31 August 2015

Failure To Thrive [ The Gray Child ]

At first glance, Failure To Thrive [ The Gray Child ] at LEA15 by Storm Septimus looks magical: stars twinkle across the velvety sky as the quiet waters of the sim envelop rocks, ruins and odd flowers made of dinosaur vertebrae and peacock feathers. But venture more deeply, and you'll enter a dark world — or perhaps a gray one — imbued with themes of deep depression: macabre doll children at a table eating some of their own, a flock of birds stabbed with scissors, a female figure whose heart is ripped from her chest with barbed wire. And here and there are "failure doors" with short phrases about the "gray child" — "The Dark child is here/my sadness/my anger/my hurt," "The Gray child surrounds me/She has no name/her shape and form are mine," and others.

In describing the sim to my friend Honour McMillan for the LEA blog (read here), Storm spoke candidly about her struggles with depression, the ways in which the sim's themes reflect her challenges, and the task of building something that expressed her experiences. (I'll not repeat them here, but Storm's remarks do much to illuminate her artistic thinking and process.) As I wandered Failure to Thrive, I struck up a conversation with another visitor, Kalia (Kaliaharva), who put it very elegantly: "She has managed to capture so much here in the sim that I find it quite eloquent and beautiful — it must take a lot to look at yourself so deeply, honestly and then share yourself like this."

Despite the dark themes, the sim possesses an eerie beauty, and great care has clearly gone into its development. The artist offers two very explicit windlight setting suggestions — one for low resolution (which she prefers) and one for high (which I've shown here). Storm credits her close friend Gemini Carver with the support she needed to realize the installation, adding, "The building kills me. It's only after that I get to see it through other peoples eyes ... I'm enjoying it more now for sure." Her residency at the sim will continue until the end of December.

30 August 2015

Naked (possibly nsfw)

There are things you can do in Second Life that you probably just can't do in real life, like stripping off your clothes and going sailing. And that's the sort of thing you can do at Naked, a group of nine adult sims comprising The Naked Rocks, Bare Naked Angels, Naked Bondage, The Naked Ocean, Naked Sailing, Naked Sea, The Naked Depths, Naked Edge, and the sim Naked itself, all connected into a giant square. In addition to the sailing, which is a major pastime among visitors, the sims feature several art galleries and many locations for intimacy.

Naked is owned by the trio of The Cat (Catredivivus), Devorax and Jessica Belmer; additionally a quartet of additional estate managers keeps an eye on the day-to-day health of the sims. One, my friend Io Bechir, talked with me (photo above — she's on the left) about the life of the sims: "Sailing is a huge part of this place thanks to Jess' work — it's become quite a unique little destination for casual naturist sailors. We also have some amazing art in the galleries here from Cat's personal collection. And, of course, Jessica's wonderful gallery on Naked Bondage. We think it's a very sweet and playful combination of art, sex, and sailing. We always have more experienced sailors willing to help newer folks — since we're not really a sailing-first estate, I think people feel more comfortable learning here."

Nakedness is required (and celebrated) throughout the sims with several exceptions: the main landing point (where one can learn more about Naked), all the art galleries (including Jessica's LHOOQ gallery, about which I wrote here), and the naked bondage area in the sky (a playful location for the more adventurous, photo immediately below). Although sex isn't per se what the sims are about — and not all visitors are there for sex, to be sure — there are plenty of opportunities for couples (and even groups) throughout the Naked sims, some private and some more public.

Several of the sailing sims are primarily water, with occasional buoys or lighthouses to mark boundaries, but those with land are beautifully designed and quite inviting. Visitors who enjoy sailing can rent a boat slip — there's about a month's wait as I write this. It's possible the Naked sims may change hands later this year, but "nothing's certain, yet," Jessica shared with me. "One way or another, they'll be around." Thanks to Froderick Massey, whom I met at the sims, for taking me out on his sailboat to tour (top image).

29 August 2015

The Art of Seduction

Now up at The Art of Seduction Gallery, owned by Sirenity Soon and Lelu Anatine, is a beautiful inaugural exhibition featuring works by Sisi Mortensen, Peace, Gunnar Cadeyrn, Strawberry Singh, Jammie Hill, Pink Sky, Lana Quicksand, . Kiki, Ayla Barzane, Mr. & Mrs. Munro, Charlie Namiboo, Kirin01 Resident, Jordan Giant, Bevie Oh, and Keely Mistwood. The exhibition opened on July 15 and was to close on August 15, and I had intended to write something about it prior to an August vacation — but as it's still on display, this is a quick post to suggest those with an interest in erotic photography pay a visit before it disappears.

