Monday, October 16, 2017

Celeste Cazenove, the Amusement Park Ride Builder


By Bixyl Shuftan

Nance Clowes, noted for being the head of the "Fun Rides and Amusement Parks" group, recently introduced me to someone known by some residents in Second Life not so much by her name but by her creations: Celeste Cazenove, "Meet CC, teh great amusement park ride maker," Nance had been testing out her latest rides, Celeste saying "It's not all completed yet, well mostly, maybe a little fine tuning."

"I sell them to park owners on marketplace mostly," Celeste told me, "I've been making rides for awhile now, and this is my thirtieth ride, so it's kinda special. It's also my first hanging coaster ride with Euro-Style sound." Nance giggled, " I laughed so hard when that sound came on. totally did not expect that."

Celeste went on to say, "I have a carnival I will put this out in when I am sure its done. I can give you (the) landmark to carnival if you wanna check out some of my other stuff. I recommend the Splash Falls and Crazy Birds especially. ... My next one will be a haunted one for Nance' sim." In the conversation that followed, Nace told us, "They recently re-opened the spookhouse ride at Coney Island. it was under 6 feet of water from storms. ... the irony of a spook house, being six feet under."

"Building rides was a natural outgrowth of my toy making days when I first started," Celeste told me, "I started making toys and fishing custom catches." "Celeste is kinda big in the fishing circles, I'm told," Nance spoke, "I still have fishing areas for 7Seas with over 1200 custom made catches people can fish up for free. Then I started making toys and selling them on Marketplace. " I asked her when she first started. She answered, "Eight years ago I started building, first making gestures, then building simple little fish that people could fish up. Then my catches got more elaborate and I learned to script them with new functions and abilities and animations."

Of the rides, "I started making carnival rides about two years ago, with smaller ones like a Pigs-Go-Round, a barnyard merry-go-round with piggies,  and a swinging ship that is still my best seller, Ships Ahoy, which is a classing swinging ship ride, but has pirate sounds and dead ghost pirates that pop out." I asked how popular the rides are. Nance told me, "most parks buy them on day one. the whole Fun Amusements Park group of 1100 love her stuff."

Celeste then offered, "Wanna see the ride before this one, last released? This one is for sale now and is in a lot of the major parks already." She then rezzed a ride over forty meters tall, "This one is called Splash Falls ,,, go up and touch that leaf in the air." This was a compact flume ride with a giant leaf instead of a log, which appeared in the water by touching a leaf near the entrance, "now sit on the leaf boat down there in the canal." After ten seconds, the leaf went a short distance, then was taken to the top of the ride. It then went down the flume, curving around every so often. It was a fun ride down to the ground, if a bit wet with the sprays of water here and there.

Another ride she showed me was "Crazy Birds." This ride was clearly inspired by the computer app game "Angry Birds." "All three of us can ride this one," Celeste told me. "It seats three," Nance told me, "but not all together, you'll see, tis *unique.*" The ride had three rezzers that when clicked on, a mechanical bird resembling the red bird in the game the attraction was based on appeared. All three of us rezzed a bird, hopped on it, and off we flew around for a minute, doing loops and other maneuvers. "It's a *trackless* coaster (laughter)!" Celeste commented. Nance joked, "Whats the count on this one again? 74% survival rate?"

Once we were done flipping the birds, Nance asked Celeste, "show him the Fun Squared one." Celeste did, "This one is a 'wild mouse' type of coaster, if you have tried those in real-life." As the ride took shape, I saw a familiar sight, the "lego" roller-coaster in the "Happiness Giant Rooms" when I dropped by in late June (link). Celeste told me yes, she did sell the owner one of these rides. Both Nance and I took a ride on this one. Unlike the previous rides, the car animated out avatars a bit, Celeste laughing and Nance a bit, "Haha, I love that animation with the arms up at the end (laughter)."

Of the next attraction, Celeste told us, "It's Halloween soon so I will let you ride this one." This was similar to the spinning teacup rides in some parts, but with an October 31st twist: cauldrons. It was the "Witches Brew." Celeste told us, "I made this for last Halloween, but I am gonna make one for Nance." "For ME?!" Nance asked. Celest giggled, "To put in your sim ... you know it will, eventually." "You best be gettin  to it. The Dark Park only holds so many Halloween rides."

Once the Witches Brew was put away, Celeste offered, "I have some funny ones like the Ferret Wheel I could show him, I like funny ones. ... a lot of people *only* buy my funny stuff." Celeste rezzed a kind ferris wheel, but with what resembled  six hamster wheels instead of cars. Nance grinned, "Oh this *will* look cute if you get Bixyl in it." And getting in, I was running around in the wheel on all fours like a ferret, of which my furry form with a snout and bushy tail had quite a reaction from Nance, "BWAHHWAWHHSAHAhahaaaa!"

