Monday, September 21, 2015

Stand Up To Cancer/LC Live (09.19.15)

Enjoying a Saturday with good friends and good tunes, and kicking cancer's ass at the same time. Photo by Kat.

Maybe a month or so ago, my manager Maali Beck messaged all four of us in her stable of live musicians -- myself, Lyndon Heart, Taunter Goodnight, and Sassy Nitely -- to see if we'd be interested in performing at a fundraising benefit for cancer. None of us are unfamiliar with doing charitable shows in Second Life; we've each done dozens and dozens of them, for a wide variety of causes. But I wasn't entirely aware of the particular association for which this benefit was focused. It was called Stand Up To Cancer, so I did a little reading up. Their mission statement:

Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

SU2C brings together the best and the brightest researchers and mandates collaboration among the cancer community. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C has set out to generate awareness, educate the public on cancer prevention and help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.

So, it wasn't surprising that all four of us wanted to show our support. What was sort of crazy was that we were not only all available on that particular day -- if you think this is easy, go ahead and try and wrangle four musicians with different schedules and responsibilities -- but also could be on the schedule for back-to-back shows. The event itself was spread out over many days, across many SL sims and venues, but on Saturday September 19 at LC Live, Lyndon took the 2PM slot, Taunter was at 3PM, I played at 4PM, and Sassy did the 5PM show.

Left to right: Lyndon Heart, Taunter Goodnight, Maali Beck, and Sassy Nitely. Photos by Kat.

For a typical SL show, I arrive at the venue maybe 20 minutes before I am scheduled to go on, but that wasn't the case this time. Instead, I arrived a bit earlier -- like almost two hours early -- so I could check out what my friends were playing. I have to say that it's a matter of no small pride that I'm on this team with people like Lyndon, Taunter, and Sassy. Nothing against any of the other fine live performers of SL, of which there are plenty, but I think it's fair to say that all four of us bring a level of performance skill that sets us apart from many of the other folks who do SL shows. If I had to pick the one shared quality that allows the four of us to be somewhat special, it's that we all are able to establish a connection with our respective audiences. This isn't an easy task in the virtual world, and it's really an honor to be part of this little gang that we affectionately call "Maali's Kids".

I can't complain about the crowd. I never do, but I certainly wouldn't for this. Photo by Kat.

My view from the stage. Photo by Kat.

Me, defeating cancer one strum at a time. Photo by Kat.

In any case, my show went fine. Smooth as could be with the stream and the venue, and my songs choices seemed to work. I used to be super crazy careful about the songs I'd pick for a cancer benefit, never including songs that referred to death or sadness or anything negative. Over the years, I've lessened my self-imposed rules in that regard for two reasons. First off, I've had a number of my close friends get various kinds of cancer, and I've found that they certainly relate to both the light and dark emotions that music can impart. Second, it was impacting the variety of songs I could play, and the last thing I want to be is repetitive or boring in my shows. LC Live and their staff did a good job of keeping the show rolling with dozens of various kinds of SL artists, so hats off to them as well. We had a good crowd throughout the event, and raised a whole lot of funds. From what I heard during my portion of the show, the whole series of events was on track to raise a total somewhere in the range of L$1.5M, which is around $6,000 USD. That's a significant chunk of change, and it makes me proud that the SL music community of fans, venues, and artists can put other issues aside and work together successfully for these vital causes.

Stand Up To Cancer/LC Live set list...
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Comes a Time (Neil Young)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
On A Plain (Nirvana)
It's Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to the shows for Stand Up To Cancer. Each of you made a huge difference in someone's life. Since they may not be able to thank you personally, I do so on their behalf.

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