Toxian City

Toxian City is a dark urban role play place consisting of two full sims. It is an incredible place to visit and take photographs. When we went there, it was packed and I was told it usually is (strangely, however, not much lag to speak of). Owned and created by the talented Miss Wright, I’m pretty sure this destination dates back as far as 2008. According to the Toxian City website, it has its own mythos and does not follow the path of any other game. It is, however, loosely based on both new and old American Hollywood Horror. The dark and gloomy setting is what’s left of a blue collar port town after a major toxic spill creating a domino effect catastrophe. This elaborate description pretty much nails the Toxian City setting.

[2018/01/04 17:58] Kate: key monk would love it here 🙂
[2018/01/04 17:58] Axiom: he must know this place
[2018/01/04 17:58] Kate: i don’t think ive seen any pics by him from here
[2018/01/04 17:59] Axiom: the secret word is cheeseburger
[2018/01/04 18:00] Kate: lool
[2018/01/04 18:00] Kate hands you a milkshake

The city consists of a grid of streets and disbursed throughout there is a general store, a shelter, apartments, a garage, a library, a liquor store, a porn shop, a church, a chemical factory and much more. Toxian City is huge, complex and multi-layered.

[18:08] Axiom: the building you are facing has some beautifully rendered light on the inside
[18:08] Kate: let me see
[18:08] Kate: i see you
[18:08] Kate: and yes, lovely space
[18:09] Axiom: aww, water tunnels
[18:10] Kate: tp moi svp 🙂
[18:10] Teleport offer sent to Kate (katebergdorf)
[18:11] Kate: wow
[18:11] Axiom: they are probably very extensive
[18:11] Kate: incredibleeee
[18:11] Axiom: yup very well planned stuff

The exteriors and interiors of the builds here are beautifully constructed. Most of them are made by Miss Wright and many others created by Pandemonium. We must have spent hours at this place, but it still seems we only saw a fraction. Head over and visit, bring your camera and make sure you have plenty of time to spend. You will not want to miss this.

Photographs by Axiomatic Clarity

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The Virtual Dance

 

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Most of us in Second Life love to dance and there is all kinds of dancing going on here. We rezz and hop on Bits and Bobs slow-dance poses in our homes, use dances attached to our AO HUDs at clubs, or head out to various dance places on the grid. We recently visited four classic dance venues and I am sharing with you some impressions here. First, an incredible dance place for those of us who like to tango, the Ocho Tango Place. After a brief walk from the landing, surrounded by delicate wrought-iron cafe tables and chairs, one stands at the entrance of an old red brick build, a beautiful house built by the multi-talented Megan Prumier. The inside of the tango place consists of a black and white tile floor, tall windows, a small bar, groups of armchairs, plants, framed pictures, and a stack of suitcases (at the back of the building is a locomotive, part of a small train station). Exquisite latin and tango music and tango poses compliment the surrounding environment. This gorgeous dance space has it all, but more than anything else the owners have managed to create a delightful ambience much like one we would find in any tango bar in real life.

A favorite for sure is the The Sable Club, part of The Chambers. This place is elegant and sophisticated, playing mostly Frank Sinatra and has fantastic dance poses. This is one of these wonderful dance clubs where you can dance for hours and lose track of time.

[16:17] Kate: this is our favorite dance place, no doubt
[16:17] Axiom: it wins hands down
[16:17] Axiom: and it’s pretty neglected
[16:17] Axiom: they deserve some credit here
[16:18] Kate: yes, unfortunately, but good for us lol
[16:18] Kate: the music is amazing as is the ambiance, a classic place
[16:18] Kate: the lag is not bad
[16:18] Axiom: don’t say it too loud
[16:19] Kate: lol

To me The Sable Club is very much a hidden treasure, mainly because for some mysterious reason people don’t seem to find their way here. And in all honesty, I was in fact unsure about adding it to my list of dance places, simply because I selfishly want it to remain as is.

