Monday, October 30, 2017

Burn2: Getting The Burning Man Alight

By Klaus Bereznyak

Saturday 28 October at 1600hrs the traditional Man Burn ceremony started on the Burn2 playa with the lamplighters turning out to dance to eclectic ethnic beats provided by Dj Cuga Rajal.  Each year, the festival reaches its climax and conclusion as the landmark Man and Temple are set on fire and burned to the ground in separate ceremonies. To give organizers the best chance of success at the Man Burn, scheduled for 1700hrs, the Black Rock sim was closed to all but the Man Builders and Burn2 Rangers. Spectators gathered at strategic vantage points on the edges of adjoining sims where a good view could be had of the flammable wooden Man in its surrounding 'Temple of the Golden Spike'.

However, after the lamplighters had walked off the area, leaving it to the Man Team to start the fire, crews ran into technical difficulties with scripts on the sim. A lively camaraderie settled on the crowd, waiting in the certainty that it was going to be an "awesome burn". Calls went out for builders on Black Rock to temporarily turn off scripts on their builds, AVs shed their Animation Overrides to minimize lag, and spectators were requested not to try camming in and touching the Man while the team was working on it.

To pass the time, refreshments and other free stuff was shared among the punters, and helpful suggestions about rubbing sticks together or throwing a zippo out to the team were made. Someone was even picking a banjo. Generally everyone stayed upbeat and, as one AV commented, "I'm content sitting here in the glow of radical inclusion." Down on the ground, over in Black Rock, the Man Team worked steadily in the dark at the base of the Man, who continued to defy their efforts to set it alight.

At 1738hrs, nearly 40 minutes after schedule, iSkye finally announced, "BURN IS READY!". The crowd primed their cameras and, moments later, a series of explosions went off around the Man, followed by the red flicker of a flame. The whole structure was quickly engulfed in flames and began to break apart as ground crew hurried out of the way of falling debris and the crowd whooped with delight. It was over in a few minutes; the remains of the man lay smoldering on the desert floor and everyone agreed it was a great "burn!"

The Temple Burn was scheduled for Sunday, beginning with a lamplighter's procession at 1000hrs. The Temple burns at (approximately) 11:00am and this was preceded by a public readout of all the messages that had been posted in the Temple Censer during the week. For those missing the first event, there was the chance to see that again at 1600hrs, with the Temple being ignited at 1700hrs. The best view of these was from Black Rock, along the sim edge.

Although the events schedule concluded on Sunday, all the builds are staying up through to the 4th November for visitors to admire and enjoy, and 'Skin Burn', a reprise of the Man Burn, will take place on Saturday the 4th at 1100hrs and 1700hrs.

The Temple SLURL:
The Man SLURL:
Main Entrance SLURL:
Events Program:
Flickr Group:

Klaus Bereznyak

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Addition: Bixyl Shuftan contributed a few pictures.

 The crowd just before the burning of "The Man."

"The Man" just before the burn. "Should we save The Man from being burned?" the crowd was asked, "Or do we let him burn?" The crowd of course wanted fire, "Burn him!" "Let him Burn!" One person spoke, "Yes, let him burn, but burn him with *love.*"

 The first few lights.

And "The Man" becomes aflame.

 The fire quickly spreads.

And it isn't long before "The Man" is in pieces, sooner than in most previous burns Yours truly remembers.

The supporting structure continues to burn.

Marianne McCann and Pygar Bu watch the fire from next to the plunger, which they apparently pressed to start the fire.

 Those nearby are invited to go up and enter the fire.

"Anyone up for a game of pickup sticks?"

Friday, October 27, 2017

Luskwood and Trotsdale's Anniversary Celebrations

By Bixyl Shuftan

Luskwood is the oldest known furry community in Second Life, probably the oldest community still around. It was founded in September 2003, just a few months after the virtual world was officially opened. They've been pioneers in many ways, including the first line of furry avatars, and the founders and been around longer than practically all of the Lindens. Trotsdale is Second Life's best known and largest pony community, fans of the "My Little Pony" cartoon. The community's current sims came about in September 2011 shortly after the collapse of the original ones. Luskwood has celebrated its anniversary in October, and beginning last year Trotsdale began having it's anniversary at the same time.

LW14B/TD6B/DL5B Celebration
It's anniversary time!
Luskwood has been around 14 years!
Oldest community in Second Life.

Trotsdale is having its 6th anniversary and Derpyland their 5th as the oldest running Pony Sims.

On Saturday October 21, both communities had their anniversary events. Like last year, Trotsdale would go first. But instead of one hour of music, the ponies had four. Derpyland, one of the other pony sims, used to celebrate it's own anniversary up to it's fourth a year ago. But it was decided this year to combine their efforts and expand the Trotsdale event. At 12 Noon SL time, DJ Cassandra started up the music, and it was party time on a disco dance floor that a distance away was obscured a bit by a Halloweenish dark mist.

