Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Roman Holiday, a Rezzday, and Partying 'Till You're Purple

Last weekend in Second Life, Saturday February 21 to Sunday February 22, had quite a number of events. From the Roman Lupercalia, to the Second Life Science Fiction Convention, to the opening event of "Paint Second Life Purple, to Marianne McCann's Rezzday party, to the Veterans Isle fundraiser, there was plenty to see and do.

Saturday morning in the Roma community had the first day of their Lupercalia festival. A holiday of ancient Roman times, it has been loosely compered to Valentines Day, which later in history would fall around the same time of year.

In celebration of this most ancient of festivals we will be performing a Roman ritual for Faunus Lupercus, the God of Wild Things and Lupa, the she-wolf who nourished the founding fathers Romulus and Remus. After the rite, we will have the Running of The Luperci - half-naked youths and maidens who bless the people of the ROMA. The spectators will run ahead of the Luperci, who will lightly flog them with the goatskin floggers in hopes of fertility (both of mind and body). Following the ritual, we will have our traditional Lupercalia Feast - and clothing is optional!

I arrived a bit late to see the opening ritual and the Running of the Lupercalia itself, so sorry, no pictures of women (and men) getting flogged with goatskins soaked in milk. But I did come across the dance afterwards. There were some topless ladies, but not everyone was truly naked, as there were a few fig leafs and thin strips of cloth around. Someone commented this was the most dressed she'd seen the people at the festival. Still, it was amusing to see the one furred resident wearing more clothes than most of the bunch, until she put her toga aside, though was still wearing a bikini-like outfit.

There were two other events that day, a lecture on love and sexuality in Roman times, and a "Wolf Hunt" in which the participants would tag wolves around the area. But in this place in which lady furs were among the Romans, friends I talked to about the event had a few jokes about whom might be hunting whom. Sunday would have a Grand Feast and a game of Harpastum, a kind of Roman football.

That afternoon would be the opening party for "Paint Second Life Purple" event. This was the opening kickoff of the two week long Relay for Life spinoff event, which will end just as the official Relay season begins.

The official Paint SL Kickoff party will be held ...  on American Cancer Society Island from 4pm - 9pm. DJ Dee Wolfe will kick off the party at 4 pm SL time, followed by Special Guest’s Satin & Erin. DJ Dianne Wycliffe will close the part out from 7pm to 9 pm SL time.

The event was held on a platform high above the American Cancer Society sim, lined with purple buildings, had a floor littered with purple footprints leading away from purple paint cans. "Paint SL Purple" kits were available for pickup. The partiers themselves were dressed in purple outfits, had skins (or fur coats) dyed purple, or both. There were a number of Relay notables there, such as DJ Madonna, Trader Whiplash, and others.

It was enough to make one ... blue in the face. The party went on into the evening, lasting past it's planned closing time.

Besides the Purple event, the Second Life Cheerleading Squad RFL team would hold it's own event, a Mardi Gras party that lasted from 9AM to 9PM, with a mix of DJs and live musicians such as 10-11 Harmonia Trefoil.

Sunday would have it's own events. One took place at Bay City. It was the Rezzday of one of it's more noted locals and one of Second Life's most known child avatars: Marianne McCann.

The party was attended by a large number of residents from and outside the community, from Kenny Luckless, noted comedian Lauren Weyland, Uccello Poultry (Miss Bay CIty 2015), Torley Linden (via an alt), GoSpeed Racer who provided the music, Draxtor Despress of the "Drax Files," SL Nerwser's own DrFran Babcock, and many others.

 There were no shortage of jokes from, "Hippies are dropping in." "They'll let anyone in. Next it'll be mimes." "My only regret is not more watermelon." "You can't get more watermelon than Torley." "No nibbling on the Torley." "I never want a Rez party, I want to be a newbie for the rest of my life."

