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From Bedroom Performance to Performance Art: The Rise of Air Guitar and the Dream of World Peace

Air guitar = freedom.
by Eric Melin on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of From Bedroom Performance to Performance Art: The Rise of Air Guitar and the Dream of World Peace

The Beginning - Eden Prairie, MN
A tennis racket is not an air guitar. From Bedroom Performance to Performance Art:
The Rise of Air Guitar and the Dream of World Peace Giving lessons, but still misguided
Manhattan, KS Oulu Music Video Festival, 1996
1st Air Guitar World Championships
Each competition begins with a heartfelt appeal to world peace, advocating for a world in which everybody plays air guitar. In the words of the traditional Declaration of Air Guitar Peace, “The purpose of the Air Guitar Championships in to promote world peace – according to Air Guitar ideology, wars will end, climate change stops and all bad things disappear if all the people in the world play the Air Guitar.” 2001/2002 World Champion Zac "The Magnet" Monro

Air guitar is “the last pure art form. No one does it for the money. It's about going out there and expressing yourself.”
“It’s abstract. It only really exists by what surrounds it and its effect on what surrounds it. It’s kind of intangible. You can steal a mobile phone or a car,but you can’t steal someone’s ‘invisible.” Competitive Rules
Each participant has to play air guitar on stage in two 1-minute rounds.
Round 1: Participant plays a selection of their own choosing. Typically the song has been edited (or a medley has been created) to fit the 60-second format.
Round 2: Participant plays a section of the song chosen by the organizer; the song is not announced beforehand and kept secret until the round begins, so participant has to improvise. NYC, Birth of US Air Guitar
Kriston Rucker and his friend Cedric Devitt started the U.S. championships in 2003 after trekking to Finland to see the international competition and being shocked that none of the competitors were from the U.S., widely regarded as the birthplace of rock ‘n roll. C. Diddy vs. Björn Türoque
"Air Guitar Nation" 2003 - C. Diddy's "Asian Fury" technique
wins 1st US Air Guitar title,
goes on to win World Air Guitar Championship US Air Guitar further defines itself:
Technical Merit
Stage Presence
Airness - The extent to which the performance transcends the imitation of another art form and becomes an art form in and of itself. The moment you forget that it’s supposed to be like some other kind of art and see it as its own thing. Mean Melin enters the picture.
It's released in 2007, but I don't catch up with "Air Guitar Nation" until 2009, when USAG has expanded to 20 cities.
I enter and win Kansas City's championship. 2009 US Air Guitar Championships,
Washington DC
1st taste of the community & media The hook is in. Deep.
2010 US Air Guitar Tour
Mean Melin & Peter "Stiff" Dickens
Chicago, 4th place Milwaukee,
2nd place Minneapolis, 3rd place Boulder, 3rd place.
Just one more shot at a regional win Denver, 2nd place.
0 for 5. No cigar. Björn Türoque publishes
"To Air is Human"
Acclaim from NYTimes, Salon,
TimeOut, Malcolm Gladwell,
and John Hodgman
"Make air, not war" advances
philosophical discussion. What is air guitar?
[pictured] Air guitar = imitation of guitar playing
by the manipulation of elementary particles, \
primarily oxygen and nitrogen ... ... enhanced by catalyst alcohol Back at home, I learn
about the generous
air guitar
community, a hugely
supportive, nerdy
bunch of weirdos
who ... ... fund my trip to Vegas for one last try. ... where I win a title and advance
to the 2010 US Air Guitar Nationals! Back home, I am an air ambassador ... ... spreading joy, not hate. As I continue my quest for glory, others
push the boundaries of the art form: ... while others take it to
new levels of recognition ... ... and ridicule: But if ... ... then without freedom, we have no oxygen.
Without oxygen, we have no air.
Without air, there is no oxygen.
Ergo, AIR GUITAR = FREEDOM!
- Björn Türoque
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