Songs for Ukraine in Second Life

Songs for Ukraine

Songs for Ukraine is a series of concerts being organised by Jenaia Morane in support of the people of Ukraine as they face the on-going aggression from the Russian government. The idea is to encourage Second Life users to help support Ukrainians through a peaceful venue featuring live music and where they can learn about ways and means to make direct donations to recognised international organisations on the web that are engaged in providing humanitarian support and assistance to Ukraine.

The concerts are being held every Saturday within a venue that recreates a section of an underground (subway) station  – such as the Kyiv Metro – where many Ukrainian people have to live and shelter from Russian bombs, shells and missiles.

The space is small and a little crowded but full of hope. It’s designed to give people a taste of what the Ukrainians are experiencing, including the incredible joy, hope, and courage generated by their music.

– Jenaia Morane

The next concert is the series will take place on Saturday, April 16th, commencing at noon SLT and will run through until 15:00 SLT.  The musicians participating are:

  • Denny Mac (noon to 13:00).
  • Max Kleene (13:00 to 14:00).
  • Raspbury Rearwin (14:00 to 15:00).

Joining the local group will provide information on future concerts.

Songs for Ukraine – music stage (dancing also available)

Those wishing to provide practical assistance to the people of Ukraine are encouraged to do so via the following resources:

  • The Ukrainian Red Cross – The Red Cross is often on the front lines of war serving to help those affected by armed conflict. The Ukrainian Red Cross is currently assisting people inside the country by aiding evacuations and providing shelter, food and basic necessities.
  • World Central Kitchen – established in 2010 WCK),deploys chefs directly to disaster areas to provide hot meals to those in need. WCK is currently working in Ukraine and along its borders in neighbouring countries.
  • GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund – GlobalGiving is raising funds to support locally-led organisations throughout Ukraine. Any donations to the fund will provide essentials for refugees, from health and psychological support to education and economic assistance.
  • Vostok SOS – a Ukraine-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to assisting areas of conflict within Ukraine. The Vostok SOS is currently accepting donations to help aid local people, evacuate the vulnerable and provide trauma support after shelling. Credit card payments are also accepted through Libereco, a Vostok SOS partner.
  • Voices of Children (VOC) – created in 2015, VOC has been providing psychological support to children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine through art therapy, video storytelling, mobile psychologists and more – all of which is now being provided to children across the country.
  • Kyiv School of Economics – has created an initiative to provide equipment (protective wear such as kevlar vests and protective helmets) to relief and emergency organisations in the front lines (e.g. State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Paramedic Association and the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Force).
  • Humanity & Inclusion (H&() – an international non-governmental organisation supporting people with disabilities in areas of conflict, poverty and disaster. H&I workers have arrived in Ukraine to assess how it can help distribute medical equipment, provide post-operative care for the injured and provide mental health support. Donations will go toward supplying emergency kits and rehabilitation and mental health support sessions.

Additional resources and means to support the people of Ukraine can be obtained via a note card provided at the event venue – look for the easels with the image of Paddington Bear on them both at the landing point and in the subway venue.

Songs for Ukraine – the above-ground landing point and dance area

So, why not hop along to Songs for Ukraine and enjoy the music – and don’t forget to visit the various resources to offer practical support for Ukraine.

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Bamboo’s reflections of reality in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Bamboo Barnes has a new exhibition, one that opened at Hermes Kondor’s main gallery at the Kondor Art Centre on April 14th, and like all of her work, it is a rich collection of images that offer food for thought through a presentation of vibrant colour and imagery.

Entitled Metaphysics, it offers a visual reflection of the themes explored through the branch of philosophy that shares the same name: the study the nature of being and identity; of causality, and possibility; of space and time; of consciousness and the relationships between mind and matter; of potentiality and actuality. In other words, the fundamental nature of reality.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Or to put it another way, metaphysics asks questions such as Who Am I? Who are you? What is there? What is it like? Through her words and images, Bamboo offers her own explorations of these questions. Her words set the frame for the exhibition, her paintings and images standing visual essays on the ideas she presents in her words.

Though I’ve never drowned
There is a sense of drowning.
In a crowded train.
You are the only one on the train.
In the life of the person next to me.
His parents, whom I will probably never cross paths with, his family, whom I have never met, his childhood memories, joys and sorrows.
His family’s very separate friends, jobs, partners, and the loneliness and past they carry with them.
I am alone in the midst of it all, like a spreading ant’s nest.
I drown in it, the dark and bright air constricting me, and I gradually become a black spot.
Unable to open my eyes, I continue to watch the black dots disappear.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Thus, within the images we might find commentary on the nature of self; the causality of emotions on perception and outlook, and vice versa. And, ultimately whether we are ever really or genuinely joined as beings or is it merely an illusion brought about by these more esoteric interactions?

