30 September 2013

Own Me Save Me

The infamous artist SaveMe Oh, whose often-disruptive presence has been an issue of controversy in the Second Life arts world for years, has taken on the recent change in Linden Lab's Terms of Service (specifically, section 2.3) with something of a pop-up gallery fire sale. Known for inserting herself obstreperously into art openings by, say, wearing a house, she is also quite skillful at inserting herself into the images of classic paintings. She has produced enough of these to fill a fairly large gallery—click on the images below to see details of a few (and read this interesting October 2012 review by Thirza Ember for more thoughts). Of course, with changes to the ToS these works by SaveMe are now owned not by her but by Linden Lab, fueling her motivation for this "Own Me Save Me" event.

"To prevent Linden Lab from selling out all the masterpieces of SaveMe Oh she will sell out her work herself before it is too late. If you ever wanted to own a SaveMe here is your chance to do so," she declares. But you can't just teleport to a fixed gallery space—rather, she finds "secret selling spots" to stage her operation. She rezzes the gallery (eight rooms if I remember correctly) in an undisclosed location that changes each time, and sends out a notice via the .:SL Art:. group (and other groups) with a landmark. Then, working efficiently before the gallery disappears again, you arrive, browse, pick your images and pay what you want—she'll accept any reasonable offer—and you're the proud owner of original SaveMe Oh artworks. Or not, depending on whether or not we own anything at all.

I'm For Sale!

I've tossed my hat in the ring, so if you want a date with me just head over to the Pixel Bean Coffeehouse Date Auction and place a bid! I'll give you a photography tutorial or do whatever else you might want (er, almost anything) for a couple hours. Maybe you'd like to show me a sim you'd like me to write about—there's another option! Just click on my board for the whole rundown. Bidding ends Sunday, October 6. I promise a fun time, plus whatever I get out of the deal goes to support tier at AM Radio's The Far Away, so you can even feel good about it. :)

28 September 2013

The Pixel Bean Coffeehouse Date Auction

Someone really wants to spend time with Whiskey Monday, because her bid at the Pixel Bean Coffeehouse Date Auction is up to a whopping L$20,000 as I write this. "A date with me could be anything! I'm wide open. I'm easy," she remarks in her notecard. You can bid for her time, too, or that of 49 other people at the Pixel Bean Coffeehouse Date Auction, which will help in part raise funds for the Coffeehouse. Curious about Maxwell Graf? He's even willing to toss in some extra goodies. "I am open to suggestion, but alcohol should be involved. In addition to spending a fun time with me (and others if you like) I offer the high bidder 1 of any item that I make, including my houses, skymoon, sculpty pack, landscape items or fatpacks of clothing, etc. Your choice." (Current going bid: L$2,500.)

The bids aren't very high right now, but the auction continues until Sunday, October 6, so I suspect by then Gogo (Gorgeous Yongho) won't still be at L$1,050 ("Okay, if you win a date with me, I can take your picture, decorate your house, landscape your parcel, make you makeup or nails (exclusive), fix your shape, fix anything else you want me to fix OR ---- we can go shopping, go explore sims, go to an event, go to your house, go to my house, go to your friend's house, etc," she offers), and a date with Naxos Loon, who promises "the best freebie tour in sl" (and knowing Nax he's not kidding) won't be going for L$100. Have fun bidding—maybe you'll meet someone new!

Results of Creations for Parkinson's Fundraiser

I wrote recently about the Premiere Party for the Michael J. Fox Show, organized by Solas (Solas NaGealai) and held on Thursday, September 26. The event raised approximately L$425,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and some special prizes were auctioned off during the evening:

- For 2 Minutes of Fame, the chance to be featured in an upcoming video by Draxtor Depres, the winning bid was L$35,000 from Marcusgay Lefevre
- For Immersive Color, an opportunity to build alongside DB Bailey, the winning bid was L$25,000 from Wyndlyght Epona
- For an Original Design created by Solas NaGealai, the winning bid was L$6,500 from Lisa Valentino
- For Tea for Two, some conversation time with Fran Seranade, the winning bid was L$5,000 from QuillRiley
- For Portrait for Two, a photography session with Jaden Hollow, the winning bid was L$5,000 from Zip Zlatkis
- For Michelle, a one-of-a-kind complete avatar, the winning bid was L$6,000 from Lisa Valentino
- For Golden Splendor, a gown from Sascha's Designs, the winning bid was L$7,000 from Redorange Magic

Thanks to all who organized and participated in this event.