28 August 2015


Many Second Life residents are no doubt familiar with Inara Pey through her blog, Living in a Modemworld, which stands unrivaled as the leading news site on Second Life and related topics in virtual reality. But many may not be familiar with her fascination with the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and in particular his iconic design for Fallingwater, a home created for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh in a fairly remote section of southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1930s. She now shares that interest at Impressions: a personal view of Second Life on LEA6, which features a remarkably accurate model of the home (at least to my eyes, having spent enough time at the real life location to be struck by Inara's detailed work).

Explorers will really get a pretty good sense of what the real life Fallingwater is like, minus the fragrance of the wooded land around it. A couple visitors have seemed stumped as to where to enter the house: simply head up the walkway, turn left, and you'll see a little doorway near the antique car, and that leads into the living room, just as in the real thing. It's Inara's second attempt at recreating Fallingwater (and the guest house, which sits up the hill): "The first version I did was guesswork based on photos," she says. "Later, I found a set of floorplans for the main house and the outbuildings, and they sent me off on rebuilding in 2011/2012." Some minor adjustments have been made for avatar height (Wright's homes have some notoriously narrow and small spaces, particularly bathrooms and hallways) and camming issues. It's not a "modern" mesh build, but that's really besides the point, and Inara has reproduced as closely as she can the original Kaufmann furnishings, which are still in the real home.

But there's more to the Impressions project: throughout the interior and exterior of Fallingwater are photographs and videos by Inara taken on her many trips around the grid, and sculptures and photos by CioTToLiNa Xue, whose work Inara recently discovered. You'll be able to see the location and date of any photo by checking in edit — for example, on a bedroom balcony stand two photos from Checkmate taken in July 2014 and one photo of Cantrip de Savor taken in January 2015 — and videos are clearly labeled. CioTToLiNa's works are well incorporated around the house, including one, donna uomo abbracciati in mano, that overlooks the falls (photo below). Additionally, the wooded sections of the sim themselves are delightful, and wanderers will find secluded spots of refuge here and there. Impressions will remain open until September 30, and the Fallingwater reproduction isn't likely to be recreated again in Second Life, so this is a one-time chance to experience the remarkable space. To learn more, read Inara's own thoughts on the installation on her blog here.

27 August 2015

The Noble Summer Residence

Blossom Noble contacted me today to share that she and other members of the Noble family — famed for creating sims such as Noble Goes Dutch (about which I wrote here about a year ago) — will open their private home to visitors for the next week. Simply called The Noble Summer Residence, it's a charming island sim featuring a central dwelling, beaches and a smaller island off to the southwest, all beautifully picturesque.

"We wanted to give people an opportunity to see it before we change to something new," Blossom explained. "Not sure if the next project will be public, but it just might be." The residence will likely close to visitors at the end of the day next Friday, September 4.

26 August 2015

Farewell to Santaurio

When Jac and Romy Mornington opened their sim Santaurio back in April, 2014, it wasn't intended to be a long-term project. As sim designers, the couple loves to create new places, and their thinking was that the sim would change sometime in the fall. "It was supposed to be open for one summer," Romy told me today, "but people kept begging us to keep it open. So we thought, 'One more summer.'" In fact, after originally writing about Santaurio here, I posted last December that it would be closing to make way for a winter theme.

But now time really has run out: the sim will close in two weeks, as it's "time for a new project," says Romy. The lush tropical island will make way for something new, so it's last call to board the crashed plane along the water's edge and to explore the region's offerings. During this farewell period, the sim will be open to everyone, and visitors can also enjoy Jac and Romy's newer creation, Bella Pace, about which I've written here.

25 August 2015

...A Bit of Red...

Now open at MetaLES, organized by Ux Hax, Lanjran Choche and Romy Nayar, is ...A Bit of Red... by Kicca Igaly and Nessuno Myoo. A tribute to The Phantom of the Opera, authored in 1909/10 by Gaston Leroux and later popularized by a 1925 film starring Lon Chaney and the more recent musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the minimally illuminated installation stands aloft on a large platform of interlocking blocks.

