Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cheep and Cheerful: Maya Paris' NightBirds

Fresh from the triumph of her bird-up-chimney chairs at IMPOCA, Maya Paris has a new exhibit on the lawn in front of the Omega Art Space and it opens today.
Set your world view to midnight and experience NightBirds, another interactive funscape, complete with beak, wings, eggs, animations, and sounds. Get a bird's eye view of Maya's spiky shiny imagination by roosting in the nests and embracing your inner egg - or beat a clutch of them and discover your own tune in the combination of their birdsongs, some supplied by Maya herself, others by folk singer and ornithological whistler, Man of Kent Nigel Hobbins. (Click and follow the links! He is hot and his new CD 'Out Of His Tree' sounds great... the accent is to die for!)
Maya Paris: Nigel is a friend of mine, and he provided the song of the yellowhammer and the chiffchaff, which is the first migrant bird we hear in the spring here in England. If you sit on an egg I can make you hop.
I like hopping. The nestiness was great fun, and all the eggs reminded me a little bit of Maya's Burning Life kitchen.
Maya Paris: Yes, eggy eggy. Try running around now and look at the grass behind you.
Lots of delicate white circles followed my footsteps and, being a dope, at first I mistook their meaning.
Maya Paris: I was thinking daisies...but if laying eggs works for you:)
Thirza Ember: For a moment there I thought you had invented the fried egg layer.
Maya Paris: It's pretty if you just spin.
It was.
Maya Paris: You can hear your egg?
Thirza Ember: Oh yes, it's whistling.
Maya Paris: Haha! Now click the eggs, and play me a birdsong tune! Oh there are two kinds of wings, feathery and pointy, and they have a flight assist, so if you ever need to fly really high, they will take you.
Thirza Ember: That is wonderful. I have a lot of wing envy.
Maya Paris: I can't wait to hear what this sounds like with a lot of people, I'm hoping it will sound like a flock of birds all chattering.
Just like your average vernissage, then, I thought.
Be at Omega tonight, there are lots of goodies in the globe, I liked Treacle Darlandes' 'The Storm' which is the pyramid installation in the foreground here.
And since we're on the subject of bluetits and loons, don't miss dear Gleman Jun's award-winning (oh my how he loves when I say that) 'Flame of creativity' and other artful and humourous pieces on Omega's top shelf.
Must fly.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I gentili lettori italiani sono pregati di scorrere in giù
It was National Do Something New Day today, so I decided to give four new places a try - some just new to me, some brand new. First, I rezzed a prim, which was an invitation to Shamen Galleries a lovely palace with a large courtyard full of Trasco Beaumont's sculpty statues including a very good Prometheus. Shamen Rune and Cierra Loxley have curated a great show, opening tomorrow at 2pm SLT, with Fuchsia Nightfire's sculptures and pictures, she's a mural painter in rl, specializing in trompe l'oeil you can imagine how much fun she finds in SL. If you click on the pictures, they get bigger.
Also in the main hall, Antenna Rea's gentle pastels contrast well with Zoree Jupiter's bright portraits - the one called 'Colorful thoughts' shown below, under the flags, is particularly striking. Cristian Rexie's photographs have a charming wistful quality we all know from Koinup. In his bio he says that he tries to get more than a simple touristy snapshot of the places he visits in his virtual travels, and as you can see here he definitely scores on that front.
It was nessuno Myoo who suggested I drop in, and many of his best bits are on show. I gushed about them to Rory Serpente and Lora Lowenstark, you can see them humouring me down in the Italian bit. Nessuno's Angel in search of colours is here and the new piece The Secret Escape Of Puppets has a life and intriguing narrative of its own, don't miss it, the opening is tomorrow.
Next was Nemo, which is new to SL - it's a Jules Verne inspired underwater Steampunk extravaganza by Sextan Shepherd, an avatar whose chest looks like it deserves a SLURL of its own: here is Sextan's machinima of his build in Fabulous French. The sim has been Showcased, so lines were very long and the lag palpable even at the lowest settings, till some crazy person started shouting "Evacuate! Region restart imminent!" at which point the throngs melted just enough for me to see these beauties - see the Italian part for Tesla's electrifying workshop - then karma caught up with us and there really was a region restart.
Then there was some shoe-related newness.
