Giving Thanks for a Community of Music

Happy New Year dear friends! I wish you all the very best in this new year, and new decade!  2010 is but hours old, and already I am so very thankful and filled with gratitude because of everyone that came out to celebrate the New Year in Edison Hypatia last night.

One year ago exactly, I was feeling so lost in Second Life.  Everything that I had focused on and worked so hard on, my life in Caledon, was suddenly just...gone.  It was extraordinarily hard for me, and I was grieving.  But as difficult as that time was, it forced me to open my eyes and my perspective on community in Second Life, and community in general.

Three years ago when Red Caliber, Mitsu Figaro, Edward Pearse and I starting forming our "radio station", we spent several days brainstorming on what to call ourselves.  Red and I had been referring to our station as "Radio Caledon", but when I stepped back and *really* thought about it, I realized that the station I could see in my head was so much more than a single community of sims in the virtual world platform of Second Life.  My vision was for a station that served all people with an interest in history, historic audio and classical music.  We were supposed to be for everyone on the Internet.  We were going to provide an immersive "soundtrack" to people in the brave new Web 2.0/Media 2.0 world.

I remember the email I sent to Red, Mitsu and Edward about it, and I remember the several days of brainstorming for a name that we then had.  It was Red who said, "Well it's obvious what the name of the station is...Radio Riel!"  I was *not* comfortable at all with the thought of giving the station my name.  I resisted it.  Because the station was about a team of people, not just me.  But the team voted me down, and I did acknowledge that the play on the words "Riel" and "Real" was pretty near perfect, and it would work outside of Caledon and outside of Second Life.  As much as I loved Caledon at that time, and as settled as I was there in the community, I *always* knew that Radio Riel was different.  Connected, yet separate from Caledon at the same time.

Leaving Caledon a year ago gave me the kick in the bustle that I needed at the time to remind me that my path, my fate was with music.  And that it was my responsibility to reach out and bring people together through music.  Last night, as I looked across the crowd at the Edison Ballroom, I felt utter joy.  We had a lively crowd of people from all over the Steamlands/19th Century grid.  Residents from my Estates of Edison and New Toulouse.  From the community that welcomed me while I was "exiled" for the last year, New Babbage.  From my "hometown" of Caledon.  From two communities where I have always felt 100% comfortable and welcome: Steelhead and Winterfell.  And from the young community of Armada Breakaway, whose Estate Owners and residents have always been so friendly to me.

Everyone was friendly, open and social to everyone else.  People conversed in main chat and did not fall silently into IMs. There was no clique-ishness, no snottiness, no one person who had to hog the spotlight and make the conversation all about them.  No dropping of "inside jokes" that would make others feel like outsiders.  Instead we talked about the New Year and the music, as people made new friends from all over the grid.  And inside I was jumping for joy, saying, "yes"!

Because, my friends...that's all I want.  I want to provide a place for people to come together and to celebrate music and each other.  That's it.  That's all it has *ever* been!

I've been talked about, in public and in gossip.  People have assigned *all* sorts of motives to me because of what I do and how I have lived my Second Life.  I've been accused of all sorts of things, from being a power seeking glory hound, to a control freak who wants to run the Steamlands.  From being a Traitor to Caledon and disloyal to Desmond Shang, to plotting and planning to "destroy" my competition.  From being a crazy, incapable mess, to being an untrustworthy tell-all.  From being a snotty and immature elitist, (and this next one is my personal favorite from 2009  :-)  ) to being an evil, twisted sociopath.

I can deal with all of these accusations and opinions from arm chair Psychologists, paranoid narcissists and former friends I once loved because what motivates me has always been crystal clear to me.  I *know* who I am, and what I am doing.  It's all about the music.  And you, the people for whom Radio Riel plays.  And bringing you together through the music.  It's that simple.  It's always been that simple.

There really is something of the "divine" in music.  There is an energy in it that connects us to that which we can not see nor perceive in this life as we know it.  I call myself the Psychic DJ, and I am not joking.  I have a gift that I can not even begin to understand nor explain that allows me to see and feel things about people via music.  I can feel what you want.  I can feel what you are feeling.  I can pray for you with music.  I can lift you up with music when you need to be lifted.  My own understanding of all this is still so vague and confused.  I don't know how I do it.  I just know that I can, and that I do.  Some of you can feel it, and you are affected by the energy.  It's that energy that drew everyone at Radio Riel to me like a magnet.

All I know is that it's about help and love for others.  It's about the Light.  And *that* is what has gotten me through the Dark things that have come from human pain, confusion and fear.  It's what lifts me up and over my own confusion and hurt when I see former friends and supporters actively AVOID hiring me for events, whether they are doing it for "political" and "appearance" reasons, because heaven forbid they show a preference for me. Or because they are exceedingly cheap and don't want to pay me anything for work I do.  Or whether they now hate me and they'd cut off their big toe on their right foot if it meant they could suck any and all support away from me.  I can not be sure what the reasons are for the few (and its a small group of about 6-7 people) who have chosen this path.  I've talked about this "phenomenon" with Ravishal Bentham, owner of another very successful Second Life radio station, KONA Radio.  He said that he has experienced the same thing.  Hearing that from him was comforting and sad at the same time!

Human beings are so good at messing things up...myself included.  Then I take a deep breath and feel the truth inside me. I just want to make people happy via music.  I want to help bring people together in celebration and joy.   And that is what happened last night in Edison Hypatia.  If you were there last night, or if you were tuned in, you probably heard the emotion in my voice when I was thanking you all, because everything that I just wrote above was swirling in my head and my heart.

Today, on the first day of the new year, I give thanks for those of you that were there with us last night.  I give thanks to those of you that have supported, and that continue to support, me and Radio Riel...and that includes my entire staff.  I give special thanks to those of you that can "feel" what I am trying so hard to give you with the prayers for you my desire to help you feel some joy and happiness in a world that can be sad and difficult.

Let's enjoy the light in the music together.

Thank you.



Wildstar said…
Happy New Year , Miss Gabi :)
Neb said…
Thanks, Gabi! You're doing great things with Radio Riel. People like you and your team inspire people like me to try new things.

Happy New Year,

Nabila N Peterman
Andy said…
Your Grace, the pair of us at Onlineability are pleased and proud to support your work from outside the virtual worlds as you move into the 'real' one. Some day, you'll conquer them all :)

And, on a personal note, thank you for making my RL birthday night last March memorable with the music you played for me.
Anonymous said…
nice post. thanks.