Monday, March 30, 2015

How To Be Immortal, Kind Of

It's often said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, and that's really not much of an exaggeration. At some point, perhaps sooner than we realize, the physical death of a human being might be less of a certainty than it has been throughout history. As medical advances continue and technology starts to become integrated with the flesh and blood aspects of life, it could be that in a few more generations, people could live for hundreds of years or more.

But today at least, we humans are still limited to our relatively short lifespans. I'm in my mid-40s. Statistically, I'm more than halfway done with my life. I know this. I'm not a person who obsesses on the fact that my life will indeed end and I won't be here anymore after that. I'm sure that eventually, I'll likely be more concerned with this concept, but for now I'm at peace with the thought that life will go on without my involvement. But believe it or not, even today there are a couple of ways to be, in some aspects, immortal. And all of those ways involve creativity and exchange of knowledge.

1. Procreate
Yeah, it's kind of an old-fashioned way to do it (and not very difficult, at least from a male perspective). But the act of continuing the species by passing along your genetic information via the creation of a new human is one way to achieve a measure of immortality. It's just not a very good one. Here's what I mean: your children are not you, of course. You get to extend some of your genetics to a new generation of people, sure, but you're also passing along traits of your many ancestors that have very little to do with you, personally (as well as those of the person with whom you created the child). In essence, you are really not your genes. You get them, you use them, and if you have a biological child, you pass them along. You don't get to choose which ones you get, nor the ones you give to your kids (not yet, anyway). But there is perhaps some solace in knowing that my stupid fuzzy hair and blue/green eyes (that weren't really mine to begin with, per above) might be in the traits of some human that lives hundreds or thousands of years from now.

Me and my son. He has some of my traits, some of his mother's, and some that might come from genes that have been dormant for multiple generations spanning hundreds of years. His very being helps my life be of importance as time progresses. He still has to clean his room and do his biology homework, regardless.

There are also possibilities that other aspects of your "youness" will pass down to your progeny, at least for a certain period of time. The obvious aspect of this is your culture... the language you speak, your personal traditions, the music/art/literature to which you appreciate and that you expose to your children. There are also other areas that are just beginning to be explored and understood, like the question of whether human parents actually pass along memories to their offspring via DNA. In any case, having children inarguably increases the chance that you will be remembered and that the things you do in life will have effects beyond the point that you're no longer part of the game.

However, the fact is that with or without children, you'll eventually be forgotten. You might know the name of your great, great grandfather, but what do you know about him beyond that? What kind of food did he like the most? Was he funny? Serious? What did he do for a living? Did he have any significant relationships beyond the one with your great, great grandmother? Did he like music? Dancing? Move back a few more generations, and it's almost certain that even the name of that person is lost in history. They are gone. Forever.

2. Create
Here's the big one. When you create almost anything at all, that thing has the possibility of outliving you, and even influencing people who won't be born until years after you're gone. My son was born in 1999, and yet there are a number of songs written by John Lennon that my kid really enjoys. John died 19 years before my son became a human, and yet the music of The Beatles is still relevant to my son's life, and will likely be listened to and studied for many generations to come. As a student of music, I studied the works of dozens of composers who had been gone hundreds of years before I ever heard them. Just because Bach and Mozart and Beethoven and the others aren't alive anymore doesn't mean their creative efforts don't continue to inspire and entertain me. They live on in their own way, and will for as long as people still appreciate music.

Here I am working on a song last weekend for my band They Stole My Crayon. If things go really well, people will still listen to this song after I'm long gone.

So, music and other art forms that are deemed significant tend to outlive their creators. Great novels, well-known sculptures and paintings, movies... these things can have an effect beyond that of your corporeal self. But there's more. People who make big contributions to other people's lives have a lasting impact as well. The inventor of the vaccine, Dr. Jonas Salk. Technological leaders like Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. And even those whose names you don't know, lost to obscurity or the ravages of time, impact your life daily, and live on in that regard. Who invented the wheel? Someone did. He or she made something that will continue to be used for eternity, or damn near. Thanks, wheel person. We owe you a lot.

