Issuu on Google+

Entente

n.42 3.2012


Stylist Takeshi Kiama Photographer Miaa Rebane


A

Publisher’s note

A

s winter chills begin to subside and Spring beckons in the blossoming of new life, I look back over the past month and reflect upon what has happened in my personal life and in Second Life. Life is full of surprises and I have made new friendships and rekindled old ones. Like the passing of seasons, everything is always in a flux and full of change and with that comes the promise of new possibilities. But what do we do with the potential of change? Do we embrace it, cry over what is lost, look forward to new gains and think of how we can make this world a better place for others and ourselves? There will always be naysayers who try to daunt you, your dreams and passions and there will be guardian angels that come

into your life and bring you fresh energy to see life in a new way and appreciate what you have. Call me naive or simple but it is my hope that all of us consider what we can do to really make our lives, both real and virtual, a meaningful one. In the past month, I have seen the negative side of some Second Life residents rear their ugly heads criticizing and taking people down. Why do people spend their time and energies criticizing and berating instead of spending our time edifying and celebrating? Is life so trivial and banal that we lack the vision to construct, create and build positive footprints? It is my sincere hope that we all realize our short lives here. I have witnessed many friends

that have come and gone. Some have passed on, some left from disillusionment‌Second Life is a chance for us to create a world different from our real ones. What does this world look like to you? I sure hope that we can achieve our utopia by banding together rather than dividing‌to add rather than subtract. Together we can make a difference.

Rusch Raymaker Rusch Raymaker Publisher AVENUE


A

Editor’s note

“I

t is not titles that make men illustrious, but men who make titles illustrious.” ~ Machiavelli This month, AVENUE celebrates men! In a world abounding with women, there is a tendency to forget that we sometimes need to take a moment to celebrate our male counterparts. This is often the case in-world, as many parts of Second Life are geared towards women. We have our pick of the litter when it comes to skins, hairs, clothing, shoes and accessories, but what about the men? While more and more designers are starting to fill the gap, there is still a long way to go. And while we can’t close that gap any quicker, we can at least take this issue to celebrate the more masculine gender. No matter what your title, your role, whether you’re a “noob” or a veteran of the grid, we celebrate you for just being who you are: man…and oh, what a celebration it is!

Our coveted cover is home to a new and indescribable find this issue: Entente. A collective of designers breathing new life into the fashion world, for women and for men. With no limitations on their creativity and skill, these six designers come together to bring you the highest quality fashion on the grid…and the best customer service available. Read on to find out more about these new to the fashion world designers and their recent grand entrance into the fashion community. Continuing in our celebration of the male essence, our stylists have come together this month and created some amazing androgynous looks that any man can incorporate into his wardrobe. Turn the pages to find styles that will excite and delight both men and women, and start adding a little something special to your wardrobe this upcoming season.

With the big kick-off of the Relay for Life season in Second Life, we are proud to feature one of the many charitable events being held in SL this relay season: Giant Snail Races. This fun and challenging adventure is sure to bring out the kid in you, all while helping to further the race for a cure. So read a little further to get an idea of what kind of fun lies in store for you, and get out and start racing your favorite today! Now it’s time to 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


34 Cover Story Entente

68 MiStyle

76 Homme


Contents

A

Fashion 34 46 56 68 76 84 98 114 132

Cover Story Entente Fun with Fashion Featured Designer Adjunct MiStyle Homme Edge of Style Model of the Month Matteo Bettencourt Fashion Agenda AVENUE MIX+MESH Fashion Icon Chiaki Xue Lifestyle

142 152 166 174 180 190 198

Architecture NYC Sim Interesting Sims The Ionic Spell Collective For the Love of Giant Snail Races Business Feature Siren Productions Perspectives DJ of the Month Anubis Darkwatch Live Music

AVENUE Magazine March 2012 cover Featuring Entente Design Team Members Caelestinus, Nazaire and Guarinot Photographer Boe Cortes

Arts 206 214 226 240

Media Mojo Arts Feature Mushroom Featured Artist Quika Basevi Inspirations

n.42 3.2012


A

Staff

Publisher Assistant Publisher

Jesika Contepomi

Editor in Chief

Sensuous Soulstar

Fashion Editor

Vixie Rayna

Creative Director | Photo Editor | Designer

n.42 3.2012

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 Sensuous Soulstar ShaiLi Alex Spruce Canning Umberto Giano Xandrah Sciavo YeriakTH Couturier

Writers

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

Stylists

Annough Lykin Asia Rae BlackLiquid Tokyoska Nala Kurka Natasja Schumann Ozz Larsson Seashell Dench Sophy Meridoc Tillie Ariantho Apollo Call Draxtor Despres Quika Basevi Ziki Questi

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 Visit us inworld at: AVENUE at GOL 45.153.22

Photographers

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

Contributors

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


A

Cover Story

A fashion

Entente

Writer Augusta Carver Photographer Brie Wonder


jacket: Tweed Blazer jumper: Cowl Neck Jumper pants: Classic Chinos skin: Claude Skin hair: Burley


F

ashion; it is never constant, always evolving and moving forward. And with the creation of Second Life®, there are always new fashions to see and buy for the avatar. The upand-coming store “Entente” has been drawing lots of attention lately. With multiple designers: Baudouin Resident, Caelestinus Resident, Guarinot Resident, Meraud Resident, Nazaire Resident, and Benezet Resident, there is more than enough creativity to go around. I was able to speak with the group about their new brand and what they expect to accomplish within the SL® fashion industry. With plenty of designing experience between them, they have created an effective brand that I am sure fashion lovers will visit time and time again. There is nothing ordinary about Entente’s designs. They are classic, yet chic. With combinations of sculpted prims and mesh, their designs offer a high quality appearance that is pleasing to the eye. The unique name “Entente” is a not a common name by any means. It stands out when you first hear it, and makes you wonder what the store has to offer. When asking the Entente designers if their store name has any special meaning, they responded: “the name is French for a diplomatic agreement or understanding. We chose

the name based on the ‘Triple Entente’ between France, Britain and Russia. On some level we found this to be quite fitting.” For those that may not have come across Entente, you might wonder what kind of store it is, or what things they offer that other stores do not. According to the designers, “Entente is a store for quality; no other labels can be placed on it, and that is exactly what we were aiming for when we began. We design for men and women, for the classic and fashion-forward, for casual, runway and the street. The only limitations placed on us are by previous creations...and starting Entente with a clean slate, a new store and new avatars, there were no previous creations to be limited by, whatsoever.” Developing first as close friends and appreciating each other’s work and talent, they decided to join together to create a brand they all would be proud of. They share that their belief on the idea is that: “a joint business venture in Second Life is daunting, and certainly not for the fainthearted. This was something we had all considered over our course of stay as Second Life residents over the past few years. Despite this, the desire to collaborate was still strong with us all and eventually, being confident we had forged those strong relationships and

close associations, we decided to venture into the uncharted territory of Entente.” “As a designer, it is important to be dynamic. A wise man once said, ‘fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,’ and while this might not be something we would agree with 100%, as so much of our style is quite classic, we do agree that style changes and so must we to keep up. Many times we will reinvent the wheel; there is always room for improvement and we do believe that everything we release is an improvement on what has come before in Second Life. Sometimes, also, we will shoot for something in particular that has not yet been attempted. There are many examples of this in our store. While our initial releases were certainly about creating a base on which to build upon, our newer releases will be attempting new concepts and new ideas, but we will always remain true to our classical style,” explains the team. When asked about their strengths and weaknesses in regards to designing, the group shared that it was “difficult to say; as individuals this question might be easier to answer, but as a team of talented and experienced content creators, we cover each other’s weaknesses and


we fortify our strengths. There is no one area that we could suggest to you where Entente might fall down in comparison to another brand...perhaps in lack of stock or releases, but we’ve only been open one month and we will be open many, many more.” There are quite a few options for stores in SL, and it is not always easy to find one that you like, but when you do find it, its clothing and accessories can quickly become a staple in your inventory. With the many choices out there, Entente believes that what sets them apart from other designers is their attention to detail. “We believe our customers will attest to this. There is nothing we will consciously overlook. We will spend hours, days and weeks in development of a product, time discussing it with our team, time learning new skills, new software and new methods. If something is not 100% it will not be released. There are many items that other stores have released that we have scrapped in favor of completely redoing the design. This is all in addition to on excellent customer experiences from our gifting and redelivery systems, our absolutely secondto-none customer service and a near flawless HUD system with our textures pack updates… and that’s only for starters.”

