Every year, competitors from 20 countries travel from around the world to Oulu, a city of 140,000 inhabitants in Northern Finland, to compete in the Air Guitar World Championships, wielding imaginary six-strings, donning outlandish costumes, and rocking out in front of 8,000 spectators with the hopes of winning the grand prize (ironically, a real guitar) and international bragging rights.
Dan Crane knows this universe better than anyone. Under his moniker Björn Türoque, he's competed at the world championship level (but never took home the top prize), written the book on air guitar (2006's To Air Is Human), and starred in Air Guitar Nation, a widely-released documentary.
What follows is Dan's personal account of the just-completed 2010 championships, featuring air shredding galore, saunas, sausages, beer mugs smashed on heads, and cameos by OK Go and Jose Gonzalez.
If you pay attention to the sort of media that reasonably expects its audience to scroll through a list of 300 albums, you already know the fetching story of Shamir Bailey. A 20-year-old, male-pronoun-approving, gender-fluid African-American who grew up in Vegas and played country music until enough bizzers told him they didn’t know how to… More »