Monday, October 24, 2011

Gracie Kendal’s “1000 Avatar Project“ Almost at 2000

Recently, I met up with Gracie Kendal, the artist behind the 1000 Avatar Project. She was on her photo studio platform over the coyote sim, with pictures of numerous avatars around four high walls, along with a number of people waiting to be photographed, many socializing before and after it was their turn. They, or someone they knew, had answered a notecard she had sent out.

I would love for you to be part of my project on online identity/anonymity. I am shooting portraits today, come on by and hang out, chat and be part of my project. I have over 1221 portraits so far of some of the most amazing people I know. My goal is now 2000.

And among the people waiting to get their pictures taken, were the residents of the Sunweaver Estates, and friends.“Nydia, are you ready?” She asked Club Zero owner Nydia Tungsten just after I arrived, and the white vixen stepped into Gracie’s hemisphere photo stand. Among those whom had gotten their pictures earlier, builder Lomgren Smalls, and Club Green Meadows owners ReCoyote Minds & Perri Prinz. There was a waiting list board for residents in line,”If you are here and want to participate click enter on the waiting list.” As soon as Gracie was finished with someone, the name was gone fron the list and the rest moved upward. Those wanting in clicked on the board to wait in line.

The 1000 Avatar Project was started almost a year ago. Someone asked if this was a second project of Gracie’s, “thought we were doing Round 2. (grin)” “Nah,” Gracie answered, “same project just going for 2000.” “Good luck Gracie - I know you'll make it no problem. (smile)” “Thank you, Menubar. (smile)”

For the photoshoot, Gracie asked her subjects to b ewhatever avatar and wear whatever outfit in Second Life they felt best represented them. They could also have on any AO, or any kind of pose or dance, “You can use any pose, dance animation, gesture, etc. youd like. (smile)”, though did ask that any facelights be removed. Nydia chose to wear a fine dress, “I wanted to look my best for Gracie.” Others also chose their very best outfits, although others chose everyday wear. The pictures themselves sometimes caused Gracie’s computer to pause a moment, and she sometimes had to take a second or third to get just the right pose.

Gracie took pictures of both the front and the back, but those on the wall were of the backsides. With the furred avatars, there were jokes that Gracie wanted a better shot of their tails. Gracie’s explained in the notecard the backside pictures were partily an artistic statement of Internet aynamonimity, and partialy because users usually saw the behinds of their avatars most of the time.

Gracie told me that she had found out about Second Life through her family, “My real-life aunt and uncle had read about it in SPIN magazine. They came in and thoughth it was so cool. especially the art and music scene. They told me I should bring my paintings in. So I came in, and loved it. I think they regret telling me. (laughter). ... but I needed it at the time. I was suffocating in real-life, and this place let me breathe, weird as it sounds.”

“I was working on my Masters degree, living with my Mom and Stepdad at age 33. I had my own place, but was going to study abroad for a year so moved in with them to save money. Then that fell through so I was stuck living with them. It was very stiffling. Then my Dad passed away. It was tough all around. ... I can say SL saved me. But luckily I am finding my way back.”

Of her experiences in Second Life, “I had the usual heartbreak, blah-blah-blah. But it has been an amazing experience. I went to Europe and met some Second Life friends, which was so very cool !” Of her previous work, her most noteworthy was her "My Life as an Avatar" project, “which is what I did my Masters thesis on. That is about my personal relationshiop with my avatar. And before that, in Second Life I was known for my paintings. (smile)”

As time went on, more avatars came by. One appeared as a winged demonness, “since it’s Halloween.” Eventually when the last person on the platform had their picture taken, Gracie began putting the new photos on the highest row of blank boards. When a row was filled, she put a new one over it. And as more people arrived, she resumed taking pictures, staying until her shoot was over.

One can read more about the 1000 Avatar Project at One can also read about her "My Life as an Avatar" project at

Gracie Kendal’s next shoot is today, Monday October 24th at Noon SL time, high over the Coyote sim at (102, 156, 1430)

“Meet me at the installation!! Hope to see you then!!!!”

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dahlia's Second Life Adventures

One thing about Dahlia Jayaram, she loves Second Life Adventures. Should you choose to interview her you will be doing it from a hot air balloon.

Dahlia completed the tour of the Blake Sea and Island communities in January and February. It's her favorite location because of the beauty of the sims she passes. She flew us past one of the bigger airports in SL. I leaned over carefully, not afraid of heights, just sim crossings.

