Tales from around the world and from far, far away

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 in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday, February 14th, 15:00 Seanchai Library at One Billion Rising

Aoife Lorefield, Dubhna Rhiadra, Gloriana Maertens, and Caledonia Skytower share an hour of short prose and poetry to celebrate and honour women.

Monday, February 15th, 19:00: Into the Green

The harp was a gift from Jacky Lanter’s fey kin, as was the music Angharad pulled from its strings. She used it in her journeys through the kingdoms of Green Isles, to wake the magic of the Summerblood where it lay sleeping in folk who had never known they had it.

Harping, she knew, was on third of a bard’s spells. Harping, and poetry, and the road that led – to….?

Charles de Lint takes us into lands infused and transformed by magic. Magic that grows in the roots of old oaks and dances by moonlight among standing stones. Magic that sleeps in an old soldier’s eyes and glows in the gaze of a phantom stag. Magic that pumps through the heart and the veins of those born to the Summerblood-to be stolen at knife point, burned, destroyed, in danger of fading back into the green and disappearing forever from the world.

Join Gyro Muggins for more!

Tuesday, February 16th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen

Music, poetry, and stories in a popular weekly session.

19:00: Ursuala Le Guin’s Gifts

Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability—with a glance, a gesture, a word—to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness.

The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill.

In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world’s darkness, gifts of light.

With Willow Moonfire.

Wednesday, February 17th, 19:00: The Guns of Avalon

Across the worlds of Shadow, Corwin, prince of blood royal, heir to the throne of Amber, gathers his forces for an assault that will yield up to him the crown that is rightfully his. But, a growing darkness of his own doing threatens his plans, an evil that stretches to the heart of the perfect kingdom itself where the demonic forces of Chaos mass to annihilate Amber and all who would rule there.

One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honoured with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Guns of Avalon is the second book of The Chronicles of Amber.

With Corwyn Allen.

Thursday, February 18th, 19:00: Star Wars a New Hope

The story that started a saga with the immortal words:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…

Join Sandon Loring and Caledonia Skytower as they bring us the story of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and two certain ‘droids as they fight for the Rebellion against the tyranny of the Galactic Empire.

Also in Kitely! Find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

 

The haunting beauty of Golgothica in Second Life

Golgothica, February 2021
Golgothica’s story has yet to be written … The detailed, rich mysterious, Gothic landscape will hopefully inspire those who come here to discover with others what it’s story is and why things are as they are. It is an open book, the first chapter is a simple description of the place and the locations. But who lives here, what they do, and why, is in the creative minds of those who come to dwell here?

So reads, in part the introduction to Golgothica, the latest region-wide setting that has sprung forth from the eye and imagination of Hera (Zee9). Sharing the same Full region as the latest iteration of her famous Drune cyberpunk environment (which sits high in the sky overhead), Golgothica is – and I say this without any hyperbole – a simply magnificent build.

Golgothica, February 2021

Located on the ground level of the region and reached via the main landing point that also offers a way to the current iteration of Drune, the setting is presented as a medieval style coastal town or village, with a small wharf, numerous houses and places of commerce, a church that at first glance appears to perhaps be under repair, and with outlying farmlands, woods and roads that cross the countryside while the high walls and towers of what might at first be taken as a mighty castle rise to the west, dominating the skyline.

Golgothica, February 2021

It all looks typically Middle Ages on being seen for the first time – it is only as visitors explore, that the darker side of the place, caught in the growing shadows of twilight, starts to reveal itself. The local inn, for example, carries the name The Slaughtered Lamb and has hanging over its door the image of a severed wolf’s head on a pike; thus neither name nor sign are particularly welcoming – although inside, all is undoubtedly cosy.

And what is one to make of the Romany camp  at the edge of town, the caravans carefully arranged around a stone pentagram lain within the ground, or the riverside statue seeming to celebrate the blood lust of werewolves? What sinister rites might be performed out at the henge where fires burn – one within the rune-inscribed round stone at the centre of the henge, and the other at the feet of the great wicker man watching over the ancient stones, apparently awaiting someone to occupy its woven form…

A walk in the opposite direction to the henge raises further questions: what has happened to the local church?  A visit to it will reveal that rather than being in a state of repair, it has in fact been left to ruin, with nature slowly claiming it as a place of her own, all former signs of devotion long removed saved a single statue – and even that is far from saintly.

Across the waters of the local stream, the woodlands add to the mystery, strange lights illuminating the tree trunks, casting haunting light across glades that offer the unexpected, from statutes to shrines that hint towards unnatural acts.

Golgothica, February 2021

Then, beyond this all sits the castle that is in fact a monastery – at least according to the map that can be obtained at the main landing point, or which is automatically delivered as visitors land aboard the vessel moored at the village quayside, and which marks the start of all journeys through the setting. With its foreboding walls and towers and great gates, it has all the look of a fortification designed to keep people out, rather than welcoming them in for worship, whilst the shape of the many watchtowers that line its walls imply something of a far eastern influence.

Caught against the setting Sun in the default environment for the setting, this great complex is no home to the chanting of your usual monks, Gregorian or Buddhist, however; although it is clearly the seat of some form of learning, given the Maester’s library on the upper level of the southern keep-like structure.

Golgothica, February 2021

Instead, this appears to be a place where deities of a more forbidden kind are paid homage, as can be witnessed by the Bosch-like murals in the sleeping cells of those who reside here and through the design of the main chapel. And what of the dungeons lying below that chapel, what do they say of those who might occupy them – and the fate that might awaited them?

