Luscious Review: Burt's Buzz
My college roommate/BFF, Lauren, was the first person that I ever knew to own a Burt's Bees product. It was the Beeswax Lip Balm and you could barely pry it out of her hands. If I asked really nicely, she sometimes would let me use, but never out of her eyesight. She mostly kept it in her front jean pocket and it was always a sad day when she would realize that she accidentally dried it. The lip balm is pretty great. This product created the movement that is Burt's Bees. Made of beeswax and other natural ingredients, it seriously locks in moisture. Once applied, it feels like luscious, pepperminty velvet. It is just expensive enough to make me feel bougie and worth every dollar! I will forever put Burt's Bees on my list of highly coveted brands. So simple and always consistent.
Just like the rest of the world, I had always wondered if there really was a Burt. Newly released on June 6, I came up on the trailer for Burt's Buzz, a documentary about the elusive Burt. Funny enough, I saw it while packing for my trip to see said BFF, Lauren. I was instantly intrigued and pumped to watch this on my flight.
At 79 years old, Burt Shavitz has lived a full life. As a kid, he once biked over 100 miles from Long Island to Montauk Point, sleeping on jail benches at night. As an adult, after serving time in the Army, he lived in Manhattan where he was photographer. He got his start with a Jewish publication and later took photos for Time Life. Epic photos of Malcom X, JFK, and protests in New York. Maybe I've binge watched too many episodes of Mad Men, but I think I would have really liked 1960s Burt. Not bad on the eyes too, hehe.
1970s Burt attended the first Earth Day festival EVER and shortly after, peaced out of civilization. He ditched his life a photojournalist during a revolutionary time in New York to live in a tiny house in Maine with no electricity or running water. A spiritual experience turned him into a beekeeper. He sold honey out of his truck on the side of the road and it was there that he would meet Roxanne Quimby, a hitch-hiker who would change his world. A partnership was formed in both, romance and business. Over the next decade, they would turn their craft fair candles into a multimillion dollar product line.
I don't want to spoil the film for anyone but basically, shit went down for early 1990s Burt. When romantic affairs turned sour, their business partnership was terminated as well. I don't want to sound like a traitor to my gender or anything, but I think Roxanne did him dirty. Like, bought him out, then sold the company for millions style. So, maybe Burt doesn't care about money or fame and yes, they built the company together, but how does one royally screw over a friend like that? Burt seems to be affected by this more than being out millions of dollars and because I hold my friendships in high regard, I sympathize with him. I support his ice-cold shoulder, as well.
Jody Shapiro made a fantastic documentary and I was captivated the entire time. Let me not forget to include that Burt is a mega star in Taiwan. He does fan appearances there and has a special relationship with their Taiwanese distributor, Cindy. He also skyped with his dog while on business and I might've started crying. They were howling to each other and hearing his over the top pet names was adorable. I can really get down with anyone who is an animal lover and Burt takes it to a level that I can respect. (Sidenote: Burt's Bees has products for dogs and his pooch is the face of the brand) He also might be a wino, proclaiming "God Bless the Gallo Brothers" during his interview. (But I need to know: red or white?) I laughed, cried and felt a connection to the subject of this documentary and in my eyes, that makes a great film.