Air guitar notion, chicken fried steak, and Valpolicella

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (online edition), the earliest documented occurrence of the term air guitar in print dates back to 1980:

    1980 Hartford (Connecticut) Courant 24 Apr. 2/5 (caption) Roy Charette displays his prize-winning form at playing the ‘air’ guitar. 1980 Mountain Democrat (Placerville, Calif.) 19 Dec. A6/1 The fans whip out their air guitars to catch all of Mick Taylor’s licks. 1982 N.Y. Times 21 Feb. XXIII. 15/4 (heading) Her performance almost convinces the audience that she holds a real guitar and not a tennis racquet… ‘Air guitar’, the art of miming musical performances, has caught on around the country. A New Haven nightclub..held the Connecticut air-guitar championships. 1995 Guardian 30 June (Friday Review section) 18/1 Whole venues full of people..playing air guitar and moving their heads in an exaggerated side-to-side motion. 2002 D. AITKENHEAD Promised Land xiii. 139 We did our best to look impressed, but really it was just Armien, standing outside a shed, playing air-guitar on an imaginary AK-47.

That sounds about right to me: I started playing air guitar when I was around 13 years old. Doesn’t everyone?

I indulged in some very public air guitar last night, as well.

Last night we joined Björn Türoque (aka Jean-Luc Retard, my bandmate in Nous Non Plus, aka Dan Crane) and his lovely wife Kate for one of the regional editions of the US Air Guitar Championship at the High Ball in Austin. Björn and Kate travel around the country, emceeing these super-fun events.

Tracie P didn’t join me on stage last night (she’s more of air drum person and man, don’t let this woman loose in the Abba and/or Xanadu karaoke room!).

I couldn’t resist the Chicken Fried Hanger Steak at Lambert’s before the event (probably not the best idea, unfortunately, in the wind-up to an air guitar competition). Lambert’s allows corkage and so we paired with an awesome bottle of 2006 Le Ragose Valpolicella, one of my favorite expressions of the appellation, earthy and grapey, a superb barbecue and southern cooking pairing.

That’s all I have time for this morning as I’m headed out the door. You’re not going to believe where I’ll be tonight… Stay tuned… and thanks for reading!

Do Bianchi blue Monday, Air Guitar Tuesday (and bonus carbonara porn)

I just had to share this image, snapped last night at Vino Vino in Austin, where Hammond B-3 player Mike Flanigin and Gary Clark Jr. have been performing on Mondays. To my palate, Gary is one of the greatest blues players in the world today and to get to hear him play in small room like Vino Vino, where you hear his amp and Mike’s Leslie speaker unmitigated (i.e., not pumped through a PA), is simply one of those life-changing musical experiences. Add to the mix that the show is FREE and that you can order a killer bottle of wine (we drank the Bea Santa Chiara to the warm tones of Gary’s Gibson). If you know of any other place in the world beyond Austin, Texas where such an incredible confluence of sensuality occurs, please let me know…

In other sensual news…

Our good friends the Housewrights and I were treated to Tracie P’s amazing carbonara last night before we headed over to the show…

Did I mention the girl can cook?

In other other news…

Tracie P and I will be joining my erstwhile bandmate Björn Türoque tonight at the Highball in Austin for the Air Guitar Championship competition (regional edition).

See you there?

Q&A: Disgorging Movia Puro

This morning, one of my favorite wine bloggers, Brooklynguy, stopped by Do Bianchi and inquired about Movia’s Puro (yesterday, I posted a photo of Jon Erickson of Jaynes Gastropub disgorging a bottle of the traditional method sparkling wine).

The unusual thing about this wine is that Aleš Kristančič of Movia does not disgorge the wine before release. If handled properly, the wine is stored upside down so that the sediment settles in the neck of the bottle. In order to disgorge it, you place the bottle upside down in a vessel filled with water (ideally a clear punch bowl or similar), you hold the cork in one hand as you gently twist the bottle with the other, and when the sediment is released into the water, you turn the bottle right side up. As long as the sediment has settled entirely in the neck before disgorging, the wine will be clear (not cloudy).

Earlier this year, I found this YouTube video of an Italian sommelier disgorging a bottle (note that he has another bottle positioned upside down in a black cardboard tube that Movia now ships with the wine):

It looks like it’s hard to do and the first time you do it, your instinct is that the bottle is going to “backfire” toward you. But it’s actually really easy and while Nous Non Plus was staying at Movia in April, Aleš had each of us disgorge a bottle (even the girls and the drummer). I know that at least one NYC retailer of Italian wines sends out erroneous instructions about disgorging the wine: despite what the so-called “Italian wine experts” claim, you DO NOT NEED TO FREEZE THE SEDIMENT IN THE NECK of the bottle. You simply need to store the bottle upside down at your preferred serving temperature (I like my Puro at “cellar” temperature, not overly chilled).

He makes it look easy (and it is): Jean-Luc Retard (vox, bass) aka Dan Crane aka Björn Türoque disgorges a bottle of Movia Puro Rosé during a break from our recording session in May. We didn’t have a punch bowl so we used the sink in the studio’s kitchen. Björn is a veteran Air Guitar champ: check out his website.