"My first adventure was the Great Sailing Adventure in late 2009. It went from August to October of that year," she said while we hovered over Hollywood Airport. "I sailed from the southeastern most aspect of the Blake Sea and Island Communities around all the connected continents. I sailed everyday for six weeks."

Dahlia navigated the hot air balloon south toward Fort Sumpter stating that this was a very active travel area and that the Blake Sea was created for this reason. She began her balloon adventure in Jan. 2010 after finishing the sailing adventure in Oct. 2009.

As we fly over a popular pirate hide-out she jokes about the cannons facing toward the sea and that the pirates never thought about an attack by air. She navigates the balloon NW at speed 5 and tells me that like her sailing adventure, she'll write an Second Life book that covers it all while she continues her exploration on with the seventh continent of Corsica. She's written seven adventure books already.

"Have you ever seen the 3-sim long sailing boat, the SS Galaxy," she asks me, while directing the balloon southeast. "There are wedding chapels, exercise rooms, ballrooms, rental cabins, retail, helliports and I can go on."

Dahlia informed me that others have been inspired to have similar adventures. She considers that a great compliment and is happy that she's encouraged others to open their eyes to see beyond their usual boundaries.

Dahlia notices storm clouds and lightning ahead. She cautiously changes her hot air balloon's speed.

She tells me that after her sailing adventure, she wanted to find a way to include all of Second Life's regions that the sailing one could not. This is because not all continents are connected by a common body of water.

We hear the thunder as we enter the Temasek sim and we're hovering over the SS Galaxy again. A few sim crossings force me into the sea and we seek a more secure area to continue our conversation.

"The balloon adventure began Jan. 1, 2010," she begins to explain. "Because the Great Sailing Adventure could only include five of the 11 continents, I wanted to find a way to explore them all. Air seemed the next interesting way for me. I wanted to know more about the development of SL, so I wanted to start at the very oldest/first sim ever made and then fly to each continent in the order of their creation."

She considered it would make a natural progression. While she was still in the middle of one of the continents, a new one was created. It was established for new residents who wanted a free house and was named Nescera.

She anticipates her balloon adventure will be completed by the end of 2012. She has six more continents to explore.

What's next? Maybe a long distance swim. She's not sure.

Netera Landar

Monday, October 10, 2011

Burn2: The Burning of the Man

On Saturday at the Burning Man festival, it was part one of the closing ceremonies. It was time for "The Burning of The Man."

The real-life Man at the Burning Man festival in California could only be burned once, of course. In Second Life, it was brought back twice in order to accommodate the world-wide audience: European, American, and Australian/Asian at 11:30 AM, 7:30 PM, and Sunday 3:30 AM respectively.

"The Man," outlined by green neon tubing, is set ablaze.

"The Man" is soon completely on fire.

Before long, the structure begins to fall apart.

Onlookers cheered as "The Man" burned, "WHOOOOOOOT!!"

One wag sang a parody of "The Weathergirls," "It's burning man... hallelujah! It's burning man!"

Just the feet are left standing.

And this is what's left of "The Man," fallen half-burnt timbers, and a smaller bonfire.

Debbie Trilling shouted, "Pile logs on the fire to keep it burning. No logs, and it will die to an ember!" And pile the logs on people did.

The remaining fire was kept going for a while.

Debbie Trilling uploaded this recording of the burn on youtube.

Next: The Temple Burn

Pictures by Bixyl Shuftan and Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Burn2: DJ Healer and Oberon Onmura

When it comes to Burn2 and DJs, one can’t go wrong with Qwark Allen. He invited me to listen, sending me a TP, and arriving at the desert I found myself in a platform high in the air with over a dozen avs around, Qwark in a sleek steel skin, resembling a “naked robot.” He was certainly one of a kind.

So who else was out there? One of my neighbors told me about another Burn2 DJ: Healer Ladybird. Before the festival, I went over and had a few words with her. She had been logging on since 2007, “I was never into games online but SL hooked me (grin). I used to go to real-life desert raves and was always fascinated with the DJs.”

She had wanted to DJ herself in real-life, but didn’t have the money. She searched for a place that played “underground” music, and found a club called “Piranha.” “They had live DJ that played all genres. .. It became my home ... I hung out there for almost a year until the owner there who was also a DJ, she said if I wanted to learn how to DJ she would let me play there (grin). So she helped me. I got my software & music and practiced like crazy for like 3 months. And I debuted at the club in Feb 2008 (grin).”

