30 August 2015

Naked (possibly nsfw)

There are things you can do in Second Life that you probably just can't do in real life, like stripping off your clothes and going sailing. And that's the sort of thing you can do at Naked, a group of nine adult sims comprising The Naked Rocks, Bare Naked Angels, Naked Bondage, The Naked Ocean, Naked Sailing, Naked Sea, The Naked Depths, Naked Edge, and the sim Naked itself, all connected into a giant square. In addition to the sailing, which is a major pastime among visitors, the sims feature several art galleries and many locations for intimacy.

Naked is owned by the trio of The Cat (Catredivivus), Devorax and Jessica Belmer; additionally a quartet of additional estate managers keeps an eye on the day-to-day health of the sims. One, my friend Io Bechir, talked with me (photo above — she's on the left) about the life of the sims: "Sailing is a huge part of this place thanks to Jess' work — it's become quite a unique little destination for casual naturist sailors. We also have some amazing art in the galleries here from Cat's personal collection. And, of course, Jessica's wonderful gallery on Naked Bondage. We think it's a very sweet and playful combination of art, sex, and sailing. We always have more experienced sailors willing to help newer folks — since we're not really a sailing-first estate, I think people feel more comfortable learning here."

Nakedness is required (and celebrated) throughout the sims with several exceptions: the main landing point (where one can learn more about Naked), all the art galleries (including Jessica's LHOOQ gallery, about which I wrote here), and the naked bondage area in the sky (a playful location for the more adventurous, photo immediately below). Although sex isn't per se what the sims are about — and not all visitors are there for sex, to be sure — there are plenty of opportunities for couples (and even groups) throughout the Naked sims, some private and some more public.

Several of the sailing sims are primarily water, with occasional buoys or lighthouses to mark boundaries, but those with land are beautifully designed and quite inviting. Visitors who enjoy sailing can rent a boat slip — there's about a month's wait as I write this. It's possible the Naked sims may change hands later this year, but "nothing's certain, yet," Jessica shared with me. "One way or another, they'll be around." Thanks to Froderick Massey, whom I met at the sims, for taking me out on his sailboat to tour (top image).

29 August 2015

The Art of Seduction

Now up at The Art of Seduction Gallery, owned by Sirenity Soon and Lelu Anatine, is a beautiful inaugural exhibition featuring works by Sisi Mortensen, Peace, Gunnar Cadeyrn, Strawberry Singh, Jammie Hill, Pink Sky, Lana Quicksand, . Kiki, Ayla Barzane, Mr. & Mrs. Munro, Charlie Namiboo, Kirin01 Resident, Jordan Giant, Bevie Oh, and Keely Mistwood. The exhibition opened on July 15 and was to close on August 15, and I had intended to write something about it prior to an August vacation — but as it's still on display, this is a quick post to suggest those with an interest in erotic photography pay a visit before it disappears.

28 August 2015

Impressions

Many Second Life residents are no doubt familiar with Inara Pey through her blog, Living in a Modemworld, which stands unrivaled as the leading news site on Second Life and related topics in virtual reality. But many may not be familiar with her fascination with the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and in particular his iconic design for Fallingwater, a home created for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh in a fairly remote section of southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1930s. She now shares that interest at Impressions: a personal view of Second Life on LEA6, which features a remarkably accurate model of the home (at least to my eyes, having spent enough time at the real life location to be struck by Inara's detailed work).

Explorers will really get a pretty good sense of what the real life Fallingwater is like, minus the fragrance of the wooded land around it. A couple visitors have seemed stumped as to where to enter the house: simply head up the walkway, turn left, and you'll see a little doorway near the antique car, and that leads into the living room, just as in the real thing. It's Inara's second attempt at recreating Fallingwater (and the guest house, which sits up the hill): "The first version I did was guesswork based on photos," she says. "Later, I found a set of floorplans for the main house and the outbuildings, and they sent me off on rebuilding in 2011/2012." Some minor adjustments have been made for avatar height (Wright's homes have some notoriously narrow and small spaces, particularly bathrooms and hallways) and camming issues. It's not a "modern" mesh build, but that's really besides the point, and Inara has reproduced as closely as she can the original Kaufmann furnishings, which are still in the real home.

But there's more to the Impressions project: throughout the interior and exterior of Fallingwater are photographs and videos by Inara taken on her many trips around the grid, and sculptures and photos by CioTToLiNa Xue, whose work Inara recently discovered. You'll be able to see the location and date of any photo by checking in edit — for example, on a bedroom balcony stand two photos from Checkmate taken in July 2014 and one photo of Cantrip de Savor taken in January 2015 — and videos are clearly labeled. CioTToLiNa's works are well incorporated around the house, including one, donna uomo abbracciati in mano, that overlooks the falls (photo below). Additionally, the wooded sections of the sim themselves are delightful, and wanderers will find secluded spots of refuge here and there. Impressions will remain open until September 30, and the Fallingwater reproduction isn't likely to be recreated again in Second Life, so this is a one-time chance to experience the remarkable space. To learn more, read Inara's own thoughts on the installation on her blog here.

27 August 2015

The Noble Summer Residence

Blossom Noble contacted me today to share that she and other members of the Noble family — famed for creating sims such as Noble Goes Dutch (about which I wrote here about a year ago) — will open their private home to visitors for the next week. Simply called The Noble Summer Residence, it's a charming island sim featuring a central dwelling, beaches and a smaller island off to the southwest, all beautifully picturesque.

