30 October 2015

Evergreen Nook

The recently refreshed and photogenic sim Evergreen Nook, created by JenniferKatie and Owen Cann, offers a tranquil landscape and stunning views that are not to be missed. With just a touch of autumnal coloring — and wildflowers still in bloom, providing resplendent yellows, oranges and reds — the sim hints of fall. "As much as I adore autumn, I don't think we wanted to go all out," JenniferKatie said, adding that the concept was "light, fresh and airy." And this she and Owen have achieved most impressively.

The region is shaped something like a giant U, and visitors arrive at one end and are invited to make their way around on the well-marked paths. (Flying is possible, and is necessary to reach the lighthouse on the northeast corner of the sim (photo above), but travel by foot provides the best overall experience.) Along the way, one encounters a furnished Tuscan-style villa (visible in the distance in the top image) and then a enchanting stone circle that my partner Kinn described as the best she had ever seen (photo below).

At the very far end of the path is the private residence of the creators (image below), which is off limits to visitors but visible for photos. Distinctive of Evergreen Nook, in this era of mesh objects for landscaping, is its heavy reliance on sculpted prim trees and grasses. "The larch trees — I adore the textures," said JenniferKatie. "Natural looking." Photographers and others who wish to rez objects are invited to join the land group, and contributions are welcome at the landing point.

29 October 2015

What if (NSFW)

Now on display at the Nitroglobus Gallery, owned and curated by Dido Haas and Nitro Fireguard, is an exquisite installation of photographic works by Senna Coronet and MM (Mysterr), What if, featuring the male and female nude form in solo and duo arrangements, accompanied by an installation by Nitro. Each photographer contributed about half the images — MM's in black and white and in various sizes; Senna's in color and consistently sized. There is a specific narrative path to take while viewing the photographs, starting with a pair of forward-facing images on the north wall — one on the left by Senna and one on the right by MM, and their paths radiate out from there in opposite directions, ending with a pair of back-facing images on the south wall that flank wall text that explains the journey. Nitro had invited the artists to consider two poems as they developed their work — "If" by Rudyard Kipling and "Imagine" by John Lennon — and more information is available in notecards available at the landing point.

The composition, light and color in the works is simply outstanding, and the title of each, viewable in edit or through hover tips, provides some additional narrative insight. (All the poses, Senna tells me, were created by Del May.) While the images by Senna and MM adorn the walls, the work of Nitro — an installation of mesh people walking a path, ending with a Sisyphus character — spreads across the floor in a non-obtrusive way, perhaps echoing the path taken by the characters in the photos. As is typical at Nitroglobus, the presentation is excellent, and additional gallery installations await your attention through teleports near the landing point. If you enjoy the exhibition, each of the photos and mesh characters is for sale, and contributions are welcome.

28 October 2015

Loch Noble

Now open, and created by various members of the Noble family — especially Noa Noble (VonDutch Sweetwater) and Blossom Noble (Aaliyah Blossom), but with contributions from Sarah Noble (stellinaa) and others — is Loch Noble, a complex and beautifully designed sim that features a variety of urban and rural landscapes. Visitors arrive on the edge of a curving stone and wood walkway that tightly hugs a shoreline, with a stone overhang to left concealing the view of a small town nestled overhead, and upon emerging into the open have the choice of heading left toward the town or right toward a bucolic rural landscape lying on the far side of a brook. Throughout, the resplendent colors of fall foliage, with bright oranges, yellows and reds, catch one's eyes, and the region's environmental setting of Annan Adored's Morning Dream heightens the feeling of autumn. "You see so many grayish sims these days — we wanted an explosion of autumn colors here," Blossom explained.

I would urge visitors to first explore by foot, resisting any urge to fly about; taking the path up through the arches passageway into the small town is a good way to begin. This tidy urban center is home to several shops, including Noble's Baked Goods & Sweets, Siúr's Coffee & Tea Room, and The Laird's Inn (that's Big Al behind the bar, Blossom told me), along with the sim's office, where one can obtain information and can also teleport up to two shops — 4Real Poses and Stellicious, which offer poses and clothing far overhead. Consistent with the sim's name, Scottish flags lazily flap in the breeze. "It has a bit of England too," Blossom said, "but we went to Scotland several times and wanted to do a bit of a Scottish theme this time ... We tried to make the town a little bit [so] that people are able to roleplay there, or just take your date, your friends and chill."

