Flying Coyote River in Second Life

Flying Coyote River; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Flying Coyote River – click on any image for full size

Miro Collas passed on a suggestion we pay a visit to Flying Coyote River, a Full region designed by Lila Rose (Masha Eilde) and open to people with Payment Information On File (PIOF). It’s a strangely eclectic wilderness region with plenty to see, and which can be very photogenic under a wide variety of windlight settings.

The landing point sits in the middle of the region on a small island, the rest of the land divided into four, each part ruggedly terraformed using a mix of the natural terrain and mesh elements. Precisely where you go from the landing point is entirely a matter of personal choice. Before doing so, and if you want to get a feel for the immediate surroundings, there’s a small watchtower offering a vantage point for a look around (you might also want to see what is under the little hillock of the island).

Flying Coyote River; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Flying Coyote River

However, whichever route you choose, you’ll be setting off on a voyage of discovery, because there is an awful lot to be found right across the region. So much so, in fact, that attempting to describe everything here would lead to a long article and spoil the fun. However, were I to be asked to define a possible single-word theme for the region, then it might be in “community”.

Not that there is an actual community of users here per se, but rather that the region has been designed to give a feeling that it has been established by a group of people; although quite why they’ve done so here in the wilds surrounded by mountains, is a story perhaps best left to individual imaginations. It’s also the kind of place that looks ripe for casual role-play for like minds paying in a visit – and that’s something that visitors are invited to try, as noted in the About Land description.

Flying Coyote River; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Flying Coyote River

Buildings here come in all forms: houses, tree houses, converted rail cars, cottages, lighthouses, towers – even caves and hollows. All are scattered across the landscape, atop hills, improbably perched on cliffs, nestled along the coast or sitting in the branches of trees. Linking them one to the next is a series of trails, paths, bridges, ladders, tunnels and stairways, some of which are quite imaginatively placed, with others offering more than one way to reach a destination.

The best way of exploring the region is not to flycam / cam ahead – at least not to start with. It is far more fun to follow the paths and climb the hills to see what lies beyond the next ridge or hilltop then it is to constantly cam ahead. This way, you really get the feeling of being out in the wilds; and such is the design of the region, it can quickly start to feel as if is it far larger than its 256 metres on a side. Just as you feel you must have seen everything, there is something the pops into view or is at least hinted at just over the next rise – and so you’re drawn onwards.

Flying Coyote River; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Flying Coyote River

In this way, places like the garden with its wrecks of cars and bursts of flowery colour amidst the greenery of hills and trees raises a smile far more than when simply camming to it, while it hint of what might be a cavern or tunnel entices you further around the base of a hill or over a bridge and up a gravel path.  Gentle exploration also brings out the very mixed aspects of the region’s design, which brings together something of a post-apocalyptic flavour with twists of fantasy, all stirred into the feeling of being in the great outdoors – including a rope slide for the adventurous.

It is true that elements of the design are a little rough here and there – platform legs not quite reaching the ground, footings of bridges and buildings perhaps not as firmly placed into ledges and cliffs as they might be. But really, this doesn’t matter: Flying Coyote River offers so much to see, the attractions more than outweigh the niggles. There are also plenty of places to sit and rest, or look out over the landscape, from both indoors and from outside, again making a visit more than worthwhile.

Flying Coyote River; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Flying Coyote River

Again, when visiting the region, please remember access is restricted to those with PIOF, and note also that scripts are disabled if you re-log directly to the region. Our thanks again to Milo for suggesting we take a look.

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Now is the time on Living in a Modem World when we dance…

Hi. I’m R. Crap Mariner. I write things.

While Inara’s keeping busy in both Second Life and Sansar, I thought I’d share a bit about something that’s been keeping me busy for a while (No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a certain pirate who’s not a very good pirate).

For the past year or so, I’ve been obsessed with shooting photographs of the Second Life dance performance scene.

Guerilla Burlesque

A few months ago, I pinged Inara about an upcoming Monarchs full-sim dance show, but she was busy with some stuff, and she asked me if I could write something up about it. Being a professional writer, I did what came naturally: I dawdled and procrastinated, and I missed the deadline.

Yeah, I suck.

It All Begins at the Beginning…

I got an invitation to see a show by Guerilla Burlesque on the Idle Rogue region (okay, dozens of invitations over the years, but remember, I suck). I enjoyed the performance very much, and got to know the folks there, Over time, I’ve learned of so many other groups, 50 so far. And every month there’s somebody new out there learning the dance controller systems and putting their imagination out there for an audience.

Guerilla Burlesque

It’s amazing what people come up with, individually and in groups, bringing together so many elements:

  • Costumes
  • Sets
  • Controller systems
  • Animations
  • Music

It all comes together to make something truly alive and special. It’s art in motion and sound.

Club Image

So Many Groups

There are groups and performers from countries all over the world. England, Scotland, Japan, Germany, France, Russia, Australia, and Brazil to name a few.

