Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pirats Art Network in Second Life

The Pirats are likely the most active art group in Second Life at this time, having hosted exhibitions at one or more of their venues on roughly a weekly schedule for just over three years. Since the inception of the group, they have hosted the works of conceivably every major artist with a Second Life presence in that time.  The group is led by Nathalie (Merlina) and Jean-Marc (Newbab), who have set a standard in bringing to the residents of Second Life the art of the virtual world and they have done so with a style and grace that can only be emulated. The Pirats have worked  in collaboration with several other notable art groups in Second Life including; UWA, CARP/Diabolus, and Caerleon in the planning and hosting of mega-events some of which have extended beyond the virtual and into real life.

This past week, they had announced to their  group that due to financial constraints, "We are now in a situation that leaves us no choice, Pirats Art Network will close. Monday will be held, if Linden Lab does not close the simulator before, the opening of the gallery Omega, the anniversary of three years Pirats Art Network and the end of an amazing adventure of life and whose memory will always be present in us ."

Since the announcement, there have been an outpouring of support from with in and outside of the group. Artists signing letters of petition, the contributions of Lindens by patrons, and the establishment of a crowdfunding initiative.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maryva Mayo Art Gallery

I attended the opening event at Maryva Mayo Art
Gallery. The exhibit which opened on 21-Jan, will be there through 21-Feb and features the work of; Aneli Abeyante, La Baroque and nexuno Thespian. And of course to opportunity to also see Ms Mayo's wonderful collection in her home gallery.


