Saturday, 30 May 2009

Chernobyl Exhibition in SL

It was 26th April 1986 when reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant exploded, initially killing two workers on site. Following that first explosion there were more in the Nuclear Power Plant near the town of Pripyat in the Ukraine, causing unspeakable pollution, as a plume of highly radioactive fallout was sent into the atmosphere. A report by the Chernobyl Forum, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization recorded 56 direct deaths, 47 of those being the people who worked there after the accident to clear it up, and nine children with thyroid cancer. It was reported that an estimated 4,000 extra cancer deaths may have been attributed to the incident from the 600,000 most highly exposed people in the surrounding area.

The radioactive cloud drifted for miles, even reaching as far as Ireland, falling as light nuclear rain. Some 336,000 people were evacuated from areas in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and it is said that 60 per cent of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus.

Exploring SL Showcases, I happened across an exhibition of pictures about Chernobyl and it brings the stark reality of that dreadful event to light. The exhibition is based on photographs by random_nut and is sponsored by an SL group called ‘Poets of Zarahemla. In fact there is a poignant poem on display by the founders of the group Ingeborg Apelbaum and Mathoni Zuhrah.

I think it is a very good idea to be able to use SL to mark such tragedies as Chernobyl, not only in respect of paying a tribute to the people who died or became ill, but to show new generations the damage that can be caused to our very fragile earth.

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

History In The Making With The Help of SL

Second Life has really played a big part in making history in the real world, and it’s all down to the work of artist Dennis Paul Batt (avatar Schmonson Dalglish). Dennis came into SL to bring the American Art of Lapidary to the attention of the real Art World and it has been a phenomenal success.

Lapidary, the use of gemstones to create pictures, had been largely ignored and not recognised as an art from by the echelons of the Art World. Dennis’s tireless campaign has meant that this beautiful art has now been recognised and an exhibition of the pictures, ‘Commesso: Made in America, Gemstone Fine Art’ was held recently for the first time in a Museum in California. Dennis gave a talk at the Museum and made his mark in American history by introducing this wonderful art form, and the Lapidary artists, formally into their rightful place alongside all the other great Masters of fine art.

I am delighted that I met Dennis ‘in-world’ at the very start of his campaign in SL, covering the stories for CNN at and

I am proud to have had the honour of covering this story of the final recognition of pure American Art at it’s finest, and I would like to thank artist Dennis Paul Batt for giving me the chance to do so.
Janey Bracken

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Grover Zelin at the Museum of Robots

On Saturday, one of my oldest (and most patient) friends, Motorato, im’d me about an exhibition opening that was taking place at the Museum of Robots. So I tp’d over to see what was going on. The exhibition, called “Bots, Bugs and Beasts”, showcases the work of Grover Zelin (rl Joshua Ellingson), an artist who works as an illustrator.

Ellingson is influenced by popular culture and astronomy. He says “There’s something about the scale of the cosmic level that makes my brain buzz.”

Zelin was present at the opening of the exhibition and spoke about his work. He said that he usually starts off his work using coloured pencil on paper, then finishing it off on the computer. One story I found particularly interesting was about an editorial illustration Zelin had done. It shows an eagle and its nest, which contains hungry baby dragons. It must have caught the eye of someone from 1800 Tequila because it can now be seen on a bottle in their essential artist series.

Another work I particularly liked was a picture of Ganesh, a Hindu Deity. Zelin had been asked to participate in a group show in which all the artworks were to be on giant stickers. This offered the artist the opportunity to literally think outside the box, he was able to create an artwork that fit into a corner instead of the usual box-like shape of most gallery wall art. Zelin described the sticker art as being “instantaneous murals”.

Quite a few works in the exhibition have recorded commentary by the artist (including the Ganesh work) which is a great addition. If you like bright colours, scary (?) imagery and the chance to create your own narrative go visit the “Bots, Bugs and Beasts” exhibition at the Museum of Robots.

