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Showing posts with label persia bravin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label persia bravin. Show all posts

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Surf Camp, Champs and the Surfing Community Keep Catching the Virtual Wave - Shiny Blackheart Reporting...

After years of Virtual Surfing appearing in Second Life, a robust community continues to surprise and inspire in a way that only virtual reality and the limitless creativity of the artists and residents of SL can conjure.

In the spring of 2007, a surf SIM called Chi, owned and created by Sally LaSalle organized the first ever SL surfing competition. The popularity and success led to the culmination of the Second Life Surfing Association formed to facilitate and formalize a growing community of surfers and events.

This past week the 2nd Annual Surf Camp, offered a comprehensive schedule of talks, workshops, and surf lessons that brought veteran wave riders and nervous newcomers alike together to explore surf life in SL.

“This particular event is not affiliated with any organization or team.” says its organizers.  “It is designed to unite the soul surfer, the novice, and the competitor in one mutual love of surfing. It's never too late to get involved! No fee or sign up, just show up to the below beach at the below time.”  The events took place at a few of the over 70 Sims, beaches and breaks SL virtual surfers can choose to explore.

The SL Surf Association’s SIM is a tropical island inspired SIM, with crystal blue waters, beautiful swells, sandy beaches, green palms, and fun shacks and hatched info huts and shops. Along with that casual beach-life-feel is a proud legacy expressed in the exposition and exhibitions at the SL Surfing Hall of Fame where a lineage of SL Surfing greats are honored and remembered as well as a detailed book of history about Second Life and virtual surfing’s co-creation.

 At a Surf Camp talk Mick Lunasea, a long-time RL and SL surfer, and an SL Surfing Hall of Fame inductee began the history talk saying, “In the beginning, God created the earth in 7 days according to the bible. Many god-like earthlings disagree. After attending a burning man festival, godlike Philip Rosendale created Linden Lab’s Second Life. By 2007 surfing arrived big time. It has taken years for all of us to create it.” 

 The surfing community is vibrant, expressive, and savvy. From highly developed tropical surf environments to just a fun wave tacked onto a water holding parcel, the surfing SIMs of SL demonstrate vast collaboration and creativity so every surfer can find different waves and communities to ride with.  The community has general, moderate, and adult locations with varying rules and guidelines. Some very family friendly, non-human/fantasy friendly, and others strictly human, adult, and even—unattired!

Recently spotlighted in SL Enquirer, Surfer's Bay VIP, owned and created by Duncan Blackburn, is an adult exotic beach surfing SIM that its group description says offers “adult fun, DJ’s and parties. Try surfing or explore the tropical island and meet new friends.”  But even with all the other possible activities, Persia Bravin, the SIM’s landscaper seems to have a special fondness for the surfing itself.

Bravin first surfed in Second Life precisely a decade ago in August 2008. Persia has also surfed in RL since childhood and admits she’s somewhat “obsessed with it [surfing]. A surfer and builder by vocation, she naturally sought the virtual surf beaches of SL, and at only four months old as an SL resident Ms Bravin had a full surfing SIM at a surf estate called JJ Lane where some early surf contests were held.

 Bravin can describe many changes from her decade of experience stating, “When I started surfing in SL, the waves and boards were made of prims. This meant extra lag and also less realism than we have now with mesh.”

Despite the tech and programming challenges, the surfing community still thrived, and there were frequent celebrations and events she recalls.  “Like anything in SL, surfing has evolved and many of the great SL surfers from those days are still here – and surfing,” she said.

The foundation created by the generations of surfers, SIMS, and technology swelled the development and continued growth of SL surfing, but it is the activity of surfing itself that is the fascination. Persia describes the attraction stating, “SL surfing offers you freedom and peace; when it is just you, alone, facing a huge wave…it can be very meditative and a great release from real life pressures.”

When asked what is so attractive about surfing Julz and Vally, the creatives and surfers behind the breathtaking, Indonesian inspired surf SIM, Cloudbreak, answer, “Simple. Riding the wave...nothing more...nothing less.”  Julz added,  “I really love the disconnect - you can't IM or email or text when surfing, it's you and the wave, it's the most peaceful part of my SL day.”