Then, off to hear my favourite reader in all SL, Corwyn Allen. Corwyn is a wonderful poet, master of the haiku among other forms, and always gives a polished, poised performance. The setting exactly matched the material - we were at Circe's Sanctuary. It was Circe's birthday, but she kindly took a moment to tell me a bit about her land and her group.
Circe Broom: My group is one of the largest in SL, at about 2540 members; that is saying something, when groups are limited to only 25 for each person; SL is such a great opportunity for creativity to be shared. I do live music 7 days a week, and my music venues are spread around the island, but Saturday from 11am on is devoted to spoken word here at Sanctuary.
When Corwyn had finished, another firm favourite of mine got up to share a story with us. I love the West of Ireland crowd, they always provide the craik, at the WOI library - just look in the sidebar to your right for the SLURL - and at venues across the grid like Circe's.
Caledonia Skytower has a rich warm Irish American brogue and she read the Quiet Man by Maurice Walsh in voice which, for those wondering, is 'fair use' and breaches no copyright laws. If, on the other hand she had used streaming, that would count as a broadcast and has other implications. It is no easy feat to read a 40 minute-long story, but she kept us entranced to the end with grace, drama and humour, I loved it, and it was  the perfect end to a perfect day in SL... until tomorrow! See you inworld!
Cliccare per ingrandire le immagini.
Un viaggio alla ricerca di posti nuovi, oggi -  prima tappa Shamen Galleries la vernissage è domani ma ho voluto vedere la nuova scultura di nessuno Myoo The secret escape of puppets - un burattino di legno che personalmente ha fatto pensare alla 'ferrovia sotteranea' statunitense, esposta in un'ampia sala insieme alle sculture di Fuchsia Nightfire affreschista in real e bravissima artista in Second Life. 
Ho visto in anteprima la mostra insieme a Lora Lowenstark e Rory Serpente e ci sono piaciuti moltissimo i quadri di Antenna Rea e Zoree Jupiter - mi ha colpito in particolare pensieri colorati, visibile nella foto con le bandiere nella parte inglese. 
Nel cortile troverai le belle sculture sculpty di Trasco Beaumont particolarmente bella il suo Prometeo. Cristian Rexie invece ha scelto alcune delle sue più belle e suggestive foto - tra le immagini, una della scultura di ness, esposta nella sala principale. Aperto al pubblico domani alle ore quattordici SLT, non mancate!
Dalla sky di Shamen al fondo del mare... Nemo, di Sextan Shepherd,  il suo machinima in francese spiega il raison d'etre di questa meravigliosa stazione sottomarino che prende ispirazione da Nicola Tesla (ecco il laboratorio del grande scienziato serbo) e dai libri di Verne. 
Quando abbiamo fatto la nostra visita il sim era strapieno ma vale la pena soffrire un po' di lag - è un build stupendo! A me piacciono molto i frutti di mare...
Infine ho visitato la bella land di Circe, in SL una cantastorie benigna e gentile, qui troverai sempre la musica, e il sabato a partire dalle ore 11,00 SLT ci sono eventi in voice, frequentati dai più bravi lettori, poeti, e attori di lingua inglese in SL. Poesie originali e classici, racconti nuovi e alcuni famosi, oggi abbiamo avuto il piacere di sentire prima Corwyn Allen, e in seguito la bella Caledonia Skytower, una delle lettrici principali della land irlandese West of Ireland, troverai il link a destra in alto sotto Biblioteche. Letteratura, colori, movimento e buona compagnia, un sabato all'insegna dell'allegria!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Uncanny land: Scottius Polke's Lunamaruna

Late last night, at project Z, while taking the Preview tour of another Zachh Cale-induced confection, a gentleman offered to show me his starfish shooter. I still had my Euphemism Translator-bot set to 'Italian Sim', so I ignored the offer, which I now regret. Walking the cobbled streets thousands of metres above the gallery, an extremely entertaining group of people were throwing about comparative triptychs, and I fell into a pond with a lantern fish. 

If you put Lost, Portmeirion, and Play-Doh in a blender, turned it on for about an hour, then threw it away and called in Scottius Polke to make something fun, fresh, and interesting, you'd have Lunamaruna.
It's a floating island village of twisted towers and odd offices, the only inhabitants seem to be the fish: rocking, smoking, swimming and flying - you can jump on the back of a manta ray and take a tour.
