L$425,000 in three hours: the MJF Premiere Party

Angel Manor - venue for the MJF Premiere Party
Angel Manor

On Thursday September 26th, I had the honour of attending the VIP Michael J. Fox Show Premiere Party. A gala evening organised by Team Fox SL coordinator Solas, and co-hosted by Team Fox SL and Creations for Parkinson’s at the magnificent Rose Theatre Ballroom, Angel Manor.

The event was to both mark the premiere of Michael J. Fox’s new television series, The Michael J. Fox Show, and to raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research through the Foundation’s grass-roots fundraising arm, Team Fox.

Barbi Achemi (r) and, just turning away from the Camera, event organiser, Solas (l)
Barbi Alchemi (r) and, just turning away from the Camera, event organiser, Solas (l)

Over 100 parties and events were planned across the USA and Canada to mark Mr. Fox’s return to television in a series which also seeks to raise awareness of Parkinson’s – Mr. Fox plays a newsman making a return to work after being diagnosed with the disease. However, there was only one event to be held in a virtual world.

The party kicked-off at 15:00 SLT in the sumptuous surroundings of the Rose Theatre Ballroom, with some 30 or so guests. Satin Galli provided live entertainment for the first hour, which I sadly missed do to commitments elsewhere. By the time I arrived, DJ Graywolf was spinning tunes hand-picked by Michael J Fox’s son, Sam. At that time the ballroom floor was alive with people dancing on their own, as couples, or in small groups, and more were seated at tables set-out around the dance floor.

Fran Serenade and the Premiere Party Bear
Fran Seranade and the Premiere Party Bear

Barbi Alchemi, founder of Creations for Parkinson’s was there, as was her mother, Fran Seranade, herself suffering from the disease, and both of whom have featured in a number of SL blogs, including this one and in the media at large. Also on hand was event organiser, Solas, and Tredi Felisimo (Donna Davis (PhD, an Assistant Professor at University of Oregon), who is studying the physical and psychological effects of virtual worlds on people with Parkinson’s on her region of Frantastica, which adjoins Creations Park, where Creations for Parkinson’s is based.

Also spread around the ballroom were display boards for items donated to the event auction, and which drew some fantastic bids including:

  • L$ 35,000 bid by Marcusgay Lefevre for two minutes of video magic about himself and filmed by Draxtor Despres the man behind “The Drax Files”
  • L$25,000 bid by Wyndlyght Epona for a chance to work alongside DB Bailey, an architect who provides unique spaces with complex vibrant textures zealously executed are walks of art, and learn his magic
  • L$7,000 bid by Redorange Magic for a beautiful gown from  Sascha’s Designs, winner of the  AVI Choice Award  Best Female Apparel Designer  for two consecutive years
  • Draxtor Despres takes me for a gracious turn around the dance floor!
    Draxtor Despres takes me for a gracious turn around the dance floor

    L$ 6,500 bid by Lisa Valentino for a unique garment designed for them by Solas NaGealai  owner of  BlueMoon enterprise

  • L$6,000 bid by Lisa Valentino for a one-of-a-kind complete avatar, MICHELLE, a high quality, attractive female Shape and Skin from PYRO. Comes with Eyes, Lip Gloss and Hair
  • L$5,000 bid by QuillRiley for tea and a talk with “Creations Mom” Fran Seranade
  • L$5,000 bid by Zip Zlatkis for a magical portrait for two done by Jaden Hollow.

These bids, together with tickets sold for the event, donations made during the evening and the evening’s raffle, mean that L$425,000 (approx $1,700 USD) was raised for the Michael J. Fox Foundation in three hours!

All-in-all this was a fabulous evening, one enjoyed by all. Congratulations to Creations for Parkinson’s, Team Fox SL, to all those who donated auction and raffle items, time and effort, and especially to Solas, for making it all possible.

