The return of Calas’ Santorini in Second Life

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019 – click any image for full size

Once upon a time within the Calas Galadhon park regions lay a tribute to Santorini, the largest island of a archipelago in the southern Aegean Sea. Officially called Thira (Thera in classic Greek), the island is world-renowned for the brilliant, white-washed walls of its buildings – most keenly, perhaps, exemplified by photographs of the principal city, Fira.

Obviously scaled-down, the Calas tribute to Santorini was nevertheless a marvellous build. So, when in 2014, Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith, owners of the Calas park regions, announced the Santorini build would be closing at the end of  that year (see A farewell to Santorini, December 2014), the news was greeted with disappointment among Calas Galadhon fans – myself among them.

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019

However, in April 2019, Tapped me with a photo of him standing in one of the Santorini terraces looking up at the distinctive houses and with the comment, “Just thought you’d enjoy seeing what we are working on 🙂 still a big secret but I know you loved the original ..all mesh 🙂 “. To say I was excited would be an understatement.

The new build – called, appropriately enough, New Santorini – was unveiled by invitation only on May 25th, 2019 – and Caitlyn and I were fortunate enough to be along those invited, although we were like all the guests, asked to keep quiet about what we saw until after the public unveiling, which took place on the weekend of June 1st / 2nd, 2019.

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019

Located on the Calas “holiday regions” of Eriador and Erebor, New Santorini recaptures almost everything from the original (although the waterfront café / events area has been replaced by a new open-air events area called Phoenix, sitting across the water from the main build, and within Erebor (Santorini itself lies within Eriador). However, being mesh and finely designed and implemented New Santorini offers much for explorers to discover both within its whitewashed walls and on and under the surrounding waters.

The landing point lies off to the east side of the region, within a semi-submerged cave. Follow the signs, and you’ll be led from this cave to a watery footpath that will present you with your first view of Santorini and the new events area (you may have to pump your draw distance up to see both, if your computer can handle things). This paths passes the gateway and steps leading down to the submerged gardens of Thera – an attraction in their own right, and again seeing a happy return (with a few revisions) as an ideal for merfolk to enjoy – although folk with legs are free to explore them as well.

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019

The town offers a lot to see: terraces offer places to sit and to dance, stairs climb between houses and buildings, plants offer bright bursts of colour and cafés beckon the weary. Around the base of the main island and on the surrounding islets are hints of a much older civilisation, echoing Minoan Thera. Some of these are best seen from the automated boat tour around the islands that starts at the Santorini end of the long, low causeway linking the island with the Phoenix events area.

One aspect of the town that should not be missed is the updated interiors of many of the houses. These represent a fine mix of different historical / cultural styles that are a complete delight to see, each one decorated, I understand, by Truck.

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019

Just how long new Santorini will remain is uncertain, and Ty candidly informed me.

We weren’t sure how we were going to show it off. We wanted it to be a special build, but we weren’t sure people would let us pack it up! But these are the regions we use for the holidays and our other special builds … although [as] both [Erebor and Eriador] are full regions now, we could put our special sky builds above where we have the [Phoenix] venue now. I’ve kept scripts down on Erebor to make room for builds above, so we’re still mulling it over.

– Ty Tenk on the new Santorini build and the future

However, the fact that it is back is a cause for celebration, and if you never got to see the original build (first built back in the days when prims were everything), then I cannot recommend finding the time to partake an excursion to New Santorini enough.

New Santorini; Inara Pey, June 2019, on FlickrNew Santorini, June 2019

As it is, Phoenix will be the focus for all of the planned Calas musical events through June. These start on Sunday, June 2nd, at 14:00 SLT with Samm Qendra, and will include Reggie Sunset, Savannah Rain, Djembe Dragonfire, Voodoo Shilton, Antonio Galloway and Chapman Zane. There will also be two special themed FlyGearz events in June – Toga & Greek Mythology and Pirates. To stay informed of all Calas Galadhon events, be sure to check out the Calas Galadhon website and the Calas in-world group.

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Art with a touch of HippiMagic in Second Life

HippiMagic: Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano

Update: due to illness in Sophie’s family, and as per Fuyuko’s comment below, the opening has been postponed until 14:00 on Wednesday, June 5th.

HippiMagic Art Studio and Gallery opens its doors for its first public exhibition at 12:00 noon SLT on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019, featuring the art of TaraAers and Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), supported with art by the gallery’s curator, Sophie Dunn (Sophie72 Congrejo) and a pair of fractal pieces by Raytracer (rinomon).

Occupying a 4096 sq m parcel, the gallery is split between in-door and out-door spaces in which the art is displayed, the landing point area neatly linking the two, and acting as an information point.

HippiMagic: Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano

Within the gallery building is the display of Fuyuko’s art, which shares the gallery’s two levels with Sophie’s work (you might need to right-click on some of the images to determine the art through the Edit / Build floater, as the placement of the art is deliberately mixed). The upper level of the gallery also features a study space reserved for staff / invitees.

Fuyuko is well-known for her landscape art captured from within Second Life, and this is encompassed within the selection on offer here – but it is also mixed with some of her physical world photography to further demonstrate the breadth of her work. And in this, I confess to being constantly drawn to her photograph Past is Prologue, which has a beautiful melding of light, reflection, colour, symmetry (with the candle bowls), and the subtle hint of standing on the cusp between old and new years, all of which builds within it a wonderful sense of story.