She had been attending Burning Life/Burn2 for the past four years, DJing for the past three. She had seen her share off odd sights there, “Even Barack Obama was at my set (grin), well his avatar.” She went on to say the name was a bit misspelled. A favorite build of hers was when someone built some “oil pigs” in the ground that were actually oil rigs.

On Saturday Oct1, the night after the opening day of the festival, she was DJing for a small crowd under a tent, playing psytrance to a small crowd, mostly women. This wasn’t the biggest music event at the desert, but Healer was having fun all the same.

Healer Ladybird’s next event is tonight October 6th.

“I always wanted to DJ in real life, but never got the chance to and SL has given me that chance. It’s my passion, I love to play my music and I hope they like to listen. (grin)”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A couple days later, I was walking around, taking in some of the sights of the exhibits. Some were colorful, some were odd-looking, and some were odd looking and colorful. On my mini-map, I noticed a cluster of avatars at one exhibit, so I went closer to investigate. The exhibit, at the corner of "Rod's Road" and "7." wasn’t too colorful, a pale olive color. But there were several people inside, and a couple girls went up to another man sitting up front, one saying, “I brought my bestest friend to see it.” They soon left, and the man, a Oberon Onmura, looked to me, “ Hello Bixyl, enjoying the Burn?”

I asked Oberon what kind of exhibit this was. He answered, “Well, I'm one of the invited artists. So this is an art installation ... It turns on when someone enters.” I posted out the avs already in there. He chuckled, “Oh no, they live there. The ones in there now are bots, the ‘actors on the scene.’ “

And it wasn’t long before someone else did walk in, and things changed. the lights inside looked different, and some odd music came on. Oberon explained the music was chanting Croatian monks. Maybe it was those bots, but the scene reminded me a bit of some UFO abduction experience.

There were other sights that night, but this was the one that came with its builder.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bid4aCure Date Auction Nets 276K for Diabetes Research

On Sunday Sept 25th, the annual Bid4aCure date auction took place. Held at the Temprus sim, the event began at 11AM and went on for a few hours. A few dozen men and women took part, standing on stage while the bidding took place, sometimes with Jocelyn Sands who helped organize the event. While they were on stage, a song that the participents helped pick played for the audience. Money raised went to the American Diabetes Association and Diabetes UK.

The entrance to the event had a small art exhibit with a few displays. One titled “A Drop in the Bucket” showed a huge container of blood, with drops trickling in from above. But those dops had people inside, symbolic of the charity’s theme. Besides the dates up for bid, there was also a “silent auction” held beside the theater, with a number of clothes, skins, and other items up for bidding.

When Shana Kosco was up for bid, the music she chose was hard rock tunes.. She described herself to the audience as “loves art, and BEER.” After some laughter, she joked, “At least no one has talked about my tequila habits.” Someone commented, “A date with Sahana will not be boring, that is for sure.” She went for several thousand Lindens.

EricSteffensen Mistwalker was bid to the song “So Cliche.” He was won by B&B owner Bundy Xue, whose venue took part earlier this year in the "Jam for Genes" fundraiser. Bundy herself was up for bid soon after, dancing on stage to the tune of “Crazy B*tch.” With the winning bid at 10,000 Lindens, she responded, "Skeat says I define a expensive chick." Baxter Hyun was bid on to the tune of "I Ain't Got Nobody." His winning bid was 5K by Panther Miklos. Leira Vaughan went for more, Duncan Bagley putting up 20K for her.

Musician Mack Humbridge performed a little of his music during his bids, with a few of his fans in the audience dheering a bit, one calling out an “It’s a Mack Attack” gesture. Another musician, Edward Lowell, just performed quieter guitar music. One whimsical fellow held a sheapard's crook and rezzed a bunch of sheep around him. This was just a sample of what went on. No doubt the antics continued during the whole event.

Nazz Lane, whom once worked for Second Life Newser’s predecessor SL Newspaper, went for 7,000 Lindens by Briawinde Magic. Talking to him after the date auction, he told me a total of 396,791 had been raised, “Not as much as bigger fundraisers, such as the Relay for Life, but we’re happy with the results.“

Bid4aCure’s website showed a total figure of over 700,000 Lindens raised just after the date auction. They have continued to hold events, and recently their season total passed a million Lindens.

To read about Bid4aCure's date auction in 2010: Click Here.

To go to the Bid4aCure website: Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan