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Friday, September 25, 2009

In and about


"Merciful heavens! I should be terrified at the very idea of living here."
"You would have thought so, wouldn't you?" said Dr Emilius Browne. "I am, by nature, a little bit of a coward, but then I pondered, as I often do; in the perverse nature of things, this diabolical object is probably the best friend I ever had. It's enabled me for the first time in my life to live like a king. Shall we go in?"
Mary Norton: Bedknobs and Broomsticks
More of that later.
TechSoup Digital Storytelling Event is for non-profits who want to get their message out there via Second Life, and digital media in general. It's an initiative with support from many household names like YouTube, Flickr, Adobe and Youth Radio, so this is serious stuff...here's their blurb:
Every organization has a story to tell. But yours doesn’t have to be a bland, corporate-sounding video or canned sound bite. Even with limited resources, time, or skills, your nonprofit can tell a compelling story that captures the importance and impact of your cause — and we’ve got an event that will show you how!
OK I realize I should have mentioned all this before not after the main event, but TechSoup isn't over yet! At Nonprofit Commons I met up with In Kenzo, an inworld consultant to TechSoup, and asked what it was all about.
In Kenzo: TechSoup started hosting nonprofit meetings back when I first started building here back in 2006. This community has been the most stable I have been a part of in my years here. They empower hundreds of nonprofits in SL and thousands more through discounted software and technology tools. So I help them with mixed reality events including the Digital Storytelling Challenge and webinars starting next week. We'll be here 9/30 with an introduction to digital storytelling as it is used well by our partners and leaders in both business and nonprofit sectors. Then on 10/1 at 9AM we come back to do a one hour how-to-guide for nonprofits looking to create their stories for video or photo essay on the web. The challenge begins and groups will have nearly 3 weeks to produce a short piece, to be screened at the TechSoup Global Headquarters in San Francisco on 10/21 at 7PM. We'll have a mixed reality party that night to show the winners and share our stories together.
If you're curious to know more about In Kenzo there's a machinima blog well worth a look: this Green Fairy has creativity to spare!
And if you want to rub virtual shoulders with all kinds of silicon socialites, and make your mark in the world of Good Causes, put the 21st in your diary - better still, get creative, make the most of the extraordinary help on offer, and put your non-profit on the map!
OOO spooky... over at the haunted reading room at Milk Wood Library, on Fridays, you can hear Emz Mazie (in RL Emerian Rich) read a chapter from her new book about vampires, Night's Knights. There is a picture of her looking appropriately vampirish in the Italian bit, which may or may not be finished when you toodle down there to check. I am semi on strike, waiting for someone to pass me filthy lucre via the 'happy readers' section on your left, you see. If you missed the first instalments of Emz's book, you can catch up at www.vamp.mevio.com.
Emz Mazie: My group Quills has a little hangout on Book Island. They record their podcast there every other week,and recently had a Wicked Women Writers challenge. Emz and 4 other RL women writers were on live to chat about books, the writing process, and being an author in SL, and you can listen to what Quills has to offer at. It's been a while since I TP'd over to West of Ireland, and so I took the opportunity to drop in on their reading room to hear Caledonia Hightower reading Mary Norton's classic The Magic Bedknob (you may know it better as the film starring Angela Lansbury Bedknobs and Broomsticks). I love WOI because the the sim is designed to be both pleasing and low lag, and it is a great place to hear live books, other readers include WOI luminaries such as Derry McMahon and Elder Priestman who often do two-hand narrations. The sim supports a very good RL cause, providing activities to help Irish communities integrate in a spirit of tolerance and friendship, so show your Linden love if you stop by.
Wow was it really almost a week ago? On Sunday last Merlino Mayo kindly reminded me that they were re-showing Metropolis over at sim Benvolio. By Metropolis, I don't mean simply an inworld cinematic showing of the 1927 Fritz Lang film, but a fantastic 3D re-enactment of the film using avatar actors including Debbie Trilling, MillaMilla Noel, Efrantirse Morane, Josina Burgess and Velazquez Bonetto. It was all very cleverly done. You sit down and then, along with the camera closeups visible from each seat, the whole audience is moved around the sim so they become part of the action. There are all kinds of flames, and people looking pretty angry, and a huge robot. No, I have no idea what the film is about, I am a total ignoramus, but I bet you know it, and it was great to look at. Even more impressive when you stop to think about all the TPs, animations and poses the actors had to manipulate in what appears a seamless performance. It was amazing! I could see why Merlino had been to see the show five times, I definitely would like to go again myself. Check the group notices and the blog to learn when they'll next be doing their thing.
Metropolis is the second project of its kind by the CARP team (they did Pink Floyd's The Wall My photos are, well, you're better off going to the diabolus/CARP collection at Flickr. The one-hour event is the result of months of rehearsal, building, and scriptmaking, a true labour of love for the first full length Science Fiction film. I spoke to Velazquez Bonetto about the project after the show.
Velazquez Bonetto: The whole idea to bring Metropolis into SL was Debbie Trilling's, but we have all contributed. My group provides the space on our sim. It's called The Art Space Diabolus and was founded in SL on the 24th june 2007 by Caravaggio Bonetto, Josina Burgess and myself for Experimental Cybernetic Art. Windy Lane made the scenery, Sca Shilova built the robot and the animations for it. Also, Nnoiz Papp composed the music, Josina Burgess created all the characters, making botht the avatars and their costumes. I'm an industry designer and a computer scientist in RL, so SL is a nice game for me, and I contributed by rebuilding the whole Metropolis, and writing programs and scripts, and setting the stages. To see more about the group and their avant-garde aspirations for avatar art, go to the diabolus website and wallow in world wild webbery, and there are loads of machinima on Youtube too...
∻∼∾⊰⊱∾∼∻
TechSoup! Un minestrone di tecnologia, in questo caso attrezzi, consigli, consulenze gratuite per chiunque abbia un ente non a scopo di lucro e lo vuole pubblicizzare. Con la partecipazione di ditte.com RL quale YouTube, Flickr, Adobe, TechSoup ha lanciato un concorso e una serie di webinar (seminari via web) partendo dal ragionamento che ogni causa per trovare nuovi sostenitori deve sapersi 'raccontare'... catturare l'immaginazione di possibili nuovi aderenti. Questa iniziativa accavalla il reale e il virtuale, posita SL come organo potentissimo di informazione e di attivismo. A Nonprofit Commons troverai molte informazioni su questa iniziativa che si conclude il 21 ottobre. Qui nella foto vedi In Kenzo, in SL dal 2006, una consulente per il gruppo, TechSoup che lei definisce uno dei più seri e validi in SL.
In Kenzo: Io do una mano con questi eventi mixed reality. Sono qui per la Digital Storytelling Challenge, in cui è stato lanciato la sfida di inventare il modo più efficace e avvincente di raccontare la passione e l'importanza del proprio gruppo. Oggigiorno il pubblico viene bombardato da messaggi, pubblicità, notizie e novità, e non è facile trasmettere in poche istanti un messaggio importante. Vogliamo aiutare la gente a commmunicare in modo vivace e memorabile, e alla fine di questo corso, ci sarà una grande festa sia in SL, qui al Non Profits, sia a San francisco, alla sede centrale di TechSoup, per premiare il filmato, la 'storia' più avvincente.... se vuoi migliorare il tuo inglese in un ambiente accogliente e tranquillo dove spesso appaiono fate e folletti, questo può essere il sim per te, il West of Ireland, sim ad opera di beneficenza che aiuta ragazzi nordirlandesi cattolici e protestanti a convivere e conoscersi meglio. Se ci fai un salto, sarai accolto con entusiasmo e buon umore da Derry Macmahon e Elder Priestman owners e builders della biblioteca. Legge ogni settimana la brava Caledonia Hightower una puntata del libro Il Magico Pomo d’Ottone di Mary Norton poi divenuto un film Disney.
Degna di SL, questa scena dal film Pomi d'ottone e manici di scopa in cui la buon vecchia Miss Price con un tocco di magia brittanica respinge le forze nazistiche.

Non solo folletti simpatici in Second Life... ci sono anche degli spiriti assai più malvagi. Come le forze del male nel nuovissimo libro di Emz Mazie, I cavallieri della notte, o in inglese il più linguisticamente contorto Night's Knights. L'autrice ci ha letto il primo capitolo nella stanza incantata di Milk Wood Library. un appuntamento ogni venerdi sera, per l'orario, puoi consultare le notice di Virtual Writers o Bookstacks. Se hai perso qualche puntata. puoi anche ascoltare l'archivio a www.vamp.mevio.com.
Emz ha un gruppo chiamato Quills (Calami). Hanno uno spazio su Book Island, e questa settimana ci saranno 5 scrittrici che parleranno sull'argomento: Autrici Peccaminose... informati sul gruppo Quills inworld.Una settimana fa, mi ha segnalato Merlino Mayo una performance del gruppo CARP a sim Benvolio hanno fatto un performance del film Metropolis uno dei primi film fantscienza, una produzione incredibile, per le prestazioni degli attori Debbie Trilling, MillaMilla Noel, Efrantirse Morane, Josina Burgess e Velazquez Bonetto, per le scene, le animations, il robot.....ecco le mie foto, ma meglio andare a Flickr oppure direttamente al loro sito diabolus ... io devo uscire in real... a dopo...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In it for the Monet: SL Giverny

Je compris là le pouvoir fabuleux de la
peinture.

Kandinsky, On seeing a Monet, 1910

La versione italiana è in basso....
Plenty of ugly in my life recently, as I've been struggling with the Curse of Ruth. Yuck! The only upside of it was that I read Siri Woodget's blog on the subject ... what a great read. Anyhoo, you all know I love flowers (hint hint) and so I found the perfect spot to recuperate from being hit with SL's ugly stick. I went to SL Giverny, a recreation of the village in France made famous first by impressionist painter Monet and later by the many American and English painters who lived there in order to be close to the artist. There is little evidence to show Monet was impressed by his transatlantic fan base, but I was very impressed by what Kate Robbiani, Soleil Snook, and Omicron Llewellyn have made here. I met Soleil in the garden, in RL she's a professional fund raiser originally from the Pacific Northwest, a textile artist by avocation and an avid gardener currently living in Britain: here in the metaverse she's a gallic gal with the beret to prove it.

