Monday, April 25, 2016

Fantasy Faire 2016: Bright Haven

By Grey Lupindo

      The Fairylands are ablaze with shops, art, music and even a Quest, all in support of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  With 13 Fairylands and a wide variety of activities available, there’s a way for everyone to support and participate in this event. I had a difficult choice to make in deciding where to begin.  Finally I chose to start in Bright Haven (194/127/49).   

      Bright Haven is sponsored by Callie Cline’s KittyCatS!  I’ve been a longtime fan of these little cuties, and I love to shop.  There are 18 stores in Bright Haven-- perfect for me.
      I arrived in front of the signature KittyCatS! shop and went inside for a quick look at the kittens.  There’s a huge variety inside ranging from tiny kittens to a large, friendly tiger. There’s accessories and food, too.   I was greeted by Cinnamon Tortie, one of the customer support staff who was working that day.   She was friendly and helpful as we chatted about the Faire.   She told me that Callie Cline created some new items for the Faire, including the fairy cat statue, a multi-color flower scratching post, and a shoulder size kitty for the Quest.  Exclusive items, like the statue, will only be available during the Faire.

        After getting a couple of scratching post flowers, I hurried off to the other shops in the village.  I noticed a lot of visitors that morning, including Ąķį (aki.kira), Zane (julienbrimstone), Nacho (nacholibra), Mystik Blackhawk, and Piccione Verino.  One of them, daviid815, spoke to me as we walked along the cobbled street. “Any cool place you recommend me to go?” he asked, explaining that he was new to this exciting, huge world.  It was great to meet a new, friendly resident.  I gave him a few suggestions and watched as he hurried off to explore Bright Haven. 

           I made a quick stop in the KittyCats’ Creations, a tavern where I found some fun Gotcha’s and tasty treats.  The Seamstress Shop, found at Bright Haven (142,41,50), was one of my favorites.  Owned by Geryn Sloane, it featured lots of special items for the ladies.  The shop is charming and filled with bolts of cloth, a spinning wheel, looms, and even a sleeping kitty.  

             Even more lovely gowns could be found at Les Encantades, located across the street.  Many of them were only 250L, a great bargain for a great cause.   If you need furniture, there are stores selling it, too.  I saw dressers, tables, and even a chiminea for only $175L.   Mystic Sky, owned by Skyler John, has great outfits for both men and women.  Gifties, too!  At "Designs by Isaura” there were fairie dolls and Galactic Princess outfits.  Very stylish.

               The proceeds from Fantasy Faire are going to support the fight against cancer.  I spotted a notice that showed L$ 2,406,899 ($ 9,628 U.S. dollars) has already been raised as of April 23. It’s great to see the SL community coming together in such a creative way for such a great cause.  Fantasy Faire runs until May 1.  

Grey Lupindo

Monday, April 18, 2016

Scenes From Yuri's Night 2016

By Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday April 12 was "Yuri's Night," an international celebration among space fans to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961. Sometimes called the "world space party," there are small events around the world. Among them was one set up by the International Space Museum and the National Space Society's chapter in Second Life (more info can be read at the event's website -

 The party started at Noon SL time high above the Spaceport Bravo sim at (124/128/1601), with Arisia Vita playing "Russian-inspired piano selections." From 12:30 to 4PM was the "long party," with Eifachfilm Vacirca and Emileigh Starbrook DJed "An eclectic supersonic flight through space and time." I arrived a little after 3, one telling me, "It's thinned out some since the start, but we've had great music and discussions."

There were freebies available for those dropping in, "Be sure to grab the goodies from below the stage." The package contained a jumpsuit, pendant, helmet, a "I (heart) Yuri" t-shirt, a mug with a drinking animation, and a Russian dance animation.

Some people were enjoying them right at the scene.

"Oh, and for the curious, the bread and salt on the tables here is the traditional Russian symbol of hospitality. ... During Apollo-Soyuz, the Cosmonauts greeted the Astronauts with salt tablets and crackers! ... ts a big cultural thing in that part of the world." Someone made a joke about salt licks for deer, "explains a lot about the Russians, I think."

Someone had a cosmonaut suit from the first Yuri's Night celebration in Second Life.

And where there is space, there are aliens.

Asterion Coen gets a little "cubed."

A look at the dance area from a distance with the viewer at Midnight. It looked pretty "Far out."