The set of waves at Cloudbreak are epic and keep on coming. The expansive pink-kissed sand meeting mirror-like turquoise waters, overshadowed by immersive jungle canopy is a surf location designed with surfers, creative and community in mind, says its creators and a visit fulfils expectations.

The innovation of waves and boards has created a more realistic, dynamic, and emotive surf experience in SL. Waves at SIMS  have much variety both in the type of wave and how they are arranged and randomly appear and oscillate, creating a variety of conditions and lengths of rides. Fluffy waves are small waves about 2-3 ft. high or there are waves like the Maverick, which are big and steep with a ripping, curling, face.

These factors along with a variety of boards with options for speed, manoeuvrability, and tricks give a rider the ability to personalize their ride and be creative with their expression on the wave much like RL surfing. Most SIMS have ‘rez points' where one can choose a board to appear there in the water for them to ride. Grab a C-3 for a good balance between control and dynamics, or select the coveted HP5, long since unavailable for purchase, for a high flying session of airs and dynamic tail sprays and cutbacks, like the LSD or choose the SSI for what surfer resident, Emma says, “is a pretty honest board and an equalizer.”

Most surfers tend to collect boards and many end up with a ‘quiver’, and at Surf Camp Mick set up his array of boards in a beautiful exposition of innovation and history of the board’s development over time. He even showed a board that was given out for free (to the chagrin of many SL surfboard dealers) by Linden during the 2011 Spring Break event. He called it a real ‘turkey’, and after surfing this board, this journalist verified and understood ‘turkey’ to mean ‘a poor performer.’

 The sun has set on this year’s Surf Camp but next years event is already in planning. Despite this, there are many opportunities to take lessons with group or private instructors. Major competitions are upcoming this month, and the many revellers of these SIMS are all practising their ride, partying, dancing and lounging on the miles and miles of sandy beaches.

To explore the world of SL Surfing use the most recent version of the Surf SIM List, available at the TP board at Solace or Bluff Cove or go to the SurfWatch Blog as well as some other places inworld.  A TP board is freely available upon request even!  Copies are automatically sent whenever the main board is updated.  To receive a TP board send an IM with a request to, Kantbe Thursday.

Like a good a set of waves the state of SL Surfing also has its changes, surprises, upsets and disappointments. For this reporter, I’ll be surfing everyday, in my birthday-suit at Surfer’s Cove Playa Parida, or duck-diving under friendly sharks and whales after I hang glide down to the beach at El Diablo, or I’ll be hanging-10 and showing off to the voyeurs at Surfer’s Bay, wherever and whenever, catching waves, in the sea, under the SL sky. Aloha.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

“Surfers’ Bay - You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf….- Seersha Heart

Persia Bravin: “I wanted it to feel like logging into a vacation “

It is Wednesday lunch time when I decide to go in world for a bit of personal rest& relaxation.  As I load up my viewer, I am humming Rupert Holmes’ song Escape.  A very beachy tune with a lot of action happening in the dunes of the cape.  This song always makes me think of the beach.  When I come in world tonight, I want to go to the beach to escape the stresses of rl and have a bit of fun.  I recently joined the Surfer’s Bay VIP Group in world.  In my first couple of weeks as a member I had learned that surfing is not only the actual act of riding a wave on a board but also a life style.  Persia Bravin and her partner Duncan Blackburn have opened a spectacular new surfing SIM.

Kick off your shoes and wander down the beach with me here at Surfers’ Bay.  The sounds of the ocean are soothing, the waves are ready and waiting.  I recommend a nice walk around the island.  The main social area has plenty of places to sit and relax.  You can sit on the beach on a towel, a chair or float in the water on nice large floats.  What is Persia Bravin trying to create here?  I joined her at the club for lunch one day last week to see what she had to reveal to us.  She told me that RL is hard enough, this is a place to escape those stresses.  “So, log in, escape and enjoy fellow SLers” Persia says with a wry smile.

