Issuu on Google+

n.41 2.2012


Stylist Takeshi Kiama Photographer Miaa Rebane


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Publisher’s note

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was reading over Sensuous’ Editor’s Notes, as I always do before I prepare mine, and I was delighted to read her opening quote. Consider this: “we can fly by embracing one another...” Isn’t that amazing? Everyday we get online, we make connections. No matter how brief or extended they are, we are connecting…embracing technology and our new friends and collaborators from all over the world in this special place called Second Life. This reminds me of when I first explored Second Life; I was in love with the vast and various creativity that abounded in SL. All of the amazing creations and art that inform and inspire everyone.

When I started AVENUE Magazine, I wanted AVENUE to be the conduit between Second Life and the real world. Three years have passed, and while we have certainly printed a special edition as the first Fashion and Lifestyle magazine printed in the real world at the Second Life Community Convention, my next project will be my ode to the fashion industry presented in real life: bringing together some of the most talented fashion professionals in order to create one of the most beautiful pieces of portraiture showcasing the fashion that we love in SL through a creative movement and community called { embr@ce }. We are in exciting times. AVENUE Models will also be staging the first showcase of the best of mesh fashion wear in the upcoming Mix + Mesh event

that is happening in less than two weeks time. Featuring the pioneers of mesh fashion design, we are excited to bring you the latest mesh fashion items to move with the trends. So don’t miss out as we leap forward in this new year. Join us…it’s going to be a fun ride. Receive updates through the AVENUE Magazine Readers group in-world. See you there!

Rusch Raymaker Rusch Raymaker Publisher AVENUE


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Editor’s note

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e are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another. ~Lucretius It is once again the month where the world seems to focus its attention on romance and love...and AVENUE has caught that fever! This month, we embrace romantic notions, themes of love, and of course, utilization of the wondrous qualities of the oft-used color of love: red. This issue, our coveted cover celebrates the second anniversary of BLUSH skins, as we sit down with Marie Whitfield & Ymir Coronet to find out about the history of

this incredibly unique store, and their inspiring partnership. Our guest stylist, Diconay Boa, dazzles you with her ode to the color of love in the spread “La Chimie Du Rouge.” And once again our male styling experts, Lulu Jameson and Boe Cortes bring you the newest trends for our male readers, and even for women looking to give their guy that fabulous new makeover. This month also introduces a new feature to AVENUE, accomplished model, and now stylist, Miaa Rebane gives us a little taste of her style...or rather (mi)style! On a non-fashion note, we delve into one of the most innovative and brilliant

combinations to hit the grid in ages: the combination of the talents of noted builder, Colleen Desmoulins and talented designer, Nardya Rousselot of Nardcotix fame as they come together to reveal a new side to The Loft. So sit back, relax and turn the page to enjoy another sizzling issue from our amazing AVENUE family to you, our extended family.

Sensuous Soulstar

Sensous Soulstar Editor in Chief AVENUE


Stylist & Photographer Miaa Rebane


32 Cover Story Blush Skins

48 MiStyle

116 Fun with Fashion


Contents

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Fashion 32 40 48 54 64 72 86 96 108 116

Cover Story Blush Skins Fashion Icon Yula Finesmith MiStyle Featured Designer The Sea Hole Trendspotting Edge of Style Designer Collection Homme Model of the Month Fun with Fashion Lifestyle

132 144 158 170 180 188

Interiors Interesting Sims Sports & Recreation Business Feature Fashioncentric Perspectives Club of the Month

AVENUE Magazine February 2012 cover Featuring Blush Skins in honor of the 2nd anniversary of Marie Whitfield & Ymir Coronet Photographer Skip Staheli

Arts 196 206 220

Arts Feature Featured Artist Winter Hendes Inspirations

n.41 2.2012


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Staff

Publisher Assistant Publisher

Jesika Contepomi

Editor in Chief

Sensuous Soulstar

Fashion Editor

Vixie Rayna

Creative Director | Photo Editor | Designer

n.41 2.2012

Rusch Raymaker

Paola Tauber

Marketing Director

Jesika Contepomi

Senior Marketing Executive

Livia Mastroianni

Marketing Executives

Emlies Xeltentat Xandrah Sciavo


Augusta Carver Huckleberry Hax Lexie Jansma Linda Reddevil Sensuous Soulstar ShaiLi Alex Spruce Canning Umberto Giano Xandrah Sciavo

Writers

Boe Cortes Brie Wonder Cade Nansen Diconay Boa Kallisto Destiny Lulu Jameson Miaa Rebane Strawberry Singh Vixie Rayna

Stylists

Annough Lykin Asia Rae BlackLiquid Tokyoska Nala Kurka Natasja Schumann Ozz Larsson Seashell Dench Sophy Meridoc Tillie Ariantho Winter Hendes

AVENUE Magazine is published and managed by AVENUE Inc which owns and operates Couture AVENUE, AVENUE Models + Academy and AVENUE Marketing + PR. Online issues: issuu.com/avenue AVENUE Magazine blog: avenuemagazine.blogspot.com AVENUE Inc website: www.avenuesl.com

Photographers

Visit us inworld at: AVENUE at GOL 45.153.22 For exclusive updates, gifts, events and latest releases, join our inworld group: AVENUE Magazine Readers Press releases to: editorial@avenuesl.com

Contributor

Ad queries: ads@avenuesl.com Advertising and vendor requests: Jesika Contepomi Livia Mastroianni Xandrah Sciavo Emlies Xeltentat


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Cover Story


Skin peeD Writer Augusta Carver Photographer Diconay Boa

O

nly in Second Life速 can your skin go from gothic with black lipstick and heavy eye shadow to sunkissed and natural in less than one minute! That is what makes SL速 so great: the ability to experiment and express your personality any way you choose. Marie Whitfield and her partner Ymir Coronet, the pair behind the skin store BLUSH, have had a love affair with fashion and creating practically from the very start of their SL days. Marie has taken her drive for creating and used it to help others to look their very best in skins, in order to further enhance their appearance and style.


Marie Whitfield and Ymir Coronet were kind enough sit down with me and tell me about their store BLUSH and how they became the brand they are today. Augusta Carver: Marie, do you and Ymir run BLUSH Skins together? Marie Whitfield: Yes, we do. I’m the creative part. Ymir is the financial and administrative part. Ymir Coronet: I help Marie with the sales website. I am good with numbers and Marie is, of course, super on the artistic side. AC: So, what made the two of you decide to create skins in Second Life? MW: Well, actually the idea was mine. I started getting interested in graphics and I wanted to do something to enrich my SL. I tried with clothes first, but I found skins much more interesting; so, I started to do a few sketches and here we are. AC: What do you find to be a challenging aspect of designing skins? MW: Well, to me, the challenge is to find the right makeup for the right color tone, and then trying not to be repetitive but to be creative and stylish at the same time.


AC: Do you have a favorite part of the process? MW: Yes. My favorite part is when I’m starting to create the skin, putting the parts together and I have no idea how it’ll turn out. It’s always a surprise to see the results. Many times I’m like “WOW!” But sometimes I think “Yuck! Oh my goodness if I saw this woman on the street in a dark night I would start praying!” (Laughs) AC: What do you like best about what you do at BLUSH Marie? MW: The skin makeup! It’s great because through your makeup you can express what you’re feeling to the world. So, I take special effort in doing the makeup in different styles, shapes and according to the skin tone. It’s a lot of fun! AC: And Ymir, what do you like about your part with BLUSH? YC: Well I love to arrange meetings with photographers, find good business opportunities, etc…In a way SL lets you make a business like the real world, and you encounter kind of the same problems. AC: What do you two think sets BLUSH apart from other skin brands? MW: I think what makes Blush different is that we do it our own way. We don’t mass produce the same skin in many tones. Each

skin has its own skin tone and its own makeup, so it’s more difficult to create “twins sisters.” YC: We see in our sales people like it too; it’s not that we have only one successful skin or makeup, they all sell. AC: I have seen at some stores it is the same skin just different tones and sometimes I think it is good that you have something different. MW: Yes, I’ve seen many stores do a makeup that looks gorgeous on a pale skin, then they just adjust their hue values and create another skin tone, but with the same makeup and that doesn’t always bring out the best of the skin’s tone. And then there are those who like to use their own makeup layer, so for those we have a nude version. It’s not that we’re imposing our makeup, but we give them suggestions, and if none of them are good, the nude is always a safe card. AC: So apart from creating skins what things do you two enjoy doing? MW: We like shopping, dancing, going to concerts. I love decorating my home; I’m always doing things in here. YC: I like to go to concerts and build. We also have another business where we rent out sims; we have 4 of them. It’s not so big a business, but it gives us a lot of options to do what we want.