For them, the best part of being a designer is “definitely having the opportunity to create what you wear inside of Second Life; besides that, it is always fantastic to see how bloggers will interpret our creations, and how they will include them in their stylings. There is something particularly rewarding witnessing a design from its conception to its final resting place in our customer’s inventory showcased by the simplest Flickr® or Plurk® image, to the most intricate blog or magazine post. They are all wonderful.” It is amazing to see the diversity and skills that these six designers each bring to the table in order to work as a team on this joint venture. “Individually, we all have quite specific, individual styles. While not necessarily always being interested in high fashion, we have all had a keen eye for smart, classic and innovative design long before we took pen to tablet.” Inspired by Givenchy, Hermès, Christian Louboutin, and Christian Lacroix, this group uses their inspiration to create hip and fun designs to enhance both the female and male avatar. Baudouin Resident, Caelestinus Resident, Guarinot Resident, Meraud Resident, Nazaire Resident, and Benezet Resident are designers to keep an eye on as they make a big imprint in the fashion world.

Get your taste of diverse quality today by visiting the new store at Entente 128.166.74.


jacket: Taureau Jacket shirt: Saile Tee pants: Vintage Jean glasses: Sebastien Glasses skin: Claude Skin hair: Thibaud shoes: Soldat Boots

A


A

Fun with Fashion

Tied Up

by Vixie Rayna

A

ndrogyny was our theme for March, inspired by the upcoming Menswear Fashion Week 2012. All of AVENUE Magazine columnists were instructed to find their inner androgynous style. I tried to breakdown the idea into the basic theme of a tie. A tie is an integral part of every man’s wardrobe. Often, when a woman adds this accessory, it

adds an air of sex appeal, and I found this a challenge to make the look androgynous. I chose monochromatic black styling to help add edge to the style. To me, the key to androgyny is embracing items that are traditionally associated with the opposite sex. Adding a key element like a tie or slicked back hair gives the look a bit of mysterious masculinity.

You too can find inspiration from the opposite sex; if you are a male, try to incorporate hair that may at first glance be feminine as it can soften your masculine look. For ladies, men’s’ hair can add a toughness and edge that you may be missing. Take chances and you’ll find a way to truly stand out! And, remember…Fashion is FUN!


hair: Dura | Boy 26 eyes: MADesigns | Nature skin: sYs | Vixie Skin makeup: sYs | Vixie Skin Lips V4 Noir bra: Elixir | Rubber Bandeau tie: Mandala | Smexy Tie, Sumi B belt: Boom | Lynx Skinny pants: Countdown | Liberty nails: Candy Nail | #P060 Mannish bangles: Pididdle | Vengeance Cuff shoes: Countdown | Viva la Vida


hair: LeLutka | ULA 2.0 horns: mijn.botique | Beasty Chic (mesh) eyes: MADesigns | Nature skin: sYs | Vixie Skin makeup: sYs | Vixie Skin Lips V4 Noir jacket: Coco | Tuxedo bowtie: Gizza | Velvet Jacket shorts: LeeZu | Yves Pants earrings: mijn.botique | Beasty Chic (mesh) nails: Candy Nail | #P060 Mannish cigarette: Mika | Elegant sunglasses: Role Optic | SG 91 boots: Countdown | Morgana Leather


A


A

Featured Designer


Writer, Stylist, Model Vixie Rayna Photographer, Stylist, Model Miaa Rebane

Styling

Adjuncts

T

heNativeHasReturned (myvegancookbook. bolissima) may just have the most unique name in all of Second LifeŽ. As the owner and designer of Adjunct, and this month’s AVENUE Magazine Featured Designer, he has made geek-style, chic! Take a look as Miaa Rebane and Vixie Rayna showcase how women can add their own spin on classic menswear with a twist! Visit Adjunct today at Millions 185.44.21.


On Both: shirt: Dress Shirt pants: Cinch Pants accessories: Gentleman’s Walking Stick On Miaa: hat: Beret Hat bow tie: Bow Tie, Stripes facial hair: Mustache, Dali On Vixie: tie: Tie, Solid mustache: Ox Horns


On Both: pants: Suspender Pants sunglasses: Oversized Wayfarer Sunglasses On Miaa: shirt: Dress Shirt bow tie: Bow Tie, Plaid On Vixie: shirt: Dress Shirt bow tie: Bow Tie, Candy Stripes suspenders: Down Suspenders


A


A

(mi)style


shirt: Fleshtone | Natalia pants: AMERIE | Mesh Skinny sunglasses: Alphavillain | Samuel Shades jacket: Aoharu | Short Sheepskin Duffle hair: Burley

in/Defined by Miaa Rebane


top: nona | Greco Top hat: Deco | Officer’s Cap ring: Deco leggings: {TD} | Amy Leggings


top: CheerNo | Fight DEX Jacket pants: CheerNo | Prince FRANK Pants shoes: LeLutka | Ren Shoes gloves: CheerNo | Fight DEX Gloves hair: CheerNo | Hair base bracelet: Shade Throne headpiece: Zaara skin: The Body & Co


A


A

Homme

the unnamed

Photographer Ozz Larsson Model & Stylist Salvo Waydelich

pants: Countdown | Liberty Pants coat: Countdown | Liberty Coat tie: Countdown | Libery Tie boots: Countdown | Morgana Leather Boots piercing: Finesmith | Externalized Bridge Piercing skin: Tableau Vivant | Andrej Skin hair: Lelutka | Sofia Hair make up: Tableau Vivant | Vincent Make Up 6


pants: Cheerno | Prince Dream Pants top: Countdown | Michel Top gloves: Countdown | Michel gloves belt: Egoisme | Metropolitan Safari Zebra Fashion Belt earring: Finesmith | Heart Earring Unisex hair: Lelutka | Ula 2.0 skin: Tableau Vivant | Andrej Skin make up: Tableau Vivant | Vincent Make Up 11


pants: Solidea Folies | Eurasian Soul Pants tattoo: Solidea Folies | Eurasian Soul Tattoo headpiece: Solidea Folies | Eurasian Soul Headpiece tie: Solidea Folies | Eurasian Soul Black Tie hair base: Vaya Con Dios | Hairbase 2 make up: Nuuna’s | Makeup v7 9 bracelet 1: Mandala | Yuzu Sinra Bracelet bracelet 2: Rozoregalia | Belial Bracelet bracelet 3: Rozoregalia | A Nornir Bracelet bracelet 4: Sey | Sephirotic Eye Bracelet skin: Tableau Vivant | Andrej Skin

A


A

Edge of Style


Andro Man

by Boe Cortes

A

ndrogynous style is fast becoming a trend in Second Life速 fashion with many designers opting to create unisex clothing. Men and women are increasingly becoming more creative in the way they shop by crossing over and branching out into stores opposite to their gender. Whether you are brave for the couture or prefer the modern urban style, there are just a few key principles to remember: clothes can be commonly worn by both genders and are neither masculine nor feminine; keep patterns neutral, and lean towards darker shades of colors common to both female and male. Here are a few examples of androgynous styling. You know you have succeeded if you have created ambiguity as to the nature of your gender.


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Skin, Tone 0, Shaved/Dark Hairbase 2 (no body hair) eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: BURLEY | Ned jacket: AZOURY | Le Gilet sweater: Entente | Otis Cashmere Sweater pants: ISON | Moto Leather Pants shoes: Kookie | Gabilo


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Skin, Tone 0, Shaved/Dark Hairbase 2 (with body hair) eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: Vive9 | Strong Winds Pony shirt: Priss | Ish Bow-Tie Dress vest: Collect | Sweat Long Gilet/K pants: TokiD | High Pants socks: Pig | Duotone Socks Mit Suspenders shoes: FIR & MNA | The Ashford Brogue bag: Maitreya | Leather Satchel bracelet1: GLARE | Brown & Black Bracelets II bracelet2: Earthstones | Triple Hippie Bracelet glasses: BUKKA | Sunglasses Goch


skin: Vaya Con Dios | Rafael Skin, Tone 0, Shaved/Dark Hairbase 2 (no body hair) eyes: MADesigns | Piercing Eyes hair: Maitreya | Lauren shirt: C’est la vie | Wool Coat jacket: AOHARU | BT Short Riders Jacket pants: Vive9 | Denim Path Leggings socks: Maitreya | Scrunched Prim Socks shoes: ANEXX | Moccasin Back Zip Ankle Boots belt: Gos | Cinch Belt


A


A

Model of the Month


Writer Augusta Carver Photographer Natasja Schumann

The fashion forward man

A

n avid resident of Second LifeŽ since March 2010, Matteo Bettencourt took his interest and love of fashion and modeling to the next level. With a lot of dedication, practice, and skill, he has become a very recognizable male model within SLŽ. He has a warm and engaging personality paired with confidence in his work, as well as an unexpected modesty that is refreshing. As AVENUE’s Model of the Month, Bettencourt shares what it is like to be a male model and what he hopes to accomplish within SL in the near future.


