SF: down to Human Airer

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Well, lads and ladies, June 22 at the Brick & Mortar saw another fantastic air guitar competition, with 19 performers delivering big air to a sweaty, loud, enthusiastic crowd. Judges Joe Tobin, Samantha Gilweit, and Judas Priestess  brought fair and funny judgement upon them all, while the legendary West Hays worked the play button at ATC.

 

As ever in San Francisco, Tiger Claw opened things up with a technically masterful performance, then handed off to our first performer, return competitor Jefe, The Two Handed Wonder, in the highly un-coveted first position. Despite a performance full of brio, and despite the judges arriving early specifically to drink, Jefe got typical first performer scores. Things went no better for our next two performers, virgins Mr. Universe and Captain AIRmerica. Cap sported a truly excellent costume of shoulder pads and a helmet that absolutely made him POUR sweat, and someone in the crowd tossed him a shield mid-performance. Either that was planned, or the REAL Captain America is an air guitar fan.

The judges finally loosened up when they beheld the fierce and feathered wonder that was Sweetness, dishing out the first 5.8s of the evening. This was followed by Shaggy, who had a real stroke of inspiration, character-wise, entering the stage in a cloud of exhaled pot smoke and performing to a punked out Scooby Doo song as...Shaggy. He was amply rewarded with Scooby snax before and after, but unfortunately the judges had gone back to their parsimonious ways. SinGar The Goat Demon followed up, wowing the crowd with his patented high-energy leaping and flipping and OH WOW I just realized that’s like a real goat. Anyway, his schtick fully impressed Judge Samantha, who handed out the first 5.9 of the night.

Next up, another virgin and—get this—the ONLY female performer of the night. Yes, in a roster of 19 performers! Ladies, sign up next year. Jane Air brought a heaving bosom and some real showladyship to her first performance, tying with Sweetness with 5.8s across the board. She was followed by Eddie Van Whalin’, whose friend signed him up as a birthday surprise and who had basically stepped off a plane and had a wig clapped on his head. Next to the stage was Airgasm, wearing a breezy summer dress that was very appropriate for the warm weather. His solid performance earned 5.7s and a 5.8 and an impressive 32 panties in tribute. Given that there was something of a panty shortage because a certain organizer had not anticipated demand and certain fans were hoarding panties for their chosen performers, this was an impressive haul and a testament to his performance.

Our next performer was already a legend, for he once performed upon two janky pieces of stage that started to slowly pull apart, and he rode them right down into a split without a break in performance. So it is no surprise that Human Airer came out and knocked the crowd and judges right on their asses. In a gold lame face mask and gloves that glinted as he moved, he absolutely owned the stage. Out came the first 6.0s of the night, and Human Airer was a shoo-in for the next round with a near-perfect 17.9.

He was followed up by last year’s champion, Chewrocka, who started his act by bringing out a jar of white powder, labeled SOLO, which he pulled out a handful of and blew into the air. His performance similarly burned it up, pulling in a solid 17.6. He was followed by returnee Frank Danger and new kid Sugar Train, who both pulled honorable 17.1s. Another virgin followed: ClauDIO, an Italian by way of Australia, come to San Francisco to wow us all with his leopard print tank top and flashy moves. The judges liked what they saw, giving him a 17.6.

Last year Airlectric Eel pulled such impressive moves that he hurt his knee during his performance and had to wear a hastily-borrowed brace the rest of the evening. This year he was prepared, coming already prepped in a brace. So don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t a sport! The judges approved of his athleticism, delivering him a 17.6.

And so we thundered toward a triumphant end. Our sixteenth performer of the night was the one and only Cold Steel Renegade, a legend returning for his 10th year on the stage. Were there tights, a bare chest, pointy shoes, flailing long hair, crowd-pleasing moves, and more insane facial expressions than you can possibly imagine? Oh yes. Oh yes there were. The crowd and the judges were absolutely there for every minute of it, and CSR pulled a perfect suite of 6.0s, plus—get this—ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY PANTIES, I am not even kidding. I thought the arms of our panty wrangler, Duane The Duck, would break under the weight of all the panties. I almost had to have ATC play some filler music while all those panties were counted.

This was a hard act to follow, but luckily our next performer, a virgin to the stage, really took a fresh approach. As in “fresh meat,” as he came out in a face mask and butcher’s apron, wielding an ax, and in fact going by Ax Murderer.  And he killed it! Haha, but no really he did, taking home a near-perfect 17.8, and also not getting blood on anyone, which was the real win.  He was followed by Santa Cruz organizer Thirsty Motion, whose pale top lock of blond hair flailed this way and that as he tore his way to a 17.7.  Our final performer, Blackberry Vanilla, was a tasty treat indeed, and a fine way to finish off our roster of performances.

On to the next round: Airlectric Eel, ClauDIO, Chewrocka, Thirsty Motion, Ax Murder, Human Airer, and Cold Steel Renegade, joined by Airgasm as the winner of the Panty Bonus.  They duly listened to their song, and as they went to prepare their second round the crowd was treated to a performance by Hall of Famer Tony Tapatio, blessing San Francisco with his spicy presence.

Second round performances were excellent across the board, with no one getting a score less than 5.7, and four of the performers getting at least one perfect 6.0. Human Airer and Cold Steel Renegade had gone into the second round separated by 1/10th of a point; CSR was perfect with an 18.0 and Human Airer nearly so with 17.9. Human Airer took the stage for the next-to-last performance and once again owned the crowd and the judges, and this time he was the one with 6.0s across the board. Could Cold Steel possibly pull off another perfect performance and eke out the win? He played with fire, mastery, and the usual attacking hair. Two judges gave their scores: 6.0 and 6.0. And the third...5.9. Human Airer and CSR tied, and it would go to an air off.

These two sweaty champions took the stage at the same time, and as a song they’d never heard rang out from the speakers, they played with their hearts and souls. We went to a poll of the judges. Judge Samantha gave it to Cold Steel. Judge Joe gave it to Human Airer. It all came down to Judge Judas. She smoothed her black gown, adjusted her lace collar, and pronounced Human Airer our 2018 San Francisco Champion.

Congrats to Human Airer! All hail the champion! Good luck in New York!

Thanks to all the amazing performers who came out to rock the crowd—you are all incredible. Thank also to judges Samantha, Joe, and Judas, as well as ATC. And finally, thanks to our wonderful volunteers: Merch Table Bitches John and Joy, Panty Wrangler Duane the Duck, and Scorekeeper Gabriel. Glitter, confetti, and a jar full of fake ashes upon you all.

Kriston Rucker