Monday, January 23, 2012

A Conversation with Second Life Entertainer Wythcwhipser Sadofsky

I opened a fresh word document and began to organize my thoughts for an opening to this piece. In previous articles, and suppose it’s been pretty much the expected standard, I would write an introductory paragraph and then follow it with a short bio along with a short description of how my interview subject and I met. It was at the Actors Sandbox by the way, when Wytchwhisper Sadofsky had been introduced to me by mutual friend Suzy Yue. As I stared at the screen, I thought how best to characterize this multi-faceted Second Life entertainer. Several words did come to mind and after a little bit of pondering I settled on vivacious, as she is certainly one of the liveliest and spirited residents of Second Life I’d met. As I worked my way toward a biographical sketch, I recalled that she’d sent me a notecard recently that contained a bio statement and I searched my inventory. When I found it, I clicked to open it and waited for it to load. It did and when I read the first line of the opening paragraph I laughed.
“Hello! You have entered the mind of wytchwhisper sadofsky, similar to the twilight zone but much more fun!” I grinned at the screen and thought, yup that’d be just about right and will work just fine.
For this interview we met on the stage of “The Weekly Look”, where she had served as co-host. The show had recently ended its run, but the set extant is still available. She was attired in a black mini-dress and her fiery long red hair certainly catches your attention. She took a seat on one of the chairs and I on the other. The pair of wings she wore, either fae or butterfly, I’m really bad on assessing the type of wings that are worn in Second Life, were spread open and provided a good backdrop to her comfortable seated avatar. They complet her outfit, I thought. After an exchange of pleasantries we began to chat.
"How was it that you found your way into Second Life?" I asked her.
 "How did I find my way into Second Life?" She asked in reply. Her question had been prefaced with laughter. "Well ... Goodness, do you want the detailed version or the short version."
 "Feel free to go into as much detail as you want." I replied.
"Okay, it's kind of weird actually. I was and this is going to sound odd, but I discovered the secret in the love attraction, which talks about what you send out, comes back to you. Anyway, so I just looked at that and in the secrets video, they talk about how when you're going along your path, how certain things just pop up as signposts as to where you're supposed to be going sort of thing. Like the universe puts stuff out to you ... shows you stuff and so I was doing designs for Sims 2 and wanted to bring it here …  and I was looking and I had a website for that and I was  spreading that in that community sort of thing when I stumbled across this program about SL. It was a gaming program because I've always been into gaming and I wanted to get involved the gaming production side of gaming.  Anyway so I ended up watching that and Second Life was mentioned in there.  I remembered when I had heard about Second Life in a magazine years ago. At that time I thought I should check it out and I hadn't thought of it in years until the program and so it was like wow I needed to go there so I came in second life thinking that I would create 3-D content that I would be able to market myself and all that good stuff and then I kind of got a little distracted as I fell in love and ...  just got distracted"
"Falling in love can be distracting" I commented with a grin.
"Yeah." She said and laughed.
"Was it a Second Life or real-life romance?" I asked her.
"Well I don't really don’t distinguish between the two … my avatar is an extension of me. If you met me in real life for coffee I would treat you the exact same way as I do in Second Life because it's just a communication platform … so I'm like myself." She replied.
"Minus the wings of course." I commented.
"I'm kind of grateful for that because it would be really hard to shop if I had wings in real life … and change rooms would be a nightmare." She replied and then added; "But yeah, I came across the first Second Life live musician I heard … it was HatHead Rickenbacker and I totally just fell in love with live music right there. My friend Stormy was really into live music as well so I would go with her to gigs all the time in SL getting involved in live music scene."
"The live music scene is certainly is a big part of the Second Life experience." I commented.
"Ironically my friend Stormy was also a Machinimatographer. She and HatHead put on the International Machinima Awards the first year and I was involved in that. I volunteered and was helping out. That was my first involvement with the Machinima community. I just met people from there and it kind of burst out into a big network." She said and then after a pause added; "I was actually not very good at paying attention to new stuff back then. I didn't wear shoes … it took me six months to wear shoes. I hated the majority of shoes I saw, so I thought screw it all and go barefoot. It's not like this can hurt my feet or nothing.”
"You started performing almost immediately when you came in to Second Life?" I asked her.
"No actually that was a long journey, because most of my life I only sang in private. I sang in the choir in school, but my ex told me I couldn't sing and I believed him. So I didn't for a long time and I would only do it when I was alone or if I went out for girls night out or something … we'd do the karaoke sort of thing." She said in reply.
"So when you started performing in Second Life it was a little easier because you were behind the keyboard … the avatar was there but you weren't?" I asked.
“Well that didn't bug me much. It was when I went to the Montréal Jam … the SL Montréal Jam in 2009 that I actually was encouraged to sing. Maximillion Kleene and Zerbie Magic … it was actually Zerbie Magic that got me to go on stage with her and JellyJellyJelly Benelli and I sang there … live in front of everybody. That was my first SL singing experience and I after that I came back to SL and I was going to start singing but I ran into a few problems. I had a friend that didn’t want me to because I would be competition.  I had equipment problems and I couldn't find the equipment that would be compatible with my current system.  I just kept running into road block  after road block after road block … plus there was like this fear because even though those few people that encouraged me …  there was like 13 years of my ex saying that I couldn't.  All those challenges I had overcome to start singing in SL. I finally officially started singing in April of 2011. I had sung before … one or two times … sadly at people's memorials with really bad equipment that wasn't working properly, but that's when I officially started." She replied.
"I spent some time listening to your singing, thank you for the video links by the way. You have a wonderful voice." I commented.
"Thank you. I came for the jam this year so I was at the Montréal Jam. I drove cross-country. It's weird because I had feelings like I said there was one of those pinnacle moments that told me I should go this way and in July I had this pinnacle feeling that I needed to go across Canada. So I just put my stuff in storage in Alberta and I packed my car with my basic requirements … what I needed to perform and everything else and I drove across Canada …. I followed my heart and now I'm still in Eastern Canada.  I thought … this can work but I'm still seeing what the universe is doing because in November the universe sent me a new sign and then this really cataclysmic thing happened in my life … it changed … now I'm am still uncertain what's in store for me but I'm just kind of riding a wave sort of thing." She said.
"Are you still in Montréal?" I asked
"No, outside of Ottawa actually … it's not too far away." She said.
"Circling back to the 3-D design that you’d come into Second Life for, were you thinking that you would do it for business purposes?" I asked her.
"Yes exactly I came in for business and I was thinking I'm going to go in because I had with my Sims 2 website ... I had over 6000 members and I was thinking I could do probably equivalent in the SL place and that as a bonus that I might actually be paid in Linden's by selling my stuff. Then life kind of took weird turns … even like doing ‘The Weekly Look’, that was a completely unexpected thing … it kind of fell on me and my involvement with TMU is kind of an interesting story as well." She replied.
"Tell me how you became involved with that?” I asked.