If you like to bounce, which we both know you do, so don't lie, you'll find a dedicated platform where you can have a do-over from Scottius' bed in the MushROOM. This is no mere bedspring fling - in fact the whole build is an exciting, expanded new adventure through Polke's art.
Scottius Polke: Lunamaruna is a place with elements of fantasy and science fiction where something has gone wrong - something fishy, a on a large scale. However, whatever it is that went awry, I can't say... On the technical end, it is my sketchbooks made 3d and animated, come to life. The drawings go back over several years, and I've been working on the project inworld over the past four months or so with great help from Kimba Sideways as well as animators and scripters Alexx Fenstalker and Desdemona Enfield, and of course Zachh Cale who is always so generous with space and encouragement here at project Z.
Zachh Cale: Scottius continues to amaze me with his approach to art - and you can feel it in all his exhibits - it's an invitation to explore and embrace both his vision and your own. And don't forget to say I'm wearing the Lunamaruna T shirt.

Thirza Ember:Okay, Will do! /note to self, do not take a photo of Zachh wearing the Lunamaruna tee.

A visit to the opening on Sunday March 28, 1 PM SLT at project Z will get you a lovely Lunamaruna Tee, made by Estelle Parnall, and at 2pm the music of  Skye Galaxy. It's going to be otter bliss.
The availability of cans of Kelp and other Green Matter at Lunamaruna does raise a side issue.  In Stato di eccezione, Agamben posits the tin can as a topos for fused secession, at once in the world yet discrete from it, an interstitial veil of aluminium interpolating the originary unity of content and  consumer,  raising the stakes of the inherent graspability of the object while precluding access to its disclosure. This being said,  Foucault's oft-cited excogitation on the phallic implication of can opener configures the discourse within the parameters of inter-penetration, through the duality of presence and absence, vacuum and volume, and reminds the reader of the formal apparatus of the essential, and one might add primordial, dialectic between one who can and one who cannot. Yum.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crowned HUD: Sasun Steinbeck

Sasun Steinbeck: Welcome! This is my little Art Gallery Owner HQ, which I've never actually used as a meeting spot before, so I guess this meeting makes it all 'official' and everything!
It's hard to imagine a bigger desk, but Sasun Steinbeck presided over it like, well, the Queen of Everything, and when it comes to organizing information about art in Second Life, the fun tag she wore seems no joke. You may never have met her in person, but if you spend any amount of time in Second Life, you will certainly have walked past and possibly touched her Art Gallery Kiosk, an amazing device that connects galleries, studios and shops all over the metaverse. It's also used by Linden Labs to share information about gridwide evens such as Burning Life. Sasun is one of the first people around here to make interactive scripted art - she began what is now her Morphing Sculpture back in 1995. It changes sound, shape and texture in almost infinite combinations, and is still on display at Avalon. Not being able to script worth a dHelloAvatar - don't get me started on that whole physical lift saga - I am in awe of anything technical, and ArtsParks readers may recall an ancient post about Sas' Gallery Tour HUD. I wondered if, when she started out, she had any idea of the dimensions to which it would grow.
Sasun Steinbeck: Wow no, not at all. it's now totally integrated with the Art Galleries Of SL web site, so it doesn't need to be updated just because the list changes, like it used to. I used to have to save all the locations to a spreadsheet, then fiddle and sort them into three notecards by  category, then install them into the hud and send out a new one. I did that hundreds of times! Now it just gets the gallery data live from the website, so no weekly updates required. In fact, I sent out the first update in months - I fixed a little bug just last night. I consider myself more a scripter than an artist, to be honest I just haven't been doing any art in a long time!
The Art Gallery Owners group holds regular meetings open to the public where she and collaborators like Elise Benusconi, White Hyacinth and others share updates on various matters of interest to gallery owners, like the new beta version of the Gallery Ring Kiosks. A lot of people think Sasun 'is' a Linden, because her list is so much a part of art in SL.
Sasun Steinbeck: LOL I wish! I started the list back in 2005, after I created my sculpture. I was looking for galleries to show it in. The only list available was the one Pathfinder Linden was maintaining - which had about a dozen LMs in a notecard. I searched out and found more galleries I kept sending him update after update, and eventually we agreed I should just take over maintenance of the list. It has grown right along with the art scene in SL - from a dozen galleries to 677 to date. Recently we figured if we spent only 10 minutes at each gallery, that would take... 112 HOURS to see them all, which is 4.7 DAYS of continuous art! And that’s just the ones on my list… there are probably upward of 900 altogether. I'm really happy to have seen the art scene in SL grow from practically nothing to this huge mass of artists, galleries, and art lovers today. Most of the art in SL is uploaded from RL, and then you have builders and sculptors who take advantage of what makes SL so special, but I think it amounts to the same thing – people who just love to share what they see with others. I still get a huge thrill when someone says they love my sculpture, or even better, when an SL artist says they were inspired by it. The community aspect of SL art is what attracts artists and keeps them here. It's such a great way chat about techniques and ideas, and best of all, find people to collaborate with - people you'd never bump into in RL, from all around the world.
I wondered what she likes best about SL, and what keeps her coming back for more.
Sasun Steinbeck: I love the feeling of innovation. Just when you think you've seen it all, someone does something that blows everyone's mind. And I'm very pleased that Filthy Fluno recently included a painting of my partner Galea Yates and I in his Venus series of portraits.
About a year ago, Filthy (in RL Jeffrey Lipsky) and his SL art business at Artropolis were featured in a NYT article.
Filthy Fluno: Its been an amazing year. I get 100's of people contacting me about the article asking all sorts of questions about me and my art. Sales went up and visibility went through the roof. I've known Sasun for 3 years. My first impression was that she was smart, fierce, and an art geek. If she was a painting she'd be Goya's "Saturn Devouring His Son". Community is important to me because as an artist, I like to be around other people with similar goals, struggles, and craziness. Gallery owners depend on communities to support them by showing up and buying art and sharing ideas. Sasun helps audiences get to the art. The difference between SL and RL? SL is more accessible for handicapped people, it's cheaper to do business here, and of course much nicer to TP than to commute!
I wondered if Sasun had any pet peeves about SL - apart from her perv aversion (see her profile picks!)
Sasun Steinbeck: That damn llTargetOmega bug! It causes textures that you rotate using the llTargetOmega LSL function to slowly get out of sync. This affects any artist that creates multi-prim objects with rotating textures that need to be in sync. It mostly affects my sculpture so, for me, I really really really wish they'd fix it! But it's been years, and I've given up hope that they will.
And the future?
Sasun Steinbeck: I think the Linden Endowment for the Arts is a fantastic initiative. I applied immediately, and wrote a huge resume to get me in!! I really really hope they select me for the committee because their goals and mine are closely aligned. From what I have read, the actual programis not well defined right now, and I'm sure they want feedback to do that. It's going to potentially make some big advancements on how art in SL is perceived by the outside world, as well as providing some fantastic resources to the artists in SL. I've been discussing with the Linden Community program the idea of dedicated space to preserve some of the art history of SL, and it looks like LL has recognized that need right off the bat, which is great. I'd be really curious to find out what prompted them to do this. Has some artist in SL been talking to M, or did it come up in some Linden office hours, or...? I wonder. I really love the way RL institutions like the University of Western Australia have created a genuine crossover. UWA are outstanding in promoting art in SL by offering awards to inworld artists every month. They invest so much work and fund-raising to provide very nice prizes - that kind of thing really encourages artists to be productive and keep creating fantastic works of art for us all to enjoy. One aspect of the growth and change is visual art that integrates music and sound. It's essential that artists trying to create a more participatory and immersive experience pay a LOT of attention to the audio parts of the artwork and that Linden Labs keep innovating on the SL platform to give artists and builders more cool stuff for their virtual creation toolbox. Music has such a profound power to influence our lives, and like visual artists, musicians love to share. That’s the motivation - it's not like they make a lot of money! Live entertainment draws the crowds at openings, and is a win-win both for the artists on display and the musicians. One thing I'm sure of - artists learn from each other, they inspire each other, study each other's techniques, and the "state of the art" of art in SL will just keep getting better.