Hibiscus Hastings

Friday, 22 May 2009

Is It An Error Or Just A Thing Of Beauty

Noticing a new Hotspot on the Showcase part of Search, I teleported over to have a look. It is a place called Error, the write up says 'Looking to get lost? Hide out in Error, a desolate island far, far away from civilization.' I was curious to say the least, and when I landed there, there were a few people already exploring, the place looked well built, with a great attention to detail being paid to the somewhat dusty looking bleak landscape.
In front of me stood a building higher up on the hill, I climbed the steps and went inside, this was a shop with some little bits and pieces of uniforms and some boots for sale, my first thoughts were that I would find something to tell me why the place was called Error, but no clues were to be found in the shop. There was a boiler in the back room that was twisted and out of shape, perhaps the objects are supposed to be errors of some sort. The boots looked good (and I know someone who needs a pair, so I might drag him back there to buy some!), but other than that I had no idea.
Climbing back down I walked down towards the rocky beach and went up to a couple who stood there at the water's edge. I asked them if they knew what this place was about and the man said he hadn't got a clue either. I carried on walking and there were oil cans laying around and a rickety bridge from one island to another. I found a crooked tower which was quite pleasing to look at, perhaps this was an error being so crooked. I stood outside and shouted out to all on the island if they could tell me what it was all about. One person responded by saying it is a nice place to be and there were some things for sale. Well yes, he was right it is a beautifully built place and the sea and rock formations are stunning, but I would have liked to have known more about the name Error and if there was some secret meaning to it all. Perhaps you can tell me!! It's worth a visit though, even if you buy a pair of those nice boots.
Janey Bracken

Monday, 18 May 2009

Two Photographic Exhibitions

Within the past week or so I have had the chance to visit two photography exhibitions that have recently opened and having seen both within a short space of time, I was struck by how different each was in almost every way and yet underlying both were some commonalities.
The first exhibition I visited is at Saxmundham’s Galleria in the Mayfair sim. I attended the opening party for the gallery which is where I discovered the work of Declan McDowell (rl Olivier Hudner). Hudner is a self-taught photographer living and working in the South of France. This is the first exhibition of his work in SL. His work includes many different genres – landscapes, portraits, nature studies and what he calls “recycled art”, photographs of other art in public spaces, such as graffiti. Overall his photographs focus in on the details of life which we tend not to notice, finding the beauty in the mundane. More of his work can be seen at his website,
The second exhibition is in the Victoriana Square sim. The Nation of Victoriana is a 19th Century themed sim, beautifully designed and built and a favourite place of mine in Second Life. Currently on display in the Town Hall in Victoriana Square are the works of Callipygian Christensen. Christensen is a well established SL photographer; her work is on display at many different venues. This exhibition of scenes of Victoriana was done at the suggestion of Mayor LittleBlackDuck Lindsay, the sim owner. Some photographs are done in gentle sepia tones, giving an air of days gone by, while others are brightly, almost shockingly, coloured in contrast, reflecting the liveliness of the sim.
These are two very different exhibitions, showing the great diversity of art that can be seen in SL. Both are exhibits of photographic works; however McDowell’s pictures are of RL only, whereas Christensen’s are only of SL, and in fact only of the Victoriana sim. McDowell is a relative newcomer to the art scene in SL, Christensen is more established. At the heart, though, is the artist’s eye looking at the everyday, whether that is in SL or RL.
Hibiscus Hastings

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Zeppie's New Exhibition Opens

There is an excellent art exhibition in SL by avatar Zeppie Innis (real life artist Stefan Damman). Zeppie’s latest work can be seen at the Business Exchange – Zeppie Innis Art Gallery Zeppie, who was born in Amsterdam, Holland, lives and works in Almere in real life, and he has been painting since he was 12 years old.

Zeppie’s paintings are strong abstract images and he uses various materials including fabric, wood, feathers and cement to achieve startling effects. I had met Zeppie last year when he opened a gallery in SL Mayfair and he talked me through some of his paintings that he had exhibited back then. Zeppie’s work takes on a whole new experience for the viewer when he explains the meanings behind each piece. His new work is both beautiful and intriguing and well worth a visit. That’s the great thing about SL, artist Zeppie can put his work on display for the whole world to see, and you shouldn’t waste this opportunity to see his marvellous paintings! Zeppie also has a website at

In his press release Zeppie also thanks Caliandris Pendragon who made it possible for him to exhibit his work in the Business Exchange, so have a look around Caliandris’s sim at the same time!
Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Newbie Dreams!

Sometimes whilst teleporting from shop to shop in SL you can overhear some great
conversations. I went over to a large store today and just happened to land near a group of people. There was a guy called Zion talking to a newbie called Goldshark and a few feet away there was a vampire called Maria. To add to the confusion there was another guy who seemed to be flitting from girl to girl and his name was Samscram.