Taking a stroll around the island the aspect I most enjoy is the ambient sounds.  The sounds of surf and gulls will take your mind to the ocean as you stroll.  Our first stop is a handy rez station.  We can rez a surf board or a jet ski.  The jet ski is HUD operated and easy to use.  I have taken a jet ski around the entire island, it is possible, and it is fun.  A little bit further down the beach you will see Orchid Island off to our left.  A particularly romantic scene, this island rests in constantly swirling sea water, white caps crashing along a worn stair case.  At the top of the stairs is a view of the ocean and a private place to spend some time along or with that special someone.

I asked Persia about the name “Orchid Island”, where did she come up with that name?  She told me that initially she didn’t quite know what to do with the island claiming it “came out of nowhere”.

Persia Bravin: I wanted somewhere small and peaceful.  I love orchids rl and a friend of mine who makes really good sl plants just came out with some. He sent the orchids to me, so it made sense.  It also runs with the Bali theme

Surfer’s Bay is chock full of spots such as this one.  There are all kinds of romantic stops with any animation you might wish to enjoy.  There is deck in a lagoon of the most beautiful turquoise water you have ever seen.  On this deck is a large round chair.  I take a seat in the chair and find out, like most of the island, I have many options. 

Along with all the couples poses you could ever need, you will find the playful poses too.  In one lagoon there is a platform with several poses for the single traveler including treading water and jumping off the platform into the water.  The island has been designed with a weaving of rock and of sand throughout.  Stone staircases, decking and platforms appear exactly where needed.  The furniture is strategically placed throughout with both the single and the couple in mind.  At many areas of the SIM I feel as if I entered a nice quiet private place.  As if it is designed with me in mind.

There is a double diving board jutting out into the ocean.  I have seen people hanging out on the diving boards chatting up a storm.  The boards are dramatic and tower well above the ocean.  The diving is outstanding.  Nearby there is a spot where elegant comfortable cream-colored sofas sit on a floating dock waiting to be used.  I see a man standing there on the dock looking out to sea.  The people you encounter are friendly.  He sends me an IM telling me I “improve the view”.  I smile and thank him as I continue this stroll.  Almost directly opposite of the main social beach area I find a picturesque swimming pool. 
The pool provides a swim HUD, it works well there and at other points on the SIM.  It is hard to imagine that this Island is only three months old.  The group already has 5000 members and I expect to see a lot more.  I traveled to ten other surf SIMs to research what one might expect to see at a surfing SIM.  While there are a few nice ones, no surf SIM captures as many amenities as Surfer’s Bay.  Surfer’s is a place you will want to visit every day.  If you want to own your own surf board, there is an unobtrusive shopping area a short walk from the beach with surfboards on sale for men and women made by regular a surfer on the sim - Guyot Habana. 

Persia is a charming and a laid back surfer.  I asked her a few more questions for the prospective members of Surfers’ Bay VIP Group.  Here is the conversation:

Seersha Heart: Are you a member of the SL Surfers Association?

Persia Bravin: I have been a member of the SLSA since 2008 – it’s one of the organisations that I have never left or discarded to make room for other groups.  The SLSA is a stalwart of the SL surfing community; they provide competitions and support for surfers and surf owners and do a lot of work to promote surfing as a sport across SL.

Seersha Heart: Do you or will you host “Pro” surf events?

Persia Bravin: Surfer’s Bay VIP is about the fun and non-competitive aspects of SL surfing. It’s a sim for true ‘soul surfers’ or those people that simply enjoy the sensation of paddling out and taking on the huge Maoli waves and we love welcoming newcomers to SL surfing too. There is a hardcore group of surfers that you will see hitting the waves here on most days and they always give their time to coach others. We are considering becoming a destination for future, larger surfing events though – watch this space!

Seersha Heart: How do you track how members feel about the SIM?

Persia Bravin: The Surfer’s Bay VIP group chat is always buzzing with thoughts and suggestions from our thousands of members and we do listen carefully to all feedback. We don’t have a formal suggestion process currently – although that might be something we could implement in the future – but all ideas from our members are welcomed and usually implemented immediately!

Seersha Heart: Any good stories to share about couples who may have met at Surfers’?

