Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Burn2 Ending: Crystal Lotus Temple Burn

On Sunday night October 24th, Burn2 was winding down as this was it’s last day of events. But the crowds were still present, attending music events, and of course seeing the exhibits. And as 8 PM SL time approached, people began gathering in the two northern sims, Burning Man-Bordello1 and Burning Man-Rabbit Hole. It was almost time for one of the closing events, the burning of the Lotus Temple which was located on the border of the two areas.

As people gathered, those trying to get into Bordello1 were unable to, and found themselves waiting at the edge. Eventually, the resident limit was raised, and more were allowed in. Even though almost all the avatars were human shaped, there was still a great variety among them, some dressed like your regular man on the street, others were in white and/or had white turbans, others painted blue, and more. A number of them were playing bongo drums.

Finally the hour arrived, and the blue structure went up in flames. Then something happened. The eastern half of the temple seemed to vanish. But the crowd continued to watch enthralled as the remaining half burned. After some moments, the missing half reappeared. Then the temple began to disintegrate, the pieces breaking off and falling down. But instead of evenly falling down, the half which had briefly vanished lasted longer as the half which remained began to crumble.

The event seemed slightly surreal, with the lamplighters and others either painted blue or dressed in exotic garb playing the bongo drums to the burning and the fire, it seemed almost like some ancient tribal ritual. Others were twirling around sticks of fire. Everywhere, there was the excitement of the event.

One of the Burners came to me to talk, “Wizzy (Wizard Gynoid) is as close to a genius as I’ve found. Wizzy built this at my place. ...well, it’s hard to find a sandbox where you can rezz 700 prims ... and leave it up (laugh). I put up a platform at 3800 and she and Nur spent a week up there.”

Among the celebratory atmosphere, a couple people expressed a bit of sadness that Linden Labs had withdrawn their support of the event. But they were a small minority in this festive crowd as the remains of the temple burned and vanished. The parting words of one Burner, “... it’s light shines on us all. Time to go Aloha. Keep the burn in your soul. Farewell Burners. Keep the fire within.”

And so, this mega-event of Second Life officially came to a close, at least it did hours later with the last burn at 4AM SL time. Although there are no more events, the structures will remain up for the rest of the week. This includes the Lotus Temple, which was resurrected for those who missed the celebration.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, October 25, 2010

SpUnKy’s Trick or Treat Fundraiser Festival

For twelve hours at Southern Colorado’s Enchanted forest on Saturday October 23rd, people danced away while DJs and live musicians did their music. All for the cause of helping a cancer survivor, SpUnKy Young.

The earlier press release had this to say about SpUnKy: “She's one of those rare people who is willing to go the extra mile for others, with little regard to whether such effort is good for herself. She is a Cancer Survivor who works hard to make each day count. Her medical condition has long kept her housebound. Second Life is the lifeline that has allowed her a measure of Freedom and Normalcy.”

Unfortunately for SpUnKy, her laptop had failed beyond repair, and with her other expenses she had no money for another. And so three Relay for Life teams got together, the Relay Wizards, the Relay Rockers, and the Passionate Redheads, along with T-1 Radio and the Kingdom of Avalon to organize a fundraiser event. A number of DJs and live musicians, as well as one comedian, volunteered to be part of the event. Bernice Kappler donated a box of Halloween gestures, all sales going to the charity. Marilynn Whitfield donated some profile picture services.

And at 10 AM SL time on the 23rd, the event began with DJ Monette Gaea spinning her tunes to the audience, while Daaneth Kivioq greeted arrivals, “Welcome Everyone to Trick or Treat for SpUnKy! The Intan stands have couples dances, and there is a solo dance ball above the stage to the right. The Jack-O-Lanterns scattered around are the donation kiosks, and there are boxes of Halloween Gestures for sale. All proceeds go to help SpUnKy Young, A cancer survivor, who has given so much of herself. So it's time to give back - and give SpUnKy a Treat! THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!!”

The audience themselves were part of the entertainment, many sporting Halloween looks from ghosts, to bats, to spiders, to a boned merzombie, and many more. All in the clearing of a dark spooky woods with the kiosk pumpkins scattered around. There were a few seats for those who didn’t want to dance, as well as a falling leaf globe.

As time went on, other performers appeared. At 1 PM SL time, Allesandra Eberlain sang for everyone with her soft velvet voice. At 2 PM was Phemie Alcott, whom brought a few of her fans with her, who contributed to the growing pot. At 1:19, it was over 80,000 L. By 9:30, they had broke 200,000 L. More performers arrived, at 8PM SL time a break in the music came with the arrival of Comedian/Comedienne Lauren Weyland, the female avatar with a male voice noted for his/her comedy routine, which occasionally got a tad off-color. Ay 9 PM, the music resumed with the last performer, FunkyFreddy Republic and his guitar.

As the event came to a close, so did last-minute donations. Daaneth Kivioq announced, “... we raised over $1,350 US Dollars total - over 350,000L!!” This well surpassed their goal of 250,000 L. One of FunkyFreddy’s friends commented, “(We) must have conjured up some good angels for this one, Fred.” A friend of SpUnKy spoke in her behalf, “I'd like to thank all the artists who performed, Woody, Sabine, Daaneth, Trader1 and T1 Radio, for your help and participation! and thank all of you for your donations!”

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feel the Burn!

Burn2 offered a lot to see over six sims, both at day,

and at night

The event attracted a number of musicians, such as Debi Late in the red dress. Pooky Amsterdam was there as well.

There was no end to the oddity of the exhibits.

And even the President dropped by ... sort of.

Just a few scenes from Burn2.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, October 18, 2010

Scary-Cute Halloween

On October 16 about a dozen residents and friends of Syzygy met for a Hallowe'en Party hosted by Pipsqueak Fiddlesticks and Elric Anatine. The theme of the party was "Scary Cute Hallowe’en", and our hosts picked two of the best SL spots to fit that description: Lunamaruna and Spookyville.

The party started at Hallowe'en Cake!, located at Cake, Cake (115, 106, 22). From there the group started with "Cute Halloween" by first visiting Lunamaruna, located at project Z Lennox Hill (60, 143, 23).

SL resident and artist Scottius Polke created Lunamaruna. It is a unique blend of art, fun, and fantasy set in an imaginative village. When you arrive at Lennox Hill, there is a shuttle waiting to take you to Lunamaruna. Hop in! You'll be zipped to the landing pad for Lunamaruna. From there, run down the ramp into the village. Flying manatees, giant trampolines, and hand-drawn textures are part of the fun you’ll find here.

Next it was time for the scary. We zipped over to Spookyville, located at Spookyville, SeaChel Barkadeer (146, 148, 26). Chely Lock created Spookyville. It is the best of Hallowe’en—fun, scary and loaded with both tricks and treats.

From the moment you arrive at Spookyville, you’ll find eerie sounds, flying ghosts, and an eye-ball greeter. Walk through the mist to get to the Dead and Breakfast Inn. Stay at your own risk here. This is a huge haunted house with lots of rooms and things to check out.

When you’ve seen the Inn, cross the bridge to reach the haunted brothel. Watch out for spider webs. When you reach it, you’ll find another large haunted house--3-stories of scary. On the porch there's a gift for you, if you dare. Inside the house, be sure to check out the kitchen. Click open the oven and fridge! Treat yourself to a candy apple, too. There are lots of surprises here.

On the second floor is a sign dedicating a corner of the build to USF Hyde, a musician and friend. Also from the second floor you can step out onto the balcony to see the graveyard below. This is a great spot to take a picture or two, but make sure you walk around the graveyard as well. There are lots of tricks and spooky things awaiting you here.

The Spookyville note card encourages you to click on graves or beds or cobwebs—everything really--to see what they might do. It also says there is a skeleton that you can shoot by getting a free pumpkin gun out of the freebie box located beside him. I didn’t find the skeleton, so I may have to go back.

In addition to the sites I’ve described, check out Little Island, the Haunted Orphanage, and more. Ladders are located in dead tree stumps to teleport you to the other haunted houses and locations. Lock says her sim is always under construction because she likes to add and change things. So one trip may not be enough to see all the fun here.

Both Lunamaruna and Spookyville are open through October.

Grey Lupindo

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peter Greenaway Speaks at 48Hour Film Project Machinima 2010

Not long ago, I had a chat with Chantal Harvey. She talked about the 48 Hour Film Project Machinima 2010 event which had taken place recently. Most notably, she talked about a speech given in Second Life given by noted British Film director Peter Greenaway, held at the opening of the event, on Sept 23, 2010.

