Here's a sort-of funny story for you: it barely occurred to me that I was performing right in the midst of a presidential election until a day or two before it was happening. Not that I wasn't aware of the election; I promise I'm not a completely ignorant person. No, it's that I have a standing weekly show at the Whisky A Go Go in Second Life every Tuesday night, and per this country's federal law since 1792, we elect officials on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. So, my Tuesday night show was bound to conflict with this legitimately attention-grabbing event.
Some performers get concerned about these kinds of conflicts, and why wouldn't they? It's hard enough to get a good-sized crowd together when you're not up against something that captivates much of the entire planet. But I wasn't fazed in the slightest, and I'll tell you why. First of all, I was fairly sure that the time slot of the show (6PM SLT, aka 6PM PST/9PM EST) was early enough that it wouldn't be at a crucial moment when it was likely that solid election results were coming in. Second, I knew for a fact that almost all folks were beyond burned out on the entire political process. For them, jumping into SL and kicking back for some music was a perfect momentary diversion from the madness.
Third, and perhaps most important: I always make every effort to live up to my end of an agreement. Well, I'd agreed to perform at the Whisky that night, and I wasn't about to cancel just because I thought it might not be a big show for me personally.
As I suspected, there were plenty of people who wanted to take a short break from politics. We had a crowd of cool people, and it was fun (which is all we really want in any case). Photos by Kat.
When preparing to play, I had to decide how much I'd be referencing the election during my show. I certainly didn't want to spend much time on it, and here's why: first, Second Life is a global platform, and I never want people to feel that I'm only addressing American audiences. Second, my audience is a diverse group, and does include different people from many walks of life. As a musician, it's never my goal to alienate people, no matter who they are. Finally, per my thoughts above, many folks who would be in SL at that moment were there specifically to escape being clobbered over the head with election news. I didn't need to torture them further.
That doesn't mean I ignored what was going on. Without any partisanship involved, or mention of specific candidates or issues, I did chat with my crowd about the craziness of the election process in general, and reminded them to remain friends with people despite their differences. But the real way I referenced politics in my show last night was much more insidious. Everything in my set list had something that related to the election in some way, some very subtly, some more obvious.
Whisky Set List...
Save It for Later (English Beat)
Mad World (Tears for Fears)
U.S. Blues (Grateful Dead)
Leggy Blonde (Flight of the Conchords)
Let's Pretend That Everything's Okay (Zak Claxton)
Man of Constant Sorrow (Traditional)
Nobody Home (Pink Floyd)
Keep on Rocking in the Free World (Neil Young)
Rainbow Connection (Kermit the Frog)
Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
Only Happy When It Rains (Garbage)
Thanks to everyone who took some time away from the madness and hopefully enjoyed the show! Special love to those who helped support the show!
Triana Caldera, Abigail Republic, jaci Wylder, Alexis Fairlady, Cicadetta Stillwater, Kat Claxton, Christine Haiku, Doc Edman, Sesh Kamachi, my great manager Maali Beck, Whisky host Dmitri Polonsky, and owner Cameron Trenchcoat!