The ballroom and party
The ballroom and party

About the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Founded in 2000, the MJFF has raised over $350 million towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, making it the world-wide leader in helping to fund research into the disease. Of the funds raised by the Foundation:

  • 52%  goes directly into altering the disease – developing a treatment that could restore function to damaged dopamine neurons in the brains of Parkinson’s patients;
  • 22% goes directly into defining the disease – biomarkers are a critical missing link for developing next-generation treatments. Biomarkers of Parkinson’s will allow researchers to track the disease risk and progression of Parkinson’s disease and detect whether other treatments are working
  • 18% goes directly towards untreated symptoms – available treatments for Parkinson’s address only some symptoms and bring on highly disabling side effects, reducing quality of life for Parkinson’s patients and families
  • 8% goes into tools creation – the Foundation creates and distributes critical research tools to help investigators spend more time focusing on what matters: curing Parkinson’s disease.

Related Links

Anyone with Parkinson’s disease who is interested in learning more about Tredi Felisimo’s research at Frantastica, can contact her in-world, or via email at dzdavis-at-uoregon.edu.

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ToS Changes: The “Desura connection” and a personal perspective

Upset over LL’s re-wording to their Terms of Service continues, with high-profile reports of some content creators of long standing opting to withdraw their content from SL, and another third-party content supplier forbidding the use of their items within Second Life.

Elsewhere, people are starting to point to a “Desura connection”, with Nalates Urriah speculating that the re-wording might be in connection with the Lab wishing to provide the means for SL content creators to sell content through Desura.

A possible “Desura connection” was actually first mooted in passing by Kuurus in a September 15th comment on this blog, after I obtained a statement on the ToS changes from the Lab. Kurrus’ comment in turn prompted me to take another look at Desura’s former Terms of Use (replaced at the end of August by LL’s ToS, but still available via  things like the wayback machine), to see how that handled third-party content. What was interesting here was that the wording in the Desura ToU bears remarkable similarity to that of the revised LL ToS, as I commented upon at the time. Specifically, Section 2 of the old Desura ToU stated:

You expressly authorise and permit Desura to exercise and to authorise others to exercise all of the rights comprised in copyright and all other intellectual property rights which subsist in the Content and you irrevocably consent to all such exercises. Desura is not required to compensate you or any other person in any manner for any such exercise or authorisation. In particular, Desura may use, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, broadcast, and otherwise communicate, and publicly display and perform the Content and other works which are based on them (including by way of adaptation or derivative works) in any form, anywhere, with or without attribution to you, whether or not such use would otherwise be a breach of any person’s moral rights, and without any notice or compensation to you of any kind.

Desura's former Terms of Service included language similar to that found in LL's ToS
Desura’s former Terms of Service included language similar to that found in LL’s ToS

While the phrase “sell / resell” is notably absent from the above, the overall assignment of rights to Desura of any and all work uploaded to the Desura website (including forum comments, etc.), is actually very similar to those the Lab set-out in their revised ToS. Note in particular that Desura can reproduce and redistribute (aka give away and / or sell)  in any form, anywhere – a phrase which strongly echoes, LL’s own ToS statement that they can use content “for any purpose whatsoever”.

This clearly doesn’t negate concerns over the ToS changes or put anything to rights, nor am I suggesting it does. Rather, it suggests that the rewording of the ToS is a direct consequence of trying to merge two disparate terms of service / use, which has resulted in a clause which perhaps should have been more thoroughly considered in terms of implications rather than as an exercise in re-wording.

Following-on from my initial contact with the Lab about the ToS changes which elicited their original statement on the matter, and as a result of looking into the Desura ToU, I again wrote to the Lab on September 17th in an attempt to obtain further feedback from them on the matter. At the time this article went to press, I had yet to receive any reply.

Is the ToS Change Related to Making SL Content Available on Desura?

Determining what the Lab may or may not do isn’t easy. The company tends to hold its cards close to its chest on matter of future planning and directions. However, there are several points to consider when looking at the whole SL content / Desura angle.

