Air Heads

When Andy Warhol made that offhand quip about fifteen minutes of fame, he presaged three major developments of the early 21st century: reality television, Tila Tequila and the US Air Guitar Championships. Now in its sixth ridiculous year, USAG’s championship tour — set to storm 23 cities, including Denver and Aspen, in 2008 — packs more bare chests and mullets per minute than the state fair. Performers with noms de roche like Hot Lixx Hulahan, Rockness Monster and William Ocean (get it? get it? get it?) bring their bedroom buffoonery and hair-sprayed hijinks out of the closet and onto the stages of venues across the country, vying for the U.S. championship belt and the chance to travel to Oulu, Finland, for the World Air Guitar Championships.

If it all sounds absurd, that’s because it is. But here’s the big surprise: The performers actually exhibit an enormous amount of talent and frequently prove to be better entertainers than some of the folks pulling down $200 a ticket this summer (we’re looking at you, Eric Clapton). Performing one song of their own choosing and one surprise choice, competitors are partly judged on technical merit — i.e., the ability to approximate the playing of an actual guitar — but points are also awarded for stage presence and the elusive “airness.” Last year, Denver twins Ryan (aka Stryker) and Randy (aka Big Rig) Strecker both made it to the finals, so expect the Mile High to represent with instrument-free rock fury when the tour hits the Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue, tonight at 8 p.m.; tickets are $15. Call 303-377-1666 or visit
Wed., June 18, 2008


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