Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surreal Estates Fall Festival (10.29.12)

I'd been looking forward to my show at the Surreal Estates Fall Festival. I like performing at special events when I can, and this one looked like it was going to be particularly cool. The folks at Surreal Estates had put together a very fun fair, complete with rides and games, so I was anticipating that there would be some good-sized crowds there who would also check out any live music that was happening there.

What I didn't anticipate when the show was booked weeks earlier was that Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic storm in recorded history, was going to hit the eastern seaboard at the same time as my show. However, unlike other shows where I don't get a huge turnout, there was no whining on my behalf. I was only concerned with the safety of my friends and colleagues who live in the affected areas, and I was pleased to get the group of folks who did show up (some of whom were braving the storm from its strongest points). As if in sympathy to their plight, my power here actually fluctuated for a moment during the show despite having no reason to here on the calm West Coast.

I was grateful for anyone who made it into SL to watch my show during the hurricane. Photos by Kat.

I decided to keep the song selections on the mellow side. As I said during the show, with people's nerves as frayed as they likely are right now, playing my edgier stuff wasn't going to help the matter.

Fall Festival Set List...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Across the Universe (Beatles)
*Like a Hurricane (Neil Young)
Brain Damage/Eclipse (Pink Floyd)
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
Better Man (Pearl Jam)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
The Crystal Ship (The Doors)
Go Easy On Me (Zak Claxton)
Tangerine (Led Zeppelin)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL. That's right; I've never before played "Like a Hurricane". Seems impossible, but it's true. I really had no choice other than to whip that one out, under the circumstances.

Thanks to everyone who came to the show despite the craziness going on, especially those who helped support it!
Allyson Breumann, Triana Caldera, February Jinx, TheaDee, Kat Claxton, my manager Maali Beck, and Surreal's Sharon57 Braveheart!

The Musician's Sports Guide: NFL 2012-13 Week Eight

Here’s hoping your hatches have been battened down during Hurricane Sandy. Out here on the Left Coast, things are pretty mellow, but we wish our friends back East safety during and after the storm (and not the defensive back kind of safety, nor the 2-point version). For those who want to take their minds off the howling winds and rain, here’s this week’s NFL report.

The Giants (6-2) are now really pulling ahead of the pack in this division. It’s not that the defending champs are infallible as a team; defensively they’re in the bottom half of the league in both pass and run defense. But they do manage to keep winning, which is all that matters. They grabbed a close win on the road over Dallas (3-4) in Week 8, and should keep rolling in Week 9 when they host the Steelers. The Cowboys have two road games coming that they’re probably not really happy about; they face the Falcons next week and Philadelphia (3-4) the following week. Those Eagles, though, have lost three straight and once again don’t seem able to live up to the potential in their roster. I think it’s time for Andy Reid to move on. The Redskins (3-5) have also lost a couple, but might have a better time against the hapless Panthers next weekend.

It’s pretty obvious that the Bears (6-1) have this division for the taking if they can just be consistent. What’s more consistent than winning five straight? Well, they shouldn’t have to be relying on game-winning field goals to do the work, but an ugly win is still a win. Minnesota (5-3) had been coming on strong, but lost badly to Tampa Bay at home, and now go on the road to face Seattle. The Packers (5-3) seem back on track after three wins in a row, but haven’t been facing the league’s tougher teams, so the jury is still out on them. And while Detroit (3-4) may have had a good baseball team this year, the Lions are inconsistent at best. They should do well against Jacksonville this week, though.

Da Bears have good reason to be happy: five straight wins. Photo via AP.

For all intents and purposes, this is a one-team division. The Falcons (7-0) remain the only undefeated team in football, and for good reason. Their passing game and their pass defense are both among the league’s best. However, it remains to be seen if their flimsy run defense and inability to move the ball on the ground will allow them to keep up the perfect record. The Bucs (3-4) have been looking a bit better lately, and they go on the road next week to face Oakland in what seems like a good matchup. The Saints (2-5) lost at Denver in Week 8, and travel to Philadelphia for Week 9’s Monday Night game. Carolina (1-6) is... really bad.

