Three into on at DiXmiX for April and May

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo

DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is currently hosting three exhibitions side-by-side by Second Life artists, all of which opened in April and run through (at least in part) to May. As is always the case with this gallery, the exhibitions are both intriguing and a little frustrating.

First up, and in the foyer area of the Grey Gallery, is I’m a Magic Marker (SquarePegRoundHole69), an artist to whom I was introduced – or her work at least – by Sorcha Tyles. “For me, Second Life is a way to escape into a novel that you write yourself, but with me, the story is generally without a plot,” Magic said at the time of her exhibition at Sorcha’s gallery. “Some images are cathartic, some are just because I like to look at pretty things.”

DiXmiX Gallery: Magic Marker

It’s a point of view that can be applied to the twelve images offered at DiXmiX. Quirky, eye-catching and often featuring bold colours which demand our attention, they present attention-grabbing avatar studies (with a little nudity in places). Some might appear to be straight-forward almost studio style photos (such as “#1” and “#7”); others offer that opening to a story mentioned in passing by Magic, while some evoke echoes of art and artistry from other sources – notably #5 and the wonderfully eye-catching #3 with its hint of a Jackson pollack influence.

Adjoining this in the ground floor Black Gallery is Blanc by Oyo, a series of fourteen quite striking studies, largely of avatars, but also featuring landscapes, in which white – and the title might suggest – plays something of a role almost throughout. Again untitled, given only a number, these are attention-holding studies which although free from narrative, instantly draw one into them each in turn. There is a vibrancy and life within each, beautifully encapsulated in their largely muted tones.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo

Most of the images stand as individual pieces, each to be appreciated in its own right. the exceptions to this are “IV”, “V” and “VI” which form an impressive triptych-like trio of images (above),  each on standing as an individual piece, but all three combine perfectly together to form a single and evocative whole; a glimpse of a vacation or favourite coastal place caught in the mind’s eye.

On the upper floor of the gallery, in the White Gallery space, is 12 Photographers and 1 Chair, by Mr. S. As the name implies, this is a set of twelve studies of Second Life photographers – all of them male, and welcome in an age where the camera is still often preoccupied with studies of the female form – seated in an armchair and presented with a glimpse of their own work as a backdrop.

DiXmiX Gallery: Mr. S

Caught in the same lighting, the 12 artists, Yann Whoa, Aran M., Skippy Beresford, Dixmix Source, Terry Fotherington, Gaus, Burk Bode, SL Senna, Moon Edenbaum, Oscar Sabra, Vrir Resident and Serene Footman, all make for intriguing studies; although I did find that in a couple of the images, the supporting “background” image tended to draw my eyes away from the main subject perhaps a little too much. Nevertheless, these are striking studies, and with several, I couldn’t help but feel Mr. S had caught not only the look, but the very essence of his subjects through both their portrait and the selected supporting image.

My frustration, such as it is, lies again with the lack of liner notes accompanying this three exhibitions. With 12 Photographers and 1 Chair in particular, it would have been interesting to get Mr. S’s perspective on his images, and perhaps those of some of his subjects. This (usual) quibble aside, all three exhibits are well worth a visit.

Lurl Details


This Weekend in Second Life Dance

Ballet Pixelle - Avatara - April 18 2018

Hi there. R. Crap Mariner, your friendly neighbourhood dance correspondent.

I’ll be posting dance performance schedules, similar to Inara’s posts about Seanchai Library readings.

This is a huge week. Lighting the Way and Fantasy Faire are running, and I’m running like a beheaded chicken trying to keep up with the updates and note cards. Hopefully, I caught them all.

Let’s get started, here’s the events that I saw on the calendar as of press time.

(All times SLT)

Winds of the Sahara - April 15 2018

Friday, April 20th

9:00AM – SLCS

The Second Life Cheerleading Squad is the grid’s oldest, largest and most successful professional cheerleading squad. Our members undergo a month-long training, and are some of the most motivated and talented Girls anywhere. We offer large squad cheer performances, event hosting, on-line experience beta testing, etc.

We perform all over the grid, with performances at special events, Clubs, Live music shows and the like. In addition, The SLCS raises a large amount of cash for RFL, with over 10000 USD raised so far.

