Boohh!

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I’m not someone who is overly into Halloween, meaning this time of year I don’t go out of my way to find spooky-themed places in Second Life©. Don’t get me wrong, I love going trick-or-treating with kids in Real Life, but at the same time, honestly, I easily tire of the Halloween-hype that seems to swipe  in particular the virtual world like a plague around this time. Having said all this, and for those of you who still do get a kick out of this holiday, please go and visit Havenhollow. This is a place I first read about in Honour’s Post Menopausal View blog and I would lie if I didn’t say that it piqued my curiosity. As I soon discovered, this two-tiered, interactive Halloween virtual extravaganza is truly well-made and quite wonderful. And, judging by the crowds, I was not the only one having this experience.

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Teleporting in, one enters on a landing-point which is part of  some kind of suburban housing community. There is something eerily real-world-feeling about this place, which I think contributes to its overall mystique. Part of the experience here is to go trick-or-treating at the houses, which, I admit, was actually a lot of fun. At the outskirt of the housing area is a forest that serves as a connection to another Halloween area below. On a winding path, surrounded by fog, one wanders through these woods and eventually, rather unexpectedly, falls into a deep, dark hole (be prepared for a rather long falling period). Exiting the dark basement filled with spiders and spiderweb is not an easy task, but I eventually made it out.

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Having been chased by a large, black, loudly hissing spider, I was pleased to be above ground. I found myself in front of an old Victorian mansion. The old house is quite beautiful. Flocks of bats are flying around it making loud noises, the moon hides behind large groups of yellow Fall trees and darkness envelopes barren branches that seem to be reaching for the starry sky above. There is a lot of things to explore both outside and inside of this house, I especially recommend taking a look at the kitchen and dining room on the ground floor. Be prepared to spend some time.

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Well, well, well. For someone who is not really into Halloween that much, I certainly spent a lot of time on this rather spooky sim today taking photos and putting together this blog post. But see, that is exactly the thing about being in Second Life though, you easily get caught up in things and, sometimes despite yourself, you end up having a blast. Have a great Halloween everyone.

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Woodsman’s Cottage

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Charlotte Bartlett of Scarlet Creative did it again.  Just when I thought she could not create anything more beautiful than her last house, she produces a new architectural marvel! I believe one of her most recent builds, the Woodsman’s Cottage, was released a while ago, I just never had the time the time to take a look. But it caught my eye today when it was announced on the Scarlet Creative blog that this cottage would be for sale as part of The Neighbourhood! initiative. For a limited time only, you can purchase this build for L$200. Not only is this a fantastic Second Life© living space, but the muted colors, the windows, and the general very angled layout provide limitless opportunities for photography. This is the kind of house that you want to hang out in for an extended Winter vacation weekend with a hot cup of cocoa close by, face pressed to window watching snowflakes outside slowly falling. Bravo, Charlotte, just a brilliant build!

The Woodsman’s Cottage is a 20×11×16 m, 38 prim, copy/mod mesh prefab build. It consists of three buildings put together (some of them not completely finished) to create one large one. There are two floors and large windows are found throughout. The high quality textures used for this building depict distressed wood, painted wood, and glass.

→ Object: Woodsman’s Cottage
→ Creator: Charlotte Bartlett
→ Store Location: Scarlet Creative Modern Mesh Prefabs Mesh Architecture + Decor
→ SL Marketplace: Scarlet Creative 2006-2013

Photography by Kate Bergdorf

Fall 2013: Suede Things

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In my continued quest for the perfect Fall outfit, I ended up venturing back to Maitreya and LeLutka and then shot the photo itself at POST. This outfit is both elegant and sexy; I love the way the suede-jacket belt emphasizes the waist and then also make the legs appear longer. And there is something very sensuous about the soft-seeming cream-colored suede ankle boots (thank God they don’t get dirty in Second Life©), these are the kind of boots you don’t really want to take off.  I think the luxurious muted gray and beige colors of this ensemble compliment each other beautifully. Great for a stroll in the park or a shopping spree in the city.

Before I move on to listing the products, let me just insert a side note here (warning: rant coming up!). Originally, while putting this outfit together, I used a different pair of ankle boots. They were expensive and created by a recently up-and-coming Second Life fashion designer (out of respect, I will not mention any names here) and I imagined they would go perfect with this outfit. I purchased the shoes and tried them on, they did not fit properly (my avatar’s skin was partially visible on the sides of both shoes) and the HUD provided was non functioning; now ensued the arduous and time-consuming task of looking up the name of the creator, writing a note card explaining my problem, taking a photo of the shoes and then forwarding it all. And then wait. A day later the owner got back to me saying I should edit the script. I tried (of course it didn’t work since I did not have permission to do so) and then let him know it didn’t work and I have not heard back from him since. This is the reason why I find myself repeatedly going back to reputable content creators who consistently provide high quality products and excellent customer service. Just saying.

Addendum to side note: The above Second Life fashion creator just got back to. He was incredibly friendly and helpful, in fact, my ankle boot problem has now been resolved.  Kate Bergdorf <—- Bows head in shame.

Skin: Aime (*peche*) by Essences. Hair: Messy Bouffant Bun (Brown) by Paper Couture. Pose: Stoic by Del May. Jacket: Megan (Suede Timberwolf) by Maitreya. Pants: Leggings (Pearl) by Maitreya. Shoes: Shavon Ankle Boots (Pearl) by LeLutka. Earrings: Merriwheater Diamond Stud by Paper Couture. Sunglasses: BAIA (White) by Tabloid.