Greenaway opened his speech, "I just think I need to express my enthusiasm for what essentially is a new medium.” He noted machinima had been around for 12-14 years, and felt it had enormous potential in the future. But of the entries for the 48HFP, “I have to confess that I am somewhat disappointed.“ He called the majority of them as basically of what’’s been done before, “a broach ... of conventionality pushing ... machinima into backwaters that we’ve all seen.”

He called the arrival of machinima, “relative in a curious way to what I believe is the demise of cinema ... cinema is dead.” He felt after about 115 years, cinema had covered about every area and theme that it could. The movies, he felt, had been made for the masses, and was in decline as they moved on to other forms of entertainment, “cinema (was) created as a cheap form of entertainment for the proletariat. ... Where is the proletariat now?”

He noted the basic model for making cinema was the “Hollywood way,” in which it all began with a script, a text-based medium, “in a way, none of us have seen a film.” But movies were not simply fading away, but being replaced by something better, “I don’t think there’s any great reason to cry tears over the disappearance ... although we’re no longer in the age of cinema, we are in the age of the screen. ... What’s ahead of us is a thousand times far more exciting than what has been by.”

He talked about cinema being a descendant of the theater in ancient times, which changed to theatric displays in the Medieval Era. Then opera came to be, and then cinema. Television came to be in the middle of the 20th Century, but was not truly a replacement for movies, calling TV “present tense” and cinema “past tense.”

“Second Life has helped create a new arena, a new playground, a new examination of ways and means of how we can express ourselves in the world. But I suppose every medium ... is going to copy and ape what has just gone by.” Once again, he felt more originality was needed in machinima, feeling the producers needed to “break out of all those patterns of behavior.”

“I’m trained as a painter. I’m going to be provocative and say that most people are visually illiterate. ... the image always has the last word. ... I’m hoping and looking, and can see the potentiality of machinima to create a brand new and essentially visual phenomena .... don’t keep going back to the goddamed bookshop. Cinema knows it’s weak ... because it always goes back to the bookshop. Let’s find a wa y to break that reliance ... on text-text text. ... We’ve had about 8000 years of the textmasters. They govern the way we think, they’ve written our holy books. They’ve been very powerful because once upon a time, not that many of us were literate. So upon the top of the pyramid they sat.”

Greenaway talked about a “Second Guttenburg Revolution” of the Information Age, saying,”the textmasters have got to move over now for the imagemasters.“ He called motion pictures too text-based, “I’ve always complained that cinema is a hybrid media that can be deconstructed... a combination of theater, literature, and painting.“

Of the 48 hour time limit in the 48 HFP, “I feel ... that one of the greatest negativities in this is you have to make one of these things in a limited goddamed amount of time. That’s not the way artists work. ... But I understand these are the circumstances.” He commented that very few artists truly finish anything, although they certainly stop.

Of Second Life, he called it a place where people could be “building without gravity,” where “everybody can live in happy hour whenever they like,” and “the ability to handle huge rains. ... let’s not imitate the characteristics ... of technologies just gone by.”

After about twenty-five minutes, he was willing to answer questions, or statements, from the audience, “I really enjoy a fight, so if anyone wants to make a response, I’m here to be responded to.” Talking to one, he called one of the most notable recent developments in media was the invention of You-Tube, saying it eliminated the middleman between artist and viewer. Someone asked about getting around You-Tube’s 10 minute limit. Greenaway answered movies didn’t necessarily have to be 120 minutes. Of trends in motion pictures, he noted a study in Holland which concluded the average person was only going to the cinema about once every couple years.

After about 35 minutes, Greenaway began his conclusion, “I think I’ve bored you long enough,” and inspired the crowd to break new ground, “let's put new wine in new bottles.”

All the films of the 48 Hour Film Project Machinima Event had to have a journalist character named Jack/Jackie Schmidt, have water as a prop, and somewhere the line of dialogue, “There is one thing I can do that you can’t.” The winner was “The Lake” by Stone Falcon Productions. The runner-up was “Nihilist” by Grey Matter Films.

Video from Chantal Harvey
Chantal Harvey's Blog

Bixyl Shuftan