Contrary to what one might expect, there was little music from the cartoons. Instead there was trance, 80s rock, and other kinds of tunes. There was a 'sploder in the room. Unlike most around Second Life, no one had to contribute a Linden to it to be eligible for a prize, so it was a few free Linden dollars given out to several residents every time it went off about every ten minutes. There was no tip jar next to the DJ booth. If anyone wanted to pay a tip, it was suggested they instead put a few Lindens into the sim payment fund board nearby. Later in the Trotsdale events, there was a "Caption This" game in which people were invited to make up captions to various pictures.

There were a number of people I recognized. Some I knew from Luskwood, such as Death Berger, and the popular Michi Lumin. Michi wasn't in the black stovepipe hat with goggles and black pants with purple suspenders I had kept seeing her in, but a burgundy dress and her hair dyed a shade of burgundy as well. During the event, she would briefly change to a pony form which had a smaller version of the hat. One person I recognized from a year earlier at Luskwood was Tiger Kitchensink, or "Pumpkin Spice Soprano" as she calls herself now. Some neighbors of mine from the Sunweaver/Angel Estates, such as Skylark Lefavre, were also there.

At 1PM, Cassandra handed the DJ booth to DC (Death Berger) to play for an hour. At 2PM, DJ Crayzee spun the tunes until 3PM. Finally came DJ Cera, who played for the last scheduled hour. As Cera played her last tune, people began heading over to Luskwood for it's events. Once the hour was up, Skylark offered to DJ for those who remained behind, and the ponies were happy to let her play some music for a little while longer.

The Luskwood half of the celebrations that day, the LW14B, began at the Retroskunk Cafe, located in northern Tehama southeast of the Lusk sim, at 4PM SL time. Shannon O'Herlihy was the singer at this event at the open-air venue, which had some fallen autumn leaves on the wood deck, on which a mix of furs, ponies, and human avatars listened to. Mounted to the side was a poster of the event, the Luskwood symbol in grey in the middle of a triangle with some lines from a document of some kind, some words blacked out, and stamped "Classified" in onr corner. In this conspiracy/secrecy theme, some had taglines such as Michi's "Double Agent," and Shannon was refered to in one or two of Luskwood's announcements as "Agent 0014."

We're very lucky to once again have Shannon O'Herlihy performing for the Luskwood birthday celebration! Shannon will be onstage performing her gorgeous music at the RetroSkunk Cafe in Tehama (landmark included) from 4-5 PM SLT today, to be followed by Keeba Tammas at the Amphitheater at 5.

Shannon sang for a while, then at 5PM the people headed over to the Luskwood Amphitheater in Perry. This location would see the most of the celebration time, two hours. From 5 to 6PM, Keeba Tammas and her Tiny Maniacs played for the crowd. This live band of a human and several tinies got cheers from the crowd, "My face is hurting from smiling too hard.  I love this!" "~*~ W00T!! It's KEEBA! W00t! W00T! KEEEEEBAAAAA!!!~*~" Some of the tinies were in costume, including a ghost, skeleton, "rattle dose bones!", and vamp. Keeba herself was wearing a "Bride of Frankenstein" hairdoo and a bloodied dress.

When the act was over, they got off stage and the tinies did a "tiny riverdance," with the sounds of stepping feet. Someone wasn't so sure if the structure could take even their small feet, "I'm not sure this balcony can handle riverdancing." But after the footwork, there was something missing, "Ohoh morton, someone stole your blue suede shoe." "Look, they gone." "We hafta buy him sum new wuns."

Woot, we're playing at 6pm for Luskwood's 14th birthday, and Trotsdale's 6th!  It's a bit laggy due to all the folks but hope you can make it.

At 6PM, the live music duo Jaycatt Nico and Frogg Marlowe got on stage. But they weren't in their usual feline and amphibian avatars. Instead, they looked like shaggy monsters, Jaycat the pianist as a white creature, and Frogg the guitarist as a black one with a huge mouth that looked more like he was eating the guitar than playing it: Specimens E92 and E30. "I am doing things for SCENICE!" Jaycatt tried to explain. Frogg responds, "No, things are being done TO you for SCIENCE!" "They said I'd get a cookie," Jaycat stated as his reason for volunteering, "when the testing starts, I hopes there is no needles."