Those familiar with the story will immediately recognize iconic elements spread here and there throughout the installation: the opera house with stage and seats for the audience, a cage, a wild looking pipe organ with the phantom's mask set on top, and so on. In the center, raised on a circular platform, stand the phantom and his unrequited love, Christine, the entire setting gently basked by devices suggestive of theatrical ghost lights.

Scattered paper notes, marked by roses, relay moments of the story to us as we wander. Descending beneath the platform are a couple of large tunnels (explorers might easily fall into them) that simply lead back toward the black sea underneath. But despite the clearly careful work by the artists, I found ...A Bit of Red... less compelling than the the several previous (and excellent) exhibitions at MetaLES or solo efforts by Nessuno. The installation will remain on display through October 21.

24 August 2015

Adieux, Forgotten City

I seem to be writing quite a few posts about places closing in recent weeks, and the trend continues with the news that Forgotten City, a magnificent sim that has long stood as one of Second Life's most architecturally beautiful locations, will close its doors in September. (See here for an old post I wrote in 2012.) Mandy Marseille, the city's owner, announced the impending closure in a post on SLUniverse that also provides some interesting historical background, and details how she and her colleagues have attempted to keep the sim afloat.

In addition to the striking and majestic columns and buildings that greet visitors on the city exterior (not to mention its delightful automated inhabitants), Forgotten City has a few hidden-away locations that ardent explorers will no doubt discover, such as the power generator, the winter park, and the playful JD Mechanical Toy Factory, featuring creations by Jenne Dibou, piloted in the sky by a grouping of zeppelins. A specific closing date hasn't been provided, but from the sound of Mandy's post the sim will close its doors sometime in late next month.

23 August 2015

Farewell to Molly Bloom's Gallery

Second Life artist Molly Bloom announced recently that she'll be closing her gallery on August 26th [Edit: now extended until August 29th], telling me, "I just think I took it as far as I could — I'm doing 3d modeling and PS now." All of the items on her two-floor space (about which I wrote here back in May) are for sale for L$200, and one piece, Melting Point ("chocolate and sex," as she describes it), is available for free. After the closing of the gallery, her works will be preserved in an OpenSim museum. "I would be very pleased to have as many pieces stay privately owned in SL as I can," she adds.

20 August 2015


Now open is Strings, a new creation from Cica Ghost. In the courtyard of an ancient villa, set amidst a surreal landscape, a band of musicians performs for onlookers and visitors. The band numbers five: two violins, a bass, a cello, and a piano, their music heard via the region's stream, all complemented by a number of stone cellos sprinkled around the landscape that offer single and couple dances. From the the windows and balconies overlooking the performers, other inhabitants look down, some with apparent criticism or disinterest, while others stand on the courtyard stones or surrounding earth.

It's possible to wander into the villa, and one will immediately discover that the beings there are giants to us ("all from the same planet," remarked Cica), and will see that the rooms are furnished with distinctively quirky decor — beds, rugs, draperies, bookcases, paintings and so on. Outside, past the bounds of the patio, one encounters an arid landscape of scrappy grass, bushes, bare trees and protruding stones, all surrounded by quiet waters. The region's windlight, shown here, is a custom one by Cica, and provides an optimal viewing experience.

07 August 2015


Sommergewitter, by Seraph und Nida Nirvana, lives up to its name, meaning summer thunderstorm in English, with rain pelting its visitors and bolts of lightning striking its sandy landscape. Explorers and photographers will no doubt enjoy wandering its three islands (bring an umbrella), which offer lovely sim-wide views across rolling hills.

Aside from the prominent lighthouse and several large houses situated near the water, the land is spotted with odd bits of debris and objects — beached boats, a bicycle, driftwood, fence posts, pianos, fish skeletons and other things. A few animals, especially sheep, roam about (narrowly missed by a lightning strike in the top image). Couples looking for places to relax with discover them here and there, inside and out — all the various buildings and spaces are open to the public. (Thanks to Anita Witt for posting a lovely image on flickr that caught my eye.)

06 August 2015

Reduced Territory

Now open at Wolves Land, curated by Vita Theas, is Reduced Territory, an installation by Haveit Neox. A modest square platform is ringed with lattices suggestive of an urban landscape, a highway billboard positioned in one corner, all surrounding a large rock in the center, representing the last bastion of wilderness. From the edges, running toward the center, wolves (appropriately) run toward that singular point of refuge, seeking the last area where they can survive as humans encroach.

