SL14B: Celebrating Second Life

SL14B Community Celebration; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Community Celebration – click any image for full size

Second life celebrates its 14th year as an open virtual world on Friday, June 23rd, 2017. This means that once again, the Second Life Birthday Community Celebration is taking place in-world to mark the platform’s anniversary.

SL14B officially opened its gates at midday SLT on Sunday, June 18th, and events run through until Sunday, June 25th. The regions will then be open for viewing for a further week, although there will be no major entertainments or activities during that time. I’ve been fortunate enough to help out in the background for the event, and so have been watching the infrastructure and exhibitor builds take shape, and I have to say that people have really risen to this year’s theme of Carnivaleqsue.

The infrastructure builds at this years events comprise the expected roads and stages – the Cake Stage, Live Stage, DJ Stage and Stage Left – together with the Auditorium build, Welcome Area, Time Capsules display, and Max Mystery Land. With the exception of the Tim Capsules display, each covers between one and two regions (with the Cake Stage centred on its usual four regions), and offer some amazing interpretations of the celebration theme, and I have little doubt they’ll all be seeing a lot of use during the festivities.

SL14B Community Celebration; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Community Celebration

For the DJ Stage, Cynimon Catnap offers  a lush forest environment with tall trees and rich colours – and which hides what feels like an entire circus within it. Giraffes offer a welcome, giant carved lions give airborne acrobats the chance to test their skills, while paths wind among the trees, leading the way to carousels, Ferris wheels, bumper cars – and hidden glades where people can escape the inevitable rush. And, of course, topping  it all, literally as well as figuratively, is the DJ Stage, standing atop – what else? – the circus ringmaster’s beautifully adorned top hat!

Facing the DJ Stage across the width of the SL14B regions is the Welcome Area, by Darkstone Aeon. This is intended to be the starting point for visits to SL14B, containing information, Teleport boards, details of scheduled events and more. All this is set within a rocky environment, with an oriental lean to it. Great Chinese-style dragons (always at the centre of festivals) undulate over and through (literally!) the landscape, or stand on high peaks keeping an eye on everything. Follow the steps cut into the rock and the paths and ways carefully, for there is much to see here. Should you grow tired, or wish an alternate view of the region – be sure to take one of the dragon or balloon rides!

SL14B Welcome Area and Teleports; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Welcome Area and Teleports

To the south, and between both the DJ Stage and the Welcome Area, you’ll find the Auditorium, once again built by ADudeNamedAnthony. This year we have a design of clean, modern lines which carry within them a hint of Art Deco. Surrounded by broad avenues and bracketed by parkland, the Digital City venue would look at home in almost any city environment. Within it can be found the main auditorium, which will be home to talks and presentations throughout the week, supported by two smaller forum halls.

South of the Auditorium rises the Cake Stage. This is once again another of Mikati Slade’s gloriously colourful and distinctive designs, occupying the central corners of four adjoining regions. It will feature many activities and parties throughout the week including the Lab’s Masked Ball (Monday, June 19th 11:00 13:00 SLT) and Come As You Were party (Wednesday, June 21st 18:00 – 20:00 SLT) – find out more about these two events here.

SL14B Auditorium; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Auditorium

East of the Cake Stage, and occupying two regions, is the Live Music stage, designed by Chic Aeon. A curious design, the live stage sits within a mini urban setting which merges glowing building blocks with Monopoly like buildings. Caught in darkness (set your viewer to midnight if your environment doesn’t automatically change), it offers the neon feel of a city, beyond which, when facing the right direction, the glowing mass of the Cake Stage rises.

To the west and a little south of the Cake Stage is Stage Left, designed by Faust Steamer, and while I shouldn’t perhaps have favourites, I have to say it is one of the two infrastructure builds I particularly like at SL14B. Those who recall Faust’s Stage Left from SL13B are sure to be blown away by this year’s design, which again takes a fantastical twist on the carnivale theme for the celebrations, throwing in a Hindu incarnation of Cerberus, together with some Chinese influences.

SL14B Stage Left; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Stage Left

The scale of this build is just amazing; to really appreciate it, you have to cam out; to understand the sheer power evoked by it, simply stand next to the teleport dias / pool and look up as the great armoured beast lowers its middle head to look at you. This build also uses a local experience for teleporting – jump into the teleport pool and allow the experience too be lifted to the stage up on the beast’s broad back.

The other build we particularly enjoyed in our pre-opening ramblings and photo-gathering is the Max Mystery Land (aka Community Park), designed by Lim Pikajuna. Occupying a single region at the southern end of the Community Celebration estate, this offers all manner of entertainments above ground, in the air, underground and even under water. A theme park on (and in) a mountain, Max Mystery presents visitors with sky cars, go karts, pedaloes, boat rides, underwater bumpers cars, a disco, a mono-rail – there’s even a chapel!

SL14B Max Mystery Land; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Max Mystery Land

In addition to all this comes the exhibitor builds and displays. As usual, these are an eclectic, tumbling mix of designs and expressions, encompassing art in all its forms, promoting communities, commemorating individuals, showcasing skills, and of course offering fun and amusement or opportunities for quiet contemplation. Many have entered into the theme of the celebrations with gusto and imagination, making wandering the exhibitor regions a delight. Some have opted for displays pretty close to previous years’ offerings, and one or two still have yet to learn that slapping textures on prims that reach up into the sky might be eye-catching, but not necessarily in a positive way.

I’ll have more to say on exhibits and art at SL14B in the week. For now, I’ll leave you with the key SLurls – you can find a full list on the SL14B website, where you can also find the celebrations schedule (use the drop-down menu for individual stage, etc., schedules).

SL14B Core SLurls

All regions rated General.