The more rural portions of the sim — which account for about three-quarters of its entire space — provide so many paths and places to discover that it's likely more than a single visit will be necessary to find everything. Toward the southwest corner is the Noble private residence, which is inaccessible although visible, and toward the southeast a circle of standing stones suggestive of Stonehenge. From there, one can travel north, jumping across a chasm to reach the base of a massive stone outcropping, an apiary stationed at its lowest point. Winding paths lead to the desolate top of this small mountain, where twisted trees are swept by a fierce southern wind (top image). The observant explorer will spot an opening leading down into the earth, and here, amid caverns, one finds the club Escape, home to events every Friday night. (Other pathways also lead to the mountain's interior.) Throughout it all, Loch Noble offers opportunities to wander, explore, find romantic spots, gaze at waterfalls, and even kayak. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution at the office.

21 October 2015

...of dreams and nightmares

Now open at The Broad Street Gallery in Crestwick is ...of dreams and nightmares, a group exhibition featuring works by .kiki, MM, Mich Michabo, Senna Coronet, Maloe Vansant, Burk Bode, Isa Messioptra, William Weaver, Cipherscape, Harbor Galaxy, and Robin the femboy wonder, with each artist contributing a single piece. Tastefully arranged in the beautiful gallery, the images, ranging from the surreal to the erotic, are all available for free, so it's a great opportunity for aficionados to build their collections. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution toward the gallery's support, and don't forget to explore the extensive offerings of Crestwick (about which you can read more here).

20 October 2015

Chamber Members' Photography Exhibition (NSFW)

On display at the Dathúil Gallery of Art is the Chamber Members' Photography Exhibition, featuring the winners and finalists of a September competition designed to encourage photographers to explore the Chamber sim and its various locations (the best-known area being the Chamber proper, described as "a secret sex society themed club set in a vintage hotel room" — read here for more). The results, not surprisingly, lean toward the erotic or suggestive, and the photos on display steer away from anything that might be construed as pornographic.

Ninety-two artists submitted entries, and four winners were announced: first prize with L$12,000 was Ziekling Bunnyhug, second prize with L$8,000 was Yum Parkin, and third prize at L$5,000 each was shared by Janet Patton and Ossia Xevion (all shown in the top image, counter-clockwise from the bottom). Rounding out the top twenty, and also on display, are works by Porsheen, Simon Sonnenblume, Yayshe, Taffy Criss, Deidia, sedonajane Silverpath, Dusty Wasp, Franz Valeur, Smoking Diesel, Mara Charisma, Annjalyk Storm, Pollyanna4, Daria Glom, Sandrika Broono, Saritha Gabardini, and HisOne, all of which were awarded L$1,000. The exhibition remains on display through October 31st.

19 October 2015


Now open is Cica Ghost's Prison, a somber but starkly beautiful environment that consists of little other than metal bars and doorways. Prisons are designed to not only keep people confined to the inside, but also prevent visitors from entering, and, as a visitor, one's first task here is the find a way to navigate through the solid, heavy door that stands as a barrier to admittance. The process isn't the usual click on the doorway, but instead a full body bump into it that will trigger it to slowly open.

Once inside, visitors are likely to quickly lose track of where they're going and where they've been, a disorienting sensation that perhaps mirrors the timeless waiting of those individuals who are incarcerated in the physical world. Aside from the occasional uncomfortable-looking chair (and birds that presumably have the freedom to fly in and out of the jail), the rooms or enclosures are bare and desolate. (One can sit in prison, Cica remarked to me, but can do little else.)

The real beauty of the space lies not in the limited view one sees by wandering it barren rooms, but rather in camming up and around, seeing bars of various heights stretching toward the sky in a random zigzag, as the vertical and horizontal lines clash and intersect to create patterns. Cica's default windlight setting blankets the sim in a grayish-green light (first and third images), but others can produce striking results as well.