No one wants to face Atlanta right now. They are the momentum kings of the NFL. Photo via AP.

We expect teams to win and lose games; we don’t expect them to clump all W’s and L’s together, but that’s exactly what the Cardinals (4-4) have done. Four straight wins, followed by four straight losses. That is harsh. What’s less harsh is San Francisco (6-2) rediscovering their dominance of this division. They have the #1 running game in the NFL, as well as the #1 pass defense. Despite Atlanta being undefeated and having a better QB, I’d still say that the Niners and Bears are the toughest teams in the NFC right now. Everyone else in the NFC West has been on losing streaks; the Seahawks (4-4) started out with a lot of potential upside that just hasn’t been realized, and the Rams (3-5) have also hit their apparent ceiling. St. Louis will take on the Niners next week, while Arizona will have a tough time at Green Bay. The Seattle/Minnesota game should be pretty good.

Strong offense? Check. Great defense? Check. Possible NFC champs? Could be. Photo via AP.

Meanwhile, in the American Football Conference Eastern Division, my vote for the best team is... Miami (4-3)! Yes, I said it. I like the Fins’ chances better than I do the Pats’ (5-3). Miami’s schedule -- which includes such luminaries as the Colts, Titans, and Jags -- is easier than New England’s. Furthermore, while the Pats’ offense is still as strong as ever, they are 28th in the league against the pass. Interestingly, they have yet to face each other; their division games are on December 2 and December 30. Many things could happen between now and then. Miami’s won three in a row, so keep your eye on them. Buffalo (3-4) is being its usual inconsistent self, and had their bye this week to regroup, but face the Texans in Week 9. Finally, something is highly amiss for the Jets (3-5), who are having terrible problems with their offense. I promise you, as bad as Sanchez seems to be playing, this is not the time to switch to Tebow. Actually, there’s never a good time to switch to Tebow. For anyone. Ever.

People are pretty quick to blame Sanchez for all of the Jets' woes, but when you have a hole this big for Reggie Bush to run through, there are deeper problems. Photo via Getty Images.

I was ready to just hand this division to the Ravens (5-2)... and then the injuries started. While I’m still doubtful that Pittsburgh (4-3) has what it takes to surpass Baltimore -- they’ve been looking better as of late but still playing inconsistently -- they have a big game against the Giants next week that will be telling for the remainder of their season. Meanwhile, the Ravens had a bye week to heal a bit, and then have two presumably easy games coming up against Cleveland (2-6) and Oakland. Cincinnati (3-4) had started out strong but not has lost three in a row and seems to be in a downward spiral. They also had a bye this week, and then face the Broncos in Week 9. Hats off to the Browns for hanging in there and beating San Diego in Week 8.

Until I’m proven otherwise, I still say that the Texans (6-1) are the best team in football. Week 8 was their bye, and this coming weekend they’ll host the Bills for an easy win. It’s week 10, when they travel to Chicago, which will be telling in regard to their tenacity. The Colts (4-3) have enjoyed two wins in a row with an exciting OT victory over Tennessee (3-5) in week 8. They’ll host Miami this weekend, while Jacksonville (1-6) will lose to the Lions.

Welcome to Craptasy Island! The AFC West is still smelling up the league, with Denver (4-3) still riding the top spot. They beat the Saints at home this week, but may have trouble on the road against the Bengals in Week 9. San Diego (3-4) and Oakland (3-4) are now tied, after the Bolts dropped one to the Browns and the Raiders put a smackdown on the Chiefs (1-6) in week 8. That’s six times in a row that the Raiders have kicked the Chiefs’ respective asses at home. The Thursday game this week features the Chargers and Chiefs, while Oakland will try and maintain their streak against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

What's that? The Raiders got a road win? In a division game? Amazing. Photo via Getty Images.

That's All, Folks!
Your best bets for Week 9 include San Diego over KC, Green Bay over Arizona, and Houston over Buffalo, but I’m having a terrible year in all my pools, so don’t listen to me. Do enjoy the games, though!