"We wanted to give people an opportunity to see it before we change to something new," Blossom explained. "Not sure if the next project will be public, but it just might be." The residence will likely close to visitors at the end of the day next Friday, September 4.

26 August 2015

Farewell to Santaurio

When Jac and Romy Mornington opened their sim Santaurio back in April, 2014, it wasn't intended to be a long-term project. As sim designers, the couple loves to create new places, and their thinking was that the sim would change sometime in the fall. "It was supposed to be open for one summer," Romy told me today, "but people kept begging us to keep it open. So we thought, 'One more summer.'" In fact, after originally writing about Santaurio here, I posted last December that it would be closing to make way for a winter theme.

But now time really has run out: the sim will close in two weeks, as it's "time for a new project," says Romy. The lush tropical island will make way for something new, so it's last call to board the crashed plane along the water's edge and to explore the region's offerings. During this farewell period, the sim will be open to everyone, and visitors can also enjoy Jac and Romy's newer creation, Bella Pace, about which I've written here.

25 August 2015

...A Bit of Red...

Now open at MetaLES, organized by Ux Hax, Lanjran Choche and Romy Nayar, is ...A Bit of Red... by Kicca Igaly and Nessuno Myoo. A tribute to The Phantom of the Opera, authored in 1909/10 by Gaston Leroux and later popularized by a 1925 film starring Lon Chaney and the more recent musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the minimally illuminated installation stands aloft on a large platform of interlocking blocks.

Those familiar with the story will immediately recognize iconic elements spread here and there throughout the installation: the opera house with stage and seats for the audience, a cage, a wild looking pipe organ with the phantom's mask set on top, and so on. In the center, raised on a circular platform, stand the phantom and his unrequited love, Christine, the entire setting gently basked by devices suggestive of theatrical ghost lights.

Scattered paper notes, marked by roses, relay moments of the story to us as we wander. Descending beneath the platform are a couple of large tunnels (explorers might easily fall into them) that simply lead back toward the black sea underneath. But despite the clearly careful work by the artists, I found ...A Bit of Red... less compelling than the the several previous (and excellent) exhibitions at MetaLES or solo efforts by Nessuno. The installation will remain on display through October 21.

24 August 2015

Adieux, Forgotten City

I seem to be writing quite a few posts about places closing in recent weeks, and the trend continues with the news that Forgotten City, a magnificent sim that has long stood as one of Second Life's most architecturally beautiful locations, will close its doors in September. (See here for an old post I wrote in 2012.) Mandy Marseille, the city's owner, announced the impending closure in a post on SLUniverse that also provides some interesting historical background, and details how she and her colleagues have attempted to keep the sim afloat.

In addition to the striking and majestic columns and buildings that greet visitors on the city exterior (not to mention its delightful automated inhabitants), Forgotten City has a few hidden-away locations that ardent explorers will no doubt discover, such as the power generator, the winter park, and the playful JD Mechanical Toy Factory, featuring creations by Jenne Dibou, piloted in the sky by a grouping of zeppelins. A specific closing date hasn't been provided, but from the sound of Mandy's post the sim will close its doors sometime in late next month.

23 August 2015

Farewell to Molly Bloom's Gallery

Second Life artist Molly Bloom announced recently that she'll be closing her gallery on August 26th [Edit: now extended until August 29th], telling me, "I just think I took it as far as I could — I'm doing 3d modeling and PS now." All of the items on her two-floor space (about which I wrote here back in May) are for sale for L$200, and one piece, Melting Point ("chocolate and sex," as she describes it), is available for free. After the closing of the gallery, her works will be preserved in an OpenSim museum. "I would be very pleased to have as many pieces stay privately owned in SL as I can," she adds.

20 August 2015

Strings

Now open is Strings, a new creation from Cica Ghost. In the courtyard of an ancient villa, set amidst a surreal landscape, a band of musicians performs for onlookers and visitors. The band numbers five: two violins, a bass, a cello, and a piano, their music heard via the region's stream, all complemented by a number of stone cellos sprinkled around the landscape that offer single and couple dances. From the the windows and balconies overlooking the performers, other inhabitants look down, some with apparent criticism or disinterest, while others stand on the courtyard stones or surrounding earth.

It's possible to wander into the villa, and one will immediately discover that the beings there are giants to us ("all from the same planet," remarked Cica), and will see that the rooms are furnished with distinctively quirky decor — beds, rugs, draperies, bookcases, paintings and so on. Outside, past the bounds of the patio, one encounters an arid landscape of scrappy grass, bushes, bare trees and protruding stones, all surrounded by quiet waters. The region's windlight, shown here, is a custom one by Cica, and provides an optimal viewing experience.

07 August 2015

Sommergewitter

Sommergewitter, by Seraph und Nida Nirvana, lives up to its name, meaning summer thunderstorm in English, with rain pelting its visitors and bolts of lightning striking its sandy landscape. Explorers and photographers will no doubt enjoy wandering its three islands (bring an umbrella), which offer lovely sim-wide views across rolling hills.

Aside from the prominent lighthouse and several large houses situated near the water, the land is spotted with odd bits of debris and objects — beached boats, a bicycle, driftwood, fence posts, pianos, fish skeletons and other things. A few animals, especially sheep, roam about (narrowly missed by a lightning strike in the top image). Couples looking for places to relax with discover them here and there, inside and out — all the various buildings and spaces are open to the public. (Thanks to Anita Witt for posting a lovely image on flickr that caught my eye.)