25 September 2013

The words of my life

Opening today at Tanalois Art and the torno Kohime Foundation is an installation by Aloisio Congrejo entitled The words of my life. Peace, sincerity, trust, health, dreams, friendship, freedom, love, fantasy, stress, strength, bravery, tranquility, sensuality, sweetness, fear, precariousness, creativeness—these are all terms Aloisio embraced as he thought about words central to his life, and in this artwork they all unfold on a great scale—physical words large enough that we can walk through them, and even sit inside some of the letters.

When I arrived at the exhibition, my first instinct was to try to read all the words, to make sense of the colossal shapes all pressed together in every direction, but I soon became more interested in abstract shapes that the words formed, providing opportunities for exploration, and enjoying the words not so much for their meaning but for their shape (although one can't entirely diminish the importance of the words and their meanings). As one wanders about and through the words and letters, which by default are white, different colors emerge, often creating striking patterns that highlight not so much the individual words as their combined non-syntactical forms. The exhibition continues through October 9.

22 September 2013

Thousand Rooms

I have long admired the machinima of Iono Allen (and you can, too, by visiting his stream on Vimeo here)—his beautiful work has documented and highlighted that of many other artists, including Rose Borchovski and Eupalinos Ugajin. But it wasn't until recently that I became aware that he maintains a gallery, which is located at Thousand Rooms in Dream State, the "performance space, kitchen, workspace and home" he shares with jaynine Scarborough. Just roaming around for a few minutes I spotted artworks by Cica Ghost, Artée (Artistide Despres), Typote Beck, Scottius Polke, Rose Borchovski, Pandora Popstar, soror Nishi, Miso Susanowa, Gleman Jun, Elie Maurice (Loup Erin), Natsha Lemton, Igor Ballyhoo, Eupalinos Ugajin and others.

Thousand Rooms doubles as a performance space for jaynine Scarborough, whose voice I know from her performances at Flashmans (and who just finished decorating the ground level of Thousand Rooms for autumn). She performs every Sunday at 12 pm slt, so stop by the next time you're free (photo of the stage area below, but unfortunately empty when I was shooting). The entire area is open to the public—it's beautifully landscaped and decorated—and rez rights are available when you join the group.

21 September 2013

Image Essentials

Once in a while, I get asked for good locations for photo shoots where one can rez a few props. It's surprisingly difficult to find such places—obejct rezzing in most regions generally being turned off, or at most limited to a couple minutes—but one possibility is Image Essentials, where anyone can build without time constraints. Around the sim are a number of naturalistic settings such as those shown here, and they're certainly workable as backgrounds for portraits.

You'll find areas such as woodlands, a Japanese garden thick with bamboo, a dark, haunted looking spot, and so on. In the center of the sim, a number of studios provide interior settings for images with a variety of scenes and poses, with separate studios for female and male poses, as well as for families and groups. (Join the group to use the poses.) All of these locations are available for free use; the sim is also home to the shop Image Essentials, and there you can find an assortment of props and poses for photography.

19 September 2013

The Trace

Kylie Jaxxon recently prompted me to visit her land, The Trace, which has been redesigned for fall. I'm glad she did—it's a great spot for wandering, taking photos and exploring. After arriving at a small red gate, one is offered the choice of two paths: straight ahead and up a steep hill, the first path leads toward a white beach cottage, artfully furnished, that overlooks a rustic and rocky shoreline to the west. A lighthouse stands ready to warn passing ships, suggesting that the house is probably the residence of the lighthouse keeper.

As it happens—and it was simply because of where my eyes were first drawn—none of those sights are shown in these images. Rather, seen here is what one encounters when taking the path that heads off to the right, leading through a dramatic setting with double waterfalls followed by pastoral fields, groves of trees, a clearing, a small chapel (lower image), all beautifully evocative of fall, with resplendent colors. An observation platform towers high overhead on the northeastern corner, providing a panoramic vista that encompasses the entire build.