Keeba, who was still around and listening, exclaimed, "no one said there would be testing! I was told there would be no math!" Michi gave an uncharacteristically sinister laugh, "Just a little pin prick. Keeba. there'll be no more... aaaa-aa-aah." "You can't test on my band! NO ANIMAL TESTING!" But not all of the tinies were alarmed, "Wot awesome monster up dere." Despite their very different forms, Jaycatt and Frogg would go on to play the good music they're known for.

At 7PM, it was time for the last act of the celebration. The crowd headed to a "Restricted Area" somewhere in Perry. The place was a mock-up of the legendary "Area 51" government facility that the authorities continue to refuse to acknowledge whether it exists or not. Nearby was a flying saucer abducting a cow and a smaller building in which an alien was on an examination table. There were a few other aliens about, including one next to a "take me with you" sign wearing a tinfoil hat. And there were "No Trespassing" and "Photography Prohibited" signs which were ignored by the crowd.

Haley Maruti, the busty squirrelgirl DJ, spun the tunes for the event, next to an alien with his own DJ headphones, "Dig through the ditches and burn all the witches and eat a big bowl of Count Chocula!" The floor was packed, and occasionally a 'sploder like the one for the Trotsdale parties would rain down a few Lindens on a few partiers. There was also a bomb, presumably defused, hanging from the ceiling. Behind the DJ booth was a mounted shark's head, not something normally associated with a military facility.

Besides Michi, Liam Roark was there, but he was becoming less active due to sleepiness. Others I recognized included Hagalaz Nilsson, Fury Rosewood, Tengu Yamabushi, and Ardy Lay. Cynthia Farshore, a friend of the Newser, came by, "Just left another place that was steampunk having a 7th annual Halloween ball, and (it) had half the size of this. ... Glad I made it here to see this first hand, was really busy tonight, first DJed a club, then ran over to another to dance, then drop in here" People danced to the music, chatted about things like what happened to the Munsters, or looked at photos of Luskwood's early years on the back wall.

The event had no set ending time, but as it went on and on, people began heading to bed. Eventually, Halley had to hang up her headphones, "Gonna need to pass out soon, but goodness this was a fun time tonight." Michi kept up the music a little longer. But unlike some previous anniversary celebrations, she couldn't stay up past Midnight. Well before that time, she told everyone she had to log off, saying she had to make a trip tomorrow. And with the popular but tired skunkgirl gone, the crowd soon dwindled to a few. The party was pretty much over.

But for those who missed the event, don't fret too much. Luskwook is sure to have some goings-on at Halloween. And next year marks Luskwood's fifteenth anniversary  And Second Life's oldest community will have it's pride on the line to make their celebration grander than ever.

"Happy Birthday Luskwood!"

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Going About Burn2

By Gemma Cleanslate

Sunday, my first visit to Burn2 was to roam and see what was going on. The greeter at the gate looked festive in her outfit and dancing around gleefully. I picked up a bag of gifts from her back pack that I knew would be helpful for the week. My next trip was to wait for the bunny tour that took us over the sims for a wonderful view of the layout and all the marvelous builds.

Great start to seeing the vibrance and color of all the installations below and locating The Man and The Temple. At the drop off I skated over to the entrance again to pick up all the gifts left by creators and staff of the event. As a retired Ranger, greeter, host, Lamp Lighter and sort of builder-helper I knew many of the staff and was glad to see them around again.

I stopped to check out the Man of this year, built by Pygar Bu and Mariannne McCann. I then walked  down the road to the spectacular Temple, by Daark Gothly. The vibrance of the colors make it very fitting for the surrounding playa. I left some messages in the censer on the upper level. These messages will be read out across the playa when the Temple burns next week. 

I made my way over to the vehicle rezz area to check out the types of transport created by Department of Mutant Vehicles members involved in the Burn2. They are always cute and fun to ride especially when lag is at a minimum.  

I meandered across the sims on the ground admiring the work of the creators who worked there.  One build where I spent some time resting while I cammed around is  the lovely Wind-Song Orbs.There are 25 orbs suspended in the air in the center of large rocks that are the walls of the site.They are lead to chime , each with a unique sound,by a conductor located below where you can start the orbs playing in accordance with the direction and speed of the wind. It is a restful sound and fits so well with the desert around. 

I also stopped to talk with Leroy Horton who has a cute fun build with a riot of robots and color. He was dressed in his robot avatar to walk around the roadways. 

I checked in at the Ranger station to say hello to the two on duty Rangers, Jezzie and Radioactive  who were enjoying the quiet after the storm of the opening. I plan to spend some time visiting again to see the builds scattered across the regions and stop in at some  of the parties . There will be activities every day and here is the schedule. -

The entrance at Deep Hole is here and just follow the well marked road to the gate. This annual event is not to be missed!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, October 23, 2017

Burn2 Radical Ritual Gets Off To A Firey Start

By Klaus Bereznyak

Saturday at 10AM, the five sims of radical self expression that makes up this years main Burn2 festival opened to the public with the usual ceremony. As darkness fell on the baking dust of the playa, the lamplighters emerged like the sun at midnight to lead the procession. 