Soleil Snook: I was intrigued by the idea of using Second life to express Beauty. It is a subjective idea, but each person knows beauty when they see it, a visceral response, and the French Impressionists do that for me. I wanted to create something that was like walking in a painting, and I see gardening as a way of painting with plants. Giverny is a beautiful place in Real Life, and combines all the things I love, gardening, art, architecture and character of place. My friend and sim-sharer Kaye Robbiani built and owns Ville de Giverny, a residential sim next door. She has used some great photo representations for her replica buildings, like the historic Hotel Baudy where so many American artists stayed - and where SL residents can now stay too.

This is what the hotel looks like in SL... In the Village, Giverny Church (shown in the Italian bit) and Monet's house (in the next picture) are fairly authentic, although the inside of the house is one big room, for the sake of practicalities.
In 1883 Monet and his partner Alice Hoschedé moved into the farmhouse, seven years later, Monet was financially secure enough to be able to buy the property and, on the other side of what at that time was a farm track and is today a road busy with tourist traffic, start digging his lily pond at the end of the garden. The house has a deceptively humble appearance: among the illustrious guests who visited here were Cézanne, Rodin, Mary Cassat, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Monet saw out the Great War in London, and travelled extensively around Europe, but this small house on the river Epte was his home for 43 years.
Soleil Snook: We tried to terra-form in a way that captures the lie of the land around Giverny and looked to paintings by Monet for the orchard, the sea walks, fields and hay stacks. My partner Omicron Llewellyn and I have hand-drawn textures from RL photos to create something SL-consistent that draws inspiration from the actual place. To copy it verbatim wouldn't be in keeping with the spirit of art: the Giverny of Second Life is Omicron Llewellyn's and my 'impression' of Giverny. The new Bistro is of course our own, and the notes to and from Claude Monet are a whimsical touch, as is the Perbiatium Conservatory for Tropical Plants, with our own version of the Loch Ness Monster! You can see my attempt at photographing the timid wee beastie further down. Soleil has added another element linking the virtual with the real, making her Giverny experience all the richer I think. She follows the offical RL Giverny Garden Calendar as much as possible and features whatever is growing in the RL Garden of Giverny on any given month. She also plans to revamp the Monet house by adding more Japanese elements. Monet was a huge fan of Japanese art, it seems. See, you learn something new every day. I wondered what was the hardest thing to make for Giverny, and what part Soleil likes best.
Soleil Snook: Gosh, the hardest thing is to keep it fresh and beautiful with plants in their seasons. Keeping the whole place active and alive, and growing an active artisan community that is thriving. The Lily Pond is as close as I could make it to the Real one, including the rotation of plants with the seasons. Fighting Alpha issues has got to be the most frustrating thing. My favorite places in Giverny are the Lily Pond and The Perbiatium Conservatory, because they are colourful, which to me means Beautiful. I smiled, and tried to Google 'Alpha issues' - seems to be something to do with problems in getting textures transparent, but I could be wrong. I have no technical skills, as you know, hello ruthed for a week, mostly due to my unlimited pension for not reading instructions of any kind, plus the shops on the sim distracted me. I wondered aloud how important the commercial side is to Soleil's idea of the Sim Beautiful.
Soleil Snook: Giverny evolved around my first garden center in Caledon, and Kaye who combined open sims with me to create this place, owned a furniture shop. It's beauty that interests us, not financial gain. The sim is commercial, but we attract and keep merchants who are first artisans in their chosen work in SL. By supporting artists we enable them to continue to bring to Second Life the very best of what is offered. Artists in RL let alone SL can not survive on air. It's interesting to speculate on how someone like Monet would have used Second Life. If it had been around in his time, I think he'd have used it to build on what he had already created, I don't think that he would have become photo - realistic. I think he would have pushed the limits of the medium as he did in Real Life. He kept busy, and so do we, for example in October we will have the Festival Autumne de Giverny, which will be music, art, plants, clothing, a French themed celebration of the Harvest. We'll feature the sculpture of Martini Discovolante in the main square. We have Weekly Live Concerts again with Prog Folk Duo Pillowfish and guitarist Jean-Christophe Chevalier, who lives in the RL Giverny area. You can join our group on the sim, it's a subscribomatic easel and won't take a slot in your groups.
There's plenty to do at Giverny. You can row with your loved one on the Seine river, (boats supplied if that's the kind of rowing you prefer) and drive around in an Oldsmobile from the 1800's, or you can shop for plants and pretties, or pose for a picture by Monet's haystacks, or walk by the ocean, or get married in the chapel. You can play the sword game, En Garde, or simply sit by the lily pond and form an impression or two of your own.
Thirza Ember: Your Giverny is lovely. If you were able to visit a similar sim dedicated to another artist, author or musician, who would you pick and why?
Soleil Snook: My favorite American Artist is Georgia O'Keefe. She pushed all the boundaries of the time, in her art and her life. Her use of color is amazing to me. The first time I saw a real live Georgia O'Keefe painting at the Art Institute in Chicago tears came into my eyes, it was so extraordinarily beautiful. I think what Kate Miranda is doing with classical music on Cedar Island is wonderful.. She really does it for the love of Classical music and for the artists and audiences.
Next stop Cedar Island, then, for me... let's hope I manage to lose Ruth in the ether.