Monday, October 29, 2012

BDSM Forum (10.28.12)

Saturday, I was chilling here at Chez Zak with Kat on a typical kick-back weekend day when an email came in from my manager Maali Beck. It simply said, "Hi Zak, are you interested in a Noon gig tomorrow at a BDSM sim? It's a Halloween party." Well, I'm not always up for doing shows on weekends, especially on short notice, and I do turn down shows from time to time for various reasons. But I was glad to jump in and do this one. First off, it was being held at noon, meaning I could wake up, have breakfast, get ready, and do the show, then still have most of my day available for weekend relaxation.

But there was another aspect of performing at a place where I'd probably never visit on my own accord. The essence of that reason was stated eloquently by folk legend Pete Seeger in 1955 during his testimony for the now-infamous House Un-American Activities Committee:

I have been singing folksongs of America and other lands to people everywhere. I am proud that I never refused to sing to any group of people because I might disagree with some of the ideas of some of the people listening to me. I have sung for rich and poor, for Americans of every possible political and religious opinion and persuasion, of every race, color, and creed.

The very last thing I want to do as a musician is be exclusionary. I tend to shun shows that have exorbitant admittance fees, or that don't allow any particular group of people to attend. So, in the same way that I am not black, not gay, not an immigrant, not poverty-stricken, not a woman, and yet still support the rights of those people to be treated fairly and equally, I wasn't about to turn down a show for a community just because I am not part of it. Plus, as I said, I kind of enjoy noon shows on a weekend.

I went to visit the BDSM Forum sim before announcing the show. I'm not sure what I was expecting; perhaps it was some area chock full of whips, chains, bondage rooms, and so on. For all I know, those things might all be there. But what I saw was a pleasant, nicely-landscaped sim with a few people sitting around having discussions. I spoke to them and they seemed like nice folks. In visiting the area where their Halloween event was to take place, it was a pretty typical Second Life setting. I saw no reason at all not to invite my fans to come to this show as I would to any show, so that's what I did.

Here I am performing at the BDSM Forum party. Funny... it looks like a photo of me performing for any group of people in SL. It sounded that way too. People aren't as different as you assume. Photo and top photo by Kat.

We had a fun and enthusiastic crowd who seemed to enjoy themselves, and I got to perform music for a good number of people who'd never heard me before... an opportunity I always welcome. Photo by Kat.

The show itself was fine. We had a good turnout of people, comprised both of my Zakster crowd and a good number of folks from the BDSM community. Honestly, the vibe of the crowd was no more raunchy than that of just about any of my shows, and most of my fans are very open-minded people who probably weren't at all freaked out by the idea of visiting an adult sim to come see me play music. I did pull out one new song to help the Halloween spirit.

BDSM Forum Set List...
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Polly (Nirvana)
*Spooky (Classics IV)
The Other Way (Zak Claxton)
If It Makes you Happy (Sheryl Crow)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Coyote (Joni Mitchell)
I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young)
Love Hurts (Everly Brothers)
Lola (Kinks)
Sex & Candy (Marcy Playground)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in Second Life. Side note: "Spooky" was actually the first song I ever played for a crowd in public, at my guitar recital on December 8, 1980.

Big thanks to the BDSM Forum folks for having me play their Halloween event, and to everyone who helped support my show!
Squeeakers, Blindboy Gumbo, Alexis Fairlady, rosMekanic, Raoul Ragu, Diana Renoir, Soulstorm Ruby, Xerxes Ninetails, Kat Claxton, TheaDee, my manager Maali Beck, and BDSM Forum's Kathryn Foley!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Whisky A Go Go in Second Life (10.23.12)

Through a series of unpreventable circumstances, it had been a few weeks since my last 'weekly" show at the Whisky in SL. On Tuesday 10/9, I had a work-related conflict, and on Tuesday 10/16, the new owners of the townhouse that I call home started the process of re-roofing the place, and I wasn't about to do a show while hammering and sawing was going on a few feet above my head.

