28 February 2015


"An art gallery was the very first thing I created in SL back in 2006," shared Max Butoh, well known as the owner of The Chamber, "and I always wanted to have one somewhere." That somewhere is now the sim Floris, home to The Chamber, and the gallery is dathúil — meaning, in Irish, colorful or beautiful. It's an old distillery, with great copper whiskey stills and barrels at the ready, and lots of room for artwork. And, given that it's a distillery, it's launching appropriately and in grand style with an exhibition — Recently — of new artworks by Whiskey Monday, none of which have been displayed before inworld. The show opens tomorrow, Sunday, March 1, at 9 am slt, with an opening reception at 4 pm slt.

Always personal, always fascinating, often humorous, and often disturbing, Whiskey's artworks are composed images that place her avatar in various situations, often fraught with struggle, and we can't help but sense her fragility or dilemma. "It's absolutely self therapy," she explained as we chatted about the show and her creations. The images are "a way of telling bits of my story, but kinda twice removed, so it's easier. I stopped sharing my writing, as it started to feel so strange — too intimate, and people 'knew' me, even when I didn't know them. And that became intimidating. But I still had this urge to tell my story, trite as that sounds, so the photos are another way to do that."

It was only years after Whiskey's arrival in Second Life that she began to experiment with photography — "not until I got a good computer, and started messing around with creating my tweets as photos. It was Botgirl Questi who inspired me. She has inspired me so much. Our constant talks about identity and creativity. She really pushed me to express myself in new ways." All of the works in the exhibition are for sale (with a couple of fun freebies at the entrance). Recently will remain on display through the month of March, and will then make way for dathúil's second exhibition, featuring works by Yannick Whoa (lottomann) for the month of April.

25 February 2015

Purple Crayons

If you've never visited Purple Crayons, designed by Rwah, don't delay: the sim, along with her other region, Square pegs in round holes (read here), will close on March 5. It's a place with multiple personalities: we enter on a gritty urban street, with litter blowing in the wind — but as we walk the length of it, reach the end and turn the corner, we suddenly step out onto a pristine beach, protected by a lighthouse encircled by swooping birds. And inland is a richly forested area.

Purple Crayons is home to a collection of art galleries — some located on a second city street overlooking the first — featuring works by Rwah (including many not on her flickr stream), Thorn Arisen, Peep Sideshow and Yann Whoa. You'll also discover, tucked away in the woods, several homes and buildings, fully furnished. Rezzing is permitted for thirty minutes. And, although the sim is closing, contributions are welcome and may be left at the landing point.

23 February 2015

Tillicum Islands

Now open for your exploratory enjoyment is Tillicum Islands (Fanatico South), beautifully designed by Tinker Drew (Leyna) and owned by her partner, Scott Yedmore. It's a full sim, providing extensive opportunities for landscaping, and features a rocky, forested inland area, beaches toward the west, an aging lighthouse, and a deep ravine dividing the two islands. If you're observant, you'll discover a cave system that winds through the bedrock toward the north. Houses and buildings peppered throughout the landscape feature gracefully composed interiors.

"We love seeing things through other's eyes," Tinker told me as we discussed how the sim would become a haven for photographers. "That was the whole reason for the sim redesign. We love landscaping and photography, and feel such huge appreciation for those who share their spaces with others, so Scott and and I decided we could do that here as well. That...and beauty for beauty's sake." Tinker is still fine-tuning the sim, but it's essentially complete. You're welcome to roam about the entire area with the exception of a private home located in the southeast corner.

22 February 2015

Heart Reef Park Revisited

About a year ago, I wrote about a short-lived sim created by kenny Humby, and I'm delighted to report that as of today it has been rebuilt: Heart Reef Park, a playful interpretation of Santorini and Mykonos. It's a colorful island filled with whimsy and delight, with rows of little shops and houses, and occupants in various poses or pastimes. You won't spot any mesh here: kenny even uses two dimensional photographs throughout, and to fun effect, such as the snoozing grocer in the image below (click to zoom in). Experimenting with windlight will provide lots of options for photography.

One of the most enjoyable ways to explore is to take advantage of the many automated tours that are offered, mostly for couples (but possible for solo use as well): a donkey ride, a balloon ride, a piggyback tour (which Cica Ghost and I are trying out as I type this), a swimming tour and so on — for most you'll need to join the land group, which is free. You might also encounter a couple of robotic residents of the sim, Zenigata Gearhead and James Bond, who are sometimes around, roaming about. Don't forget to leave a contribution if you're so inclined.

