01 March 2015

Spring in Frisland

Frisland, that photogenic and popular location about which I've written a couple times (read here (March 2014) and here (November 2014)), has just reopened after a brief hiatus, now decorated for spring. With the return of warmer weather, green leaves and grasses have sprouted everywhere, and the sim has taken on much of its original appearance from a year ago.

Traveling through the sim by bicycle is one of the most pleasant ways of exploring, and one can rez a bike along the inland path. Those who wish to rez their own items may join the Frisland group (L$150, which of course helps to support the sim, and further contributions are welcome via the tip piggy bank at the landing point).

28 February 2015

Recently

"An art gallery was the very first thing I created in SL back in 2006," shared Max Butoh, well known as the owner of The Chamber, "and I always wanted to have one somewhere." That somewhere is now the sim Floris, home to The Chamber, and the gallery is dathúil — meaning, in Irish, colorful or beautiful. It's an old distillery, with great copper whiskey stills and barrels at the ready, and lots of room for artwork. And, given that it's a distillery, it's launching appropriately and in grand style with an exhibition — Recently — of new artworks by Whiskey Monday, none of which have been displayed before inworld. The show opens tomorrow, Sunday, March 1, at 9 am slt, with an opening reception at 4 pm slt.

Always personal, always fascinating, often humorous, and often disturbing, Whiskey's artworks are composed images that place her avatar in various situations, often fraught with struggle, and we can't help but sense her fragility or dilemma. "It's absolutely self therapy," she explained as we chatted about the show and her creations. The images are "a way of telling bits of my story, but kinda twice removed, so it's easier. I stopped sharing my writing, as it started to feel so strange — too intimate, and people 'knew' me, even when I didn't know them. And that became intimidating. But I still had this urge to tell my story, trite as that sounds, so the photos are another way to do that."

It was only years after Whiskey's arrival in Second Life that she began to experiment with photography — "not until I got a good computer, and started messing around with creating my tweets as photos. It was Botgirl Questi who inspired me. She has inspired me so much. Our constant talks about identity and creativity. She really pushed me to express myself in new ways." All of the works in the exhibition are for sale (with a couple of fun freebies at the entrance). Recently will remain on display through the month of March, and will then make way for dathúil's second exhibition, featuring works by Yannick Whoa (lottomann) for the month of April.

25 February 2015

Purple Crayons

If you've never visited Purple Crayons, designed by Rwah, don't delay: the sim, along with her other region, Square pegs in round holes (read here), will close on March 5. It's a place with multiple personalities: we enter on a gritty urban street, with litter blowing in the wind — but as we walk the length of it, reach the end and turn the corner, we suddenly step out onto a pristine beach, protected by a lighthouse encircled by swooping birds. And inland is a richly forested area.

Purple Crayons is home to a collection of art galleries — some located on a second city street overlooking the first — featuring works by Rwah (including many not on her flickr stream), Thorn Arisen, Peep Sideshow and Yann Whoa. You'll also discover, tucked away in the woods, several homes and buildings, fully furnished. Rezzing is permitted for thirty minutes. And, although the sim is closing, contributions are welcome and may be left at the landing point.

23 February 2015

Tillicum Islands

Now open for your exploratory enjoyment is Tillicum Islands (Fanatico South), beautifully designed by Tinker Drew (Leyna) and owned by her partner, Scott Yedmore. It's a full sim, providing extensive opportunities for landscaping, and features a rocky, forested inland area, beaches toward the west, an aging lighthouse, and a deep ravine dividing the two islands. If you're observant, you'll discover a cave system that winds through the bedrock toward the north. Houses and buildings peppered throughout the landscape feature gracefully composed interiors.

"We love seeing things through other's eyes," Tinker told me as we discussed how the sim would become a haven for photographers. "That was the whole reason for the sim redesign. We love landscaping and photography, and feel such huge appreciation for those who share their spaces with others, so Scott and and I decided we could do that here as well. That...and beauty for beauty's sake." Tinker is still fine-tuning the sim, but it's essentially complete. You're welcome to roam about the entire area with the exception of a private home located in the southeast corner.

22 February 2015

Heart Reef Park Revisited

About a year ago, I wrote about a short-lived sim created by kenny Humby, and I'm delighted to report that as of today it has been rebuilt: Heart Reef Park, a playful interpretation of Santorini and Mykonos. It's a colorful island filled with whimsy and delight, with rows of little shops and houses, and occupants in various poses or pastimes. You won't spot any mesh here: kenny even uses two dimensional photographs throughout, and to fun effect, such as the snoozing grocer in the image below (click to zoom in). Experimenting with windlight will provide lots of options for photography.

One of the most enjoyable ways to explore is to take advantage of the many automated tours that are offered, mostly for couples (but possible for solo use as well): a donkey ride, a balloon ride, a piggyback tour (which Cica Ghost and I are trying out as I type this), a swimming tour and so on — for most you'll need to join the land group, which is free. You might also encounter a couple of robotic residents of the sim, Zenigata Gearhead and James Bond, who are sometimes around, roaming about. Don't forget to leave a contribution if you're so inclined.

