31 March 2010

Sistine Chapel Re-Creation

We all know of the magnificent Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 to 1512, but if you're like me you may not have seen images other than in books—I've never visited the Sistine Chapel in real life. It was a delight therefore to discover that Vassar College's Stan Frangible (whose human is named Steve Taylor) has re-created the chapel in Second Life in astonishing detail, using exact dimensions and reproducing every piece of artwork. The chapel is much smaller and more intimate than I had somehow anticipated, and seeing the artwork as a whole is a completely different experience than leafing through the glossy pages of an art book.

Along the lower walls of the chapel are some blank spaces, but if you click on them they spring to life with tapestries by Raphael, commissioned in 1515. Unfortunately in real life the originals were destroyed in the Sack of Rome in 1527, but a duplicate set (made at the same time as the originals) was re-hung a few years ago. So here you have the option of seeing them or not, as you please. (They're showing in the top photo here—click on the photos to zoom in.) Not all of the artwork in the Sistine Chapel is by Michelangelo and Raphael—visit and you will also see works by Bernini, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and others. (If you go into edit and click on the paintings, most will tell you the name of the artist and the name of the work.) To explore the Sistine Chapel Re-Creation in Second Life, click here.

My outfit in these images is the Monocrom top and bottom from Sweetest Good-bye and Pinto boots from INDI Designs.

27 March 2010


Embryo is a lovely sim created by siestabril Nitely (whose shop on the sim is called un Jour) and ruki Ragu (whose shop is called rucott). The vistas are captivating in this "flooded" sim—you'll end up walking through lots of water—the perfect place to play around with windlight settings (these photos are in sunset-pevensie). A phantom ladder reaches up into the clouds—make sure you fly up to see what awaits at the top! An elegant use of transparent floral textures, particles and chairs (something of a motif here) provides a great atmosphere. un Jour sells some beautiful ladies clothes and accessories, while rucott, located on the opposite corner of the sim, offers everything from pre-fab houses to a windmill. Embryo is also enhanced with its own website.

My outfit in these photos is the new Corset Leather Girl Black by Babele Fashion.

26 March 2010


Every once in a while, someone creates something so amazing, so breathtaking, that you just have to be there to marvel at its beauty. This time it's the new installation by my friend Sextan Shepherd (pictured just below), a fantastical underwater steampunk world called Nemo. Although it's now open, it's still a work in progress. Nemo has become an instant hit with Second Life residents ... the place is always swarming with new and old people alike. When I first discovered Sextan's work—he has a shop that sells stunning steampunk clocks and celestial gadgets—I was so floored that I sent him this: "hi sextan ... excuse the IM out of the blue ... but ... your work is GORGEOUS!" He revealed to me then his plans for Nemo, so I got at least sneak preview sense of what was to come.

What these photos don't capture is that things in Nemo move, and they move a lot ... lights zap across the ceiling, sparks fly, gears turn, robotic parts rotate ... it gives you the sense that you've descended into the laboratory of a mad genius, strewn with plans and diagrams, mysterious mechanisms and half-built experiments. The textures are astonishing—this is certain to become one of the most photographed places in Second Life. When you go, make sure you don't miss the chance to visit Sextan's store, SXS Design, where you can actually buy a lot of his amazing work!

My outfit in these photos is (appropriately!) the Steampunk Apocalypse ensemble from League.

25 March 2010

Babele's New Majakowsky Mini and Dirty Denim

Babele Fashion's designer Pinco Janus rolled out two new designs today, adding to her great "leather girl" series with the Majakowsky miniskirted outfit, above, and her capri series with the Dirty Denim Girl, shown below. The Majakowsky is splashed with images of the early 20th century Russian poet and playwright who became known as a founding figure in the Futurist movement. The skirt, which comes in both an Xcite! compatible version and tamer PG variety, has a built-in resize script, as do the tall boots. As for the Dirty Denim outfit ... are those bloodstains? Sort of hard to tell, but they don't look like they're going to come out in the wash! The top comes in both jacket and shirt layers, and I love the jeans and lace combination on the pants. Matching denim shoes are included.

23 March 2010

Lauk's Nest

I blogged about Svarga a few days ago, and it seems I should also mention Lauk's Nest, another creation by Laukosargas Svarog. While Svarga was intended to be a public space, Lauk's Nest was her home, built in the style of an ancient Mayan ruin—a smaller area (not an entire sim) overlooking waterways and reaching out to the northern sim of Orwood, where I gather Laukosargas's creation Orwood Castle once stood. But unlike Svarga, Lauk's Nest has changed hands many times, and the original Mayan ruins are now buried under a sea of modern muck, some added with the best of intentions. A new owner, Eliana Zaytsev, now runs Lauk's Nest, and she's not only keenly aware of the region's historic importance, but also wants to move forward carefully with any changes. I suggested to her that she could even conduct something of an archaeological dig, clearing away the debris of the past few years!

Still, Lauk's Nest is certainly worth a visit—a glimpse into old Second Life. It's fun to explore—find the hippo, walk the wood and rope stairs traversing down the side of the mountain, investigate the ruins, and be sure to find the instruments up in the tree on the platform, and above that Lauk's old home. (My avatar below is wrapped in another creation by alpha.tribe, blogged about just before this post.)

21 March 2010


A couple days ago, I read an entry on Momos Blog (a great blog authored by Miefmupfel Willis) showing a very cool avatar design. I'm always a sucker for unusual stuff like this, and the design looked striking, so I headed over to the store, alpha.tribe, and it was all I could do not to purchase everything in the shop! These avatars are gorgeous works of art, wrought with beauty and style. Each is a complete outfit, with skin, clothes and attachments, and many include both female and male versions. The one above (photo taken at AM Radio's Superdyne area at IDIA) is called La Belle Epoque.

And here, above, is Metal Runes, the attachments of which whip around like crazy, casting themselves about as if I'm some sort of medusa. These images really don't convey the beauty of these outfits, but click to see them larger. (Here again, the image was taken at an AM Radio creation ... Into the Sky.) And just now I'm returning to the alpha.tribe shop to buy some more of these ultra cool things! (Below, thrown in for good measure, is AM working on a new car, and exercising great patience while I prod him with questions!)

19 March 2010

Svarga Returns

Long ago, before there were flexiprims, before there were sculpties, there was created a magical sim called Svarga. Built by Laukosargas Svarog in 2006, it was a breathtaking inspiration that quickly became one of Second Life's most visited destinations. I remember taking new residents to Svarga many times, hopping on one of the vehicles that provided a guided, narrated tour (in multiple languages), taking the Laukosaucer to the AmbiPod, a fantastic environment with particles galore, and visiting the WhisperBox, an interactive sound installation. Svarga even featured a dynamic ecosystem that grew on its own.

Sadly, Svarga closed, although it was still visible on the map. Just a couple weeks ago, it happily re-opened, and it's a thrill to see this great place once again. It's not quite as it was, as many things are now gone, sadly. The guided tours, the ambipod, the cloud chamber, and other highlights have disappeared. In some ways, Svarga is but a whisper of what it once was, but it's still worth a nostalgic visit. (And no, the trees don't sway in the breeze here -- remember, this was pre-flexiprims!) There is talk of working to restore Svarga to its complete old state -- we can hope and see.

Update on 26 March 2010: I'm happy to say that thanks to Blaise Timtam the tours are back! Hop on a wasp when you arrive to get a fly-through and learn about Svargan history.