Friday, March 23, 2007

Air Guitar: Not Just For Your Tone-Deaf Dad Anymore

Ah, Springtime. A season for lovers and shirtless rockstars. Or perhaps just those of us who'd love to be shirtless rockstars. And what better way to symbolize the season than with the world's best... air guitarists?

You heard me! Cancel whatever plans you've got tonight and join me at the Angelika for the "Air Guitar Nation" premiere. Docurama's latest rockumentary (c'mon, I had to!) follows the trials and triumphs of the nation's best faux-fretfryers as they vied for the title of first-ever U.S. Air Guitar Champion.

Yep, the U.S. Air Guitar Championship. Started by two absurdly ingenious guys, appalled by the lack of American presence at the annual World Air Guitar Championship in Finland (itself started by absurdly ingenious Finns with fantastic beards and what I'm guessing is a penchant for GnR...and irony). The solution? Host a national heat and see who comes out to play.

And in droves they did. The film showcases ridiculous concert footage from the two U.S. stages (NY & LA), and tracks the *Airness* all the way out to Oulo, Finland (exactly) for the surreal-ly cutthroat World Stage. "Air Guitar Nation" features in detail the travels and memoirs of the top U.S. contenders: David "C-Diddy" Jung and Björn Türoque (aka Dan Crane), with backstage commentary so alternately earnest and pompous your loyalties will be tested.

If watching Austrian smack-talk like "maybe he should change his name to Björn TOULOUSE" isn't enough to get you out of that Shabbos dinner tonight, at LEAST go to check out Björn's 80-yr-young Nana strut her air guitar stuff on his pilgrimage to the LA competition. To say nothing of C-Diddy's legendary application of a Hello Kitty backpack. Seriously, folks. The film is gold. Even won the Audience Award at 2006 SXSW.

I caught a sneak peek earlier this week when the distributors got together for a screening and Aireoke-fest sponsored by Epiphone (read: winner got a sick guitar, hoisted by Türoque himself).

A bold maneuver, bringing out aspiring pseudo-strummers (above) from all walks - like Jefferson Elementary School, the full-time gig of crowd-favorite Aireoke contenders The Tiny Terrors, or Nassau County Trooper Academy (or so Aireoke judge Jay Jay French would have us believe). Click below to see my personal favorite, William Ocean, show us what Airness is all about:

Maybe it's my partiality to movie soundtracks talking, but I think this guy will go all the way.

Fingers itching yet? The 2007 U.S. Air Guitar Championship kicks off in June. Enroll here.

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