Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Burning of "The Man"

On the final two days of the events at the Burn2 art and music festival came the biggest two, the burning of "The Man" and the Temple Burn.

"The Man" is burned first on the day before Burn2's end, this year on October 26, at three different times of the day in order for people across the time zones to be able to avoid odd hours, in addition for people to have more chances to see it.  I went to the one at 4AM, the "European" burn, and watched the fun.

 "The Man" of Burn2, made of wood and neon, with a few explosive charges around to start the fire.

"The Man" is often on a simple tower. This time it was on a sizeable base that resembled a landed flying saucer, putting it in line with the "Cargo Cult" theme. Note the cannons to the left that went off when some classical fair was played.

 And nearby the "Burners" were partying it up, waiting for the build to catch fire. As we waited, the music stream had tunes such as "The Heat is On." Cannons went off

And at 4AM, the fires began to the cheers of the crowd, "Wooooooooot!"

 With my older computer, there was just as much smoke as fire. It wasn't long before the head fell.

 And soon, so were the torso and arms.

The fires soon began to char the saucer base.

 And it began to come apart, pieces falling off.

 And sometimes flying off.

I crashed, but logged back on. The build was a flaming pile of wood, "The Man" all gone.

 Dawn soon came, but the fire still blazed.

 And the Burners began dancing away at the edge of the flames.

 One ranger acting as drummer, two pixie avatars dancing nearby.

The dancing amidst the flames continued for some time. There would also be two more Burning of "The Man" events that day, at Noon and 8 PM SL time.

There was also a video of the event, filmed by Radioactive Rosca (Click Here if the video fails to load). Hat Tip - Daniel Voyager

Stay tuned for scenes of the Temple Burn.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 25, 2013

Luskwood's Tenth Birthday Party

By Bixyl Shuftan

The name Luskwood means different things. To some, it's a social platform where one can pretty much count on someone always being there. To others, it's the original furry avatar company, the one who laid the groundwork for all others and is still around. To another group, it's the oldest furry community in Second Life, possibly the oldest community of any avatar type still around, and where many furs (and a few not so furry) got their start in Second Life. Luskwood is all of these things, and more. And it recently celebrated a milestone very few places in Second Life can boast. It was ten years ago when the place came to be. And on October 19th, Luskwood held it's tenth anniversary party.

 The celebration wasn't held at the Big Tree, but was held on a special platform over three thousand meters high. Designed by Eo Fenstalker and Kumba Digfoot, the place had a trippy, glowly look that was set at nighttime. Aside from the avatar vendors there, presumably partily to keep the illusion of this being the regular place transformed and partially for anyone wanting to make a purchase, it looked very different from how the Big Tree usually is. And indeed not having checked the landmark, my first thoughts were wondering what had happened to the place.

 A small entrance platform was connected to a main platform much like the one on the Big Tree, which was connected to a stage platform. Live music acts performed on the stage, while DJs performed at the main platform on a glowly DJ booth. The crowd mostly followed where the music was. There was a box of glowsticks for people to take one, which added to the rave-like glowly light look of the place. There were also some free hats to take, a tenth anniversary baseball cap, plus a "fox hat" that resembled the top half of Luskwood's symbol.

From Noon SL time to 1 PM, Keeba Tammas performed on stage, followed by David Csiszer from 1 to 2PM. From two in the afternoon to 3:30PM, Alazarin Mondrian and the Invisible Band was on stage. After a brief intermission, the action moved to the main platform at 4PM where DJ Zairo performed. At 6PM, the crowd moved back to the stage to see Shannon Oherlihy on stage. At 7PM were Jaycatt and Frogg, who do live performances at Luskwood every month. Following "Effnjay" at 8PM was squirrelgirl DJ Haley. And from 11PM to 1AM, DJ Soul spun the tunes late in the night.

The place was packed with over fifty avatars in the sim while I was there, and presumably it was so during the whole time of the party. There were furry avatars of all kinds, Lusk and otherwise, including some heavily modified such as an eight foot tall huskygirl. There were also a number of pony and human avatars present. Present were the four founders, Arito Cotton, Eltee Statosky, Liam Roark, and the popular Michi Lumin. Most were there just part of the time, but Michi was around the whole time I was there.

