Friday, December 20, 2013

Crystal Gardens City (12.19.13)

For this report on one of my last shows of 2013, I'd like to talk a bit about freedom of speech.

When I perform live shows in Second Life, the first thing I do is take a look at the maturity rating of the sim. If it's "M" (moderate) or "A" (adult), I can assume that the people there are adults, and that the owners of the place don't mind that this rocker spouts some occasional profanity. There are exceptions; if I'm performing for a benefit/charitable show, or if I think there's even a possibility of children listening in, I dial things back to the "G" rating. In other words, I filter myself based on what I consider the obvious appropriateness of the situation.

So, let's say that I drop an F-bomb or two even at an Adult sim, and it ends up offending the owner of the venue, or causes complaints from the visitors. Does that venue have a right to fire me? Of course they do. They can fire me on the spot. It's their place, they are paying me, and they feel that what I've said does not reflect well on their establishment. End of story.

Why, then, would I not scream about this infringement on my freedom of speech? Because nothing has affected my freedom of speech. Folks, it's very simple: "freedom of speech" is one of the main tenants of American government, as defined in the First Amendment. Unlike far too many other places in the world, I can openly criticize my government and my country without fear of being thrown in jail or dragged in front of a firing squad. That is the meaning of Freedom of Speech, and it's a great thing, and I'm very happy to live somewhere in which I am protected from governmental persecution based on my opinions.

But I also have to acknowledge that as an adult man, I'm responsible for my words and actions, and that means that I accept the ramifications of what I do and say. Private institutions are not bound by any law to let me say whatever the fuck I want, whenever I want to say it. So, as I said before, I treat each place and each event as appropriately as I can. I may in fact miss opportunities to perform at places that wouldn't appreciate my occasional raunchiness, but that's a conscious decision I've made; to be myself and have an audience that likes me for who I am.

Even the gritty city looks nice with a few holiday touches and a blanket of snow. Photo and top photo by Kat.

None of the above, by the way, means a hill of beans when I play at Crystal Gardens City. Owners Sandi and Mikal know exactly who I am and what I'm about, and God knows that my Zaksters have heard every profane word that exists under the sun come out of my dirty mouth over the course of many shows. They seem okay with it. In fact, I think most of them have me beat in the crudeness department anyway, and I love them for it.

Last night's show was fun. The crowd started on the light side (5PM on any weeknight is a brutal time slot, as there are often dozens of shows going on at once in SL), but it steadily grew throughout the hour. As I've said before (and meant strongly), I do the same show for six people as I do for 60, or 600. I am there to play as well as I can and engage my crowd and have a good time, and all those goals were met at Crystal Gardens City last night. I feel good about it.

Crystal Gardens City set list...
I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Swing Lo Magellan (Dirty Projectors)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd)
Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth (Traditional/David Bowie)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Lines on Your Eyes (Zak Claxton)
Go Easy on Me (Zak Claxton)
Alabama Song (The Doors)
Heart of Gold (Neil Young)

Thanks to all who helped support my show!
LenoreRossetti, Kat Claxton, Aurelie Chenaux, Fawn Giano, Rina Miles, my great manager Maali Beck, and CGC owners Sandi and Mikal Beaumont!

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