21 February 2015

Box...3D Art

Now on display at Lisa Expò, curated by Rubin Mayo, is an exhibition of recent works by Duna Gant entitled Box...3D Art. Each of the seven works on display is something like a diorama, presented in a box, an assemblage of materials that might appear to be two-dimensional when viewed head on. But the image above, Collage 3D, is about 1.5 meters deep, with the potted plant in the foreground, the wine glass in the middle, and the textured flat planes at various angles. And, with one exception — the blue and white Constructivisme 2, seen below — all the works share a similar color palette of earth tones.

Duna states in the exhibition notes that for her boxes "are synonyms of travel souvenirs, dear persons, special places...I have always been attracted by their beauty, the right place to store my memorabilia: photos, postcards, jewels, sea shells, coins, keys..." As we spoke in French, Duna explained to me that she worked on the boxes for three weeks, but had had been considering the idea for some time. Box...3D Art, which is cleverly presented in its own "box" space, will remain on display through March, and each of the works is available for purchase.

Flashmans at Vintage Retro

Years ago, Flashmans was quite a gathering place, filled with bawdy intellectuals, misfits and ribald humor. ("Seedy, Sordid, Splendid since 2007," says the parcel information.) But over time, and as the original two iterations (Martin Ren, proprietor) transformed into new builds with new owners at new locations, the place become more and more quiet, with only occasional events to tempt its fading clientele. Proprietor Phi Mayo has just relocated the club to Vintage Retro on the Old Time Prims sim, adjacent to 1920s Berlin, where perhaps it will see a little more foot traffic and gain some traction. "It needs more tchotchkes, but the dance balls and all are ready and willing," she offered, and I'm sure there will be some special events on the horizon.

20 February 2015

3signs: Love, Happiness, and Wisdom

Opening today, Friday, February 20, at 1 pm slt at The Rose Theatre & Art Gallery, is a new installation by Betty Tureaud entitled 3signs: Love, Happiness, and Wisdom. Visitors will immediately recognize Betty's trademark colors: bright, saturated tones that pop out from their surfaces. And, with nearly everything in motion, those colors interact: the slowly drifting textures on the walls and floor (the ceiling, curiously, is stationary); the Chinese fans that radiate up from the floor; and the large simplified Chinese characters for love, happiness and wisdom that rotate in space. The lotus flowers provide opportunities to dance.

19 February 2015

Buried

I'm admittedly a little late to hop on the Buried bandwagon, but no less enthusiastic. (I wanted to have time to complete the entire hunt before writing about it — and, if the mention of Buried doesn't strike a chord, then read on.) This engaging hunt, designed and developed by MadPea (in particular, story and concept by the head pea Kiana Writer, visuals by Axiomatic Clarity and programming by Fuzz Difference, with many others assisting), presents a mystery: Lily has disappeared. And it's your job to find her. As the game begins, you'll find yourself hunting for clues (they're really not too difficult) on a small gathering of islands, pictured in the three upper images here.

You'll need to purchase a HUD (it's L$300, but the price is insignificant in comparison to the return) that teleports you from one hunt location to another. If you're successful in uncovering (or unburying, perhaps I should say) the initial clue, you'll enter into a grid-wide hunt, visiting the stores of two dozen merchants (of all varieties) to search for a tiny object at each location. And sometimes it might take a while to find that for which you search — and can on occasion become baffling, in which case the MadPea chat group and many volunteers are at the ready to lend a hand in your quest. Some merchants were quite creative in finding ways to participate in the hunt, notably MiChIGaN's ShAcK!.

Now, if you're the type who thinks you can accelerate your way through the arduous search process by sneakily using something like Firestorm's area search, be forewarned that the creator, name and other attributes of the object you seek may vary from sim to sim. And when you're done, it's time to do some digging: you'll arrive at the place shown below (click to zoom in) to discover what really happened to Lily — and to claim your prizes. For more information, visit the MadPea blog here, with a list of the prizes here. Buried continues through March 31.

18 February 2015

Speculum

Opening today, Wednesday, February 18 at 1 pm slt at LEA6, as part of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Full Sim Art Series, is Speculum by Giovanna Cerise. Visitors will first encounter several large humanoid figures at the landing point, all examining themselves with specula or mirrors. No, not in that way — speculum in this case meaning a reflective glass or metal surface, although one section of the build might reference the gynecological instrument. And, by clicking on the speculum right at the landing point, one can teleport directly into that area, a long dark tunnel that slowly unfolds as one walks its length, populated by egg-like orbs (visible above). (Or perhaps I'm reading way too much into things.)

The specula are in turn mirrored throughout the build: giant shapes are positioned like huge beacons, looking out to sea or upwards toward the sky, supported by fantastic lattices of wood that seem to explode in different directions. Giovanna says, in her notes on the installation,

   The mirror, as multiplicity and continuous playback.
   The mirror, where the invisible overlaps the original and the hidden appears suddenly.
   The mirror, as an illusion of which you can not do without.
   The mirror as a projection in an unreal dimension.
   The mirror that opens the door to ....

The artist suggests the use of either Sunset or Verdigris windlight settings; I also found Places Wiccan to produce good results. Speculum will remain on display through March.