Next, Frank’s Place Jazz Club, has remained pretty much the same since it opened in 2008 and is described as [a] classy and fancy Italian-themed jazz and dance club. This is a huge dance space and feels like “old” SL. Visitors are encouraged to wear formal wear and are greeted by a hostess upon arrival. There is very much a SL-ballroom-ambience-kinda-thing going on here, playing smooth jazz mixed in with oldish pop music. It is usually packed and when we visited there were 73 people on the sim. It was unfortunately impossible to move due to the lag. Finally, believe it or not, the old Cloud Nine is still alive and kicking. I remember way back in 2009, very much a noob still, I was quite taken with this place. While I was well aware of that it was kitschy beyond belief, I don’t hesitate the slightest to admit here that I still found all the fluff, the tear-jerker pop-music, the romantic dance poses and the dressing up in a formal gown incredibly magical. When we visited recently, the music and the poses were the same, but the place itself seemed smaller and several of the old partitions were gone. Nonetheless, its well worth a visit, even if simply for a walk down memory lane.

Photograph 1 (Ocho Tango Place) by Kate Bergdorf
Photograph 2 (The Sable Club) by Axiomatic Clarity

Two Winter Sims

Having been cooped up on North for most of the time for the past months, I rarely get out to explore anymore. But I miss it, and I miss blogging about places too. So today we headed out to check out two winter sims, La vivrevolte and D o X. La vivrevolte is created by the talented Iska Poppies, who also created L’intangible Reve. Her sim designs are well-crafted, playful and dreamy, with a serious attention to terraforming, ground texture and color schemes. She uses a wide variety of trees and different kinds of grass, both contributing to a sense of place. What struck me as most significant about the winter place La vivrevolte was the fact that there were patches of grass and brown ground noticeable in between on the snowy ground. This provides a realism and cohesion, not that easily achieved.

Our second stop D o X was created by Paradox Ivory. This is another beautiful winter sim, a bit denser seeming than La vivrevolte, but equally appealing. Wandering around, one is surrounded by a great variety of trees and bushes, a few partial fences strategically placed out. There is an island and, of course, there is snowfall. It’s a quite hilly area, providing ample opportunity for scenic corners. There is also a gallery, The D 0 X Urben Gallery (teleport to gallery from sim landing point). What really resonated most, however, is the outside dining area.

The outside dining space, complete with a fully set table and eight chairs, on this sim is fantastic. There is a feeling of the inside having brought outside and being completely integrated. This is an incredible spot that should not be missed.

[2017/12/17 11:13] Kate: this outside eating space is magical
[2017/12/17 11:13] Axiom: its great
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: and the surroundings are really well-built
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: the variety of colors on the ground
[2017/12/17 11:14] Axiom: those areas closer to water with fires and places to sit
[2017/12/17 11:14] Kate: and the tall trees
[2017/12/17 11:15] Kate: so so special, very festive
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: do you see the tree to my right waving with the wind?
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: yes 🙂
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: this place feels alive
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: the green one
[2017/12/17 11:16] Axiom: surreal isn’t it
[2017/12/17 11:16] Kate: yeah

Head over and check out these two sims, you will not be disappointed.

Photograph 1 (La vivrevolte), 3 (D o X) and 4 (D o X) by Axiomatic Clarity
Photograph 2 ((D o X) by Kate Bergdorf

DownFaLL

There is a new place, DownFaLL, created by Junn. Located at the south corner of the sim Azura Oasis, this is an inviting setting that makes wonderful use of space. There is a great attention to detail here, both when it comes to the partially rainy outside and the interior. The outside part consists of different kinds of trees and grasses, a small beach and plenty of seating areas, intermingled in between three builds. The inside of Apple Fall’s Country Hall has been decorated beautifully and paintings, candles as well as a set dinner table contribute to an intimate ambiance. DownFaLL opens to the public tomorrow night, head over and take a look!