Sasun Steinbeck è una delle donne più influenti nel mondo dell'arte virtuale di Second Life. Se non l'hai sentito mai, questo nome, avrai sicuramente visto uno dei suoi chioschi, una sua invenzione, un sistema di collegamento che unisce numerose gallerie d'arte, ateliers, e communità artistiche - oggi seicentosettantasette, per essere precisi. Hanno calcolato che, trascorrendo soltanto dieci minuti in ogni locale, ci vorrebbero quattro giorni e mezzo per visitarle tutti - 116 ore di arte non-stop! Sasun è un'abilissima scripter, infatti ha ideato nel lontano 1995 una scultura interattiva, capace di tantissime variazioni di texture, suono e forma, puoi visitare questo importante 'anello' nella catena evoluzionaria dell'arte immersiva su sim Avalon. Era proprio perché cercava una galleria dove esibire la sua scultura che Sasun ha intrapreso la sua missione di 'elenchista'...
Sasun Steinbeck: Nel 2005 ho scoperto che Pathfinder Linden manteneva una notecard con i nomi e LM delle gallerie di SL. Io quando scoprivo posti nuovi, gli spedivo il LM: dopo un po' è stato deciso che sarebbe più opportuno dare a me la responsabilità di creare un elenco aggiornato. Da quella Notecard è nato il mio HUD, fatto di note, un compito molto laborioso, oggi invece il sito Art Galleries Of SL  rende tutto più facile e automatico.
I chioschi di Sasun sono usati anche da Linden Labs per divulgare informazioni per grandi eventi come  Burning Life. Vivere SL come colletiva, è fondamentale per Sasun. Oltre ai chioschi, ha organizzato un gruppo per gestori di gallerie, e alle riunioni come questa nella foto, si parla di consigli, networking, e innovazioni, come la versione beta del Gallery Ring Kiosks.
Sasun Steinbeck: In SL ci sono oltre 900 gallerie d'arte, e ogni giorno nascono nuovi studi e negozi. La maggior parte degli artisti importano opere RL, ma insieme ai builders fotografi e scultori cheoperano esclusivamente nell-ambiente virtuale, abbiamo una grande famiglia di persone creative. L'arte in SL esiste perché queste persone hanno voglia di condividere, di conoscere e di ispirare altri - mi dà enorme piacere quando mi dicono che la mia scultura piace, o meglio ancora, ha ispirato un'artista. E possiamo collaborare con persone che,  in Real, non avremmo mai  potuto incontrare.
Uno di questi amici è il noto pittore Filthy Fluno (in RL Jeffrey Lipsky). L'anno scorso il New York Times ha pubblicato la sua storia di artista e imprenditore in SL e in RL. Ha fatto un bel ritratto di Sasun e la sua partner, Galea, la vedi sopra nella parte inglese. Ho chiesto cosa pensa di Sas, e ha detto che è una donna intelligente, impertinente, appassionata dell'arte... se fosse un quadro sarebbe Saturno divora un figlio
Filthy Fluno: Quest'anno per me è stato un grande success, grazie all'articolo sul NYT. Tantissime persone si sono messe in contatto, hanno visitato il mio studio a Artropolis e hanno comprato sia arte 'virtuale' che stampe e originali in RL. Il contributo di Sasun è impareggiabile.  Come artista, mi piace moltissimo trovarmi in compagnia di chi ha le stesse mete, gli stessi problemi, la stessa mentalità. Le gallerie non possono esistere senza il pubblico, la pubblicità è essenziale per la nostra soppravvenza, e i chioschi di Sasun sono un aiuto per tutti noi.
Sasun Steinbeck: Ci sono delle iniziative davvero stupende in questo periodo in SL. Parlo d istituzioni accademici come l'Università di Western Australia, che offre ricchi premi ad artisti. E la Linden Endowment for the Arts è un'iniziativa fantastica - mi sono iscritta subito! Avrà modo di dare più visibilità all'arte virtuale nel mondo in generale. Credo merita di essere presa sul serio, e se i lindens ci danno anche spazio per esibire opere 'storiche' sarebbe molto bello per il patrimonio artistico metaversale. L'occasione di essere consultata nell'elaborazione di un programma d'azione mi entusma moltissimo. Per me il futuro di SL è anche questo. Istallazioni che offrono un'esperienza multimediale, ma attenzione - l'aspetto sonoro deve avere la stessa importanza e qualità degli aspetti visivi. Linden Labs deve continuare a innovare gli attrezzi disponibili ai creatori di ogni genere. La musica ha un grandissimo potere. Inoltre, mi piace vedere la collaborazione sempre più frequente tra musicisti live e artisti. Anche i musicisti si esibiscono per il piacere di condividere - i tip jars non creano milliadari - ma le vernissages con musica live attirano un pubblico più vasto e questo è un bene per tutti. Il futuro di SL lo vedo così -  condividere esperienze, studiare e insegnare nuove tecniche, e ispirare altri con allegria!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Loser Takes All

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me : "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning on her darkened door,
She cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"
Like A Bird On A Wire, Leonard Cohen
If you think Leonard Cohen, it helps to think Montreal. Given the matter of his music, thinking is de rigueur; all the big themes are here: spirituality, the nature of power, sex and religion, sung in a haunting European  key. 