After the Ferret Wheel was taken down, Nance told us she had to get back to her Haunted Mansion. Celeste told me, "Okay this is the last one, I promise, hee-hee!" She rezzed a one story building that took a few moments to take shape, with the words "Aqua Scape" on the side, with another one inside saying, "Holographic Sea Tour." "This one is a totally emersive one. People love this one. Some people like this one and hate everything else I make, ha-ha!" Sitting on the car, it was like going through a public aquarium, with sea grass, coral, fish, dolphins, and a giant squid and a killer whale. It was quite the ride.

After I got out from the Aqua Scape, Celeste told me, "I better run for now but feel free to visit my carnival at that landmark I gave ya if ya want!" She left and I made a brief visit to her park, which had a *lot* of rides. No doubt Celeste has been very busy and creative, and no doubt she will continue to be.

CC's Compact Carnival is located at  Thorstar (163/94/1507).

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

CATS at Theater On The Hill


By Gemma Cleanslate

I had my tissues out again Sunday at the Theater on the Hill.  The premiere of the musical , Cats, opened at 12:00. I have seen Cats in real life so many times, but love every minute of it and would go again. The cast at TOTH were dressed as real cat avatars, which is a little different. In real life shows they are humans made up beautifully to look like cats.  The dances and movements were choreographed so well to match the music. If you do not know the back story of Cats I recommend you visit the web to learn about it. This will give you the insight to what is going on.  https://www.catsthemusical.com/about-the-show/the-story

There are many individual cats to meet in the show and the music leads you to understand each one. There are some very special ones that grab your heart. 

Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show is set amongst a larger- than life junkyard playground and is alive with our favourite feline characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy,

"Well, of all things i
Can it be really?
Yes! No! Ho! Hi! Oh, my eye!
My mind may be wandering, but I confess
I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!"


"Remark the woman
Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door
Which opens on her like a grin.
You see the border of her coat
Is torn and stained with sand,
And you see the corner of her eye
Twists like a crooked pin."

 
The music is delightful, fun in some places and so poignant in others. Every  time I see a performance it is almost like I have not seen it before, always surprises. There was a page in the theater handing out champagne, cookies, juice, soda and other goodies.

There will be several other opportunities to see the show. Do not miss it ! The TOTH will present it again next Sunday at 12pm and again on October 21 at 1 and perhaps again. Perhaps you will see me there! The music is so enticing and the movement of the cast only enhances it.

Oliver Elton is the person behind this show at the TOTH. All SL cats should come as well as the nekos and all furries and humans will love it even if they are not cat friendly. The usual ending to the story was not there but I did not miss it. Everything about this Second Life show is well worth a visit.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Pure%20Luxury/194/128/37  

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, September 18, 2017

Building Begins For Burn2 Radical Ritual in October


By Klaus Bereznyak

Last week, the sims became available, plots were allocated to contributors, and building began for Second Life's regional Burning Man Festival, which opens October 21.

This year's theme for the Big Burn (or Octoburn) is "Radical Ritual", and it follows the theme and ethos of the recent 2017 Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock desert.

According to Burning Man, "Beyond the dogmas, creeds, and metaphysical ideas of religion, there is immediate experience. It is from this primal world that living faith arises. In 2017, we will invite participants to create interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, temples, and visions ... The human urge to make events, objects, actions, and personalities sacred is protean. It can fix on and inhabit anyone or anything." (https://burningman.org)

 
There is plenty to be done in readying the flat, empty desert sims for the imaginative architecture that is to come. Individual plots have been divided and named and roads put in place. The large public features like Main Stage, The Temple and the Gateway are to be constructed.


A series of info sessions were held for builders this week before the building plots were handed out. In the coming weeks, we'll see an extraordinary city arising from the desert floor.

Burn2 camp builders consider the authenticity and immediacy of their builds, virtually using the sorts of materials that could reasonably be trucked into the desert, set up and then taken down without leaving a single trace.


It's not too late to participate in Burn2's Radical Ritual as there are still openings for the submission of single artworks or applications for juried plots. Musicians and live performers can sign themselves up with a performance slot, and a range of volunteers are needed, from community guides to scripters and greeters.

More information can be found at http://www.burn2.org/

Klaus Bebeznyak

Friday, September 1, 2017

Tokushi Avatars Closing, Offering All Items in Single Super-Package


By Bixyl Shuftan

While some prefer to stick with just one kind of avatar, some will occasionally change to something else for an occasion such as themed party or a holiday. A number of people I know have collections of avatars, furred, dragon, tiny, and others. I myself have a collection of avatars that I've gotten over the years, though in the past few haven't many many purchases.