For more information on how the SLCS can work with you contact Lisa Tredwell

12:00PM – Nouvelle Folies

6:00PM – Elysium Cabaret

Elysium Cabaret – Welcome to the Weekend!

If it’s Friday, it’s Elysium Cabaret! Fancy some imagination? In The Empire Room at Copperhead Road, every Friday at 6pm SLT the dynamic performers of Elysium Cabaret take the stage to bring you a solid hour of entertainment!

Featuring elaborate sets and choreography sequenced to an eclectic genre of music, Elysium Cabaret offers something for everyone. Grab your friends and get their early because the sim fills. Come celebrate Friday! Welcome to the weekend!

6:00PM – Misfit Follies

Misfit Dance & Performance Art performs full-scale production shows at our home theatre, other venues, fund-raising events & private parties all over the grid! The theme is a fantastical variety dance show with fun & unusual character /avatar dancers – each act tells a little story. Think Broadway in SL!

We are so proud to present shows continuously for our amazing audience of dance art patrons! With close to 60 (and growing!) story dance art pieces to build our weekly shows that we perform in our Theatre two Wednesdays per month at 7 PM SL, one Sunday per month at 5 pm SL and once per month on certain Fridays at 10 AM SL for our global time zones friends!

Misfit Dance also presents shows “OnTheRoad” at various locations for Cancer/ Autism / Parkinsons’ Disease and More – Awareness & Fund Raising events in SL / year round!

9:00PM – Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s an article that you should read to learn more about Monarchs!

(NOTE: I rarely give suggestions, but if you are lucky enough to catch Monarchs on Friday night, you can then be free to catch Burlesque Dolls at 3PM on Saturday.)

Saturday, April 21

Debauche - April 14 2018

9:00AM – Misfit Follies

Misfit Dance & Performance Art performs full-scale production shows at our home theatre, other venues, fund-raising events & private parties all over the grid! The theme is a fantastical variety dance show with fun & unusual character /avatar dancers – each act tells a little story. Think Broadway in SL!

We are so proud to present shows continuously for our amazing audience of dance art patrons! With close to 60 (and growing!) story dance art pieces to build our weekly shows that we perform in our Theatre two Wednesdays per month at 7 PM SL, one Sunday per month at 5 pm SL and once per month on certain Fridays at 10 AM SL for our global time zones friends!

Misfit Dance also presents shows “OnTheRoad” at various locations for Cancer/ Autism / Parkinsons’ Disease and More – Awareness & Fund Raising events in SL / year round!

11:00AM – Winds of the Sahara

(NOTE: This is a rare early performance of Winds for LTW. If 5PM Sundays is a bit late for you, then catch them now.)

12:00PM – Oasis and Debauche

Not one but TWO great dance troupes join forces to create a truly magical experience. Always great to share the stage with such brilliant performers and always a fantastic show for the audience to be a part of.

You do NOT want to miss this great show. Oasis and Debauche light up the stage together.

(NOTE: Yay!)

12:00PM – Night Theatre

A brand new show, made just for Fantasy Faire 2018!

“Where the magic flows free between Dusk and Dawn….and tales take form from pixels….weaving a never-ending tapestry of twilight stories…..”

The Night Theatre has been actively running shows in SL since the winter of 2013. We have been involved in many various events such as One Billion Rising, The MilkyWay Cabaret, Fantasy Faire, LEA, SL B and are honoured to have been part of the Fallen Gods annual celebrations the last couple of years and much more. During these years we have produced several new shows and been a part of various other festivals and celebrations.

Curious? Have a look at our pics in Flickr, subscribe to our blog or join The Dreamers group! Or get on our subscribo list to stay updated on our upcoming events. Want to book us for a show? Or are you burning for SL dance and want to join us? Speak to Aelva and she will weave some magic for you.

Let the Magic Begin…

(NOTE: This is Aelva’s performance group. I talked with her a few weeks ago, and you can read the article.)

1:00PM – Dance Variety Show @ LTW

The special event variety shows are a good opportunity to learn about a lot of different performers, choreographers, and groups at once. It’s like a salad bar, but every bowl is your favourite pudding.

3:00PM – Harleyquin Workshop

Performance Director Class 3: Advanced, Making it Sing

You have the basics down – in this workshop we play with additional features and possible ways to use them! Load another routine note card, derez your set, other ways to use groups, starting animations….and anything else we can think of! We’re even going to touch on layering!