Augusta Carver: First, congratulations for being selected as the Model of the Month with AVENUE! Matteo Bettencourt: Thank you so much! It is a really big honor. (Smiles) AC: How long have you been with AVENUE? MB: I have been an AVENUE model since the last casting…I think around September last year. It was a really nice experience; it was special because of the style request. AC: What was the style you that you had to create for the casting? MB: Oh yes, the styles requested for the casting were really amazing. The first one was Tartan Army, and the second one was Traveler Chic. AC: Was it hard for you to create the looks for the styling? MB: It’s is always hard to stand out. The casting had great models, and it is hard in a huge number of models to stand out. But both challenges for me, fits in what I do like to wear, not just in SL, but as well in real life. AC: Well then that must have been a bit of a bonus for you. MB: Still, it was not easy. Today, we see a large number of models overdoing the looks, and I think “less is more.” So, each time I do a look, I feel afraid that I’m being too simple.

AC: Had you been modeling before that time? MB: Yes I’ve been a model since May 2010. AC: Oh great, almost two years. MB: Yes, almost 2 years. It is something that I really enjoy doing; not just the modeling work itself, but being able to see all of the backgrounds of the SL fashion industry. AC: Doing something you enjoy and that you are good at always makes for a good combination, I believe. MB: Yes, I agree it does. It blows my mind as to the creativity of some designers, and even the work of some agencies around the grid. I think this is the part that I most enjoy with the fashion community. What people can bring, show, and their ideas. I think I’m a person of passions, and all of this atmosphere of creativity mix in fashion makes me completely addicted to the modeling world. AC: Can you tell me what you remember most about the last runway show you did with AVENUE? MB: The last show I did for AVENUE was the Gizza show. It was an incredible experience, because the choreography was amazing and the clothes fit completely in with the whole the runway look. I was really excited

to be a part of something never seen on SL: simple fashion and with a high level of creativity. AC: What kind of aspirations do you have as a model? MB: My main goal as a model is to be recognized as a hard worker, and a person who is honored to have the trust of designers by representing their brands. AC: If you could pick one skill that you believe does not need work, what would it be and why? MB: I honestly think we should improve all ours skills, but definitely the best one I have and actually I feel pretty comfortable with is runway skill. I don’t spend much time on this aspect of modeling; if you give me the directions once, I will easily get what you want and just do it. I can prepare myself for a show in one hour, and I know I can do good work with the poses and choreography. AC: Aside from modeling, what other things do you enjoy doing? MB: That is easy. I love my cars. I love spending time driving around the sims, and just being silly. And, of course, I like to be with friends. After all, the point of SL is to have fun and to relax from our real life, not to be serious all the time. We have real life for that. We don’t need to input that too into SL.


AC: That is true. If we don’t have fun here, then I think the point has been missed…at least in my opinion. MB: Mine too. On the other hand, if I log in one day and I do not have any goals, or there is no point in being here, then SL wouldn’t make any sense anymore for me. AC: If you could do anything in SL besides modeling, what do you think it would be? MB: Dancing! I don’t dance often, but I have a hidden passion for it. When I first began, I tried it and found out that I was not bad at all. I do like DJing sometimes as well, but I don’t do that often, unfortunately.

With a style and personality all his own, Matteo Bettencourt has been able to stand out and get noticed in an industry that is competitive and ever-changing. His skills and persistence help him to stay sharp and focused. Not only is he one to watch out for, but he is one to remember. No doubt we will see his name continue to make waves throughout Second Life. To see some of Matteo’s modeling work, you can check out his Flickr® at www.flickr. com/photos/matteobettencourt.

AC: What do you think is an important piece of information that should be known when it comes to modeling? MB: Definitely what I mentioned before: less is more! The models that can do this are the really good ones. When someone can stand out but is not over styled, then that is a great model who is able to do anything. AC: Do you have any parting words for the readers? MB: It was a really nice surprise for me to be invited to as the model of a month. My relationship with AVENUE is still young, so with much pride and honor I thank you for the recognition. (Smiles)

A


2012 we got it covered.

Join AVENUE Magazine. Proud to be your favored Second Life速 publication since 2008. Sit back and enjoy. www.avenuesl.com | www.issuu.com/avenue


A

Fashion Agenda


Writer YeriakTH Couturier Photographers Annough Lykin Tillie Ariantho Blackliquid Tokyoska Cade Nansen Kallisto Destiny

Art + Evolution = Mesh

A

rt and evolution have come together to bring us a new creation.


Residents of Second Life® now have something that has never been seen on the grid up until a few months ago, and with it comes a new chapter in the world of fashion, and another valuable tool in the designer’s arsenal – clothing created utilizing the versatility and detail of mesh. What is mesh? The technical answer, and probably the highlight for designers, is that it allows for the creation of more realistic objects with better definition, so as to allow you to create more objects with fewer prims.

 On the fashion front, mesh has now given designers a way to take a simple object and turn it into something more glamorous and spectacular, thus giving new life to fashion. Mesh has provided a new vision of what the future holds for Couture fashion.

 AVENUE Models pioneered the first fair highlighting the incredible fashion of mesh with Mix + Mesh 2012. Visitors to the fair were able to enjoy pioneering collections exclusively created for this fair, and were able to discover this new, impressive world of mesh fashion. 

 AVENUE leaves its indelible mark as a true icon in the fashion industry with this event, especially through bringing together pioneer mesh designers who are using this


great tool in a very meaningful way. The abilities and the variation of stylings that were created furthered the idea that there is an endless number of possibilities to create an endless “mix” of different looks for every fashion taste. 

 With celebrated names such as Ladies Who Lunch, Solidea Folies, Violator, Hucci, Mons, and My Precious lending their talents, this fair brought together a mix of mesh pieces perfect for every occasion in SL, providing a plethora of ideas for the start of a new wardrobe, perfect for the upcoming Spring and Summer season.

 As the long-awaited day for the opening of the fair approached, I had the chance to visit the place where this great event would be held, The Grove, an estate owned and operated by Umberto Giano. I was awed by the design and build used for the fair, specifically created by Nardya Rousselot of Nardcotix, and now The Loft fame, and the sophisticated, minimalist atmosphere that she was able to create for this venture. For the event itself, AVENUE organized a wide variety of shows, spectacular designs, and used overflowing creativity and vision to introduce the fashion world to this new revolution of mesh.




The opening show, held on February 25th, and hosted by AVENUE CEO, Rusch Raymaker, was a preview of the palette of collections of the designers whose creations were showcased during the two week-long event. Participating in the opening show were AD Creations, Amarelo Manga, Azoury, ALaFolie, Hoorenbeek, House of Hucci, Jador Fashion, Ladies Who Lunch, LoPo, Molichino, MONS, My Precious, R.icielli, Solidea Folies, Torn, Vero Modero and Violator. Each designer brought out their best in the opening showcase as each design highlighted the many different possibilities that mesh brings, and brought new life to classic fashion. Visitors were treated to a look for every occasion, including looks for the more daring fashion followers from Solidea Folies and AD Creations to close out the spectacular show. Each day of the event highlighted one of the designers with a show to highlight their new mesh creations. The spectacular event culminated in an exciting finale celebration on March 11th with famed DJ, Aryon Dagger. And while the models stole the show, thanks to the new technology, participants were even more amazed and delighted. No longer having to wait until the end of a show and


fight the masses to get a hold of your favorite outfit, thanks to Fashioncentric, one of the most innovative features of this event was the ability of show attendees to be able to shop for the items as they watched each of the shows. It seems only too clear that while this fair was the first of its kind, it was nothing short of a great catalyst to encouraging more mesh development and presented designers with a challenge to produce even more creations utilizing this new tool. It also gave hope to all fashionistas and fashionistos that they have not seen the last of fashion innovation. There is so much more to come, and as always, AVENUE will be there to bring it to you in the most spectacular way possible.


A


A

Fashion Icon


Chiaki Xue

Creating expressions of individuality

Writer Sensuous Soulstar Interpreter Apollo Call Photographer Ozz Larsson

D

ura has become a household name. Its creative hair designs for men and women can be spotted on the runway, in the latest issues of magazines, and even on most Second Life速 residents on a dayto-day basis. And while you may be quite familiar with the brand, many are not familiar with the humble creators behind the scenes. This month, AVENUE sits down with one half of the creative team, Chiaki Xue, to find out more about how she got her start in the world of hair, and a little more on the history of Dura.


Sensuous Soulstar: I want to thank you for taking time out for an interview with AVENUE, and many thanks to the amazing Apollo Call for his time in translating for the interview. We are definitely most appreciative for his hard work with this. You are an amazing creator of hair here in SL®. How long have you been in this field, and how did you get your start? Chiaki Xue: It’s been two years since I began creating hair. I wanted to make money for shopping in SL, lol. The other owner of Dura, Naotsune Enzo, taught me how to create hair.

create the hair people can wear casually. Hair has the important role of creating your unique image when you create a styling, I think. After all, hair changes the impression of others. SS: Let’s go back for a moment. I love to hear the “how I ended up in Second Life” stories, so please share how you found out about it and ended up in Second Life? CX: I heard about SL from my friend. I didn’t play games so much before. So SL was so refreshing to me.