Among the last avatars that I've gone out and purchased was a mesh tiny fox made by Tokushi. I preferred using this tiny to the Wynxworks ones popular at the Raglan community as they didn't need a separate set of dance animations, but could use the same ones as human and furry avatars. This wasn't my first avatar from Tokushi. Earlier, a friend of mine had gotten me one of their "Possat" avatars as a gift. I'd also see a few people in other avatars of theirs, such as their Racoon and their "Qwhilla" which stood out due to it's huge tail. In the words of Second Life Avatar Review Files, while they did some avatars well represented among avie makers, they were also known for making avs with "fantasy backgrounds and personal creations, as well as unique avatars of animals that people don’t usually consider."

Unfortunately, there will be no more designs from Tokushi. On Wednesday, in the Sunweaver and Furry Fashion groups, I began hearing that the company was effectively closing, with everything they had made being sold in one single package. Toki Cure and Racush Cheeky had the following announcement on the store's Furaffinity page:


At long last and after much thought, we have decided to give the news that we will be closing Tokushi avatars on Secondlife for now. It was a hard decision to make, as we both have enjoyed creating for SL, for so many years. But time constraints and new projects online and off have made it impossible for us to continue on at a pace we are happy with. We may still offer simple avatars and accessories from time to time when we are able. But there will be no planning or time frame on anything we may create. We will still post here and on the Tokushi group chat when we do have something new.

We are bundling EVERYTHING we have made up until now into one pack for 3000L. This includes all avatars, all accessories in all colours. Some of the older avatars will have broken scripts/bugs, and we will not be updating/fixing these issues. But they will still work for spare parts! Our sim has been shut down, but the pack and any new things we make will be sold directly on the marketplace.

The link to their bundle on Marketplace is  - https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/The-complete-Tokushi-collection/12567748 . Everything else has been taken down. So if you wanted just one or two of the avatars, that's no longer an option.

On the other hand, or paw, you can now get them in all the colors available. There were the following packages, most of them bundles or "fatpacks" of a particular avatar or item, in the bundle: Ailtar avatar, Air Spirit avatar, Anubis avatar, Aquatic Dragonet avatar, Armadillo avatar, Candi Ears, Chinese Crested avatar, Corvid avatar, Dragon avatar, Fae Wings, Fantasy Ears, Feline avatar, Fear Fox avatar, Floof Pet, Floof avatar, Fnuff avatar, Fox avatar, Griffin avatar, Hell hound avatar, Inca-Ren avatar, Jackal avatar, KiteMod avatar, Le'strap gloves, Otter avatar, Phoenix avatar, Photo-Synthic alien avatar, Possat avatar, Pumpkin Pup avatar, Qwhilla avatar, Raccoon avatar, Reindeer avatar, Rhebuk avatar, Scarfs, Wrist wrap, Squirrel avatar, Steam pants, Sugar glider avatar, Tiny bat avatar, Tiny fox avatar, Tiny Horse avatar, Tiny Possat avatar, Tiny skunk avatar, Tiny zebra avatar, Weedy Sea dragon avatar, Wildhond avatar, Wool hats, Zela avatar, Legging "n spats, and Unicorn parts.

That's a lot of avatars. So what's the catch? The catch, as the owners stated in their press release, is that some of them have bugs and glitches. For instance, trying on their sugar glider, the head was misshapen. Two I tried on, the Anubis (jackal) and Chinese Crested Dog, had the jaws inside the head. I had to bring up my inventory, click on the part in there, and move it to a more proper place by hand. For some reason, when I logged off as the Anubis and came back the next day, I had to readjust the jaw again. I've never had to do that with any avatar before.

But not every avatar was glitched. Their (anthro) Dragon avatar looked fine to me. Taking a look at the HUD, one could change the eye color, as well as an option to have the tongue sticking out. Smoke was coming from it's nostrils, and there was an option in the HUD to have it breathing fire. When one flies with it, the wings flap. I also saw options for the hands, such as extending the index finger only, and some for the appearance of the wings. Fans of "scalies" should appreciate this particular avatar.

It's notable that most of the several avatars I unpacked, the containers were not to be rezzed on the ground, but worn briefly and automatically detach when the contents were in your inventory. The one for the Bilby avatar looked like an Australian didgeridoo, which when worn looked like you were playing it. For those who don't know, a bilby is a kind of Australian marsupial. And like it's animal counterpart, the avatar has the characteristic long nose and ears. It's AO has it normally crouching on the ground on all fours, occasionally standing up on it's legs. It remains low to the ground when walking about. The avatar also came with a pair of detachable antlers.