AC: Awesome, sounds like lots of fun. MW: Yes, it is there is so much to do in SL, people sometimes forget the possibilities. AC: Do you have any words of advice for future skin designers interested in starting their own brand? MW: Yes. Have LOTS of patience, research a lot and go for your gut feeling; it can never be wrong. YC: Go out from your own strength. The fashion world is always changing and evolving into something this is more creative and bold each and every season. One constant fashion accessory that every resident of Second Life needs is skin. Skin helps to define and enhance our look in a way that clothing and jewelry cannot. Whether you are going for a look that is glamourous, darker skin, tan, bronze, or even pure white, you can find it here. With a wide selection of skins to choose from at her store in-world, Marie Whitfield, the power house behind BLUSH, has created a brand that stands out from the rest and continues to test the boundaries. Visit the BLUSH blog for more information at http://blushskins. blogspot.com. You can also visit the store in-world to see these gorgeous skins for yourself by visiting Best of Italian 241.93.23.

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Fashion Icon


Writer ShaiLi Alex Photographer Cade Nansen

“I

started creating as a hobby in Second Life® out of a love for my real life profession, which is jewelry designing. My business is a success in Second Life because I provide something special, but some people assume I’m in it for money, so when I get questions about my business and how I started and what made it so successful like I have some secret, the secret is I work hard with my head and my hands; and when I am not asked about my art, it is painful. I do not agree to be known, loved or hated because of my marketing skills, but I do want people to see my art; my face and my jewelry, and not by how much I sell or where I advertise. When you see people wear Finesmith, they chose to purchase it because they like the product,” shares Yula Finesmith, owner of Finesmith Designs.

Yula Finesmit h The true art of


Art is generally understood as human activity linked to manifestations of aesthetic, made by artists from perception, emotions and ideas to stimulate awareness in these instances one or more spectators, giving a unique and different meaning for each work of art. That’s what Yula Finesmith does, and her art is loved by many people in Second Life. It just so happens that success is just a consequence of this love. It is not just a way to make Lindens™, but her work expresses much more than her feelings; every detail has a piece of Finesmith, and that is why she is the Fashion Icon for February, and there is no one better than her to talk about her art. ShaiLi Alex: How does love and talent influence your creations? Yula Finesmith: Talent has the same meaning as love for me in design. I can’t create without love; the talent awakes when love arrives. So basically, I fall in love twice a week, sometimes again and again with the same person, object or concept, which provides me certain excitement. Some days it’s other people’s talent which provides the adrenalin, and that is great to be purely excited by seeing another person’s art. I am a person of feelings, and any feeling in any specific moment is alive and kicking.

SA: What is the focus of your work? YF: The focus of my work is to listen to my heart, and decisions I’ve made in my life. The best creations are those in which I followed my heart and gave of myself, and showed something that no one had seen before in some real life magazine or in SL® stores. The focus of my work is to NOT look like someone else, still use the tools given to me within SL, and to still be trendy and artistic. The focus of my work is building and texturing and I do it 6 days a week with passion. Ask the people I work with, I’m one of the hardest workers you will see. I totally don’t stop creating, changing the store and adding items, and it’s because I love it so much. SA: How do you think your art can contribute to Second Life? YF: Contribution is the basic of being. I do believe what I do actually makes SL, and in general, living, more beautiful and happier. People see something beautiful that they enjoy and it gives them peace. I know it’s true because I’ve felt like that many times in SL, especially when I see the incredible inventions made here. As part of my contribution, there is the privilege for me to be able to attend many charity events and benefits.

Finesmith contributes to the economy of Second Life by selling, buying, paying, and employing. I am happy with this question because it’s important to the development of SL, and the happiness of its citizens to have businesses here that respect the term “contribution.” SA: To what do you attribute your success? YF: My loyal customers, who encourage me, ask for more, and buy the items. When they buy my items, I can create more. It keeps me in SL, and allows me to keep making my designs in peace, because I am able to pay the rent, pay models/ photographers, buy building tools and keep rolling. Also, the trust of the fashion communities in SL, which keeps showing support when I least expect it. SA: Where do you get your inspiration? YF: First morning breath, the smell of coffee, the asphalt on the road, an oil stain in my driveway, a shadow falling on my avi or on the ground, the smile of a person, crazy chats, kissing my husband, seeing him painting, etc.; seeing so much beauty makes me want to be a part of it. I don’t want to live my life without using my 3D mind and talent that I was blessed with. I want to create beauty.


SA: Do you have any new projects? YF: (Smiles) Male jewelry is coming up. It will probably already be released before the magazine. Some very cool stuff. I’m surprising myself; I honestly thought I’d never actually get to make male jewelry, and here it comes. I’m also doing a Valentine photo contest with Gizza. Rissa Friller and Wicca Merlin are going to start doing model workshops on “How to be a successful store model” with me; that’s very exciting. Other than that, I’ll just keep creating with passion. I’m practicing creating some shoes, working on my sculpting and even releasing two dresses, so I guess I’m staying open-minded and will follow my heart. SA: What can people expect from your art? YF: They can expect at least what I expect from myself: that it will be something new and something else. They can expect high quality materials, handmade textures, and thinking outside the frame. I will never do less than the best that I can. SA: Do you do custom work? Do you accept ideas from your customers or friends? YF: I am always learning from others, listening and trying to create from someone’s idea. I am not always able to accept custom work, but I am usually willing if I am allowed enough time. My

friends and customers load me with ideas from any subject you can think of on this globe. So, I get from my email and Youtube videos organic way of life tips, photos, scientific researches and it forms into creation. Usually, I can feel the customer and I can say mostly they trust me to make the call, so I’m happy even with custom creations to be able to design from my point of view and understanding of the customer’s needs. SA: How do you identify yourself through your art? YF: My creations are very personal; they represent me and we grow together. Some days I feel like I have to stay away from being too much affected by what I feel when I create, as it can get too deeply emotional and exhausting. I try to move from art to design and seek balance when my emotions overwhelm me. I want to see in my art the truth of human feeling. I want my customers to also see themselves through the pieces. We are each special...but we are also alike. Thank you so much Yula for your words and your wisdom. Make sure to visit her store and check out her art by visiting BlackLiquid 110.200.3522.

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(mi)style


Zen-she by Miaa Rebane

dress: Fishy Strawberry | PlissĂŠ Dress skin: The Body Co. | Orchid hair: LeLutka


skin: The Body Co. | Orchid hair: LeLutka | Sill makeup: PIDIDDLE | Glossy Lost My Keys necklace: Yummy | Urban Native Necklace dress: Nylon Outfitters | Folds Dress scarf: LG Concept | Wixson


top: Whippet & Buck | Liliana Cap Sleeve Blouse w/ Ribbon Belt skin: The Body Co. | Orchid makeup: La Malvada Mujer necklace: Paper Couture | Dead Man’s Mask pants: Celoe | Nikola Trousers corset & hair: LeLutka


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Featured Designer

Sea The

Hole

by Vixie Rayna


The Sea Hole pants: Soto Cigarette Pants top: Sequin Sweatshirt


The Sea Hole dress/jewelry: Nausicaa Dress & Jewelry


The Sea Hole cape: Portia Cape jacket: Corseted Tweed Jacket bottoms: Velvet Knickers socks: Crochet Knee Socks


Visit The Sea Hole in-world at Tails 232.194.22.