At 4PM, the party moved to the Sagan Planetarium at Aspen (200/120/3730)

The Planetarium's designated dance area was set up in their Solar system display. Normally the music stream would be playing "the audio portion of the tour." This time it was playing music. For a few minutes, it would show the Sun and planets going around it.

Then it would switch to one at a time.

Clicking on the planet would show a cross-section view.

Above the planets, and the moons in orbit around them, there were some statistics displayed overhead.

This included Pluto, which since the discovery of certain bodies beyond it's orbit in the first years of the 21st Century has been reclassified as a "dwarf planet" and not a full one since 2006. Still a source of controversy among space nuts

There was a contest for the best science-fiction look, and there were a number.

 Among them, one guy in a saucer abducting a steer, "Eep! It's molesting a cow!" "Yay cow molestation!"

And yours truly got into the act: "Foxes in space."

At one point, someone rezzed a platoon of "Star Wars" stormtroopers. Oddly, one of them was pink, for reasons not given.

There was a "symphony of science-fiction mashups," from theme musics of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars," to "Doctor Who," "Star Blazers," Battlestar Galactica," "Mars Attacks," and more. Of the "Star Wars," someone joked, "Careful ... , this is technically Disney music now, and you know how lawsuit happy they can be about public performances."

There was also a triva contest, in which winners for a few Lindens for right answers. And there were a number of discussions about science-fiction and space science.

It was a fun time for sci-fi fans and space nuts alike.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hope Gardens 2016 Photography Exhibition: Part 2

By Bixyl Shuftan

I was invited over to the Hope Gardens Photogrpahy Exhibition by Catalina Staheli, the team captain of "A Stand for Hope."  Last Friday on April 8, was when I headed over. Getting there turned out to be easier than planned as when i brought up my Second Life viewer, it was the first location listed in the login screen's Destination Guide.

I dropped in near the entrance of the exhibition, and ran into Catalina, who happily greeted me, then explained, "Everything is slowly coming together. The dream us going to be realized, and everyone who has taken part and come seen (it) has said they are very happy." When I told her about the place being in the Destinations Guife, she was thrilled, "That's so wonderful! I applied, but wasn't sure it it would happen."

She offered me a tour, "To start with, this whole dream came about a year and a half ago when a friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He was in SL, but after his diagnosis, he didn't want anyone to know. (He) did not want to go to ACS Island, did not want to join a team or tell anyone. And that just ... always stuck with me ... that there might be people who didn't want anyone to know but who were facing this fight and doing so along. So the dream was to create a safe haven where people could come that wasn't quite as obvious as ACS Island, where my friend said that he didn't want to go because he felt like people would 'know.'" 

"And so the dream for this was to create somewhere people could come, whether at 3PM with all of their friends, or 2AM all alone ... and hear the stories of those who were going through their battles, or who had gone through the fight. And the idea of tying it in with photography was a way to give those who shared their stories a gift, a way to say thank you. So in exchange for their stories, they received the portraits last year. And last year it was only survivors that could take part."

"This year, we changed it a bit and opened it up to caregivers as well. And one thing that was said over and over again, as I spoke with these amazing people ... was how many of them shared that this was the hardest thing that they ever had to do, sharing their stories, writing them down and reliving those experiences. But many also shared with me that when they were originally diagnosed, they couldn't say the word 'cancer.' They couldn't tell anyone for quite awhile. And so, this was a place, I though ... you can come to and not have to say it just yet ... you can hear the stories without having to open up that painful conversation of 'I have cancer. Can you tell me what your journey was like?' "

I asked how many took part. Catalina told me, "Last year the goal was 20 participants. We ended up with 19, though sadly one of them, Riko Kamachi, passed away from brain cancer in February, and was gone before we were able to take her pictures or get her story. So instead, we collected the stories from everyone else, their memories of her and their times together. At first her friends thought they'd have to withdraw her from the exhibition, and I said, 'No, No, NO!' We will find a way. So people donated their pictures and memories, and she was there with us at the exhibition."

Second Life Newser wrote about a memorial to Riko in February. 

Catalina went on, "This year, we've got 25 participants, both survivors caregivers, and those who have walked both journeys, along with twenty amazing photographers helping me take the pictures. Both years, we've done a custom build, something that was made just for this event, perfect to celebrate and remember the stories and photography woven together, and Mel (Melodie Jigsaw) has been amazing in helping that happen. And like last year, this year due to a generous lady's donation, we're going to be able to keep the exhibition up the entire Relay season.