So, it was great to get back there last night. I'd had an insanely hectic work day (it's a busy season in my field of marketing for the music/audio industry), and was still cranking out stuff on deadline at 4:30 when I finally shut down that aspect of life and found time to pick some songs for my set. I flipped open the vintage Trapper Keeper folder that my Zakster fans so thoughtfully got for me awhile back, and randomly pulled out a couple of tunes. They both happened to start with the letter "P", and that gave me an idea. At first, I was going to do an entire show of songs that began with "P", but it turned out that I didn't really feel like doing some of those. So, I spread the selection to include "S" songs as well, and that became my theme. "P's and S's". Hey, why not?

One fun thing about doing gigs in SL near Halloween: your fans might show up looking like just about anything. Cicadetta Stillwater does her imitation of my new garden spider friend. Photo and top photo by Kat.

I don't need huge crowds at places like the Whisky... just a smattering of people who are really enjoying the tunes. Photo by Kat.

The show itself went really well. Granted, the Whisky doesn't have the huge crowds of places like Key West or Warung Beats where I'd played over the weekend, but there's a looseness there that is very low key, and we did end up pulling in a decent enough number of people to make it a show worth playing.

A final note: I must once again miss my Tuesday night show at the Whisky next week, but for a very good reason: my son is performing on trumpet with the wind ensemble and jazz band at his middle school that night. That's a show I just can't miss!

Whisky Set List...
*Pigs on the Wing - Parts 1 & 2 (Pink Floyd)
People Are Strange (The Doors)
Polly (Nirvana)
Pulling Mussels From a Shell (Squeeze)
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
Powderfinger (Neil Young)
Perfect Girl (Zak Claxton)
Sour Girl (Stone Temple Pilots)
*Stir It Up (Bob Marley)
Summer Breeze (Seals & Crafts)
Six Underground (Sneaker Pimps)
Shine (Zak Claxton)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL. For the Pink Floyd tune, I'd never done "Part 2" of that tune.

Big thanks to you Zaksters and other folks who came out to the Whisky, especially those who helped support the show!
Triana Caldera, james2561 Aeon, TheaDee, Cicadetta Stillwater, Kat Claxton, my manager Maali Beck, and Whisky host Dmitri Polonsky and owner Cameron Trenchcoat!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Musician's Sports Guide: NFL 2012-13 Week Seven

Here's an interesting point to open this week's "Musician's Sports Guide": if the playoffs started today, the AFC is so wishy-washy that three of the teams would be the 3-3 Broncos, Chargers and Fins. That's just not right. Let's get into the details!

The defending champ Giants (5-2) are looking a little more secure in their role after a three-game win streak. Their strong offense is winning games, but their suspect defense is going to remain a problem. They lost to Dallas (3-3) in week 1, but should have an easy win there next weekend. Philadelphia (3-3), meanwhile, had lost a couple going into their bye in week 7, and now have to face the Falcons in week 8. The Redskins (3-4) and their great running game can’t seem to translate to consistent wins yet, but will keep getting better as RGIII matures. I’d take them against the Steelers next weekend.

Despite a shaky start, the Giants look back on track to defend their championship. Photo via AP.

The Bears (5-1) are a serious threat in the NFC this year, but they need to keep their eyes in the rearview; Minnesota (5-2) are breathing down their necks. Both teams’ schedules stay easy, with Chicago facing Carolina next weekend and the Vikings taking on Tampa Bay in this week’s Thursday game. Green Bay (4-3) is looking a little more like their usual selves now, after a couple of strong wins. They host the Jags on Sunday who, in addition to sucking, are now injury plagued. And Detroit (2-4), who seems to be plummeting even faster than the worst expectations, hosts the Seahawks next week. Hey, your baseball club is in the series, so at least you Michiganders have that going for you.

Hello, Mr. Jackson? My name is Dezman. It's an honor to meet you, sir. Photo via Getty Images.

The last unbeaten team in football is the Falcons (6-0), who had a bye this week and come back to fight against Philadelphia in week 8. Who will stop them? No one knows, though my bet is some freak upset against the Saints (2-4). At this point, though, no one else in the division looks like a challenger to Atlanta in any possible way.