HippiMagic: TaraAers

Out in the garden (although with a couple of pieces tucked into the gallery building as well), Tara presents a selection of her art with each piece paired with a verse by Olean (Oleanhorok). This makes the selection something of a partner to her selection of images paired with Olean’s words for the May 2019 Visual Poems exhibition at The Edge Gallery (see: The magic of images and words in Second Life).

Each image  – captured from within Second Life – is rendered as a painting, with the  images displayed in the garden split between a version framed as a picture, and an unframed version that has been paired with Olean’s words. Both versions of each piece are offered for sale (as are Fuyuko’s pieces inside the gallery), offering those interested in the art a choice of potential purchases. There is a softest of colour and tone that makes Tara’s work attractive in its own right, and there is something captivating about the blending of her images with Olean’s verses.

HippiMagic: TaraAers

A short wander in the garden in the direction of the 1960’s decorated VW camper van will reveal Raytracer’s fractal pieces neatly tucked into a candlelit corner, while indoors, Sophie’s work mixes will with Fuyuko’s to complete the exhibition.

The opening event for the gallery will feature both the key artists and music by DJ Phee Wonder. It will run through until 14:00 SLT.

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Detectives, a lost boy, and secret lives in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, June 2nd, 13:30: Tea-Time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street returns with the opening of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

This week: The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.

The year is 1902, and Sir James Damery visits Holmes and Watson on behalf of his mysterious and illustrious client. The latter never actually directly revealed to the reader, although it might well be the king himself.

Damery’s client is concerned about the relationship between Violet de Merville, daughter of General de Merville, and Baron Adelbert Gruner, from Austria. Gruner is viewed as a rogue and a sadist and – in Damery’s and Holmes’ opinion – a murderer.

Despite the matter of his last wife’s mysterious death and his reputation, Violet de Merville will not be dissuaded from her determination to marry Gruner. So secure is the latter in his position that he is unfazed by a visit from Holmes – indeed, he warns the latter that a French agent who once confronted him with similar accusations finished-up a cripple for life after receiving a beating from thugs shortly afterwards; a veiled threat if ever there was one.

So, lacking obvious proof, how do Holmes and Watson prevent Violet de Merville from marrying Gruner and possibly facing the same future as the Baron’s last wife?

WithDa5id Abbot, Savannah Blindside, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower.

Monday, June 3rd 19:00: Incident at Hawk’s Hill

Gyro Muggins reads naturalist and historian Allan W. Eckert’s popular novel.

In 1870, Manitoba became the fifth province of the (then) three-year-old Canadian Confederation. Over the previous 18 months, it had seen strife and rebellion, but for William MacDonald, his wife, Esther, and their family, the lands around what would eventually become the city of Winnipeg, are ideal for farming, and so they have settled and built Hawk’s Hill.

The open spaces are perfect for the MacDonald’s four children – or should have been; while the three elder children thrived, the youngest, six-year-old Ben, became increasingly introverted.

Small for his age, Ben was reserved and prefers being with animals, learning to imitate the sounds of many, and well as copying their movements and actions. In return, the local animals seem to respond well to him – although members of his family and the other locals consider him odd.

But then came the day when Ben, in seeking new animals to mimic, wandered further than was usual, venturing into unfamiliar territory – only to become hopelessly lost. When a storm breaks, he has no option but to hide in a badger hole – an occupied badger hole. And thus begins a relationship spanning several months between young boy and a female badger, to the benefit and comfort of both.

Tuesday, June 4th  19:00: Crenshaw

In her first novel after winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson’s parents are in serious financial trouble; their stressful circumstances are taking a toll on Jackson. Mum and dad remain cheerful and upbeat, putting on a happy face for their kids, but Jackson is not fooled. He knows times are bad and, whether he likes it or not, Crenshaw the giant cat is here to help him through the worst of it.

Crenshaw is not only very large, he’s both outspoken and imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary feline enough to save Jackson and his family from losing everything?

Author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

With Caledonia Skytower.

Wednesday, June 5th 19:00: A Thurber Salute

James Thurber

James Grover Thurber (December 8th, 1894 – November 2nd, 1961) was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit. His work as a humorist and cartoonist celebrated ordinary people as they faced the more comedic eccentricities and frustrations of everyday life.

Published primarily in the The New Yorker magazine, his cartoon and short stories were popular enough to garner reprinting as collections. This success spurred him on to write for the stage, co-penning the Broadway comedy The Male Animal, which was adapted as a a 1942 film starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland.

Despite being also entirely blind in his later years, the combined long-term result of an accident at the age of seven, when his brother shot him in the eye with an arrow, and failing eyesight in his remaining eye, the last 20 years of Thurber’s life were his most prolific in terms of writing. His output ranged from books to short stories to some 75 fables, and a biography – that of the founder/publisher of The New Yorker, Harold Ross – and a five-party treatise on the American radio soap opera.

For this event, Kayden Oconnell and Caledonia Skytower read selections from three of Thurber’s most popular short stories. The first is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, written in 1939 and which is perhaps most famously associated with the 1947 film of the same name starring Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo and Boris Karloff (there was also a 2013 film adaptation, but no-one betters Danny Kaye…). Also on offer are selections from his 1937 short, The Macbeth Murder Mystery, and his alternate history parody from 1935,  If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox.

Thursday, June 6th 19:00: Thor The Mighty Adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick

Asgard’s greatest warrior, the mighty Thor, has vowed to protect the mortals of Earth with his legendary hammer Mjolnireven from his trickster brother, Loki!

With Shandon Loring. (Also in Kitely