Outstanding poet, "Beautiful Loser" Cohen was an author long before he took to cutting albums.  
Right at the heart of his work is a well of despairing optimism, ideas Cohen carried in himself until overspilling ‘well beyond the end of the twentieth century’, as he puts it in the preface to his 2006 collection of drawings, poems and prose, Book of Longing. 
Buddhism and the imagery of Christianity and Judaism form a powerful backdrop for his musings. All his albums, from the first Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) to the 2006 offering Blue Alert capture the spirit of the times through revolutions, war and crises. Leonard Cohen is the perfect voice for the fears and pleas of generations. Last year, one of his most famous songs found a new audience through the voice of Alexandra Burke. Yearning for hope and understanding, even in overblown, Reality-TV style, has a certain pathos. He has been covered by everyone from Beck to Arthur Smith, but this '72 cut of Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye  is possibly a better introduction to his music if you’re just getting into it. Our metaverse has room for both. 
On that note, how delightful to discover the Leonard Cohen Club in Second Life.

Harry Cannned started the music venue and group back in May 2007 - you can read about Harry's connection with Cohen here - this is the 3rd sim location, but despite the upheaval of moving, the new builds only took a few weeks each time as Harry is a quite fast builder, he has clear ideas about what he wants, and there is always room for a little tweaking here and there. The club attracts quite a lot of new people, perhaps looking for something loved. Harry and Lore Lamont met in the original incarnation of the club.
Lore Lamont: Cohen’s music was part of my childhood. I just can remember how I found about the club; I checked the Search for jazz clubs, and when I found this name in the list, I just had to visit it.

Harry Cannned: I ran the club alone for 2 years. Look at the wall, Thirza, and you can see pictures that show the club history. Then Lore became co-owner in our 3 rd year and other members have been a great help too, like Jordio Carnell with his great Live piano concerts, and Brianne with organization. Sometimes we have evenings when it’s only Cohen and Covers, then again we’ll have a Jazz or Blues night.
These special evenings are accompanied by a wonderful particle light shows like this one put on by particle maven Alyx Heron, with music by Calvin Hapmouche.  I got to see this particular show with Harvey22 Albatros  who has a nice Chess club if you’re interested in playing inworld, by the way. We all know how easy it is to have an idea about Second Life but it’s not such a walk in the park trying to keep it alive through setbacks and forced moves. I wondered what had been the driving force in keeping the Leonard Cohen Club a consistent presence in SL.
Lore Lamont: That’s Harry’s work. He is really devoted to it, and of course Cohen’s music unites. 
Harry Cannned: We always have new people joining the club.  I see it in RL too. There are official Cohen events in RL, and a lot of people come together throught those events, as a family; it’s same in SL. We have a lot of group members that know each other from RL events, or met at concerts, a lot faithful members so it’s interesting to share Cohen, who is someone from RL, here in SL and back into RL again. 
This crossover is reflected in the club notices where you’ll also find this link to RL Cohen events in different parts of the world. Lore was very kind to give me lots of information, which she put together with amazing efficiency.
Harry Cannned: You see, Thirza... she makes my life sooooooo eazyyyyy!
Harry Cannned: whispers..... After 2 years running the club alone, I wanted to stop it, and Lore offered me running together: financially and mentally sharing all now. Sharing the work makes it all so much nicer. We come here to be with others, after all, and this is the idea of the club too.
Lore Lamont: It’s made to meet and to have fun and share, not for any kind of profit.
Harry Cannned: We know how powerful sharing is. We have a motto: give and take and share.
Lore Lamont: SGT - share give take.
Harry Cannned: Yes)))))) and this is the base of our love, Lore.
He streamed Dance Me To The End Of Love. It was time for me to go.
Harry Cannned: And Lore, may I ask for a dance?
