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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bray’s Place: Blues without bias – Randi Reporting



A new blues club community is drawing a dedicated following by blending a blues soundtrack with a commitment to kindness and inclusiveness.
Bray’s Place – Bray’s Blues Club and Social Community – is not yet eight months old but its traffic runs between 12,000 and 15,000 and is growing steadily. The 33 homes that surround the club filled up quickly after the community’s February opening and occupancy has stayed high, with only 5 home sites available last week. And group members, known as the Brayniacs, have grown to 1,127 from the 400-member fan group of DJ Bray Preston Rising, who urged Bray to open her own club.
“The Brayniac community asked me to open a place for us,” says Bray, who DJ’d previously at blues clubs like Fogbound and Toby’s. “My hope and desire was (and is) to have a place that is more community than ‘club.’ A place where people feel connected socially and emotionally.”
Her fans say she’s done exactly that, and the presence of many regulars attests to her success.
“Bray spent years working for other clubs, trying to make them better,” said one regular, budthud Resident. “When she decided to open her own place, people flocked to it, knowing she would do it right.”
“Doing it right” has meant 10 music sets a day from a cadre of 48 DJs supported by 38 hosts. Focused mainly on the blues, some shows mix in genres from Latin. Reggae, Oldies, Rock, Celtic, Rockabilly, Bluegrass, Country, Bollywood and Gypsy.
The venue has created a variety of inviting public spaces, including:  a rustic, sky-lit dance hall (with a cozy but underused loft), a serene meadow that is sometimes used for music sets but otherwise just for finding peace, a performance “dock” facing a beach, and a 24-hour game room with a free photo studio. These are surrounded by 33 home sites landscaped for seclusion despite being puzzle-pieced together.
“I became a member @ Bray's because I enjoy the well-designed 'Public' areas of the Sim, the friendly and enthusiastic DJ's and the genuine effort by management to keep things fresh and exciting,” said Belinda de Bunneh (BelindaMassimou Resident).
“Doing it right” also has meant maintaining an environment that is welcome and accepting to all, including SL’s LGBTQ community. Bray’s is not a “gay bar” and there are no overt signs of the place being specifically LGBTQ-friendly. But members all speak of the gay-friendly vibe, and Bray acknowledges that she has worked to make it so.
“Of course. Who someone chooses to love is their choice and personal matter,” she says. When asked what she has done to encourage tolerance, she makes it sound simple: “One just accepts and loves without regard to gender, orientation, presentation and choice. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?”
Indeed, visitors can check their snark at the door at a place where the group joiner reads “where a group tag is a group hug" and one sign says “The only real things in Second Life are our feelings so please take care of each other.” And Bray walks the walk, regularly checking in with her tenants, for example, to make sure all is well.

That’s not to say the sim is a convent. The blues are by nature raw and earthy and the daily group of dancers – despite the sign on the wall discouraging profanity – is much like any other blues club crowd. There is behavior Bray discourages, though. The “community standards” makes it plain – transparent clothing, thongs, cock socks, leashes and other outward signs of BDSM are not welcome there.
Bray’s profile is open about her Christian faith, and she leads a two-hour “gospel and Biblically oriented set” on Sunday mornings (Sundays in the Meadow, at 10 a.m.) But she says the community standards are not about religion.


“I don't believe in regulating other people's behavior according to what I believe. Everyone should have the freedom to choose and to do what they want according to their own standards and the law … and common decency,” she explains. “However, I watched a very popular Blues club go from being a classy place to one where the women are in transparent clothing, some with their lower genitals being in full view, crass & vulgar language constantly in local chat, all kinds of ass slapping and 'touching-fondling' speakers in local.”
“Bray’s is a social community…the energy is not highly sexually charged. It is more about connecting up, not hooking up.”
Bray hopes to have 24-hour DJ coverage by the end of the year.
When asked what she’s most proud of, Bray says it’s the people who have helped her create the community. “Because of (their) bravery and desire to have our own place. I am honored and privileged to be the one they chose to be at the helm for them.”
What does she hope for, by the time Bray’s Place celebrates it’s first anniversary? “We plan to go 24 hours before the end of the year.”
And will Bray’s Place look any different?
“We might need a bigger dance floor.”

Additional Information:
Join the crowd at Bray's Place

Group: Braysville Blues
secondlife:///app/group/102cb89a-dfd5-ff11-931f-313d49f23f7d/about

Contact: Bray Preston Rising (Braytania Resident)


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