Photos by Prandi Capalini

You know that I am a live music aficionado. My last several posts have really highlighted that part of my SL life. But I like the visual arts too. I have always loved Callipygian Christensen’s photography. I’ve learned so much by discussing Calli’s art with her, talking about technique and vision and structure. So if Calli tells me that she has found a great new photographer that I will like, I know I am in for a treat. I have been remarkably inept lately at telling you about things BEFORE they happen (remind me to tell you about the fashion show NEXT weekend). Today, however, I am actually on schedule and can post the notice about the OPENING!!!

Let me rely on Calli to tell you about Prandi Capalini’s photography:

From his first postcard posted to Snapzilla 6 months ago, Prandi has provided a unique view of Second Life through the eyes of an old wandering sailor. Saturated monotones and exceptional use of light give his images the feel of a different time and place. Each one gives just a glimpse of a moment that leaves us wanting to know more of that story. With over 900 images now shown on Snapzilla, Prandi has selected his favorites to be shown inworld for the first time.

I tried to wangle a sneak preview but it has not yet happened. So come join me at the preview this Sunday, Nov 1st at 11am SLT and we will enjoy it together!

The Photography of Prandi Capalini
at The Small Gallery, Shengri La

Sunday, November 1, 2009 through Sunday, December 13, 200

The Fashion Research Institute invites you to the opening reception of this exhibit on Sunday, Nov. 1st, 2009 from 11:00am SLT to 12:30pm SLT. Drop by, meet the artist and enjoy his work in the tranquil tropical setting of Shengri La. If you cannot attend the opening, please drop by the gallery anytime and enjoy the exhibit.

The Discerning Eye

I really do not observe very well. There is nothing wrong with my vision (well, maybe that’s debatable) but basically I can see what’s there. I don’t observe, however. At least, I don’t observe in SL. Right from the beginning I decided that there was no point in knowing what people looked like, because they change all the time. I don’t, but I think I’m in a minority. i recognize meI focus on the text: avatar names, labels, local chat, IM. I almost never cam about. I tend to pull my camera to one general over-all view and then socialize. People are always asking me “do you see that?” or they all comment in local chat about someone’s appearance/arrival and I have not seen it. People always say to me “watch this” and I still struggle with my camera to find where the “this” is that I am supposed to watch. In a sense, this is very odd, since I think that I typically learn visually – by SEEING pictures or actions. When my husband and I learned to ballroom dance (and oh my, we are HOT, trust me) he would stand there with his teacher discussing in great deal WHAT he was to do. My teacher would grab me and lead me through my paces. I could watch in the mirrors, feel my body learn what it was to do, watch when my teacher demo’d with another teacher or student. Visual learning. But for some reason, I’m really bad at this in SL. LOL. Ask poor Honour, who has been trying for months to teach me to use my camera, to build, to OBSERVE. Still, my typical approach is really NOT visual.

I was in a fashion show the other day. We were all requested to be brunettes with short hair (we were modelling jewelry, need to display those earrings!). So I found some hair, modified it a bit (it was in my face and another lock stuck out too much) and there I was – brunette. Ahuva the brunetteI was chatting with a friend and said that NO ONE would recognize me, since people always seem to comment on my blonde hair and to find me by my hair. I amended that statement by saying Calli and Dale would recognize me. The two of them definitely OBSERVE. Calli saw a picture of me and recognized the skin I was wearing. I was totally blown away, as I’d not worn that skin in months in SL. But she was right. Dale is usually the first to notice if I’ve goofed and worn an entire folder, thereby blowing away my usual shape/features. *grin* Dale notices before *I* do. I just do NOT see. But I figure most people see my hair and nothing more.

pretty in pinkEither I am totally wrong and in the minority about how most people view SL avatars, or add my husband to the group with discernment. There I was, all brunette, on my pose ball for the show. My name was not showing in the particular view I had up. My husband walked over, looked at the screen. He said “Who’s that? Oh, it’s you.” I looked at him and said “how do you know it’s ME?” He said “I recognize you – that’s your face.” I was totally blown away. He recognizes my avatar’s FACE????? I’m not sure that *I* would recognize my face. Maybe, but probably not. Actually – he has also noticed when I’ve blown away my shape. So, either I’m totally out of things, or my husband KNOWS me.

What about you? What do YOU see? (LOL – I know – if I was running Emerald- I would at least know WHERE you were looking) Do you know me without my hair? Do you recognize YOURSELF in the viewer?

Burning Life

Burning Life
Oura on FireI finally made it to Burning Life 2009. I was so envious reading about Dale and Honour having such fun times there. So Sunday morning when Oura tp’d me to meet her there, I grabbed the taxi eagerly. Except…. RL interfered. We weren’t there 5 minutes before I had to logoff. 😦 I never even got to grab the notecard that explained the build. I THINK that it was an interpretation of the creative process. I do KNOW that Oura is pretty in fire.

The temple at midnightI had resolved to spend all day Sunday building. I didn’t actually make “all day”. I got started somewhere in the afternoon. It wasn’t going well. Actually, it didnt go well at all. It was one of those nights were I ended up crying at 2am and swearing I would see this project through but that I would NEVER build again. I still felt that way when I finally finished at 4am and went to…. well, not sleep and certainly not rest. sunsetWhat is it when you are not exactly conscious but you aren’t really asleep either? Anyway. /me shoves thoughts of Sunday’s work and not-work and erroneously deleted builds out of mind.