Lore Lamont: Yes definitely!!
Harry Cannned: Not to the end, but to the center of love.
These people can’t lose.

Ho visto un mendicante sulla sua stampella di legno
Mi ha detto "Non devi chiedere così tanto."
Dal buio del suo portone, una bella donna mi ha gridato :
"Perché non chiedere di più?"
Like a Bird on a Wire, Leonard Cohen
Cantautore Leonard Cohen è famoso per le sue canzoni di estrema tenerezza; canadese, ma di Montreal, il suo stile assomiglia a quello di un chansonnier francese più che ai suoi 'rivali' del mondo folk americano come Bob Dylan. Affronta temi profondi, quale la condizione umana, il potere, il sesso, la religione, l’ansia della vita di tutti i giorni e dei problemi grossi quanto il mondo, quanto l’universo stesso. Canta l’equilibrio delicato che si pone tra la disperazione e la speranza. Testi profondi, vergati da un uomo estremamente colto ed eloquente; prima di lanciarsi nel mondo della canzone folk, Cohen era già poeta e autore di successo, il suo libro Belli e Perdenti è un classico sull’amore. È riuscito ad incantare un vasto pubblico, attraverso oltre quattro decenni di concerti e album, a partire da Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) al più recente successo di Blue Alert insieme a Anjani, e il libro Book of Longingora musicato dal grande Philip Glass. 
In SL il club  Leonard Cohen è gestito da Harry Cannning. Un'accogliente locale sulla riva del mare Metaversale, una pista, un bar, un pianoforte, e una bacheca che ricorda la storia lunga del gruppo: si chiamano 'Bellissimi Perdenti' come il libro di Cohen. L'ho visitato una sera in compagnia di Harvey22 Albatros (ha un'interessantissimo  Circolo di scacchi, visitalo e iscriviti!!!) e abbiamo visto uno stupendo spettacolo di luci e particelle grazie ai bravissimi Alyx Heron Calvin Hapmouche. Questa è la terza incarnazione del locale, per fortuna, a Harry piace il building e ha le idee molto chiare. Si dedica moltissimo al gruppo e alla gestione del locale, perfezionandolo di giorno in giorno, e proprio questa dedizione ha contribuito alla sopravvivenza del gruppo, mi ha confidato la sua partner Lore Lamont. 
Harry Cannning: Siamo una famiglia. Quasi tutti i giorni ci sono nuovi iscritti. Il gruppo è costuituito di persone che amano la musica di Cohen. Molti sono fans che si sono conosciuti anche in Real ai concerti di Leonard Cohen in varie parti del mondo e che ora si ritrovano qui in SL. La sintonia con RL e SL è perfetto, il mondo virtuale che dà occasione per amici real di stare insieme all'insegna di una musica del tutto autentica. Per noi condividere la musica di Cohen è un vero piacere, anzi una gioia.
Lore Lamont: Io in RL sono cresciuta con la musica di Leonard Cohen. Come tanti, appena arrivata in SL, ho cercato in Search un nome familiare, e ho trovato il club.  L'ho voluto visitare immediatamente, e non mi sono più allontanata... siamo felici di accogliere nuovi amici. Infatti non lavoriamo a scopo di lucro ma per condividere una cosa bella - il nostro motto è condividere, dare, ricevere.
Harry Canning: Ha ragione Lore, condividere, prendere e dare, è il principio del vero amore. Ho gestito da solo il locale per due anni, a dire il vero ero pronto a smettere, perché il lavoro è tanto, nonostante l'aiuto di brave amiche come Brianne. Ma poi Lore ha offerto di condividere con me il tutto, e la mia vita è stata trasformata. Siamo qui in SL per stare insieme ad altri, e questo è anche il messaggio delle canzoni di Cohen. La musica la condividiamo attraverso la bacheca che vedi, qui, non solo racconta la storia del nostro gruppo, ma dà anche i link a siti web dove troverai informazioni dui concerti RL di Leonard Cohen. E in SL, siamo molto fieri di ospitare il pianista catalano Jordio Carnell, un grande talento oltre che un caro amico.
Harry ha messo la canzone Dance Me To The End Of Love - Balla con me fino alla fine dell'amore. Era ora di congedarmi. 
Harry Cannning: Lore, mi permetti questo ballo?
Lore Lamont:  Con piacere!
