There’s a moment at events when you can tell if it’s going to be a good one or not. And on Thursday night, it didn’t take long for us to know that Air Sex would most certainly be good.
But that doesn’t mean we weren’t apprehensive as we made our way to the Tin Roof for the competition, which had been described as being like air guitar, but instead of pretending to play guitar, contestants pretended to have sex. It could get awkward or hilarious; we weren’t sure.
There was a last minute time change, so we arrived a little early. But it gave us plenty of time to scope out the crowd. Since there were only about 15 people in the bar, it didn’t take long to assess people’s interest level in competing. And most of the attendees were there just to watch. Our early arrival also allowed us to meet Chris Trew, a stand-up comedian who travels the country hosting Air Sex events. He seemed optimistic that once people got to drinking, they’d be more willing to perform. But that didn’t stop him from canvassing the crowd in hopes of recruiting the first contestant.
And before we knew it, the time for gyrating was upon us. As Trew took the stage, he encouraged the crowd to be brave — but they became increasingly more attentive to their drinks, staring into the bottom of their brews, avoiding eye contact. It probably took 15 minutes before one brave lady moseyed up to the stage. “Fleetwood Mac Daddy” appropriately did her thing to her “Go Your Own Way,” but she threw a twist at the audience by performing as a man. She even named her massive imaginary member Martin Lawrence, which she mimicked heaving around the stage.
We had hoped Fleetwood Mac Daddy would have inspired other contestants to get on stage, but sadly all we got were crickets. No one even came close to the stage. But this is how we knew the event was going to be a good one: The way Trew handled the lack of competitors was unbelievable. He still managed to have the whole bar laughing — he even handed out a new nickname to one of our bar mates, dubbing him Tittys after a misunderstanding about sex positions.
The intimate setting granted Trew the chance to riff with all of the attendees. He turned the venue into a Q&A, made jokes, and let us know that even though we didn’t have a lot — or really any — participation, we weren’t the worst Air Sex city. (That’d be Savannah, where he was practically booed off the stage and told to be quiet by a group of dart players.)
And just when he was about to throw in the towel, a mysterious new Air Sex player emerged from the back of the room. “The One” sauntered up from his stool like it was no big deal, as if the whole bar hadn’t been waiting for over an hour for someone to perform. He wasted no time and got down to business with some pretty fancy moves. Grinding and thrusting, he spun around the dance floor letting his passion shine. He did lose points for keeping his shoes on.
Trew knew better than to try and see if anyone else would compete. It was a lost cause. So, he called Fleetwood Mac Daddy and The One up to the stage for one last round — a sex off. The One let his nerves get the best of him and just watched Fleetwood Mac Daddy run away with the prize, which was really just bragging rights. And although he wasn’t crowned the Air Sex champ, based on the reception he received from his lady friend, we have a feeling The One may have won the real prize later that night.
On Sunday, we were in the mood for a gyro, so we hit up the Greek Fest. The annual festival had tents upon tents of vendors, cooking demonstrations, and even a stage at the Greek Orthodox Church on Race Street. The bouzouki — or Greek guitar — player captivated us for a while, as he worked the very empty dance floor. It looked like he wasn’t even trying, but beautiful melodies filled the air. We made our way to the plethora of food tents and randomly selected one. But after waiting in line for 20 minutes — and seeing the man in front of us drop $51 on gyros, spanakopita, and salads — we decided our gyro urge wasn’t as strong as we thought and headed home hungry but more cultured.
Later that evening, we made our way to the Charleston Music Hall for Conor Oberst and opener Dawes. The enthusiasm that Dawes brought to the stage was almost palpable. Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith couldn’t contain his energy and kept raising up on his tip-toes and doing funny little pelvic thrusts.
We don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden it was intermission. We chatted with some of our seat mates, but something soon stole our attention. The sound guy brought his dog to work that evening — a one-eyed poodle named Margaret. This dog stopped almost everyone in their tracks.
We weren’t sure how Conor Oberst was going to be able to compete, but then he took the stage and Margaret became an afterthought. We honestly couldn’t tell you what else was going on; we were lost in Conor’s warbling voice. And with Dawes pulling double duty as the backup band, the energy from their own set continued to the main act. We were mesmerized. And, before we knew it, it was Oberst’s encore. Humming all the way home, it was the perfect end to our weekend.