Persia Bravin: When we created the sim, we definitely wanted to impart a sense of romance, but not in the traditional way, but rather through lush planting, naturalistic scenery and plenty of areas where you can be alone with loved ones. Romance does bloom at the sim and I am pretty sure many couples have met there! I also love to see all the different friendships develop: Surfer’s Bay VIP truly is a meeting place for people across the world. Who knows…maybe we will host a wedding one day of a couple that fell in love here.

Coming soon to Surfers’ Bay are well known SL performers Jack Slade on August 4th and Max Kleen on August 18th.  Join the crowd at Surfers’ Bay and enjoy some music while you look out on some beautiful waves.

SURL: secondlife://HIDDEN%20VALLEY/138/177/22
Surfer’s Bay VIP Group

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More Than Meets The Eye: The Work Of Vlad Sharktooth- Persia Bravin Reporting...

Vlad Sharktooth is not a man who is afraid of embracing a creative challenge. Over his eight years in Second Life, it’s fair to say that Vlad has gone from being a relatively low key photographer to an exceptionally creative force. A quick look through his flickr account rapidly tells you that this a man with a sharp eye for artistic detail; a creative soul with a penchant for perfectionism and a slightly edgy, self-assured and sensual style. But perhaps Vlad’s most impressive attributes are his less visual aspects, because his phenomenal personality, constant desire to hone his craft and genuine willingness to support other SL Photographers make him one of the most likeable characters in the SL photography community.

So how did Vlad start his photographic journey in Second Life? “Someone I knew a long time ago was starting to take pictures and when I told her I knew some photoshop from work, she asked me if I could help her,” remembers Vlad. “I then realized - when I tried SL photography - that it was a completely different thing, and it was extremely exciting to learn more about it at first…and after that, I discovered that it also allowed me to express myself in ways that I otherwise couldn't.”

That personal creative discovery has since set Vlad on the path of most artistic people: one of constantly trying out ideas, honing technique and developing a unique style - but it hasn’t always been easy for him, as he admits, “I remember starting out in flickr and Photoshop with SL photos and I remember how frustrating it can be at times - that never goes away! - and how clueless I was to some things. I also remember being a bit annoyed at times when I thought that maybe I had reached my peak and that's as good as I would get!”

Vlad’s understanding of the often painful creative process means that he is always responsive to others that are learning the SL photographic ropes. “I've had flickr mail from people that have felt similarly, so I'll always, always, do whatever I can to support people in whatever way I can,” he says generously, so what advice can he give to any fledging SL photographers – or those stuck firmly in a creative funk? “The best artists draw from their own experiences and if you think you just don't have anything exceptional to tell, you're probably wrong! Everyone has things that make them unique, things they have lived, things that they struggle with, maybe even by themselves.”

All artists – whatever their genre – will recognize that sense of struggle, but finding the inspiration for his photos doesn’t appear to be something that Vlad has to fight with. He regularly posts photos to his flickr account and his images always prove popular with his myriad of followers. Other things that make Vlad’s work stand out is the witty and insightful text he produces to accompany each photo (by his own admission – he enjoys a good rant), as well as a ‘soundtrack’ in the form of a YouTube song that he feels best illustrates each photograph.

“Usually I either have Spotify on shuffle all, YouTube on auto run, or one specific song on a loop,” he says, explaining how music motivates his work. “The first lands me on songs I know, which helps mix things up, the second... sometimes gets me to songs I hate or that make me cringe for one reason or another - not that they're bad - so it's always like a little Pandora’s box and the last one is when I’m set on a mood or specific song for a picture.”
As for the future, Vlad intends on creating more of his photos and is enjoying experimenting with creating different photo sets using items found in Second Life rather than created in Photoshop – even if it does cost him a small fortune playing the gacha machines in the hope of winning a specific piece. “If I see some set or furniture in SL that I like that has a theme, and I go and try to build something around it, granted, this method sometimes ends up with me spending a lot to get the set and then never using it because I forgot about it or procrastinated about it!” he says laughing.

