Air Guitar & American Sign Language

Amber Galloway Gallego, a sign language interpreter from San Antonio, has appeared in viral videos on social media, performing the songs of ASAP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Future, Adele, Drake, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She augments American Sign Language, which has its own grammatical and syntactical rules and norms, to create musical translations that communicate […]

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Karaoke Exhibit at Towson University

On Thursday (February 16), I had the honor of hosting a panel in Towson University’s Center for the Arts, where some of the most distinguished KJs in the D.C./Baltimore area shared their expertise. Collectively, the KJs represented nearly 150 years of karaoke hosting experience with clients ranging from Wolf Blitzer to the Philippine Festival at the Maryland State […]

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The Scriptive Air Guitar

What types of behavior does the air guitar script us to perform? Historian Robin Bernstein theorizes the idea of “scriptive things,” which are parts of material culture that prompt certain ideas about how people should make use of them (Racial Innocence 2011). “Scriptive things” are kind of like movie scripts, in the sense that they call […]

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1886, 1889, 1909: Air Instruments, Insanity, Trance

In Flint, Michigan, a hypnotist makes a volunteer from the audience play the “imaginary banjo in accompaniment to his own and the audience’s enjoyment.” Here we see the origin of two common tropes in air guitar coverage today: air guitar as bodily trance and air guitar as lack of control of one’s rational capabilities. (via the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer 2/7/1889) […]

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