The Renaissance of the Theremin continues: this 1917 instrument, born out of radio tube experiments (ironically, the accidental discovery that human proximity interfered with the tubes), is still going strong. Here’s the latest:

Theremin Battle: An all-fun contest is underway Sunday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reports Theremin World: show up, play 10 minutes, and you could win (drum roll!) twenty-five bucks! I like the idea of Theremerican Idol. See the details, and if you go, send photos and a report! (Anyone in NC out there?)

Gigantic Theremin Festival: Also in North Carolina, (Asheville, home of Moog Music), it’s Ether Music 2005, the Woodstock of Theremin music. Where else can you find Therecelebrities Lydia Kavina, Pamelia Kurstin, Bob Moog, Albert Glinsky, Herbert Deutsch, Jason Barile from Theremin World, and Armen Ra all in one place? Check out the updated schedule; if you’re not in Asheville this August 4-7, you’re not a real Theremin fan.

Theremin Invades Online Game: What do super-virtuosa Thereminist Lydia Kavina, a Russian orchestra, and Korean singing all have in common? They’re all included in the score for upcoming massively multiplayer online game SUN, composed by Lord of the Rings maestro Howard Shore. For more, check out Shore’s interview with IGN about the score. (via Theremin World)

Moog Music’s Ultimate Music Appliance: The folks at Moog are winning awards again, this time the Excellence in Design Award from, of all places, Appliance Design Magazine. The Faberge Egg of Theremins, Moog’s Etherwave Pro, held its own against high-end vacuum cleaners and water purifiers. I say sweep up your place with a cheap broom and save your pennies for the awesome instrument that is the Etherwave.

Need further evidence the Theremin is making a comeback? Bob Moog reports in the new Moog documentary that the instrument is taking Japan by storm. The instrument is finding its way into bands, not only as a novelty, but as a real instrument, played by ravishingly beautiful violinist like Meredith Yayanos of The Vanity Set. And virtuosos like Dr. Theremin relative Lydia Kavina are finally getting the credit they deserve. This instrument isn’t just “spooky novelty.” It’s the 20th Century’s violin. (So what will the 21st Century have to offer?)