Marianne commented, "My rez age has finally surpassed my (roleplay) age." One resident responded, "Hehe, Mari, you have Simpsons Syndrome! You never age! *winks*" After some snickers, Uccie quipped, "Quick! paint her yellow!" After more chuckled, Marianne commented, "Heck, I still wear the same glasses I bought on February 22nd 2006." Of her beginings, she joked she " 'failed' orientation island, and had a friend tp me off after I stumbled into yet another river."

Uccello told the group, "I met Mari at SL6B (I think it was 6) when she did a space ship theme for her exhibit. It was really great, but of course I griped about something. We've kept in touch since! She's made my Second Life all the more special!"

Justin Esparaza commented, "I was looking through Salazar Jack’s computer and found some old photos of Marianne with Osprey Therian and Salazar. One of the three of them exploring Magellan Linden's Squall campsite and one where Mari and Sal were investigating Bodega going offline. I have to say they made nice rezday presents for Marianne." Marianne told him, "I deeply appreciate them, Justin."

Torley himself would say to the rezzday girl, "You are a true uber-explorer, Mari. I continue to enjoy the stories in your photos so much. Thanks for all your discoveries and sharing over the years, so much community spirit."

The party would continue on for a while, eventually everyone going their separate ways.

There were other goings on that day. The Second Life Science-Fiction Convention had opened Friday and people were continuing to see it's exhibits. That evening was the "Homes For Our Troops" fundraiser at Veterans Isle, featuring musicians such as Frets Nirvana. It would raise over 180,000 Lindens.

It was quite a weekend.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, February 20, 2015

Two Mardi Gras Events

By Bixyl Shuftan

Mardi Gras, also known as "Fat Tuesday" or "Carnival," is an old holiday. For Catholics and some other denominations of Christianity, it's the last day before the season of Lent, and the last chance to eat rich food before one has to give up eating it for the forty day period. Celebrated in countries with large Cathonlic populations, some cities have become known for their celebrations this time of year, in America New Orleans having by far the best well known.

In Second Life, many residents love a good party. So there were some Mardi-Gras themed parties across the Grid. One place that has them is New Toulouse, a roleplay and residential sim that has the atmosphere of 1920s New Orleans. On Monday February 16, a day before the real life Mardi Gras New Orleans celebrations, New Toulouse held their "Samedi Gras" parade at 6PM SL time.

There were numerous participants in the celebration, both as dancers in the streets and the numerous revelers on the parade floats. Among them were the "Crewe de Bast," which was feline-themed, and one by Baron Wulfenbach of the Steamlands which had a couple of his Jagers on it. It's unclear just how long the parade lasted, though the following day on the real life "Fat Tuesday," some of the floats remained at the town square, one on fire, as reminders of the revelry the night before. But for New Toulouse itself, the party was basically over. Fortunetly Natascha Randt had recorded the event for others who couldn't make it to watch.

(Click here if the video fails to play)

So where else to go? Gemma Cleanslate found out about another celebration in another New Orleans themed area. This one was high above the Snackpack sim. Unlike New Toulouse, this one was taking place throughout the day, and instead of twisting around streetcorners, this one went down one straight street. A rezzer at the store on the far end of the street would automatically rezz different floats, which would slowly go down the street, people invited to sit or dance on them. Among the floats were Wonder Woman, Xena, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob Squarepants, and more.

There were also a number of false avatars around to help give the impression of a packed parade, even late at night. But both earlier on in the day and later at night, there were a number of people around. Laura Liberty, the owner of the Elizabeth Town sim, which currently housed the seasonal town of Valentine Town, was among those having fun at the Snackpack parade. Elizabeth Town had a New Orleans themed block next to Valentine Town.

On the day after Mardi Gras, the parade floats were still going, though there were only a handful of people around, presumably either people who couldn't see it the day before, or people whom truly loved Mardi Gras, and wanted to look at the parade one more time.

Besides these two parades, a number of clubs held Mardi Gras themed parties, or at least held events with the same kind of spirit. Gemma went to one such club event. The classic rock club "The Vinyl," near the SL Newser office held a "Wild and Crazy" party on Mardi Gras night.

