August 22, 2006


SombreroGlassFromAl.jpg Know how you never realize something is being widely discussed or dropped into pop culture until you're exposed to it. Then you see it everywhere.

Same goes for sombreros.

They're being used as props for "American Idol" auditions in, of all places, Birmingham, Ala.:

Those auditioning for American Idol have usually worn wacky costumes with hopes of making it past producers, but save for an auditioner in a band costume and one sporting a sombrero trimmed with red feathers, the show's hopefuls were noticeably conservative in dress.

"They don't need to dress crazy in Birmingham, Lynn said. "Birmingham brings us talent."

They're showing up in baseball columns:


Paul Tessar wants to know the derivation of the expression "The Golden Sombrero?" "If I understand its meaning correctly," he said, "it is a mock award for striking out three times in a game."

The Golden Sombrero, actually, is for an even bigger achievement than Paul thought. It is given to the player who strikes out four times in a game. The Dickinson Baseball Dictionary refers to an early usage of the term by one-time Rockies manager Don Baylor, who in 1989 said, "I struck out four of the next five at- bats, my first-ever 'golden sombrero.'" Needless to say, a Golden Sombrero is an upgrade of a simple hat trick, which is three strikeouts

And they're helping make a fashion statement during the National Air Guitar Championships:

Craig Billmeier, whose stage name is "Hot Lixx Hulahan," was referring to the moment he felt the transcendent power of air guitar. In May, the 32-year-old musician entered a regional competition at the Independent nightclub on Divisadero as a fun way to blow a Wednesday night. Four months and two victories later, Billmeier will represent the United States in the 11th annual Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland, on Sept. 8. He'll compete against a dozen national champs.

"There are performers that are much more talented than me," Billmeier said of his American brethren. "I now owe it to them to take it seriously."

At the San Francisco show, Billmeier, who has long brown hair and a classically thin guitar-god physique, took a peek through the curtains and saw a packed house. He had played real guitar in the local outfit Love Songs as well as in a Guns N' Roses tribute band, the Rocket Queens. He'd toured the country from dive bars in northern Minnesota to strip malls in Livermore, but he'd never been the main attraction before so many people. At an air guitar competition, contestants play for 60 seconds while judges score on technical ability, stage presence and "airness" -- that ineffable quality of rocking from within.

Billmeier said he began his routine slow, a flamenco riff that suddenly burst into Metallica's "The Shortest Straw." He got wild applause and moved through the first round with high scores. His all-black ensemble, complete with sombrero, sunglasses and long mustache, gave him a distinctly Mexicali Goth look.

Posted by Jeff at August 22, 2006 09:29 AM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?