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Molto brutto questo periodo, in SL per me, afflitta del 'Ruthismo' avevo gran bisogno di immergermi nel Bello... e l'ho trovato presso il giardino del grande pittore impressionista Claude Monet. Non serviva prendere ancora un'altro benedetto aereo in Real - basta con i viaggi lunghi per un po' - ho potuto visitare casa sua, il suo famoso giardino pieno di giochi di prospettiva, e il bellissimo lago con le ninfee, ma non solo, anche il paesino di Giverny dove molti pittori statunitensi, discepoli di Monet, hanno stabilito una colonia; inoltre, ho potuto fare una passeggiata sulla spiaggia immaginaria dei suoi quadri, e nel frutteto della sua fantasia - il tutto grazie, naturalmente, a Second Life SL Giverny. Creazione di tre bravi builders, Kate Robbiani, Soleil Snook, e Omicron Llewellyn, Giverny in SL è arte, storia, giardinaggio, e shopping, tutti all'insegna della Bellezza.Soleil Snook: Per me la Bellezza è fondamentale, un sentimento viscerale quanto soggettivo. Ho voluto utilizzare SL per dare un senso di ciò che io trovo bello - i colori vivaci e la sensualità dell'impressionismo. Sono appassionata sia dell'arte che del giardinaggio in RL, e in SL ho cominciato da subito a creare e vendere textures di fiori e piante nella zona di Caledon, i sim che ricordano il periodo nel novecento. Da qui nasce l'idea di portare nel metaverso la casa e il lago delle ninfee di Monet. Abbiamo voluto adoperare due tecniche diverse nella land: textures fotorealistiche e altre che sono elaborate su una base autentica ma che sono disegnate a mano per adeguarsi alle esigenze e lo stile di Second Life. Se vogliamo, un'impressione della casa di Monet e dintorni, anziché una replica fedele, anche se molte strutture, come ad esempio la Chiesa, sono molto vicine alla realtà, e abbiamo seguito con la nostra terra-forming, un senso del paesaggio francese.

Ecco l'interno della casa dell'artista: come si vede, non è divisa in stanzette, come quella vera. Qui tra poco una novità, aggiungiamo dell'arte giapponese, molto amato da Monet. Il pittore visse per oltre 43 anni in questa semplice casa di campagna, ebbe come visitatori alcuni dei grandi del mondo dell'arte e della politica tra i quali Cezanne, Rodin, Mary cassat e il premier francese Georges Clemeceau. troverai che anche SL Giverny è u luogo molto ospitale e romantico. Qui puoi fare un giro in una vecchia Oldsmobile, fare lo shopping per piante e quadri, passeggiare sulla riva del mare ispirato sempre dai quadri di Monet, o osservare il laog delle ninfee. Soleil si impegna a mantenere il sim secondo le stagioni e aggiorna regolarmente sia lil laghetto che i fiori nel giardino seguendo il Giverny Garden Calendar. Ci sono molti tocchi autentici ma anche elementi fantasiosi di Soleil, ad esempio Nessie, il mostro marino di Loch Ness,vive qui, perché Soleil attualmente vive in scozia. Anche il bistro è pura loro invenzione. Non manca la musica a Giverny, si esibiscono regolarmente Pillowfish e chitarrista francese - anzi giverniano - Jean-Christophe Chevalier, basta premere sul cavaletto subscribomatic per abbonarsi al gruppo e ricevere notizie. Troverai qui anche il gioco di scherma En Garde e ci sono battelli a remi per chi vuole andare sull'acqua. nella chiesa è possibile sposarsi e difatti il posto è molto romantico, con le ninfee e i cigni, ma essendo sola, quale posto più bello di questo, sulla riva d'un mare metaversale, a contatto con le onde irrequiete quanto questa viaggiatrice. Per un attimo, ho creduto d'aver avvistato il mostro nessie... ma non ho fatto intempo a fotografarlo. Sarà stato solo una mia impressione...



Thursday, September 10, 2009

September in Paris



...another french quickie, this is getting to be a habit...
Zephyru Zapedzky let me know about a new show he is hosting in the lovely franco-retro sim Paris 1900
Here's his notecard... except I took the liberty of changing 'expose' to read 'exhibit'. I didn't want him to sound like a streaker. Paris 1900 is a lovely sim, go over as soon as you get a chance.. I'll see you there.
"About two years ago, during my first weeks in SL, I was invited to exhibit my RL oils in an amazing museum at the famous Paris 1900 Sim. After my show there, I saw the museum was a bit dormant for a time, so I offered myself to curate it with new artists, giving montly expos.
After some months the Sim was about to close but then was saved by Saddam, and I again offered to re-open the museum and curate the expos as I had done before.
Some months later the Sim changed owners again, and now I was invited by my friend Ziget to continue my work as curator at a different but no less extraordinary museum at the all renewed Paris Eiffel Sim."

So this way, the Museum of Paris rises once more and the vernissage is 18th September at 2 pm SL time.
I'm presenting the great artist Carressa Constantine (RL oils on canvas) and some of my own RL and SL works as well.
I hope you all be there for the big open party at Paris 1900
in the name of Art."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody: Mykal Skall's Chelsea Hotel

Darkness fell over the grimy city. It wasn't raining, but it should have been, when I dodged inside the Hotel the other night looking for somewhere to sit a while. It was late, very late. There were a few people in the Lyceum, the night club attached to the hotel proper, they stood around swaying. There was a woman sitting on a big cushion on the floor, and a guy was singing and playing the guitar.
Son, can you play me a memory...

