In March I wrote about the Phoenix Artists Collaboration (PAC) obtaining a new home (in part) at Holly Kai Park. Since then, things have been moving along (including a few changes at the Park!), but as a whole PAC is now moving to a point where it can start hosts exhibitions and events.
Since my last update, PAC has increased its facilities with the addition of a sky platform at Cherished Melody, provided and looked after by the talented Audie Whimsy. This provides space for a further 22 artists in addition to the 28 currently exhibiting at Holly Kai Park, with plenty of room for expansion, should the demand be there.
Both locations offer the same facilities to artists – gallery spaces with up to 50 LI per artist for personal use. Units – as and when available – can be obtained by joining the PAC group in-world (although we are currently full at both locations; new units will be come on-stream in the near future, we just need time to breathe!), and there is no rental fee associated with unit use.
Units can be decorated however artists wish (although we request no temp rezzing and particle effects are kept to a minimum). Artists can also arrange and promote their own mini-exhibitions and advertise them through the PAC group and website.
Planning is about to commence on the first of the PAC group exhibitions, which will also likely serve as the formal opening events for PAC activities at both Holly Kai Park and Cherished Melody. We’re also mulling options for group social events, and details of these will be announced through both the PAC in-world group and the new website.
Members who use Discord can also track activities, join / create discussions about art, SL and whatever else that suits them through our Discord server. All that’s asked is that conversations are kept polite, topics keep a focus on art (physical world or SL) and Second Life, and that the server isn’t used for spamming others. You can join the server (and create a Discord account, if required) via the link here, or via any of our Discord Server stands located at both Cherished Melody and Holly Kai Park.
Rather than information on PAC being confined to the Holly Kai Park website, a separate web presence for the group is being put together. While this is still very much under construction, but it can be found at https://phoenixartsl.wordpress.com/, where information on PAC, the PAC locations and current artists using PAC facilities can be found. In time, the website will also promote PAC events, host a blog on activities, exhibitions, artists and more, and more as we think of it!
There’s still some work to be done (notably with the website as indicated), with some nips and tucks going on at the two locations – so please forgive and sawdust, construction signs or bits that seem to be missing in the need few days. However, for those who do fancy a visit, feel free to drop into either or both locations.
Note that SLurl to the Fairelands are listed at the end of this article, rather than being embedded in the text.
The largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, Fantasy Faire 2020, opened its gates to fairelanders at 12:00 SLT on Thursday, April 23rd, and will remain open through until Sunday, May 10th, 2020 inclusive, once again raising money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society’s efforts to bring about a World Without Cancer.
The majority of official events will run from April 23rd through until Sunday, May 3rd (although some, such as the LitFest and live performances will extend through until May 9th), culminating with The Final Shindig on Sunday, May 3rd, a four-hour jamboree intended to give as many people as possible the opportunity to drop in and celebrate the Faire’s success between 18:00 and 22:00 SLT. The final week of the Faire – Monday May 4th through Sunday May 10th – will be given over mainly to shopping – but even so, there could be a few surprises that pop-up, so eye an eye on in-world groups and the Fantasy Faire website.
This year the Faire is spread across 18 regions (including the entertainment and Quest regions). As applications were invited from those wishing to try their hands at world building, this year’s Faire offers what might be seen as a mix of the old and the new. While there are some familiar names behind many of the region builds (Sharni Azalee, Eldowyn Inshan & Katz Republic, Kilik Lekvoda, Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Alia Baroque, for example), so too several of the names attached to the design of the Fairelands by new to travellers through these realms – such a Bee Dumpling and SolasNaGealai, LRRiven, Nix Marabana and Aelva).
In bringing together so many talents, the Fairelands give life to the Faire’s broad theme of Many Realms – One Vision. And while all of the builds this year have a again sprung fresh from the imaginations of those who have given them form, so to do some carry with them echoes of the past Fairelands; something I feel adds a level of continuity as we pass from year to year, a reminder of all that has happened as a result of the Fairelands being called forth each year.
As a practical demonstration of the past being reflected in the present, take Alia Baroque’s Zodiac. Designed as a living planetarium, within its green lawns, domed observatories, board paths and stairways and tumbling waterfalls, lie subtle voices from his past Faireland builds, such as Magificat and Sanctum, whilst the boats that periodically slip down the central waterway harken back to The Golden Delta. Thus, although Zodiac is very much of this era of the Fairelands, we, as travellers through it and visitors to Fairelands past, are offered a reminder of the deep roots the Faire has lain and the growing richness of history enfolded within each year’s realms.
These deep roots have enabled Fantasy Faire to grow strong over the years, and bear practical fruit in the physical world, as Zander Greene recently reminded us. Such is the power of the Fairelands and the willingness of Second Life residents to visit them and support Relay for Life, that by the end of 2019, Fantasy Faire was the 82nd most successful Relay For Life fund-raising team in the world. And while – as Zander also points out – “We’re 82nd!” hardly sounds like a cheer, when you consider there were 63,270 Relay For Life teams worldwide in 2019, Fantasy Faire actually sits within the top 0.13% of those teams. And that is impressive for an event that exists within the binary realm of noughts and ones.
But to return to the Fairelands. As with previous years, the realms that await us draw their inspiration from many sources. For Elemaria by Bee Dumpling and SolasNaGealai, for example, visitors find themselves in a world that has a chivalrous medieval tone to it; a place where a fair castle raises its walls and towers over a flourishing land and merchant’s houses lay under the watchful protection of rounded turrets and high, fluttering banners. Elsewhere, Briony Writer & childofpreservex take us into Poseidon’s (or Neptune’s, if you prefer) realm, which has laid claim to the city of Melusina, bringing it beneath wave and tide to become Melusina’s Depths, a place of merfolk and land folk alike, while Loki Elliot presents the mythology of the warrior bears within the Spirit Valley of Kuruk – and so the list goes on, worlds of wonder awaiting exploration.