** Requires experience in creating a full PD routine

(NOTE: This is a class. I’ll talk more about classes in an upcoming article.)

3:00PM – Burlesque Dolls

Join us at the Jefferson Opera House for a day of teasing and tantalizing by some of the most talented dancers on the grid. Burlesque at it’s best. Now under the direction of Melina Aurotharius (semi-formal or formal dress please)

3:00PM – Monarchs

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO! It’s an article that you should read to learn more about Monarchs!

5:00PM – Avilion Mer Ballet

Avilion is a medieval fantasy community, home to dragon and drow, elven, land dwellers and winged fae, creatures of every kind and of course the merrow.

In addition to combat and role-play, Avilionians entertain their citizens with regular performances from the Avilion Merballet Company, Avilion Cameo Theatre and the Bards.

For 8 years the merballet has showcased the beauty and agility of the mer form more than 10 unique performances. Combining mer mystic and magic, we have made waves entertaining with this visually inspiring SL art form.

The Avilion MerBallet Company also performs to benefit Fantasy Faire, Relay for Life in Second Life and other charities.

Share this dream with us!

(NOTE: This group performs infrequently, so this is a good opportunity to catch them.)

5:00PM – Phoenix Dance Team

(NOTE: They usually post descriptions at the last minute, so check their Facebook group.)

7:00PM – Elysium Cabaret @ LTW

Featuring elaborate sets and choreography sequenced to an eclectic genre of music, Elysium Cabaret offers something for everyone. Grab your friends and get their early because the sim fills. Come celebrate Friday! Welcome to the weekend!

7:00PM – Desire Arts

Desire Arts Dancers

Desire Arts Dancers do an “after hours” show. Starting at 7pm SLT on April 21st & 28th… we bring you the performance quality at our Saturday shows, with more skin… little less costume. Some acts do contain adult content.

As an “Arts” theatre (and gallery) Desire Arts will be a venue perfectly suited for SL Performers wishing to express themselves through live performances, through Dance, Art Exhibits, Performance Art as well as Dramatic Presentations.

Also, Presentations of a controversial nature (including those involving sex, politics and/or religion) will be presented separately from the Dance Program.

You can read the article with Path and Lotta here.

Sunday, April 22

Elysium Cabaret - April 13 2018

7:00AM – Club IMAGE

(NOTE: Even when Club IMAGE repeats, it’s still a magical experience.)

10:00AM – Luxe Girls

The Luxe Girls have been entertaining the members of Elysion since 2015. Their shows are most often a mix of individual and group acts around a given theme. Each dancer chooses her music, builds her own set and choreographs her dance. This makes for an entertaining and eclectic mix of acts because each Luxe Girl has her own unique talents to bring to the stage every month.

Syn Beresford, owner of Elysion and Stage Mama to the Luxe Girls, hosts and DJ’s the shows as well as provides creative input and set design for many of the group acts.

The Luxe Girls will be returning to the Fantasy Faire this year with Le Cirque des Reves, their interpretation of Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”. Music and concept by DJ Lucid Hurricane with set design by Syn and the Luxe Girls and choreography and costumes by the Luxe Girls. This is a show you don’t want to miss!

(NOTE: Luxe is a group that usually performs at the private/paid Elysion estate, but it’s a rare treat to see them in an open access event like Fantasy Faire. What’s killing me is that Muse is doing Chicago at the same time, and Anu goes all-out too, so… Chicago has a second showing soon on May 6 at 10AM, but they fill the sim frequently. This one’s going to be tough.)

10:00AM – Muse Dance Company

Chicago Musical by Muse Dance Company

Sunday April 22nd and Sunday May 6th at 10 am SLT

Join the Muse Dance Company for this dance musical Chicago. A satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal”. You don’t wanna miss this one!

Choreographed by Anu Papp and Cordelia Cerise. I chatted with Anu for an article a while back here.

11:00AM – Dazzlers

1:00PM – Debauche

Debauche return once more to the House Of Jana. New location, new theatre, same wonderful dance show.

It is always such a pleasure to perform here, always such a great crowd and a great atmosphere. Why don’t you come join us and see for yourself?

Debauche. A little naughty, a lot sexy and……ALWAYS CLASSY!!

(NOTE: Yay!)