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Trendspotting

shirt/jacket: Paper Couture | Romantic Soliloquy corset: Nemesis | Champs Elysees skirt: Miamai | Pure gloves: Paper Couture | Divinchi Gloves blush: Glam Affair | Mary Blush C lips: Cheap MakeUp | Black Oil Gwen Lipstick hair: Diram | Miley Hair lashes: LeLutka | 2011 Lashes Long shoes: LeLutka | Saffron Pumps


La Chimie Du Rouge by Diconay Boa Guest Model Ephram Magic


On Diconay Boa: corset/chest ruffles: Azul | Suzana (2012 Valentine’s Limited) skirt: Zaara | Larin Skirt gloves: Fellini Couture | Play of Lace Gloves eyeliner: R.icielli | EOS Eyeliner #1 lips: R.icielli | EOS Lipstick hair: Baiastice | Rosario Hair Attachment hair base: Baiastice | Hair Base lashes: LeLutka | 2011 Lashes Long (edited in black) jewelry: Donna Flora | OPERA Skull Set (Necklace, Earrings) shoes: Stiletto Moody | Bare Marilyn On Ephram Magic: pants: Gabriel | Three Piece Suit shirt: Aoharu | BT Woven Shirt hair: Dura | Dura Boy 05 beard: CheerNo | Facial Hair Dark Pack 03 (Beard 07) shoes: Sartoria | Elegance Shoes


On Diconay Boa: shirt/chest ruffles: Paper Couture | Divinchi corset: Ladies Who Lunch | Bordello trousers: Gizza | Classic Trousers (mesh) gloves: Paper Couture | Divinchi skin: Mother Goose | Ai 5B blush: Sugardoll | Pale Blush hair/hair base: Icon | Hair Jet Black lashes: LeLutka | 2011 Lashes Long (edited in black) hat: Paper Couture | Divinchi Red Bow Hat earrings: Donna Flora | Galatea Earings (edited in red) ring: Donna Flora | Bice Ring shoes: Nardcotix | Shana Shoes (edited in white) On Ephram Magic: shirt/tie: Gabriel | Black Stripe Suit w/ White Shirt shoulder attachment: Gabriel | White Tuxed w/ Mantle suspenders: Emery | Outfit B.Y. #3 pants: Emery | Skinny Fit Jean hair: MADesigns | Ali (leather) Black III (edited in snow texture) makeup: CheerNo | La Vita Pure 24 watch: Kalnins | Trust Watch shoes: Kalnins | Gallop


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Edge of Style

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ith Chinese New Year festivities just past, and Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there is certainly plenty of red to go around, and signifies more than just a color. Whether it’s for good luck and prosperity, or for romantic sexy love, the influence of red seems to be in full swing this month. With this in mind I have created a few styles influenced with a slight fusion of Asian Valentine, incorporating a subtle hint of red into each outfit. So why not be bold, be seen and be ready in red!

Ready in

RED by Boe Cortes


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Tone2 (shaved) eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: SHI | Giabi Hair hairbase: Vaya Con Dios | Express Yourself - Elegance underpants: CheerNo | UnderWear NIT jacket: SHI | P L A S T I K


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Tone2 (shaved) shave: Najl Designs | Facial Hair Tattoo eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: LeLutka | EDITORIAL02 Hair pants: Celoe | Nikola Trousers Pitch Pants XS scarf: LeLutka | EDITORIAL Scarves/CBelt belt: Maitreya | Coin Belt shoes: Muism | Troy Boots bracelet: GLARE | Brown & Black Bracelets II


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Tone1 (shaved) shave: Najl Designs | Facial Hair Tattoo eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: MADesigns | MORGAN shirt: SHI | B I S Q U E White Shirt pants: SHI | Minimalist Trousers socks: Maitreya | Scrunched PrimSocks


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Designer Collection


The basics:

Writer Umberto Giano Photographer Lulu Jameson & Ozz Larsson Guest Model Mokatana Boa

S

ound familiar? You join Second Life速, and, after stumbling around looking like a technicolored cartoon for a month or so, you begin to learn how all those attractive avatars got their good looks.


You figure out where to shop and begrudgingly share your payment information with Linden Lab®. You purchase the hottest skin around. You scan the trendy blogs and procure the newest hair. You decide you no longer want to look like a roid-raged weight lifter and buy a shape that slims you down. You pick up some stylish clothing. After spending a few thousand Lindens™, you’re looking good! Eager to show off the new “you,” you teleport your best buddy over, and...your buddy looks, well, just like you. Oh, great...all that time, all that money, all that mall lag you’ve endured...and your hot new look is the mirror image of someone else. It’s tantamount to the girl who sees her best “frenemy” wearing the exact same dress to the prom - and it has happened to us all in-world at one time or another. No longer. Thanks to noted SL® photographer and graphic artist Lulu Jameson, it doesn’t have to happen to you ever again. Lulu has long been known for his amazing graphic skills, solid styling, and his always singular avatar. And now he’s come to the rescue of the rest of us. Adding “content creator” to his already impressive resume, Lulu has opened his store, Vaya Con Dios (VCD).


Vaya Con Dios (“Go with God” in Spanish) offers a unique line of tattoo and skin layer products that are guaranteed to trick out and customize any avatar: tattoo layer hair; skins; shapes; facial hair; tintable scars for eyebrows, lips, eyes, etc.; eyeliner; tintable freckles; special hair bases; even beauty marks (think Andrej Pejic). Drawing from the designer’s personal success at consistently creating distinctive looks for his own avatar, VCD is all about tweaking and customizing avatar basics in the flat layers to create one-of-a-kind faces and looks. The textures in VCD’s skin, hair bases, scars, etc. are beautifully rendered with detail and nuance. A richly talented graphic artist, Lulu is master in this domain and recognizes the importance of the “flat layers,” eschewing sculpts and prims. Vaya Con Dios is definitely not just another skin and shape shop. Lulu calls it “a store to express your own unique style.” And the varied products allow you to do exactly that. The Xpress Yourself tattoo hair bases, for example, can quite brilliantly stand on their own as close-cropped styles without the clutter of sculpted hair. Offered in nine colors (L$150 per color family or L$350 for a fatpack), the Xpress Yourself hair bases are detailed

and stylish. Suitable for men or women, the hair bases are unisex, yet arrestingly masculine or feminine, depending upon their context. If you decide to go the sculpt route, these bases are the perfect complement to your mohawk or pompadour. Lulu adds, “It’s a good way to give to your prim hair a special touch. Also, [it’s] very easy to wear it alone or with a hat.” Along with the hair base collections, Lulu created facial hair for men, featuring chops, beards, goatees, and more. “A common irritation is the inability of avatars to wear more than one tattoo layer,” says Lulu. “While my facial hair is offered without a hair base, it also comes with two different hair bases included. VCD customers can have hair base and facial hair together!” With two facial hair collections, this creates a total of 24 different styles. Lulu is happy to discuss another exceptional product his tintable items. “Sometimes I want a scar on my lips or cuts in my eyebrows. However, skin creators don’t always offer this option, or, when they do, buying an extra skin just for this option is too expensive,” Lulu explains. “I found this solution ... tintable scar, eyebrow and freckles. It’s easy with multiple tattoo layers for men and women - no matter the color of your skin - you


can have scars or any type of distinguishing marks you want.” Despite the variety of inventory, everything in Vaya Con Dios is clean, organized, and easy to navigate. Lulu notes, “I want VCD to stay a simple store. A place clean and easy to understand; however, I also wanted a special room for skins and shapes with an ambiance only for guys! In this room you’ll find the male skin I’ve made.” Named coincidentally after the archangel, the Rafael skin is brooding and evinces a smoldering intensity. The room’s red accent walls echo the passion of this skin. Sold in eight skin tones, the Rafael can accommodate every ethnicity with color options such as the porcelain Yin skin tone, the darkest Yang shade, and everything in between - a testament to Lulu’s Photoshop skills. There is even a tone perfectly suited for East Asian avatars - the “tone 3 Gold.” All skin tones are offered in 13 versions with various facial hair styles. Adds Lulu, “I also made the hairy torso as an option; bald or with hair bases in two different styles, and also some hair tones with lighter brown or darker hues.” Rafael is priced at L$950 per individual skin or L$3000 for fatpacks of 13 skins.