None of us can create in isolation, so I ask Vlad if there is anyone he would like to thank for helping him – as he helps others. He thinks for a moment before replying: “I'd thank everyone that I have ever interacted with: from simple conversations, to all that believe in me, to those who trust me, to the people that help me when I need their opinion, to those that have inspired me, to the ones that are always there when I've needed someone, of course, to every victim that has ever had to endure the hardships of posing for and with me, to every person who I owe a picture, and lastly, to everyone that reads my writing or likes my pictures.  A tiny little piece of my heart belongs to each one of you.” And that is the essence of Vlad Sharktooth: creative, generous – but always grateful. Long may he continue.

Want to get started in SL photography or improve what you do? Here are Vlad’s top tips:

1: Watch, a lot, be it tutorial videos or SL tuition videos.Check out videos by SL photographers DaeberethwenArbenlow and Katey Coppola and others on YouTube. Also check out tutorials on sl photography, meaning windlights, projector lights, settings for DoF, shadows.

2: Don't compare your work to others, especially don't compare your work to people who have had years of practice, even if they don't keep their old pictures, or if they seemed to be that good from the start, always remember you are only seeing what they are comfortable with sharing, you don't see their failures or struggles, you only see the work they deem 'good enough'.

3: Don't be afraid to reach out if you need help, some will provide it, some won't. I’m always up for helping, but I know others might be less inclined to do so, don't let it phase you, it's not personal.

4: As Carrie Fisher once said: "Take your broken heart, make it into art." This goes for happy feelings as well, take your joy, sorrow, lust, convictions, etc., and explore them in pictures, don't just be someone who takes a random picture of the latest event, there are hundreds of those, and sooner or later, it gets old.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Second Time Around by Lacy Muircastle...

It’s finally done…  This manuscript took a long time to come to fruition but I’ve enjoyed the journey immensely, and I have Lanai Jarrico, she of the SL Enquirer, to thank for its existence.  

Out of curiosity, I joined Second Life, which was back in 2008.  What a mind bend it was.  The learning curve was incredible and coming to terms with the technical aspects of just moving around never mind making the avatar look halfway presentable was daunting.  But I persevered and with time things began to fall into place.

But now what?  I decided that if I were to remain in Second Life that I needed to do something constructive.  In Second Life you can do what you want, be what you want and as a creative platform, the options are many and varied. In 2000 I’d dabbled with the idea of writing, but I filed it away and didn’t think about it again till early 2009.  I’d come across several virtual publications in SL and decided that’s what I wanted to do.  Write.

I applied to two virtual newspapers, one of which I never heard back from and which subsequently closed and the other was the SL Enquirer.  Lanai Jarrico, the CEO, and publisher of SLE gave me a chance and now here I am.  She became a good friend and I will forever be in her debt.  Persia Bravin, another colleague at the SL Enquirer, showed me the ropes and with her encouragement, I was on my way.   

Lanai Jarrico
Back in real life, I came to the conclusion that I’d like to write a book.  Apparently, we all have one in us…  I took an online writing course offered by Get Smarter and facilitated by UCT lecturer Dr Ron Irwin.  Second Time Around was born.  My first draft was, well let’s just say not awfully good and I obviously needed to learn a whole lot more about the craft of writing.  Who knew just how difficult it was to write.

I rewrote my manuscript, several times... and along the way, I connected with All About Writing, run by Richard Beynon and Dr Jo-Anne Richards.  They coached and mentored me, and the final version of the book is the result of that collaboration.

To my friends, Persia, Maxes, Mal, Peny, Dallin, Nigal, Lowell, Craig, Giancarlo and IrishGent amongst others, thank you for being part of my journey.   And to all those avatars I’ve had the honour of interviewing over the years, I have enough material to write several Second Life related books…

Huckleberry Hax
A big thank you goes to Huckleberry Hax for allowing his character, Definitely Thursday, to have a cameo role in this book.  Definitely Thursday is one of the main protagonists from the Second Life based AFK series written by Huckleberry Hax.



Last but not least, thank you to Linden Lab for providing the platform for creativity in a virtual environment and to Philip Rosedale for coming up with the concept in the first place.