1:00PM – Mynx Dance Academy

1:00PM – Red Hot Chili Pipers

The Chilli Pipers are Bagpipes with attitude. Drums with a Scottish accent. A blazing rock band and a show so hot it carries its own health warning. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have been rocking the world from New York to Beijing with musicianship of the highest order and a passion for pipes that will leave you breathless. The Virtual Red Hot Chilli Pipers was established in August of 2009.

1:00PM – Sky Fire

3:00PM – DRUM

DRUM’s goal is to bring the world to you via the power of drumming. Our aim is to have fun and to create incredibly beautiful rhythms – live.

Members of the DRUM group have collaborated to create the unique sounds, drums, and animations that enable us to perform. Our performances are live and are subtly different each time – they are not pre-recorded music. The sounds are created right within Second Life. We then send them out and back in via stream in order to provide you with a lag free experience! We hope you enjoy our performances as much as we enjoy providing them.

Right now our performances consist of 10 different drum cultures, Taiko (Japanese), Native American, African, Latin, Indian, Mallets, Stomp Wall, Rusty Barrel, African Ghost, Brazilian, and Steel Pan drums. We are planning many new exciting sets for the near future!

5:00PM – Ballet Pixelle

Ballet Pixelle – “Avatara”

Opening Sunday April 15th at 5 pm SLT and every Wednesday and Sunday at 5 through June 13

Ballet Pixelle® will open its production of “Avatara” on Sunday, April 15 at 5:00 pm SLT, Join us for this original composition of virtual dance! What if a real world dancer could dance in a virtual world? What movements would be the same or different? What kinds of different beings could she be? What would be the same? And how would that dancer be changed after her experience? Performances are Wednesdays at 5:00 pm and Sundays at 5:00 pm SLT throughout April in the Ballet Pixelle Theatre. Audience dancing at the after-show party every performance! Join us for an evening of delights. Chat with the performers and crew after the performance for autographs, photos, and a question & answer session.

Formal dress expected.

(NOTE: There’s something raw and organic and special about Ballet Pixelle. Retaining the hand-triggered method of performance makes each performance a cool kind of quirky and dadaesque. It’s a living experience, natural in a digital world. A fractal experience that embraces the lag and latency in a powerful way. I’m really hoping to cover them in an article here.)

5:00PM – Winds of the Sahara

Winds is going to take you on a date tonight, want to go see a movie? (NOTE: If you’re a Don Hertzfeldt fan, the proper response is “I’m feeling fat and sassy!” Okay, back to the description.) We do too! We are all dancing to songs from the movies! Each dancer chose a song to dance to, taking their inspiration from the movies. We will delight your eyes and put some songs in your heads from Fifth Element, Copacobana, Risky Business, Xanadu, 50 Shades & Dolphins to name a few. It is sure to be a toe-tapping good time. We will even let you sneak in some candy, as long as you share with us! Come early for some pre-show dancing with us too. We will also have a 500L gift card from Insatiable Dreams to give away. Come join us for a Night At The Movies!

I assume there will be a few more shows this week… folks are just taking their time getting the notices in, finishing up their routines… that sort of thing. I’d prefer to error on the side of caution and just post the ones confirmed at press time.

Check with the Dance Queens event calendar for updates and additions to the weekend’s schedule, as well as the many events that happen during the week.

So, folks, is this useful? Let me know. Drop me an IM when you get to a show and that you enjoyed it.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I perform with Guerilla Burlesque and Debauche. Which leads to a funny story… I went to the Ballet Pixelle performance on Wednesday, and at the after party, people keep calling me Star. And I’m like “I’m not a star.” but it continues. Then the next day, when I try to rez something and I fail, I realize I don’t have the right group tag on. I’ve got “Debauche Star” on. I had it on during a rehearsal and forgot to change back. This is what happens when you turn off group tags and name tags in your viewer.

(NOTE: Yes, there are going to be a lot more NOTE rambles and digressions in my articles. Try not to start a flame war.)

Debauche - April 15 2018

(NOTE: Oops.)

2018 SL project updates 16/2: Content Creator User Group

A rally of (Animesh) raptors on Aditi

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on  Thursday, April 19th, 2018 at 13:00 SLT.  The meeting is chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Medhue Simoni Live streamed the meeting, and his video is embedded at the end of this summary. My thanks to him for providing it. Time stamps are included in the text below to allow easy referencing to the video for details.