There were also a number of Luskwood's "Core," or helpers present, such as Furry Rosewood, Tengu Yamabushi, Dougal Jacobs, and Ardy Lay. Beatfox Xevious, known for his design of flexible tails when they were new on the Grid, had been taking a break from Second Life, but made an appearance at this special party.

As the party went on, there was quite a bit of chatter and jokes. The "fox hat" became a source of humor as people playfully debated whether  or not it was redundant for someone in a fox avatar to wear one. Then Michi put one on, but not wanting to part with her top hat put the second hat over it. The result was hilarity, "Oh my God! Michi's hat is wearing a hat! IT'S ALIVE!!!" And some hilarious stunts in the past were brought up, such as "Dougal's Milkshake."

And like many times before, prizes were given out in this anniversary. These were Linden cash prizes given out at random, and usually with a humorous comment. They started out small, at 100 Lindens, and as time went on, the amounts went up, from 250 to 500 Lindens. After 9PM SL time, the prizes became 750, and then one thousand Lindens. After Midnight SL time, five people who stuck it out were lucky enough to get 5000 prizes, Lily Rothschild, Slicky Oh, Braya White, Starywarrior18 Resident, and Viener (Vienersnitzel Resident), "It sounds a bit wrong to say i'm paying L$5000 to a Viener (vienersnitzel), but 'ere it is."

Michi and I talked a little via IM. Michi was busy as the popular skunkgirl is often deluded with dozens of calls, but she talked a little, part of the conversation allowed on the record. Of the original Lindens all but gone from the Lab, Michi commented there were "four Lindens who still know who we are, but I'm sure most of them are rank and file and don't know or don't care what's going on inside. … though 'We're all in this boat together.' So, so it goes." She did promise to protect Luskwood should the Lab's intentions to the residents becomes antagonistic, "I never think anything is a dead end, and I don't quit until its over. … I have a bit of a track record of being a bit of a pit bull and not only in the SL domain.  Whatever comes to pass, I won't take it laying down."

But for the most part, such issues were put aside for the happy occasion. After the last DJ hung up his speakers, Michi was there to put up a stream, "I think we're officially wrapping up here soon. … We've wrapped up but folks are welcome to stay." Dougal pondered the time, "Ten years is 3650 Days. Ten Years is 87,600 hours. Ten years is over 5 million minutes." One quipped, "Add 2 days for leap years, Dougal." "In ten years, the Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled over 3 billion miles, nearly the distance from Earth to Pluto." There seemed to be signs of a griefer in the distance with a screen-crasher, but it was too far away to affect us, "At least he waited until the party was over."

It was about this time someone noticed among the late partiers was one resident just a couple days onto the Grid. He was happily welcomed to Second Life, and he commented he already had a fantastic beginning. Dancing near Michi, someone joked about the irony of a newcomer dancing with one of Lusk's Founders, an "old and the new" scene.

The comments continued, "I'm glad I managed to catch the whole thing, and stay to the end." "Thank you all for coming out and celebrating ten awesome years!" "Thanks Lusk for making this party possible." "Thanks for creating beauty... not just visually, but between folks' ears." "Thanks to everyone who came and took part in our celebrations with us." "Yes! Happy 10th! Everyone who's put so much of their lives into bringing us wonderful times." "Tenth Birthday is best birthday!" "Happy 10th Giant Tree!" "Great stuff guys, never seen a party like this in my admittedly limited experience on SL. Thanks for putting it on." "Thank you everyone for the fantastic party all day! Happy 10th BDay Luskwood!" "Congratulations on a Decade Luskwood!" "It was a lot of fun. Thanks to all the DJ's and Lusk for making it happen."

And so, most of those remaining began to head off for bed, "See you all in ten more years. Or is 25 the next big number?" " … if I survive that long I'll be glad to raise a toast with you!" Michi reminded, "There are some things going on tomorrow, like open mic night (smile) and yes, thank you to EVERYONE and everyone who's been a part of this community!"

There was an art show at the base of the big tree, and the next day was a two hour "Open Mike" show at the Retro Skunk Cafe. But these were small compared to the bash that had taken over a dozen people at least to pull off, and attended by who knows how many residents throughout the day. But for those who couldn't make the big bash, or miss the festive feeling, Lusk will be having it's Halloween party on October 26 (warning, Lusk vampire bats have a bite animation already built in).

Luskwood's faced a few challenges over the years, from human avatars who question why a mostly furry place should be right on the mainland (and several sims east of Bay City, to other furries who grumble about the enforced PG atmosphere, A Lab that seems more and more distant, and of course the griefers whom can be so numerous I've heard one Lusk regular joke you're still a newbie at the place until you've witnessed at least one. But the people have handled it all. And so, the Big Tree passed a milestone made only by a handful of sims, and probably the first that has maintained a thriving community.

"Happy 10th Birthday Luskwood!"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Press Day at Burn 2

October 17 was Press Day at the Burn2 area. Bloggers and newsletter writers were invited to come by for a sneak peak. And in the corner of my eye I saw a few such as Inara Pey. I arrived a bit late to be part of a tour group. But there was plenty to see.

Almost right away, I ran into one builder: Alexi Denortak (Shawnna Chrome). Alexi showed me her paper-mache castle in Burning Man-Elko, "good thing it never rains in the desert," two towers connected by a bridge.

One could pick up a copy of Alexi's castle, "buy" it for zero Lindens, as well as the couch and top hat inside.

Nearby was a "Pancake Breakfast tent." By the looks of one set of tables, the owner heard about the Tinies' reputation for a great love of waffles.

 And there was the 3-D Maze, this year's theme being Ancient Egypt.


This place looked real colorful and trippy on the inside.

Gemma recommended I head to one particular build: Leroy Horton's Quetzalcoatl exhibit at Burning Man-Deep Hole (113/197/25)

Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec god whom a provided notecard depicted as nurturing human civilization, which fit in nicely with the Burn's "Cargo Cult" theme, and condemning human sacrifice while promoting self-sacrifice. The build was best viewed at midnight, in which the light effects were best seen. The parcel stream played Mesoamerican music.

Besides the notecard, one could pick up a t-shirt and a wearable snake. I asked Leroy how might he react if a group in anthro-reptile avatars came to see his exhibit. "That would be cool! I'd love it!" he responded.

"I have had a problem getting some of my friends to come because they hate snakes!" Leroy laughed, "I take it as a compliment as I hope they think they look real enough." The tail on the bigger snake and the head of the medium sized ones move a little, but Leroy's working on making it look like the snakes breathe.

Nearby was a tall statue of a nude (PG) woman. When touched, packages would rain down on her. After a certain amount, she would sink to the ground in flames. A plaque in front explained the exhibit's theme.

 Following that, Mrs. Mia Wallace (Mia Quinote) invited me to her exhibit at Burning Man-Black Rock (190/177/24). "Welcome to John Frum's little home," she announced when I got there. The build was a flying saucer stuck in the sand.

 Mia directed me to the back, where there was a display for a youtube film, "I filmed this story told by Danger Ranger on the Black Rock City Playa this year." She reminded me that Danger Ranger was a co-founder of the Burning Man festival. "This video is well, the story of John Frum and the playa." If one can't see the video inworld, one can get a link to see it on one's web browser.

Two objects will send you upward, one to over over the saucer. The other will have you standing on top of it to open a box, "Meet John Frum. ... when you watch the video, you will get the connection."

And what's in the box and video, well, you'll have to visit the exhibit to see for yourself.

Mia then directed me to Camp Everywhere, where there's a number of pieces of 2-D art. She called for it's host, DocLivingston Resident, who soon arrived.

 "Welcome to Camp Everywhere," DocLivingston greeted me, "I am a real-life Burner for eight years in a row, and a three year Regional Contact for the real-life Burning Man." He had heard of the festival, but it took a friend who told him, "We Need You There!" So I loaded up My Big Sound System a couple months later and a whole bunch of camping stuff and headed to the desert, 'Wow,'  my whole life changed in that Moment."

At the real life festival, there is also a Camp Everywhere, "It is Built by the Regional Network all over the world." In Second Life, it was a little different, "it's a place to come and Learn about the real-life Burn and to meet the people who help to run it."

How was it being a contact for the two festivals? "Mostly amazing. Defiantly when its all said 'n done, it is worth every bit of effort." He did feel it was "sometimes frustrating to me ... but, the people are the same, Beautiful, Loving, Passionate, Currious, Generous, Willing to Help each other."