Harry Cannning: Ma non fino alla fine dell'amore, anzi fino al suo epicentro...
Si chiamano 'Bellissimi Perdenti', i fans di Cohen. Bellissimi sì. Perdenti, non credo proprio.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New York State of Mind

Last week we went to New York for a few days, to see if we'd like it, my alt and me. My alt got sick and complained a lot, but I had the best time. First of all, the apartment was beautiful. There was a nice kitchen, and although we mostly ordered-in absurd quantities of Asian Fusion cuisine, I did make coffee - there and I bet you didn't think I knew how to boil water.
It was cold in New York. Definitely fluffy scarf and boot weather. The house is close to the Park, which looks as if it was just abandoned to the wildlife when they built all the skyscrapers, although of course this is cunning terraforming - Central Park is entirely artificial, from the lakes to the rocky outcrops to the lawns. Just our kind of place, except for the dirty snow.
A short walk along 5th Avenue takes you to Museum Mile - I'm such an uptown girl, my first stop was the Metropolitan Museum. I could have spent a week just wandering around in there. I really enjoyed John Singer Sargent's ladies, who look very primped and primmy. That neck is way too long to be real, isn't it? And if that hair isn't a wig...
I moved on to the Picasso room, where everybody was being awfully careful not to fall on the paintings - don't laugh, back in January someone managed to stumble right into 'The Actor' and tear it - how embarrassing! I thought it would be safer to sit down a bit, to avoid stiletto-related repeats of the incident. As you can see, pretty much everyone else had the same idea.
I went by that picture of Mao, and saw Damien Hurst's ridiculous shark - we have much better sharks in SL, ones that move... I was also fascinated by Pablo Bronstein's exhibition in which he assigns a mythical history to the Met, through pseudo-archival 'documents' - it was so our cup of tea. Pretty tiring, walking about in these shoes, so I finally assumed the position before some magnificent Pollocks.
My favourite bit in the whole of the Met was the Bronzino exhibition, I am all over Mannerism, it rocks, but it was too gloomy in the rooms for taking photos, where's the Full Bright when you need it. The most depressing part was the recreation of 17th and 18th century European rooms from Great Houses, ripped out of their homes and transplanted here with infinite care and attention to detail. Their doors and windows going nowhere, they always remind me of the elderly pickled organs you see in Natural History Museums, out of time and place. But one of them had a harp in the corner, so I just had to go in and sit for a while.
The Guggenheim, (entrance fee $18 - I just TP'd past the hippy at the ticket desk) is surprisingly dull inside. Talking about Mannerism, and long slow spirals, I think these people should check out the Scala Regia of the Villa Farnese at Caprarola before getting on their high horse about the 'originality' of this place. You aren't allowed to take photos of the interior of the Guggenheim, which frankly could do with a fresh coat of paint, so just for fun I went into one of the single unisex loos and took a few shots; when I came out there were two Eastern European cleaners eyeing me suspiciously.
Manhattan is just London all straightened out and simplified. I eschewed all the usual shots as I walked by, just to be boring - on the whole I tried to stay on the quieter streets, away from the unfathomable famousness born of the knowing nods of what felt like millions of passing tourists.  Lots of good food to be had, of course, though Italian cookery really doesn't make the transatlantic journey intact. With my little waistline, that was probably just as well.
Eventually I headed to Soho. The best way to get there is on the subway, which is small and easy and like a love affair, a jostling journey in the company of strangers, fraught with the anxiety of misread signals, and the fear of not arriving at one's destination, or of going too far with disastrous consequences.
At Broadway I lingered on the platform. After the rush of the train, it was very quiet. The few passengers hurried up the stairs out onto the street, having places to be, and things to do. They barely noticed the platform beneath their feet and the tunnel around them, this transitional space, this essential non-entity, between coming and going.
Not me. I had arrived. I saw the stains on the wall and the font of the signboards. I saw rats in a puddle. I saw the reflection of the neon lights on the tiles. I looked at the posters and the black trough where the trains run into the velvety thereafter.
I stopped and really saw it because I had been here before, here in SL at Pirats. Igor Ballyhoo's installation richly and masterfully captures the essence of the station as a physical space, and then re-illuminates the whole with photographs of the city, animated by trains. Here are a few photos of photos... but hurry, while it is still there, go and visit it for yourself.
Oh and then I had some rice.