18 September 2013

Frantastica and DB Bailey

Yesterday I mentioned Fran Seranade and the beneficial impact Second Life seems to be having on her management of Parkinson's Disease. Others stricken with PD are also active in SL, including the artist and architect DB Bailey, whose long-gone areas of Cetus and Locus were among my favorite builds, brilliant with color and radically distinctive. After a hiatus, he began to build in Second Life again, about six months ago in the sim Frantastica (named for the aforementioned Fran, of course), where a sandbox was established to support the creative work of people living with Parkinson's.

His builds here are ongoing and change frequently as he continually reshapes them. DB described to me how "many people with PD experience a surge in creativity," adding, "I've become obsessed with color—it helps ease the symptoms." DB's spaces are exceptionally immersive and wildly complex, with great overlapping textures and patterns that give a tremendous sense of depth, often highly saturated with color. There are additional artists whose work at Frantastica is interwoven with DB's, including builds by Solas (a.k.a. SolasNageaLai Resident) and writings by Albert Murrian and Brenda Brodie. DB hopes others will join soon. (DB, by the way, is a great proponent of the Oculus Rift. "It's unbelievable," he says. "It's really like being here. It's going to change everything.")

17 September 2013

Premiere Party for Michael J. Fox Show at the Rose Theater Ballroom

Last February, Wagner James Au wrote a remarkable post on his blog, New World Notes, entitled Woman with Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching. He described the way in which an 85 (now 86) year old patient with Parkinson's, whose avatar is named Fran Seranade, seemed to be reversing the effects of the disease through mental imaging associated with her avatar. "SL has truly helped her experience life as young as she feels inside," says her daughter, whose avatar is Barbie Alchemi. "SL has made a huge difference in my mom's abilities and has slowed down and in a few ways reversed some of her symptoms." Barbie and Fran are in the image below (left and right respectively), flanking Fran's son AlmostThere Inventor, and they're a delightful trio—I had the pleasure of first meeting them when I did a photo shoot for Isadora Fiddlestick's article about them in the July issue of AVENUE magazine.

Their home in Second Life is Creations Park, a space dedicated to raising awareness about Parkinson's and research. And next week they're participating in a special event, conceived and organized by Solas (a.k.a. SolasNageaLai Resident), to help raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation: on Thursday, September 26, when the Michael J. Fox Show premieres on network television, you can celebrate inworld at a VIP Premiere Party at the Rose Theater Ballroom. Only 100 tickets will be made available (and a few have been taken already) at L$1,000 each, with all proceeds going to the foundation. To purchase a ticket, you simply join the VIP Premiere Party group, which costs L$1,000, and you're all set. You can find a group joiner at the Creations Park landing point (link above).

The premiere will featured live music with Clarice Karu, and then two hours of music handpicked by Michael's son, Sam. A live auction, details forthcoming (I'll post info), will also take place. You can learn more about Fran and her family's project at their blog, Creations for Parkinson's.

15 September 2013

Autumnal Splendor

I was strolling through this incredibly dense forest earlier today, lush with fall colors. We're getting our first touch of autumn weather where I live in real life, and it felt just perfect to wander through this place too, with the occasional deer, and a hidden wine cellar nestled among the trees. Overhead on a hillside, a rustic home, surrounded by a bunch of mesh figures and animals, provides a zipline that leads down to the forest. And the entire scene wraps around a lake, the colors reflected in the water.

And what is this place? Where's the landmark, you ask? Well, I was all set to write about it, and happened to connect with the creator and landowner (who is delightful), and she said that although the land is open to the public she would rather not divulge its location. It's her private home. Still, since I was all set to go, and since it's lovely (click on the images to zoom in), we thought I should share it anyway, in the hopes that it might inspire you to create such as place too. :) (If you're really dying to know where it is, send me an IM inworld.)