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

The GoodLife

The GoodLife is a post-apocalyptic urban setting, complete with decaying houses and destroyed highways.  Abandoned vehicles, graffitied walls, piles of trash and shabby furniture are disbursed in between. Most of the builds are by the talented Death Row Designs team, but there are objects by other creators as well. This is an adult-themed sim where various sex poses can be found throughout. While I don’t visit adult-themed sims to engage in role-play, I generally find that darker places with post-apocalyptic and adult themes have more ambience and depth. They are excellent places to take pictures. The creator and owner of The GoodLife sim, CrankyGrit (aka Rwah, who also created the sim Purple Crayons), notes that [t]his build is based on a long time idea I have been toying with to combine things that are to my knowledge, not often combined. SL sports many luscious adult sims. Exquisitely decorated and well established. This little hole in the wall is not that. Nor is it exclusive, unless you call being a stickler for manners being exclusive. I wanted a sim where I ould enjoy the urban, post-apocalyptic sights with hangouts and adult nooks and crannies. A place where I can just be and perhaps watch or be watched or simply hang out. There are no expectations, other than that those who choose to visit here, are expected to behave and respect that adult RP could be going on. What I hope for this build, is that a wide variety of artistic souls, kinksters, out-of-the-box thinkers will come and visit and hopefully come back to dwell a bit longer. No doubt, Miss CrankyGrit totally succeeded in bringing to fruition her long time idea. I am amazed by this place and will keep coming back. A the landing there are notecards with information about the sim, the dungeon and about exhibit spaces that are also located on the sim. I will write more about the photograph exhibits in my Art in June post coming up in a few days. Head on over and take a look, this is in my humble opinion one of the coolest new places on the grid. Don’t forget to bring your camera, images can be posted in The GoodLife Flickr group.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

phabolaois strain

There is a new destination, Phabolaois strain, by the designer duo Miuccia Klaar and Squonk Levenque. This is a mostly flat space, but with a few hills, consisting of water and rain. Trees, boats, docks, benches, houses, seagulls, ruins, a light house and a large air balloon, as well as other objects, are dispersed throughout. The sim derives it’s theme from the island Phabolaois strain, founded in 1578: The discovery of large amounts of hephaestium due to the great meteor shower of 1862 made the island interesting to neighboring countries such as France that was not blessed in receiving this new and revolutionary mineral. After the failure of diplomacy France sent its troops in march 1865. A task force invaded Phabolaois stran finding only little resistance by the natives. The 1st batallion legionaires and the 4th senegalese tirailleurs occupied and ruled the land for a short period of time. Britain did not respond as most of the troops were involved in the African campain (1865-1877) which ended with the battle of Tripoli and with the Border and Sea Protection Act issued 1864 to respond to the threat of Germany and Austro-Hungarian naval forces. Indiscipline and boredom drove the french occupying troops out of Phabolaois stran to join the Belgian army as mercenaries. The island remained inhabited until 1928 when Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, one of King James political enemies, arrived and established himself in a little surviving property, seeking refuge from the king’s men and Dr. Hardquannone and his ”comprachicos” (pirates scavenging the coast). Due to his disfigurement, Gwynplaine sought isolation and peace together with his blind girlfriend Dea, his friend Ursus and his beloved dog Homo. Only the mansion, a few wrecks from the french invasion and the remains of an unknown ancient city are still to be seen. Seagulls and a deadly and deceiving tide protects Phabolaois strain today.

Phabolaois strain has a set region WL, which I strongly suggest to use as it makes all the difference in the world. It lends the sim the foggy, misty and generally wet ambience I believe it was meant to have. While the theme of the sim at first glance is of course about the old island, to me the meaning of it also extends beyond that; the places created by Miuccia and Squonk are generally all about the inside and the outside. The outside, with  rain, grim, bare, cold, leaves the visitor feeling lost or, perhaps forlorn. The inside, which usually consists of interiors of decaying builds, piles of thrown together old stuff, but a perfect mess really, suggests belonging, warmth and comfort. The visitor’s experience of the interior and exterior spaces combined is a sense of poetic melancholy.