Ironically, this very blog post might be one thing that helps the memory of me continue after I'm dead. Someone may read this in a hundred years. Hello, person in 2115. Hope you're having a good time in the future. And while it's statistically unlikely, the music I've created and continue to make has a much better chance of impacting someone's life in the future than almost anything else I've done. Funny, how much emphasis and time and importance we put on the business reports, spreadsheets, and other stuff that takes up most of our lives when that stuff will be the very first to be forgotten. How important is that Excel file you made twelve years and two jobs years ago?

3. Teach
When you take the time to teach something to someone else, that piece of knowledge can go a long, long way. Just because you didn't invent something doesn't mean it's not within your power to disseminate that information to others. Your act of passing along knowledge and skills might allow another person to pass it along, and so on. Teaching doesn't have to be your profession. Any time you mentor people at work, or post something informative video on YouTube or write a blog post (cough) or show someone how to play a song, you are becoming an essential part of a chain of information that reverberates into future generations.

4. Something To Keep In Mind
I like the idea that some of the things I am and the things I do will outlive me. It's comforting, in a small but significant way. But before you make it your life's goal to spend what's left of your life doing meaningful things that will ensure your relevance for generations to come, be aware of the following.

First, if you spend all of your time doing things in an effort to be long remembered, you might be missing out on a lot of the things that make your own life memorable. The fun things... personal interactions with friends and lovers, trips to see new and interesting places, enjoying the creative output of other people... these are things that won't influence history on their own, but make your life fun and exciting.

Second, despite all of your best efforts to do and make things that will live past your expiration date, remember that even the things that were written in stone thousands of years ago eventually erode and decay. We're lucky to have sheet music that lets us hear the music that Bach composed. Today, many things never even exist in a tangible format. The music I make on a computer is sold via computers and heard via computers. Even when I try and make a tangible copy (say, on a CD or vinyl record), there's little guarantee that those formats will be able to be used for very long. A few hundred years from now, will a person even be able to access the things I did for my entire life? The answer: perhaps not.

One thing I find good for perspective when I rarely grow concerned about my own mortality: as someone once quite correctly said, in the grand scheme of things, among billions of galaxies hosting trillions of stars and undoubtedly more civilizations that have come and gone than we can even imagine, I'm just not that important. Neither are you. And that's okay.

The final thing to remember about immortality is that in the very, very long term, it's a strong possibility that nothing anyone does in the entire universe will literally last forever. The most common theory about the long-term fate of the universe is the idea of heat death. It's theorized that at a point billions and billions and billions of years in the future, the entire universe will reach thermodynamic equilibrium, and no information will exist or be able to be passed along (and indeed there will be no one to pass them and no one to receive them). Long before that, of course, our star (aka The Sun) will grow into a red giant and incinerate our planet. And long in advance of that, we human beings will have evolved into something else, or (more likely) will have gone extinct for any of a number of viable reasons. But even if we transform ourselves into sentient robots of some kind with supposed infinite lifespans, at some point, there will be no physical way for anything to be remembered, anywhere.

So don't worry too much about being remembered forever, since nothing will be. But making a positive impact on other people's lives today is probably the best way of being fondly remembered for a long time to come, and I can't find anything wrong with making that kind of effort while you're around to do it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hesperia of Templemore (03.21.15)

How is Hesperia of Templemore amazing? Let me count the ways. Photo by Kat.

In a moment or two, I'll get to telling you some specifics about my show on Saturday at Hesperia of Templemore in Second Life. But first, I want to dedicate some words to the person who really deserves the credit for making Templemore one of the most amazing places in SL: Luis Lockjaw.

I first performed there a little over a year ago, and have done several shows there since then. But from my very first time there, my mind was boggled by the artistry of the build. It was, to be honest, unlike anything I'd seen before in Second Life. Both Kat and I know a few things about building in SL; Kat even ran a business for about a year as an SL design firm. We've both created stages and venues and so on, but like most people in SL, we built things based on our experiences in the real world. Need a stage? Okay, make a big slab, throw up some lighting and some speakers, plop down a dance floor, and voila... venue accomplished. But that first show at Templemore showed me that an SL stage can be something different. I didn't really know Luis very well at the time, but I knew that whoever was behind the design of this place was a genuine artist who created an entire environment using the tools available in the Second Life platform. It's hard to describe without immersing yourself in it. Suffice it to say that I was enormously impressed.