Initially, the meeting opened on Aditi at the Animesh test regions.however, Voice issues across the beta grid regions resulted in the meeting decamping to the TPVD amphitheatre on Agni, and these notes reflect the meeting from that point onwards, starting at the 7 minutes 19 seconds point in the video.

Animesh Project

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to provide a means of animating rigged mesh objects using the avatar skeleton, in whole or in part, to provide things like independently moveable pets / creatures, and animated scenery features via scripted animation. It involves both viewer and server-side changes.

Project Viewer

The project viewer with the updated Animesh land impact / tri count formula was released on Monday, April 16th. Version also brings the viewer to parity with the current release viewer.

Vir’s provides a detailed explanation in the Animesh updated limits and cost formulas forum thread, However, in summary:

  • Animesh attachment limit = 1: only one Animesh object can be attached to an avatar at a time. This is unchanged from the original estimates.
  • Triangle Count Limit = 100,000: an animesh object (linkset) can have at most 100k triangles, where the count is based on the estimated size of the largest LOD (normally this is the high LOD). This includes all mesh triangles, static or rigged.
  • Land Impact: streaming cost = 15.0 + 1.5 * ktris + cost of non rigged prims: for a rigged mesh prim in an animesh linkset, the streaming cost will be 0.0015 * effective_tri_count – that is, 1.5 per thousand triangles. The value for effective_tri_count is derived from the estimated triangle count of the various LODs in the prim as follows:
    • High LOD: all of the estimated triangle count included in the effective_tri_count.
    • Medium LOD, Low LOD and Lowest LOD: the allowed number of triangles can be up to ½ of the LOD above, or 64, whichever is larger (i.e. Medium can be up to ½ of High, or 64, whichever is larger). If there are more triangles than this limit, that excess will be added to the effective_tri_count.
  • These values are also reflected in ARC (avatar rendering cost) calculations for Animesh items.

[7:23-8:43] The viewer also incorporates a change where it will automatically switch to skeleton based rendering for Animesh as soon as it detects the use of an avatar skeleton in an object, rather than waiting until an animation starts playing on an Animesh object in order to make the switch. It is hoped this will avoid issues between an Animesh object’s static and animated states, which can cause visual glitches when the animation based switch is made. It should also avoid potential exploits with people using multiple Animesh objects without necessarily animating them.

[9:13-9:32] It is believed the majority of bugs for Animesh are now in hand, however if any finds specific issues with the new impact calculations or with the latest project viewer in general, they are asked to file a JIRA bug report.

Rigged Mesh Level of Detail / Bounding Box Issues

Beq Janus has reported on issues with rigged mesh LOD issues related to the avatar bounding box. Essentially, attachments on avatars swap their LOD models as if they were scaled to the overall avatar Bounding Box. Some creators, deliberately or otherwise, force the bounding box to be far larger than is required, which then creates problems

For example, if an avatar bounding box is forced to 15 metres on a side, any rigged object worn by that avatar will swap LODs as if it were 15 metres in size, no matter how small, forcing viewers around it to use its highest LOD model unnecessarily (see BUG-214736 for more).

[8:44-9:12]  Graham Linden has been investigating these, as has some proposed changes which he and Vir hope to implement in the near future, the implication being these will be folded into the Animesh viewer.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days – the latter comprising multiple Sky and Water) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
  • Experience-based environment functions
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.

This work involves simulator and viewer changes, and includes some infrastructure updates.

Current Status

[10:35-11:05] Rider Linden has been involved in dealing with other issues, which have delayed progress on EEP. He hopes that with this worked cleared, he’ll be able to focus on getting the viewer updates out in a project viewer.

Continue reading “2018 SL project updates 16/2: Content Creator User Group”

Out of Here in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Out of Here

“My images don’t have a bar code, from time to time they scream. Today is the first day of peace though,” Nevereux notes in her Preview to Out of HereNitroglobus Roof Gallery, an exhibition of her work now on display at , curated by Dido Haas. An evocative artist whom I’ve admired through these pages on a number of occasions,  Nevereux offers sixteen images which, as show notes in a mere general introduction to the exhibition, form something of a reflective, emotional journey.