"Petlove Petshop was doing some work for this production that she was involved in and she was showing me all her actors and stuff when she accidentally TP'ed this person in. I thought it was one of her alts. So I started critiquing him … I was like he's not bad looking and he's kind of tall … commenting on his appearance and everything else. And then Pet's like … that's Chris and he's a person. So it was like oops! Then after that we got talking and Chris he was doing a show called ‘The Weekly Look’ and he needed a cohost. At first he was as going to have me on as a guest but because we were cracking jokes and our humor was so compatible he asked me if I would like to cohost … and I was like yeah sure that would be fun. Because you know I've done voice acting in the past that and we both had a fine arts background, so we have a lot in common. They're talking about another show possibly in the future. I'll be talking to Jake about tomorrow.” She said.
"So, ‘The Weekly Look’ is off the air?" I asked.
"The look is officially over. Chris and I got so busy that we didn't feel we could give it the attention that it deserved anymore. He definitely had to leave it because he got too busy and I since he had created it I didn't feel right about carrying on without him." She said.
"Circling back … would you still like to pursue your 3D design work or is it something that is off in the future?"
"Of course … well I mean my creativeness kind of flows and everything. It's just that I haven't had time to do as much of my 3D design as I used to. I'm still doing voice acting … after doing shows … voice acting at the end of the day and where I can fill stuff in."
 "I'm reading your bio statement … my Singing, Dancing, Acting, Performances, Machinima, Writing, Advice Articles, Artwork, Nudes, Figurative Drawings, Clothing, Meditation, Occult, Wicca, Rituals and Celtic Creations. That’s quite a mouthful." I commented.
 "That's all the creative stuff I've been doing in SL. I was also doing relationship counseling because there's a lot of people that have a hard time transitioning … they go into relationship thinking that their real-life emotions won't get involved, but they do and then they're like … HELP! I did some writing for that as well and facilitating. I did do some writing for some websites that sadly have gone down so I don't have links to those anymore. I've done theater acting in SL and now I'm involved with the Actors Sandbox." She said.
“A lady of many talents.” I commented
“I just go where my creativity leaves me really and it's really just led me to all those places.” She said. 
“How are things going with the actor’s workshop?” I asked.
“It seems to be going okay. Suzy's taken a bit of a hiatus this month. We’re all insanely busy, even Corky is getting busier. It’s doing well … the people that are attending seem happy with it and hopefully we’re providing them what they need.” She replied.
“The voice acting, you've done it previously to virtual worlds?” I asked.
“I'm trying to think of when I first started doing that. I think I've always done acting since high school. Before I went to the university I was an honor student in art and drama. So I was either going into theater or I was going to go into art. I ended up going in the fine arts … getting my degree in fine arts. Because I somehow thought it would be less exposing … the thing about theater is they criticize you on everything … your body shape … your appearance. I figure with my art it wouldn't be so bad, but is just as bad.” She paused with a burst of laughter. “Because you pour your soul into your artwork and then you put it up for people to tear apart. It's pretty much just as bad so it wouldn't have mattered what I wanted to. But my first official voice acting was Damien Valentine's Chronicles series.” She said in reply.
"I'm looking at your playlist from your Bio notecard. There are some really really really good songs on it, like 'Old-Time Rock 'n Roll', by Bob Seeger … Seeger fan here."
"Oh, it's bigger now I really have to update it. I added a whole bunch through the month of December and I haven't gotten a chance to update it at all. I took all the songs that I love listening to or that have personal meaning to me and I added them to my list. A lot of them have to have personal meaning to me but I also took songs that I like listening to … they don't necessarily have to have personal meaning … if they make you happy in the pants … 'I'm Too Sexy'  makes me happy in the pants." She said and then paused as we both laughed. She added; “I don't think I'm extremely sexy or blah blah … but singing that song makes me giggle and makes me happy so I like to sing it."
I read off several of the names of the performers on her list and commented, "Snow Patrol, Chuck Berry, Patsy Kline, Elvis Presley, Joan Jett, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe … it’s quite a diverse group of performers."
"I  even found some artists … sometimes I'll be feeling a certain way and so I type it into Google and then type lyrics afterwards …  that's how I found 'Worrisome Heart' by Melody Gardot. I was feeling worrisome one night and I came across the lyrics. I really liked the lyrics and when I heard the song I really liked the song so I started singing it. I discovered her in 2009 before I went to Montréal." She said.
"Based on your having seen other performers in Second Life, is there one out there who was influenced you in any way?" I asked.
"Well there is a lot who've influenced me and in many ways. I always admired Noma Falta ... and Zerbie who was the one who encouraged me to sing in SL.  Max encouraged me … but my most favorite performer in SL ever is HatHead Rickenbacker. He's the first one I ever heard perform live music in SL and he still my favorite. Franklee Anatra is another … I was there with him at the beginning ... when he was all nervous about starting singing and performing. I was one of his hostesses. Frank is very supportive, actually Frank's been like the voice of reason with his advice ‘don't let what people say get you down' ... There's just so many that I could give kudos to but those are the core people that have really affected my life …  and in a big way." She replied.
"I understand that it is difficult to narrow it down to just one person, there are some very good performers out there." I commented
"If I had to choose one I would say HatHead because he was the first one I saw. He's always done his own thing and not given a shit about what other people think … I admire that."
"You've taken a similar approach as things?"
"I have" She replied with laughter.
"I thought so." I said and joined in the laughter.
"It's not that I'm conceited and I don't care. I even said this to people who’ve shown up at the gigs ... there was somebody that showed up at my gig and he was being rude and mocking because I was laughing.  I just said … honey if you don't like it you don't have to stay. Seriously no one's forcing you to stay here because this is me and this is how I do my show and I can't change just because you don't want me to giggle … because I am putting myself out there which is hard enough to do and I'm not going to change to what your expectations are ... I do like to make my audience happy and I like them to be happy but I believe in individuality … it is important to accept people for who they are and I think tolerance is important. I believe we should be building each other up rather than tearing each other down so that sort of bullying mentality I have no tolerance for." She said.
 "There are some who probably would not take to that very well." I commented.
"I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea. But that's okay. They don't have to come to my shows. I want to say for my fans that have been really supportive … that support me because I am being myself. I've had people tell me that they appreciate that I encourage people to be themselves … to be accepted for who they are because they were maybe feeling some insecurity in real life ... and it made a difference in their lives. If I can do that for people ...improve peoples of lives, that makes me happy.” She said.
 "That's admirable. Down the road six months to a year for now, what kind of things is Wytch doing?" I asked.
"What are my evil plans? That's what you want to know. Well I'm working on some original songs right now so that should be interesting. I can't give too much away about it because it's kind of still in the works and may not work out … but we'll see. I'll be performing more in real life as well and I'm still going with the flow and seeing where things go … those are part of my evil plans right now." She replied.
"What about your art?"
My art … well my charcoal drawings and things like that are all kind of on hold as all my arts supplies and stuff are in storage,  but if I get time I intend to do some more 3-D stuff. It's just that I haven't had a lot of time … even like today, I had to book you between two other things that are happening." She replied.
"Any closing thoughts you like to share?" I asked.
"Well, I really do believe that we should be building each other up rather than tearing each other down and I just wanted to remind everybody that every time you attack somebody you affect them.  We should all be conscious of how we affect other people good and bad. So for you to do something or say something you should just think about how it would feel if that was you … just love each other … it's important and it makes the world go round." She said.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Unified Heart" An Exhibition Opens in Second Life