His voice suggested that it had been a long night. One of the regulars made a remark about trying to get his voice and guitar both in the same key; he didn't seem to care. I stood at the bar by the busty 2D blonde barmaid, like you do, hoping no-one would notice me. They didn't. We were at the Chelsea Hotel, so it didn't matter. After a while I got comfy, as the discussion about the merits of different guitars faltered back and forth.
...what do you see in me. Just a portrait of what I used to be....
It's really hard not to like a man who plays harmonica, even if he's very tired. His name was Mykal Skall, and he was the owner. After a while, Hotel Manager Enola Vaher came over for a chat. I asked her how she got here...

Enola Vaher: I've been in SL about 14 months; my son introduced it to me, he thought it would help me because in his opinion I was 'bored and lonely'. LOL He helped to find my way around and I met some very nice people. One of those helped me to get a job hosting in a club and I loved it! So I evolved from working in clubs to working for MNP where I met Mykal. I love working with live musicians and helping to get the music out to as many people as possible. I love managing the Hotel, I get to meet all sorts of people. Our Hotel Chelsea is full of characters, just like the RL one. I'm disabled and can't work in 1st life, so for me being able to interact socially with people in SL is a delight.
I told Enola a bit about Artsparks, and asked her who she would build a sim to, if she had the chance.
Enola Vaher: I think I'd choose Bob Dylan. He stayed in room 201 here in the hotel. I've been a fan and hoplessly in love with him since I was 16. The sim would celebrate Dylan in the early '60s, with ballads, folk music and poets. It would be very politically minded, beatnic style. I would encourage talk of disobediance and reform ... actually the Hotel Chelsea is my dream sim. It has all of these things and more. I'd have to say my favorite part is the Lyceum. While this is not a part of the Real Life Chelsea, it's an integral part of what the SL Chelsea is all about. I'm so pleased to able to work there and help make it the amazing place that it is. If I didn't work here I would be one of the regulars who hangs out there every day.

Mykal Skall, the man behind the virtual Chelsea, has been in SL over three years.
Mykal Skall: I heard about it from a few friends. The first few weeks, all I found was casinos, strip clubs and escort services. I couldn't wrap my mind around it, until someone pointed out to me that any new society is driven by money and sex... I later imported some of my art into SL and realized how great it can be to get exposure for art and music when I heard my first live streaming performance. I had been primarily playing live music in SL since then. The outlet for my art and original music was the main driving factor that kept me here, along with the joy of building.
The film "Sid & Nancy", was Mykal's introduction to the Chelsea Hotel. if you don't know their story click here. Reading more about the hotel, he was intrigued by a place that was like a vortex sucking in so many talented musicians, writers, artists and thinkers. The hotel opened its doors in 1883, not far from Washington Square. The word 'Hotel' may be misleading, we're not talking Waldorf Astoria here: a room in the Chelsea means a relatively cheap self-catering city bolthole for artists rich in talent but not much else. Creativity squared equals disorderly conduct, the hotel's lobby and public areas have always been full of art, often dangerously so. Sparks of every kind fly here. Another volatile couple who called the Chelsea home for a brief time were the impecunious Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin; this is where Thomas put the finishing touches to under Milk Wood, and indeed went fairly gentle into that good night from these very doors. You can visit Sid's virtual room, on the first floor, and Bob Dylan's room, currently threatened with 'improvements' in the real world, is also open for viewing. Mykal has filled the sim with many authentic touches, and there are lots of notecards to fill you in with both the general history of the hotel, and its current legal woes.
Mykal Skall: I stayed at the Hotel in 2008, and was amazed at its history, the incredible art on the walls, the unique sounds and smells, and the eclectic blend of extreme characters. To walk the steps and halls, in the footsteps of Thomas Wolfe, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Dylan, affected me forever. To later find out about the Hotel's recent troubles sickened me. I did the build myself. It took about three weeks. I had built the outside shell at a different site about a year earlier, but this is a completely new version. I really had no intention of leaving it here, or even making it a business. I simply bought the cheapest mainland in SL with the idea that if I ever opened it to the public I'd move it to a better, faster, sim. But then the Chelsea Hotel blog picked up the story, and the New York Times interviewed me, and Linden Labs made us the #1 Hot Spot in SL, our traffic went from 17 to over 20,000 in three weeks, and we were stuck here. It was a challenge to keep the outside as true-to-life as possible yet make the inside viable for SL camera angles.

