2007_03_arts_airguitarnation.jpgAir Guitar Nation (directed by Alexandra Lipsitz): Sure, you can jam like Jimi Hendrix returned from the dead alone in your bedroom, but can you wail with your invisible guitar on stage in front of thousands of people? The quest for the lofty title "world air guitar champion" is the story of the documentary, Air Guitar Nation, which begins a theatrical run in New York this weekend at the Angelika. Inspired by a Wall Street Journal article about the annual Air Guitar Championships in Oulu, New Yorkers Kriston Rucker and Cedric Devitt traveled to Finland to attend the event and discovered it lacked an American competitor. Back in the States they founded US Air Guitar and held their first qualifying event at the Pussycat Lounge in the Financial District. Little did they know about the untapped, overwhelming enthusiasm for air guitar in this country as hundred of amateur rockers came out for that qualifier and a subsequent one in Los Angeles at the Roxy.

The film then follows two stand-out air guitarists, the New York actor/comedian David Jung known under his stage name as "C. Diddy" and the writer Dan Crane, aka "Björn Türoque" [pictured from right]. The premise of air guitarists seeking an international title seems like it would be as ephemeral as the invisible instruments they play, but the documentary is a highly entertaining, and sweet portrayal of this community. Particularly when the filmmakers travel to Europe for the world competition, the interview subjects show that a concept which may seem like just a joke is surprisingly transformative and artistic. Luckily for Lipsitz (a producer on Bravo's Project Runway) she has subjects like Jung and Crane who are completely charming both on stage in their persona, and on the couch chatting about their surreal experiences seeking the title.

Previously, Gothamist caught the movie at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, and also attended last year's Championship qualifying showdown.

A few other major releases hitting theaters this weekend include the kid's cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mark "Squandering His Oscar-nomination Cache" Wahlberg's thriller Shooter, the children's fantasy movie The Last Mimzy, Adam Sandler doing his so-called "serious actor" shtick in Reign Over Me and the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2.