The event was hearteningly well attended, to the point where the Deep Hole sim was full at times. The lamplighters rode a truck, haltingly navigated iSkye Silverweb, passing significant landmarks, and followed by an array of burners on bicycles, on foot and in other random vehicles. The pomp and high jinx culminated in the 'blessing' of the Temple with lamplighter fire at 10:30am.
In the pervading atmosphere of anarchic fun, avs scooted around, test driving freebie vehicles, greeting strangers and exploring the builds from magnificent to homely. Burn2 fosters a "gift  economy" so any visitors would be well advised to take along a big sack in which to stuff freebies. 
 It felt like everyone was letting their hair down a bit after the huge amount of planning and building in recent weeks. When the lag got too much, I retired to Sojourner's Outpost, the camp I co-built with a friend, where we chilled, drank moonshine and entertained a couple of guests and some wandering visitors. 

Being a participant this year has given me an insight into the back-story of Burn2 festivals, which begins for builders with the pre-sale of plots back in July. Particular attention is given to ensuring that builds minimize lag in order to give a range of visitors the best experience possible. For instance, most of the textures used are limited to 512x512 pixels, particles are kept down and prim building is favored over mesh. Once building starts, creators move in on the playa and many put up tents and make sure their basic needs are supplied while building goes on. This is an enjoyable time, when it's possible to get something of the authentic feeling of  participating in a Burning Man festival. Of course, some builds go up very quickly at the last minute, and even during the opening there were a few random things the organizers had to see to, such as porta potties popping up in the middle of a roadway.
This year's theme of "Radical Ritual" has inspired a range of interpretations and exploded in a  wealth of 'temples' reflecting dimensions of spirituality and the mundane, and constructed with spades of the humor and creativity that tends to characterize Burn2. In kinship with the real-life Burn this year, builders were invited to consider "reinventing ritual in our post post-modern world - disregarding assertions of belief and focus on the immediate experience of play. Play can free us to envision truths of which we have no proof or warrant, and breaks down the distinction that divides belief from make-believe. Whole-hearted, creative play induces self-surrender to experience that is beyond the scope of reasoned thought.” 
This year's festival is spread across five sims and will probably take more than a single visit to explore fully. On the fourth sim, Alkali, building rules have been more relaxed and creators have had the opportunity to take their 'radical expression' a little further while ensuring that their fun doesn't interfere with anyone else's. In addition to the main stage, there's a second big stage for live events on this sim. 
Kicking off events at the main stage following the opening procession was the one-man-band Al Hofmann with his Burning Guitar, playing his laid-back style of jazz fusion. The Alkali stage was baptized at noon with the explosive beauty of Yman Juran and the ChangHigh Sisters' fireshow of light, life and love. Both sets of performers can be seen again during the week as part of the stuffed program of events running until Sunday 29 October and ending with the final Temple Burn at 5pm.
 It's going to be a blast. See you there!

Klaus Bereznyak

Monday, October 9, 2017

Le Six: A New Event For Designers, Photographers and Shoppers

By Klaus Bereznyak

"Le Six" is a new event connecting designers with photographers and shoppers on the wonderfully photogenic sim of Le Sixieme Sens. The event is a little unusual in that there is no rent or fee for designers, and there is a maximum price of 160L$ on any items offered.

Additionally, every month, there is a photo contest. Photographers are invited to create imagery using items from the current round of Le Six and shot at Le Sixieme Sens. They will need to join a group to get rezz rights. Between the 5th and 22nd of each month entrants can add their picture to the Flickr group, sit tight and hope for the best when the round is judged on the 26th.

The shopping area is on a platform high above the sim, formally laid out with stone vendors, hedges and statues, very much in keeping with the feel of  Le Sixieme Sens. In the October round I noticed a variety of offerings, all of a very high quality. Not surprisingly, clothing and accessories were in abundance, along with some seasonal decor, furniture, sculptures and art works. There was plenty here to give a photographer some ideas for a set piece.
From the platform, there was a teleport to the ground, so it would be possible to grab some stuff and go down straight away and shoot a roll of film.

Le Sixieme Sens boasts rustic and Tuscan themes, with lots of charming nooks to sit in, and atmospheric scenery - some rugged, some soft - carpeted with flowers and foliage. It is easy to spend a pleasant hour, just wandering and exploring.
Information about sponsors and participants, and instructions for the photo competition are available from the landing point at Le Six. Best of luck to all the designers and photographers - power to your pixels!

Klaus Bereznyak