For example, unless there are plans to curtail the Marketplace completely, one has to question whether such a move would actually be seen as worthwhile to merchants. The Marketplace may have its flaws, warts and issues, but at least it is directed at the audience most likely to purchase the goods on offer. As such, the effort in opening Desura to the sale SL content may not actually reap real benefit in terms of SL content creators actually using it.

Which is also not to say it shouldn’t perhaps be tried, if it doesn’t take-up too much effort. And who knows? In time, the Lab may well be looking towards moving away from a market environment which only allows content to be sold into one platform, and to one that allows them to potentially offer merchants the means to reach multiple grids. Again, not that this will happen overnight, were it to turn out to be a part of the Lab’s thinking.

Certainly, both Humble and Scott Reismanis, Desura’s founder, appear to share some grand ambitions for Desura’s future. I recently drew attention to quote from Humble on this, in an interview he gave to Gamasutra:

[We want] to make it the most open, developer- and user-friendly distribution service for all kinds of digital goods, starting out with games and mods and going from there. For us it’s a natural step… We’re about user-to-user transactions and empowering people’s creativity.

[my emphasis]

Scott Reismanis (Desura) and Rod Humble have expressed similar ambitions to grow Desura
Scott Reismanis (Desura) and Rod Humble have expressed similar ambitions to grow the platform

Continue reading “ToS Changes: The “Desura connection” and a personal perspective”

Discovering hidden tranquillity

Moonlight Teahouse
Moonlight Teahouse

Travelling the coastal regions of Second Life’s great continents, you’re never quite sure of what you might find. Take the north coast of Jeogeot, for example. For the most part, it’s fairly typical of most mainland regions, a huge variety of builds facing the open sea, some attractive, some less so, some hugging the ground, some floating above it and others bridging the gap between the two. Such is the range of builds, it’s very easy to miss some very rare gems among them.

Gems like the Moonlight Teahouse, sitting on the coast of Tuli form example. Tucked into a narrow – but deep – parcel, it is a charming haven of peace and comfort one might so easily sail – or fly – right by and never notice. In fact, I only noticed it as a result of it appearing in the Destination Guide as a recent addition.

Moonlight Teahouse
Moonlight Teahouse

The work of SL entertainer Myron Byron on behalf of the Moonrocks group, Moonlight Teahouse packs a lot into a relatively small space, and is worth dropping by and having a look around. From the arrival point, sitting above a small, secluded beach, you can follow the paved walk atop a high wall, past an area for Tai Chi practitioners and then either descend a set of stone steps through a rock tunnel to the beach, or climb another, shorter stairway to the teahouse itself.

Here sits not only the teahouse, but a beautiful garden beyond, where the clever use of trees, paths, walls, plants, water and a surrounding facade of rocks presents a feel of a place much larger than is the case, and which harbours a warm feeling of seclusion and peace, despite the surrounding builds.

Moonlight Teahouse
Moonlight Teahouse

A path loops around the garden, leading you both away from and back to the teahouse, spanning the stream which meanders through the parcel with twowooden bridges. Stone lamps light the path, giving an added sense of romance during twilight times.

A pair of Japanese rock gardens sit on either side of the main entrance to the teahouse, where you can sit and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony with a friend or on your own, or simply sit and talk and  forget the worries and pressures of the world – real or digital. Afterwards, you can wander down to the beach and sit in and old rowing boat, or simply let the tranquillity of the gardens wash over you.

Moonlight Teahouse
Moonlight Teahouse

The parcel follows the natural day / night cycle of the region, but to fully appreciate it, I suggest you have a play with your viewer’s windlights, this is a place then very definitely lends itself to the late afternoon  / evening time of day, and also looks superb under moonlight conditions, as I hope some of the pictures here demonstrate.

All in all, a delightful place to visit!

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