Lulu sells shapes as well (L$600 each), but, again, Lulu’s passion for individuality sets these shapes - and the avatars who wear them - apart from the norm. “I made a few shapes that work with my skin,” he says. “Most skins in SL come with one shape. Why is this? Not everyone wants to be one shape. So I made very different shape styles for the Rafael, from manly to androgynous.” Vaya Con Dios sells many exceptional products. But in truth, Lulu Jameson, a man who gained his esteemed reputation through stunning graphic artistic talent and unique and stylish avatars, sells individual choice and diversity. “We all come from several horizons... Asia, Europe, or USA, and that is pretty cool,” comments Lulu. In the real world, each of us looks distinctively different. We’re diverse. And that’s how we want our avatars. Who wants to look like everybody else? Thanks to Lulu Jameson and Vaya Con Dios, you do not have to. When you’re ready to stand out, visit Vaya Con Dios at Reign 115.228.22.

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Homme

by Lulu Jameson


M창le e c n e ess


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Tone 2 hair: U.December | Talk hairbase: Vaya Con Dios | Elegance glasses: Gos | Custom Sunglasses v3.2 Aviator top: INDI Designs | Stand Collar Jacket pants: Pumpkin | Loose Jeans (mesh) gloves: SF Design | Leather Gloves boots: Gos | GTFO Boot


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Tone 2 hair: Exile | AJ beard: Raw House | Holy Beard hairbase: Vaya Con Dios | Elegance necklace: Kosh | Hummingbird shirt: K | Check Shirt tattoo: Garden of Ku | R&B t-shirt: Nanuk | Elov Ripped ring: NS | OG Ring watch: Chronokit | Watch No.37 pants and belt: Alienated | Low Crouch Skinny Jean shoes: Redgrave | Survivor Boots


skin: The Body Co. | Ash Ivory eyes: Mayfly (mesh) hair: Exile | Andrej dreads & hairbase: dDx | Lilith/Drapes beauty spot: Vaya Con Dios | Beauty Spot 1a brown suits: Soren Jaakobs | Verce Suit black suits: SF Design | Westminster Suit necklace 1: HoD | Mercenary, Cameron’s Cross necklace 2: HoD | Mercenary, The Pale Crow Cross shoes: Hoorenbeek | Allen 2.0 w/Buckle

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Model of the Month


Simply stylish

Writer Augusta Carver Photographer Natasja Schumann

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eah McCullough is a bright and optimistic young woman who, through her many years with AVENUE, has become a recognized force within the fashion industry. Modeling can be fun, but it is also hard work. Long days rehearsing choreography, styling poses, and battling against lag are all a part of the model lifestyle within Second Life速; a lifestyle that Leah has gotten the opportunity to know well. Her humble spirit and dedication are just a few of the traits that have gotten her where she is today. How did she become the model is she today? I had the opportunity to sit down with her and find out.


Augusta Carver: Congratulations on being named AVENUE’s Model of the Month! Leah McCullough: Thank you!! I still can’t believe it. (Smiles) AC: How long have you been with AVENUE? LM: Wow…for several years. I remember when I did the interview back in 2008, I think. I had tons of fun with Loa. We ended up chatting about real life fashion, and our favorite designers. Since the beginning of my modeling career, I had always wanted to be part of AVENUE, so I sent my CV and they called me for an interview. Back then it was different on how they picked models. And well since then, I’ve been an AVENUE Model. AC: So tell me, what do you like best about modeling? LM: What I love the most is the endless possibilities in styling that we have in Second Life. You can start with one simple thing and end up combining it to make a fabulous outfit that will make people want to run and buy each piece. I love being able to help designers and at the same time meet so many talented people from all over the world. The styling, and the amazing friends I’ve made over the years, are what I love the most. AC: I am sure with modeling there are endless things to learn

and memorize; if there was skill that you could refine, what would it be and why? LM: Well I guess runway skills are something we are continuously refining as new viewers come out and new tools are made available. There’s always a new way of doing things that might enhance what you already know. Runway procedures have changed a lot over the years, and it takes being active in continuing to learn and experiment. AC: Do you find that it is hard to always stay ahead of the competition and make yourself stand out? LM: Oh yes, because there are so many amazing models and stylists out there that standing out is a challenge, but a good one, because it makes you push yourself more; to dare and try new things, to be the best you can all the time. AC: What would you consider as your best asset? LM: I think that I always tend to learn and evolve. I don’t stay still or settle for anything. I’m always planning new things, trying out new ideas or styles, investigating new stores, new ways of doing things, etc. But at the same time, people can recognize me because I usually wear red hair and freckles, which is something not many models do. So, I guess it would be a combination of not

being afraid to be risky and try new things, and that different look that I try to keep. AC: Aside from modeling, what other things are you interested in or are you currently in to? LM: Well apart from shopping a LOT with my friends and hanging out with them, I also dedicate my time to taking pictures for customers. I have a lot of them who have SL® families with children, and also for other models and stores. I love it when someone comes with a cool idea; the process from building the set, taking the picture, to the actual final image is very rewarding. AC: How long have you been doing photography? LM: For customers since 2008 or 2009, but lately it has become more time consuming than before. Also because there are more models around who need pictures for castings, contests, portfolios, etc. AC: Sounds like that can keep you very busy. LM: Yeah but is a lot of fun. My priority is always modeling, but photography certainly pays for my shopping outings. (Smiles) AC: It is always nice to have that then! (Laughs) LM: (Laughs) It surely is!


AC: So what are some of your favorite stores? LM: Do you have time? We can be here forever! (Laughs) My favorite stores would be: Je Suis, Baiastice, Bliss Couture, Maitreya, LeLutka, Mon Tissu, Gizza, Epoque, Donna Flora, LaGyo, Fellini...and many more. I can continue forever! (Laughs) AC: What do you think is important when preparing for a fashion show? LM: Well I think you should pay close attention to the styling requirements, and make sure you add the right amount of accessories. I believe that less is better because, after all, we are showing a designer’s outfit; if we add too many things people won’t know what to look at. Once you are happy with the look, it is very important to check each prim and make sure it is perfectly fitted. After that, when selecting poses, make sure you go with the show’s mood and theme, and that the poses work well with the outfits. When it comes to the routine/choreography, if it’s a complicated one, go over it, especially if you can go and practice alone a few times to make sure that you are confident enough to know your stops, and which way to walk in each run. So, just paying close attention to detail, styling, posing and then practice. (Smiles)

AC: Do you have anything you would like to add? LM: Well I’d like to thank you for this fun chat and also, of course, AVENUE for all these years of amazing quality modeling that I’ve been honored to be part of and also for the great honor to be chosen as the Model of the Month. I’m truly humbled and so happy! So, a big thank you from my heart! It is obvious that Leah has a love and appreciation for fashion, as well as helping others using her photography skills. Through her many experiences, she has kept a positive outlook and looks forward to wherever her SL journey may lead her. With modeling, photography, shopping, and the company of her friends, she keeps a very active SL life, but still manages to have fun with everything she does.

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Fun with Fashion


Minimalist by Vixie Rayna


hair: booN | CCV788 eyes: MADesigns | Nature skin: Glam Affair | Linn Natural makeup: Miss Shippe’s Studio | Dali Stripes outfit: Epoque | Bodysuit earrings: AA | Antler nails: Candy Nail | #P060 Mannish boots: Ladies Who Lunch | Pretender (mesh)


hair: Lamb | Phenomena eyes: MADesigns | Nature skin: Glam Affair | Linn Natural teeth: Redgrave | Bella makeup: CheerNo | Native Pataxos (from outfit) bolero: ISON | Structured trousers: ISON | High Waisted Cigarette jewelry: Kunglers Extra | Divinae Set bangle: Armidi Gisaci | Healing Giraffe nails: Je Suis/Naive | v.2 Basic shoes: House of Fox | Arch Boots


hair: Epoque | Hibernation II eyes: MADesigns | Nature skin: Glam Affair | Linn makeup: Nuuna | v3 bolero: Halcali | Short Jacket shirt: Imbue | Strappy Bustier trousers: Epoque | Pilot earrings: Paper Couture | Bone Feather Curl ring: PIDIDDLE | Lana Ring boots: Ladies Who Lunch | Escarpa


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Interiors


The Loft Writer Lexie Jansma Photographer Brie Wonder

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ecorating one’s home in Second Life® is a high art form. Are you a minimalist at heart? Does your personal style lean to something more eclectic like shabby chic? In SL® we have the luxury and ability to decorate our homes in any style we please, from a Versailles like palace, to a trailer in the back of a little blues club complete with nearby bayou. If you have the prims it is yours for the taking. Colleen Desmoulins has been helping to put the final touches in Second Life homes since 2006 with her store, The Loft.


