PACIFICA, CA — A team of USAG all-stars, including U.S. Champion LT. FACEMELTER (Jason Farnan), headlined a private event for tech giant SurveyMonkey at a posh bowling alley in a foggy suburb of outer San Francisco this past Friday night.
Perennial Philly champ WINDHAMMER (Rob Weychert), choreographed the event after receiving a cold call from SurveryMonkey’s very cool event coordinator. When he asked how she thought to contact him, she replied with “I dunno, you’re all over the internet.” Joining Windhammer and Lt. Facemelter was perennial second-placer DIRTY AIRY (Aron Carlton) and perennial rookie Santa Cruz Regional winner SIR LORD SNAKEBITE (Hiram Coffee).
Other than the fresh lobster rolls and bacon-jelly donuts, for me the best part of the evening came right after the all-stars’ first performance. Before that, things were subdued and the air was pretty stiff. The party sort of sucked. What happened afterward was that everyone in attendance – Chief Required Field Officers and the Department of Radio Buttons, to name a few – suddenly had something to watch and then talk about for the rest of the night. Ask anyone there, the Before/After moment came when Airy, Windhammer, Facemelter and Snakebite ditched the stage and brought the party to the lanes. By 8 o’clock the place was jumping.
Here’s the culmination of weeks of work by some 5th grade kids at Delaware Ridge Elementary in Kansas City, KS. They presented a “community circle” (an interactive presentation where classes and parents are invited) at school last week that centered on the design principles of success and failure.
Air guitar was the method for students to explore the idea of risk-taking and perseverance. This video was edited by 5th graders. It includes air guitar routines that were designed, performed, filmed and edited by 3rd 4th and 5th graders using iPads and iMovie.
It also features a video by U.S. Champion Lt. Facemelter (Jason Farnan) and a surprise live appearance by World Air Guitar Champion Mean Melin (Eric Melin) at the end, which was pretty amazing. The kids were so jazzed after it was all over, Melin had to sign autographs and they lined up and all high-fived me on their way back to class. Needless to say, the kids were pumped.
The genius teacher behind the lessons, JoJo Longbottom, presented his idea this week at the National Educator’s Conference in Atlanta. He was joined by fellow teacher and Denver-based air guitarist Diane Cletus (John Humphrey) who also incorporates air guitar into his middle school school curricula.
MEAN MELIN (Eric Melin), broadcast live across the globe on BBC World News, waxes academic with a hotshot from Cambridge University. Melin, who actually read the professor’s recent paper before the interview, confronts its author for claiming that air guitar is “useless” (06:15). Melin then takes a couple eggheads to task when he asserts – in what academics are now calling the Melin Inversion – that not only can an air guitar transcend traditional instruments, but in fact a there guitar’s truest purpose is to be at once supportive of and subservient to the air guitar itself (and not the other way around). “The song that I mimed to” in the Air Guitar World Championships, says Melin, “I actually wrote that specifically for the air guitar . . . I put the music to work for the air guitar.”
After a lively debate, Professor Rink acquiesces, “that was a quote in the paper and I have to say it wasn’t accurate” (07:45).
Professor John Rink, D.Phil, is the author of six books, dozens of published articles and papers, and numerous chapters of the world’s leading English-language textbooks. He directs Cambridge University’s Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice, a £2.1 million ($3.4 million) department that studies how music in performance takes shape over time.
Swedish metal legends CULT OF LUNA announced the winner of its recent “craziest look contest.” They named our very own DIANE CLETUS (John Humphrey) as champion, who submitted photos from his 2013 performance in Kansas City to prove his mastery of “challenging norms and celebrating diversity.”
Follow Cult of Luna’s U.S. tour here.