Out of here is despair converted into media with intrinsic meaning and no pretenses,” she sates, “… it’s a spiritual thing, the individual perception of feelings after breakup. We seek in our beliefs sensory encounters, something beyond the words uttered. The words may reverberate subtlety, but the raw feelings, truth, irony and an imaginative point of view wrestle us each moment to create image after image.”

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Out of Here

And so we are presented with images of raw emotional depth, each one presenting not a narrative or idea, but a feeling; a response; a desire. All but one are really presented as standalone moments; flashes of an emotional state, a state with which, in all likelihood we can each identify. The exception is Adieux. Beta version, seen at the end of this piece, which conveys emotions through words as well as by image.

Love and loss obviously result in darker feelings – emptiness, loneliness, despair, hurt, and so on. This is certainly the case with the majority of the pieces offered here – but that shouldn’t be taken to mean these are in any way bleak images. Entirely the reverse, in fact. As noted above, these are images that are powerfully and evocatively familiar in their interpretation; so much so that rather than sinking us into bleaker thoughts, they offer a journey – possibly cathartic – through feelings and responses. Some may even offer more than one potential interpretation.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Out of Here

Take Every Song Is A Lament (above, left), for example. Clearly, the title reflects how songs can feel to us when a relationship ends;  that sense of loss, not just of love and companionship – but also a of oneself. This is beautifully framed by the image itself – a body partially dissolved into a trail of feathers leading to an escaping bird. But so to, is there an alternative here: that need to escape; a wish not to feel the hurt and upset evoked by song, and to simply escape.

Similarly, and alongside of Every Song Is A Lament, is Going from Belonging 2 B Longing. Again, the title and the image perfectly convey the idea that there comes a time when a relationship ends – for whatever reason – when we a deeply aware of that shift in state: for a couple (or family) or an individual; we feel more a shadow than a presence. But again, perhaps, there is an alternative metaphor here: when a relationship ends, we are often surrounded by support; and as well-meaning as that support might be, we nevertheless feel apart from it, rather than a part of it. We simply want to fade away and escape it all.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Out of Here

An open display of images reflecting inner thoughts and feelings, Out of Here is an expressive exhibition, one not to be missed.

SLurl Details

Fantasy Faire: your shorthand guide to 2018

Fantasy Faire 2018: Aetherea (Alia Baroque)

The largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, Fantasy Faire, opened its gates to 2018 on Thursday, April 19th, and will remain open through until  Sunday, April 29th, 2018 inclusive. It brings together fantasy enthusiasts, creators, performers and designers for eleven days of commerce, special events, and live music concerts, with special emphasis on fund-raising for Relay for Life of Second Life.

This year marks the Faire’s 10th anniversary, and presents 15 regions (including the entertainment and Quest regions) to be explored and enjoyed, and a packed programme of activities and events. It also marks the start of a new chapter in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) work.

For the first time, fund-raisers are allowed to earmark donations for a special project they have chosen to support – and Fantasy Faire is the flagship event to launch this new approach within virtual worlds. As I was able to report earlier in April, all funds raised during Fantasy Faire 2018 will go towards to development and operation of a new Hope Hostel to care for cancer patients and their care givers, at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya.

Fantasy Faire 2018: Falls of Hope (Sweetgwendoline Bailey/Eldowyn Inshan)

Once again, the Faireland regions offer an impressive range of realms and ideas, from what might be regarded as “traditional” fantasy – we have a former realm of elves for example, in The Bazaar Dungeon, while The Pools of Ethuil echo elven tree-homes – through to and almost science fiction edge to things with Erstwhile, a grand spaceport sitting within the bowl of a flooded crater, great trading space vessels docked along its elevated rim.  Elsewhere there are echoes of past Fantasy Faire events. Atherea, for example has a faint visual echo of 2012’s The Tides and a thematic reflection of 2013’s Magnificat.

You can find the background notes on all the 2018 Faireland regions here, or by visiting their individual pages on the Fantasy Faire website.

Fantasy Faire 2018: The Halls of Story (Elicio Ember)

Of course, as well as all the best in fantasy shopping, Fantasy Faire offers just about something for everyone. There’s  the Literary Festival, which is based at The Halls of Story and which I previewed earlier in April. There is also the Fantasy Faire Quest. Then there are the auctions. The silent auction runs throughout the Faire and there will be details available shortly, while the Live Auction will take place on the final day of the Faire again, watch the Faire’s website for details and a chance to own one or more extremely rare items from this year’s event!

