Tuesday, 28 April 2009

MelodyBlue Sings In SL

I was a little bit late logging into Second Life Monday night because of real life stuff, and when I finally managed to log on, I knew that I should be with my friend Brie (Janick) who had asked me to go over to a live gig with her. I hate missing things and went over for the last 20 minutes and I wished I had managed to see it all. It was a new lady singer on the SL music scene, and this was her first big venue.

When I arrived and waited for the virtual world to rez in around me, I could hear the fantastically strong, gutsy voice of the singer, her range was tremendous and I knew straight away that this lady has talent. I had arrived in Brie’s friend, Drakon Cortes’ D.C District sim, which is a Community Gateway, and people were dancing in front of the stage and having a good time.

The singer MelodyBlue Melody came into focus and I could see that this very pretty avatar in the dazzling red dress had all the right moves on stage, as she sang her version of popular cover songs. Brie told me that MelodyBlue also writes and sings her own music, which she had sung earlier in the show and I’m sorry I had missed it. Hopefully, I will see her perform again in the near future.

MelodyBlue has a great voice and lots of energy, which comes across really well in SL, it is hard to imagine that she has just started singing 'live' in-world. I wish her all the luck for a great future, both in SL and real life!!

Janey Bracken

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Do You Want To Be a Musician?

Do you want to make it into the music business, but haven’t got a clue how? Well now there is an opportunity to use SL as an educational tool to do exactly that, with the help of a real life expert. Bones Writer (his avatar name) is a real life musician with 30 years of experience in the music world; Bones is a sessions player and has backed many real life top showbiz names. I am delighted to say that Bones has chosen to help budding musicians, and experienced ones too, to bring their music into SL, using it as a platform to further their musical careers. Lilly Bracken (no relation to me as far as I know!) contacted me the other day to tell me about a sim called TRAX, which is owned by Bones. Lilly sent me a note card explaining just exactly what TRAX is, and reading it, I was instantly intrigued.

TRAX is a musician’s ‘dream come true’!! Bones and his SL business partner, Tangle Giano have thought of every concept to help musicians use Second Life (and ultimately first life), they offer a service to put their customers’ careers in the music business into a great starting position. And not only musicians, also TRAX can be used for people to listen to music, follow their favourite artists, book musicians, and buy live music in SL. As Bones states in his press release ‘TRAX is a Live Music Resource Centre. A place for venue owners, agents, musicians (old and new), and everyone else to learn, listen, book and buy Live Music in SL.’ I would say that Bone’s sim is probably the best music production, educational place in SL, he and Tangle have covered every aspect of the music business and offer their expert advice free of charge.

Bones very kindly took me on a tour of the TRAX sim, and the whole place is amazing. There are many listening booths for musicians, which you can rent for a small monthly fee. The press release states ‘Rental Booths for Musicians. Each booth includes 3 - MP3 Songs of your choice streamed from our server or yours (Included in Rental Price) into your booth, A Link Button to your Google Calendar so everyone can see where and when you are playing. An intercom for anyone to send you or your agent messages for easy booking, A Picture of the artist with Bio and Landmark to the Booth and a place to sell your BW Music CD when you are not online. TRAX takes 10% of sale price of your CD in your booth or in our TRAX Stores if you choose to have us sell your CDs for you. Recommended CD price is 2,000L.’ So you see, if you are a completely new person to the music industry or an experienced one, who wants complete support in getting your music out there, TRAX is the place to be.

Bones and Tangle offer advice on musical instruments and equipment, giving landmarks for various places to go, including sims to get your avatar looking like a real superstar, for getting that professional promotional set of photographs taken, tip jars, booking agents and some of the most popular SL venues that book musicians for live events to stream providers. There’s even a bulletin board with ideas submitted by other musicians etc.

One of the greatest ideas is the opportunity to produce your own SL CD. Bones states ‘BW Music makes the first true SL CD. Production is available to all musicians with original and/or cover material. The CD plays your music for everyone in SL including landowners & non-landowners. When played, it downloads the mp3 songs to the CD owners PC allowing for use in an iPod or mp3 player. On the CD are a buttons to retrieve Lyrics, Album Notes and a URL Link as well as a stop button. The easy to use CD Menu makes it simple for everyone to play any of the songs on the CD. It comes with case displaying the artist’s own Cover Art and a sales board to rez at your performances for easy sales. *If you have included cover songs and want to sell your CD you must agree to the terms of the BW music contract.’

Bones and Tangle supply instructional videos where you can learn how to stream a live performance into SL. People can also watch videos regarding installing and running various live streaming software applications, which enables people to play live in SL. Also included are video instructions on live ‘jam’ software that allows up to eight musicians to play live together in SL.

Bones, Lilly and Tangle took me around TRAX explaining each part, which was truly awesome. In the main building there is a stage where people can do a ‘sound check’ before a gig to test their stream and make any adjustments required to get a better sound etc, if need be. In the centre courtyard there is a live performance area where various events are held. Bones showed me how he can convert the area in the blink of an eye. He is an astonishing builder/scripter and while I looked on, the area was instantly transformed into a long catwalk to host a fashion show. Tangle also plays a main part in maintaining the sim with scripting and software management. As a really nice contrast to the music orientated sim, Lilly has a gallery there, she is a gifted artist in real life, bringing her paintings into SL for everyone to enjoy. Lilly also builds furniture and does a lot of the interior decorating and clearly has an eye for smart interiors.

I asked Bones about his own music, which he says is a mixture, including Jazz, rock and blues, and I was able to listen to two of his real life tracks. I can only tell you that this man is brilliant, writing all his own stuff and playing all the instruments, it was an honour to listen to his music, which is wonderful.

There is so much that TRAX has to offer, that I feel that I have only scratched the surface of this very interesting and educational service that Bones and Tangle are offering. It’s a really unique opportunity for people who wish to start a musical career using SL as a tool, and something that in real life, would take a considerable amount of time and money to achieve. I would like to thank Bones, Tangle and Lilly for inviting me along, it was a real pleasure to meet them.
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 23 April 2009

New Skin Store Opens

I went over to look at a new store the other day, it was called The Skin Factory. The skins are really beautifully made and the skin tones are very delicate and detailed. Also they are very reasonably priced L$950, a snip compared to lots of other skin stores.

I was fortunate enough to meet the owner and designer Tony Schapire, who came over to see if I needed any assistance. Tony was very friendly and put me at my ease, I asked him how he created all these wonderful skins and he told me he did the entire thing in Photoshop, how clever is that!!! Tony is quite an artist and I hope his skins are a big success. Pop over to see Tony’s new store and see if you fancy one of his very pretty skins! (P.S I put the bikini on the photo for publication, but the skins have their full body features!)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Artist Ritchey Sealy's New SL Gallery

We are very lucky in SL to have a real life successful artist who exhibits his work ‘in-world,’ for everyone to see. Ritchey Sealy (avatar Ritchey Jacobus) has a wonderful natural talent, painting, seemingly effortlessly, on location and producing masterpieces over and over again. Australian Ritchey was born in Gosford in 1962 and is part of an extraordinarily gifted family of artists. Ritchey has received many awards for his paintings, even having one presented to the HRH, The Duchess of York.

I was pleased to receive an invitation from Ritchey to attend the opening of his new gallery in SL called ‘The Ritchey Sealy Art Studio’ at Earpoint Region, and I went over there yesterday where I met Ritchey who told me that the opening had gone really well. The gallery, which was built for Ritchey by RichD Tomsen, is on two levels. The ground floor has Ritchey’s range of location paintings, including some wonderful bird pictures and animal paintings (which I had not seen before) as well as his seascapes, beach and countryside scenes. The pictures up on the first floor are Ritchey’s other persona, an exhibition of abstract art, which, amazingly, is a complete contrast to his almost impressionist main ground floor exhibition. It’s a very interesting concept with the two very different styles from one artists, but both work so very well.

I asked Ritchey about the bird paintings, a beautiful study of two Kookaburras (I bought the SL version of that one!!) and some colourful Australian lorikeets. The bird images are caught by Ritchie as they feed, looking, so animated and natural! Ritchie told me that he actually has these birds landing in his garden each morning, how wonderful is that!!!

We are privileged to view Ritchey Sealy’s work in Second Life and I hope his new gallery is a big success. You can visit Ritchey’s link to his real life paintings at http://www.ritcheysealy.com/eysealy.com/

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Visit Cheese HQ and Marvel at Johnny's Designs!

I have met many builders in SL since I joined two years ago and the standards with some of them are so good that you marvel that anyone can be so talented. Building isn’t easy! well doing it properly isn’t easy, as I found out once I started to have a go myself.

There is one builder though, who is not only clever at the actual building part, but the inventiveness and designs are quite astounding!! I met Johnnytreadlightly Nightfire some time ago and he is one of the nicest people you could meet. Johnny is so modest too, and quite clearly a genius!

I remember when I was a newbie and couldn’t get the hang of dancing, being a bit thick I didn’t realise that you had to activate your dance gesture by clicking ‘Play in World’ and not just ‘Play locally’ (the latter only your avatar can see!). Johnny came to the rescue, he had invented a walking stick, that once you held it, you could dance!! So he saved my night and my humiliation!!

Johhny has built entire sims, an expert on wonderful buildings and interiors and everything else that you would need, his eye for detail is exceptional.

Johnny has a store in SL called Cheese HQ and JTL Designs, and I went over for a look a couple of weeks ago and bought a utility belt he had made. It has a Walkman with earphones, keys, a packet of cigarettes, dummies guide book, cigarette lighter, two packets of potato chips, a mug, a hip flask and a knife, fork and spoon. By clicking on each object you can change the brands and inscriptions, even the belt buckle has a choice of styles. All this for just L$100.

Johnny has all sorts in his store, suits of armour all beautifully designed, with many parts, all for L$300. He has medieval weapons that you can use for hand-to-hand fighting and even weapons for horseback combat. There are buildings you can buy, ranging from castles to cottages and many other gadgets.

Johnny clearly isn’t in this for the money, as he keeps his prices really low, go over today and see his wonderful designs, oh and if you are going exploring don’t forget to buy your utility belt and you will be ready for anything!!!
Janey Bracken

Friday, 17 April 2009

There's a Party Going on at the Knightsbridge Gallery

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Knightsbridge Gallery as a little hidden gem in the London sims. A new exhibition showing the work of Juanita Deharo recently opened and is well worth a look. I hope to interview her for Virtually London (lite) but as RL is going to be a bit busy for me over the next little while I am not sure when I will be able to do that, so just wanted to post a mention here.

The Knightsbridge Gallery is split into two distinct sides, and in this case that layout works very well for Deharo’s artwork. On one side there are cartoon like characters - a large crowd scene called “Vibrator Women”, hanging from the ceiling are “Women in Boxes” “Pole Dancers” and “Cage Dancers”, standing around are “Cocktail Woman”, “Cocktail Woman 2” and “Cocktail Woman 3”, an “Italian Lover”, a man who is apparently asking the philosophical question “Art?”, “the football hero who leaves his socks on while making love” and some fountains. The figures are raucous and look like they are at the best clothing optional cocktail party in the history of the world. What a blast.

On the other side of the gallery are a series of landscape or still life works, using photographs that have been enhanced with the magic of Second Life. They are serene and restful, quiet and peaceful, unlike the party going on across the gallery.

So if you want to be Zen or if you want to live the life of the beautiful people, visit the Knightsbridge Gallery.

Hibiscus Hastings

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Ducknipple for Quality and Good Prices

Well I never imagined ducks having nipples, but then I don't know everything in SL!! I came across a 'Showcase' fashion store in the 'Search' menu and I suppose the name did draw my attention to it, yes it's called Ducknipple. I went over for a look around and to my delight the place is full of wonderful clothes and some shoes and accessories too. Always on the look out for bargains, especially with the credit crunch in mind, I am delighted to say that this store has really low prices, tops ranging from L$50 (and even some cheaper ones and a couple of freebies hidden away in the boxes over by one of the windows.)

I got the above outfit, which includes tights for L$150, and you can wear the top with or without the tee shirt under it. I called Hibiscus over and she too bought a great outfit! They haven't forgotten fashion for the boys either, there are some really nice clothes for men too, still at low prices. So check it and and see if the duck really does have nipples!!!
Janey Bracken

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter!!

Wishing all our readers a Happy Easter. Picture taken at the Easter, Spring, Seasonal Holiday Shop.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Friday Night on the Town

Friday night Janey and I were sitting around kicking our heals, so we decided to go out and see what was what in the London sims. We first stopped at Club Mayhem. No DJ was there at the time, so we had the place all to ourselves. Janey mentioned that she had always wanted to try being a DJ, so she hopped up to the DJ’s booth and gave it a spin, lol. You normally aren’t allowed on the stage when the DJs and hosts are working, but since we were on our own we were able to give it a try. Even I had a go. The poses are great; we both looked like we knew what we were doing.

After a little while we decided to move on to the Underground Club. DJ Janis Short was on, so we got to see and hear how a real professional does it.

Janey called it a night before I did, and she had no sooner left than a celebrity came in for a dance. Yes, it was the Easter Bunny! He must have been getting in shape for the big day on Sunday. You never know who might be dancing next to you, do you?

Hibiscus Hastings

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Amazing Avatars!

I go to the big meeting places in SL sometimes and like to spy on the different avatars that arrive. There are some pretty spectacular ones about, and some of the work that people put into them is truly amazing. I really liked the clown in the above picture. His name was StiX and he danced in between me and the lady to my left DivinePheobe. Divine remarked on his great dancing and he said he didn't know he was dancing, another SL bug then!! I admired his boots, which were huge!!

Another lady grabbed my attention, she had the most amazing big hair I have seen in SL, which included little fairy lights, quite sweet, she gets first prize for finest big hair. Another guy had a very well made false arm which must have taken some building, the detail was amazing and very robocop like.
Then there was the devil himself who had bright red glowing eyes, quite fearsome!! I do wonder about the guy I saw running about in one of the stores though, he just had a barrel on, I wonder if he was a barrel of laughs, I never spoke to him, so I will never know!!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

My 'pen' friend

when I was relatively new to Second Life I would travel to as many places as possible. If I felt like dancing I would click on the search button and type in 'night clubs' then I would teleport myself of to any that caught my eye. It was whilst I was on one of these forays that I came across a night club, called Flipper's pen. Sadly like most of the clubs i visited, there was nobody around, normally in this case I have a quick look around and shoot of to the next place. I was just about to leave when I heard a splashing noise behind me, turning round I saw to my surprise a Dolphin! yes, a Dolphin, you read right, and then it clicked! Flipper.....Dolphin lol. Ok ok I was a little slow connecting the two, but in my defence, I'm barely old enough to remember the television programme, let alone a night club that has a Dolphin swimming around in it. I sat and watched the beautiful creature as it went through its routine of tumbling tricks, and thought to myself, I will have to come back here sometime in the future. Three months later I returned to Flipper's pen, and to my astonishment it had all changed. The night club was still there, (still empty though!) but the Dolphin wasn't. I started to look around the place hoping to find him, and it was whilst I was searching for him that bad thoughts started to go through my mind, had he been kidnapped? caught up in a fisherman's net? or even worse died? I was just reaching for my tissues, when I heard a familiar sound, the same sounds I heard three months ago. 'Splish Splash' walking through some bushes I eventually came to an opening, and there swimming backwards, high out of the water was Flipper. "Hello Flipper" I heard myself shout out in my excitement to see him alive and well. I think he was pleased to see me as well, as I'm sure he winked at me! Now here's a thing you don't see everyday, a notice board with a sign saying 'Fireworks show' It told me to set my environment settings to midnight and click the button, which i did. I was treated to a wonderful display of multi coloured star bursting explosions, which occasionally lite up Flipper dancing in the sea. How romantic I thought, soft music, a warm gentle breeze blowing the sweet scent of cherry blossom through the air, stars twinkling in the midnight sky, and the sea occasionally reflecting the colourful display of fireworks in the sky. There's even a pony and trap, that will take you for a ride around the moonlit countryside, and to top it all off there is a sweet little chapel, just in case the romantic atmosphere takes over and you decide you want to get married. Its at times like this that I sometimes think, how nice it would be to have a boyfriend! then again nah!!! maybe not, he'd only pinch my chips anyway.


Gotta Dance

I love to dance, I find it is one of the truly great pleasures of Second Life. Any kind is good, ballroom, club, line dancing, it’s all lots of fun. One of the places I often go, as does Janey, is the Underground Club in the Knightsbridge sim. It’s close to my SL home and I have gotten to know a lot of the people who go there so it’s very friendly. Brie Janick, who is the manager of the club, has some wonderful dances so Janey asked her where she got them. Brie gave Janey some landmarks, which Janey very kindly shared with me.

The other night Janey and I decided to visit one of the places selling the animations, 3FX Entertainment. We tried out lots of the dances, and have never laughed so much. We were so incredibly energetic and flexible, it was amazing.

I did spins, handstands, back flips, splits (thank goodness for glitch pants), you name it, I did it, and all while wearing stilettos, too! Janey even gave pole dancing a shot and proved to be quite talented. Surprising what you can do when you give it a try, especially when talented people script your movements.

Hibiscus Hastings