Monday, October 30, 2017

Veterans Isle for Homes For Our Troops (10.29.17)

Raising money for a great cause at Veterans Isle in Second Life. Photo by Kat.

About once a year for the last four or five years, I've received a request from fellow Second Life musician Frets Nirvana to perform at a benefit that he hosts on the last Sunday of each month at Veterans Isle. Each time, I've said yes right away. The shows benefit a nonprofit organization called Homes For Our Troops, a 501(c)(3) charity that builds and donates specially-adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives.

Zak Says, "War... It's Not Good"
I've spoken about this before, but it bears repeating: I'm as opposed to war as anyone you've ever met. I find it to be one of the last holdouts of humanity's most barbaric behavior. I believe that most wars, especially modern ones, are not held for the supposedly noble reasons that are offered to the public, and are rather attempts to steal resources from other nations, and/or for the profit of individuals and companies who care more about the greedy expansion of their own assets than the horror of death and severe injury to the young people who fight in them (and who usually are doing so under misleading circumstances).

Why, then support a cause dedicated to veterans? It's for that exact reason, actually. The members of the military who fight in wars and are severely injured do not even get the courtesy of being treated with the courtesy and respect they merit after their return home. Like it or not, it's up to causes like Homes For Our Troops to help provide for people whose bodies were mangled in their attempts to do what they feel is the right thing. Should it be that way? No, no, a resounding no. But it is that way, and until it changes, I will always be happy to spend a little time playing guitar and singing to help those people in a small way.

My "Halloween Boycott" Show
I love Halloween. It's a fun holiday. That having been said, as a musician, it's extraordinarily limiting in terms of performing songs I really enjoy. I've done tons of Halloween shows, both in real life and the virtual world, where I select entire sets of spooky songs (including the song "Spooky"). When I started getting my list together for my show at Veterans Isle, the thought crossed my mind that since it was so close to Halloween, I should choose some of my scarier material. Then I threw that plan right out the window for the very legitimate reason that I didn't feel like it. Instead, I did more of a typical Zak Show. Especially considering that many of the folks at the event weren't part of my regular crowd, I wanted to give them a chance to enjoy what most people hear when they attend my shows.

My view from the stage. Photo by Kat.

We had a good crowd of generous people who all helped the cause. Photo by Kat.

Right after the show... happy, sweaty me. Photo by Kat.

We ended up doing very well for the goal of the event, which was raising funds. I'm proud to say that at the end of my set, we surpassed L$30,000, which is over $120 USD. That's pretty damn good money raised for an hour of one guy strumming a guitar, and I'm sure that the rest of the event (which featured other fine SL performers including Chapman Zane, The Vinnie Show, and Blues Heron) raised much more for the cause.

Veterans Isle/Homes For Our Troops set list...
Dusty Rhodes (Lotus Plaza)
It’s Easy like Walking (The Sadies/Kurt Vile)
Comes a Time (Neil Young)
How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths)
Man of Constant Sorrow (Traditional)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
Rocket Man (Elton John)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Half Moon Bay (Sun Kil Moon)
Tea in the Sahara (The Police)
Airport Bar (Martin Courtney)
Pigs on the Wing - Parts 1/2 (Pink Floyd)

Huge thanks to all who came out and contributed so generously! Here's a list of some of the people who were there (and happen to be in my chat log). Thanks to you all!
Sabryne Hotaling, Waya Snowpaw, Russ Bentley, Jeff Mirabeau, RoxHardcore Cyberstar, Gjackie Winkler, Lady Elicea, daallee rhapsody, Aurelie Chenaux, Kat Claxton, kayravi, flynavy beerbaum, Triana Caldera, marythemagdalen, Archer Clary, thundercloud lecker, Ceithlan Zane, Chapman Zane, klondikes Fredriksson, aryna markova, Romie Vella, Kal Habana, Alicia Underby, and most of all, Frets Nirvana who drives the entire event (and does so month after month, year after year).

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