Role-Play! Once again there will be numerous opportunities for role-play within the Fairelands. Three groups are offering themed role-play, weaving tales and offering anyone with an interest with the chance to participate.

But that’s not all! In addition to these three, there is a new role-play feature for Fantasy Faire 2018. The denizens of Luth will have opened an embassy in the land of Severina, where they will be holding a regular series of Meet’n’Greets offering fairelanders can meet their representatives and learn more about their stories.

Also new to Fantasy Faire 2018 is table-top gaming! prospective GMs have the opportunity to host a game session (or two), all while raising funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

Fantasy Faire 2018: The Willows of Nienna (Kilik Lekvoda)

And, of course, there will be the popular role-play classes, this year located at Falls of Hope. See the class schedule for more.

Performance and Art: there is a full programme of art and performance events, to be found at The Story Well and Astrid’s Nemeton. Some 37 artists are exhibiting their images at Fantasy Faire 2018, and there will be a range of performances by some of the top dance troupes from across Second Life, including Misfit Dance, the Avilion MerBallet company, the Changhigh Sisters, DRUM, Luxe Girls and more. See the Performance events list for more, including dates and times.

The Fairelands Players are also back again for 2018, presenting two of Shakespeare’s plays:

As with every Fantasy Faire, there will be parties, music and dances throughout – see the Fairechylde listing and event schedule for more. And don’t forget the two special parties for 2018:

Keep Abreast of all things Fantasy Faire – music, auctions, literary, performance, and of course the infamous Jail and Bail rounds – through the Fantasy Faire Website, the Fantasy Faire 2018 events calendar and Fantasy Faire radio.

And start your Fairelands journey at the Fairelands Junction.

Fantasy Faire 2018: Erstwhile (Marcus Inkpen/Sharni Azalee)

Fantasy Faire 2018 SLurls


Events and Performance:

  • Fairelands Junction – Portals and Memorial Area.
  • Ardessa (Éclair Martinek) – Fairelands Quest.
  • Astrid’s Nemeton (lrriven) – The RFL One Team & Second Performance Stage.
  • The Halls of Story (Elicio Ember) – Literary Festival, “Live at the FaireChylde” dance parties and Worldling Collection 2018.
  • The Story Well (Haveit Neox & Lilia Artis) – Main Performance Stage & Fantasy Faire Art Gallery.

Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!

Superheroes Poster 006

Hi there! It’s your Dance Correspondent, R. Crap Mariner.

There’s big productions, and then there’s really really big productions. Monarchs puts together a few shows a year that are really big, people line up for hours to get into the sim early, and their upcoming Superheroes show is shaping up to be another feast for all senses.

Here’s the show announcement:

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO!
It’s dates and times for The Monarchs’ upcoming sim-wide production of SUPERHEROES.

Join us on a mad dash into the world of ultimate good and evil where superheroes always prevail – even if it means destroying a vehicle, a building, a city…or two.

April 20th 9pm // 21st 3pm // 27th 9pm // 28th 3pm

~ Monarchs

That’s the TL;DR, but I want to know more. Who are the Monarchs? What makes them different from the other dance groups out there? What does it take to put together one of their productions?

I know I want to know. So, let’s go exploring, shall we?


I sent Diiar Von Shippe a list of questions. She’s one of the leaders of Monarchs. Despite all the craziness of putting together costumes and sets and dance acts and coordinating all of the performers, she still had the time to answer them for me.

So if I were to say “I teleported over into the landing area of Monarchs and met with Diiar and we sat down and…” like I usually do

Monarchs for blog post

I’d be lying. This was me being lazy and not really having a true conversation, so why try to hide it, right? I sent her a list of questions, and she answered them beautifully. My faux-journalist heart wept.

Still she was nice enough to answer these, and I’m very grateful for that, and I hope this gives you some insight into the journey Diiar has taken in Second Life and Dance Performance. (As opposed to the road to burnout and misery I’ve been crawling down. Anybody have a bottle of something?)

Besides, her answers were just so… beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to edit this down and chop it up. (Okay, I’m lying again. I’m lazy.)