SS: (Laughs) It never ceases to amaze me how many designers get their start from a desire to shop! So tell me, what is your definition of “fashion?” There is always talk about the latest “it” fashion, but what do you think really makes for truly iconic fashion? And what role do you feel hair plays in one’s creation of their look? CX: The definition of fashion, it’s very difficult to say. Each one of us has different ideas and aesthetic senses. To me, fashion is the expression of individuality and each individual’s uniqueness.

SS: Getting back to the beginning, think back for a moment and tell me what was your initial impression of the hair that was available when you first created Dura? Did you want to provide more options or did you feel that better quality was needed? CX: My first creation was a men’s hair. I thought it was not so high quality compared to the other hair on the market. So, I studied hair in magazines to improve the quality of my hair. I always search images of good hair and try to make even better hair.

Fashion changes along with the time. People’s tastes change. I’m always searching for the new trend of hair in RL and collecting the information about popular hair styles all the time. Then, I

SS: Aside from the magazine images, where else do you find inspiration for the styles that you create? Do you focus on real life hair, or do you create whatever comes to mind?

CX: I was creating hair just based on the photos in fashion and hair magazines until last year. But lately my friends show me the trendy hair, and I look for the hair on the latest runway models. But, I do have to figure out the hidden part of the photos, the side and the back view to make the whole set. SS: I love it! Tell me about the name of the brand, Dura. Does the name have a specific meaning either in real life or SL, and how does it apply to the brand itself? CX: Dura (“zu-ra”) means “wig” in Japanese. So, I just adapted the name to my brand. I thought everybody would have the idea that it’s a hair store, in Japan SL, of course. SS: Lol, well thankfully we can all now add a little Japanese to our vocabulary thanks to your store. So, is creating hair your first business in SL or did you create anything else? Do you have any plans to expand Dura in the future, such as including things other than hair? CX: Yes, it’s my first business in SL. I have made cute gift boxes before. That’s about it. I’m not planning to create the other products for now. I want to do my best to make good hair.


SS: Now, just out of curiosity, tell me, is it more difficult to create men or women’s hair, or do you find that it’s pretty equal for both? And are there any special things that you have to take into consideration when creating for women or men? CX: Men and unisex hair are harder than making women’s hair because I have to use many prims to create the movement of short hair. I try to make men’s hair manly, female hair feminine and the unisex with both images in mind. SS: That’s the total opposite of what I thought! Dura has definitely come a long way, and is a highly successful brand. To what do you credit its success? Are there any special people who have truly helped the business to grow? CX: When I started Dura, the business was not good. I was going to close my store. But one of my customers said “I love Dura. Please keep trying!” Without his encouragement, I would have closed it then. My partner and I are not the only creators of Dura. Our customers, friends, bloggers who are always supporting Dura, they are truly the ones who have made Dura. And we have Blossoms Sweetwater and Apollo Call as our advisors. They help us

with translations and support us when we have some problems, including this translation too. SS: Yes, I definitely want to thank Apollo again for all of his hard work in translating for this article, and I want to thank you for taking the time out for this interview. As is custom, I always like to 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? CX: I would like to thank Dura fans. We would not be here without their support. We are still learning and growing now. We are trying our best to create hair that you are happy with. Thank you for your support and patronage! So humble, yet so incredibly talented. Chiaki Xue may have started Dura for personal reasons, but through her hard work, dedication, and research into the latest styles, she has given the patrons of Dura the necessary tools to create and perfect their unique image with the hair she and her partner so diligently create. Your wardrobe is never fully complete without the perfect hair from Dura. Stop by the main store today and find the missing piece from your fashion collection at Dura 65.128.1002.


A


A

Architecture

The "Big Apple"


Writer Umberto Giano Photographer Brie Wonder

“W

e are the city that never sleeps. We are the fashion capital of SL. We are cultivators, taste makers, and collectors of all things cool. We are New York City SL®.”


New York City in Second Life®? That’s right, the “Big Apple” is now on the grid, and, while it isn’t an exact replica of the real life Gotham, New York City SL more than captures the feel, energy and excitement of its namesake, with stately high rises and the never-ending traffic of residents and visitors milling about park spaces and sidewalks, shopping elegant stores, and just commuting home. New York City SL represents the commercial, entertainment, and residential aspects of New York at its very best. This is a clean, safe New York, brimming with energy and potential, replete with chic commercial builds, glamorous design houses adorned by elegant ornamental entrances and, of course, sophisticated brownstones situated along tree-lined avenues, ideally suited for urban living. And after the sun sets, the action only intensifies as the Underground Sessions crank up at the SoHo Warehouse, where the New York Sounds mix music live and mingle with “the most talented poets, writers, producers, and musicians on the grid” in badass weekly events that make this Second Life metropolis, like its moniker, a city that never sleeps. Adding authenticity to this virtual borough are landmarks easily recognizable by real New


Yorkers, such as the Holland Tunnel and the Promenade, as well some of New York’s most well-known neighborhoods and thoroughfares, from SoHo and the Upper West Side to Park Avenue and Canal Street. New York City SL provides the perfect setting for all to “live and thrive,” which were precisely the concepts at the forefront of New York City SL owner Joi Price’s mind when planning this virtual community. Drawing from her own experience as a native New Yorker, Price returned to SL from a sabbatical in the spring of 2011 with a “creative itch” to produce New York City-themed builds for her architecture line “The Apple Architects.” Price confides, “That idea quickly transformed as I acquired this sim, and the nostalgia to recreate my favorite aspects of the real New York City emerged. The idea was to create a lifestyle sim where working, living and playing effortlessly merge together.” Finding a lack of such places in Second Life, Price resolved to fill this essential void. “Unfortunately, well built sims tend to only be role play, and what I wanted to create was the opposite of that.” Price continues, “New York City SL is a ‘Real Play’ sim that encourages visitors from all walks of life to explore and be themselves. I aim


for it to be a melting pot. To bring people together, even if they decide just to be commuters. It embodies all aspects of the opportunities that a city can bring, for fun, for experiences, and for commerce.” With no formal background in architecture, Price admits it was a challenge at times to arrange all the various elements and meld them together, noting, “The price of building a fully rendered sim can be taxing on computers without high graphics specs.” Despite the challenges, the result of Price’s endeavors speaks for itself. New York City SL is both visually stunning and unparalleled in detail. Each building within this virtual city – each creation – is an amazing piece of art finished with beautiful textures and realistic shading. How did she accomplish it? Price answers, “Inspiration. Life imitates art. I pay particular attention to detail to materials (textures). I’ve photographed limestone, brick and stone textures in real life for usage on the sim and in The Apple Architecture builds.” A crucial element in the mix is the light and shadows fully rendered throughout the entire sim. Price comments, “The [rendered light] technique can be painstakingly achieved in many ways, but I think it is


critical to the realism in Second Life. Without rendering, the Second Life platform can only progress to a level of a high quality cartoon.” She’s right. Every building, every structure in New York City SL is bathed in rendered light that bursts through windows, shoots out of skylights, and dances across vaulted ceilings, casting shadows across walls and floors. This introduces a realistic depth that shadows from SL viewers are unable to match. Price’s vision of a place for people to come together has obviously struck a chord with many, because the response to New York City SL is incredible. The details and realism draw visitors into New York City SL, who at first gawk and marvel at the builds, but then stay to explore its broad streets and luxurious shops, and, perhaps in time, to live. By the time New York City SL officially opened last November, residential and commercial occupancy had already hit 100% with thirty people on the waiting list. The constant stream of visitors to the various rooftop soirees and raucous block parties that opening day rocked the sim to its core, causing it to crash three times. Since opening, at any time of the day you’ll find New York City


SL full of explorers, commuters, residents, shoppers, and clubgoers. Their representative green dots animate the minimap, as they merge, separate, and converge again in a neverending ant march of activity. Of course, success for Price comes with a price. Despite the invaluable assistance of ten staffers and interns, which include Executive Administrator Kirkland Moonwall and Executive Real Estate Broker Seth Diabolito, Price has little time for other pursuits; operating and growing New York City SL is a committed passion for her. “I make love to my work, and it’s a monogamous relationship. I’ve made some special bonds with people on SL but rarely have the time to spend with them,” she confesses. The pay-off, however, is seeing others enjoy her work, living, shopping and socializing in New York City SL. Price says it is “rewarding beyond words” and adds, “I want the city and each of my builds to be open and inviting. I want them to feel like home.” New York City SL can be your home now, too, with newly available studios, duplexes, lofts, and brownstones in unfurnished and furnished options, with interior designs provided by the talented and well-known blogger Justice Topaz. Amenities include the social networking

website and blog, www. newyorkcitysl.com, a hopping nightlife, beautiful architectural surroundings, and, of course, outstanding shopping. The nearby Fifth Avenue and SoHo shopping districts include the design houses of Pdiddle, LoQ, bellballsessentials, Molichinos, Izzies, Shush, and Ameliarae Beauparlant, along with many others. Price proudly announces, “Our goal is to coin the phrase ‘fashion capital of SL.’” “With some of the top boutique brands in SL, you would think it would be the shopping, but in fact, I think the most entertaining part of the sim is speeding down the roads of SoHo, up the hills of the Upper East Side, and through the Holland Tunnel … [but] I didn’t build the sim for myself. It is a gift to the entire SL community. I’ve discovered that the city has a pace and pulse all its own, bigger than I could have ever created. I simply started the fire; it is each of the visitors, residents, and vendors that tend to the flame.” From a glowing ember in one visionary woman’s mind to a roaring flame, New York City SL is quickly becoming known as a place where discerning SLers choose to shop, live, and hang out. Its edgy, cosmopolitan, yet inclusive vibe is irresistible to the “taste-makers and collectors of all things cool.” Whether

you’re in search of a new home or just want to explore a truly memorable build, don’t miss this opportunity. I urge you to take a bite out of the Big Apple and visit New York City SL. To learn more about New York City SL check out www. newyorkcitysl.com, or visit New York City 132.52.23.