But then, the next time I played there, I showed up expecting to perform at the same place. I teleported in, and thought I must have used the wrong link... the place looked equally amazing, but completely different. The same thing happened the third time I played Templemore. It was then that I really started to understand that someone was committing incredible amounts of time and attention to detail in making new stage environments all the time. And, it turned out, that "someone" was Luis.

Getting set up to perform inside this incredible television-themed venue. Photo by Kat.

Triana (left) and Kat (right) share a glance while I perform at Hesperia of Templemore on Saturday March 21. Photo by Kat.

I still can't claim to be Luis's best buddy in the world or anything, but I'll tell you what I do know. First off, the guy is extremely nice. I met him in person in May 2014 at the Nashville SL Jam. That's when I found out we're both from Southern California, but despite being only about a 15-20 minute drive from each other, we really live in different worlds. I'm here in an affluent South Bay beach city, while Luis lives in one of the most infamously tough neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles: Compton. I also discovered that in his real life, Luis has a very demanding job: he works for our famous sports/event venue, Staples Center, on the team that prepares the large arena for games by the Lakers, Clippers, L.A. Kings, and huge numbers of concerts and other events that get held there. Just this weekend alone, Luis barely slept while changing over the arena between three different events. I can't even imagine how difficult this must be.

But the main thing I want to say about Luis is that I've seen lots of very cool artistic uses of Second Life, but very few that come close to what he does with the many ever-changing stages at Templemore. Even if they weren't useful places to host musical performances, they'd be some of the prettiest areas on the entire grid. I have huge admiration for Luis's artistry, and I can't thank him enough for pushing the boundaries of what people expect in live music venues in SL. I also know that Luis is involved in the world of SL fashion, something that I have nothing to do with but I admire nonetheless. I'm proud to think of him as a friend.

Playing before a cool crowd at Hesperia of Templemore. Photo by Kat.

Just look at this place. Have you ever seen a music venue like this? And the most amazing thing is that next time I play at Templemore, it will be yet another brilliant build by Luis. Photo by Kat.

Now onto my show. I've said before that I enjoy doing a relatively early show on Saturdays now and then. Noon is great; it lets me sleep in a bit, then get up, get showered/dressed, have coffee, eat breakfast, and still have plenty of time to get warmed up and ready to play before the show starts. This particular Saturday, I was especially happy, as my love Kat Claxton had just returned from two weeks in Japan on business, and we were very much enjoying getting back to a sense of normalcy in our lives. The show itself went fine; I was mostly over the cold that had plagued me for about a week, and unlike my previous show, managed to sing and play without coughing and sniffling at my audience.

Hesperia of Templemore set list...
Six Underground (Sneaker Pimps)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Polly (Nirvana)
The Arrangement (Joni Mitchell)
Mexico (James Taylor)
Big Empty (Stone Temple Pilots)
It's Choade My Dear (Connan Mockasin)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Beatles)
Frigid Spring (Chairlift)
You're Like a Cloud (Zak Claxton)
Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
*Improvised Ode to Templemore (Zak Claxton)

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

Big thanks to everyone who came out to my Templemore show on Saturday, especially the following who helped support it!
Harry Wheeler, Diana Renoir, Triana Caldera, Ava Weimes, Alexis Fairlady, Sassy Nitely, Ashton Andretti, Kat Claxton, my manager Maali Beck, Templemore hostess Bee Blackrain, and most of all, the amazing Luis Lockjaw!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Seaside Lounge (03.19.15)

A nice big crowd, ready to be rocked at Seaside Lounge in Second Life. Photo by Aurelie Cheneaux.

Top five things to know about my debut show at Seaside Lounge:

5. I Nearly Had A Technical Nightmare
So, there I was, at the venue nice and early, and really enjoying the show before mine, which was the awesome supergroup of Lisa Brune, Funkyfreddy, Voodoo Shilton, and Max Kleene. I was enjoying it so much that I looked up and noticed that it was three minutes before the top of the hour, and I hadn't set up my own audio for the show. No biggie; it was just a few flips to switch and I'd be good to go. Except I wasn't; there was no sound coming through my headphones. I felt a bead of sweat drip down my forehead as I frantically started pressing various buttons and turning knobs on my mixer and audio interface. Then the musical gods smiled upon me, as I looked down and saw that I'd unplugged the audio feed to the interface while doing some recording earlier. I literally jammed those suckers in with seconds to spare, hit the broadcast button, and jumped into the start of my show as if all had been peaches and cream instead of panic and death moments before.