With the help of a RL hotel resident I got amazingly perfect textures of the hotel. He is now a SL resident also. My favorite part of the build is the inner staircase. Just like in the RL Hotel, the walls are crowded with some of the most incredible art you will ever see. We don't know how many people walked - or even fell to their death - on those steps, but it feels like all of their ghosts are still here. Several RL residents and past residents, authors, and musicians, visit or stay at the SL hotel. That's one of the coolest things. The virtual version has gathered a group of regulars with a very similar mindset to those who frequented the RL hotel over the years.Thirza Ember: Tell me about your best moment so far.
Mykal Skall: Our "unofficial grand opening"! I had done the build, it had hit the blogs, and I had a call from the NewYork Times all within a few weeks. The reporter wanted to interview me on the phone, I told them they should do it right, and visit the hotel in SL. I had no plans, nor any idea how to run a venue, but I didn't want the place empty when the reporter showed up. A few hours before his arrival, I contacted Skylar Smythe, she's associated with some of SL's best spoken word artists. I told her what was happening and asked if she could gather a few people for a poetry read so that it looked like something was going on at the hotel. By the time I got the reporter logged into SL, the sim was so full that we couldn't even get him in. We had to ask for volunteers to leave so that he could take the tour! It was incredible. You can see for yourself the machinima of the event.
We plan on having regularly scheduled poetry and spoken word events like "Art in the Streets" an event to showcase original artists, with musicians playing in the streets. Recently I played at our first ever "Rocking the Chelsea Rooftop" show, we have some other pretty off-the-wall ideas, but I don't want to let too many cats out of the bag at once. We keep the creative flow very loose and improvisational. What you won't find is any musicians playing to backing tracks. It's one of our few rules, we we cater to the "singer/songwriter" crowd, and don't allow "karaoke" type performers. What we have found by wandering in, are half dressed men suspended in the fireplace, a large flock of chicken-headed avatars dancing in the Lyceum, and some of the most incredible talent in SL performing within our walls. So stop in, any time, you never know what your unique experience will be.
Thirza Ember: I love the David Combs circular painting of the lobby, (see below) it captures the spirit of the place. So many famous writers, musicians and painters are connected one way or another with the Chelsea. If you were given a sim and allowed to celebrate just one of those famous names, who would you pick?
Mykal Skall: I wouldn't pick one of the famous artists, musicians, or painters, I'd pick the person who for decades made it possible for those people to thrive here at the Chelsea Hotel: Mr. Stanley Bard. Mr. Bard ran the hotel throughout its most tumultuous and creative years, and now thanks to greedyshareholders he's been ousted and that creativity is in danger of being stifled forever. I'd build the sim just like my current build only larger and more detailed as a tribute to what the hotel would be in RL if he were still in charge. Mr. Bard is no spring chicken, and I hope for two things: That he sticks around long enough to see the Hotel reinstated to its previous glory under the management of his son, and that he somehow finds out about my small attempt to preserve the hotel virtually and bring awareness to his plight. I don't know if he has any clue what I've done, but it would mean so much to me to find out some day that he did.

