Muh Muh Muh Metal Monday!

This is what I’m having fun air guitaring to today. It’s not quite metal but I love Fu Manchu. The guitar parts are so fun on this track. Lots of slides, stops, and *wowha wowha* (makes high pitch noise with mouth) It’s interesting to start listening to songs with a different sort of ear now. I’m definitely listening for the guitar solos and visualizing how it would work for performing. It’s sort of like when you play an instrument you can easily pick it out of a song- your ear just automatically isolates it. I guess it’s the air guitar equivalent of that. I’d insert a crying/laughing emoticon here if I could.

I know it sounds silly. But it’s just how my brain has started working. I’m thinking about air guitar all the time. I went to bed last night debating the color of my air guitar costume as I fell asleep and opened my eyes and immediately was like, “how am I going to get in an hour of stretching today so I can do that god damn split?” When I get into something- I get INTO it. My brain has a hard time balancing all the other shit I already have going on. I’ve got two weddings to officiate this month, I’m the lead decorator for a burlesque convention coming up, I’m in a play at the end of the month, I’ve got shows I’m MCing soon, I’m on the board of directors for our community playspace, I have a job, a marriage and a three year old kid. My brain is a busy place. So everything has had to shift around to make room for air guitar and it’s a constant battle to not let it dominate all of my mental energy.

That said- I can’t think of a more perfect addition to the mix.

 

So How Does One Train to Be an Air Guitar Champion?

Here’s What I’m Doing.

At this point, I have no idea what other folks do to train. All I know is that I have really lofty goals of what I’d like to be able to do and the drive to start somewhere. So I’ve started with the obvious- if I want to do a split, I need to stretch. If I want to do some badass jumps- I need some core and leg power.

I’ve reached out to air guitarists Kara Picante (who organized the West coast regional competition) and the current West Coast champion, The Marquis to meet up with them and see if they’ll share how they get ready for competitions. They both are getting ready to compete in DC in a few weeks so it will be fun to check in and see what they’re up to.

But here’s the plan so far

Sunday- Getting in some actual air guitaring through the day while chasing around a 3 year old.

Monday- It’s Metal Monday! I spend about 3 hours listening to new and old favorites to help hone in on what style of air guitar I want to do.

Tuesday- Contortion Class! 1.5 hours on intense cardio, stretching and strength building to help me achieve some killer air guitar moves.

Wednesday- Yoga at work! They have a free hour long yoga class on Wednesdays so I’m gonna start that next week to try and work on my flexibility and strength. I’m really out of shape, ya’ll.

Thursday- Yoga at the gym! I have a membership and there’s childcare. Boom! Stretch me oooooout!

Friday- Research day! Watch videos of guitar guitarists for inspiration and look at what other air guitarists are doing. I really don’t want to do something that’s already been done so watching other folks helps me figure out what I like and what I don’t like.

Saturday- One on one training with the badass lean machine, Meghan Mayhem! She’s gonna help whip me into shape with a custom regimen of workouts to help me work towards the moves I want to master for performances. At this point it’s mostly core, stretching and strength building.

What’s really rad and super heartwarming for me is how many friends have offered to help me get where I want to go. No sooner had I told Meghan Mayhem about my AG dreams was she like, “Can I train you?” And she got SUPER excited about it! As excited as I was/am and that’s rrrreally excited!

Then I posted that video of me drunkenly babbling on after the West Coast regionals on Youtube and my friend Eric Eisenhauer (extreme sweetheart and guitarist of the amazing PDX metal band Weresquatch) somehow saw it and commented, “Can I have the honor of being your “real/Air geetar player” coach/trainer on your journey to becoming the SUPREME MASTER WIZARD SORCERESS WORLD AIR GUITAR CHAMPION OF THE WORLD???”

YAS!!!

AND my good friend Darcy Sharpe is going to be documenting my whole ridiculous process over the next year to make a short film!

Dream team! I’m feeling super lucky and super ready to make this magic happen.

 

 

 

You Want Me To Put That Where?

The only way I dream is big. When I think about getting up on stage and doing air guitar I’m not picturing me just swinging my hair around, doing a simple kick in the air and a slide across the stage on my knee pads. Basic. Nope. I’m seeing all out, show stopping, balls to the wall wacky splits, jumps, death drops, whipping my leg up in the air so I can play it like a guitar style show(wo)manship. There’s a problem with this vision though. I can’t do a split. Let alone get my leg up past my hip. I am in no way in great condition or well equipped for such awesome nonsense. I have started stretching dailyish to try and limber up but once again I have no idea what I’m doing. So I turn to the Youtube. What I find is a shit load of videos by 15 year old gymnastical Gumbies teaching you how to do “the splits” in one day. Nope. Have three babies, tack on 50 lbs and try that again sister.

So I phone a friend. My pal Jolene is easily on my top 5 list of the bendiest people I know and she runs Afterglow Aerial Arts. She would know what to do. I ask her, “Are my goals unrealistic? Can I do it? Where do I start?”

“Yes. If you’re willing to put the work in and train. You should sign up for the contortion class we have. It starts this week.”

Shit. I can see it now- me in a room full of Gumbies, barely able to touch my toes. I try to talk her out of thinking this is a good idea. She insists. I tell her I’ll think about it….

I start tomorrow. This is going to be ridiculous.

 

Check out http://www.afterglowaerialarts.com/ if you’re looking to spice up your life with some new party skills like handstands, fancy hanging from rope high off the ground tricks and more!

Sqwhaaaat?

 

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As soon as I got home from judging the West Coast Regional Air Guitar contest I drunkenly wrote a list of moves I’d like to master. Please note the “toe touk”

A few days ago I decided I’d start some sort of excersize regime to work toward being a total badass. I’ve been thinking a lot (A LOT) about what sort of moves I want to encorporate into my air guitaring and a few things are very clear- I need to work on my flexibility, core strength, and my upper legs (I’m forgetting the fancy muscle names right now) Quads? See, proof I have no idea what I’m doing really. But I did decide I’d start with doing some daily planks and squats. I hate squats (don’t get me started on lunges) I don’t do them in life let alone voluntarily for fun! I’m a bend over if at all possible kinda gal. But two days ago I made a list of workout videos and I decided I would start with squats to prove how dedicated I am to get my literal ass in shape. So I squatted. Over and over. If I actually had followed along with the video I would have done 100 squats. But i realistically did about 70-80.

Now. I can’t. Move.

It’s been two days. Two days and I’m still hobbling around like a grandma. I can’t even plank because it works out my quads (?) too and I don’t want to make it worse. I’m pretty sure I need some time to heal. I really wanted to hit the ground running but I guess I gotta be patient. I’m not very good at that. Ugh. Maybe I have some weights kicking around in the basement. Might have to do arm workouts by necessity to give my legs a break.

 

Folks, I’ve Finally Found My Calling and It’s Invisible

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.

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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?

Nope.

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…..