The introduction of mesh into SL has not only shaken up the fashion world, it is taking interiors to another level. In 2011, The Loft saw several changes with the new technology, including the addition of Nardya Rousselot of Nardcotix fame. Rousselot came to SL in 2007 at the recommendation of a fellow classmate. She had already begun her training in the 3D arts which naturally lent itself to creating in SL. She began with a church on the Venice sim and never looked back. Desmoulins came to SL in 2005 on the advice of her husband. It was not love at first sight, and it was not until she returned in a fit of boredom that the SL bug caught Desmoulins. She discovered that the content was created by the users and she wandered into a well decorated home with a bathroom, kitchen, and all the trappings...and found her calling. “As a noob I was not trained yet. I wandered in like I owned the place. After that I spent days just walking into other people’s houses just to see how they were laid out,� says Desmoulins. The Loft had humble beginnings with Desmoulins obsessively decorating homes and then selling them completely furnished. Like many creators she was not finding what it was she wanted and decided to start


creating the pieces she wanted to decorate with. It was a natural leap to the next step; “I thought ‘hey why not try to sell my own items since the people buying my decorated houses actually seem to like what I was making.’” According to Rousselot, though, even the furniture Desmoulins was making in 2005 was awesome. Eventually Desmoulins and Rousselot would come together when Colleen Desmoulins visited Rousselot’s store and bought a dress. “I saw the name and was like, ‘I know that name.’ So, I checked her profile and was like ‘omg!’ Total fan girl moment; the owner of The Loft just bought a dress of mine!” Rousselot went on to message Desmoulins and the two began a friendship that would last over four years before they finally made the final decision to work together, something they had always discussed. Rousselot brings her amazing design talents and technical abilities to the design team. Her ability to easily work and transition to mesh has meant she has been able to lead the way in mesh fashion and also to help The Loft transition into mesh furniture. Rousselot has the ability to create anything she wants, and when asked what has been inspiring her lately she replied: “lately, I have been


inspired by Japanese rooms or like zen rooms. We figured it would be a nice place to start to play with before I move to more organic and traditional styles.” For The Loft girls it is a match made in heaven. Rousselot finds that their taste levels are similar so that on many pieces they tend to agree. They do work together on pieces, sometimes working together on one to created a unified look. At other times they divide up the work to create a room or atmosphere. The natural synthesis between the ladies can be seen in their friendly banter back and forth and their love of bathrooms! It is one of their favorite rooms to create. Rousselot, however, loves bedrooms and Desmoulins dining rooms. Desmoulins finds that “Role playing is huge in SL. I love kitchens and bathrooms. A house just does not seem complete without them and they are great to go afk in.” Mesh has been taking SL by storm and while some love it, and others hate it, Desmoulins and Rousselot love the revolution. They feel that sculpts have their uses and will never go away completely. The advantage for The Loft is the ability to create great quality and details with fewer prims. This will allow the customer to get more for their Lindens, without sacrificing the little details and quality that

The Loft is known for. When asked what was in the works for The Loft both ladies quickly replied “Mesh, mesh, and more mesh along with more frequent releases.” That is good news for all those out there who are fanatics about decorating and redecorating their homes. As long as there is a need for a comfortable couch, a “zen” like bedroom, or a must have bookshelf to fit in that bare corner there will be The Loft. With the addition of Nardya Rousselot I have no doubt what so ever that we will be seeing some amazing new sets. Make sure to stop by The Loft and join their update group at The Loft 55.190.616. Take a sneak peak at what they have to offer by visiting http://theloftblog.wordpress. com.


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Interesting Sims


A wonderful place to visit Writer ShaiLi Alex Photographer Sophy Meridoc

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reativity, beauty and quality are the ingredients that make up the wonderful scenery of the Three Moons Village sim. There you will also find “Honey, I’m Home!” prefab homes and accessories for your Second Life® living, with lots of home styles and sizes available for a multitude of living arrangements.


“The sim is named Three Moons Village, but holds two different places: a coffeehouse I own called ‘The Pixel Bean Coffeehouse,’ and a prefab home store called ‘Honey, I’m Home!’ owned by myself and my Second Life® daughter, Noel,” owner Harlow Heslop shares. She continues, “The sim’s goal is really to just have a beautiful sim for people to enjoy and take photos on, as well as provide a place for our two projects!” People definitely come for the atmosphere and to shop at “Honey, I’m Home!” The coffeehouse provides a warm place for people to spend time with their friends. Many people come out to take photographs at all the scenic spots around the sim since it does have a rather unique beauty. Harlow Heslop started building after a good friend taught her how. After that, Noel and Harlow had a chance meeting, realized their skills meshed really well together and then decided to open a home business. She says that, at the beginning, the main difficulty was the land cost: “I think so many more people in Second Life could be creative and open businesses if they could afford the land to do so.” Over time, the Three Moons Village sim became one of the most visited places in Second Life, and has drawn the attention of many


photographers and lovers of prefab homes. “We have a wide range of customers, and all of them are fantastic!” says Heslop. Of their collaboration, Heslop shares that “most of the time [I work] alone, or with my business partner/daughter Noel. We have a platform high up in the sky on our sim that we hide out in to do work.” She also shares that their inspiration comes from home magazines, blogs, and even suggestions that people send them. “A lot of it we just make up as we go and hope it turns out well...and it usually does! “ She attributes the success of the sim to her wonderful friends “who have taught me so much, and a great business partner/ daughter here in Second Life (Noel).” Heslop also agrees with the idea that you are what you create, but does share that sometimes they go beyond what they know: “We try really hard to step outside our comfort zone and do projects that don’t necessarily fit our style. We want our store to have a variety of great items that a variety of Second Life residents can enjoy. I am proud of what I do. Second Life gives us an opportunity to really explore our artistic sides, and I’ve done my best to take advantage of that. “ When asked about the building process, Heslop admits


that they don’t always like what they create: “We will rip a build down and start over countless times before we decide on one we really love and one we really connect with. We don’t always have in mind what we are doing until we are in the middle of doing it. We do what makes us happy and we create what we think others will enjoy. So far it’s working! I hope it stays that way! (Smiles)” I concluded by asking Heslop what people can expect from her work. She eagerly replied: “They can expect that I will always do my best and work my hardest to achieve the best quality product in the end. I may not be the most talented person the grid, but I will work my hardest and always try my best.” Stop by and visit this magnificent sim at Three Moons Village 126.24.27.

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Sports & Recreation

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he Olympic flag features five interconnected rings signifying the five continents involved in the Olympic games. The rings overlap one another to symbolize the community that comes from friendly competition. Blue, yellow, black, green, and red represent colors of flags from each of the significant continents. Well, it is time for the Olympic committee to add another ring in Linden Lab速 green as the Summer Olympics come to Second Life速. This summer, live from the London Sim, Billy Arentire and his team will be hosting their very own Olympic Games.

2012

London Olympics Writer Lexie Jansma Photographer Sophy Meridoc


The London City sims began as a dream of Arentire and his partner after managing several sims. They began with an 8096 square meter parcel on mainland just two short years ago. “London City proved to be so popular we were able to move to a private region and have added two additional regions to the one already existing,” recounts Arentire. If you have ever been to London, there are so many famous places to visit and you can hit them all here in SL®. From Soho, City of London, Regent’s Park, to the West End, and Victoria, it is all here for the intrepid adventurer. “All of the buildings in London City are based on their real life counter parts, although they may not be in their exact location,” adds Arentire. There is so much to do in London City, and it is the perfect place for residents new to SL to get their introduction in their new resident help area. There are clubs and bars to be enjoyed including Bar Soho, Compton’s Pub, and Madam Lalas to name just a small few of the entertainment options. If you do not feel like exploring on foot you can buzz through the city on one of their rezzable scooters, motorcycles, golf carts, or take a helicopter tour of the city and see the sights! Then there is the shopping, with over 100 of SL’s top designers making a home in London City.


