Chapter 4: We be jammin’

The Hartford Jam 2010

The Hartford Jam 2010

After two nonstop yet all too brief days in New York City, I left full of new hope and purpose – but without much time to think, because it was onto the next adventure! Hartford, Connecticut was beckoning, and the Second Life music jam was about to kick into high gear.

Second Life is a virtual world in which you create an avatar and live your life. It’s not really a game, it’s a virtual reality platform where you can do or be almost anything. Everything is user created, from trees to houses to clothing to hair. You can earn real money by running a business in Second Life, creating and selling virtual products to other avatars, renting land, singing or playing an instrument, or any other skill or service you can offer. You can read more about Second Life and my businesses in this post. I’m involved in the live music community as a venue owner and as a musician manager and assistant.

Second Life is a wonderful platform for live music. It allows musicians to perform in the comfort of their home, while connecting with fans from all over the world. You can earn money playing shows without the hassle of hauling gear or dealing with drunks in a bar. It’s an excellent forum for getting feedback on new songs and new ideas. It’s also a great way for musicians to network with each other. Eventually the community of musicians, managers, and fans decided that we should start meeting up in real life too. And so the music jams were born.

I was excited to attend the jam and meet many of my friends and favorite musicians in real life. I had already met my good friend and client Tamra in New York City, but was looking forward to watching her jam with her fellow musicians. I’ve met many Internet friends in the 17 years I’ve been online, but I always feel a bit more nervous meeting people from Second Life.  In Second Life we’re all perfect avatars, with great bodies and designer wardrobes. I don’t keep my disability a secret from my friends, but I still worried how they’d react, if they’d treat me differently. But I was happy to find that after a few minutes of adjustment to putting names with faces, everyone was just the same as they are online. None of us have perfect bodies, our real-world clothing does not compare, and that’s ok. We’re the same people inside – that’s what matters.

I got to meet so many wonderful people that I’m sure I’ll miss mentioning some. Max Kleene, one of Second Life’s most popular performers, is a great band leader and the life of every party. It was great to meet TerryLynn, a soulful singer songwriter who came all the way from Florida. Shannon has such a beautiful voice. Fox, the owner of Indiespectrum Radio, Breanna, Leesa, and last but certainly not least the inimitable Gwampa, jam organizer and cameraman extraordinaire. It was a weekend of fun and freedom, well worth the cross-country drive. It was the first of many jams I’ve been lucky enough to attend, and I hope to go to more.

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