The AIR-Vengers

An interactive air guitar exhibition.

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Curated & Hosted by MATT “AIRISTOTLE” BURNS
Curated by Vision Resident JENNY KOONS

Originally Premiered May 6, 2021 
Run Time: 62 Minutes


Photo by Kyle “Sweetness” Payton.

MATT “AIRISTOTLE” BURNS is a two-time World Air Guitar champion from Staten Island, New York. Known for his high-energy performances and striking similarities to a Nerds Rope with limbs, Matt has competed in U.S. Air Guitar competitions since 2008 and has been ranked a top 3 air guitarist in the country every year since 2010. Aside from competitions, Matt helped bring Airness (the world’s first air guitar stage drama) by Chelsea Marcantel to life! Acting: Announcer, Airness (Humana Festival for New American Drama 2016, Chautauqua Theater Company 2018). Air Guitar: 2016 + 2017 World Champion, 2012 + 2014 + 2015 + 2016 United States Air Guitar Champion, Dark Horse Champion, 5x NYC regional Champion, 4x World Stage Silver Medalist.

JUSTIN “NORDIC THUNDER” HOWARD hails from the square state known as Wyoming but currently calls Chicago his home. In 2006, Nordic Thunder took to the stage for the first time and would eventually suffer two air guitar-related surgeries throughout his career. Along with becoming the Air Guitar World Champion, he has traveled the world playing his guitar of air. From the dunes of Qatar to the Arctic Circle, Nordic Thunder spreads his message of world peace, love and understanding through invisible guitar licks and head-banging hair whips. Justin has deemed air guitar a vessel, which has delivered him to one of his life’s purposes: to communicate with people on an open and vulnerable level and to preach his message of world peace; something he in fact feels is absolutely obtainable. He is able to do this by captivating his audiences whether it is through his air guitar, stage performances or through the many opportunities he’s had to speak in front of audiences around the world.

BRITTANY “GEORGIA LUNCH” DIAZ is a singer, air guitarist and general music nerd who has dedicated her life to music in every possible way. After years of fronting NYC heavy metal band Forsakken and recording two albums, she took a dive into the world of competitive air guitar in 2017 and quickly made a name for herself as Georgia Lunch. She shredded her way to Nationals in Washington DC that year and won the National Championship title in 2018 in her home turf of NYC. Her air guitar performances are filled with bombastic 80s metal riffs, technical accuracy and endless passion, making her a fan favorite of music lovers everywhere. She aims to convey a message of equal parts debauchery and self-acceptance through her performances, reflected in her personal motto: Air Guitar Is For Everyone! For her air guitar glory, she’s been featured on Vice, Sports Illustrated and ABC’s To Tell The Truth, as well as in her own documentary short, Georgia Lunch: The Rockumentary. 

ROB “THE MARQUIS” MESSEL is the current Air Guitar World Champion and 2019 US National Champion. Rob is a voice actor living in the Portland, Oregon area and currently studying Communications at the University of Portland. An Iowa native and Army veteran, Rob entered the world of competitive air guitar in 2012 and was inducted into the US Air Guitar Hall of Fame in 2020. @robmessel on social media.

NICOLE “MOM JEANS JEANIE” SEVCIK won the 2017 US Air Guitar National Champion and she’ll melt your face like butter on a biscuit. In 2020, she was inducted into the Air Guitar Hall of Fame and part of a Guinness World Record of the most persons playing air guitar online together at the same time. She’s a grocer and sign artist at Trader Joe’s by day and spends her free time happily with her husband, two kids, two dogs and growing collection of tropical plants in their Atlanta area home. 

BETH “CINDAIRELLA” MELIN is a US Air Guitarist who has placed in the top three in cities all over the Midwest including Kansas City, MO; Lawrence, KS; St. Louis, MO; and Des Moines, IA. While spending her honeymoon in Oulu, Finland in 2015 she won a spot in the Air Guitar World Championship by making it through the Dark Horses competition the night before. CindAirella placed 9th in the World and, although did not make the second round, it was an epic honeymoon. After honing the craft some more, she placed 2nd in the US Air Guitar National Championships in 2017 held in Washington, DC. CindAirella prefers to wield her rock power for good, spreading the ideas of peace, love and equity for all each time she strums.

SALADIN “SIX STRING SAL” THOMAS is the 2020 Air Guitar Champion of Denver, the Queen City of the Plains. He achieved that with his new character, Dread Flanders, which is *exactly* what it sounds like. His philosophy on air guitar draws heavily from American pro wrestling: air guitarists create characters they embody; they sell the exaggerated move for the people in the back row; they do it to make you cheer. He’s been playing air guitar professionally since 2016; in that first year, he made it to and competed in the U.S. National competition in Austin, where he won the Shred Nugent Award for Technical Purity. He would go on to lose three years in a row to his nemesis Agnes Young before finally claiming the crown last year. Fun fact: he has never played the same edit (one-minute routine) twice. When he isn’t playing fake guitar he plays real drums in Denver local band To Be Astronauts, raps under the moniker JM Blackfriend and performs improv with the Circo de Nada production company.

VIDCO (VIRTUAL DESIGN COLLECTIVE) was founded in the middle of the pandemic, and is a collective of over 20 designers, programmers and technicians innovating new ways to tell stories and create communities online. Focusing its core values on audience engagement and live design, ViDCo generates entirely live performances with heightened design elements that bridge theater, TV and cinema tricks into an online hybrid form. We strategize to use the strongest elements of every discipline to inspire the artistic community to use their tools while we provide them the platforms and expertise to tell their stories.