A


A

Interesting Sims


Writer Spruce Canning Photographer Sophy Meridoc

F

Ionic Spell Collective

a music colony, par excellence

or a music colony, the Ionic Spell Collective is very unique. The postmodern look of the sim seems inspired by the Alternative genre, best represented by Nirvana and Pearl Jam of the 1990’s and the early 2000’s.


There was in the statuary of the sim, the influence of the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” that lends itself to the setting of the sim. But what truly makes this place unique from all the other music colonies in-world is the music. One can hear concerts by Engrama and other luminaries of the Second Life® music scene. While exploring, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Lakua Arriaga, one half of Engrama and the co-owner of the sim, as she describes, in detail, what the Ionic Spell Collective is all about. Spruce Canning: What is Ionic Spell Collective, and how does this community further the arts and music scene in-world? Lakua Arriaga: The Ionic Spell is a postmodern sim where you can find live music and other explorative arts. We wanted to create a sim where Second Life residents could enjoy a calm and realistic place in every detail; where the pseudo art, the backing tracks, or the ball dances don’t take place. The Ionic Spell Collective’s intent is to celebrate art and music that is unique and original. SC: Does the community have events here, such as concerts and presentations by new and established SL artists? LA: We have events here often, but we are pretty picky about the type of musicians


who can come to Ionic Spell. We constantly receive offers of singers who want to have a show at Ionic Spell, but we do not accept backing tracks...that is not what we want to offer. There are already many venues where you can find those kind of events. We like to bring musicians from real life too. We encourage them to come in and try the experience of playing live. Often, the Ionic Spell is a training ground for newbies! We just ask that the live music be something that is original. There are already many singers and fake bands around Second Life. It may sound pretentious, but after 3 years playing live as a band with Engrama, Pupito and I are tired of karaoke and tribute CD bands. Second Life is an amazing medium, and we need better musicians here. SC: How are Dream Seekers Estates, the owners of the sim, involved in supporting and fostering the arts and music community? LA: Dream Seeker Estates are the sponsors of the Ionic Spell collective. They support art and music by giving us the whole sim sponsored by them. Pupito Helstein and I, we are the owners, designers and managers of the sim.


SC: With the decrease of sims in recent months, as with the demise of Circe Broom’s Laurel Arts Isle, will the Collective stand the test of time and be a force for the arts in SL? LA: Well, this is not the first time we have had Ionic Spell. In fact, this is the Ionic Spell II. We had an Ionic Spell before, and it was here for about one year, with events running all the time as well. But as we had no sponsors, Ionic Spell disappeared. So now...this new sim will be running until we have no more sponsors. (Laughs) SC: To wrap up here, what kind of effect does the Ionic Spell Collective have on the arts in-world, as well as the creative spirit in SL as a whole? LA: We have had events that involved other RL events. For example, there was an exhibition in RL called “Vive la fete” (in the Philippines) in which the images were projected from a concert in real time from Second Life. Right now we have two exhibitions running. One is Eupalinos Ugajin; one of the most prolific visual artists in Second Life, presenting his latest work “Concrete Kite” which investigates the possibilities of “virtual air and gravity.” The other exhibit we have on the subway is called “State of the world,” which features posters


about social, environmental, political, scientific and technological issues, made by students of Buenos Aires Graphic Design University (UBA). As I teleported out of the sim, I remembered the feeling I had when I first heard the music of Engrama, and I connected that to the design of the sim and realized that their music, and the music of the resident bands that call the Ionic Spell Collective home, are definitely intertwined into the design and theme of the sim. As Arriaga stated in the interview, it is an incubator for original music and art in world that a real life artists’ colony would be hard pressed to duplicate. This is yet one more reason that SL is unique in the development of original music and art. To see this unique musician and artist’s colony for yourself, visit Ionic Dream Seeker 184.94.23.

A


A

For the Love of

Get your Writer Jesika Contepomi Photographer Annough Lykin

E

ach month AVENUE Magazine features those on the grid who are stepping out and doing something special for our community. In many cases, it’s a non-profit organization, charity event or new business venture for a cause. However, rarely in Second Life® do we come across a man with a heart so deep, mind so creative and spirit as fun as that of RacerX Nitely. I had the great opportunity to chat with the man behind the bunny and the legend that has become the “Giant Snail Races.”

on


Seen on TreetTV (treet.tv/ shows/snailraces), the Giant Snail Races are described as the hybrid between a Japanese game show and whacky minigolf. Meeting every Sunday on the Hawthorne mainland grid, these races have become the “go to” in laidback, casual fun, and the only place you’ll see 45 feet tall snails racing through an obstacle course. However, what takes this from ordinary fun to extraordinarily heartfelt “for the love of” is the annual participation of the Giant Snail Races in SL®’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life efforts. This year’s RFL race, being sponsored by Charlene Trudeau of Skybeam Estates, gives an added twist. Having started the Snail Races in 2004, Nitely says the inspiration behind the idea was just by chance. ”I made an avatar for an event called the ‘biggest avatar contest’ and was the only one that took that literally, and made a huge avatar.” It’s undeniable that Nitely’s fun, creative spirit can be seen in everything he touches. Joining the RFL mission in 2006 through the encouragement of friends Tayzia Abattoir and Fayandria Foley, past RFL of SL Chairpersons, Nitely has given his time and that same quirky, fun spirit to each and every race.

What can we expect new from the sponsored participation of Skybeam Estates this year? “We further the challenge by running them through homesteads which have a 20 avatar limit and at least one ‘open space’ region with a 10 avatar limit,” says Skybeam Estates owner Charlene Trudeau. “This spreads out the [snail] packs, along with other surprise factors.” Having adored the races for many years Trudeau adds, “If I could, I’d lay my whole estate out differently to make the snail routes easier, but that would be a bit difficult.” With her involvement in RFL going far beyond the races, as she is also Area Chair for Design for Relay Event Weekend, Trudeau, as many of us do, has her own close personal story behind her RFL involvement, sharing the common goal in search for the cure. “I hope that people who see this are inspired to come get their snail on and race with us, for the fun and for the cure.” We all have a story, a mission, a dream, a reason, a family member or loved one that fuels our internal race each year. This year, let’s race together and celebrate life, happiness and the fun joyful moments. Join the Giant Snail Races on March 25th and together we relay.

A


A

Business Feature


Siren Productions a company to be reckoned with

Writer Spruce Canning Photographer Seashell Dench

T

here are many fashion shows on the grid; the My Precious Queen contest put on by Agnes Finney, which is one of the most well known examples, along with any production that AVENUE Models associates itself with. One of the cutting edge production companies on the Grid that goes into uncharted territory is Siren Productions headed by Lexie Jansma.


Siren, since its inception, has been the go-to agency to manage large productions, such as its first foray into productions, including the Latex Fetish Wear Fashion Week. “Siren Productions came about after Latex Fetish Wear Fashion Week way back in 2009. About that time, the only other person doing big, huge fashion weeks was Modavia, and they did not do what we did with LFWFW, which is to have multiple shows a day, change out the runways for every show, and really design things around the designers showing,” explains Jansma. When asked what types of fashion Siren usually deals with, Jansma shared that she does “a lot of menswear stuff...and fetish wear. I really try to tap those markets that people don’t necessarily do. Do we really need another Wedding Week, or another week of Women’s wear? No, we have enough. When you glutton the market with so many fashion weeks and events like that, they lose their effectiveness like so many things in SL®. Siren, like AVENUE, is on the cutting edge of fashion production, especially with the advent of mesh onto the grid. “ Jansma continued, “I think mesh has a long way to go. Everyone is raving over it and how great it is. I think it’s great...but I have yet to see a lot of detail work done with it in clothing. I can’t wait to