Second Time Around by Lacy Muircastle

A 21st Century romance in which virtual life intertwines with real life

Sheridan King had it all and then she didn’t.  Her trust in men irrevocably shattered, or so she thought.

Luke Ashton, accomplished Ad man and artist, surfer and ladies’ man.  His pain and distrust of women run deep.

Having a Second Life© complicates matters even further.  What is real and what is imagined?

Josh Magic and Callista Hancroft

Second Time Around is available on Kindle by Amazon.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Backstage Report: The AVI Choice Awards 2016 By: Persia Bravin

Since 2011, the AVI Choice Awards have highlighted the immense talent of content creators from all genres in Second Life. Originally conceived by Nikki Mathieson as a way to boost traffic for the very first Relay For Life of Second Life ‘Christmas Expo’, the awards quickly gained recognition and momentum as an important cultural event of their own. The Avi Choice Awards have continued, on its own since 2011, but it has always supported Relay For Life as its charity. Since 2011, nearly 1.2 million votes have been cast for nearly 7,000 nominees and the associated websites have had 800,000 hits. This year alone, there were more than 249,000 votes cast across 98 categories – impressive statistics indeed. In addition, the AVI stage has been an opportunity to educate and bring awareness to guests and audiences about the incredible work The American Cancer Society has done - and continues to do - in the fight against cancer.

Photos: Austin Novaland

On Sunday 4 December, the very last AVI Choice Awards took place in front of a packed auditorium.The votes had been counted, the crew and performers were assembled and the audience were dressed in their finest couture ready to hear the nominees and winners. Backstage, I asked Nikki Mathieson just why she felt the awards were so important for creators. “I hope that creators have considered them important,” she said, as she prepared to raise the red velvet theatre curtains. “I've heard, over the years, that they are considered to be…and that's definitely important to me.  Second Life is a unique virtual world in that so much of the great in it is created by its own users.  Each creator makes our world better.  They share a part of them with us, their imaginations and talents and the Awards are important because it gives us the opportunity to let them know that we recognize their abilities and appreciate them.”

Photos: Austin Novaland

The awards got off to a dazzling start thanks to an outstanding performance by singer, Savannah Rain before show hosts, Trader Whiplash and Nuala Maracas made the official welcome. SL television stalwarts, Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlinfrom the ever popular ‘Designing Worlds’ show then took to the spotlight to announce the nominees and winners in the SLIFEsection. The duo delighted the audience with their presentation skills and witty repartee before handing the microphone over to SL singer, Chris Quan. It was then my turn to announce the winners in the fashion section alongside Frolic Mills, but a major technical hitch meant that Frolic was unable to log into SL – or skype. With the clock ticking, and with only 20 seconds before the fashion awards were due to be announced, the ever gallant Elrik Merlin leapt onstage to help me host. The show must always go on!

The audience were then treated to the sweet singing voice of SL performer, AleyKat, before the awards for the Arts were presented by Jill MacKenzie and singer, LuvofMusicResident. Next, a singer who I haven’t heard perform before, but who instantly gained me as a fangirl, took to the stage – Luciano Lionheart. Luc sang a selection of hauntingly beautiful songs that showcased his wide vocal range and dulcet tones – much to the delight of the audience. Finally, show hosts Trader and Nuala wrapped up the very last AVI Choice Awards by surprising Nikki Mathieson with her own much deserved tribute. Nikki has played an integral part in all Relay For Life events over the years, and if anyone in SL deserves public recognition for their fundraising activities then surely it is her.

Photos: Austin Novaland

After the show, I asked Nikki what she hopes the legacy of the AVI Choice Awards will be. “The awards have never been about who is BEST,” she reflects. “It’s so unfair to try to judge 'best' in an amazing world such as ours.  I hope that our virtual community have gotten the message that when you find a favorite or a piece of work that just fits you so perfectly… take the time to let that creator know.  Complaints in the business world, online or not, are frequent.  But, appreciation and compliments not so much.  We all need to just take the time to notice good work and give acknowledgement for it.  We could all stop being so critical and start being appreciative and generous with our applause and gratitude.” As I left the awards and prepared to log off for much needed sleep, Nikki’s words resonated a great deal with me and made me realise that the AVI Choice Awards may be over, but that their positive impact will always remain.

