Tomorrow Night: The U.S. Air Guitar Regional Qualifiers Hit the Avant Garden

934901_10151434211596876_1321641613_nHey, everybody: do you like rocking out on guitar but actually, um, can’t rock out on guitar? Not a real one, anyway? Are you all thumbs and no fingers? Do your friends groan and move away when you pick up your buddy’s beat-up old acoustic and start trying to work out “Stairway” for the five-millionth time? Or maybe you just like watching people rock out?

Well, you’re in luck, because tomorrow (Friday, June 27th) up at the Avant Garden in Montrose, you can enter the Regional Houston Qualifiers for the U.S. Air Guitar Championship.

Now, to answer your inevitable questions:

  1. Yes, that really is a thing, I swear to God.
  2. No, there are no actual guitars involved, but watching some of the participants perform, you’ll kind of have a hard time believing there aren’t.
  3. On the other hand, there are lots and lots of costumes.
  4. For something that is so silly at first glance, trust me, these people are into it. For real. Take a look at the 2013 Hall of Fame.

I’ll warn you up-front that I honestly have no clue what you win if you somehow become the U.S. Air Guitar Champion. According to Jacob Calle, aka Air Bear, a sometime competitor, past winners have made it onto American Idol, gotten their books published, and toured the globe rocking the hell out with nothing but a lot of energy and a no-fucks-given outlook on life.

Calle/Air Bear goes on to note that playing air guitar isn’t just being goofy and acting like you’re Eddie Van Halen or Slash or whoever. In his words, “It’s a choreographed dance with guitar movements within,” and having seen some of it in the past, that’s a fair description; it does take talent to do what these folks do, and there’s not a lot (other than some overall goofiness, maybe) separating air guitarists — boy, does that feel weird to type — from dancers in general. Check out his blog post about air guitar; it’s interesting stuff.

Okay, so if this sounds like something that you’ve been missing all of your life, hey, here’s your shot. Go sign up to compete; it’s $15 to enter, not counting whatever you spend on some crazy-ass costume. And if, like me, you just want to show up and watch the insanity as it unfolds, it’s a measly $5 to get in as an audience member.


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