see where designers go with it. Then, there are the possibilities for mesh sets, and so on and so forth. However, you still have the whole issue of asking ‘can everyone see it?’ Not everyone can, and people are holding out. I mean, just today I switched to a mesh viewer because I knew I was going to need to. I tried to use the Singularity viewer because I like their viewer, and there was still mesh I couldn’t see, so I finally broke down and got the official LL Viewer. So, if mesh keeps improving and people aren’t going with it, we have to be careful to straddle the line and show stuff that everyone can see, otherwise they are just seeing blobs on the runway and that’s not good for the designer or for us...unless it is a ‘mesh blob’ show!” Siren has never been afraid to take risks on how it presents its productions, and the lengths that it will go to bring the spectacular to life – even in the virtual world that we call Second Life®. “I love doing things in the fashion shows that no one has ever done. LWFW was the first ever to use a rotating stage and change the scenes. With MWFW last year, we had 3 sets, and to change sets, we faded them in and out so that one set transitioned to another, they were all there the entire time, but what you could see and couldn’t see made all the difference,” Jansma shared with

pride. “I just love making people go ‘wow’ with an event, a show, or whatever.” When I asked what would be her crowning achievement in the SL fashion scene, such as if Rusch Raymaker asked her to produce a show that would be remembered for all time as one of the greatest shows in SL, Jansma replied, “I think it would just be a great honor to work with Rusch on a show. I love her to death. I think she has great vision and passion.” With the upcoming Menswear Fashion Week, March 23rd to March 31st, Lexie Jansma and Siren Productions will be at the forefront of fashion production yet again as the best and the brightest of menswear designers take their collections to the runway for all to see. Fashion fanatics will not be disappointed with the quality of the builds and of the collections at this year’s festivities. Siren has the ability and the talent to make the normal into extraordinary. The upcoming Menswear Fashion Week will be no exception, and Siren Productions has and will continue to be the go-to agency to produce the most killer event for any fashion genre. Find out more about events produced by Siren Productions by visiting their website, www. sirenproductions.info.

A


A

Perspectives

Second Life

is a place we visit Writer Huckleberry Hax Photographs © Ziki Questi. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

T

his is a column I’ve been meaning to write for a while now, and what better time than March 2012, the very last day of which denotes the fifth rez day of Huckleberry Hax? That’s right: five years of writing novels set in Second Life®. Five years of doing open mic poetry and live readings, and being told what a wonderful voice I have (calm yourselves, it’s just the southern British accent). Five years of occasionally building 60s and 70s furniture and never quite getting around to finishing that shop I keep on saying is just around the corner.


Five is quite an age in SL®, if I do say so myself. I remember looking at two year olds sitting on the wall at Bear (the infohub I got sent to when I decided I was done at Help Island) and being envious of their seniority. Now, I’ve exceeded their age by more than a factor of two. I’ve seen the introduction of voice, Windlight, sculpts, mesh, shadows and depth of field. And bouncy breasts. I’ve seen gambling banned and Linden homes built, and the continent of Zindra created. I’ve seen Philip Linden go and come back… and go again. I’ve seen SL opensourced, and watched the rise of Open Sim worlds and third party viewers. I even visited Google Lively. And five years of friendships with people from faraway places. When people get asked what it is about SL that makes it special, they usually say something along the lines of “the people.” They’re sometimes talking about “user generated content,” that oft-cited phrase that ultimately denotes the separation of SL from a world of essentially default avatars and prefabricated locations (and, admittedly, less lag). In most cases, however, they’re talking about friendship; more specifically, they’re talking about the realisation that first dawned on them perhaps a few weeks into their in-world life – that SL is a place where you can

find and make the friends you’ve always secretly wanted to have. It’s increasingly the case these days that our personal audits are comprised of digital acquisitions, things that aren’t tangible and real, at least within our own physical space. It all started with music downloads, bits of data you couldn’t hold in your hand, but which suddenly became appropriate to exchange money for. Now we have movie downloads and eBooks and apps, and, courtesy of social networking, we now have digital friends as well. Digital friends are a whole new type of friendship, at once better and worse than their real life equivalents. Like eBooks, we can’t touch and smell them, and we can’t look at them in one go in anything approaching completeness; all you can see at any given moment is a single solitary slice. But, also like eBooks, they are instantly there, it’s so much easier to find them and it is their content – not their physical packaging – that is what makes us want their company. We connect with people in SL in ways it’s much harder to connect with people in real life, at least some of us do. In part, this is because we’re able to find more likeminded people in the Metaverse; but also – and perhaps more significantly – it’s because we get to know deeper parts of them, the bits we’re more guarded about giving away

– or being – in real life. The bits, also, that we can’t or don’t want to see in others in real life because superficial aspects of them take precedence in our mind, like their appearance or the way they speak. We are all, as a product of both evolution and social conditioning, naturally prejudiced as human beings. One of the reasons, then, that I get so excited about online interaction is that it presents a way (not the only way) for us to escape the confines of our programming. Our genetic and social heritage is where we come from, not our destiny. It does not define us. Like I said, it’s not the only way. Poets and artists have been describing for us the unseen world for as long as people have existed. But, for some of us, there is a moment in SL when there descends a feeling of being at the edge of something immensely meaningful as a result of being inside this “artificial” place. Our whole way of thinking about the “real” world starts to change as a result of it. And this is a process that does not – which cannot – stop, once it has begun. Cyberspace, however, can seduce us into false assumptions. The realisation that true and meaningful relationships can be found in it is only the start – not the end point – of our growth. Because it quite literally surrounds us, wherever


we go and there is an internet connection, we can become fooled into thinking that the friendships we form within it will be just as pervasive over time as the Metaverse is over space. Those early days of thinking, “this is a friendship that will exist forever,” do not last. Perhaps this is why we come to symbolise particularly strong bonds within SL using the language of siblinghood; perhaps we describe our best friends in our profile picks as “brother” or “sister” as insurance against that which we know deep down must still inevitably happen, because it has happened to us in real life so many times before: the eventual parting of ways. A brother or sister, after all, cannot not be our brother or sister; they are that for life. The saddest part of my five years in SL, you see, is the friends who have left. People who, at one stage, I thought would be a part of my life forever, have moved on. On our first encounter with this, it’s easy to become disillusioned with or bitter about the sense of security and warmth we felt we had discovered in SL, to be angry at ourselves for letting ourselves believe that things could somehow be different. Speaking personally, I recall a time (in truth, I’m not entirely out of this stage yet) when I grew weary of people telling me they would always be

in SL and couldn’t imagine ever leaving it. I knew that they too would leave eventually – all the people I have been closest to in SL have left, or at least reduced their time in-world to having left to all extents and purposes. In some ways, this hurts even more than when friends move out of our lives in real life. If a friend moves to a different geographical place, for example, then of course we will see them less; of course the nature of our interaction will change. But a friend who leaves SL does so wholly by choice – there is nothing physical preventing them from continuing to be in-world. They are choosing, therefore, to end an existence which had previously been celebrated for its immensity and endurance. It can feel like a whole new level of personal rejection. But SL shouldn’t be thought of as some sort of omnipotent place that we can always reach out and brush our fingers against. If its function has been to introduce us to the unseen world, an inevitable consequence of this is the realisation that hidden truths do not exist in the Metaverse alone. These things are the things that actually are all around us, behind every shadow and smile and movement of a hand across a face. For some of us, then, our experiences in SL serve as a catalyst, an awakening, a leap in our level of personal

consciousness which then needs to be fed into our real lives if its ultimate purpose is to be fulfilled. For some, SL is a respite, a place to just pause and get our breath back. For some, it is a playground, a chance to experiment with being something different. For some of us, it is all of these things together. Whatever it is that it is, however, SL is a place that we visit and, for many of us, the visit is ultimately finite. Sometimes we leave for time out, but sometimes we leave for good. And that is totally okay. People are responsible only to themselves for their happiness, and they are the best judge of the direction in which that lies. And life is meant to be fluid. If we who remain can get past the bitterness phase then what’s waiting for us on the other side is a deeper understanding of what it means to experience real friendship, not to mention gratitude for having found people to discover such closeness, trust and intimacy with, however briefly that lasted. What’s waiting is hope and optimism for all the things that we now know are possible. What’s waiting is a better understanding of what it actually means to be human. As I move towards my second half decade of Huck, therefore – my own time in SL, as it happens, currently just a fraction of what


it used to be – I look forward more to the continued growth in my thinking and being than I do to any improvement technically in the Metaverse experience or its popularity (much as I do look forward also to these things). And this is a good opportunity for me to thank every person who has touched me in such a way that I have awakened just a little bit more from their touch. You are all deeply meaningful to me and – wherever you are – I wish you happiness. Huckleberry Hax writes novels set in SL. You can read his work online at www. huckleberryhax.blogspot.com. Please visit Ziki Questi’s flickr stream on: www.flickr.com/ photos/zikiquesti.

A


A

DJ of the month


Writer ShaiLi Alex Photographer Seashell Dench

H

is name is Anubis Darkwatch and he is just the best DJ ever seen on the grid. Darkwatch is a highly experienced DJ with more than ten years of experience bringing fun and music to many.