"And this year, we've added something new, which I am very excited about," Catalina told me, "Each tree and lamp post have affixed to them a plaque that people can claim to honor or remember someone special. It is my hope that as the season goes on, this whole avenue will feature many names, reasons, hopes, and more. We've called them 'Hope Plaques.' "

"And the other exciting new thing we have this year ... " Catalina paused her discussion when someone inquired about Nitroglobus, whom had passed away from cancer earlier this year. She soon continued, taking me, and Isa Messioptra whom had joined us, to a set of auction boards, "The other new addition this year is that each photographer has agreed to do a donation to auction something, whether photo sessions, or portraits. As well as others have donated some amazing gifts. She listed the people and groups/publications on the boards, which included Wildstar Beaumont, whom offered, "fifty landscape portraits of the winning bidder's choice," and she herself offered a portfolio package of ten single portraits." 

"It's an incredible list, and I'm very very excited to see how everything does," Catalina grinned, "This was changed from last year. Last year, we asked people to sponsor a participant with a 10,000 L donation. This year, we're doing the auctions instead. Each photographer has done such an amazing job. It's mind-blowing to see the different interpretations and perspectives on things. And like last year, this year's exhibition is biased off a song. As you look around, you'll see lyrics up on the walls to the song 'Hope Can Change Everything.' It is what started the inspiration for everything."

"We all did it together," Catalina grinned, "This would never have been possible alone. And Mel has gone through and done this navmesh model to make it as lag free as we can, and deleting scripts as much as we can. We've said come on over at 11. The unveiling is going to be at noon. I am sure it will be a success. And we've got Blake Hambleton to open the exhibit for us (big grin). What's really great is Renee, as well as about four others, are all re turning participants from last year." Isa commented, "I know Renee is happy to be a part of it. So one of the wonderful things is that people will be able to see their stories progress and how the last year's journey has been."

It was about this point we heard, "BIXYL! CAT!" Catalina looked over and grinned, "And there's Mel." We were quickly joined by Melodie Jigsaw, "I loves landing on Cat's head (smile)." A few words were exchanged between the three women, then Catalina told Melodie, "I'm going to steal Isa away for a moment. Going to check her pictures (big grin). Melodie giggled, "Once things rezz, I have a few details to deal with." She then asked me if I had a chance to look around. Telling her I'd been chatting with Catalina since arriving, she commented with a smile, "(the) Destination Guide will be both a blessing and a curse. ... hard to keep things a surprise! The big picture reveal (smile). (But the) traffic is good! (We) might get some new folks interested in Relay For Life, the more the merrier!"

"Good thing we were mostly ready," Melodie told me with a smile. I asked her what wasn't, and she answered with a laugh, "We're missing Cat's pics, and a story or two (laughter). It was 5AM opening day before she was done last year; too early to panic yet (smile)." Asking her how long the event lasted, she answered, "It starts at 11 on Saturday (April 9) -  and we have DJs all day - all weekend - and throughout the week. It ends Sunday at 6 I think with the auctions ending. But double check all that with Cat. ... I'm just the sidekick (grin)."

"We're really proud of everyone participating this year," Melodie told me, "all the survivors AND caregivers ... and all the photographers. It's added a new level of emotion to have had different photographers interpreting the survivors and caregivers stories. And we're wondering how the hell we're gonna beat this next year! (laughter) But you know Cat - she dreams big! (grin) Fun to try to bring her dreams to life." She looked around, "This wasn't what either of us had in our hears - but it just grew and turned into a nice set up. I hope everyone likes it, but - don't tell - I get lost in there (laughter)." She joked she was good at walking in circles.

Melodie then bade farewell, "Okay, I'm off! Have a great night, Bix. Thanks for coming by!" I then began looking around. There were a number of artworks, some sculptures, but what caught my eye were the portraits. Clicking on them gave me a notecard of the story of the person pictured. If you're a regular at Relay like myself, you may find that behind the happy little sugar glider, behind the girl in the rubber suit, and behind a number of other men and women, there are tales that may add a new layer of detail to the avatars you thought you knew.

Saint Kitts Isle (138, 56, 21)

Krysta Ember did this video of the exhibition, (Click here if the video fails to play)

To check out Gemma Cleanslate's article, Click here.

Bixyl Shuftan