Air apparent! It takes more than hot licks to win the air guitar championships

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Sure, it takes talent to wail on an axe in front of a blood-thirsty crowd — but it takes some serious finesse to put on a show with nothing but the music at your back and the wind between your fingertips.

Twenty rockin’ New Yorkers will do just that on April 9, when the U.S. Air Guitar Championship regionals hits Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg.

Naturally, we’ll be rooting for the freak-nasty Brooklynites — the ones whose wriggling fingers, flickering tongues and wild hair that make Jimi Hendrix look like a lounge act.

“I live the rock-star lifestyle — I was made for this,” said Sara Cross (a.k.a. Professor LongAir), a punk-rock Park Sloper who will shoot for the finals next week. “I’m not exactly a rocker in real life, but as Professor LongAir, I will be shredding.”

Donning a plaid skirt, a black corset and some fierce eye makeup, Cross will face off against other air guitarists in a two-round judging event on stage.

Each performer gets to thrash for 60 seconds to his or her own song (Cross wouldn’t divulge the juicy details, but it’ll definitely be punk), and another minute with a surprise song during the second round. Instrument-less Billy Idol’s will be judged on technical merit, stage presence and “airness” — the (vague) extent to which the performance transcends imitation and becomes art.

“The obvious first choice for air guitarists is to re-enact the hard-rockin’ hair bands from the 1980s,” said Craig Billmeier, the 2008 World Air Guitar Champion and one of this year’s judges. “But if you can step outside of that, your act turns into your own stardom. It’s like porn — you know it when you see it.”

Going finger-to-finger against Cross will be metal-head Marquina Iliev (a.k.a. Mateeka Katskilla) of Downtown, whose flowing, heavy-metal hair is her main competitive edge.

So root for whichever Brooklynite you want — lest the winner be “Shreddy Mercury” from Westchester.

U.S. Air Guitar Championship at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets, (718) 963-3369], April 9 at 9 pm. Tickets are $10.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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