The exhibition “Unified Heart” opens on Saturday, the 21st of January and is viewable in the virtual world of Second Life. The opening event begins at 6 pm PST/SLT. A second opening to accommodate time zone differences will be held on the following day, January 22nd and begins at noon  PST/SLT. The exhibit will feature the work of twenty Second Life artists who art interprets the words of Leonard Cohen and will housed at the Palais Orleans Art Studioand Designs. The show is curated by Morgana Nagorski, her second at the studio since taking on the role at the studio this past November. In the invitation, Ms Nagorski tells us that; “Twenty artists got together to do twenty pieces  . . . each one, his or her interpretation of the title of or a line from a Leonard Cohen song.”
I had the opportunity to preview the exhibit two days before the opening and meet with Ms Nagorski. We met just outside the gallery where we chatted briefly before entering the gallery to view the works.
Morgana: Hi! Welcome. Tell me when everything is rezzed.
Nazz: I saw in the invitation that this show was your idea, when did you come up with the concept?
Morgana: Well . . . a LONG time ago I planned to so a solo show about Leonard Cohen. But I kept putting it off . . . first until I got "better". Because it was important to me and then because I was just always busy and then in November Madison asked me to take over here. I needed to have something up almost instantly . . . so hung show of my own, “Dark Night of the Soul.” I think you saw that Nazz.
Nazz: I recall that we had talked before the prior show had opened.
Morgana: Then I thought a perfect opportunity and the original concept was, 20 artists … 20 pieces, all the title of or a line from a Leonard Cohen song.
Nazz: All photography and or original art pieces?
Morgana: They HAD to be SL and I think what we are doing is more like a painting than "photography". What I do here is more like paintings.
Nazz: So totally a Second Life connection?
Morgana: My rule was it had to be SL avatars.
Nazz: Why Leonard Cohen?
Morgana: I adore Leonard Cohen. One night in 1973 I awoke in the middle of the night, a song was playing and the next say I rang the radio station to find out who it was … he is spiritual … his lyrics are amazing … he is funny, deep, soulful . . . His words have such layered meanings. They seem to lend themselves to artistic interpretation.
Nazz: How many artists did you say ... was it 20 and 20 pieces?
Morgana: Yes, it started as 20 artists … 20 pieces but some got passionate and did more. There is a sort of an "Auxiliary" exhibition in the garden … 32 pieces out there the "Main" exhibition is 20 pieces, so 52 in all.
Nazz: Any prim pieces?
Morgana: No
Nazz Lane: By choice?
Morgana: I wanted this to be about emotion … very much by choice.
Nazz: how long will the exhibit be open?
Morgana: it is open till the 18th of March. I just bought software and today will try and set up that Leonard music plays for the 2 months. I will include covers of him I think … altogether I have about 9 hours
Nazz: Will you host any events or have SL musicians who do his stuff?
Morgana: Yes, I am looking at having events over the period more DJ’s actually.
Nazz: When we first chatted about the exhibit, you’d mentioned the remotest possibility of Mr. Cohen seeing the exhibit in SL, do you think he will show up?
Morgana: I asked, but they are touring. They’re promoting the new album and they were in Paris Monday and Tuesday, they went to London on Wednesday. I imagine they’re too busy and manipulating around SL takes some doing. I will ask again about in one month.
Nazz: I also heard that it's hit his web site about the exhibit?
Morgana: He is seeing a number of the jpegs: and the manager said "Leonard likes the work". Earlier they had said "Very interesting project”.
We walked through the main and then out into the garden where the remaining pieces of exhibit were on display. I noted the presence of several whose work I have seen previously and have admired… Cat Boccaccio, Acacia Merlin and Del May … and of course Ms Nagorski’s contribution to the show … “a copy of a record cover from 1968”.
Nazz: The exhibit is nicely done Morgana. Hopefully I’ll be able to make one of the two openings.
Morgana: Thanks, a lot of hard work. It has been like herding cats.
Here’s a list of the artists whose work is being exhibited.
Acacia Merlin
Ariel Brearly
Burk Bode
Cat Boccaccio
Corinne Helendale
Danteliicia Ethaniel
Del May
Harbor Galaxy
Johnfrancis Laville
Kato Salyut
Kira Westland
Lily Laufer
Maloe Vansant
meilo Minotaur
Morgana Nagorski
Patricie Sapphire
sanam Sewell
Skip Staheli
Tamzin Xigalia
Zebra Thursday