These are just a few of the avatars of many in the bundle. The Second Life Avatar Review Files website reviewed several. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, the website appears to be down. One will have to access the Wayback Machine Internet Archive to find the list, which is less than reliable and has a number of missing images. Their Twitter feed, which is still up, has a couple reviews, of the Rhebuk and the Zela.

So if you have the cash, I recommend you get this avatar package. While some may be glitched beyond use, and some will need to be tinkered with, you can't beat the volume for the price. It is a shame that the reason for the deal is that this is almost certain to be the end of the line for the company.

*Addition* I was told by a friend that part of the money made by the Bilby avatar was donated to a conservation program for their real-life counterparts.  So this avatar did more than just stand out. Each one purchased, at least before the company closed, made life for the marsupials it was based on a little easier.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Steamy Mystery at Terradale


By Gemma Cleanslate

 
I always look forward to the opening of new LEA regions granted to the artists for a period of time. It is fun to go through them all. I do not write about each one, but choose the ones that really take my attention and keep it. This interesting region really grabbed my attention. It is not one of the sparkly artistic creations, but contains a story.
 


The tone is set as soon as you land in the sim. It is a town that is reminiscent of the old English coastal, or perhaps, New England towns. It has the appearance of a mill town, with homes and factories intermingled and the ocean with its light house in view of all. When you land you will be greeted.


 
There is an odd piece of pipe equipment looking much like a humanoid type sitting around all over town that contains the story of Sarah.  Be sure to look for him where ever you go. Sarah is missing. I turned from the welcome sign and entered the building across the way. It was an artist studio with workings on the wall incomplete for the most part. I entered the second room where I found a message giver I came to know as Perry Piper. He uttered the words of Sean, “ My Sarah --She was everything to me. My muse, my friend, my partner, my lover. We were one......”

 
I turned and left and went to the town square and began my search. There I found missing posters plastered to the Town Monument. 


There is so much to be seen in each of  the buildings and so much to learn about Sarah’s life as you move through the town.  People who knew her tell the story to you and with each fragment you build a vision of her in your mind. At least I did. I realized that all is not as it seems, and I kept hoping I would find that she had flown the coop and headed to other lands looking for a more interesting life. But that was not to be. To those who knew her Sarah lived a quiet life, enjoying her horse rides and gazing out at the ocean. 


 
Chic Aeon has created this region and the story hidden within it. His houses are decorated with so many fascinating items to inspect. I thoroughly enjoyed each of them.Each home adds a little to the story.  The commercial buildings are littered with interesting pieces too, including some games to try.bring a friend along with you . There are hot air balloons in the air and I hoped to catch a ride. But no. 


 
At the end you will know the whole story of Sarah and where she has gone. I was sorry to find the final answer but thoroughly enjoyed the experience of tracking her movements and learning of her. I am not sure whether we would have liked each other if we did meet.


The Town will be there until January . Put it on your bucket list.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA12/152/92/21


Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gallery Roundup: Tate-Canning, The Bailywick and Berg by Nordan


By Klaus Bereznyak,

A new month means, for many art galleries in Second Life, new exhibitions. It would probably take a month to get round them all but I have picked a few current offerings of the photographic sort, two new and one ongoing, that are worth checking out.

To begin with, Whiskey Monday has opened with a collection called Alternate Worlds in the Tate-Canning gallery at LEA6. Whiskey's work does not often get aired inworld, so this is a treat.

The landing point is fixed at LEA6 and the gallery is over on the North East side of the sim. Walking over there, the visitor can take in some of Dusty Canning's creations. She describes herself as an old-fashioned prim builder, and LEA6 displays a variety of such works, proving that there's still a lot you can do with the humble prim. Not least of these is the gallery itself, which is based on the Tate Modern in real-life London.

Whiskey's latest offerings pop from their canvasses in the sharp white light of the gallery. Whiskey has an instantly recognizable style, surreal and yet instantly accessible. This series of perfectly composed situational self portraits are wry and, at times, challenging. I found most of the images either resonated with experience or made me see things in a different way.

On to The Bailywick Gallery on Corsica, which is hosting four artists with black and white photographic work through August. I arrived just a few minutes before the sun set and enjoyed the long light falling through the huge windows that make up the front of the building. The landing point is upstairs where work is displayed by Lulyboop Resident and Solana Python.

Lulyboop presents a handful of large canvasses depicting moody and pensive avi-portraits in everyday settings that seem to tell a story. Her selection here feels highly personal. Luly states in her bio that "Photography in the metaverse is a small daily exercise that teaches me to be happy about what I do."