14 September 2013

Memorial Garden for Squinternet Larnia

Earlier today, Cajsa Lilliehook invited me over to see the memorial garden for Squinternet Larnia, located below the main Donna Flora store. I never knew Squinternet, although I often visited Donna Flora and have enjoyed her creations for many years. The memorial space was designed by Saiyge Lotus of Balderdash, and is perfectly beautiful: a poignant, quiet area for contemplation and remembrance. At the north end of the garden, take a copy of the memorial tree, and also venture up past the space with the candles—there's a path that leads you around the south edge. You'll want to have object detail turned up here, or a few things might not rez correctly. It's not quite clear how long the gardens will remain, but Cajsa tells me that the hope is they will be here at least through the end of September.

11 September 2013

Winter at Studio Skye

I rarely write about works in progress, but it can be interesting to watch something evolve. Already, Alex Bader's winterly world in development above Skye Elgol is enticing, with its snow dusted birches and other winter trees clustered about a virgin ground. A fence, partially obscured by snow drifts, runs along an edge, and further afield a diminutive waterfall pours into an icy pond. It was so hot where I am in real life today that this was the perfect antidote.

10 September 2013

Hidden Geometries

Currently on display at the Tanalois Group - torno Kohime Foundation is a new exhibition of images by Melusina Parkin entitled Hidden Geometries: Details from Virtual Photos. Each image is a detail so removed from its original context that are often unable to identify its origin, although we do have a sense that we're seeing pieces of structures. What now remains aren't the structures that served as the raw material but rather stark geometries of color, light and shadow, and the result is strikingly beautiful. In this exhibition the photographer provides the most comprehensive statement of her aesthetic that I have seen, and even sets aside an area of the gallery to show examples of similar real life artwork by Picabia, Albers, Rothko, Richter and others, pointing to her influences. The entire exhibition is presented in a very appropriate space of the artist's design. Images are available for L$400 each.

08 September 2013

The Bayou

When you're in the bayou in real life, and you travel a little ways, everything looks just the same as it did where you started. And that's a bit how The Bayou is, almost the same in every direction—sort of timeless, and stunningly beautiful. The sim is home to Aileen's Shabby Chic & Country Store, located high overhead, and proprietor Aileen Zessinthal tells me that the bayou, still in development, was the brainchild of her and BuTToNs (a.k.a. Pecandeluxe), with terrain, fauna and sounds created by Serenah Raynier.

It's a dreamy place, with tranquil waters slowly gliding past the few patches of dry land, and beams of sun shining through the thick canopy. Here and there, fog lazily rolls along the ground, and it's raining in a few spots. Even though this is bayou country, there are some high waterfalls in the region, and not to bad effect, with a few poseballs at the foot of the falls. Looks around, too, for the hidden cave area. The region's windlight settings work beautifully—try Bristol for sky and [NB] Hidden Depths for water if your browser isn't configured to accept settings automatically. If you look around, you'll spot a wishing well that accepts contributions to help support The Bayou. (Click on images to zoom in. I'll also be posting a few on my flickr stream.)

07 September 2013


The island of Toru might at first glance bear a strong resemblance to the sim Hazardous: its tall island is split into two by a deep chasm that cuts down to the sea, the land looks far over the water below, and owner/designer Wayne (a.k.a. WayneNZ Resident) has made frequent use of materials from the shop we're closed (and he credits Hazardous as a point of inspiration). The land has a violent history, traumatized "by a major earthquake and underwater volcanic eruption hundreds of years ago, a cataclysmic event so devastating it split the land apart and left it barren for hundreds of years." Since that time, as one can read at the landing point, life has slowly returned. On the uppermost level of the island, a windmill spins lazily against the sky, the land is dotted with old wooden buildings, and a sturdy footbridge connects the two elevated plains.

There's also a little shop on the top of the sim—Kiwi Made features a few mesh tank tops for men—and a modest bar is situated next door. Far below all this, where the land drops down to meet the sea, rests a photographer's studio, a delightful space worthy of having its own photos taken. Glowing over the western edge of the sim, and reaching down to this studio, are the Northern Lights, and so Toru is best viewed with a windlight setting that allows these lights to shimmer. (The darker ones in this post are Annan Adored Darkness, a setting I often find myself using.) If you enjoy the region, please consider leaving a contribution.

