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?

Getting tiggy with it in the ATX

From the “just for fun” department…

On Friday night, Tracie B’s birthday celebration weekend began with a glass of 1987 López de Heredia Tondonia — one of the best wines I’ve tasted in a long while. Our good friend Mark Sayre at Trio at the Four Seasons always has something crazy and stinky for us to drink when we hang out at Austin’s best-kept-secret happy hour (half-priced wines by the glass, happy hour snacks menu, and free valet parking).

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with chef Todd Duplechan’s fried pork belly. He makes a confit of pork belly and then fries it: when he serves it, the fat in the middle is warm and gelatinous and the outside is crispy and savory. You know the story I always tell about the Rabbi and the ham sandwich he “can live without”? Well, I can’t live without Todd’s fried pork belly. He garnishes with a relish made from seasonal vegetables, in this case pickled watermelon radish and okra.

Later that evening, we met up with some friends at the High Ball (no website but does have a Facebook fan page), Austin’s newest (and only) bowling alley cum Karaoke bar cum mixology and designer beer menu. Tracie B had the “Heirloom”: roseberry fizz, citrus infused vodka, elderflower, rosemary, muddled blackberries. The High Ball hasn’t even had its official, hard opening and it is already packed nightly, Austin’s newest hipster hangout and a lot of fun with its art deco, Bettie Page ambiance and clientele.

Thanks to everyone for coming out to my Italian wine seminars at the Austin Wine Merchant. Last night was Tuscany (that’s our new friend Mary Gordon, front row center). Highlights were 2006 Chianti Classico by Fèlsina (such a great value), 2001 Brunello di Montalcino by Il Poggione (this vintage is just getting better and better, always a fav), 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano by Villa Sant’Anna (old-school Vino Nobile that I thoroughly dig), and 2005 Tignanello (not exactly my speed but always a go-to trophy wine). Coincidentally, Laura Rangoni posted an interview with the “father of Tignanello” Renzo Cotarella on her blog yesterday. “Barrique is like a mini-skirt,” he told her, “not every woman can wear one.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Yo, Renzo, get tiggy with it! Thanks for reading.

Nah nah nah nah nah… Get tiggy with it…