21 February 2015

Box...3D Art

Now on display at Lisa Expò, curated by Rubin Mayo, is an exhibition of recent works by Duna Gant entitled Box...3D Art. Each of the seven works on display is something like a diorama, presented in a box, an assemblage of materials that might appear to be two-dimensional when viewed head on. But the image above, Collage 3D, is about 1.5 meters deep, with the potted plant in the foreground, the wine glass in the middle, and the textured flat planes at various angles. And, with one exception — the blue and white Constructivisme 2, seen below — all the works share a similar color palette of earth tones.

Duna states in the exhibition notes that for her boxes "are synonyms of travel souvenirs, dear persons, special places...I have always been attracted by their beauty, the right place to store my memorabilia: photos, postcards, jewels, sea shells, coins, keys..." As we spoke in French, Duna explained to me that she worked on the boxes for three weeks, but had had been considering the idea for some time. Box...3D Art, which is cleverly presented in its own "box" space, will remain on display through March, and each of the works is available for purchase.

Flashmans at Vintage Retro

Years ago, Flashmans was quite a gathering place, filled with bawdy intellectuals, misfits and ribald humor. ("Seedy, Sordid, Splendid since 2007," says the parcel information.) But over time, and as the original two iterations (Martin Ren, proprietor) transformed into new builds with new owners at new locations, the place become more and more quiet, with only occasional events to tempt its fading clientele. Proprietor Phi Mayo has just relocated the club to Vintage Retro on the Old Time Prims sim, adjacent to 1920s Berlin, where perhaps it will see a little more foot traffic and gain some traction. "It needs more tchotchkes, but the dance balls and all are ready and willing," she offered, and I'm sure there will be some special events on the horizon.

20 February 2015

3signs: Love, Happiness, and Wisdom

Opening today, Friday, February 20, at 1 pm slt at The Rose Theatre & Art Gallery, is a new installation by Betty Tureaud entitled 3signs: Love, Happiness, and Wisdom. Visitors will immediately recognize Betty's trademark colors: bright, saturated tones that pop out from their surfaces. And, with nearly everything in motion, those colors interact: the slowly drifting textures on the walls and floor (the ceiling, curiously, is stationary); the Chinese fans that radiate up from the floor; and the large simplified Chinese characters for love, happiness and wisdom that rotate in space. The lotus flowers provide opportunities to dance.

19 February 2015


I'm admittedly a little late to hop on the Buried bandwagon, but no less enthusiastic. (I wanted to have time to complete the entire hunt before writing about it — and, if the mention of Buried doesn't strike a chord, then read on.) This engaging hunt, designed and developed by MadPea (in particular, story and concept by the head pea Kiana Writer, visuals by Axiomatic Clarity and programming by Fuzz Difference, with many others assisting), presents a mystery: Lily has disappeared. And it's your job to find her. As the game begins, you'll find yourself hunting for clues (they're really not too difficult) on a small gathering of islands, pictured in the three upper images here.

You'll need to purchase a HUD (it's L$300, but the price is insignificant in comparison to the return) that teleports you from one hunt location to another. If you're successful in uncovering (or unburying, perhaps I should say) the initial clue, you'll enter into a grid-wide hunt, visiting the stores of two dozen merchants (of all varieties) to search for a tiny object at each location. And sometimes it might take a while to find that for which you search — and can on occasion become baffling, in which case the MadPea chat group and many volunteers are at the ready to lend a hand in your quest. Some merchants were quite creative in finding ways to participate in the hunt, notably MiChIGaN's ShAcK!.

Now, if you're the type who thinks you can accelerate your way through the arduous search process by sneakily using something like Firestorm's area search, be forewarned that the creator, name and other attributes of the object you seek may vary from sim to sim. And when you're done, it's time to do some digging: you'll arrive at the place shown below (click to zoom in) to discover what really happened to Lily — and to claim your prizes. For more information, visit the MadPea blog here, with a list of the prizes here. Buried continues through March 31.

18 February 2015


Opening today, Wednesday, February 18 at 1 pm slt at LEA6, as part of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Full Sim Art Series, is Speculum by Giovanna Cerise. Visitors will first encounter several large humanoid figures at the landing point, all examining themselves with specula or mirrors. No, not in that way — speculum in this case meaning a reflective glass or metal surface, although one section of the build might reference the gynecological instrument. And, by clicking on the speculum right at the landing point, one can teleport directly into that area, a long dark tunnel that slowly unfolds as one walks its length, populated by egg-like orbs (visible above). (Or perhaps I'm reading way too much into things.)

The specula are in turn mirrored throughout the build: giant shapes are positioned like huge beacons, looking out to sea or upwards toward the sky, supported by fantastic lattices of wood that seem to explode in different directions. Giovanna says, in her notes on the installation,

   The mirror, as multiplicity and continuous playback.
   The mirror, where the invisible overlaps the original and the hidden appears suddenly.
   The mirror, as an illusion of which you can not do without.
   The mirror as a projection in an unreal dimension.
   The mirror that opens the door to ....