06 September 2013


Officially opening tomorrow, Saturday, September 7, at 6 am slt is the great carnival sim Deadpool, created by Megan Prumier and Kunt Battitude (a.k.a. Xjetx Chrome), who tells me the opening will last 24 hours, although I'm not certain what sorts of events might be planned. The sim has been open and accessible for at least a couple weeks, and photographers and bloggers have already been exploring and posting—and for good reason. "The bygone disco days are being reborn, or rather, rising from the dead!" write the creators. "Zombies roam the overgrown and wistful spaces of the forgotten amusement park's edges, while in the center the old roller-disco flashes with lights."

Towering over the entire park is a Ferris wheel, now precariously worn, with invasive weeds growing on its structure—but its multicolored lights still dimly flash. It fares better than the roller coaster to the northeast, which has now largely fallen to pieces. (Take a walk along the tracks.) Zombies roam here and there—I wasn't paying attention for a moment in the Labyrinth (a not very difficult maze), and one suddenly accosted me and really gave me a fright, making me laugh. The park is peppered with small arcade games—ZomBoom, for example, at which you can shoot zombie heads—and rides, a few of which surprisingly operate. Don't miss the ruined building to the southeast. And everywhere you go, try interacting with and sitting on things, as there are clever things here and there, and be sure to have your localized sounds turned up. Do consider leaving a contribution if you enjoy Deadpool—a few of the zombies would be happy to accept your spare change.

04 September 2013

The Town of Calico

The Town of Calico, Mississippi, has seen better days. Founded in the 1950s as a fishing community, it became a township in the 1960s. But a decade later marine life began to die off, investigators arrived, and things just went downhill from there. Sim owner Dax (a.k.a idakotapawz), who along with his partner, Psyclon, is building the sim, says, "We originally designed this place for roleplaying, photography and machinima, but it has since evolved into what's going to become a fully-interactive survival/horror game." Although the sim is under construction, it's a lengthy process, so they've opened the build and welcome visitors. Keep an eye on their tumblr for updates.

"Our goal is to create such a detailed locale that the player feels immersed to the level of realism," says Dax. "We're currently building models in Blender that will eventually replace everything you see with mesh. Vehicles, buildings, street decor, right down to the very trash that you see littering the ground will all be made by our staff...When you walk into one of the homes, everything will appear as if the inhabitants left suddenly. Scattered clothing, toothbrushes, aftershave, electric shavers, everything will be modeled."

I should warn you that if you're using a viewer that switches to the region windlight, you might need to make one adjustment: it's nearly pitch black when you arrive. Dax remarks, "It's the default setting for this region. When we actually implement the gaming HUD that we're programming, the game itself will focus around using a flashlight." And the flashlights (which are intentionally very dim) are already for sale (check the general store near the landing point), adding a completely different layer to the experience.

02 September 2013

The Fade

If I chanced upon a place like The Fade in real life, I'd probably hurry out as quickly as possible, and wouldn't use the word "beauty" to describe it, but curiously in a virtual environment such scenes evoke, for me at least, a sort of wistful nostalgia. Sim designer Monday (a.k.a. Storm Septimus) remarked to me, "I think it's because you can set the sky to light it all so it shows a hidden beauty, sort of the faded glory side...That's what I try and aim for, a big crappy mess on the outside, but it still has its former beauty shining through."

In this respect she succeeds admirably, as the most popular interior space, Reira Fang's club re:noize, "a distorted eargasm for noize-minded souls," invites us with its high-tech look and bright, warm colors. But elsewhere all is chaos: a city with cars, trucks and trains derailed, bridges collapsing, buildings in ruins, a condemned hotel, smoldering fires and hazardous weather. (I was swept clear across the sim by a tornado while taking a photo.) You'll also discover a bar, The Last Stop. Now, Monday and friends are at work building a sister sim to the north, already linked by land and roads to The Fade, visible not but not yet accessible. "We spend more time just stood looking at it than doing it," she quipped, but one can see plenty of structures anchored into place. If you enjoy the sim, please consider leaving a contribution. (Click on any image to zoom in.)