As I sat for the grim shearing, Tony Davich and "Phoenix" ripped through their set, and the song I will remember is ZZ Top's "Tush," a tune that has long been a personal favorite that will henceforth make me wince.

To answer the obvious, it feels very weird. Since I’ve been shorn, I’ve rubbed my head about 6,000 times. At Las Vegas Athletic Club on Sunday afternoon, I noticed quite a few guys doing the same. We are part of a new fraternity. I Scalpa Sucka, or something.

The total raised at the Brooklyn Bridge shear-off exceeded $53,000. But you can donate at any time, and remember: Bald, or close to it, is beautiful.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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