And so "Fat Tuesday" came and went for another year. But even for those whom have to give things up for Lent, Easter is just a little more than a month away.

Pictures from Natascha Randt and Gemma Cleanslate

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, February 16, 2015

Scenes From One Billion Rising

On Saturday February 14, Valentines Day, the One Billion Rising women's rights event took place across the world. For the third year in a row, Second Life was the scene of it's own "Rising."

 In four sims, OBR Change, OBR Drun, OBR Dance, OBR Rise, volunteers both greeted visitors dropping in, such as the Newser's own Gemma Cleanslate, as well as hosting various events such as dance parties.

"One Billion Rising" was backed by a number of sponsors, which had banners up on the walkways to the main stage.

There were also various artists exhibitions across the sims. "Breakthrough," near where Gemma greeted visitors, was symbolic of the "Break the Chain" video.

 Inside the "dreamer's" head, shown above.

This exhibit had a number of planets in orbit.

This exhibit was the scene of a smaller event, separate from the ones at the main stage.

There were a few freebies available, such as this pink gown. Unfortunately for guys, it was non-transferable, so it couldn't be used as a Valentines Day present.

At the center stage, DJs performed every hour. White "Sim Crossing" signs marked the border between the sims.

Vic Mornington (Victor1st Mornington), noted for his performances in the Relay for Life, was one of the DJs later in the evening, enthusiastically playing the tunes.

Avatars of all kinds danced to the music, from furs, to nekos, to dark unicorns and ferals, to this ferret floating up in the air thanks to a few balloons, swinging to the music.

Gemma would pass onto the Newser this video from "MySecretRage" of the exhibits at the "Rising."

(Click here if the video fails to show)

The event was officially over after a day. The exhibits should still be up for a few days.

Bixyl Shuftan.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Scenes from Mole Day 2015

By Bixyl Shuftan

Monday February 2 might have been Groundhog Day in real life, but in Bay City Second Life, it was Mole Day. This was the day set aside to honor the "Moles," the members of the Linden Department of Public Works. This was the fifth Mole Day celebration.

Initially honored in 2010 by Residents of Bay City, Mole Day is set aside to show appreciation for The Moles and their many contributions to Bay City and the rest of the Second Life™ Grid. ... The LDPW is a program focused on improvements related to the experience of living on, or visiting the Linden Mainland. The LDPW organizes teams of Resident builders, artists, and scripters (the Moles!) to create new content on Linden Lab's behalf and to the benefit of all. These Residents have the last name “Mole.”

The party began about 5PM SL time with DJ Gospeed Racer playing a set of tunes to the crowd.

At 6, Gospeed stepped down, and guitarist Marky Helstein stepped up and strummed his strings as he sung for the crowd.

On occasion, the conga line would start up, get longer, and continue for a while.

 Besides the moles, there were a number of Lindens present, such as Michael Linden, sporting a molish look, "Did we find out if Michel saw his shadow when he woke up this morning? I trust him much more than that groundhog."

There was Shaman Linden, who was looking like a pirate.

Dee Linden appeared in this unusual fairy avatar, which looked like it was half skeleton.

Uccello Poultry reminded everyone, "Remember that many Moles and Lindens also lead private citizen avatars and circulate with other residents. You never know when you are talking to someone who can go to the office the next day and smite your virtual butt." Shaman Linden responded, "Gosh, we never smite people. I smite bugs, though... " Marianne McCann commented, "clearly you've not seen Governance in action."

At one point, the party was interrupted by a herd of buffalo stampeding through. Someone shouted, "Oh em gee! Stax Wand Buffaloes!"

There was quite a bit of talk, including some discussion of Second Life's earlier days, and a number of mole jokes, "If a mosquito bites a mole, does it get molaria?" "no mole-o-toff cocktails?"

Eventually the party wound down and people went their seperate ways. But everyone left in good spirits.

"Happy Mole Day."

Bixyl Shuftan