I’m happy to report that at least one team in the NFC West -- the Rams (3-4) -- finally has a losing record. It just didn’t seem right, like the universe had somehow tilted on it imaginary axis. But San Francisco (5-2), apart from a thorough beatdown by the Giants two weeks ago, is looking great. It should be a good game next Monday night when the Niners visit the Cardinals (4-3). Finally, Seattle (4-3) has moments of looking great (especially that defense), but are still gelling with Russell Wilson at QB. They’ll try their luck at Detroit this week.

You win some, you lose some, and that’s been the pattern of the AFC East all season. It took at OT field goal for New England (4-3) to get past their division mates the Jets (3-4) in week 7, but the Pats remain among the worst teams in the league in defending against the pass. They should have an easier time at St. Louis on Sunday, while the Jets face Miami (3-3), who have a couple wins in a row and are looking pretty decent. Meanwhile, poor Buffalo (3-4) should have had a win against the Titans last week but didn’t. They have a bye in week 8 to figure out what went wrong.

The Ravens (5-2) had been looking really strong until a couple of defensive injuries really hurt them, and they got crushed by Houston in week 7. They have a bye in week 8, which might help. Pittsburgh (3-3) pulled out a much-needed win again Cincinnati (3-4) this week, but might have a rougher time against Washington in week 8. Finally, Cleveland (1-6) may rock, but they can’t play football.

After a rather surprising loss to Green Bay in week 6, the Texans (6-1) killed Baltimore in week 7, and have a bye in week 8. The Colts (3-3) are slowly getting better. No one has had high expectations since Manning left, and the rebuilding process doesn’t happen over night, or even in a season. They beat the Browns in week 7, and travel to their rivals Tennessee (3-4) in week 8. Jacksonville (1-5) almost managed a win against Oakland on Sunday, but “almost” doesn’t count much in football.

Pics of Houston returning interceptions and celebrating touchdowns are becoming rather commonplace. Photo via Getty Images.

There’s still not a single good team in this division. Don’t tell me that Denver (3-3) is playing well; they have no running game and while Payton can still get the job done, there’s no comparison to his pre-injury arm strength. He’s running on pure desire, but I can’t see him staying in football for more than another season or two max. They had a bye this week, and host the Saints on Sunday. San Diego (3-3) had their bye this week as well, and should take the hapless Browns in week 8, but an easy schedule does not make a team good. On the even worse end of this sad division, congrats to the Raiders (2-4) on their second win of the season, which needed an overtime field goal to beat one of the other worst teams in the league at home. The Chiefs (1-5) are the only team who could make the Raiders look good. They play each other for a suckfest in KC this Sunday.

When a fan has to say, "At least we have a great kicker and punter," it doesn't bode well. Janikowski for the win. Photo via Getty Images.

That's All, Folks!
As always, the comments are open and ready to receive your kudos, critiques, and denials that your team sucks. See you next time!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Serene Acoustic Lounge & Warung Beats (10.21.12)

How rare is it for me to perform at two events in one day in Second Life? Well, looking back over this blog and earlier notes, I can only count six times in six years that I doubled-up on shows in a single day. Most of those times, it seems that I agreed to play a special event for a charity, like Relay for Life or Brique Zeiner's "Feed-A-Smile" Foundation, on a day I already had a regular show booked. But yesterday's double Zak show was purely for fun: I was scheduled to play in the evening at a great venue called Warung Beats, but my friend Barbie Horsley (aka Sassy Nitely in Second Life) asked if I could drop in for a short set at her own Serene Acoustic Lounge venue to perform at her "Spooktacular" Halloween event. I couldn't say no, nor did I want to; Barbie is a good friend and, as I mentioned, it sounded fun, and I'm a sucker for fun.