And, of course, no Fantasy Faire would be complete without the Fairelands Junction, another fabulous design by Saiyge Lotus. As ever the junction provides the logical starting-point for explorations, containing as it does portals to all the other regions, as well as the remembrance wall, and The Worldlings – windows onto the Fairelands That Could Be.
Those wishing to shop can see what stores are where within the Fairelands realms via the Fantasy Faire Shopping Catalogue. For ease of getting around, you can also pick up a Faireland Teleport HUD from any of the landing points and use it as often as you like to visit the realms of the Faire.
Events and Activities
Fantasy Faire 2020 will again be filled with events and activities, with music from DJs focused on the the deck of the Fairechylde as she lies moored in the Isle of Shadows, while performances of theatre, dance and more will be on offer alongside the Faire’s art displays on and under the water realm of Ambigula. Dedicated schedules are available for both DJ parties and live performances are now available, so keep your eye on them as well.
Role-Play and Table-Top Gaming
2020 will once again there will be numerous opportunities for role-play within the Fairelands. Two groups are offering themed role-play, weaving tales and offering anyone with an interest with the chance to participate.
The Grizzly Cubs: pilgrimaging children who came to the Spirit Valley of Kuruk to learn and follow the path of the Great Bear Tribe
Sanctuary RP will also be hosting a series of role-play classes at Cassiopeia covering everything from character creation through RP etiquette, combat and weapons use, to complex subjects such as region design, managing lag, and so on. See the schedule of classes for more. In addition, the NeoVictoria Project will be holding a series of out-of-character Meet and Greet events at Auxentios’ Pass where visitors can talk about players from the NeoVictoria community about the project, the story-world and how to get involved.
2020 will also see the return of table-top gaming, this year focused on The Lamented Fens. Catch the full schedule and notes if you’re interested in joining in.
Note that SLurls provided in this article will not be available to the public until Fantasy Faire officially opens at noon SLT on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020.
On Thursday, April 23rd, Fantasy Faire will open for 2020, and will remain so through until Sunday, May 10th, 2020, raising money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society’s global efforts to eradicate cancer. Throughout the entire course of the Faire, the Fairelands will once again be host to the Fantasy Faire Literary Festival (LitFest).
Centred on the desert sands of Drifts of Anamnesis, the Litfest is a special place where the magic of the spoken word will weave tales of wonder, relate stories of great adventure and daring; where talks by authors, discussions, creative writing sessions and performances will all take place. In addition, literary hawks and writers will be encouraged to join daily LitFest tours of the Fairelands and afterwards compose pieces related to their travels.
The full LitFest schedule is now available, but here are some preview highlights to whet appetites!
Guest Of Honour
The special guest for this year’s festival is American science fiction and fantasy writer and blogger. Fran Wilde.
Fran’s first novel, Updraft (2015), was nominated for the 2016 Nebula Award, and won the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the 2016 Compton Crook Award. Within it she established the first volume of her Bone Cycle, with two further works – Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017), set within the same cycle. Her latest novel, Riverland, was published in 2019.
She has also published numerous short stories and poems, and here non-fiction work has appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Tor.com. She will be appearing at Fantasy Faire as follows:
Tuesday April 28th at 15:00 SLT, : in an interview with Saffia Widdershins.
Friday May 1st at 13:00 SLT, when she will be reading from her work.
Friday, April 24th – Saturday, May 9th, 08:00-09:00 SLT – NaPoWriMo Fantasy Writing Prompts: April is National Poetry Writing Month, and participating poets are asked to write a poem a day for the month of April – so why not do so in-world with like-minded poets?
Fiday April 24th – Saturday, May 9th* – Inksters Poetry Prompt: This group meets daily on weekdays throughout the year to compose poems based on a daily word prompt – so sharpen your pencils, and be prepared to get writing! During LitFest, they’ll meet in the Hall of Ras Tarshayn on Drifts of Anamnesis. (* except Sunday, May 3rd.)
Monday, April 27th, 10:00-11:00 SLT – The True Story of Scheherazade: celebrating the teller of the 1,001 Nights. In fact,there are many tellers of these Tales, and this session explores the genesis of the Tales, drawn from Arabia, Persia, India and China. There will also be tales of some of the fascinating history of translation (and translators – such as the fascinating Sir Richard Burton).
Wednesday, April 29th, 06:30-07:30 SLT – Readings from the Novel Writing Workshop: Wolfgang Glinka, Keykey Underwood, Singh Albatros and Adele/Jilly Kidd have been workshopping novels for seven years in Second Life and will share extracts from their works in progress, followed by a Q&A.
Friday May 1st, 10:00-11:00 SLT – Beyond the Seven Kingdoms: A World of Ice and Fire Special: In Real Life, Freyja Nemeth is the co-founder of Westeros.org and co-author of “The World of Ice and Fire”. She will be talking about how George RR Martin has constructed the cultures that are less inspired by Medieval Europe, such as Dorne and the many cultures of Essos.
The popular Fantasy Faire LitFest Tours will once again be taking place, leaving daily from the LitFest home base in the Drifts of Anamnesis to explore the Fairelands and seeking the stories they have to tell as well as their special secret places and details. Each tour will be guided and accompanied by music, as some of the Faire’s best loved DJs offer selections especially chosen for each of the regions visited. Stories can also be submitted for publication on the Fantasy Faire website, provided they are submitted within two days of each tour.