The guy with the crapload of cassettes


“Right now I am truly enjoying my DJing experience on Second Life®. I like smaller venues that my friends, and fans of the music, can come in and hang out without worrying about too much lag. At the moment I spin Dubstep at Rouge Lounge, Dance n’ Trance on Fridays at Bonaire’s Grotto Club, and I alternate between rock, metal and industrial at Clubs Iron Fist and Ignibus on the weekends. I also enjoy doing larger events like fashion shows for the likes of AVENUE and Modavia, as well as event kick off parties for things like hunts from Chic Management. I keep pretty busy but I love every second of it,” says Darkwatch of his busy schedule in SL®. Our DJ of the month grew up in Dubai, India constantly listening to music. At a young age, he was exposed to all kinds of music from around the world. His talent for music has been evident since his childhood, as he enjoyed collecting music in the form of tape cassettes, and because of his collections, he was always asked to bring his music to the various parties around his town and became known as the “guy with the crapload of cassettes” at parties. “Hence my very first taste of DJing...I started to DJ at parties regularly and eventually got my start at my college radio station. After college, I started DJing online, and have since shifted gears


to creating mixes and making parties rock!” Darkwatch continues on his history, “I really enjoyed sharing my love for music with my friends and family, and it allowed me to expand everyone’s mind around me, as well as my own. I joined the college radio station staff and had a ‘World Cafe Music Hour’ twice a week, playing music from all over the world. After I graduated I moved towards a mix of online and small venue gigs in real life, always learning, always trying to improve. I have been DJing online and offline now for a total of almost 16 years, so it’s been a fun ride” As he’s shown, his career as a DJ in SL is exciting, with Darkwatch playing a different venue almost every day, and different genres too. It’s this mix that, according to Darkwatch, allows him “to develop a taste for good music, no matter what genre it may lie in.” Darkwatch is inspired by the therapeutic value of music and how it can change the mood of everyone around him. He explains: “It is always my hope that anyone having a bad day or week can come to one of my sets and leave a changed person, allowing them to feel better about themselves and are thus able to handle what could be perceived as insurmountable challenges, carry them out of a dark place in their life and give

them emotional direction.” His goal is to open the minds and hearts of people to music that they would not normally listen to, and maybe even introduce them to their next favorite artist. Darkwatch also loves making new friends from all over the world and allowing them to teach him from their point of view and culture. “It’s a huge melting pot in SL,” he shares. And the fascinating DJ shares that he does not have a preference for any specific genre of music, but that he’s open to playing anything; “I like high energy music. It doesn’t matter what genre it is, but I think that the higher the music energy, the higher the energy of the audience around. Music is a huge influence on the brainwave patterns, and I try to take advantage of that. Over the years, I have learned to read an audience pretty well and that really helps in shifting gears if the music I am playing isn’t being received well. The objective is to never be rigid, always be flexible, and willing to learn and change.” When asked about his most memorable experience as DJ, he responded: “I think I have had several memorable experiences in my career on SL, most of which have made me very aware of the fashion industry and all the work that goes into it. It all started with a kickoff party for the Platinum Hunt by Keira Seerose and the

rest of Chic Management, and has snowballed into a shower of blessings that have allowed me to work with the amazing people of Modavia, AVENUE and several other organizations. Each of these events are fresh in my mind and I have come out of each with some very good friends, from organizers to designers, to fellow DJs, to models and everyone in between. I have made a lot of memories, and I hope to make a lot more.” The success of his work comes from taking great effort in making people happy, his passion for music and his versatility in regards to the variety of music that he plays. “I really like knowing that there are people ‘new to the genre’ at some of my sets. I almost cater to them at that point because I want them to know that there’s good music in every genre. So, I will design my setlists accordingly. For example, I would have a ‘Dubstep set for people who don’t know or like dubstep,’ just to let them give it a second chance and thus grow in an area they would never have stepped towards before. The same with dance, trance, rock, metal, industrial and my favorite kind ‘cover/remake/remix’ sets,” shares Darkwatch. He continues, “The only success I have comes by way of my fans. Without them, I am still fairly unknown.


Other than that, common sense rules apply: be respectful and be good to everyone, and they will be good to you. I don’t really consider myself a ‘success’ as such. I’ve just been very lucky to work with some amazing ‘real’ and talented people. What’s important to me is that the number of people that I can reach out and touch, musically speaking, has definitely grown. I just want to be known as ‘that guy that plays good music.’ The music speaks for itself.”

the joy and fun into Second Life, and we couldn’t be happier to feature him this month. If you would like to find out more about his music or his sets, visit his website, www. anubisdarkwatch.com.

And for his fans, Darkwatch has some exciting news: a background project called “SLeek Radio” that streams music that he has specially chosen for stores and clubs after hours for people to just enjoy at any given moment while hanging out with friends or while shopping. “The people that usually approach me are those that have a lot on their plate and want one less thing to worry about. I pride myself on being the utmost professional in dress and manner in business, as well as putting my best foot forward as far as the music is concerned. A lot of shoppers and potential clubgoers always have their media on, and bad music can deter them from staying in one spot for an extended period of time. That’s where I would come in,” he explains. Darkwatch is the ideal person to liven up any party and to bring

A


A

Live Music

The many ways of

Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth Writer ShaiLi Alex Photographer Annough Lykin

H

e considers himself a nerd, he lives in a canyon in the forest where he can play music for people when he is not playing in real life, and he likes all of what Second Life® has to offer, including the international exposure, the creative process, and the fun people.His voice is soft and his songs are relaxing and full of personality, with vocal effects and an indescribable harmony. I’m talking about one of the best Second Life singers on the grid, Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth, also known as Oblee when performing. “Oblee is several disparate musical personalities behind one looper and a pile of instruments,” explains Wrigglesworth. Read on to find out more about the details of his career as a singer in SL® and in real life.


ShaiLi Alex: When did your interest in music begin, and when did you first begin singing here in Second Life? Obeloinkment Wrigglesworth: I recently focused my musical energy to Oblee, the act that uses the looper and makes weird, trippy, dancy, surreal music. Oblee is a project that has been metamorphisizing for a decade and maybe found it’s place in the stream now. I have been playing music my entire life in one form or another. I found SL in early 2008 and thought it was wonderful that I could play for people around the world. SA: How was your first experience here, and who has most encouraged you to sing? OW: I played drums with my band, Aftergrass, at the first show I ever performed in SL. We played at Darkstar, where Starling Glitterbuck showed me the ropes of SL, and encouraged me to develop a solo show that I could play in SL. I still play every other wednesday at Darkstar. SA: What do you think of your performances in SL thus far? Is there one that sticks out the most in your mind? OW: It is facinating to play where people can hear your lyrics so clearly. A lot of times, I can’t see much of the screen while I play but the crowd makes the

show; my computer is too slow to enjoy beautiful . (Smiles) Most of my best shows have been the most recent, and for me, I feel the show has been getting better each time. SA: When did your career begin to really take shape in SL, or rather, do you feel it has taken shape yet? OW: The process of building a fanbase in real life or SL is a long and difficult process. You have to constantly work to gain new audience and keep things interesting for your old audience. SA: Do you have any funny stories about some of your experiences in your career? OW: My first looper was not as nice as my new looper. Sometimes the “STOP” pedal would not work, so when I tried to change the song, it was constantly playing the earlier part. I would stand on it, then jump on it, and finally it would stop. It made many disasters in both real and Second Life. Looking back, I guess they were funny. SA: What kind of music do you perform? OW: I like music with a good beat and deep bass; the looper allows me to make it happen. I am influenced by almost all music, so the style is very mixed. I try to just create what comes to mind and I hope the result is unique.

A


SA: What can people expect to find at one of your shows? OW: They will find something unique to each show. I always add a different spin to original songs, so they’re never the exact same twice. I choose covers that will surprise and amuse people. SA: To what do you attribute the success that you’ve had thus far? OW: I don’t know how much success I’ve had, but I guess any of it comes from a lot of practice and a standard set that makes me always grow as a musician and writer. SA: Out of curiosity, what do you find to be the main characteristics of your fans? OW: They’re mostly complete and utter lunatics. SA: Do you have new projects in the works? OW: I’ve always got something in the works, but right now I am focusing on the Oblee looper guy show and staying the course with that. Someday, I’m going to have a front porch bluegrass band. SA: Where can people find you, and what do they have to do to listen you or to hire you for an event? OW: [Visit] my website, www. obeloinkment.com, or they can join my subscribo here. To hire me just drop me a notecard!

SA: Has anything changed in your life since the start of your career? OW: We’ll never again be the person we are right now. Everything changes, constantly. I like that! What a fun soul! After an interview like that, there’s not much more to say. “So, let’s all leave the problems aside and let Wrigglesworth’s music relax both of our lives!”

A


A

Media Mojo

Writer Lexie Jansma Photographer Draxtor Despres

A

ll is quiet on the set. The actors are all in their places. The director stares studiously into the camera. Every remaining member of the film team waits for the director to call “action” and start the scene. Wait! That is not how it is at all when the hero of the show is named Flufee, or when he is on a “meshion” each episode, nor when the director and creator Draxtor Despres has as much enthusiasm and energy as a school room full of children hyped on their morning sugar rush. Each taping of Flufee on a Meshion is controlled chaos pulled off seamlessly thanks to visionary Despres.