One nice thing about having been in Second Life for over six years; pretty much anything can be found by simply searching my own bloated inventory items. It was no surprise that I had a pretty decent Dracula-like outfit ready to rock. When I arrived there, Suzen Juel (aka Juel Resistance) was doing her inimitable show, and I enjoyed her spooky stuff while I readied myself to play. For my mini-set, I pulled out two semi-frightening tunes I'd never played before, plus one of my own that qualified as scary. I also told two very silly stories that I made up on the spot. That's just how I roll.

Yup... Count Zakula is here to entertain you. "And the only thing in the cabinet was... DECAF! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!" Photo by Kat.

Gypsy Kat Woman. Photo by Kat.

Serene Acoustic Lounge was nicely spookified for the event. Photo by Kat.

Wonder Sassy! Photo by Kat.

Serene Acoustic Lounge Set List...
*People Are Strange (The Doors)
*Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
Waiting for This (Zak Claxton)

*Indicates my first-ever performance of this song in SL.

After my set, my pal Terry Lynn Melody had a treat for us tricksters: she DJ'ed the rough mixes from her upcoming album that no one had heard before. All in all, it was a very fun event, but my musical day wasn't nearly done.

Rocking the Brazilians at Warung Beats
I'd played once before at Warung Beats, in July, and it was a great show. I wasn't sure what to expect this time, and when I started my first song I was a little concerned; there were only five or six people there. Then, BOOM! Before the song was over I had a crowd of over 40 people.

While most places in SL cater primarily to English speakers, Warung Beats is a venue for Brazilian people, so a good portion of the chat flying by was in Portuguese. However, we also had a good number of Zaksters and other fans whose language I could read as I glanced down at the chat window. Regardless of the language, folks seemed to be having a good time, and since I was very warmed up from having done an earlier show, my voice and guitar were both in great shape from the get-go.

I used to take crowds of this size for granted in SL. Not anymore! Photo by Kat.

Did I mention we had a really big crowd at Warung Beats? Photo by Kat.

I love the smell of big audiences in the morning. Or evening. Any time, actually. Photo by Kat.

Two words: hell yes! Photo by Kat.

Warung Beats Set List...
Fade Away (Zak Claxton)
California (Joni Mitchell)
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (The Police)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Space Oddity (David Bowie)
The Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young)
Perfect Girl (Zak Claxton)
Man on the Moon (R.E.M.)
She's Always A Woman (Billy Joel)
Come Around (Zak Claxton)
One (U2)
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)

Big thanks to everyone who came out to Serene Acoustic Lounge and Warung Beats for my shows! Obrigado a todos os meus amigos brasileiros para estar lá também! Extra thanks to those who helped with their support!
TheaDee, Triana Caldera,ChrisMongrel, Liz Harley, Alexis Fairlady, Spiral Silverstar, Kat Claxton, Juel Resistance, my manager Maali Beck, Serene owner Sassy Nitely, and Warung Beats manager Ursula Cinquetti.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Key West (10.20.12)

Ah, Key West. Playing there is like a breath of fresh air. I can always count on a great crowd and a good vibe there, and yesterday's show delivered both. Particularly nice was the fact that I was followed by one of my personal favorite performers in SL, Grace McDunnough, so not only did I get to play a good show for a big appreciative crowd, but I got to see a great show immediately afterwards. Bonus!

Material wise, I think that being aware of the fact that Grace was back-to-back with me led me toward picking some of my more "writerly" repertoire. Certain selections by artists like Nick Drake, Neil Young, and Peter Gabriel were purposeful in that regard. I also made it a point to pull out one tune I hadn't played before, as I try to do as often as I can at SL shows.

There's something to be said for performing at a pretty outdoor venue. It seems silly, but the vibe of a virtual place does affect my performance. Photo by Kat.

My Ket West crowd enjoys the show. Photo by Kat.

A pretty Saturday evening at sunset is a good time to enjoy live music in Second Life. Photo by Kat.

Speaking of enjoyment, here's Kat and I relaxing after my show to listen to Grace McDunnough.