Photography by Kate Bergdorf

Qarl Linden Quits Second Life©

1712471_300There has been much talk lately about a recent change to the Linden Lab’s Terms of Service (ToS). The change was announced on August 15, 2013 and pertains to Section 2.3 of the ToS; basically, in a nutshell, Linden Lab has declared that they now hold the rights to all user-generated content. Bloggers are writing posts about this, Second Life creators are arranging discussion panels and artists are protesting in different ways. I think it is safe to say, people are outraged. Most recently,  a Linden employe himself has called it quits. Read Qarl Linden’s farewell to the Second Life community here: qLab.

Fall 2013: Beautiful and Comfortable

falloutfit_001I finally found a Second Life© Fall outfit that I am happy with! It is a very casual, snuggle-up-in-front-of-the-fireplace-after-a-long-brisk-walk-kind-of-outfit that is both beautiful and comfortable. The gray, knitted wool sweater (which is really a dress) falls high up on the thighs, the length is perfect; not too long and not too short.  Also, this sweater comes with short sleeves, which I think is just great for the Fall.  The jeans are an old pair of favorite skinny jeans that have been in my inventory for a while, they are definitely my go-to pair. The boots I accidentally found yesterday and just had to get them; I am completely in love with the platform wedge, the beige color and the engraved pattern. This photo was taken at the very cute and whimsical sim [Imagination], a place that in many ways seems to be a tribute to Fall.

Skin: Amaterasu (*peche*) by Essences. Hair: Stella (Seafoam) by Wasabi Pills (found at Wizarding Faire 2013). Sweater: Tee Dress by FANATIC. Jeans: Skinny Jeans #2 with Rolled Cuff by Maitreya. Shoes: Ymre Boots (Beige), by Color.Me.H.O.F.

Photography by Kate Bergdorf

Two Stores by Artists

I visited today shops owned by renowned artists in Second Life©. These are places where one-of-a-kind items are up for grabs, sometimes for incredibly reasonable prices. Some of the stuff for sale has been part of prior exhibits, other things have never been seen by the public before being displayed in the shop. I really like these kinds of stores because not only can I purchase and own unique work, but by doing so I also support the artists themselves and with it creativity in Second Life at large. I’m sure there are more stores by artists out there, when I find others that I like I will make sure to mention them in this blog as well.

Cherry Manga and Anley Piers

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The first place I went to was the shop at Mysterious Wave, owned and created by Cherry Manga and Anley Piers, who have been active in the Second Life art world for years now, exhibited widely and won numerous awards. These two women have always been very well-liked and have a strong following. I think not only because of their obvious talent and the beautiful work they produce, but also because they seem to have an incredibly fun time doing what they are doing. Together they own and manage the art sim, Mysterious Wave (currently showing Childhood). The shop itself, which is located in a skybox above, is gorgeous, with red/gold details and sophisticated layouts. Here you will find things like the Hybride Ant, by Anley Piers (L$159), Sur le fil a linge, by Cherry Manga ($L475) and much more (some of the categories are Art, Skins and Tattoos, Garden and Furniture). Their work can also be purchased on Second Life Marketplace.

Bryn Oh

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The second store I went to today was the Bryn Oh Curiosity Shop, which I found when browsing the art section of the Second Life Destination Guide. It is a shop owned and created by Bryn Oh (I thought she had a store on Immersiva; I headed over to see if it was still there, it was not). Bryn Oh certainly needs no introduction here, I think I can safely say she is one of the finest artists in Second Life. She has shown her work on Immersiva as long as I can remember. There is a devotion and seriousness behind this talented artist’s work (installations, machinima, objects) that lends to the Second Life art world itself a strong sense of reputability. The new Bryn Oh store is dark and beautiful, a very large space. Amongst other things, you will find here items like White Moth (L$600), Anna and little Timmy (L$1,500) and Steam Clock (L$700). Don’t forget zoom in and out while you visit; on the roof of the building itself is Pouncing Fox (L$4,000), a huge fox (out of Anna’s Many Murders) that I almost purchased before I finally got a hold of myself.

Photography by Kate Bergdorf

Romy Nayar: Overto Omonto

Romy Nayar

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The work of Romy Nayar is known to me and her fine creations never cease to impress me with their darkness and sense of poetry. Her work is often based on stories, usually with a moral, and there is a magical quality, as sense of unreality, that one also finds in the work of Bryn Oh. Her newest creation Overto Omonto can be seen on MetaLES, a sim she manages with her partner, Ux Hax. This creation, like many other of her works, is veiled in the macabre and mystery. It consists of a large, deserted space where buildings, trees and figures can sporadically be detected. The figures are part of various scenes and sort of come across as avatars, but also not. There is something very doll-like and inanimate about this virtual figure who is part of the scene, which lends it a quality of being a work of  art and thus different then the customary virtual avatar per se. All scenes are part of the installation and also part of a riddle; note card with instructions is provided at entrance. If you join the MetaLES group you can use a vehicle provided at the landing point.

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Photography by Kate Bergdorf

Ole Etzel: Mr. Bones

Ole Etzel

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Several bloggers referenced this week the new Drax Files: Episode 12: Ole Etzel, by the talented Draxtor Despres. Ole Etzel (Second Life avatar name) may be most well-known for his machinima, which involve the adventures of Mr. Bones, but he is also creative in other realms. I headed over to his playground, named Mr. Bones, to check out what else he has done. There are two parts to his public space; there is a small planet and below it another large space.  Here you will find cartoon-like trees and vegetation, fences that are mixed in with other realistic appearing objects (like chain-saws and sharks) and more primitive colorful Second Life basic prims. Sounds, movement and particles complete these scenes. While this work is clearly original and recognizable as created by Ole Etzel, it also reminded me in some ways  of the work by both Cica Ghost and Eupalinos Ugajin. What these three artists share, besides the ability to integrate into their work playfulness intelligently, is the ability to juxtapose a few seemingly simple and concrete objects in a meaningful and quite metaphorical way.

Photography by Kate Bergdorf