Because, how can we really be joined, share, unite, when ultimately, a part of us – our true inner self – forever stands apart, an observer, aloof, separated, able to ponder those questions free from the influences they seek to explore, but which actually govern and encompass every passing moment of life? A core being that forever sets us apart within ourselves; a part of society’s nest, but separated from it.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

The images themselves are typical of Bamboo’s style: a marvellous mix of colour and form, each one captivating and eloquent in its expression of life and content, making this a further exhibition to be enjoyed for the art in its own sake, as well as for Bamboo’s explorations of self and reality.

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Time at Gatsby’s for RFL of SL in Second Life

Gatsby Hotel – One More Light RFL 2022, April 2022
The house on my right was a colossal affair by any standard–it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion.

– “Nick Carraway” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

These are the words that strolled through my head when I came across the Destination Guide entry for the current build at One More Light’s home region in Second Life. Even before reading the accompanying text, the image for the entry had me leaping to thoughts of the palatial West Egg home of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby in Long Island and the focal point for much of what occurs in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s enduring novel.

Gatsby Hotel RFL events, May 2022

So you can imagine my pleasure when on arriving in the region I found the primary building within it – a grand hotel – named for Fitzgerald’s ultimately tragic character. However, this is not a further take (for there have been several in SL) on the novel or any of the films it has inspired, but rather a vacation and events venue established to offer visitors a taste of the roaring 1920s and the opportunity to help raise funds for RFL of SL’s 2022 season.

As a Relay for Life of Second Life (RFL of SL) team, One More Light were the recipients of the 2021 Spirit of Relay award, and Gatsby’s is their latest themed fund-raiser for RFL.

Within the setting, you can not only be transported back to the 1920s in style, but you can also book a room at the hotel during its main fund-raising period (which opens on May 5th and runs through until May 15th, 2022), and be free to make use of the hotel’s facilities and attend the various events being held throughout that period (and which are also open to the public at large – as is the the hotel and its grounds, outside of the rooms and suites for guests).

Wearing 1920s regalia is not a stated requirement for visitors, I would suggest those opting to stay at the hotel might be advised to do so, and period costume can also help immerse casual visitors to the setting – something that is helped by the novel approach to getting to the hotel.

Rather than dropping people in front of or within the hotel, the landing point delivers visitors to a road tunnel below the hotel. Here, a period car can be rezzed and used to drive up to the hotel. The car may be a British MG Roadster dating from the 1950s, but it suits the mood of the setting and offers a nice touch.

Emerging from the tunnel, the road presents itself as a cobbled coastal way running along the shore of Long Island beneath a bright summer sky. It would have perhaps have been nice to see the “weather-beaten cardboard bungalow” Carraway stayed in as one sweeps around the long curve of road that ends at the entrance to the hotel, but again: this isn’t intended to be a take on the book itself; Gatsby is simply a title by which to evoke the period – although that didn’t stop me looking for possible links (real or imagined!) to Fitzgerald’s novel.

Cars can be parked in the walled and fountained courtyard below the hotel proper, where a trio of period vehicles already sit. Note that one of these is a prize in a raffle to help with the hotel’s goal of raising funds for One More light and RFL, and has been donated by Surplus Motors.

Gatsby Hotel – One More Light RFL 2022, April 2022

Up the steps from the car park sits the hotel’s main building. Whilst not a great stone-built edifice in the style of Gatsby’s mansion, this wood-face giant shares some common elements with its namesake; the frontage either side of the entrance has what appears to be relatively young ivy climbing the walls, intended to evoke a feeling of age, for example. The grounds sit as a mix of formal and informal gardens and lawns, whilst the rear wings of the main building embrace a terrace suitable for hosting the overspill of a grand party such as Gatsby was renowned for throwing – even if he rarely participated.

The ground floor of the hotel holds the majority of the public spaces: the reception, lounge, restaurant, bar, coffee house, gentleman’s billiard room and indoor pool. The floors above offer as range of rooms and suites that can be reserved via the booking form noted above. At the time of my visit, an art gallery looked to be in the process of being set-up, the doors from which providing a means to access a terrace on the north side of the hotel that spans the gap between it and a grand galleried theatre, complete with stage and ideal for hosting events.

Gatsby Hotel – One More Light RFL 2022, April 2022

For me, a further touch of Fitzgerald’s story can be found towards the rear of the hotel. Below the winged terrace, and reached via twin stairs, said a lido and swimming pool. While an inviting and charming setting, it carries with it faint echoes of (particularly) of the climatic scene with Robert Redford’s Gatsby in Jack Clayton’s 1974 film. This is made all the more poignant for those looking for elements of the book (again, I would emphasise, such are not the focus of the setting, but rather nice-to-find hints – whether intentional or otherwise – for those who do enjoy the story) is the little pier extending away from the grass and beach below the pool. Looking at it, I could almost imagine Gatsby standing there, wistfully looking out to where the green lit of the Buchanan‘s dock light blinks.

But whether or not you are a fan of the book (and / or its multiple film versions), the Gatsby Hotel makes for photo a worthwhile visit for photography and for helping to raise funds for RFL of SL.  Congrats to Lily, Abigail and the One More Light team for their hard work.

Gatsby Hotel – One More Light RFL 2022, April 2022

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