Haveit offers these words as context for the installation:

   Squeeze the forests down, and seize the oceans!
   We are masters of the earth: the great builders, shapers of the planet.
   Wildlife runs, swims, flies, and crawls into leftover spaces.
   They cannot escape our growing appetite.
   As the last wolf packs run up the sole remaining wild rock,
   we congratulate ourselves for our nations.

Reduced Territory will remain on display through the month of August.

05 August 2015

Kylie Jaxxon and The Trace Too

A few days ago, I wrote about the impending closure of The Trace Too, and, even more importantly, about concerns for Kylie Jaxxon — but, as it turns out, for the moment all is well. "I've missed it so much," Kylie told me today, as she returned to Second Life and The Trace Too, dispelling rumors that she had passed away. "I am alive and well for the time being, and my intention is to keep The Trace going."

"I can't believe all people have done here — I am just now getting back on my feet and thought The Trace would be gone for sure ... I appreciate it so much. Just not quite sure how to go about letting everyone know." And so Kylie asked if I would post a note here to let everyone know that she's back, and to express her thanks to the community for having stepped in to take care of The Trace during her absence. She would like to express thanks to everyone who stepped forward to organize and participate in the art auction, which will continue. (Special thanks to Charlie Namiboo for her help with this post.)

03 August 2015


Opening today, Monday, August 3 at 12 pm slt at the Dathúil Gallery, is Lovegasm, a duo show by Mr. & Mrs. S. (or Saka Infinity and "Laura, a surprise package in the kink department"), with respective flickr streams here and here. Embracing the minimal ambiance of the dathúil gallery, they opted to display their images on the ceiling, where several rows of photos can be viewed from two sides, and every two and a half minutes the display flips from textures by one of them to the other. (Local chat in the gallery informs viewers which artist's work is being shown — in the images below, Mrs.'s is at top, and Mr.'s is a the bottom, appearing on the same objects.)

Their beautifully executed images capture moments in time, both artists preferring to work without poses ("You get much more soul and feeling in a picture that way," says Mrs. S.), and portray themes of sexuality, eroticism, voyeurism, dominance and submission, simple portraiture, and above all intimacy. "And of course," said Mrs. S. as the three of us talked, "I picked Mr. S's pictures and the other way around." On the second level, they've rezzed a little "kinky shed" that's currently decorated as a bakery (the design will change weekly) with some "extra" things — some more visible than others — and invite photographers to make use of it. "With the furniture and the kinky shed we try to show the visitor our world," she added. "So not just with our pictures." Lovegasm will remain on display through August 30.

01 August 2015

Farewell to The Trace Too

The Trace, designed by Kylie Jaxxon, long stood as one of Second Life's most lovely regions — changing with the seasons, it was immensely popular with explorers and photographers. But in 2014, faced with a sudden diagnosis of leukemia, Kylie closed the sim, feeling the need to focus on her health. As her condition improved, in March she reopened the sim as The Trace Too, a summery beach with sweeping vistas about which I wrote here. In the past few weeks, however, Kylie deleted her Second Life profile and her website, reopening concerns among friends that her health challenges have renewed.

A group, led by Hippie Bowman, Lenni Foxtrot, Trinity Yazimoto, Seductive Dreamscape and others, quickly stepped in to help support The Trace Too. Based on their best knowledge of Kylie's wishes, the group has decided that the sim not be kept open longer than the current month — rather, accrued funds will be donated to the American Cancer Society via Relay for Life.

Trinity Yazimoto has organized a special art auction that runs from August 2 to 10, featuring photographs recently taken at The Trace Too. As pictured here, the unique images are positioned near their subjects. Funds from the auction will also be contributed to ACS, and presently — the list will probably grow, although the cutoff for submissions is approaching — the artists who have presented works include Eddie Haskell, Leonorah Beverly, Gidgette Adaggio, Seraphiel Galaxy, ScarlettElizabet, SereneDean, Kaelyn Alecto, Lumiette, Pearl Grey, Lo Coeur, Pinkrayne, Bamboo Barnes, Maxie Daviau, Skinninylla, Sabastian Melmoth, Hillara, Coober Galicia, Terravive, Becca, Chrysterox, Masquerade Snowbear, Lizz Avon, Rosy Highwater, and Tripp Nitely. For more on the auction, visit Trin's image here on flickr. Thank you all those who have come together to support The Trace Too in this final month, and especially to Kylie for having shared her beautiful creation with the community.