Let me also note here that there is no doubt in mind that this designer pair has found the perfect virtual rain. It is heavy and strong, pouring and wet, with just the right amount of feeling of wind. I am also in awe about the objects that are repeatedly used by them, mostly refurbished, scruffy old stuff. These are things that have been found in a virtual attic or flee-market, no doubt. Head over and take a look and make sure to post your pics in the Phabolaois strain Flickr group.

Addendum: Here are a few things I neglected to include: As of today, the sim is not yet open to the public, but it will be soon. Also, there will be moments, and I suspect this is dependent upon the tide, when it will not rain! Finally, and so glad to hear this, the cool space Le Petit Japon will still be accessible.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

L’intangible

I told my friend this morning that I will cut down on blogging. I just don’t have the time for it anymore. But here I am again, writing the second post for today. Oh well. Inspired by an incredible photo posted on Flickr, go! go! little ship! by Sare, I headed over to L’intangable Reve. I am not sure who created it, but believe most likely Iska Poppies in collaboration with Sighwatr Crowbone. This is such a lovely place. You will find here country houses clustered amongst rolling hills, rivers, winding paths, swaying trees, and flowers of all kind. I fell in love especially with the sunflower field and the groups of little red poppies. The interiors of the houses are elegant and inviting. I wanted to stay. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your photos in the Field of Dreams & L’intangible Reve Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

The Last Forever

The Last Forever is a new destination inspired by Marfa, TX from the creators of West of the Rain , Oobleck Alagash and Nodnol Jameson (KraftWork), along with the creative team of Kai Mannequin, Brooke Barmy, Rooky Yootz, Triin, Misty and Jack Hanby. It has been immensely popular amongst Flickr photographers lately, and I headed over earlier in the week to see what the hype was all about. This is such a cool desert place! There is, amongst other things a shabby-looking town (including a shopping center), railroad tracks, asphalt roads, all kinds of desert vegetation, as well as an incredibly well-made camp site. Also, close to the camping site is a laundry/wash room facility. Those of you who know me a little better are aware of my weakness for all things domestic in SL, so you can imagine my delight. This is a really a great place, with wonderful attention to detail and a superb ambience. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your photos in The Last Forever Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

revisiting norderney

Jacky Mcpherson’s NorderNey feels very much like real life to me. Rarely have I encountered in Second Life a landscape sim that is so incredibly true to nature. It has to do with the objects used and how they are put together. Jacky seems to know exactly what kind of grass and rocks to use, which flowers and trees to select, and then picks out the perfect ground texture to go with it. The terraforming is carefully planned here as well; the place seems just flat, but it is not the case at all as there are subtle variations in level all over. The immersive sense of being on a beach is of course not achieved by merely selecting the right objects; it is the result of years of sim designing experience. There is a love for the craft of designing and a devotion to accuracy that is immediately noticeable here. Bravo Jacky for all of this and thank you for sharing with us your talent.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

natural falls

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Dann Chris has done a fabulous job with the newish sim Natural Falls V. The location name is followed by the roman numeral V, so I am assuming there must have been several Natural Falls places before this one. I never visited any of them and this was a pleasant surprise. One teleports into a boardwalk in front of a huge neon sign that reads and so the adventure begins. I love that this spot is the beginning of a journey that follows on the rather derelict and shabby part of a metropolis that awaits ahead. The boardwalk extends throughout the sim; above it, an old railway and below it, accessible by stairs, all kinds of builds in water. The builds here are fabulous! Most of them are by Soy, but also some by AptB, KT Syakomi and Agathe Latte and others. Do not be fooled, however, by the run-down architectural maze here, there is plenty of green spots in between. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your images in the Natural Falls Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf