Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Serenity Gardens (01.14.19)

Always a good time with good people at Serenity Gardens. Photo by Triana Caldera.

It was six weeks since my last Monday night show at Serenity Gardens, and I'm happy to say that my return to that excellent live music venue in Second Life was outstanding. But before I talk about that, I want to talk about something extraordinarily silly: men who are upset over a razor commercial.

On Sunday, Gillette unveiled a new ad campaign entitled "We Believe: The Best Men Can Be". You can watch it below.

I don't think any analysis of the message of this campaign is necessary. Gillette is quite clear in stating that society's acceptance of terrible behavior by men is no longer being tolerated. This sounds like a positive message to me. However, as can almost be counted upon in this era of the easily-offended, it's incredibly ironic that the injured parties in this case are the very men who claim to have some overwhelming level of masculinity. In essence, their tremendous level of outrage is precisely what they claim to be too manly to feel. Look, if their feelings are hurt by this ad, that's okay. But please, someone fill them in on the irony of feeling bullied by an anti-bullying campaign. Let them know that if they react as being harassed by an anti-harassment ad, they might need to take a look in the mirror, and that's really the message of the ad... which means it's a successful campaign.

All that having been said, is Gillette now a "good" company? Um... no. They are a division of Proctor & Gamble, a massive multi-national corporation whose goal, understandably, is to sell products at a high profit margin. Like all companies of this size, there is a huge discrepancy at P&G between the compensation of their top executives versus the income/benefits of the majority of the rest of their employees. I'm not singling out P&G in this regard; we all understand that as businesses have been merged and consolidated, wealth and income disparity has continued to grow, and the effects are devastating America.

Regardless of that, I do want to applaud Gillette for taking a risk and putting this message out to the public. Keep in mind that the men who are up in arms about this are the same ones who claimed they'd burn their Nikes, smash their Harley-Davidsons, and so on. These walking anachronisms will have something else that offends their sensitive souls soon enough.

And Now, Back to the Show
I was stoked to be getting back onstage at Serenity Gardens. As I mentioned during my set, it's kind of become my "home venue" over the course of the past year and a half since I started my bi-weekly shows there in June 2017. While I certainly enjoy playing at a variety of different venues, each with their own strengths and unique vibe, I am extremely comfortable doing shows at Serenity, and that level of familiarity is reflected in the shows I do there. I enjoy the crowds who attend, and the management team who helps make the venue have a nice, welcoming feel. I also like how Ilsa Flannigan changes up the decor of the place relatively often. The latest iteration of Serenity Gardens looks outstanding, while maintaining the peaceful outdoor pavilion vibe it's always had.

My great friend Diana Renoir, who was celebrating a rezday at the show. Photo by Triana Caldera.

Me being me. Photo by Triana Caldera.

is it really any wonder why my song "Pickles" is so popular at Serenity Gardens with these crazy cat ladies running the place? Photo by Triana Caldera.

We had a happy and engaged crowd last night, which is usually the case. I have made a mental note to always have my silly original song "Pickles" handy at future Serenity shows, because I can count on it being requested there. I didn't have it in my lyric list last night, which is why I blanked on the entire second verse while trying to do it from memory. Apart from that, I continued my goal of trying to do something new at each show, and last night I was thrilled to pull out songs by José González and Yawning Man, two artists/bands whose music I really enjoy but had yet to perform.

Serenity Gardens set list...
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Loading Zones (Kurt Vile)
Accidents Will Happen (Elvis Costello)
*Crosses (José González)
Words (Missing Persons)
*Catamaran (Yawning Man)
Cheer Up Murray (Flight of the Conchords)
Pickles (Zak Claxton)
Carolina in my Mind (James Taylor)
California Dreamin' (The Mamas & The Papas)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Sleeper in the Valley (Laura Veirs)
America (Simon & Garfunkel)
*Serenity Improv V (Zak Claxton)

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

Big happy thanks to everyone who attended the show, with super duper thanks to the following who helped support it!
Pato Milo, Joseph111 Trafalgar and Lyin, go2smoky Resident, Diana Renoir, Asimia Heron, Aurelie Chenaux, Triana Caldera, TheaDee Resident, my superb manager Maali Beck, and the fabulous team at Serenity Gardens, Tilly Rose and Ilsa Wilde.

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