I believe that everyone has a super power- something that they’re really, really good at. Mine just so happens to be that I’m not afraid of looking stupid in front of a large crowd of people. Which is convenient because I often find myself on stage. It’s an affliction I’ve been battling since I got the role of The Big Green Goose in first grade. I’ve been in plays, was a varsity cheerleader, sang in a barbershop quartet, a ten piece disco band for six years, I’ve been producing and performing in burlesque shows for over 7 years, was a strip club DJ, and have MC’d so many events I’ve lost count.
I’m not sure how exactly it came to be that I was judging the West Coast Air Guitar Championships last month. I think the organizer had emailed the producers of Sign of the Beast Burlesque, the heavy metal burlesque troupe we started 7 years ago and asked them if they wanted to be a judge in the regional contest. Somehow I overheard them talking about it and said, “Oh shiiiiiit! I want to do it? Can I judge?” Pretty sure it was that simple.
When we have our heavy metal burlesque shows we almost always have an air guitar contest so I’ve witnessed some public air shredding over the last seven years. Some better than others. But last year during Metalesque Fest- a two day heavy metal burlesque festival that combines live bands and burly folks I got sort of roped into competing in their mid show air guitar contest. I had hosted the show the night before and was there only as a spectator when they called out into the audience for participants. Only two folks went on stage. The host was pleeding for more participants. My friend sitting next to me poked me, “You should do it. You should go up there.”
“Nah,” I said. “I’d win.”
I wasn’t being cocky. I was just being real. Because not only is getting up on stage and being cool with being 100% ridiculous my super power- I was also 6 months pregnant with twins! I had a huge belly! NO ONE would not cheer for a pregnant, ass kicking air guitar player. No one.
But the host kept pleading and there were two dude dudes up there and no ladies. So up I went. More people joined. We competed. And I won. Against some metal as fuck dudes. While 6 months pregnant with twins.
So other than the air guitar contests at our shows and my fifteen seconds of air guitar fame- that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of competitive air guitaring. I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the Paris Theater for the West Coast competition. Would people even show up? Was this going to be one of those sad shows with only twenty people in the room hanging by the bar?
Friends, let me tell you, that place was packed. And from the second I looked around I started to get giddy. These were MY people. Costumes! Rhinestones! Wigs! It started to settle in that this was something waaaay bigger and waaaay cooler than I could have ever possibly imagined. It was like my metal and burlesque worlds were combining in a way that made perfect and total sense.
Before the night was over, before the show had even ended, I had made up my mind- I could fuckin do this. I could do this and I could SLAY THIS. I couldn’t stop smiling. Life had led me to this. I was meant to be an air guitar champion. I know that may sound ridiculous but whatever. I told two of the other judges, “I’m gonna be up there next year. This is my solemn vow.” They laughed. One of them said, “Yeah, a lot of people say that and think they can do it but…”
“Oh no, I can do it.”
I left that night feeling AMPED. I couldn’t sleep. I was going to do this. My mind had already started churning out a plan. But one thing I really wanted to do was document my journey. How does one become an air guitar champion? Look- I’m a 35 year old woman who just gave birth to twins five months ago as a gestational surrogate. My body is waaaay out of shape. I don’t know how to play the guitar. I can’t do crazy flips (or can I?) and I’ll have to go up against super seasoned performers. Also, while there are some incredible lady performers out there- they do not make up the majority. Not surprising but a whole other reason I rrrreally want to slay this shit. So when I got home, I made a video rambling about my new found lust for competitive air guitar. Be forewarned- I have a tendency to use expletives especially when I’ve been drinking…..