Eccomi a New York, al Chelsea Hotel ... forse l'hai sentito nominare? Io no; ero all'oscuro di questo vero gioiello artistico newyorkese prima di capitare nella versione virtuale su sim Lanestris. Costruito in real nel 1883, si tratta di una residence frequentatissima da artisti, poeti, romanzieri e musicisti famosi e meno famosi, monolocali scarafaggiatissimi, dove regna l'estro non l'igiene. In RL l'elenco degli inquilini chelseani durante il ventesimo secolo è ricco quanto eclettico: Andy Warhol, Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Edith Piaf, Thomas Wolfe, Francesco Clemente, Janis Joplin, e Sid Vicious, per nominare solo alcuni dei più famosi. L'albergo ha una storia un po' scabrosa, spesso ha presentato un aspetto disordinato, l'androne sopraffollato di tele stumenti musicali sculture e il detrito del processo artistico. Qui nella figura si vede un quadro del 'vero' atrio dell'albergo, di David Combs. Stanley Bard è stato per decenni il benigno amministratore del caos meraviglioso al Chelsea, permettendo agli inquilini di usare il tetto come giardino e studio artistico, perdonandogli anche l'affitto quando i tempi erano difficili, offrendo una mano in generale a quelli che ne avevano bisogno. Al Chelsea regnava un senso di protesta, di poesia, di confusione creativa che a sua volta attirava come in un vortice altri grandi talenti, alcuni divenuti famosissimi, alcuni ancora sconosciuti ma comunque grandi a modo loro. Di recente alcuni investitori hanno tentato di prendere in mano l'albergo, sfrattando residenti facendo delle ristrutturazioni alle camere 'storiche' tra i quali quella di Bob Dylan, troppo lunga e litigiosa la faccenda da raccontare qui. Poi molto più ... edificante la cronaca del Chelsea Hotel in SL; ti consiglio di leggermi fino in fondo oggi, se hai mai provato sconforto davanti alle sfide finanziarie-artistiche di Second Life. Ho conosciuto l'owner e builder in questi giorni, Mykal Skall, simpatico pittore e cantautore, residente nel metaverso da oltre tre anni. Ci siamo visti nel Lyceum Club che fa parte del suo build, e dove suona quasi tutte le sere la sua chitarra e l'armonica. A me piace l'armonica, l'ho scoperto questa settimana. Harmonicas rock. Gli ho chiesto come e perché The Chelsea Hotel in Second Life.
Mykal Skall: Ho conosciuto l'albergo tramite il film Sid & Nancy, una tristissima RL vicenda vissuta (e cinematizzata) nel Chelsea. L'edificio ha una storia così ricca e affascinante ho voluto approfondire. Essendo io artista e poeta, anche se soltanto al livello 'amatoriale', l'idea dell'albergo e i suoi ospiti divenne per me un simbolo di new York più significativo della Statue of Liberty o il Empire State Building. Infine nel 2008 ho avuto modo di visitare l'hotel e di conoscere anche alcuni residenti, e devo dire che il luogo mi ha colpito molto. Si sentiva la presenza di tutti quei grandi che hanno influenzato me e tanti come me... Thomas Wolfe, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, e Bob Dylan. Sapere che la creatività e la libertà di espressione di chi frequenta attualmente l'albergo sia minacciata mi ha spinto a creare una versione virtuale per sensibilizzare il pubblico a quello che sta succedendo. Da un po' di tempo importo i miei quadri in SL, ma non intendevo mettere su una business in Second Life, infatti ho comprato il land meno costoso sul Mainland e in un paio di settimane ho costruito l'albergo. La parte più difficile è stato replicare un esterno realistico che possa accomodare interni 'vivibili' dal punto di vista dell'avatar, anzi dalle Linden camera angles. Per il build ci ho messo circa tre settimane, e ho avuto la grandissima fortuna di ottenere, tramite residenti dell'Hotel RL, delle textures autentiche. Il Lyceum è un'invenzione mia, per dare un posto per le serate musicali, ma il resto è molto vicino alla realtà. Sono particolarmente fiero del giardino sul tetto, dove teniamo feste, e dove in real gli artisti lavoravano si esibivano e... cercavano l'ispirazione a modo loro. Inoltre le scale mi piacciono moltissimo. La tromba delle scale è una vera e propria galleria, questa ringhiera è esattamente come quella vera, e mi piace pensare a tutte le persone che hanno camminato - o addiritura sono cadute - per queste scale di marmo. Ho voluto ricreare la stanza di Sid e Nancy, e la camera di Bob Dylan, ma ci sono anche altre camere prenotabili. Ho avuto il privilegio di ospitare nella versione SL alcuni dei personaggi veri che hanno vissuto in quella reale, è stato una degli aspetti più belli della mia esperienza metaversale. Ma la parte più straordinaria è stato quando alcuni blog hanno saputo della mia iniziativa, in particolare il blog della Chelsea Hotel - mi ha contattato un reporter del New York Times - mi voleva fare un'intervista! io ho proposto un'incontro inworld, il reporter ha accettato, e ho subito pensato che l'albergo virtuale senza 'ospiti' avrebbe un'aspetto triste... non avevo mai organizzato un evento in Second Life, non sapevo come fare, ho contattato la brava Skylar Smythe, lei conosce molti poeti e scrittori di spicco in Second Life e real, e in pochissimo tempo ha messo insieme una serata indimenticabile... c'erano talmente tanti avatar sul sim che ho dovuto chiedere alcuni di uscire per poter far entrare il reporter e fargli fare il giro dell'albergo. Abbiamo fatto una bellissima machinima per ricordare l'occasione. Linden labs ci ha messo numero uno tra i loro Hot Spots. E da allora, l'albergo è divenuto famoso. Continuiamo ad organizzare serate di musica, di poesia, ma anche molti incontri meno formali, momenti in cui tutto è possibile, regna il caos della fantasia libera. Ci sono state serate in cui ho trovato nel Lyceum un gruppo di avatar tutti con la testa di pollo, in un'altra occasione, nel cammino c'erano degli uomini mezzi nudi sospesi in mezz'aria... tutto è possibile. Prossimamente faremo delle feste 'in strada' - arte e musica disposta davanti all'albergo. E ci sono sempre eventi nuovi, basta associarsi al gruppo per saperne di più.
Se dovessi fare un'altro sim, un Arts Park per un solo personaggio, non sceglierei nessuno dei grandi qui sopre nominati. Sceglierei proprio Mr Stanley Bard. Lui non è né scrittore, né pittore né musicista, ma senza di lui l'Hotel Chelsea non avrebbe mai potuto nutrire e dare rifugio tutti questi grandi talenti. Su un sim con più disponibilità di prim e meno lag, rifarei su scala molto più ampia l'albergo, aggiungendo molti elementi di come era l'albergo all'apogeo della sua storia. Io desidero due cose, che l'albergo real possa tornare sotto la direzione del Sig. Bard, e del suo figlio David Bard, e secondo, mi piacerebbe che potessero venire a sapere di questo mio tributo alla loro opera d'arte... il Chelsea Hotel.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Peeled Prims: Aloisio Congrejo

I wandered lonely as a cloud
at floats on high o'er vales and hills...