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Variation on The magic flute an Installation by Giovanna Cerise Opens in Second Life

GiovannaCerise’s  installation inspired by  Mozart's "The Magic Flute"  opens in Second Life on Friday, the 20th of January at 1:00 pm PST/SLT.  Her note card with information about the installation follows:

A surprising opera that unfolds in a series of environments full of references, allusions and allegories, in an infinite game of layers that overlap and intersect.

The bright stairs can be one of the tracks to follow to retrace the journey of the opera’s protagonist and allowing the visitor to replace it, but, as in any journey of personal growth, the path isn’t easy and the risk of falling and of go back is always present.

We give you some tips to better appreciate and interact with this opera:

1. It is best to explore the installation simply walking through, but you get a good effect also flying between locations and by inserting the mouse look.

2. You can listen some the citations of the work by clicking on musical notes, located in strategic points and allow both to activate the music in World or to open musical links on Youtube

3. The immersion is also stimulated by the use of poses that encourage interactivity with the work

4. Before the visit, we recommend reading the story of "The Magic Flute," to appreciate the many references in the installation to musical opera.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Conversation with CelticMaidenWarrior Lancaster

I had just returned from a meeting with CelticMaidenWarrior Lancaster and had started to organize the notes from this interview when an e-mail notice arrived via Facebook. It was from her. I saw that she was about to take the stage at The Merry Prankster. So I set the notes aside and decided to pop in. There were eleven avatars present when I arrived; they were there to be entertained by the winner of the Best Female Artist, 2010 Anthology Music Awards. When I had arrived she’d just started into a favorite song of mine, “Time for a Cool Change” by Little River Band. She covered the song very well, her voice firm within the songs range, that and along with a solid guitar accompaniment made me think my decision was a good one. When finished, she shifted genre and launched into a Celtic ballad which she performed a capella. Her voice true to the lyrics and while she sang I settled into my chair and listened, absorbed by both the beauty of the lyrics and her voice. She followed the ballad with covers from both Joni Mitchell and Peter Frampton. The crowd was a little laid back but appreciative of her performance, each song was greeted with the virtual world equivalent of applause via the chat line. It wasn’t too long before additional people showed up, but I prior commitments so I didn’t stay for her whole set
We’d originally planned to meet in Inworldz and did briefly, but due to a scheduling problem with her planned performance there, we left that virtual world and returned to Second Life. She sent me a teleport request and I arrived inside a covered circular patio which was nestled inside the branches of a very large tree. She was seated on a portion of the circular sofa and I chose a pose ball across from her. After an exchange of pleasantries we began the interview.
Nazz Lane: How is that you found your way into Second Life?
Celtic: I had been sharing the Mic with other musicians in a chat room in Camfrog video chat; I did that for several years. Someone told me about Second Life, and told me that I should really look into it. I got an account but my computer wasn't strong enough to allow me in. Finally, a year later I managed to get a new computer and the rest is history. I've been performing in SL nearly 4 years.
Nazz: In the four years, has there been one memorable performance that stands out?
Celtic: One of my favorite shows was in Lil Slurgis.  It just happened that the people who showed up ... each of them had something in their name that reminded me of lyrics or titles to songs. It was one of the most memorable shows I've done in Second Life.  I've done so many shows, that often one show just melds into the next. The audience is what sets the stage for my shows.
Nazz: As a seasoned second life performer, what kinds of things does a virtual world audience do or can do to heighten the performance level?
Celtic: I am a very low key person in real life.  I don't have "shtick" like some performers do. So, when I see the audience bantering and teasing one another or teasing me ... that gives me back energy. If they participate by making requests, that's another thing that gives me back energy. But if the audience is quiet, not making requests, not tipping the venue ... Well, frankly, I could get as much playing for myself at home. I hope that didn't sound snobbish.
Nazz: Not at all.
Celtic: The audience really is a big part of my shows.
Nazz: With regards to the question about the audience, wouldn't it be the same sort of thing for a real life performance … to heighten the performance level?
Celtic: I haven't done much real life performing. I use to perform in the 80's, but it was with a Christian band.  There was ministering going on, more than performing. I've only done a few real contemporary shows, and it's always been at venues where I was the ambient music for the events. That fits me, because I'm quite shy in real life, and don't have to interact much with the audience.  If they engage me, I'm right there with it, but I'm not much of an initiator.
Nazz: So is it easier than for you to perform via an avatar?
Celtic: I think performing as an avatar is fitting for me. But ... I still have the same problem engaging an audience. I think I rely on them to engage me. There are several really awesome performers in SL that seem to find it easy to be entertaining.  I think that's more difficult for me. Shows that I do that are more thematic are the better shows. I do a show on Sunday evening at Guthrie's folk club.  My repertoire will be more limited there, because it's folk centered, but it's the most relaxing place I play because I know what I'm in for going in.
Nazz: I see from your web site that your repertoire is quite varied, folk … rock, pop and even the Celtic ballads. Is there any one genre you prefer over another?
Celtic: Not really. I think my repertoire makes me very versatile. For example several times a year, I play for the medieval SIM’ when they have special events.  I do Celtic music only for them.   I've performed Western music in a cowboy SIM before. I do folk at Guthrie's … can do romantic sets, rock sets. I'm not much of a "country" fan, and definitely do not do hip hop.
Nazz: The music jams where Second Life musicians gather in real life have become popular. Have you participated in any?
Celtic: Yes, I went down to the San Diego jam last February. Meeting the other performers in real life was fantastic ... and I met venue owners, and fans.
Nazz: I had heard that they've been enjoyable by the participants ... was there a memorable moment for you at San Diego?
Celtic: Other than just being wrapped up in the moment ... not really. The other artists were fabulous ... everyone was amazing.
Nazz: So the experience in whole then?
Celtic:  Yes, I highly recommend if you have the chance to go to one, do.
Nazz: Within the Second Life music community, have there been any performers male or female in Second Life that have influenced or inspired you?
Celtic: Ganjo inspires me, he's really fun. He's a pro performer.
Nazz: I've seen him perform. How about a favorite venue, one that suits your style or you know the audience will be into the show. Is there one?
Celtic: Well, there have been a number of venues I've really liked. My home venue is The Drunken Drow.  I've been performing there nearly as long as I've been doing shows in Second Life. Guthrie's Folk is very comfortable for me.  It fits like a good pair of shoes.
Nazz: We'd originally planned to meet in Inworldz, how often do you perform there and are there other virtual worlds you perform in?
Celtic: I have only recently started playing in IW. I have a few venues set up for regular appearances. I've played at Heritage Key, that is an educational grid run by a university in Europe. It's quite fascinating.
Nazz: How so?
Celtic: They have interactive displays ... museums...it's not like the usual grid neighborhood where you can rent space and build.  In Heritage Key, you go in for the educational experience.  Go explore King Tut's Tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  Visit the virtual museum or go to Stone Henge and learn of its history. You should investigate it yourself. I've performed in Open Life and another one I can't remember the name of.
Nazz: I have noticed that you're active on Facebook. Has the use of the medium allowed you to better connect with your audience?
Celtic: Facebook has not helped at all. I thought it might help bring people to my shows, but if it's helped at all, it's been very nominally … very slight.
Nazz: If you were approached by someone new to Second Life and they were interested in becoming a musician, what advice would you give them?
Celtic: I would help them as much as they needed. I have helped many newbie artists, even if I don't think they are good (in my own opinion) they deserve the opportunity to make something of it for themselves or not.  I don’t control the listening audience.  In fact, I've been amazed at the crap performers that draw crowds, and the really good performers who can't get people to their shows. It's up to the person to find their own niche in SL music.
Nazz: Where do you see yourself at in six months to a year from now?
Celtic:  Hopefully I'll still be performing in SL and IW.  And, hopefully more people start coming to listen.
Nazz: Would you like to share a closing thought or comment with my readers?
Celtic: I thoroughly enjoy performing live music in the 3D environments; it's a privilege and honor when people show up to my shows.  There is a ton of live music out there.  So when they choose to spend an hour with me, it humbles me.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Live Art Auctions every Friday at the Artisan Castle

Friday's are not one of my normal virtual world days so I haven't had a chance to check this out as of yet.  Not sure I'll be able to today, but hope to in the near future. It looks to an interesting business model.

                                       Music and dancing from 3:30 to 5:30
                                         Live Art Auction 5:30 PM, SLT (PST)
                                  See the items up for bid in the live auction
                           Browse all the bid boards placed around the castle
     There is some extraordinary art to bid on aside from the live auction items

                 The Artisan Castle deals exclusively  in one of a kind artwork
                          never sold before in Second Life nor will it be again
                                           unless by the original purchaser

                             Please honor us with your visit to the Artisan Castle
                                      We look forward to seeing you every Friday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gallery Art Talks Return to Born Museum of Fine Art

Juliee Landar messaged me in world late yesterday to tell me of her plans to return the popular Gallery Art Talk series. I had stopped on to several of the featured events to listen to Gracie Kendall and Em Larsson last year and was pleased to hear that she was bringing back the event. Born MFA, if you haven't visited is one of Second Life's gems. The museum has exhibitions of several well known virtual world artists in an exhibit space that is open and inviting. Here's the information on the first of two events planned at this time:

I am pleased to announce the return of the Gallery Art Talks to the Born MFA in 2012!  

DATE:  January 18th - 6 PM SLT

Van Carendow has recently installed the exhibit "Myth and Fantasy" in the museum's upper gallery and will be speaking about this exhibit as well as what inspires him and influences his art!  TP over to see this exhibit and mark it on your calendar to attend the art talk!

Monday @ the Museum
 -  January 23rd 5 PM SLT

In 2012, the Born MFA is pleased to be hosting monthly poetry events. The lovely Karli Daviau, the museum's poet in residence, will serve as the host for this series.

