Apr 24, 2010


This post is for you Air Guitar. Thank you for pouring your guts out on stage in front of thousands of screaming, whiskey drenched fans for the third mind blowing year in a row

I appreciate you for what is still precious about rock n’ roll; the way music makes us feel. USAG is a perfect narrative. A hero, villan, underdog, defender, legend, tragic fool, loyal friends, devotees and the men behind the curtain. It's all here. 

 (Left to right), 2008 World Champion Hot Lixx Huluhan, legend Bjorn Turoque and USAG's air traffic control, West Hays at The Varsity, 2010 Minneapolis regionals. This crew = whip smart and choke-on-your-own-spit funny. Former Minneapolis champion Airesol sits to West's right as an official judge,11 months pregnant. 
2010 Chicago Regionals
An air guitarist must believe in themselves enough to go this far, but also be in on the joke. Most veterans will tell any newbie to, most importantly, have fun and be a good sport. Then they'll tear apart your pick slide techniques. 

Lost Hearbreaker plays Chicago arena style.

 Zero Prospects serves Chicago. Lovely Creature.

(Left to right), USAG General Manager Nat Hays, Chicago regional judges Hot Lixx Huluhan and Zero Prospects (ranked 7th in the world). Nordic Thunder takes Chicago for the 3rd time after sitting out last year while he recovered from back surgery.

"Before the competition I was like 'gotta win, gotta win, gotta win,' but when I got to San Fransisco - just hanging out with everyone...it's like a giant family. Being a part of this is worth more than a title. You hear, 'Make Air Not War' and 'if you're holding an Air Guitar, you can't be holding a gun'....but, honestly, Air Guitar can save the world. If everyone acted the way we do towards each other, the world would be a better place. The competition is important. We take it seriously. But it is second hand to the friendship and bonds that are made." NT 2008

 Milwaukee contendors VanDamage, Romeo Dance Cheetah and Magic Cyclops.

 Bjorn Turoque, Minneapolis. 
 Mean Melin performed in three cities (that I saw) and came in just shy of qualifying for nationals. Help him get to Vegas?
 Hot Lixx Hulahan (center) does Freebird with the Lost Heartbreaker at the  2010 Minneapolis regional.

I have never seen such devotion between the audience and performer. It's a loving experience. Hey McNallica! Quit giving everyone else in Boston a chance and come back. You rock my socks off! Nationals? 

Regional competitions are really fun. It's like seeing 16 people play a home game. But nationals are a whole 'nother beast. Regional champs go up against the best in the nation at a chance to represent the United States at the World Championship in Finland.

 Dan Crane, (Bjorn Turoque) at the Sir Frances Drake hotel in San Fransisco. 2008 Nationals. Fantastic portrait subject.

The founders of U.S. Air Guitar, Kriston Rucker (red wristband) and Cedric Devitt.

Preshow at the SFD in SF, Dan Crane (right) and Kriston Rucker. 

Denver Champion, Big Rig and Brooklyn Champion Betty B. Goode, now engaged to be married, interview before 2008 Nationals. 

Twin Brothers, Big Rig and Stryker. 


Thanks for putting on a fantastic show...again.
To all the regional champs, Good Luck at Nationals!! - Miriam

Apr 5, 2010

The Lover

I picked Jim up on Saturday morning in Brian Frain’s diesel pickup wearing my infamous “freedom wrap.” We were road-tripping out past the Mississippi river to pick up my first motorcycle and take some pictures. Jim brought his land camera and an old Yashika film body and I brought my digital. 

It was raining when we got started, but just outside Polo, Illinois, the clouds blew away.   

Meet “El Amador,” the lover

We’ll go to a parking lot somewhere and just take it slow.  Even if it’s not perfect right away, let’s give this a chance. 

Miriam's first bike. A Honda '75 cb360, near Galena IL. Photo by: Jim Luning

Next stop, the Jim and Jim show. I'm about to experience some major motor-head-ness. This guy’s garage was a chop-shop slash museum. Never seen anything like it. It was “organized” in the same way my bedroom is – looks like a hurricane hit the laundry line but you know where everything is. 

When I asked if I could photograph, the guy said “It’s kinda creepy, but whatever.” I think this is knucklehead for "yes." I was going to say something smart ass but I saw his ATF hat and thought again. Never under-estimate the power of not saying anything. And by that, I mean me, specifically.

This is where Jim says to Jim, "Oh you've never had to get a mechanic's title? It's real easy. You just go down to the secretary of state...." 

I wander.

Jim does a why-the-hell-not and picks up a '73 Yamaha TX500 to flip for a few hundred bucks.

Tighten down and head back to the city. Thanks Jim, Brian Frain, Chris, Karena and Kemosabe. Amen.