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US Air Guitar Championships National Finals 

When: Fri., Aug. 8, 8:30 p.m. 2008
Price: $20

It takes a special person to shred. In his quest for the 2006 Air Guitar national championship, Alamedan Craig Billmeier, (aka "Hot LixxHulahan"), dressed in a mariachi hat, cowboy boots, and black aviators, brilliantly segued from a classical flamenco flourish to a screaming, over-the-top, Metallica solo. (He won.) While outrageous costumes (American-flag speedos, sequined head-bands, lots of fringes), punny names ("Bjorn Turoque"), and crazy stage antics (tongue wagging, Pete Townsend-style windmills) are par for the course, some, like Hulahan, succeed on the strength of their actual guitar-playing skills, as well as their "elusive quality of airness." See this year's regional finalists, including Hulahan and locals Shred Begley Jr. (aka "Awesome") and Ricky Stinkfingers, compete for a chance at the world championship in Oulu, Finland, at the Grand Ballroom (1300 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco) on Friday, Aug. 8. 8:30 p.m., $20. USAirGuitar.com


— Kathleen Richards

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