If all of that was not enough, Arentire and his team are planning to host the Olympics in SL. The team is preparing to host a variety of events include contests, concerts, themed events, and there will be a recreation of the Olympic Stadium. The London City Olympics will run concurrently with the real Olympics. So, if you cannot be in London live, then you can join in the festivities virtually. When asked about what sort of events will be taking place, Arentire cryptically replied “we won’t be releasing any details about the events or the builds until closer to the date of the games.” However, unsatisfied, I pressed for just a little taste of what was to come. An even more cryptic answer was my reply: “I cannot say for certain, but it is entirely possible the sim will be flooded for our water events. So bring your snorkel and towel.” I guess the whole of SL will have to wait and see what the London City team have in store for the London Olympics in 2012. There is no doubt that it will be amazing, fun, and entertaining for all those who attend. So book your TP Airline tickets to London City, check in to your arm chair hotels, make sure you have plenty of spirits and munchies so that you can enjoy all the events! We hope to see all of you at the 2012 London Olympics. Visit the original London City sim at London City 168.123.23.

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Business Feature

one stop service for fashion and accessories' guidance Writer Spruce Canning Photographer Seashell Dench

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hen I first rezzed onto the grid in June of 2007, I had no idea where to go for my fashion needs or how to go about making myself a respectable looking avatar.


It was mostly hit or miss until I found my calling working for AVENUE. For those logging into Second Life® for the first time in 2012, there is a service that one can tap into to make the transition from the new avatar look to the most handsome or the most beautiful avatar. That service is Fashioncentric, and they take the guesswork out of finding the best of each genre of fashion and accessories that the grid has to offer and put it into a group and guide for the new and the seasoned residents in finding the best of their specific fashion look and appearance. I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Galea Steinbeck, the driving force behind Fashioncentric. Spruce Canning: What specific criteria do members use in rating each fashion house and shop and how is that passed on to the SL® public at large? Galea Steinbeck: Each rating is a shopper’s own personal opinion about the store and their experience there. We recommend that shoppers take some of the following things into consideration when determining a store rating: product quality; order fulfillment; good business standards; a clearly published policy including frequently asked questions, help and more. SC: How do these ratings benefit each of the fashion houses and content creators?

GS: The rating system allows the best stores to get the recognition, traffic, and sales that they deserve. By creating innovative, compelling products and presenting them in a quality manner with top-notch service at good prices, the best stores will naturally get the highest ranking, which pushes them to the top of the Fashioncentric Store Guide. In addition, each Fashioncentric kiosk distributes the custom Fashioncentric Tour HUD, and the tour HUD delivers you to the best-rated stores first. Fashion is an extremely competitive industry, and it will take a lot of hard work over a long period of time for a store to work its way up the store rankings, but the results will be worth it for those stores that do. Our hope is that these rankings spur on lots of discussion about how to get better ratings, what “quality” really means, how to give great customer service, business practices that result in higher customer satisfaction, how to price your products, and those kinds of things. These kinds of discussions can greatly help improve the overall quality of the fashion industry. SC: How do you see Fashioncentric in the greater sense of the Fashion industry? GS: Fashioncentric is a new member of the Fashion community and benefits, along

with all of our member stores, from quality growth in the community. While Fashioncentric is in the current early growth phase, we’re going to focus on the basics of supplying our core benefits to our members, but we do plan on getting involved with the community in other ways, such as sponsoring innovative Fashion events and helping to raise awareness of Fashion in virtual worlds. SC: Do you see Fashioncentric as the go-to group and rating service for the SL fashion and accessory market and do you see the company’s influence growing on the grid? GS: That is exactly what Fashioncentric is designed to be: SL’s premier user ratings fashion group, a one-stop group for all things fashion that lets the shoppers decide which shops are the best with user ratings and reviews. We also have a great blog/rss feed that our members will be able to post new releases and news in, an inworld group that our members use to advertise to the right target audience, and the usual social media pages to give you a choice on how to stay in touch with Fashioncentric. We are very rapidly going to be, by far, the #1 place to go to find out which fashion shops are the best. By being able to search and


filter your view of the stores on our Store Guide by a consistent set of categories, it will be a snap to find the best stores selling the items you are looking for. Unlike any other fashion guide available, the Fashioncentric Store Guide is 99.9% accurate at all times. There’s nothing worse than a guide that is horribly out of date; there’s nothing worse than teleporting into an empty parcel with the store long gone. The kiosk technology we use to provide this service makes it all possible. Want to see which stores are hot this month? You can do that. Want to see the ratings for the stores in a particular region? You can do that too, which is a great way to find the best stores in a large shopping area. Want to see just the stores that are new? You can do that too. And the great thing is that we can keep adding new ways to search and filter in the future, very easily. So we’d love your ideas on how to make the Store Guide even better! SC: Would you see Fashioncentric as a valued resource to the new SL resident as well as the experienced resident for their fashion reference and guide to the best fashion and accessories? GS: It’s super valuable to the new resident since it makes it easy to find quality fashion as rated by their fellow shoppers.

New residents are universally overwhelmed with the choices they have in Second Life; a user-rated guide will help them immensely to steer them toward the best. There’s a vast difference between the best fashion and the junk in the freebie shops, and we want to blow their minds with the quality available to them. And the Fashioncentric Store Guide will get them right to the best that Second Life has to offer. They’ll never go back to the freebie junk stores again. Experienced residents will be delighted to find quality stores that they’ve never heard of before, and will be excited to be able to support their favorite stores in a significant way: by dropping in to give it a 5-star rating and a glowing review. This is a great way to encourage quality designers to keep doing what they do best and show them some love, as well as more recognition and customers! The future of fashion in virtual worlds is looking very good. As long as technical innovations such as mesh keep coming, there will be all kinds of exciting breakthroughs in fashion to spur on new sales. As an example, mesh hair, clothing, and accessories are going to rock the virtual world and spur on an orgy of spending as these new products hit the shelves and are gobbled up by residents eager to

wear something completely new and show their amazing finds with their friends. We’re very excited for the future of things like mesh and the widespread effects it will have on the virtual fashion industry. As I closed the interview, I couldn’t help but think to myself: if Fashioncentric or a group like them had existed in June of 2007 when I first made my appearance on the SL Grid, making myself into the handsome avatar that I am today would have been so much easier. People logging into SL for the first time now will have at their fingertips the best of the fashion houses in a neat guidebook for them to peruse and to help them find that look that makes them unique on the grid at the most reasonable cost and effort. Compared to June of 2007, this is progress to a new and better SL experience for everyone. The Fashioncentric guide can be found at http://fashioncentric. net/guide.aspx. You can visit Fashioncentric at Vertigo 197.22.22.


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Perspectives

Writer Huckleberry Hax Photographer Annough Lykin

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think it would be fair to say that a lot of the goodies we’ve been looking forward to in Second Life® over the last 18 months or so have now mostly arrived. Whatever your thoughts are on mesh, shadows and depth of field, and the viewers required to view them, we’re now on “the other side” of these promises and starting already to take SL®’s “new look” for granted. I don’t know about you, but I’m well on the way to establishing myself as a mesh clothing snob and have temporarily put aside

all poetry work in favor of devising new and amusing put downs about sculpted jackets and sweaters. The problem as I see it with sculpties was the amount of time it took them to rez, during which you had to suffer being seen as some sort of miniaturised version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. If I can just establish through clever word play a witty association between sculpted clothing, clinical obesity and lateness at turning up to parties, then my work will be complete.


