Second life celebrates its 13th year as an open virtual world on Thursday, June 23rd. To mark the event, Second Life resident will be enjoying a week-long celebration, in the form of the Second Life 13th Birthday (SL13B), which runs from Sunday, June 19th through Sunday June 26th and features a wide range of entertainments and events for people to enjoy.
The seventeen regions are now open, the stages are alive with music. Exhibits from individuals, groups and community from across Second Life are ready for you to see and enjoy, and a host of entertainers will be bringing music and dancing and more to the grand stages spread across the regions, whilst talks and presentations are also to be found.
As always with the birthday celebrations, there really is a lot to see and do across the regions, and the exhibit builds offer a mix of the breath-taking, the sublime, the wonderful, the stunning and the fun.
One of the things I particularly enjoy with each SLB celebration is the imaginative approach taken to the major aspects of the event – the stages, the auditorium, the welcome area, and once again, this year the builds are simply phenomenal. At the heart of the event is – naturally – the four-region Cake Stage in the shape of Miktaki Slade’s familiar design and approach (above). Almost bracketing this to the west and east are the Automaton / Stage Left and the Live Performance stage.
The Automaton / Stage Left is a truly amazing two-region design (SL13B Stupendous and SL13B Mesmerize) by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer). You may recognise that name as belonging to the man who designed the SL12B Welcome Area – and you have to see this stage to believe it; it is a mighty design guaranteed to mesmerise you, it is so stupendous in its scale and in the breadth of imagination it encompasses. Stage Left will be hosting the Linden Lab sponsored Music Fest on June 24th through 26th, and it also hosts some secrets for visitors to discover!
The Live Performance stage, by Cube Republic, is located on SL13B Dazzle, and while it may only comprise a single region, it is for me a beautifully attractive and imaginative stage design. The flying turtle-style ship, hovering over the water immediately caused me to recall the tenth anniversary’s amazing giant turtle stage by Flea Bussy and Toady Nakamura, whilst inside the turtle’s shell we get a wonderful echo of Cube’s own design from SL12B and Kazuhiro Aridian’s DJ stage from 2015’s SL12B. The entire sci-fi loo and the use of a local experience to access the stage make this a fabulously imaginative setting.
To the north-west, at SL13B Impressive, sits the Welcome Area, a giant sailing ship by Catboy Qunhua, floats serenely in the sky, close to the top of the towering form of a great lighthouse, and with more ships sitting in its shadow on the waters below. This is the place anyone new to the SLB celebrations should commence their visit. The landing point provides an information pack, whilst down on the main and lower decks are teleport portals and landmark givers to the major points of interest in the celebration regions – the stages, the auditorium, the pod tour centre, etc. Or, if you prefer, you can mark your way down through the lighthouse to ground level and start your explorations by crossing the bridge.
Across to the north-east side of the celebration regions is a park of rolling hills, gently flowing waters and trees of many hues from which rises the mighty Linden Tree, bearing upon its massive trunk the DJ Stage by Zuza Ritt. The stage will be the home of a lot of entertainment through the week, whilst the park below offers many opportunities to escape the bustle of the celebrations without actually leaving the regions, and take time to wander and catch your breath.
And then there is the Auditorium by Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony) – seen at the top of this article. Another inspiring design sitting at the boundary of two regions – S13B Astound and SL13B Enchant, the Auditorium will be the home of a range of talks throughout the week of festivities, including the Meet the Lindens series every weekend at 15:00 SLT.
Set within formal garden featuring sculptures by Garvie Garzo, the Auditorium is another stunning design, looking out over a reflecting pool to the west, beyond which stands this year’s SLB Time Capsule display. Eastward of the Auditorium is the sepulchral dome of the Grabbers of the Last Freebie, which contains a surprise of its own.
And of course there are the resident-built exhibits in all their many styles and approaches. Some offer art to see and enjoy – and I confess to immediately loving We Began as Wanderers by Krys (Krystali Rabeni), a simple, elegant sculpture which encapsulates the basic truth about all of us who have come – and stayed – in Second Life.
Within these myriad exhibits are things to do, things to try, things to learn, rides to enjoy, experiences to be had – so much so, that all those passing through the SL13B gates during the course of the week will doubtless have their own stories to tell following their explorations. And of course, there is The Big Hunt to encourage people in their explorations as well!
So – welcome to the anniversary celebrations!