The artist suggests the use of either Sunset or Verdigris windlight settings; I also found Places Wiccan to produce good results. Speculum will remain on display through March.

15 February 2015


Opening today, Sunday, February 15, at 12 pm slt at LEA26, is MadTone, a sim-wide installation featuring works by Lorin Tone and Madcow Cosmos. Near the landing point is a dragon, and I recommend that you begin your exploration by hopping on its back for a tour, which will visit not only the ground area, but also a couple very large artworks several hundred meters in the sky. And be certain to have local sounds turned up: what you see is by Madcow, but what you hear (often by clicking on things) is by Lorin (with some additional overall contributions by Judi Newall, Xon Halostar and Kelly Shergood).

The works on display aren't new (although some haven't been previously exhibited): they were created over a period of several years during a collaborative partnership between Madcow and Lorin, but the former is no longer active in Second Life. You'll discover some freebies here and there as you roam. Personally, I didn't find most of the artworks particularly engaging, but there will no doubt be visitors who will appreciate the "creative and irreverent with a touch of fun insanity" style of things.

14 February 2015

Pol Jarvinen at Paris METRO Art Gallery

Opening tomorrow, Sunday, February 15 at 12 pm slt, at the Paris METRO Art Gallery, and curated by Quan Lavender, is an untitled installation by Pol Jarvinen. (At least I believe the opening is tomorrow — the sign out front presently says "Closing Gala Exhibition," so perhaps I've almost missed the entire thing.) Extending the length of the long narrow space, the artwork consists of transparent and phantom prims through which one can walk, their various lines, circles and other shapes creating a constantly changing experience.

And it's quite important to actually move through the artwork, because it responds, growing, shrinking, changing color and moving as visitors explore, and no doubt is at its most interesting with multiple simultaneous observers. Lining the walls of the gallery are a number of two-dimensional works by Pol, all photographs of earlier installations.

08 February 2015

The Centaurs' Hall

Now open for exploration, in the sim Verdigris and across from Vintage Village (the seminal and iconic creation by Oriolus Oliva) is a new build by Haveit Neox, The Centaurs' Hall. Constructed over the span of three days beginning on February 1 (and with some continued refinement), the expansive creation welcomes visitors in a spacious amphitheater, one side of which proceeds to a narrow bridge leading across to Vintage Village, and the other side of which invites visitors up to the massive series of galleries that comprise the hall.

Architecturally, The Centaurs' Hall complements Vintage Village's medieval Hungarian atmosphere so well that one might not suspect at first glance that it's by a second builder, although Haveit's distinctive and unmistakable style is present throughout. Built on a high hillside where room is insufficient, parts of the hall are supported by tremendous columns that reach down toward the sea, mirroring the look of the half-bridge that makes Vintage Village so memorable. (In the lowest image here, we see the view from Vintage Village looking westward toward The Centaurs' Hall — click on any image to zoom in.) Haveit remarked to me that he arrived as quickly as possible when he learned that the parcel was available, and Oriolus told me he's delighted with the result.

As I explored yesterday, with Haveit still refining his build, I mentioned to him that that his The Miniature Goal, created for the Art India Gallery at the request of Quan Lavender almost precisely a year ago (read more here) would fit beautifully in the lower-most gallery area, and to my delight he took me up on the suggestion. The newer version (image above) is more compact than the original, but delightful, and the remainder of The Centaurs' Hall will provide an opportunity for Haveit to display some of his other smaller artworks.

06 February 2015

The greatest story ever told — SL History — 1999–2015

Last July, Sniper Siemens rezzed, for a brief two-week period, a delightful installation entitled Second Life History (about which you may read here) that invited visitors to wander on a physical timeline to view the virtual world's development from its earliest days (as LindenWorld) to the present. Now, an expanded and more in-depth version of that installation opens tomorrow, Saturday, February 7, at 3 pm slt at LEA17, entitled The greatest story ever told — SL History — 1999–2015.

As our story begins in 1999, we encounter Linden Lab's Battery Street home, and move forward through 2001 with a model of the first avatar, or primitar (image above); the 2002 opening of Second Life, with its first resident (Steller Sunshine); the introduction of streaming audio in 2004 (resulting in a proliferation of clubs); the 2005 establishment of the Teen Grid; the 2006 feature on the cover of BusinessWeek magazine, which helped launch broad public awareness of Second Life (image below), and Gene Replacement's megaprim hack; the banking failures of 2008; in 2009, the Lab's stance against bots and camping; the introduction of Viewer 2 in 2010; Project Shining in 2012; and many, many more things in between.