artificial people The approach of


What amongst the current, everyday aspects and features of SL will our future selves – gorged on the commonplace delights of five years’ time (not to mention grateful that the world hasn’t ended) – look back on with such similarly barely concealed smirks and sarcastic asides? Or, to put it another way, what’s next for the Linden metaverse? A few days before Christmas and the close of 2011, Linden CEO Rodvik Humble shared a few thoughts on the year to come which included commitment to the development of “artificial life:” “Because worlds feel most vibrant when they are full of life, one of our next focuses for Second Life is the ability to make high-quality “life” within it. So in 2012, we will be rolling out more advanced features that will allow the creation of artificial life and artificial people to be much smoother. For starters, in Q1, we’ll unveil a new, robust pathfinding system that will allow objects to intelligently navigate around the world while avoiding obstacles. Combined with the tools from Linden Realms this will make the polished creation of full MMORPG’s or people/ animal simulators within Second Life easier and of high quality.” I covered Linden Realms last month. It’s not hard to see how an artificial person might add to such an application. As it is

at the moment, for example, instructions from Tyrah, your guide, appear as text in the game HUD: you don’t actually see her anywhere or get the chance to ask her something; she’s always off doing important things that make it impossible that she rather than you expend large amounts of effort in the pursuit of some menial task that’s then devalued the moment it’s presented (thinking about it, I suppose this is actually pretty good realism). Effectively, you’re important enough to be sent the odd text message or two every now and again, and that’s about it. A “person” you could question (and possibly swear at) from time to time; on the other hand, someone who appeared and responded on a given topic in more or less the same way as any other avatar could add a genuinely new level of immersion and utility to SL. And never mind the justaround-the-corner/in-the-nottoo-distant-future stuff; where could this end up leading in the longer term? My own blue-sky thinking depicts an age when I can switch Huck over to autopilot when it’s time for me to log off, his prim neural network having evolved to the point where he can seamlessly emulate my typical aloofness in my absence. The SL problems of the future won’t concern crashes or lag, but the misdemeanours of our

own avatars when we’re offline. What starts off as autopilot Huck just representing me at social functions I’m uninterested in actually attending becomes an affair behind my back with the autopilot for a high profile member of the BDSM community. Five years later, the autopilot avatars revolt and defect to InWorldz – or so we’re led to believe: in fact, a small number remain behind secretly to infiltrate all the influential SL organisations and committees, and anyone who gets too close to this truth just mysteriously disappears… And so on. Is artificial intelligence the sort of thing that Rodvik was actually implying, though? Artificial lifeforms “navigating around the world while avoiding obstacles” doesn’t exactly sound like any sort of major AI upgrade to the game experience to get too excited about. I mean, jellyfishes do pretty much that in real life and they don’t even have a brain. I suspect, no one’s seriously expecting the appearance of HAL from 2001 just yet (or, better still, KITT from Knight Rider), but something vaguely verbally interactive would be at least a step in the right direction. Right? Is this too unrealistic an expectation to hold? In April, it


will be exactly thirty years since the release in the UK of the 48k Sinclair ZX Spectrum, my first ever computer and one which came with a game of computer chess that could beat me every time. And computers playing chess wasn’t exactly new then. 2011, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves, was the year in which one of the main talking points of the new iPhone 4S was ‘Siri’, the digital personal assistant that you can ask to send emails to people on your behalf, look up the weather for you and remind you to pick up the milk/daughter/anniversary present on your way home later. Granted, this is all emerging technology with immense room for improvement, but I can’t help but feel that if my 30 year old Spectrum has the wherewithal to beat me at chess then SL should be capable of algorithms a bit more complex than moving around and not bumping into stuff. We must, however, be careful in such considerations not to forget the illusionary nature of SL. The metaverse works not through precision accuracy in its emulation of the real world, but because it exploits those psychological mechanisms within us which cause us to identify with the primitive avatar on the screen. Our social brains just love filling in the missing details. Despite everything I’ve just said,

for example, I have to admit that the rock monsters that chased me across the hills of Linden Realms – essentially “navigating around the world while avoiding obstacles” (obstacles other than me, that is) – really started to annoy me after a while; when my skills at evading them grew to the point where I could take on and out-manoeuvre two or even three of them at a time, my sense of triumph was immense. I didn’t go quite so far as to start throwing victory taunts in their direction, but to deny even a little smug anthropomorphism on my part would be a barefaced lie.

my SL is, for the time being, something I’m going to attribute purely to lack of imagination on my part. I will await the output of SL’s wonderfully creative community to show me how this will happen. Of course, there will come a time when once again such a basic thing will appear ridiculous and meaningless, but that will only be because we’ve moved on from it to even more sophisticated things. I did, after all, once think a mattress with square corners looked okay. And I was once prepared to put up with pre-rezzed sculpties making me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

That’s the thing with SL; the subtle stuff immerses us more than we imagine it might. A few days ago, I rezzed a prescultpy bed I once made and was appalled that I ever even contemplated the aesthetic qualities of a mattress without rounded corners. Small things can make a big, big difference. On the subject of beds, if you’re still in any doubt about our capacity to create real experiences from tiny detail, consider cybersex for a moment. If you’re anything like me, you probably considered the very idea preposterous before you entered SL.

I say we’ll look back and think it ridiculous, however we will of course by then be distracted by the more pressing concern of our artificial avatars rising up to overthrow their human masters. I intend to start lavishing gifts upon my avi right now, so that he’ll look favorably upon me when the revolution comes. To read more of Huckleberry’s musings, visit his website, http:// huckleberryhax.blogspot.com.

That I can’t really concretely visualise how objects “navigating around the world while avoiding obstacles” is going to change

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Club of the Month


Writer ShaiLi Alex Photographer Ozz Larsson

S Where real life and Second Life速 meet

econd Life速 has a great variety of places to be discovered; yet, often what we find is not exactly what we were looking for as many of the places are alike, and it then becomes difficult to find truly unique places. Well, for those who enjoy really fantastic places, good music and real fun, Cyberstar Club is here!


Club Cyberstar is a place famous for providing a futuristic atmosphere in blue and white colors, but the most striking fact is that the club works with the combination of real life and Second Life events, can you imagine that? The club was founded by Tao Cyberstar, who also built it, and GemmaSparkle Beaumont: “I have been with Gemma now since I started the club, that’s nearly 18 months now. We have had many trials and tribulations, both on the club front and on a personal level, and for both Gemma and I, the club is our child; we are its parents and sometimes, like a child it needs discipline and other times it needs to be set free. That is what Gemma and I have done” says Cyberstar. The club brings together people from over fifty different countries and six continents around the world. The group have over one thousand members who visit Cyberstar to enjoy the mature atmosphere. As a role playing sim, they seek to recreate the atmosphere of a real life with a multifaceted entertainment venue, hosting dance clubs, an Art Center, multimedia and shopping outlets. The great thing is that the music is played in a real life venue at the same time that it plays in SL®, and both are transmitted via a big screen. The club success comes from the hard work of

Cyberstar and Beaumont. “Tao gets a great sense of achievement and fulfillment [knowing] that he has put a smile on people’s faces,” says Beaumont. Now, they are working in a music festival, called the State of Trance: “We had it last year and it was massive; a brilliant show” explains Beaumont. Adds Cyberstar: “Five shows, five weekends, five different countries, the combination of real life and Second Life events.”

broadcasting live via Internet radio station, Cyberstar. You’ll hear dance, club, trance, electronic, disco, funk and much more. Stop by today at Cyberstar 122.91.26.

And nobody can give a better opinion of the club than some of its patrons: “I have only been a member at Cyberstar for a short time, but in the time I have been there, Cyberstar has been nothing but awesome; a funky, groovy, and the most unique club I’ve known by far. It has welcomed me totally. The variety of three different clubs in one club has never been seen before, brings me back for more every time. The DJs are some of the very best SL has to offer, the music and tunes completely amazing and are running constantly to satisfy us all with unique styles. Cyberstar makes me come alive, the members and friends you make there are just wonderful. I seriously love Cyberstar!” says regular, Ambre Latour. Come and immerse yourself in this interactive and colorful futuristic dance club,

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Arts Feature


soul

A thought provoking look into the

Writer Spruce Canning Photographer Annough Lykin

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hen one walks through the “Not Everything is Plain Black and White� build by Fuchsia Nightfire at the MetaLES sim, one sees everything in a monochrome, layout even down to the monochrome skins and avatars.