Debauche - July 23 2017

Some of these groups, such as the dadaesque Ballet Pixelle, have been creating and performing for over ten years. Man, all those shows I’ve missed… big time sad panda. But sometimes, Ballet Pixelle brings back the classics.

Ballet Pixelle - Olmannen - August 27 2017

There are many different types of shows out there:

  • Themed shows, like Guerilla Burlesque of the Idle Rogues recently did with Caledonia Skytower’s Dickens Project or TerpsiCorps movie-inspired productions. The Royal Opera does some impressive ballet and opera productions, too.
  • Full-region productions, like Monarchs Kingdom does for Halloween and Christmas, or Club Image did for their Monsters Tea Party for Halloween.
  • Variety shows, like Winds of the Sahara and Noir Neverland.
  • Racier shows, such as the complex classy choreography of Debauche and La Coquette, or the naughty fancy of Kiki’s Burlesque.

From individual cabaret acts to full-on dance theatre, there’s something for everyone.

A&M Mocap - August 12 2017

Yes, everyone.

After a while, you’ll notice a few names that come up over and over again in performances. A lot of performers work the circuit, whether bringing an act to multiple variety shows, or lending a hand (and a body) to a group act for their friends at different shows. It’s like a large extended family, odd cousins and all.

Elysium Cabaret Roster

Galleries and Resources

There’s an in-world gallery at the Dance Queens infocenter, where you can learn of many of the groups that perform in Second Life. They have also a group for performance announcements (search for DANCE QUEENS), and an online calendar and blog which collect announcements for upcoming shows. This is useful if you don’t have all that many group slots available to keep track of upcoming shows.

Dance Queens Lobby

The Burlesque Network and Belly Dance Goddess groups are similar to Dance Queens, only for Burlesque and bellydancing.

There a lot of other photographers out there who maintain in-world galleries and Flickr galleries. And there’s a large number of people who post videos of dance performances to YouTube, too. These previews can give you an idea if a group’s performances suit your tastes or pique your interest.

I post my photo archive on Flickr, and I maintain an in-world gallery of the best of these photos on the recently-highlighted Edloe region. Each pushpin under a group’s frame contains that dance group’s home venue landmark.

The Gallery

Audience Etiquette

When you do attend a performance, and I strongly encourage that you do, please keep in mind that scripting load and memory on a region is absolutely critical for the movers and controllers and HUDs to work properly. Just as many people come up with minimal outfits for shopping and events, I’d recommend that you come up with a minimal and optimized outfit for attending dance performances. You do not need that Maitreya Lara Body HUD or the Catwa mesh head controller, do you? Many of their venues post script-shaming boards, and they will let you know if you need to pare down a bit to help keep things moving smoothly. After all, everyone’s there to see the show, not you in your seat, right?

Club Image Audience Shots

Also, facelights can disrupt the lighting configuration that many choreographers use in their sets and performances. Once again, everyone’s there to see the show, not you.

One trick that some people use is to derender everyone in the audience to reduce their impact on your viewer’s performance. Be sure to use Temporary derender, because a lot of people in the audience may turn out to be performers in other groups.

Winds of the Sahara - December 10 2017

Oops!

Tips are not required, but greatly appreciated. That’s how the performers buy new mocap dances, costumes, and pieces for their sets.]Some groups and venues have individual performer tipjars, while others have a collective tipjar that’s split among the choreographers. They’ll let you know how they share the loot, but it’s also okay just to applaud and hoot and holler if you’re spent your last dime at The Arcade, okay?

The host of the event will go over the rest, such as Windlight settings, draw distances, nametags, and so on. But the most important thing is to enjoy the show.

Learning the Moves

If at some point you catch the dancing bug and you’re interested in learning how to perform, some groups and performers teach classes on how to put together dance routines. In fact, Bernard Herzog’s New Brighton Belles recently put out a call for new performers.

I haven’t yet gone down this road, because I’m still into the whole photography thing, but at some point, I should probably take a class so I can have a better appreciation for what my friends do to bring that experience together.

Of course, the chalkboards may also be dancing…

Elysium Cabaret - November 17 2017

But every now and then, when there’s an audience participation event…

Debauche? - December 24 2017

There’s so much more…

I strongly encourage performers and groups to post in the comments some friendly invitations to their performances. Because there’s just so many of y’all out there, I feel like I’m letting a bunch of y’all down by not mentioning everyone, but I’ve got to keep it concise, right?

Oh, and by the way, Inara’s invited me to cover the dance performance art scene, and I’m hoping to do some profiles of dance performers and groups. You know, like Inara does sim journeys and explorations, with interviews and photos and video and stuff.

Thank you, Inara, for this opportunity to get the word out, and here’s hoping something I post here entices y’all to check out some of these amazing and entertaining performances.

Until then, this has been your fast easy fun reporte- oh, wait. That’s the alt.

(Back to your regularly scheduled programming.)

Thank you, R., for writing this, and for agreeing to run a new series through these pages – I’m absolutely delighted you did, and looking forward to the reviews, profiles, pictures and learning more about performance dance in SL.

Inara.