Draxtor

on a meshion


The opportunity and pleasure to sit down with this fanatical and fascinating creator was all mine. Despres originally called Munich, Germany home. He currently works in the audio industry. In 2007, he was working on a movie score when he was talking to a friend from Hamburg. “I had played in a band with him in the early 90’s. He said now that we have kids and do not want to tour anymore, we should start a virtual band.” Two minutes after hanging up with his friend, Draxtor Despres was created into the wonderful world of Second Life®. The funny part of all of this is that “my friend had gotten me into the game, but he himself had not signed up. He had just heard about SL® from his son.” Despres, however, did not rediscover his love of music in SL, but a love for machinima. “I wanted to document what people were doing. So, I became this video blogger essentially.” Many subjects captured his interest but one of the first was Neufreistadt, and the virtual democracy there. The intersection of SL and real life fascinated him. “These were people who had a REAL community. They had elections, they had cafes, museums, political parties, and events. It is one of the earliest communities in SL.” There was no subject that Despres was afraid to touch

and he covered everything from virtual libraries to Linden™ Government. After four years of reporting on SL Life, winning an award from Virtual Gitmo in 2008, and travelling to Kansas for the Cairo Project, the desire to do something more comical and narrative came to the surface for Despres. “I always wanted to do a more narrative style show, more comedy, and also a bit of a parody on SL life and community.” At this time, mesh began to make an appearance and Bytegang from Prague came out with the Flufee avatar. “I bought it immediately. I knew we could do stories around him. He could have so many adventures.” Despres called upon a friend in the machinima world, Pooky Amsterdam, and together in two days they wrote, shot, and edited the first episode. From that first episode Despres quickly made the decision to do two episodes a month. To do this, he pulled together a team of people to help with every aspect of the process from set design to flash animation scenes. “We were super ambitious. The script is important. We polish the dialogue and because I come from an audio background, I put a lot of work into the sound design and music. I approach the show as if it was network TV, schedules and


discipline.” Everyone working on the show works on it out of love and dedication as no one is paid for their work. “It is about the work, the final product. The schedule is brutal, but we all want the best quality. I want it to approach network quality.” With all this passion and dedication, there has to be a great deal of adventures for Flufee to go on. Despres shared that Flufee was having girl trouble and might have to flee the country to Europe where culture clash would hit poor Flufee. There is another trip in Flufee’s near future. “I am going to visit family in Germany. The plan is that we bring Flufee into the real world. Stylistically, this will be very different, which is always in the back of my mind to give episodes different aesthetic flavors.” The schedule does not allow a great deal of time for location scouting in SL. They are always on the lookout for something new, and if anyone has suggestions for Flufee to visit, do not hesitate to contact Despres. Not only are they developing new adventures, there are new friends joining Flufee as Bytegang develops even more characters for Flufee’s world. At this point in the interview, Flufee himself decided to drop in for a visit. He must have heard that we were talking about him. Flufee is a very social creature;


he has his own Plurk, Twitter, and Facebook account, and is not afraid to use them. You can catch his latest adventures on YouTube at youtu.be/cFNbUVp-44k, or on his blog meshinima.com. You will not want to miss out on all of Flufee’s hilarious and comical adventures. You never know where he might show up next!

A


A

Arts Feature


SL Writer Augusta Carver Photographer Sophy Meridoc

W

hen I stepped into Scottius Polke’s mushROOM Exhibit, it felt like I had entered a whimsically fun world of great proportions. When I first arrived, everything seemed relatively normal. Then the closer I came upon his room, the bigger everything seemed to get. I almost felt like Goldilocks stumbling upon the bear’s cabin. To me, mushROOM seemed to play with not only size, but also on one’s outlook, or how one sees things in a certain way. The immersive exhibit got me excited to explore the giant world around me. Playing with socks, jumping on the bed, to dancing in the air with amoebas, there is definitely fun to be had. I caught up with Polke to discuss his exhibit, and his interests in art in Second Life® and out.


Augusta Carver: What made you choose to create art in SL速? Scottius Polke: When I first joined, I had no idea that one could even show art in Second Life. While wandering around in those first couple months, I discovered galleries, and began to show my real life art in a few of them. I kidded at one point about threatening to make SL versions of them. But then I decided to give it a try, and had my debut opening of SL art at Project Z in the Cetus District. AC: Are you an artist in real life as well? SP: Yes. I have been doing art since I was a child; I have always enjoying drawing. When in college, assemblage and collage became a very important factor too. AC: Did you always want to be an artist? SP: I think I have. There have been times in my life when it has been more and less prominent. Fortunately since joining SL in 2008, it has stayed in the forefront in one form or another. AC: What was your inspiration for creating mushROOM? SP: I had been talking with the owner of Project Z, and he suggested that bringing my drawings into SL as a build could be exciting. That planted a seed in my head, and later on I looked through my sketchpads


and decided to try a theme that I use over and over: my bedroom. As I usually sketch in there, it makes sense that it pops up in my drawing quite often. AC: How long did it take for you to finish the project? SP: I started it in May of 2009 and worked on it off and on until it debuted in November 2009. However, the first few months were slow and there was an overhaul of the initial design in September. The next couple months, I worked on it several hours a day. AC: What do you enjoy most about being an artist? SP: First, I like that feeling of creating something unexpected. When a piece is really going well, it almost creates itself, and it can be exciting to see where it leads. The responses from other people are also an important factor. When working on something, I can lose perspective, so it is nice to get some more objective criticism or praise from an outside source. AC: Are there any other interests that you enjoy? SP: I take my dogs on long hikes, which helps clear out the jim-jams of being cramped up in a studio too long. I also have an unhealthy addiction to silly video games.


AC: Do you have any other projects you are currently working on? SP: I am mainly working on real life art at the moment. I stopped my fulltime job in the fall, so that has required that I concentrate on it more than SL art. AC: Is it always easy to find inspiration? SP: I have realized that “finding” inspiration is almost impossible. In fact, the more active I am in trying to find it, the harder it gets. It seems when my mind slows down and stops trying to analyze everything that inspiration finally reveals itself. AC: I read on your site that animals are a reoccurring theme in your work, why is that? SP: This is not a definite answer, but they have been a theme since I was a kid. There is definitely a liveliness of spirit to them, and they each have their own personality, much like human animals. AC: What has been your favorite thing to create to date? SP: As far as SL builds, the one that is most special to me is one called “the docks,” which closed earlier this month. Hypatia Pickens made a Machinima of it called “What Isn’t Underneath”, which is a story of hers inspired by the build. (See also AVENUE’s October 2011 issue for a special feature on “The Docks.”)


With a drive for art since his childhood days, Scottius Polke has been able take that passion and turn it into incredible works of art. The things one can create and do within SL are practically limitless. You can have so much fun and take things in any direction that you want in order to bring your message or idea to life. The talent and attention to detail taken to create this exhibit really shows from every direction you look. mushROOM is a fun place to explore and a must-see for those who enjoy art and exploring the wonderful and new things that SL has to offer. For more information on Scottius Polke and his work visit his website www.srolfe.com. To check out the mushROOM exhibit, as well as his other inworld work, visit Lennox Hill 39.167.1010.

A


A

Featured Artist

Photography

of

Quika Basevi Writer Lexie Jansma Photographer Quika Basevi


A

s long as Second Life® has been alive, the common avatar has been capturing every moment, from awkward newness, through that rebellious first year, to a more seasoned and jaded SL® resident. As the social society has developed, so have the tools and skills we use to capture them. The use of Windlight settings seems like old news these days. Morphed photographs combining an avatar with a real life person is passé. The newest rage is shadows to create lifelike three dimensional images. As the technology improves, the lines

between real life photography and SL photography blurs. The images that bring a smile to your lips in your everyday life can be held up beside those images from SL, and that same smile creeps across your lips. The best part is that no special equipment is required. One of those talented artists just capturing those moments as he travels across the grid is Quika Basevi. Basevi’s work is deceptively simple yet profound. There is a joyous exuberance that can be

found in a simple image of him running across the white sands of the SL beaches, to a more somber melancholy to the play of light and shadow in his work. It is not just people that inspire this artist but buildings and landscapes dot his impressive portfolio. Basevi uses very few tools to post process or edit his imagery so there is a beautiful rawness to the images that allow them to live and breathe. If you are as impressed with his work as we are, then sneak a peek for more at www.flickr. com/photos/quikabasevi.


A


A

Inspirations

MAN UP

Curated by Paola Tauber


artwork Š Dailyn Holfe


artwork Š Raul Crimson


artwork Š LaPlegua


artwork Š Gabe Bookmite


artwork Š maclane


artwork Š Theo Cluny


artwork Š Sabbian Paine


A


www.avenuesl.com | AVENUE at GOL 45.153.22


AVENUE Magazine March 2012