"I had a transition I had to make deep inside my soul," Doc explained, "yet a learning experience I would never take away, one that tought me that ANYONE can be a part of a more Beautiful World whether it be at the real life Burn or a regional burn around the world."

Of Burn2, "I am blessed to have met soooo many amazing people." For Second Life Burners who had yet to go to Burning Man, he recommended they talk to someone who had first, "get an idea of what to expect from several peoples experiences."

 DocLivingston was proud of his mutant vehicle, "my Art Car the Yellow OyStarrrrr." He had yet to see much of this year's exhibits beyond Camp Everywhere, and was looking forward to experience what the artists had to offer.

I was looking for one final exhibit before calling it a day, Ub Yiffu's. Fortunately help was right there a minute after leaving Camp Everywhere, and she told me where to go.

 UB Yiffu's exhibit, "Flesh Dreams," definitely had a post-apocalyptic look to it.

There were a few ways to interact with parts of the exhibit, so come by and see how.

And with that, my Press Day came to a close as events in real life needed my attention. Don't forget to come by Burn2 yourself. The festival starts Saturday Oct 19.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Galaxy Laser Club Closes It's Doors

On Sunday Sept 29, The Galaxy Laser Club, also known as the GLC, held it's last event. The club was about five years old, and had been moved to the Purfection sim a few years ago when it was called The Cocktail Lounge. Since then, it underwent a few changes from a boat to a nightclub, in addition to it's name which was changed to Poison Ivy Club, and then to Galaxy Laser Club.

The club was owned by Rich Mordly, who ran it with the help of Emma Mordly (Fehrenufski Resident), and Firefox Doghouse. Although Rich did not normally wear a furred avatar, he signed the club up in the Furry Club Alliance led by Nydia Tungsten. The club coordinated its events with the other two in Purfection, Club Zero Gravity and Raised Tail Resort, to avoid schedule conflicts.

While attendance was good, the amount of tips received by the staff was small. Rich and Emma came to the conclusion they couldn't keep up the expenses of running the club with our tips. So last week, they announced they would have to close the club.

Therefore, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday will be our final events.    This is a passionate plea (as I'm sure you can tell) from someone who really cares about the club.  Please, please come this week.  Please TP your friends in.

Wednesdays event was "Latex," for Thursday it was "Uniform, and for Friday the event was "Lookalike Musicians." For Sunday September 29, the final show, the event was scheduled to be "Best in SIlly" for 300 Lindens. Before long though, the amount was raised to 1300L, and the theme became "Sexy and Silly."

The audience had a mix of looks. The biggest avatar there was a huge dragon, Geerkil Ziskey, that had somehow squeezed through the door. On the "silly" side were some pony avatars, which pranced away on the dance floor. And on the sexy side, there were a number of scantily-clad human and near-human avatars. One girl had on tacos for shoes and sported a long beehive hairdo with a car sticking through it, making her both "sexy" and "silly."

There were a few balloons and signs placed around for the event. Most of the signs read "farewell." One was a thank you by one of the staff.

Thank you for attenuating our final event at the club. Emily, Rich, Jon, and I have worked tirelessly to keep the club open for you. It is with a tinge of sadness that we are left with no alternative but to close.

We'd like to thank Rich for his masterful ownership of the club for the past ice years. If it wasn't for the club, friendships that will last a lifetime would never have been formed. We'd also like to thank the staff that have worked here in the past and present. We wish you all well.

First prize for the contest went to Firefly Dash (MelodyHighnote Resident), one of the ponies. Tying for second were Geerkil and Kitacelia Resident.

Emma told the crowd that she didn't plan on being inactive, "This is not the end, just the beginning of a different chapter. And we all know about chapters and volumes." Rich added, "I am very thankful  for you all coming here, and I will be back (in Second Life) soon. It is sad to have closed my club after I have been running it five years, with Firefox who has been with me the whole time. We will be back soon, somehow, somewhere. Thank you Emma, Emily, and John." Firefox spoke, "I want to give a warm thank you to all those who have worked with us and have gone out of their ways to help keep this club running as long as it did."

And so, the people began going their separate ways, and the club shut down for the final time.

With the close of the Galaxy Club, the Furry Club Alliance is down to four clubs, CLub Zero Gravity, Raised Tail Resort, Club LIttle Dove, and Club Cutlass.

Bixyl Shuftan