The Daffodils William Wordsworth

Back, if nebulous, in the land of the Living, in time for an art show by Aloisio Congrejo at the S&S Gallery of Fine Arts on sim Aeonia North. It's a fine gallery built and run by Stefanik Dagostino and Ally Aeon. Just to show you how fine, they have a selection of cold cuts and fizzy punch available for guests. It's a lovely gallery arranged around a quad with a beautiful oak tree in the centre. That's me in the middle, the little puff of white cloud. Wondering how I can be inworld for an hour and still not rez while all around me is crystal? You are not alone, unlike myself. Back to the gallery... Other art on display includes work by Torno Kohime and the fascinating, disturbing, images and words by Rose Borchovski. But I was here to see Aloisio's art. Aloisio Congrejo has been in second life for rather more than three years now, for the best - in every sense - part of two years he has been making art, working with different media, his work drifting between sculptures and paintings, both forms coming alive through the use of fractals, particles and music. Lots of jazz. There is four o'clock in the morning in a lot of his art, the taste of the ocean, and that siren song of solitude that I think everyone in SL has heard, many times, but few have captured in prims. The lovely Ally Aeon greeted me with a kind word and told me that the show would be opening tomorrow Sunday 6 September. She stood in front of Aspettando il sonno, in English Awaiting sleep. You can see a snap of Aspettando il sonno down in the Italian part, but the work really needs you to be standing in front of it, to capture the nuances and shifts in light and texture, to absorb the sense of eyes on stalks, of that hourglass shifting and spilling away through the night, the lids that will not close until one more shape has been perfected, the anaesthesia of cursor and pupil through the million colours of the imagined world, through the long moments waiting for SL to respond... even through a RAM-deficient lens such as mine own, it's a great piece. I wondered what made her like this picture in particular.
Ally Aeon: I really like all Aloisio's work, but this one the most. It is dynamic, has a good composition and colors are great.
I wanted more. I asked her, what does it make you think of ? Just one word.
Ally Aeon stopped for a moment, and then said, "Peeled."
I could see what she meant, and so will you, if you go over to S&S Gallery of Fine Arts.
Another place to see Aloisio's work is at Gemini Isle, where he and Tani Thor run Tanalois, a gallery, studio and retreat for artists of all kinds. He has been working on an immersive project called Globulous and invited me to come and check out his spheres. All in the best possible taste of course. here are some pictures of the work in progress, tp over and have your music turned on, it's a great experience. Inside the globes you'll see... this kind of thing. Mouselook and audio on, thatàs my advice.
Well, more soon. Rural France and gritty New York City are waiting in the wings.
It's nice to be back.

Settembre e si torna in Second Life dopo l'odissea estiva alla ricerca dell'arte e la creatività virtuale e si ricomincia il percorso artsparchistico con lo scultore e frattalista Aloisio Congrejo e la sua nuova istallazione a Tanalois: Globulus
Risiedono nella sabbia di una piattaforma a mille metri i globi, come tre bottiglie da cui potrebbe uscire, da un momento all'altro, un genio come quello di Aladino... E invece siamo noi invitati ad entrarci, a divenire i geni della nostra propria favola SListica, a scoprire tre sale diverse misteriose incantate. Puoi vedere tutte e tre parti della istallazione in queste foto. La prima se vogliamo, io non ho riscontrato un ordine particolare, e questa è ancora una work in progress, la prima dicevo è in alto, una sala rossa piene di raggi o ragni o note musicali che ballano e si sprigionano come in una fontana, poi un globo pieno di punti tondi lucidi bianchi che rimangono inalterati sullo sfondo multicolore che invece trafigge con tonalità vivaci gli osservatori, e la terza sfera piena di ...globuli, note tonde, armonie circolari, come pesci o cellule o bollicine, sempre in movimento sempre nuovi, proprio come la linfa vitale di Second Life e dei suoi creativi. Tanalois, di Aloisio e di Tani Thor, casa spirituale di un numero di artisti italiani e non, è stato per me il piacevole punto di partenza per un nuovo viaggio attraverso l'arte di SL. Ma non mi sono fermata qui, tramite il gruppo Tanalois ho avuto modo di visitare una galleria per me nuova, quella di S&S Gallery of Fine Arts su sim Aeonia North. Si tratta della galleria costruita e gestita da Stefanik Dagostino e Ally Aeon. Puoi vedere una foto della bella Ally in alto nella parte inglese, e anche della galleria, disposta in modo molto gradevole intorno ad un prato con in mezzo un immenso albero. Qui troverai opere di Torno Kohime, le strane e affascinanti parole e immagini di Rose Borchovski, insieme alle opere di Aloisio. Appena arrivata a S&S Gallery of Fine Arts Ally mi ha salutato gentilmente e mi ha detto che domani all'1.00 pm SLT c'è l'inaugrazione della mostra, io invece ho voluto vedere subito i pezzi scelti per l'occasione, e ho chiesto a Ally quale fosse il suo preferito. Ha scelto Aspettando il sonno. Curiosona, le ho domandato il motivo.
Ally Aeon: Veramente a me piaccono tutte le opere qui nella mostra, ma questa in particolare mi ha colpito. Il motivo? La trovo molto dinamica, piena di colori e mi piace soprattutto la composizione. Se dovessi scegliere una sola parola per descivere a cosa mi fa pensare, direi la parola 'peeled' mi viene in mente. Sbucciato.
Infatti proprio così. ma per capire di cosa parliamo, le foto (specialmente le foto mie) non bastano a communicare il movimento e la luce in questa opera... non c'è niente da fare, dovrai andare di persona a vedere la mostra, cliccando sul link... Partecipare domani sera alla vernissage a S&S Gallery of Fine Arts e non mancare di associarti al gruppo, hanno molti eventi interessanti. E ti do appuntamento qui sul blog di ArtsParks la settimana prossima per notizie artistiche-virtuali dalle vie più sporche e poetiche di New York City, e dalla Francia della belle epoque e molto di più... ci vediamo in world...