Key West Set List...
Broken Day (Zak Claxton)
Nowhere Man (Beatles)
Help Me (Joni Mitchell)
Let's Pretend That Everything's Okay (Zak Claxton)
Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
†Waxing Gibbous (Zak Claxton)
After the Goldrush (Neil Young)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
Starman (David Bowie)
*Mad World (Tears for Fears)
Go Easy On Me (Zak Claxton)

†I've only performed "Gibbous" twice before in SL. It's a rare one.
*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Big thanks to everyone who came out to Key West! Special tip o' the Zak Hat to those who supported the show.
Lan Ganloso, GMetal Svartur, Woodstock Burleigh, Max11 Florio, Triana Caldera, Apinyalali, Kat Claxton, Rosinante Vinson, Lyn Carlberg, TheaDee, Crap Mariner, and Key West owner Liz Harley!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Molaskey's Pub (10.15.12)

Last night, we had a rather special show at Molaskey's Pub in Second Life. Actually, every show at Molaskey's is special in some way. Since my first show there in 2008, Molaskey's has remained one of my favorite places to perform in SL. But on Monday evening, Kat and I celebrated our sixth rezday while I did my show, and I pulled out some new and rare tunes to commemorate the occasion.

Let's let the pictures do the talking this time.

Happy rezday to us! Photo and top photo by Kat.

The crowd at Molaskey's was full of fun friends. Photo by Triana.

There were many decorations put up by the thoughtful Molaskey's staff. Photo by Triana.

My view from the stage. Photo by Triana.

The sun starts to set on a fun Monday. Photo by Triana.

Yup, that's my manager. Photo by Triana.

Maali is draped on our cake while the crowd enjoys the tunes. Photo by Kat.

I don't think I've ever had a bad show at Molaskey's. Photo by Kat.

Everyone seemed to have fun. Even robots who were in pain. Photo by Kat.

Poor Crap. Get well soon, Elbow Man. Photo by Kat.

Just me. I seem to be having fun. I usually am. Photo by Kat.

Molaskey's Set List...
Pigs on the Wing Part 1 (Pink Floyd)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Northern Sky (Nick Drake)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
*Blue Sky Mine (Midnight Oil)
†Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead)
**Take the Ride (They Stole My Crayon)
I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young)
Carey (Joni Mitchell)
The Other Way (Zak Claxton)
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.
†I've only done "Terrapin" a few times. Last one was October 2010; July 2008 before that.
**Not only is this the first time a They Stole My Crayon song was performed in public, but also it's the first time I've sung a song with lyrics by Kat!

Huge thanks to all the great friends Kat and I have made in six years of SL! Special shout-out to those who helped support the show last night.
Crap Mariner, Triana Caldera, Krista Morane, Kat Claxton, Aurelie Chenaux, Diana Renoir, TheaDee, my manager Maali Beck, and the lovely people of Molaskey's, including niaranashi, Cicadetta Stillwater, Stace Silvercloud, Katydid Something, and Mia Kitchensink!

The Musician's Sports Guide: NFL 2012-13 Week Six

Hello readers, and welcome once again to the Musician’s Guide to the NFL. I’m the musician, and here’s your guide looking back at Week 6 and forward to Week 7 and beyond.

Last week, I mentioned that no one, self included, has any idea what’s really going on in the NFC East, and Week 6 proved my point rather nicely. For the last couple of seasons, the Eagles (3-3) have looked like the best team in the NFC... on paper. However, it never seems to fully pan out that way, does it? The loss to the Lions on Sunday could have easily been prevented, and it may be time for Andy Reid and his staff to find greener pastures. They have a bye this week to lick their wounds, and then host the currently undefeated Falcons in week 8. Meanwhile, everyone was pretty sure the Giants (4-2) -- who are, after all, the defending champions -- would lose badly to a hot Niners team this week. Nope! They crushed San Francisco 26-3, and host the Skins (3-3) next weekend. And yet, I still can’t say for certain that they’ll win. Folks in Dallas (2-3) aren’t too happy with America’s Team right now, despite a good effort versus a tough Ravens team.

San Francisco often roots for the Giants in October. Not this time. Photo via Getty Images.