Each month, we'll focus on a different aspect of natural beauty, and invite you to share your poetry with us. You may read or pass the poem to Karli to read.  The topic for January is trees. 

Here is an Emersonian  quote for inspiration:

"The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more" 

Put pen to paper - The trees will be delighted by your touch.

Submit all of your poems by January 22nd  via notecard to: Juliee Landar.  

An Update on the Fantasy Art Festival in the Virtual World of Inworldz

I received an offline message from festival organizer Jeri Rajha:

"HI - just 4 days left to enter - to be a participant in the Fantasy Art fest - Please remember if you are interested artists and want to participate you must forward an application to me so a plot can be assigned to you. All applications must be in by the 15th of January. We have a few plots left - it is going to be a wonderful ART FEST - hope to see you all there."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Call For Artists: Harlem in Montmartre - The French Connection

Harlem in Montmartre - The French Connection

The notecard came to me via the Second Culture group. I spoke briefly to Ms. Vaher early this morning and popped over to take a look around the Virtual Harlem site. I landed just outside an SL version of the legendary Apollo Theater.  I hadn't expected it to be a replica of the famous theater but did find it to be a very good build as were the surrounding buildings. With limited time I plan to back to explore further. In the mean time, her note follows:

Call to Artists: Harlem in Montmartre - The French Connection.

During the 1920’s and 30’s a dynamic community of African Americans settled in Paris introducing jazz to the French while the Harlem Renaissance was taking off across the Atlantic.

Seeking musicians, visual artists and writers to participate in events for the month of February on both Virtual Harlem and Virtual Montmartre sims, which have received international recognition.

To participate or for more information: contact Indea Vaher or email VirtualHM.SL@gmail.com

Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Interview with Novelist Colin Bell in Second Life

Wolfgang Glinka (aka Colin Bell)

I’d become intrigued at both the title of the book and the idea of a writer having been discovered in Second Life, when I read the notecard from Jilly Kidd. She had sent it to me after I’d messaged her to say hello and to ask what was new with her and her activiries in Second Life. The notecard begin with; “If you missed the wonderful celebratory event with Colin Bell reading from “Stephen Dearsley's Summer of Love”, the first novel to have been discovered by a publisher on Second Life, you can read his first page-turning chapter here.” In our conversation she’d also mentioned that it was her publishing company, Ward Wood Publishing that had been the discoverer and had secured the publishing rights to Mr. Bell’s novel.
Yes, I did find it intriguing for personal reasons … after all I’ve been working on my own novel for a fair amount of time with an eye to eventually seeing it published one day.  After my chat with Jilly that evening, I decided to introduce myself to the author and see if he’d be interested in doing an interview. We exchanged off line instant messages for several days before we’d finally made the arrangements to meet via an e-mail exchange.
Colin Bell (aka Wolfgang Glinka) hails from the United Kingdom. His profile in Second Life says that he's "A bit shy, a bit sensitive, a bit of a show off and way too passionate.  I am a wolf with a human form, a writer - novelist and poet in Real Life and here in Second life." He has worked as an executive produce and producer - director of arts documentaries for television in the UK and his credits include; Celebration, God Bless America, My Generation and It Was Twenty Years Ago Today. He has written children's books and also has seen his poetry published in both the UK and United States.
On the appointed day, I arrived in world before he did and left a message to let him know I was ready. A few minutes later, his reply came back with an offer to meet at his place. I agreed and a landmark from him soon followed. I noticed the location immediately and as it turned I didn’t travel far to meet him we’re neighbors on Book Island. When I arrived at his booth, he told me he’d been pleased so far with his presence there and said that, “I have a few other places in Second Life, but this is the main PR place.” There were two large red chairs in the center of his booth and he asked if I’d like to sit while we talked, I pointed clicked and sat on one. I fiddled with the animation to find a comfortable pose and we exchanged pleasantries while I did. We then began the interview.
“You've been in Second Life for over five years now, what was it that brought you in and what is it that made you stay?” I asked.
“Well, the first point is that I joined on the date on my profile but I had a really low-fi computer and it just didn't work for me here. I tried for a bit then gave up until I could upgrade. I really came into Second Life in the summer of 2008. I came in thinking it would be an amusing game. I was intrigued I guess. I made some friends ... and it was a kind of chat room with games. But then it got real in a number of different ways … that is why I stayed.” He replied.
My curiosity piqued, I asked. “Real, in what sense?”
“I came here as I said for a game ... more fun than war games and stuff ... I liked the idea of seeing what a second life might be. At first, well I think that is true, I wanted to see where it might go ... what a second life really would be if I had a free choice. So I dated a few girls, one in particular ... had a sort of repeat first life. But I found out about the writing groups ... got interested in the opportunities here ... and found that the girl thing wasn't what I wanted second time round. In real life I am married and have two sons ... in second life I came out as gay long before I did in real life. So second life probably did show me another way. As a writer too ... I had always done writing but my ‘success’ began here. I have loved it ... but found it a real life-changing experience.” He said in reply and then asked, “Is that too open?”
“Not at all, I’ve been in Second Life for a good while now and there aren’t too many things that surprise me here.” I replied.
“Cool. Well I did come out in real life about two years ago and I had a lot of help here before that happened. I came into second life as I say really in summer 2008 and in October that year I had a massive brain hemorrhage ... life threatening stuff ... this place really has been a second life.” He said.
“I saw that in your bio on the publisher’s web site … you were characterized as a miracle patient?” I asked.
“Yeah ... that is what the consultant said. She said they didn't expect me to live.”
“Were you conscious of what was happening?” I asked.
 “No, not at all. People often get fidgeting when I say this, but I was as fine as you or anyone else then I was unconscious. I was in a coma for about six hours, somewhere alone in my house.” He replied.
“I’m assuming that you had a lengthy recovery with physical therapy and all?” I asked.
“Yes ... I was very ill at first, recovering gradually over two years and now dealing with just a few symptoms which could still go in time. I was very very lucky. The physical therapy wasn't really medical ... I did my Kung Fu and Tai Chi, against medical orders and took a lot of anti-seizure drugs.” He responded.
“Are you still on medication?”
“No, I have been medication-free for just over a year. When I had my hemorrhage apparently I had two grand mal seizures, epileptic fits so violently that I broke my back ... so I had a lot of pain. The Tai Chi worked, I have never had physiotherapy even though there were two physiotherapists in my intensive care ward. But I really began writing poetry seriously in hospital and have done so ever since.” He replied.
“I saw that as well in your bio, that you hadn't written poetry before then.” I commented
“That's right, I did a bit at school but never anything until just before my hemorrhage. I had got interested in the idea of it but not done it ... I had been writing short stories and a novel.” He said.
“That’s quite interesting ... was being in Second Life also a sort of therapy for you as well?” I asked him.
“Yes I think so, a therapy but also a place where an invalid could lead a ‘normal’ life. It was, maybe more importantly, a place where writing is really nurtured, where there are a lot of opportunities to read your own work, get advice, meet like-minded folk all of that. I was very ill for a time and no one here needed to know that ... that was a kind of therapy definitely. I also developed a stammer as a side effect. Second Life was great for getting round that too.” He responded.
“Which of the writing groups do you belong to and I’m assuming here of course along with Written Word. Are there any others?” I asked.
“Written Word and Inksters at first. Then Milk Wood and then here. I also went anywhere where there were poetry reading sessions. I was too shy to read at first, but got a lot of encouragement ... then people actively asked me to read my new stuff, it was inspirational. “
“There is a bit of comfort in hiding behind the avatar. I've done a few readings in Second Life as well. I recall having been very anxious the first few times.” I commented.
“Yes ... like with the gay thing, I think I learnt how to do it in SL before I ventured there in real life.”
“I'd interviewed a couple of people who run an actor’s workshop in Second Life recently. They’d spoken about several folks who’d come into the workshops to first try out their acting ability and to learn ... all with the hope of taking it into their real life.” I commented.
“I can understand that but I didn't think I was rehearsing for real life ... like I said, in these early stages, I was looking to make a second life. It didn't need to go into real life and for a while I was very very cagey about sharing any real life information here and vice versa.” He said.

