Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pacifique Park for Relay for Life (08.05.15)

Photo by Triana Caldera.

This report from my show to benefit Relay for Life at Pacifique Park in SL is about five days late. While I'm admittedly tardy, I do have a reasonably good excuse: I've had a medical thing going on. Is it the end of the world? Did I die? No, and no. But I've had a mild sinus infection happening which has kind of sapped my energy just enough to force me to postpone any writing that wasn't necessary for work and other boring stuff. And, even less critical but much more annoying, my ruggedly handsome looks have been temporarily disfigured by... well, see the pretty picture below.

Nice, huh? While it may look like I'm auditioning for the part of Igor, Frankenstein's assistant, that ugly red lump on my left eyelid is merely a stye. I'd never had one in my life until a month or so ago, and now this thing has been recurring multiple times. I can't make it go away entirely, and between that and the sinus infection that I was hoping would go away on its own to no avail, I finally dragged my ass to my doctor yesterday afternoon. A side note to this long side note: I have to say that the folks at Ocean Medical here in my lovely hometown of Redondo Beach, CA, always do excellent work. I've been going there for over 20 years, and I'm still alive, which must mean they're doing something right. So, long story not-so-short, I have a treatment plan for the eye and am on antibiotics for the infection. I should be much better rather soon. And that brings us to the show I did on Wednesday August 5, which was a Relay for Life fundraiser at Pacifique Park in Second Life.

As you all know, I do benefit shows often. In fact, at this point, I do just about as many charitable fundraisers as I do shows where I am paid for my efforts. That's fine with me; the "payment" of knowing I've used my musical skills to help others is pretty great. For this show, Alexis Fairlady (who is a longtime fan of my performances and has seen me play dozens and dozens of times) had politely been waiting for me to have some available time to do a show for her RFL team. For anyone who is unaware, Relay for Life is the official fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society, and a multitude of Second Life events raise thousands and thousands of dollars each year for this effort.

Ready, Set, Don't Go
Live music performances in Second Life are fairly straightforward for tech-minded people. I make musical sounds here in a room. The sounds are picked up by microphones, which go into a mixer, which go to an interface where they are translated into digital signals, sent into my computer via USB. Then, I have software (Rogue Amoeba Nicest on my Mac) that streams the signal to a server, where it can be accessed by anyone who has the address. When we musicians perform in SL, we give that address to the sim owner/manager, who plugs it into their land settings and bada-boom: anyone who clicks the audio button will hear me playing.

It works every time... except when it doesn't. I still have no idea why my very-reliable audio stream wasn't working that day, but it wasn't. There are so many combinations of ways for it not to work, it's impossible to know. But the end result was that for the first 20 minutes (!) of my show, my audience had silence. It's a bummer when stuff like that happens, and I used to get really pissed off about it. I don't anymore. Instead, the DJ who was spinning tunes for the crowd before my show was kind enough to loan me his stream, and once we got it sorted out, I was playing. Thanks Nick!

Photo by Triana Caldera.

Photo by Triana Caldera.

We had a good crowd at the venue, which was quite pretty in an open outdoor park setting. It's amazing to me that 90% of them stuck around during the stream debacle, so hats off to them. Despite the delay, I did manage to get a good number of songs in the rather abbreviated set. And, as far as I could tell, the fundraising aspect of the show seemed to be successful. So, mission accomplished.

Pacifique Park RFL set list...
Pigs On The Wing - Parts I and II (Pink Floyd)
Saved By Zero (The Fixx)
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
Comes a Time (Neil Young)
Cat's In the Cradle (Harry Chapin)
Never Run Away (Kurt Vile)
Friday I'm In Love (The Cure)
Man of Constant Sorrow (Traditional)
She's Leaving Home (Beatles)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)

Huge thanks to Alexis Fairlady and all the people who helped support this great cause (and put up with our technology nightmare for 20 minutes). You rock!

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