Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Serenity Gardens (07.16.18)

When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around. Making music at Serenity Gardens on July 16. Photo by Kat.

Hmm, it seems like a pleasant Tuesday morning. I wonder if anything interesting is going on in the world right now. Better check the news.

Fox News's John Roberts: Consensus is Trump 'threw the US under the bus'
Trump's Helsinki Bow To Putin Leaves World Wondering: Why?
Top Republicans in Congress break with Trump over Putin comments
Trump aides face calls to resign after president’s appearance with Putin
Protests erupt outside of White House as Trump returns from Putin summit

Even the declining number of folks who had remained neutral or apathetic about the Trump presidency and its effect on the US suddenly seem to be waking up to the implications of what's going on. All I can say to them is, "Welcome to the team." And lemme tell ya'... things are about to get more interesting than ever, as we move closer and closer to the Midterm elections. I promise you that between now and November 6, more and more things will happen. More protests. More intensity. More violence as the polarized sides clash. More circumstances of election tampering, fraud, attempts at disenfranchisement, intimidation, friendships lost, and even possible direct attacks on America's electric and data infrastructure.

Is any of this good? Of course it's not good! It's terrible! No one in their right mind actually prefers to live in a world of unrest. It hampers progress... scientific, economic, and personal. It harms what would otherwise be good relationships, sometimes irreparably. And, perhaps worst of all, it's not easily fixed. Long after this debacle is done and gone, the reputation of the country and its citizens will continue to be viewed with suspicion and distrust. That will likely be true for decades, or longer depending on how this all plays out.

It Gets Better... Probably... After Getting Worse
As to not leave you in a ball of depression, I will tell you that there's a bright side. The very fact that the people of the USA can be seen on the world stage as not taking this stuff lying down will be helpful, long term. The fact that we have systems in place in the USA to check and balance the power of each branch of government is specifically designed to stop tyrants and dictators from achieving their nefarious goals, thanks to the framers of the Constitution who foresaw this exact scenario. And finally, heh heh, when other politicians truly see that their own careers are teetering on the brink of oblivion via association with this demented narcissistic nutbag of a president, they will be as quick and harsh to throw him under the bus as the president was to do so for our country in his meeting with Russia. So do not lose hope! In fact, the near universal condemnation of Trump's actions are a step in the right direction. The true time to worry is when these things are met with tacit acceptance. It might be a time to be more hopeful than ever, at least since Trump took office. That having been said, as I mentioned above... it's going to get super ugly between now and November, and probably beyond. Be ready.

Live Music: A Little Break for Everyone (Including Me)
So, while the world was poised on the brink of insanity, I did something positive in the form of performing live music at Serenity Gardens in Second Life. Literally no performing musician in history has had the luxury of making music under circumstances where there was nothing to distract him or her from the focus of making music. If I decided that too many things were going on in the world to do a show, I would never, ever do shows, because there's always shit going on. It's easy to think that a well-known professional musician (i.e., someone unlike me) would be immune to those things. Nope! They are dealing with getting screwed by promoters, equipment failures, media and fans wanting their time and attention, and many other things that really have nothing to do with performing music. For someone more like me, we have families and jobs and world events and interpersonal issues and myriad other things that pull us away from singing and playing our instruments.

All photos by Kat.

Ironically, it's something that is an appeal, rather than a drawback. Sure, there have absolutely been shows where I've had so much immediate stuff going on that it affects the amount of attention I can give my show. But more often than not, I find that the act of preparing for and then doing live shows helps reset my brain in a positive way. I can tell you that while I'm completely into my show and focused on singing and playing as well as I can, it's a lovely break from both tedium and direct stress in life that almost all of us experience.

That was definitely the case last night at Serenity. I pulled out a couple of NBPBM (Never Before Played By Me) tunes, and did some others that are somewhat rare in my set, requiring me to have a higher level of concentration than I might otherwise have required. People seemed to enjoy what I did, and that's part of the gig as well; giving those folks a break from both the mundane and the stressful aspects of their lives.

Serenity Gardens set list...
Pretty Pimpin’ (Kurt Vile)
Thank U (Alanis Morissette)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Sex & Candy (Marcy Playground)
*I Believe When I Fall In Love (Stevie Wonder)
It’s Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
Carry Me Ohio (Sun Kil Moon)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
*If I Had a Tail (Queens of the Stone Age)
Cumberland Blues (Grateful Dead)
Save Me (Aimee Mann)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Big, big thanks to anyone who hung out at the show, and super duper thanks to those who helped support it!
AaronCabottJones Resident, Kaelarian Resident, TheaDee Resident, go2smoky Resident, Aurelie Chenaux, Kat Claxton, Triana Caldera, my excellent manager Maali Beck, and the fabulous team at Serenity Gardens, Tilly Rose and Ilsa Wilde.

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