Photos: Austin Novaland

Nikki Mathieson would like to thank: Jill MacKenzie, Dextresis Dejavu, Roman Godde, Trader Whiplash, Nuala Maracas, Shayla Juran and all performers, presenters and crew.
AVI Choice Awards Nominees and Winners:

AVI Choice Show by AVIEW TV:

Friday, September 9, 2016

More Than A Music Venue: Take A Break At Coffee’s By: Persia Bravin

For many of us, live music is the heartbeat to our second lives, and our favourite gig venues rapidly become regular haunts inworld. They are places to relax and escape the humdrum of real life; to chat with friends whilst listening to performers from across the world. For musicians too, a well-run venue provides the opportunity to showcase their talents, a chance for them to gain new fans and for them to earn useful income, which in turn, helps to boost the overall SL economy. Live music venues come and go, but the ones that stand the test of time are those with a welcoming atmosphere, an almost palpable sense of excitement and a unique setting. If these are the benchmarks of a truly successful venue, then Coffee’s – run by brother and sister team, Coffee Jaworower and Machka Resident – is destined to be around for many years to come.
Coffee’s opened in late 2014 and since then has managed to attract and maintain a loyal customer and performer fan base. One of the secrets to its success is the convivial atmosphere that Coffee and Machka have magically created, because whether you are a first timer or seasoned visitor, you are always made to feel part of the Coffee’s community. “I think the inspiration behind Coffee's comes from being a live musician myself and playing at poorly constructed venues that are usually way too big for most artists to fill,” explains Coffee, “they tend to lose that warm, welcoming atmosphere that hopefully we provide for both our audience and artists. I wanted to make Coffee's a cosy - but not in your face place - where you could either boogie up by the stage or sit back in comfortable surroundings and listen to great music.”
Great music - that other vital ingredient for any live venue – is another strong point at Coffee’s. Instead of a daily schedule with many musicians of varying abilities, the venue instead hosts music from Friday to Monday only from 12 to 3pm SLT. This reduced schedule allows the team to provide quality over quantity and consequently, Coffee’s plays host to some of the finest musicians on the grid - but what’s it been like working with performers inworld? “Well for me, and I'm sure my sister would agree, it's been a great experience,” says Coffee, as we sit at the bar. “I’ve learnt so much from them and find on the whole they are a very friendly bunch of people only too willing to give advice and help out when they can.”

For the musicians themselves, Coffee’s is a firm favourite on the SL music venue circuit, as pianoman1968, one of the venues regular performers explains: “If you want to have a fun time in a friendly, slightly crazy atmosphere, then Coffee's is the place for you. There are some amazing artists there and you often see something which is a cut above the norm in Second Life. Coffee and Machka always encourage originality and like to provide something a little bit different.” Sourcing top notch performers to play at Coffee’s can’t be easy, but this responsibility falls to Machka, who manages secure some of the best names in SL live music thanks to her persistence and sunny nature. “I do run around and find performers, and when they say yes, that does make me feel good,” she says smiling. “So yes… I’m pleased when I get a booking and the most pleasing moment is when Coffee sees my calendar and realizes I have booked up the schedule again!”
But what makes Coffee’s really stand out from other venues is its constantly changing look and setting, because unlike most clubs that create a build and stick with it for years after, Coffee’s switches up its look every two weeks, with all pieces made by Coffee Jaworower himself. From one visit to the next, you could find yourself listening to live music sat in an intergalactic spaceship, a LA movie set, an Amazon rainforest or even a gigantic fruit bowl with apples for chairs and bananas as the stage backdrop. The different designs are always executed perfectly, with an element of humour that betrays Coffee’s real life sense of fun – so where does he get his inspiration from?It can be anything from a film I've watched, a book I've read or something somebody has said, for instance the bed stage I did recently resulted from a conversation between Machka and myself about how tired we were. So far, something has always entered in to my head - but it does worry me that I'll run out of ideas one day!” admits Coffee.
Creativity is something that Coffee excels at, which is fortuitous, as he and Machka now plan on expanding the venue to help cater for the ever growing audiences that visit the current location. “Recently we've acquired the little island next door and we've already held a couple of larger events on it, and are planning to do some more in the future,” he explains. “As for the main stage at Coffee's I'd like it to continue as it has been for many years to come.” With such a loyal following, great music and fun atmosphere, Coffee’s is destined to be an SL music venue that stands the test of time, but why should people visit? The last word must go to Machka: We don't put labels on people, all are welcome... noobs, furries, children - our venue is open to everyone. We would like to show Second Life that there is a venue that does not judge on looks, religion, politics. Coffees is for everybody to have a fun time.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Future Imperfect: The Art Of Gem Preiz - Persia Bravin Reporting...