“Let’s talk about the book for a bit. Did you approach Jilly or vice versa with the manuscript?” I asked.
“I knew Jilly, she had been the first really encouraging writer I met here ... before I was ill in fact. She read one of my short stories and said I should try writing poetry. She saw something in my work, it was great. I’d consulted with her and she said she didn't know I had written a novel and asked to see it ... she loved it too! She was offering a full deal ... print, kindle etc.” He said in reply and after a slight pause he added, “I have been amazingly lucky publishing wise. I am thrilled that it is she who is publishing, she was my first mentor.”
“She has been a good friend and amazing lady.” I commented.

“Agreed ... totally. She deserves a lot of credit for what she does here and in real life. She is genuinely a writers' friend.” He said.

“I’d been very busy of late with work and hadn't spoken to her in some time. She’d made me aware of your book and of course her publishing endeavor. Is there a release date for the book yet?” I asked.
“Not yet, it will be after April next year (2012) ... and before the end of September. I think they will know in January.” He replied.
“I found the title intriguing, that it included ‘the summer of love’. By the way, I’m old enough to recall that year fondly. What was it about that year that inspired you?
“I was young in the summer of love, a teenager. Those teenage years are amazing whenever they happen but I was truly fortunate to be impressionable in that excited adolescent way at a time when the whole world seemed to be changing. I was very drawn into it all and was just too young to be a leader of it. I also had a double stroke of luck because I was asked to make a documentary film (It Was Twenty Years Ago Today) about the counter culture and Sgt. Pepper on the 20th anniversary of the album’s release. I was able to meet most of the main players and to relive and explore the things that really inspired the young me.” He said in response.
“That would be rather cool to have taken part in something like that.” I commented.
“It was, honestly Nazz, totally amazing … one of the best jobs in TV ever!” He said.
“I’d only read what was available on the web site, but I do have to ask, is there a little bit of an autobiographical flavor in the book?”
“Well, not deliberately, but there must I guess. My main character is the original young fogey ... I had elements of that but not as extremely as poor Stephen does. Maybe though, on a deeper level, I spent a lot of my life fumbling to find who I was. It is set in Brighton, where I did most of the things I have ever done for the first time!” He replied.
“Are there any of the characters that were inspired by people you've met in Second Life?” I asked.
“That's a difficult one to answer. No would be my first answer but thinking about it, I did meet someone here who inspired me ... does inspire me and he is probably in the later re-writes.” He said in reply.
“Will you be using Second Life to promote the book?” I asked.
“Yes, we have done some already actually. There was a big Second Life launch when the publishing deal was first signed. We did a reading session at the water stage on Cookie. There will be other stuff too I am sure when we actually get into print.” He said.
“I saw that in the note card Jilly had given me, I was sorry to have missed it.” I said.
“Second Life is very important for me and for Jilly. It was a lovely event, very supportive ... not full of people wishing me failure which might be the case in other worlds.” He commented.
“Hopefully there will be ones in the future I can participate in. I would enjoy hearing you read. Is there any possibility of your poetry being published?
“I have now been writing poetry for only three years and in that time I have had thirty poems published. I am just keeping going like that, but I would love one day to have a collection published. I really love writing poetry. I am a bit addicted but I still don't really know if I am any good at it.” He said.
“How long have you been blogging?” I asked him.
“One of my sons and his wife gave me the software for Christmas when I was just over a month out of hospital. I wrote my first blog on 28th December 2008 and haven't missed a day since.” He said.
“That is quite a record.” I commented.
“As you may have noticed, I am a tad obsessive! I can't stop it now, but it is also a great way to start each writing day.” He said.
“Is there a closing remark or comment you'd like to make for my readers?”
“If your readers want to be writers, then I can really emphasize the fact that Second life is an amazing place to find your nerve, gain experience ... and, maybe, find yourself.” He said.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Virtual Ability to Host Three Events in it's "Waiting for the World to Change" Series

Virtual Ability Inc., will be hosting three events beginning today as part of it's on going series, Waiting for the World to Change.  I spoke briefly with VAI's Gentle Heron who told me this about the series; "This started with the official UN day celebrating their Conference on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They set up a series of topics, including education, employment, accessibility and Virtual Ability set up some information displays on Healthinfo Island about these topics, and then people asked for more information. So we've been doing a series of informational presentations by experts such as these three folks. The topics are varied, of course, but all relate back to the UN Conference."