On the same floor, Solana's work is in smaller format and seems to contrast. Cutting into detail and finding the interesting textures and shadows in her subjects, there's both real-life and Second Life material in the selection. In at least one of the pictures I cannot be sure if we're seeing real-life or SL. By her own account, Solana seeks to open new doors for her viewers and put them in touch with nature and our world.

Downstairs, I looked first at GlitterPrincess Destiny's selection of dramatic scenes from inworld locations. These big canvasses, mostly depicting figures, are on the darker side of monochrome, seeming to exploit shadow more than light. To me they had a cinematic atmosphere.

Finally at The Bailywick, with the light fast fading, KodyMeyers Resident's compositons called for examination. There didn't seem to be any artist information available, but Kody's grunged surfaces and choice of scenes with repeating elements makes for some gritty imagery that seems to burn into the mind all the more for being in monochrome.

My final destination was Berg by Nordan Art, where LOSS by Senna Coronet has been installed since July and continues through September.

This very poignant exhibition is dedicated to Amona Savira, Senna having been invited to take up a slot that would have been Amona's if she had not, very sadly, passed on earlier in the year. Senna's images are on larger than life canvasses, depicting the same figure haunting the same space and seemingly haunted by the shadow and memory of another. On multiple canvasses the man seems listless and trapped.

On reaching the second floor I realized that the exhibition setting itself, as well as bing dark, close and almost claustrophobic, is filled with the props and furniture that are also seen in the pictures, setting up echoes between the space and the work in a way that intensifies its effect. The whole exhibition has a felt impact and is well done.

Go see!

Tate-Canning Gallery on LEA6: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA6/192/181/28
The Bailywick Gallery: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bailywick/128/107/26
Berg by Nordan Art: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Nordan%20om%20Jorden/158/224/1001

Klaus Bereznyak

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lichtbringer's 16 Fields and the LEA Photo Contest


By Klaus Bereznyak

The tripartite collective of Lichtbringer (Light-bringer) have been bringing light to the grid through their collaborations since they first got together in 2015. Their latest installation on LEA26 is called 16 Fields, a sim divided four by four into squares, each square hosting a unique offering of original 3D work.


​There's still time to to enter the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) Photo Contest, open for entries until 17 August, and submit your best snap of this breathtaking show. I'm a sucker for a photographic challenge, so I loaded a roll, grabbed some lenses and set my coordinates to LEA26.

The landing point is in a cafe area (one of the 16 fields) with a well-stocked bar and equally well-stocked information points where one can find out about Lichtbringer and some of their other diverse work. Each member of the group, an artist in their own right, contributes unique skills to the collective. They work with handmade meshes, sculpts, prims, particles, lighting and scripts, endlessly experimenting with light. Beyond the cafe area is a surreal plane with tantalising cubic aurorae snaking overhead, snow falling upwards, shapes morphing and changing color. Whether you are a mouselooker or an ALT-zoomer, you need to get out and in among the lights.


​Immersing here is like being in a continuous firework display that you can get up close to without being burned. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but there are only 15 more fields to see after you have had a drink at the bar, or a late breakfast. Three other AVs were lounging near the landing point and, no doubt, camming. I wandered off in the direction of what first aroused my curiosity, a seemingly dark and static piece, beyond all the swirling light, on a corner of the sim. 


A protester stands under a towering sculpture of the word "APOCALYPSE" with arms lifted in an open gesture. Surrounded by death and dryness, the figure seemed hopeless, but I wasn't sure what the message was here. Some of the fields contain sculpted words or recognisable symbols that hint at meanings but leave it open to interpretation. For all the light in play, the dark shapes in some of the fields are fascinating too.


Across the fields, the light, colors and shapes that are visible are constantly changing, so that no two moments will be the same, offering endless opportunities for a unique photo capture. The scale of the works ranges from a quirky assortment of colorful polygons in a sort of 'playground' on the NW corner to epic structures that dwarf any AV and can be flown through. For the best flying experience, I recommend the high, cubic lattice of point lights, filled with a morphing funnel of particles in the middle of the southern edge of the sim.


To participate in the photo competition for a 1000L$ cash prize and a unique, handmade "namehopper", one must submit a picture taken within the installation. Post-processing is allowed but not essential and there's no entry fee, so it seems open and not too fussy. However, make sure you read all the rules on the competition web-page, especially the detail on perms and how to submit. 


Nobody seems to know what a "namehopper" is, answers on a postcard? I was hoping I'd find the answer somewhere on the sim, and I know what I think it might be, but we shall see.