Image by Gem Preiz

On board a spaceship circling a far distant planet, the Captain stares out of the window of the craft at the unfamiliar landscape beneath him. Soaring watchtowers hewn from jagged rocks thrust high into the alien atmosphere overlooking abandoned landing platforms and bathed by the light of the ships solar panels, he pensively writes into a logbook. The opening page reveals that the year is 2115 and he has blasted away from a dystopian Earth: a planet that is dying, desolate and ravaged by mankind. His logbook reveals his deepest fears, his human frailties and an overwhelming acceptance that life as he knew it might never be the same again.

This dark glimpse of what life could be like in a not so distant future has been brought to present times within Second Life at ‘Wrecks’ – an exhibition at LEA 26 created by SL artist, Gem Preiz. Wrecks takes the viewer on a journey – both emotionally and visually – through a series of logbook entries written on the exhibit’s starry walls and via the colossal pictures of alien landscapes and structures that Gem produces outside of SL using Mandelbulb 3D, a generator of 3D fractal objects and to complete the out of this world experience, Gem has included a haunting soundtrack that wouldn’t be out of place accompanying a movie such as The Martian or Gravity.

Image by Gem Preiz

“The background of ‘Wrecks’ is a pessimistic future of our planet,” admits Gem. “But I felt it would be interesting to give a human and individual dimension to it, by creating a parallel between the risk of giving up efforts to maintain our planet, and the runaway life of a man who doesn’t want to face his own responsibility and future. Wrecks takes place in 100 years’ time and the fifteen fractal artworks tell of a journey into space along with texts extracted from a logbook and personal mails written by the captain of a spaceship which leaves the Earth. Overall, it gives a vision of the future of our planet, which matches the destiny of the narrator. More futuristic, not very funny, but… holding hope.”

The foreboding atmosphere at Wrecks is almost tangible: from the moment you enter the exhibit through the doors of the Orpheus craft, you are immersed in the life of the Captain and became compelled to discover the outcome of his narrative. But it’s the fractal images that really capture your attention due to their size, intricacy and beauty. “I cut my fractals into plates that I stitch carefully so that the edges are almost invisible,” Gem explains. “It enables me to bring 15 or 20 times more information inworld than with a single texture. The images are much more precise, and when you zoom, you get additional details instead of getting a blurred image. That increases a lot the immersive feeling.”

Image by Gem Preiz

Visiting Wrecks leaves a long lasting impression on the viewer, and despite his shortcomings, you can’t help but hope for a better destiny for the Captain – and planet Earth. As for his own future, Gem says that he has plans for further artwork and exhibitions in SL that might include “an extended range of digital images: not only fractals. I am also curious about the new technology coming, with virtual reality masks, to see how I could use it.” If you visit Wrecks, be sure to see Gem’s other exhibition entitled ‘Vestiges’ too, because there is no one better in SL art right now than Gem Preiz for showing us how the choices we make can affect our present – and our future.

Wrecks and Vestiges run until the end of June

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

GLIMPSES – Techno/Poetry Album Launch

 Friday 21 August 2 – 5pm SLT (PDT)
You are invited to the SL album launch of "Glimpses - Chapter 1” – an extraordinary audio/poetry collaboration between SL artist Thoth Jantzen and real life Techno music Producer Cari Lekebusch.
You can download the album and find out more about this SL/RL crossover project here:
Cari Lekebusch: H-PRODUCTIONS: Official HQ  -