Questions in bold, comments in italics, and she’s in plain text.

Let’s roll.

Tell me about yourself, Diiar.

My name is Diiar Vader Shippe, I am co-owner of The Monarchs dance troupe along with Royal Shippe. I’m also a manager, choreographer, dancer, poster-maker, story-writer, alleged slave driver, part-time workaholic, epic rant writer and much more – though none of that is as interesting as this.

I spend my days nagging at people (mostly Royal), sneaking out to listen to some of SL’s live singers perform – a fairly (re)newed interest of mine – or attending to this distracting little thing called Real Life.

(This is where I’d raise an eyebrow at slave-driver and count the number of exits available to me. Because the last thing I want to do is end up enslaved to a dance performance group and doing their bidding, right?)

How did you get your start in Second Life?

I had to take a class at college some 5-ish years ago where we, at one point, discussed on-line communities. Naturally Second Life came up. Now, my teacher made it sound like a dripping hub of malcontent, pervy freaks – so naturally I had to make an account and go check it out…

I was surprised to find that in between all the specimens that proved my teacher’s case were some real characters and some interesting souls and so…I stuck around.

(Please do not undersell the malcontents and pervy freaks. We have our time to shine, too.)

What got you into dance in Second Life?

After about 6 months of general depravity,

(… awesome!)

I found myself at a dance show at Ellie’s. It was much like the ones you find weekly across the grid these days. Smaller perhaps than most – it never seemed like a long show and I think more burlesque-y for sure than Monarchs is. And I remember they had a great host – I forgot her name, but I’m sure people that went there will remember her. I always thought she had a great style and I took a lot from that when I started hosting a show myself a bit later on.

But I saw absolutely no appeal in it. On the other hand, my company did, and before long I was suckered into their plans to open a theatre of their own.

(This is one of my big fears… getting suckered into building my own dance performance theatre. I’ve already got an almost-always empty venue for my storytelling. God help me if I ever put together an almost-always empty dance performance venue. Thank goodness I’ve used up most of my remaining space on an almost-always empty art gallery.)

That’s where I started – as a hostess. Before long though I had the urge to try my own hand at creating a performance and though I didn’t know how to build (like at all), I had my, embarrassing, début back in 2013. It wasn’t until my 3rd set I finally thought I was onto something and from that point, it’s been a slow, but steady journey to where I am today.

(I’ve noticed that a lot of people have mentioned Ellie’s. I should probably hunt her down and find out what the history is there. After a vacation, I think.)

And then came Monarchs, right?

We have to go about 3 years up in time before Monarchs starts taking shape. And then you have to add Royal Shippe and Myth Raven – my better and worse half in SL respectively, hah!

(For the record, I am my own worse half. Which makes for one and a half me. Maybe I need to redo the math.)

For the longest time, we were joking about how nice it would be having our own troupe where we could set the agenda and where we could do things the way we thought they ought to be done. Now, before I go on, I want to make it clear that we didn’t (and still don’t) think our way is the one and only right way, and in many things, we’re still trying to find a way that makes sense. Personally, I think as long as you have something unique to offer there’s room for a new perspective. We wanted a troupe that focused heavily on quality over quantity, and one where you could never be quite sure what you’d be getting, other than a spectacle and a performance.

(SPOILER ALERT: Monarchs creates excellent spectacles and performances. Just wanted to you to know.)

Just before our début show Myth had to poof to RL and with that we also took a step away from solo dances and the naughtier stuff – which quite naturally gave way to the size shows you see us doing today.

It’s quite a way from joking about it to actually doing it, and I’ve forgotten what the deciding factor was in the end. In any case, Monarchs was born in the spring of 2016. And in the time since then, we’ve gathered together a small but fun group of people that can carry the ambition and continuously put up with our unreasonable antics. And a growing fan base of what I personally believe to be among the most patient people in all of SL, waiting months in silence for us to finish anything new for them.

(On top of that, we’re also the most patient because we get to the sim hours in advance and wait because it always fills up quickly. So, I’m a total idiot for doing this article because now you know they exist and you’ll be fighting for those few seats, too. Remember what Blaze said about being very sad if you miss Cirque? Well, you’ll be sad if you miss Monarchs, too.)

Continue reading “Come see the superheroes of Second Life Dance: The Monarchs!”