Two interlinked elements are always apparently within Hera’s builds that makes them ideal for visitors and role-players alike. The first is narrative: all of Hera’s builds from the 2019-XS pre-Drune, through Drune (covered numerous times in these pages) to the likes of Venesha and on to Golgothica carry within them threads of narrative and imagine just waiting for those coming into the region to pick them up and follow them or weave them together.

Gologothica, February 2021

The second is attention to detail that both helps to strengthen these threads and gives the more casual visitor touches to be appreciated. Take, for example the beehives behind the mead house; a small detail they might be – but an important one. After all, what is mead without honey, other than water with some added fruit for taste? Add to this the fact that the major structures within Hera’s builds are of her own design, thus making each setting genuinely unique in form and character.

I have yet to be disappointed in any of Hera’s designs; they never fail to to engage, surprise and enamour. However, with Golgothica I cannot help but feel she has created something very special, perhaps her most engaging, immersive design to date. I’ve no idea how long Hera intends to keep Golgothica open – I suppose that very much depends on her creative spark – but it is quite genuinely not a setting to be missed. or avoided.

SLurl Details

 

Previewing One Billion Rising in Second Life 2021

One Billion Rising 2021

One Billion Rising in Second Life will once again be taking place in Second Life on Sunday, February 14th, 2021. As with previous years, the event opens at midnight SLT on Saturday, February 13th with entertainment and activities then running all the way through to midnight SLT on Sunday, February 14th.

When launched in the physical world on Valentine’s Day 2012, One Billion Rising (OBR) was the biggest mass action in human history; a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls who are at risk. OBR aims to bring people together, raise greater awareness of the plight of those at risk the world over, and bring about a fundamental change in how vulnerable and defenceless women and girls are treated.

One Billion Rising, 2021

This year, the global movement takes as its theme Rising Gardens, which the organisers describe thus:

Over the years, One Billion Rising campaigns have brought deeper into focus the intersectional issues of poverty, the environment, economic violence and other factors that cause and sustain the continuing violence towards women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender based violence). One Billion Rising: Solidarity initiatives in 2018 continued to see other movements coming together to address the issue of how climate change and environmental plunder aggravate the situation of women, especially in developing countries and in poor communities around the world. People all over the world joined the Risings to demand and end to violence against women and girls, by looking at policies that pillage, devastate and destroy the environment in the name of “development”.

Within Second Life, the event follows this theme, presenting the usual four event regions as a series of gardens centred on the main event stage as it straddles the centres of all four  regions, offering a place where up to 200 people can come together any any time during the event to join in with the music and dance. In the surrounding gardens, and linked to the central stage and one another by trails and paths, are the landing points (with information givers), art exhibits, gardens, and additional activity areas, such as the Poetry and Prose area and the #Me Too forest.

One Billion Rising, 2021

Artists participating in this year’s event include: 2Lei, Darkstone Aeon, Krystali Rabeni, Ilyra Chardin, Johannes Huntsman and Tempest Rosca, Jessamine2108, Fifi Oh, FionaFei, Lampithaler, Herbie Haven, Jennifer Steele, Daark Gothly, Patrick Ireland and Angela Thespian, and iSkye Silverweb. Their installations can be found around the outside edge of the four regions, with information available on each display available touching the sign board in front of each of them.

For the second year running OBR in Second Life also presents the I Rise Campaign. Earlier in the year, Second Life artists and photographers were invited to produce original images for display at OBR in SL 2021 (with the images also available on the Campaign’s Flickr group) in support the message of One Billion Rising: educating people about the plight of women, and which can include references to personal experiences. As such, some of them may be uncomfortable for those who have themselves been victims of violence – if this is the case, they are asked to reach out to event organisers if they feel they need support.

In addition, the four corners of the OBR estate offer elevated park areas providing elevated views across the regions, while the #MeToo Forest forms a place of retreat and meditation / contemplation, whilst the Heroes’ Pavilion features inspirational stories about women from many different cultures and communities.

One Billion Rising, 2021

Also, this year’s event continues with the themes of poetry and the spoken word as seen in past events in Second Life. The poetry sessions will take place between 14:00 and 15:00 SLT and 16:00 and 17:00 SLT, with recitals by selected readers. Between them, at 15:00 through 16:00 SLT, Seanchai Library will read poems and short prose to celebrate and honour women, while between 17:00 and 18:00 the microphone will be open to anyone to offer a reading in keeping with the themes of the event.

And if this weren’t enough, also on-hand during the 24 hours will be three of Second Life’s top dance and performance groups:

  • 10:00-11:00 SLT – The ChangHigh Trinity Sisters present Fireshow of Light, Life, & Love.
  • 17:30 – Misfit Dance & Performance Art.
  • 19:00 – Guerilla Burlesque.

At 13:00, the Second Life Cheerleaders will provide a display, while at 14:00, there will be an interactive dance session with Cordie.

One Billion Rising, 2021
The full schedule of events is now available, covering all live performers, DJs, dance performances and poetry, and further information on the music entertainment acts can be found here and here, and information on those presenting the spoken word can be found here.

Why Dance?

A critique sometimes levelled at OBR / OBR in SL is that the issues it raises cannot be solved by dance. Well, that’s absolutely true, just as marching through the streets carrying placards and banners is unlikely to have a lasting impact on whatever it is people might be marching about.

But – like marches and protests – dance and music does serve to draw attention to matters. It provides a means by which people are encouraged to stop and think, while also providing a focal point of attention that allows information and ideas to be disseminated. What’s also important is that it’s a lot harder to see dancing as a threat than might be the case with an organised march or protest – something to take into consideration given there are countries where the right to march or protest freely does not exist. Hence why, as well, OBR in Second Life is marked each year with a dance video to the OBR theme song.

One Billion Rising, 2021

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