2012 Dark Horse: FWDHIWCP

All photos courtesy of Nicole Sevcik.


As we learned from San Francisco’s post, competitive air guitar is a fickle son of a cunt.  Yes, it requires certain qualities scarce in most mortals: exceptional rhythm, a flare for the dramatic, and zero shame.  Absolutely zero shame.  Zero.  Fucking.  Shame.  Yet sometimes it’s tough to decipher exactly how the night’s champion managed to beat out the runners-up.


It is for those unsung heroes, the second best of the best, the number two, that we hold an annual Fung Wah Dark Horse Invitational Wild Card Playoff, or the FWDHIWCP.  At the invitation of US Air Guitar Corporate and Crew, these silver medalists fly themselves into whatever city that’s hosting the Nationals and play an underground air guitar competition at the seediest (usually leather-daddy) bar we can find, in a last ditch effort to ascend to the National Finals.  Thousands of dollars later, the winners of the FWDHIWCP receive a cross-town bus ticket to play on the national stage and to take their shot at Finland.


In New York a few years back, I had to explain to four angry Jamaican PA’s from A1 Party Rentals why there were hundreds of condoms stuck to the stage they were supposed to disassemble (“because blood is an effective adhesive, mon”); my dry cleaner hasn’t spoken to me since last year’s Dark Horse in Chicago; last night I saw a man in a dress kissing a woman in a dress.  It was my brother.


Typical FWDHIWCP tagline: “Like gold or boogers, they have been hand-picked by USAG brass –flying in from all over the country to melt your face then do a break dance centipede on the floor where your face ended up.”


The Dark Horse is, almost without fail, my favorite show of the season.


Thursday night’s show was held at a secret Denver location and attended by friends and family of the air guitar community.  The invitees comprised a who’s-who of “who’s that?” including:


Captain Arab (Boston), Little Miss Iron Miss (Nashville), Lost Heartbreaker (Minneapolis), Cold Steel Renegade (San Francisco), The CorpAiration (Kansas City), Kara Picante (Portland), T. Slaypool (DC), Marquis (Forgot), Dyin’ Cletus (Denver), Van Damage (Chicago), Cleoplectra (Chicago), Weird Wallace (Chicago), Math Romancer (New York), Wailin’ Big Air (Portland), Peter Stiff Dickens (Mars), G. Tso Money (Queens, NY), Thunderball (Kansas City), Rocky Rhoads (Chicago), Baberham Lincoln (Philedelphia), Cannonball Maven (Chicago), Magic Cyclops (Denver), Camille Toe (San Francisco).


Photo credit:  Nicole Sevcik.

Using scoring methods developed at the University of Finland’s Department of Number Theory, our very own Math Romancer (Paul Martino) created a small miracle within Excel that includes equations for ass kicking, face melting, and number of showers required to feel clean again (winner: Weird Wallace. Showers: 4).


Magic Cyclops was among the most anticipated performers Thursday night, but his routine fell just a little short of what we’re used to.  He often has poppers and confetti cannons, perhaps a self-supplied spotlight from the glow of six hundred highly trained fireflies.  His props are fun but unnecessary because Cyclops has the lanky, well-choreographed extremities and musical Asperger’s to win any competition.  But Thursday night he just wasn’t on.


Making it into round two, and thus the finals, were: Kara Picante, who somehow gets better every time she performs; Weird Wallace, a newcomer to the circuit whose personality is exactly as advertised; Van Damage made it with his flamenco routine that nearly won him Chicago and Minneapolis earlier in the tour; Peter Stiff Dickens, in an homage to Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord (1941 – 2012) and also drugs, delivered the best performance of his career.  Video will surface eventually, and USAG IT will post that shit posthaste inside a blog post.


Photo credit: Nicole Sevcik.

Photo credit:  Nicole Sevcik.

Although all second-rounders from the Dark Horse advance to the Finals at Bluebird Theater tonight, it’s still important to mention who took first place: Rocky Rhoades, with perfect timing and an infectious energy some might call amphetamaniacal, took first place by nearly an entire point.


Before the Dark Horse we held the Rocky Mountain Regional.  Dyin’ Cletus won.  He had boobs made of pure air, stuffed behind an a-cup confederate bikini top.  He paid me in tequila to mention it, although I would have done it for free.


Photo credit:  Nicole Sevcik.