09 December 2010

Venturing Out

I'll be the first to admit that I often revisit the same places in Second Life over and over, even though I do try to make a point of seeing something new once in a while. And I'm over-reliant on event notices from groups to which I belong. So I decided today to fearlessly strike out to see what else is happening around the grid, and the very first spot I happened to pick—Builder's Brewery—gave me a real "palms-to-face" experience, as I wondered how I could have ever not known of its existence. I've recently discovered the joys of building (thanks in large part to Sextan Shepherd and Nemo, although I'm far from having anything like Sextan's technical proficiency!), and Builder's Brewery is just the place for me: "Our goals are to help improve the visual and structural quality of SL, by encouraging intelligent builds, textures and innovations, thru education, sharing and support."

One of the cool things about Builder's Brewery are the events—lots of free classes, and I certainly plan to attend some this weekend. Here are a few that caught my eye—these are all free:
Thursday, December 9th (today):
   Scripting a fireplace, 1 pm, Auryn Beorn
   Texture Change via Menu, 3 pm, Auryn Beorn
Friday, December 10th:
   Bonsai Tree, 12:30 am, Zophya Galaxy
   Intro to Rokuro, 5:30 pm, Gramma Fiddlesticks
Saturday, December 11:
   Basic Roofs, 5:30 am, Jayden Firehawk
Sunday, December 12:
   Complex Roofs, 5:30 am, Jayden Firehawk
   Blender: Mirror Modifier, 4 pm, Eleanora Newell

I see other classes from earlier in the week that I'm sure will be repeated—Easy Spiral Stairs, Scripting for Beginners, Seamless Textures and more. So stop by and enrich your mind and skills!

Not into building? If you're the literary type, venture over to Circe's Sanctuary at Laurel Arts Isle, owned by Circe Broom-Merricks, for some live poetry on Saturday at 11. DonJuan Writer, whose first name is a reference to Carlos Castaneda's mentor Don Juan Matus, will read some of his works—he's been writing poetry for a number of years and has been a featured poet/performer throughout SL.

Of course, the biggest bunch of events this weekend—starting tomorrow and running and throughout next week—is Winterfest, a cornucopia of music, winter sports and silliness. Be sure to bring your mittens! I'm most looking forward to the Linden-Resident snowball fights on December 16th at 4 pm and December 17th at 8 am (Chamonix City's Kerry Gretzky tells me that Torley Linden promises to be at snowball fight #1), but between now and then don't miss the Hockey All-Star Game, which starts at 3 pm on Sunday, December 12th (also viewable on Treet TV if you prefer), and lots of other stuff from a Snowman Building Contest to Snow Maze Races! See the Winterfest blog post by Delby Linden for more info.

04 December 2010

Virtual Museums Incorporated

I had been meaning for some time (this always happens...) to blog about the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, an extraordinary museum located in Second Life, licensed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to display the architect's works, supplemented with displays about his life, his philosophy, and a modest shop. As someone who works in and around the museum world in real life, I wasn't expecting much when I first set foot here a couple months ago, but I was not only surprised by the elegance and care of the installation—how beautifully done!—but also the dedication and sense of mission projected by the staff, who were clearly knowledgable, engaged and moving forward. The virtual museum had created replicas of several of Wright's best known works, including Fallingwater, which in real life is located in southwestern Pennsylvania. I've not seen the "real" Fallingwater, but I have to admit my breath was quite taken away when I saw the virtual one. "This is why people are so amazed by it!" I thought to myself as I cammed around, admiring the water and the flow of the architecture. (It made me want to get in a car and drive to see the real thing!) Also at the museum are thoughtfully executed installations on Wright's work and life.

Sadly, all this has come to naught, as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which had previously granted a license to the SL museum, has now, because of stupidity, short-sightedness or greed (or maybe a combination of all three) sent a cease and desist letter, revoking all rights to Wright's work. So the virtual museum will close at 6 pm SLT on December 5th, a great loss to scholars and students of architecture and anyone who loves Wright's work. (I'm fortunate to know a couple members of the Wright family, and although I haven't talked with them about this I can't imagine they would want to see this remarkable virtual museum close its doors.) Remarkably, my friend Ethan Westland, the chairman of the virtual museum, says with optimism, "There are always possibilities...We will rebuild the campus as something new...The outpouring from the virtual world has energized us all." More power to you, Ethan. And shame on you, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation!