Cutting remarks: Barber tells stories from the trimming biz • Brooklyn Paper

Cutting remarks: Barber tells stories from the trimming biz

A clip of history: Master barber Greg Purnell will reveal tales from his 30 years in the hair-cutting trade while giving someone a trim in front of a live audience.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It’s shear entertainment!

A legendary Brooklyn barber will trim hair before a live audience and cut viewers in on some of the best barbershop gossip he has gleaned during his three decades in the follicle business at Bric House on Nov. 3. “Barbershop Stories: It’s All About Hair” will bring audiences into the heart of neighborhood institution, says the master barber.

“A barbershop is like the Internet of a community. People go there to find out what’s going on, who’s who, or even if they need a plumber, they’ll give you his number,” said Greg Purnell. The tress trimmer cuts hair for a select clientle at his Fort Greene studio, and occasionally provides trims at the Hairrari Barber Salon in East Williamsburg.

Purnell hopes that his performance will transport the audience to the barbershops of yesteryear, where barbers served fathers, sons, and their son’s sons over the course of a lifetime and knew their community like the back of a head.

“Here in New York, since a lot of things are changing, that history and that relationship people have with their barber is starting to fade a little,” said Purnell. “It’s sad.”

Purnell has trimmed such notable noggins as beleaguered NBA star Lamar Odom and reggae singer Gregory Isaacs. At the Nov. 3 event, he will be joined by musicians, comedians, and other performers for the hair-centric extravaganza. Brooklyn pianist and singer Akie Bermiss will enliven the show with his locally-inspired tunes, and comedian Hollie Harper will crack jokes and perform a few hair-raising songs.

Rounding out the show will be Youtube celebrity and host of Music Television’s “Decoded” Franchesca Ramsey, whose video “S— White Girls Say to Black Girls” rocketed her to Internet stardom in 2012, and who will share with audience some hairy situations from her past. The show’s organizer says she wants the evening to tackle the topic of hair from many different angles.

“We’re going to bring in a lot of media elements,” said Kecia Cole, who curated the performance evening. “It’s going to be a multi-media extravaganza.”

“Barbershop Stories: It’s All About Hair” at Bric House [647 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 855-7882, bricartsmedia.org]. Nov. 3 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Straight as a razor: Master barber Greg Purnell, who has cut hair for NBA star Lamar Odom for the last seven years, will share stories from his barbershop at Bric on Nov. 3.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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