SF Day 1: Hi-speed rewind style then played back in slow motion
Shred Nugent (Kurt Brown) takes a regional championship for the first time since 2007. All photography by San Francisco’s sharpest shooter, Christine Zona Foto.
Last night San Francisco hosted the first of two Pride Weekend regional US Air Guitar competitions. The bar was set pretty high with SHRED BOY R.D., who volunteered to go first and will one day be a chef and feed all the little boys and girls of Italy, when he came out with more gusto and raw energy than a dozen of last night’s sleepy performers who followed. For reasons that would reveal themselves as the night dragged on yet were unclear at the time, Shred Boy R.D. brought with him a bucket full of halloween candy which he tossed into the crowd as last night’s judges meted out scores.
Marc Hawthorne, regular judge, esteemed funny man, and once music editor of The Onion, did his best to keep the audience engaged through a surprising number of sub-par performances from this once mecca of air guitar talent. His co-judge, from whom we’re still awaiting a formal letter of apology, missed the mark with every long and slobbery syllable he worthlessly mouthfarted through the PA. Throughout the night, the audience wisely hurled Shred Boy R.D.’s candy at judge number two’s face to limit the time he greedily stole from their lives.
Still, it is not the judge’s responsibility to get the crowd engaged. Rather, it happens when a performer explodes onstage and melts some fucking faces. But aside from a couple brief exceptions, last night’s first round was wholly disappointing for the Sucka Free City.
TIGER CLAW (Dan LaFever), San Francisco’s Air Guitar zealot with heart and chest plate of gold, in my opinion had his best performance in four years. He’s also the first air guitarist whose Kinkos card line of credit is high enough to print his Champion card on real life cardboard-stock paper. It even smelled like bubble gum.
Tiger Claw (Dan LaFever), fully armored. Photo credit: Christine Zona Foto.
Last night two SF staples, TONY DILEMMA (Justin Hypes) and DIRTY AIRY (Aron Carlton) suffered from the same, almost unheard of, condition among competitive air guitarists: they peaked too late. Dilemma’s round two, which earned him 5.9’s across the board, and included some serious Rocketeer shit as when he launched himself from the stage to the mezzanine/VIP section some twenty feet overhead (although he did drop the guitar a couple times during the climb). In Dirty Airy’s round two, he came out draped in what seemed like an American flag and nothing else. However, when he shed the stars and stripes, we learned he was in fact draped in a sock. Specifically, the old dick in a sock.
Dirty Airy, clean socks. Photo credit: Christine Zona Foto.
Air Guitar purists will likely now guffaw, “but nudity does not equal airness!” And this is true, but shut the fuck up for a minute so I can explain. Dirty Airy’s schtick isn’t just his stick – his licks are perfect, his stage presence is rock hard, and his straight-faced-feelin’-lucky-punk persona combine themselves into what experts call “airness.” After that initial dick-in-a-sock slap in the face, the audience forgets the flailing phallus and experiences something magical and all too rare. However, the uninspired first round acts of both Tony Dilemma and Dirty Airy kept the SF crown at dick’s length.
CAPTAIN NOWHERE (Undisclosed) was also an exception to Friday’s talent void. His slow-motion meltdown while dressed as a Light Bright earned him a second round nod and second place finish overall. It’s worth noting that Capt. Nowhere wore a fake mustache last night, which fell off during his second round performance only to reveal an identical real mustache underneath.
Captain Nowhere turns on the magical shining lights. Photo credit: Christine Zona Foto.
By far, SHRED NUGENT (Kurt Brown, San Jose Champ ’07) delivered last night’s most consistently solid performances. His round one performance was all heart, no schtick, and sent him into round two head and shoulders above the pack. Round two was his to lose, and he scared me a little bit when he came out riding the inflatable whale from Hot Lixx’s halftime performance. Was Shred Nugent going to jump the shark on this stupid blue whale?
Of course not, dummy. He fucking won!