Portland Gears Up
On August 8, Portland, Oregon, the city that “keeps it weird,” will host the U.S. National Air Guitar Championship. That’s right. The capital of tall bikes, PBR, utility kilts and DIY projects, the birthplace of Star Trek in the Park and The Church of Elvis, the town where every fifth person in line at the coffee shop is in a band and where grownups dress like superheroes when it’s not even Comic-Con, will welcome the nation’s top air guitarists for the annual summertime battle to see who goes to Finland on the company dime.
But, Portland has ALWAYS had air guitar.
In previous years the U.S. Air Guitar Portland Qualifier was held at Dante’s amidst a steady traffic of club-goers, homeless people and dudes looking to ogle naked women in the neighboring walk-up. This year, 9 p.m. Friday, May 29, we’ll blow the roof off The Analog Café & Theater, 720 SE Hawthorne Ave, Portland, 97214. Third-time-around host Kara Picante will emcee, warming up the crowd with The Hell-Hussies, D-Diablo and Kristi Stixx. Joining them will be belly dancer Zighala Zurah, who along with her fellow Offbeat belly dancer Karissa will give the crowd a different flavor of sound and movement that will rock like the competitors whose scores are being tallied.
Our judges/local personalities:
Dan Bozyk, radio personality and veteran judge who knows what he is looking for.
Jen Tam, former Air Sex judge and the producer and co-host of Portland’s monthly comedy extravaganza, “Am I Right Ladies?”
B. Frayn Masters, Host and Executive Producer for the live version of Back Fence PDX Radio.
Tony Tapatio, last year’s Portland champion will not compete this year (he’ll be hosting the Seattle Qualifier on June 11), but his likeness is emblazoned on this year’s LIMITED EDITION T-Shirt that will be on sale at the event: $12 each with $3 from each sale going towards a wheelchair-accessible van for Miss Nikki Noche, a caregiver and a member of the air guitar community.
The contenders to date:
Mark-E, formerly known as The Marquis, a first-timer in Portland but not a first-timer on The Nationals stage. Mark-E is a wig- and silk hose-wearing dude right out of the movie “Dangerous Liaisons”, which he has not watched because he comes from a time without movies, duh… Though due to his recent name change we cannot guarantee that he hasn’t been exposed to something out of his time period.
Sahexy, born (sort of) from air guitar royalty, energetically bounced, strummed and stage-dived her way into our hearts as well as into 2nd place last year.
Whalin’ BigAir, The Little (in this case very TALL) Engine That Could, donning a belt buckle with his name on it so you don’t forget, made it to The Nationals held in Kansas City, Missouri, last year after wild-carding at The Semi’s in San Francisco.
Arora Nasty, a crazy-eyed, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH HER lady who just keeps getting better. We look forward to her surprising us.
Erik Ittar, back from hiatus, a former gymnast and a man who is not afraid to turn the air up to 11 or bring it down when the mood strikes him.
Grinnin’ BAIRett, the KING of costume malfunctions and a master of air licks (I will leave that one alone). Will he keep his junk covered as well as take the title this year?
Mr. Fletcher… A mystery man. We look forward to what he brings.
This year it could be anyone’s trophy AND there is a trophy provided by Tiger Claw, who, it is whispered, is the father of air technicality. There is also a cash prize for 1st and 2nd place to go towards the Western Conference Finals in San Francisco on July 17th.
There is still time to sign-up! Advance TIX are on sale now! Go to www.usairguitarpdx.com to buy!