The exhibition also celebrates the contributions of Second Life's residents, including the fabulously imaginative builds of the Rezzable team (who gave us Greenies (image below), Tunnel of Light, Crimson Shadow and other venues that are unfortunately now lost to the past) and Burning Life (which receives perhaps a little too much space). The greatest story ever told is sure to delight newer residents who are curious about Second Life's history, and will no doubt bring waves of nostalgia to those who are veterans of the grid. The installation will remain on display through May 31.

04 February 2015

Just Another Tequila Sunrise

"My favorite seasons," Arol Lightfoot, the designer behind Just Another Tequila Sunrise, began as we talked, "are spring and fall." That may well explain why winter hasn't arrived here, and fall is in full, dazzling, radiant bloom, with brilliant fields and meadows of orange, tangerine, marigold, apricot, maroon, rust, and every other autumnal color in the spectrum. Houses and small dwellings dot the landscape, along with a modest farm.

Waterways wind through much of the central part of the region, which offers a charming beach (beach houses included) on its western edge (middle image). To the south are massive faces of rock that provide stunning vistas from their pinnacles, looking down over flocks of birds circling the land. But don't wait too long to visit: "I'm probably going to be changing it soon — more of a spring type thing, I think," says Arol. If you enjoy your visit, please consider leaving a contribution with the large white mushroom at the landing point.

03 February 2015

Scribbled Hearts Revisited

The last time I wrote about Scribbled Hearts was way back in August 2013, and since that time the sim has changed hands, and has been redesigned by Elvira Kytori (whose beautiful Timeless Memories was the subject of a recent blog post). It has retained its status as a premiere location for photographers and those who delight in wandering through the woods or along a rustic shoreline — and is also home to the shops tarte. (by Alessandra Ambrosio (Alixxbella)) and Plethora (by Plethora Plentiful (Plethorasl)).

The charming shops themselves occupy a rather modest footprint on the now-wintery sim, blanketed by a cover of snow that continues to fall around the white birch trees. A footpath guides visitors around the interior perimeter of a crescent lake that rests in the middle of the sim, affording views of the rustic scenery — you might be tempted to fly, but I suspect that a pedestrian excursion will be far more satisfying. And you can also rez a sled in front of tarte. — just be sure to zoom in very close to the sign to avoid clicking on the snow.

02 February 2015

Medici University

Now open for business at LEA23 (and, by logical extension, everywhere) is Medici University, a tuition-free, non-accredited virtual university, offering degrees in various program areas. Presently the university is enrolling both faculty and students (and many people may find themselves wearing both hats) in a fairly free-form but spirited process, and spaces are available throughout the sim for faculty to set up studios or teaching areas. (And, like any university, it hosts spaces for commercial and lifestyle enterprises.) How successful this freewheeling but serious venture will be remains to be seen, but its outcome will no doubt rest on the shoulders of everyone who participates. And it seems to follow in the spirit of great experimental centers of learning such as Black Mountain College, which contributed a major and lasting influence to the twentieth century art world.

Presently (and this list will certainly grow over time — forgive me if I've omitted your name), participants (mostly faculty) who have established venues at Medici University include Paypabak Writer, Thomas Maybe (Newbit Yootz), Emma Maybe (Phillysmaybe), Trilby Minotaur, Syke McLeod (Skye Fairywren), Wendz Tempest, Ravensong Merlin-Writer (Ravensong Merlin), Piedra Lubitsch, Ziki Questi, Annah Leah (Ananda Crystal), Diptheria Glas, Thor Chantilly, Peli (Peli Dieterle), Van Caerndow, rmarie Beedit, Veyot, Izzy (MediciPrincess), Charlie (Agnes Sharple), serra Qendra, Zygmunt Jasman (Vaneeesa Blaylock), Scarlett Luv-Star (Scarlett Luv), Glad Kidd, AlexandreLois1, Newton (Lex Perdide), Jackson Drechsler, NadyaTolokonnikova, Isadora Alaya (Otcoc), Rinzler Riot (Rinzlerkitty), paula cloudpainter (Paula31atnight), Moto (Motorato Ware) and Dai (Dai Oanomochi), the last two of whom have established a very interesting area highlighting a variety of projects undertaken by the Stanford Humanities Lab (image immediately above).

Among the subjects presently offered are music, interior design, book arts, museum studies, creative writing, painting and drawing, photographic arts, Zen buddhism, metaphysics and libraries, design and illustration, and inventory management (the last of which would probably benefit every virtual resident!). Personally, I've established a studio and gallery space (image above — I'm #8 in the Aurelia section) next to my friend and colleague Piedra Lubitsch (her space is the white building on the right), and I'm available for lessons in photographic arts. If you'd like to learn more, just stop by the campus and speak with an instructor or with the Provost, Izzy (MediciPrincess). For additional general information about the university, visit its website here, and if you're curious about the sim-wide no-fly zone, head over here.