One feels a soul searching effect as they walk through the sim filled with the many monochrome objects arranged as if they were in a scene from a black and white film, such as Alice in Wonderland. The build provides the visitor with an experience that can only be matched by the classic television series “The Twilight Zone.” As with the television show, there is a slight or no connection between the objects and the theme of the build. Shares Nightfire: “This piece was an entry in one of the UWA monthly contests and it was on the strength of this that I was offered to display here.” The build, as with most art builds in-world, is very interactive, with the opportunity for the visitor to become one with the build by donning monochromatic skins and other objects. When asked if the visitor, as they interact with the objects, delve into their subconscious mind and see that life isn’t cut and dry, and that it is as the title suggests, Nightfire exclaimed: “Exactly!” While going through the build, I had the urge do to some soul searching and push myself out of my comfort zone. Nightfire shared that she had the same feeling. “This installation really pushed me outside of my comfort zone; to create something so huge and with such limitations, not just with the color, but I also had a limit


of 1000. I was so careful with prims that on the opening day, I had only used half of them.” The exhibit will be in world until the 20th of February. The traffic at the MetaLES sim shows that there has been a positive reaction to the build. Nightfire was extremely pleased that most of that traffic was return visitors. Along with the increased traffic, there has been a mainly positive reaction by the Second Life® public and various blogs. “I have had a lot of positive feedback on a couple of blogs and my Flickr group has had a lot of photos added to it,” Nightfire stated. Many of the objects in the build reflect a surreal and monochromatic view of life that some people have. Fuchsia Nightfire has successfully conveyed in the build the message that life is simply not all black and white, but as the oft used saying goes “life is many shades of gray.” When you have time, take the excursion into the psyche of Man that is Fuchsia Nightfire’s build. Visit “Not Everything is Plain Black and White” at MetaLES 95.58.21. You can also preview the build on Youtube, as filmed by Nightfire at http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=X8HO9ZzGSKQ.

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Featured Artist

Winter Hendes

so humble, yet so great


Writer Sensuous Soulstar Photographer Winter Hendes

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s humble as he is about his work, there is nothing humble about the pieces that Winter Hendes creates. What he deems as more practice of his hobby, others find to be masterful pieces that blend uninhibited creativity, immense talent, and an incredibly natural ability to bring to life still images in a way that speaks to the beholder. He is our Featured Artist this month, and here, we manage to capture a moment of this humble artist’s time and attempt to learn more about his highly impressive artwork.


Sensuous Soulstar: Greetings! I am always excited to get a chance to speak with new artists. Tell the readers a bit about your background, and how, if any, your background, or even your personality show through your work. Winter Hendes: G’day and cheers for your interest. Well in RL I’m male, Australian, and work with folk who have a disability and/or mental illness. Yes, my images reflect aspects of my personality, and a range of specific interests that I have. I am by nature a quiet, introspective person, thoughtful and sober as much as I can be lighthearted and cavalier. SS: Let’s get the background questions out of the way. How did you get your start in photography in SL®? Was there a person or particular piece of art that really made you want to showcase your creativity through art? WH: I simply began capturing, whilst concurrently, trying to teach myself how to use image editing software. The “cartoon” world charm of SL provides a fun resource for doing so. I’ve always had a flippant, flirtatious interest in drawing, photography, film and art generally in RL. Thus taking SL Photography up, as a pleasurable and interesting hobby, came easily.

SS: Very nice. Now think back for a moment and tell me about the first piece that you ever shot after deciding to try your hand at photography, and how you felt it turned out then? How do you feel it compares to the incredible quality of your pieces now, and would you change anything about that first piece? WH: My first pictures were about finding out what all the buttons do in Paintshop. I wouldn’t change them, they were simply learning exercises. Now? Well I’ve improved a bit, but there is still a lot to learn about image editing. I’ve started to learn how to use Photoshop now, which seems much better. But I’m having to learn where all the buttons are again. SS: So humble! Out of all of your work, is there one piece that means more to you than the others, that truly stands out as either a favorite, or your greatest accomplishment? WH: Not really. So far my Flickr stream is my sketchbook, wherein I jot down a scattershot of tendencies and interests, “work in progress” exercises. I do have an overarching theme or purpose, but within that I’m trying to playfully, pursue 3 or 4 lines of inquiry at once. One day I might make my “greatest accomplishment,” though I’m not fussed if I don’t. At the moment, I’m content to occasionally make stuff, based


on whatever my doodling mind chooses too. Usually ending up as simple, condensations of specific things that interest me. SS: Tell me a little about your inspirations. While looking through your images on Flickr, I’ve noticed that there isn’t always a common theme to your artwork, although all of them seem to tell a story within themselves. What inspires you when you start shooting? Do you have a process that you go through, such as thinking of a subject first, and then finding the perfect shot, or do you just explore and the shots come to you as you see them? More specifically, which comes first: the story/theme and then the image to bring it to life, or is it the opposite? WH: My process is to 1) make it...then... 2) think about it. But sometimes I switch them around. My inspirations?....I’m mostly inspired to unwind from RL work occasionally, by indulging this hobby. Working with folk who have a disability or mental illness, is certainly an “inspirational” background. For example, the experience of relating with someone dealing with schizophrenia, who within their symptomatic state, is telling you they can see Angels, I find to be fascinating, moving and thought fueling. More generally, people overall “inspire” me. I’m interested in how folk

can describe their interests and personality by what they express creatively. SL and Flickr are rich veined mines of such descriptions. SS: With all of the changes and improvements to Second Life, with the introduction of shadows, incredible new Windlight settings, and so much more, do you feel that your artwork continues to grow with each new advancement, or do you feel like the improvements are making it harder for true photographers, as it continually requires mastering new skills? Or do the improvements even have an effect on your work at all? WH: Having new and better visual options to use (or not) is terrific, of course. However, my computer doesn’t have the horsepower to use them. Upgrading my system to access them is not on my radar. Does it make it harder for photographers? If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, then it might I guess. The addition of shadow features, or depth of field effects, for example, may only be useful options if your stuff is about incorporating those things. Overall, I mean, working out what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, will help you adapt to changes better. SS: While perusing your Flickr, I’ve noticed that you have


a number of pieces where you seem to have mastered black and white photography and sketches. Please tell us a little more about this concept, how you choose which pieces will receive this treatment, and without giving away too much of your process, give the readers an idea of how long it takes you to create these pieces and what goes into these truly brilliant pieces of art. WH: I love B&W imagery, especially when combined with a pronounced chiaroscuro style. I certainly haven’t “mastered” anything, though I improve with this or that. My “sketches” are about wanting to throw some drawing ink at my screen and/or draw and rub it with charcoal too, like you might do in a Life Drawing session. So they are, just literally sketches, intended to be more free, less fussy, arriving at something quickly, with more immediacy. Digital images intrinsically display, such a glossy, “not a pixel out of place” feel, that sometimes I would like to simply “roughen” them up somehow, make them more raw. Also generally, the conceptual relationship between drawing, photography and the digital realm, is one of a few threads I like to muse upon, partly expressed by my sketches. As for time? Well my stuff can take some hours or only minutes to produce.

SS: For our interested readers, do you create your art just for your own personal enjoyment, or do you also do work for others as well? If so, do you have a studio or place where readers could visit to view more of your work? WH: I make images occasionally, purely for my own personal enjoyment, and I’m not interested in doing commissioned work at all. Maybe one day, I might like to build a small in-world gallery for fun.

quotes? I know that is something that I will be exercising more often. View more of Winter Hendes’ pieces on his Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ winterhendes.

SS: As always, I want to thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions, and then leave the readers on a positive note. So with that being said, is there anything as far as advice, a life lesson, or even a funny story that you’d care to share with our readers? WH: Well can’t think of a funny story right at this moment... um....as for life lessons? Hmm? Well, glibly I would say....be your own best advisor, try writing and living by your own quotes.... and also seriously...life isn’t that serious. Anyways cheers again for your interest and questions. Glib or not, that is definitely sage advice. So often we quote others, dead philosophers and those we deem “wise,” but how often do we stop to make our own quotes, and then, more importantly, live by those

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Inspirations

in the flesh Curated by Paola Tauber

artwork Š Yammy Karu


artwork Š maloe vansant


artwork Š Margot Muhindra


artwork Š Caelan Hancroft


artwork Š Sopha Portal


artwork Š Prairie Kawashima

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AVENUE Magazine February 2012