Chicago (4-1) is my kinda town, or so the song goes, and they look strong coming off three straight wins. It was their bye in week 6, so they’re presumably fresh and raring to go when they host Detroit (2-3) next Monday night in what should be a good game. Kudos to Detroit for a somewhat surprising OT victory as a 4-point underdog beating the Eagles in week 6, by the way! Despite a loss to the Skins, the Vikings (4-2) are still in pretty good shape in the NFC North. We’ll see how they hold up again Arizona this coming week. Finally, the Packers (3-3) gave a huge spanking to the previously-undefeated Texans on Sunday night. They should have an even easier time against St. Louis this week.

Most people thought that Atlanta (6-0) would annihilate the Raiders at home in week 6, but the win was a lot closer than the strengths of these respective teams would have you believe. In week 7, they’re up against a tough Minnesota team. Tampa Bay (2-3) pulled out a win over a putrid and injured Chiefs team on Sunday, but I wouldn’t take that as a prediction of great things to come. They take on their division rivals the Saints (1-4) in week 7. Carolina (1-4) also appears to be in this division. Who knew?

You thought Arizona (4-2) was going to run away with this division when they were undefeated? I didn’t think so then, and I sure don’t think so now. In fact, while San Francisco (4-2) was looking strong for awhile, it’s the Seahawks (4-2) that seem to be showing up ready to play in recent weeks, especially with a rather unexpected win against the Pats on Sunday. I predict that the Cards will have a tough time in Minnesota next weekend, while on Thursday night, Seattle and San Francisco will face off in what’s now a big division game for both teams. The Rams (3-3) are neither as bad or good as they occasionally look; however, Green Bay will likely hand them a loss on Sunday.

First off, the Seahawks have a great home field advantage. Second, that defense is for real no matter where they're playing. Photo via Getty Images.

Here’s a division usually dominated by one, perhaps two teams. Now everyone -- New England (3-3), the Jets (3-3), the Bills (3-3), and even the Fins (3-3) -- is mired in this limbo-like sea of mediocrity. The Jets and Pats will square off in Foxboro on Sunday to break that tie, while Buffalo hosts the Titans and Miami has their bye. Despite their explosive offense, the Pats are currently one of the worst teams in the league at defending against the pass, and they’ll need to get that together to be a semblance of their former selves.

Perhaps the Dolphins really are turning their season around. Photo via AP.

Oh man. Losing Ray Lewis for the season is going to hurt the Ravens (5-1), who were really looking like one of the top-notch teams of the AFC. Big and scary #52 has certainly been their spiritual leader for years, and it’s hard to think that they’ll keep on rolling in the same way without him. Making matters worse, they travel to Houston this week. You’d think that would be an opportunity for the Bengals (3-3) to step it up, but after losing to Cleveland (1-5) last Sunday, I’m not sure they deserve the top spot. In fact, Cincinnati hosts division mate Pittsburgh (2-3) on Sunday, but the Steelers kind of stink too.

The seemingly infallible Texans (5-1) looked quite a bit more human against the Packers last week, and might have trouble with Baltimore in week 7. The Colts (2-3) are somehow in second place in this division, but host the Browns this weekend and just might eke out another win. That’s in contrast to Tennessee (2-4), who travel to Buffalo to be spanked on Sunday. The Jaguars (1-4) had a bye in week 6, and will face an equally bad team in the Raiders for week 7, but I think that Oakland will take them.

In what is probably the most humiliating loss of the season so far, and one of the worst performances in history, the Chargers (3-3) blew a 24-0 halftime lead against the Broncos (3-3) in front of a Monday night audience. If you need more evidence that Norv Turner does not belong in a head coaching role, I don’t know what else will convince you. Both teams have their bye in week 7, as do the hapless Chiefs (1-5). The only AFC West team playing this weekend is the Raiders (1-4), who actually have an opportunity for a win at home this Sunday against the Jags.

We couldn't believe it either. Photo via Getty Images.

That's All, Folks!
As always, your responses are welcome. Feel free to tell me that I’m full of shit and don’t know what I’m talking about... remember, I’m just a musician, and Mongo just a pawn in game of life (rest in peace, Alex Karras).