The first is scheduled for today the 7th of January, at noon PST/SLT where Kevin Feenan (SL: Phelan Corrimal) will present "WAT's in a Name?".  The event takes place at the SojournerAuditorium on Virtual Ability Island.

"Workplace accommodation toolkits (WAT) match disabilities with assistive technologies. In order for school systems to appropriately manage the learning environment its important to know what assistive technologies are most commonly associated with specific disability types. This presentation will provide a general overview for educational institutions of the nine (9) major disability types, the assistive technologies most commonly used, and which global databases can help provide access to suppliers of assistive technologies. By the end of this session, educators should be able to develop their own classroom accommodation toolkit for use in discussing appropriate options with their charges."

PRESENTER BIO: Kevin Feenan (SL: Phelan Corrimal) is CEO of Knomaze Corporation, a management consulting firm and President of Rockcliffe University Consortium.

The second in the series is scheduled for Sunday, the 8th of January, when Jason Pace (SL: Hydra Shaftoe) will present; "No more mop buckets: Profitably employing people with disabilities in real positions". The presentation will begin at 11 am PST/SLT and will be held at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island.

"This event will be a presentation getting into the nuts and bolts of how a business can profitably employ people with mental disabilities (focus on the autism spectrum) in profitable roles. This will be a gritty, realistic session exploring the benefits and minuses of hiring such people, and ways of utilizing the special gifts that autism grants those employees while minimizing the impact of the negatives. "

PRESENTER BIO:  Hydra Shaftoe (Jason Pace) is a project manager, community manager, technical writer, show host, convention organizer, marketer, IT professional, and former virtual worlds developer. He has been involved with virtual worlds for six years and has a good deal of experience in hiring and working with differently abled people in them. He also works as an organizer for the Second Life convention.

The third and final event will take place on Monday, the 9th of January at 6 pm PST/SLT. The topic , "Mental disabilities: Social and educational issues" will be presented by Dr. Selby Evans (SL:Thinkerer Melville). The location for Monday's event will be at, Exhibit 5, Healthinfo Island.

This event in the "Waiting for the World to Change" series has six segments:

•    the major mental disorders or psychoses
•    “ethnogenic” disabilities (conditions seen as disabilities as a result of cultural circumstances)
•    experience-based disorders
•    addictions
•    developmental disorders
•    what to do while we wait

PRESENTER BIO: Dr. Evans is a retired Professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University. He has taught courses in psychological measurement, computer applications, and systematic problem-solving. A published author, he has conducted research in pattern perception, and studies of cognitive systems, supported by U. S. Military organizations, NASA, National Institutes of Health, and other government organizations.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Opening of Em Larsson's "Refuse!" Today

I stopped in at the opening this evening to check out Ms Larsson's latest exhibit entitled "Refuse!" A long time admirer of Em's photographic skills, I was not disappointed. She has one of the sharper eyes of the photographers who regularly exhibit in Second Life that I've seen over the years. This exhibit show's her real life skills in which she captures "discarded objects, broken down vehicles, and overgrown weeds".

"Refuse!" is at the Eclipse Arts Complex in Second Life.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Announcing the First Annual Fantasy Art Festival Held in the Virtual World of Inworldz

For Immediate Release:

Announcing the First Annual Fantasy Art Festival Held in the Virtual World of Inworldz

January 1, 2012

Following on the heels of the highly successful  "Inworldz Dreamz & Visionz" festival, the founder of Alexanderia's Kingdom, Jeri Rajha, is pleased to announce the organization of  the "Fantasy Art Festival" to be held in the virtual world of  InWorldz. The festival is being hosted by the Elf Clan. This festival will  be a juried event and applications are being received now for up to 35 plots (31 land and 4 water plots) for individuals or for teams of artists.  Plots will be allocated on the 16th of January,  and the group assignment/tag will be given out. The building will be completed by February 3 rd. Then the artists works will be open to view  and the judges will begin their selections.

Information for the Artists:

  • If you haven't already done so, you will need to create an account and log into InWorldz. Applications are available through festival organizers and in key locations through out the grid. Additionally festival information can be obtained through the Inworldz event forum.
  • The first 31 completed applications will be allocated plots, plus 4 water plots
  • Further completed applications received by midnight 15 January will be considered at the complete discretion of the organizers.
  • Only completed notecards will be eligible for allocation of a plot.
  • Only competed notecards received before midnight 15 January will be eligible for allocation of a plot.
  • Plots are 30 x 30 each area may utilize 900 prims height may go as high you must utilize a TP from Zauber Paracelsus.
  • Please remember this is Fantasy and this is a PG SIM and abide by the rules of a PG SIM of the Elven Clan with saying this should you have any questions - with regards to your  creation - please contact Jeri Rahja - before you start your build -  because should it not met the criteria of the Elven Clan - I am sorry  to state the art work will be eliminated from the Fest and will be removed.
  • This is open to SL and IWZ Avatar's

IW residents can send their completed Application Notecard to Jeri Rahja. Also IM her so she can chase any NC that get lost. Once all plots are filled the plots on the SIM's will be allocated by random ballot.

Festival Organization:

Chair Person Jeri Rahja
Co Chair - Snoots Dwagon

Festival Team:

PR - Nazz Lane 
Scripting - Zauber Paracelsus
Events/stage manager - Sunbeam Magic

Festival Judges:

  • quadrapop tree
  • Jayjay Zifanwe
  • Velazquez Bonetto