4. I Couldn't Breathe Through My Nose
I'd caught a pretty sucky cold earlier that week, and I was hoping that by the time I had my show on Thursday night, it would be gone. It wasn't. That morning, I awoke with basically no voice at all. It wasn't encouraging for the show, and I actually warned my lovely manager Maali that there was a slim chance that my voice wouldn't cooperate at all. But after some solid warming up and about a ton of water, I was able to at least sing in a reasonably decent manner. My voice held out through about 90% of the show with only occasional bouts of uncontrollable coughing, which was way better than I was expecting earlier.

3. The Return of Kat
My ladyfriend Kat, who is my near constant companion, had spent the previous two full weeks in Japan on business. I'd been missing her pretty badly, and it just so happened that her plane back across the Pacific was landing at LAX about the same time as I was wrapping up my show. I basically finished my set, thanked everyone, and zippy-bang... I was in the car and headed to the airport to get her. I should mention that I did change out of my sweat-soaked t-shirt before going. I didn't want her to have to return to a stinky musician.

2. Seaside Lounge is a Great Place
I've seen this venue on various schedules many times, but I'd never had the opportunity to play there before. One thing I want to point out: the people who run it are terrifically organized. It's always a pleasure to have great communication with a venue's management and staff. They do a great job, and the process of playing there for the first time was super smooth. Also, I should point out that the build is really cool and fun, with sharks swimming around and under the entire area. My show itself went really well, and we had a nice-sized crowd (many of whom were hanging out after the awesome multi-streamed performance before my show).

The sun sets at Seaside Lounge while I sing at the peoples. Photo by Aurelie Cheneaux.

Seaside Lounge set list...
Save It For Later (English Beat)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Man On the Moon (R.E.M.)
Low Key (Tweedy)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Sleeper In The Valley (Laura Viers)
Swing Lo Magellan (Dirty Projectors)
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Shame Chamber (Kurt Vile)
What I Got (Sublime)
What's So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding (Elvis Costello)
California (Joni Mitchell)

Which brings us to...

1. That Was Awesome
Despite all the wackiness before my show, I still had a really great time playing at Seaside Lounge, and felt the show went really well. I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Thanks to all who came out to the show, especially the following cool people who helped support it!
OliviaXTimeless Resident, Funkyfreddy Republic, RoxxyyRoller Resident, Richy Nervous, heavenlei Lexenstar, Maurice Mistwallow, Rusty Seisenbacher, Mavenn Resident, TheaDee Resident, Aurelie Chenaux, my manager Maali Beck, and Seaside Lounge's great staff... Montana Clowes, Mollyann Aeon, and XXjojoXX Remex.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Key West (03.13.15)

Getting my show on the road at Key West in Second Life. Photo by Aurelie Cheneaux.

A Friday night show at Key West is always a welcome sight on my schedule. It occurred to me that many of you may not have any idea how Second Life musical artists arrange for the shows they play. The answer is that there is no answer, at least not one answer. Everyone has their own way of approaching this. For my first 4+ years in SL as a musician, I booked my own shows. Basically, I would go around and attend shows of my fellow artists whose music I enjoyed, and while I was there, if I liked the vibe of the venue, I'd ask the people hosting or managing the place who did the bookings. Then, I'd simply ask them if they had any slots open for new performers. Early on, like most people, I started by performing at "open mic" events, and eventually built up enough of a following that I felt okay about asking for a fee to perform. Note: I've always kept my fee at a fairly reasonable level... it's never been my intention to be a financial burden on the places where I perform.

