A couple of days ago, I was here at Zak Central, chilling like the proverbial villain, when I got a message on Facebook. It was from my friend and fellow SL musician Sassy Nitely (aka Barbie Horsley, and was sent to myself as well as Taunter Goodnight and Lyndon Heart. All of us have something in common beyond the fact that we all perform live in Second Life; we're all managed by a terrific lady named Maali Beck.
Well, I don't really pay much attention to people's rezdays. What is a rezday, you ask? It's like a birthday, but it's based on the day that one first joins Second Life, i.e., "rezzing" into the grid for the first time. For example, Kat and I both joined SL on October 12, 2006, so every October 12, we get another year older in Second Life terms. Anyway, I tend not to note these things, so it's not surprising that I was completely unaware that February 25 was Maali's fifth rezday.
The lady of the hour, Maali Beck, looking very happy. Photo by Kat.
The three co-conspirators for Maali's fun surprise party: Taunter Goodnight, myself, and Sassy Nitely. Photo by Kat.
In her message, Sassy let us know that Maali's big day was on Saturday, and suggested that we should do something for her. Taunter and I immediately agreed (and Lyndon would have as well, were he not already booked for all-day real life responsibilities). Maali does an amazing job for each of us, booking our shows in SL and being the world's best cheerleader at our gigs. She helps our SL careers in innumerable ways, and I think it's easy to say that we all very much appreciate what she does for us.
So, after some back-and-forth of ideas, we realized that Maali tends to spend her Saturday nights at BS's Bring A Friend, a venue run by her close pal Still Braveheart. Maximillion Kleene plays there on Saturday nights at 7PM, so someone came up with a plan: Sassy, Taunter, and I would perform a couple of songs each starting at 6:30. The only challenge would be to make sure Maali arrived early enough to attend her own party!
That evening, we all arrived at 6:15 as per our plan, but there was one slight problem: Maali wasn't even online! After a few "oh shit, what do we do?!?!" moments, I decided it would be worthwhile to pick up the phone and call her. Here's how the conversation went:
"Is this the lovely Maali Beck?"
"It's Zak Claxton. You need to get in world now."
"You should get in SL. Right away."
"They need you at Still Braveheart's place. Go. Now."
"Uh... isn't it early?"
"You just... need to go there right away. Go now."
Hey, I didn't have time to prepare any excuse better than that. But it worked; a few seconds later, we saw Maali had logged into SL. By then, Sassy, Taunter and I were all positioned on the stage, and there was a good sized crowd awaiting her arrival. It couldn't have gone more perfectly. Exactly at 6:30, I teleported Maali (who landed onstage with us), and everyone cheered for her. As the rest of the venue rezzed for Maali, she saw that Still had decked the place out with all kinds of rezday decorations for the occasion. It was, in a word, great.
We'd chosen to perform in alphabetical order, doing a couple of songs each, so Sassy kicked it off right away, doing two very nice tunes with her guitar and pretty voice. Taunter went next, with her big voice filling the room as usual -- overflowing it, in fact. She is just a terrific singer. Being last in line (the danger of a name like Zak) was actually cool, since I got to rock out right before the ever-popular (and deservedly so) Max Kleene took the stage. Since I'd just written a brand new song the morning before, I decided to use the occasion of Maali's rezday to perform it. It was the shortest time frame I ever had between writing and playing a song for a live audience.
Maali's Rezday Set List...
The Other Way (Zak Claxton)
*Let's Pretend That Everything's Okay (Zak Claxton)
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
Sassy gets things rolling with two great tunes. Photo by Kat.
No one in SL sings like Taunter. Photo by Kat.
I rock the crowd with some Zak Tunes while thanking Maali for being Maali. Photo by Kat.
Max Kleene, one of my (and everyone else's) favorite performers in SL. Photo by Kat.
In between our songs, each of us talked about how special Maali was. I got to tell the tale of meeting Maali, exactly a year earlier at the San Diego SL Jam, and about how lucky I was to be part of Maali Beck Entertainment. After my little set, Max took the stage and did a great show, but how often doesn't Max do a great show? I've never seen it, if it's indeed ever happened.
Long story short: I'm so glad that Sassy had the idea to put together a little event honoring what Maali has done for us. It was tremendously fun, and I know that Maali enjoyed it a lot. Special thanks also go to Still Braveheart for making her venue look like a Maali shrine for the night... it was awesome! But most of all, thanks again, Maali, for being a manager who exceeds all expectations, and yet being an even better friend!