Tuesday, February 21, 2017

MadPea's International Food Fair for Feed-a-Smile (02.20.17)

Playing some guitar and feeding some smiles. Photo by Kat.

I enjoy daydreaming. It's actually a very healthy and productive use of time, I feel. Through those brief moments of fantasy and reflection, sometimes it's possible to visualize concepts that may seem illogical at the moment, but gives you a pathway for it to possibly come to fruition. So, when I do a performance for a charitable organization as I did last night at MadPea's International Food Fair in Second Life, I imagine someone donating a small amount of money toward the cause, and think that perhaps that very donation was the one that got to the right child who grew up to become a doctor or scientist or teacher whose work eventually helps thousands and thousands of other people.

It really doesn't work like that, I'm well aware. Each charitable donation is a tiny drop in a bucket that always needs to be refilled, but that big bucket is made up of a whole lot of droplets. Each one matters. Who knows which one is going to find its way to that deserving beneficiary who will pay it forward in his or her own way? Whether it's the shows I've done to fight cancer, to rescue animals, or many other very worthwhile causes, I do allow myself to imagine that the small amounts that get raised while I perform have a direct impact on someone out there. The thought puts a smile on my face every time.

This particular show -- one of a huge series of events between February 18 and March 4 -- was benefitting a cause that's dear to me: Feed-a-Smile, the charity run by my friend Brique Zeiner that funds the Live & Learn in Kenya NGO. I've posted many photos of the kids who are the recipients of funds raised through Feed-a-Smile. The money goes to help keep them fed, and to create a learning environment in Africa where they can grow up to hopefully become productive adults. While it's kind of selfish of me to say this, I must admit that being able to see the direct results of my efforts to help them via the photos and stories of their success helps drive me to keep doing benefit shows for them.

Rocking some Zak tunes, Crayon tunes, and other people's tunes. Photo by Kat.

Is that Doubledown Tandino scaling the wall while I perform at MadPea's food fair? Of course it is. Photo by Kat.

It's a good thing that the show itself happened to be for an important cause... because I was feeling like shit yesterday. I had a (thankfully rare) bout of insomnia the night before, and throughout the day had been experiencing some physical issues that certainly didn't put me in the best frame of mind to put on my usual upbeat show. But then, and who knows why this is the case, about an hour before I was schedule to go on, I got a second wind of sorts and found myself ready to rock. It could very well be that the act of psyching myself up to play, doing vocal warm-ups and tuning my guitar and all that, is what got my energy to the point where I felt like I could perform at my best level. By the time I strummed my first chord, I actually felt pretty great.

The show itself was quite good. I've been happy lately at the way my voice and guitar are working, and as my own biggest critic, that's saying something. They had the area set up so that the audio from my stream went out to all of the many sims that were set up for the food fair event, and I made it a point to let people know who might happen to be listening while browsing around the fair to come by and check out the show. As time went by, more and more people started filtering in so that toward the second half of the show, we had a really nice-sized crowd. I know for a fact that the event was a success; when I started the show, the contribution tally was around L$1,400,000, and this morning, the tally is at L$1,543,000 and counting. A good portion of that fundraising was done via the food fair itself, but it's nice to consider that my generous fans helped kick in around L$150,000, or about $600 USD. That is pretty amazing, and will have a direct impact on the kids in Kenya. Going back to my daydream, maybe that's the amount that allows one of the kids to get the food and learning materials he or she needs to move to the next level, and perhaps they grow up and create a cure to some disease that affects someone close to me. Yeah, I know; the chances are small... but there is a chance. There's always a chance of good things happening when you stay optimistic and keep working toward a goal.

By the way, as I noted before: the Food Fair event continues through March 4, so here's a SLURL where you SL folks can go check it out.

MadPea's Food Fair/Feed-a-Smile set list...
This Afternoon (Zak Claxton)
California (Joni Mitchell)
Fire & Rain (James Taylor)
Love Hurts (Everly Brothers)
Blew the Dust Away (They Stole My Crayon)
Polly (Nirvana)
I Am A Child (Neil Young)
Things Behind the Sun (Nick Drake)
Always Tomorrow (Zak Claxton)
Appetites (Jib Kidder)
Sour Girl (Stone Temple Pilots)
Things Under Trees (They Stole My Crayon)
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)

Gigantic thanks to everyone who came out to my show, especially those who were able to support Feed-a-Smile with your donations. You all helped to make the world just a little bit better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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