That's how I did it from 2006 until 2011, when I met my manager Maali Beck. When Maali first approached me to ask if I needed a manager, my immediate answer was no. After all, I'd been pretty successful doing it on my own, and didn't see right away how it could improve with a manager's help. Boy, was I wrong. Maali not only got me booked into venues that I couldn't get into previously, but the biggest thing she brought to the party was taking over all of the negotiation and coordination that goes into the booking process. For the past four years, I simply look at my schedule, see what Maali has booked for me, and show up to play music (which is really all I want to do in any case). Perhaps I lucked out by having Maali... knowing that I have a busy life with lots of responsibilities, she is always aware of my preferred days/times to perform, never over-books me, and never seems concerned with her own revenue based on my rather meager amount of shows. I appreciate what she does, and after all, she also has three other great performers in her stable (Sassy Nitely, Lyndon Heart, and Taunter Goodnight) who probably more than make up for the small number of shows I play in any case.

A typical night at Key West, with a cool crowd in a lovely SL build. Photo by Aurelie Cheneaux.

Wrapping up my show, with my pal Taunter Goodnight getting ready to belt out some tunes. Photo by Aurelie Cheneaux.

So that's my experience with working with a manager in SL; others may do it differently. I'm perfectly fine with my system, so all is well in that regard. In any case, I saw that Maali had once again booked me at Key West, and I was happy to be there. It's a great SL venue; very well run, always gets a good crowd, and people seem to enjoy my tunes there. A Friday evening show at Key West is a great way to kick off a weekend for both the audience and the performers there.

Key West set list...
Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Shock The Monkey (Peter Gabriel)
Avalon (Roxy Music)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
*Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)
Carey (Joni Mitchell)
Say Goodbye (Beck)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
1979 (Smashing Pumpkins)

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

Big thanks to all who supported my show Friday night at Key West. You all rule.
Blythe Bailey, Taunter Goodnight, dls Falconer, Morgan Suppenkraut, Syd Baddingham, OrtonPortion Resident, Ryder30 Resident, Richy Nervous, Aurelie Chenaux, TheaDee Resident, my manager Maali Beck, Key West's great hostesses, and owner Liz Harley!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Only Venue (03.07.15)

I liked seeing my name on the marquee at The Only Venue.

I have to admit: I did not have high hopes for my debut Saturday night at a new live music spot in Second Life called The Only Venue. My reasons were easy to understand. First, I'd already performed that day at the amazing "The Road Forward" benefit show for my friend Thea Dee. Second, that benefit was still going on at the 7PM hour when I had my second show of the day. Third, many of my regular Zakster fans were unavailable to attend; my darling Kat is in Tokyo on business, my bestie Triana is vacationing somewhere in the desert, and Thea herself was, of course, still busy being the focus of her fundraising event. Finally, as a brand new venue, I knew that The OV was still building its own base of attendees.

Well, as usual, I needn't have been concerned. It turned out to be a really solid show. No, it wasn't packed with a huge crowd, but we actually ended up with about 20 people there, and I can't complain at all. More importantly (to me, anyway), the folks who were there seemed to really enjoy the show I did, and in addition to a decent number of Zakster fans, I got to do my show for a bunch of folks who'd never heard me before, something I always love. No specific musical theme at this one; I did a combination of covers and originals that were representational of my performances, sticking with some of my more familiar tunes that seemed appropriate for this place. The venue itself is fine, and works well for any kind of live music or DJ event. I'm sure they'll be successful with it, and am looking forward to rocking there again sometime.

Photos below courtesy of Aurelie "Aurie Lemonade" Cheneaux.

The Only Venue set list...
Man of Constant Sorrow (Traditional)
Cat's In The Cradle (Harry Chapin)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Sex & Candy (Marcy Playground)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
Big Empty (Stone Temple Pilots)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Heart of Gold (Neil Young)
Beyond the Blue (Martina McBride)
You're Like a CLoud (Zak Claxton)
Nearly Lost You (Screaming Trees)

Big thanks to all who supported my show!
RoxxyyRoller Resident, Alyssa Krutschek, Diana Renoir, Keesha Lenroy, Alexis Fairlady, Aurelie Chenaux, Richy Nervous, my manager Maali Beck, and Molly Masingh and the other owners and staff of The Only Venue!

"The Road Forward" Thea Dee Benefit (03.07.15)

Photo above courtesy of Mat Powers Matlack/The Follow.

Anyone who reads this blog has seen the name Thea Dee pop up on many occasions over the past four years or so. While I have plenty of great friends with whom I first became acquainted in the world of Second Life, that is not the case with Thea. In fact, I've known Thea for about 25 years, and it was because of a random birthday greeting and an offhand comment I made to her that she discovered SL at all.