It looked like Goldshark had been asking Zion about SL in general, but then one subject made him sit up and take notice: Sex! Zion was saying to Goldshark:

Zion: all u can do here is, have fun, meet people or try to make a business
Goldshark: aha…thnx dude
Maria: Goldshark come here babe and let me bite you!
Goldshark: why?
Zion: some pple sell clothes, some sell sex.. some sell prims… u can do whatever
Goldshark sex?????
Zion: omg
Maria: because I am a vampire and need the blood sweetie
Goldshark: how u can do it?
Maria: no not sex!
Zion: first u have to let Maria there bite you
Goldshark: no way
Maria: haha, but I am a starving vampire.
Goldshark: no sex no bite
Zion: k

Zion left the scene and Goldshark, plus Samcram, who had been wandering about, both went over to Maria. Samcram was probably one of the strangest avs I have seen, but then there are a lot of strange ones in SL, I doubt he would pull many girls with his av looking like that. Regretfully I couldn’t understand what Samcram was saying as he spoke Italian, but he and Goldshark were both pleading with Maria and Maria had to make it plain to them that it as ‘no sex’

Goldshark went off after accepting what Maria was saying, but by the spring in his step, SL would have a whole new meaning to him from now on. Samcram searched the store for other women, he wasn’t very successful though, every time he started talking to them they ran away. Poor Samcram, a makeover is badly needed there!

I hopped over to another store and landed next to a very tall lady all dressed in black, only this looked a bit dodgy, she was brandishing a nasty looking gun, putting on my movelock shield I hung around to see if she intended to use the gun, but she vanished in a swirl of stars. It’s not at all safe to go shopping nowadays is it!!!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Rock Club!!!

Exploring again tonight, I came across a place that appeared crowded with people, showing plenty of green dots on the map, so I headed straight for it. It was a Rock n' Roll dance place, called The Rock Club. The staff worked hard to keep everyone happy and people seemed to be arriving all the time. It was quite a big venue, so there was plenty of room to dance, and if you are a rock fan this would suit you!! They had a contest board where you could enter things like 'Best Rocker' in the house for lovely Linden dollar prizes.

The thing that did surprise me though, was a row of what looked like bots sitting at the side of the dance floor. Lots of places use bots (alternative avatars owned by one person, who are used to make a place look like it is crowded), but usually they are well hidden away. This bunch of girls looked strange because some of the avatars had old newbie styles of skin, hair and clothes, like they had been there for years.
Anyway don't be put off by the alleged bots, it's a great place for Rock n' Roll!!!
Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Flea Circus!!!

Roll up, Roll up! there is a great SL show on the 9th May at 2pm (PDT) (that’s 10pm (GMT)), in Phobos, it’s Professor Antfarmoffski’s World Renowned Flea Circus and it’s not to be missed. So make a note in your diary and get ready for a fantastic time!!!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Looking for accommodations in Second Life

Along with dancing, one of my great pleasures in Second Life is looking at homes for rent or sale, especially if they are decorated, because I love to get ideas for my own apartment and maybe even my own house someday. However, I stumbled across one place that certainly gave me pause.

I found an apartment block that had definitely seen better days. The rather forbidding looking landlord was there and showed me around. The building was a good sized one containing three units as well as a common area. On entering into the common area I felt cockroaches run over my feet and a rat nip at my ankles. Not the best introduction. The landlord however was oblivious to this and pointed out the laundry area with a washer, dryer and vending machines. While this was handy, I am not sure if the machines were actually in working order, as there were clothes hanging on a clothes line, indicating that the dryer was not functioning.

He then took me down a narrow hallway to the one ground floor unit. I noticed an eviction sign on the door of the apartment. No doubt this landlord showed the poor tenant no mercy and callously evicted him when he had fallen on hard times, keeping all the furniture as well.

The main room contained a bed, fridge, oven and sofa. I was assured that the appliances worked well, but I have my doubts. The owner also pointed out a fire alarm and fire escape just outside the window, explaining that all safety codes had been met.

Just off the main room was the bathroom, with a sink, toilet and bathtub. They were not in the most salubrious condition and I didn’t actually touch anything, so who knows if the water was connected or not. From the looks of the building, I would say not, at the very most there would only be cold water.

I asked the landlord how much he was charging for rent. He told me it was L$750 a week. I felt this was outrageous and tried to bargain him down, but he was a hard man and would only go down to L$725. He even had the nerve to show me another unit which had a computer included, but as this was a Commodore 64 (according to him a very up to date machine) I was not impressed and decided to go elsewhere. But first I will go and take a long, hot shower!

Hibiscus Hastings

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Prim Perfect Fantasy Ball

Saffia Widdershins celebrated the second year of the publication of her top SL Magazine, Prim Perfect last night by holding a Fantasy Ball. The Ball was held in the Cathedral on Eostara and the event was covered live by broadcaster Elrik Merlin for Radio Riel. The Ball was a big success. Congratulations Saffia on your second Prim Perfect Anniversary.

Janey Bracken