Let me back up for a moment. Starting in 1989, I went to college at Cal State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. It's not very far from where I grew up and where I live now. It's not a big school and not the most prestigious four-year university, but I found my eduction there to be excellent, with relatively small class sizes and, for the most part, instructors who really seemed to care about their jobs. In any case, I was a music major there, and all music majors had to have performance credits, regardless of what musical emphasis they chose. Since I was working my way through school, my schedule was ridiculously hard to navigate, so the performance class that best fit my schedule was singing in the University Chorus (which turned out to be great, and I got my first real singing training there which proved invaluable later, but that's another story). I was the leader of the bass section, which said more about the average quality of my fellow basses than anything great about me, and there was a cute redheaded girl in that chorus who sang alto. I came to know her as Rachael. Rachael was a theater arts major and a music minor, so in addition to the chorus class, I'd see her in other classes and around the hallways of the Humanities and Fine Arts building often. We became friends; she was a spunky chick who was fun to talk to, and we got along well for the couple of years we knew each other in college. After I graduated, we didn't keep in touch, though I did run into Rachael one other time, a random encounter on the streets of West Los Angeles while I was driving back to my office from lunch.

That was in 1994 or thereabouts, and then she disappeared. Roughly 12 years later, I'd discovered SL and started playing live music there right away. And then another four years passed. It was October 2010 that I saw Rachael's name mentioned by a mutual friend on Facebook, wishing her a happy birthday. I recalled her fondly, and dropped her a note to which she responded. I was good to catch up. She was married and living in Utah. She asked if I was still doing musical stuff, and I filled her in on the album I'd completed and mentioned that I did live music performances in this virtual world thing. I think it was that very day that she got into Second Life, appearing as an avatar named Thea Dee, and the rest, as they say, is history. Thea took to SL like the proverbial duck to water; I swear it was like two weeks later that she told me she was going to partner with someone and start a venue. Amazing.

Thea and I continued our friendship via SL and Facebook, and she was a great supporter of my music, appearing at almost all of my shows. One day, I got the news that no one wants to hear about a friend or family member: she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I don't have to mention that fighting cancer is a huge challenge to anyone, and if you're not in the upper echelons of financial status, it's even harder. Thea has gone through a complete regimen of chemotherapy since then, and signs point to the positive of her recovery. But the financial toll has been rough on her and her husband, so I was thrilled to hear that some of her friends had organized a benefit show in her name. The fact is that in the 4-1/2 years she's been in SL, Thea has been recognized as a huge supporter of the live music community there, and it's really no surprise that many people wanted to give back to her what she'd given them.

The Road Forward
I believe it was Meegan Danitz who organized the fundraiser called "The Road Forward - A Benefit to help Thea Dee as she fights breast cancer", which was held at the Rhi's Poem venue. It ran all day, from noon to 8PM, with most performers doing a half hour slot each. My set was at 3PM, but I'd been popping in and out of the place since the show began. After all, the schedule included some of SL's very best performers, all modesty aside. It was, in a word, packed. Over 60 avatars in a medium-sized sim, and the best news was that people were giving... seriously giving. I was seeing L$1,000 donations flying by all the time. That put a huge smile on my face as I prepared my own set. In addition to modifying a silly Flight of the Conchords song to include Thea and produce some grins in the midst of the sadness, I did a re-write of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's Grammy-nominated song "Same Love" so it was focused on Thea's plight (I called my version "Thea Love"). I have to say, my whole show went really well; perhaps I was inspired by being given a chance to help my close friend, as well as the other great performances I'd heard that day. In any case, laughs were laughed and tears were cried and all in all, it was a pretty amazing experience.

Thea Benefit set list...
If You're Into It - Thea Edition (Flight of the Conchords)
You've Got a Friend (James Taylor)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)
Thanks Anyway (Zak Claxton)
Blew The Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
*Thea Love (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis/Zak Claxton)

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

This is the place where I normally thank my fans who supported the show. Instead, I'll use this bold text to thank all the people who, in one day, raised over L$1,000,000 (aka over $4000 USD) which will go directly to Thea. I couldn't be happier for her, as well as all of the people who organized and performed at the benefit. You, in a word, are awesome.