Honour and Ahuva dancing in the crowdHonour explained to me that I did not have an accurate understanding of the RL Burning Man ceremony. We talked about it a bit. I discovered that I’d already missed the Burning Man part of the SL week of celebration and the Burning Woman as well. But I was still in time for the Burning Temple. Okay. I have to confess. I am not at all comfortable or interested in the concept of a temple burning. even the attendees were burningWhile I don’t think about it a lot, I suppose I do hold a bit of a grudge against Vespasian and Titus. Be that as it may, I decided that maybe I should try to experience an event that is apparently an SL tradition. So I met Honour over at the temple, well before the ceremony was to begin.

temple temple burning brightHonour warned me that it gets very laggy. So I switch to low ARC hair, turned off my mysti and other scripts. There was incessant drumming, necessary I would think at such a ritual. So we both turned on dance animations and moved to the drums. 🙂 I continued working on the other machine, watching the crowd grow over here. There really were a huge number of people arriving, in all sorts of outfits. It did begin to get laggy. I set up my camera in advance, anticipating major lag once the burning began.

the wind whips the flamesMany people had left messages in the temple. Just before the fire began, the messages were read out in local chat. Some were funny, many were quite touching. Then the fire itself began. (LOL – good thing too – I’d gotten a message that Komuso was going to be playing and you KNOW how I feel about hearing Ko!!!) The fire was quite impressive. It started small and grew. The wind whipped it up at one point. I was relieved that it did NOT trigger any RL memories, recent or historical of burning buildings. But the building did indeed burn to oblivion. charred ruinsI found that satisfying. It’s the realistic type of touch that make SL so much fun. That comment sounds weird to me as I read it back (maybe because I havent had more than 12 hours sleep in the last 3 days). But somehow it makes SL more “cool” when it can pull off RL touches (yes, J, like shadows under the trees).

almost nothing remainsSo I stayed and watched the temple burn to the ground. It occurred to me later that evening (morning) that I should have immolated myself as well, but all I can say now is – things got better, the way they do, once I had some sleep. 🙂 Thanks Dale, Oura and Honour, for ensuring that I finally got to experience a truly historic part of SL!

Building 101

my working nurserySo. I’ve been building. Wow. There’s a lot more to this building stuff than just rezzing a box. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have joined the Impossible Missions Force. *grin* The Incredible Metaverse Force? The Intrepid Magicians Force? Actually, our mission is not impossible at all – there are some absolutely amazing builders/scripters on this team (present company excluded) It’s just that I keep hearing the IMF theme song playing in my head as I login to face that day’s “mission”. I rather doubt I need to worry about being captured or killed in the line of duty, but I do wonder why they were never warned of death by exhaustion and lack of sleep. *grin* I wonder if this post will self-destruct in 5 seconds?

My 2nd tree - the small chestnutI whined to you about the textures. I can’t do that anymore. I have been supplied with some magnificent textures. It’s up to me to do them justice. I started with the landscaping assignment. (Technically my first challenge was the scrum song but, sigh, no one actually wanted those results. Bigger sigh. You and I – we did SUCH a great job on those songs.) Anyway, landscaping that island went well. I was asked to make trees. Sculpty trees. I have never worked with sculpty anythings before. weeping willowSo, back to my good friend and unofficial mentor, Honour. HELP! 🙂 Crash course in tree building. Here is something that I suspect many of you will not believe or understand. I have GREAT difficulty in visualizing 3D. I know SL gives us arrows, etc. Sometimes I understand and the object moves as I suspect it will. But mostly – it is totally hit or miss. If I am not in the groove – I can over shoot my target repeatedly for 10 minutes or more. The mega rowanI just can’t SEE it. I can only see one dimension at a time. So sometimes building is incredibly frustrating. Editing is frustrating. Believe me when I say that building a 3D object is a major challenge to me visually, not just creatively and technically. So I built a tree, a weeping Japanese cherry, under Honour’s eye. Because SOMEONE needed to be able to see. *Grin*. It was not bad (you can see it front and center in the first picture above). I showed my tree. It passed El Exigente’s approval. *grin* So – the verdict was delivered: build more trees. my 3rd tree - the oakGulp. I foolishly promised 3 trees within 2 days. Tree 2, a small chestnut, was okay. Went relatively smoothly. Then, as several of you know, I was building like crazy and getting nowhere. I put up a very snarly “busy”message. Kudos to Oura here. She broke through the snarl and offered to help. She served as my eyes because I was in one of my blind to multiple dimensions states. I managed to build the frames for a weeping willow and for an oak. I got the oak done by the deadline. I had a weeping willow done. But it was “eh”. It looked good head-on, but if you camm’ed up, and looked down, oh my oh my. Anyway, I managed to get that done the DAY I said it would be done (rebuilt that foliage 4 times) but I didn’t make it by the daily team meet. So what was my reward? “Ahuva – keep building sculpty trees. And if you could do some mega-sized ones as well, that would be awesome”. Awesome. mega chestnutHow can you resist a challenge like that???? I can’t. Sigh. So, I returned to churning out trees. As you may have noticed by a prior post, *grin*, it had its ups and downs. But – I learned to build trees. I did get better. Yes – I see things that need to be fixed on the weeping willow. Yes – of course J found the one bare branch in my beautiful oak. But… I am learning, I am getting there. My mega-chestnut is, imho, beautiful. The rowan is quite spectacular, but I did have people critique it along the way. So I don’t consider it 100% “mine”. Only the mega-chestnut. That is “mine”. *grin*

ahuva's_chairsI’ve learned other things as well. That trying to build what you see in RL is not as easy as you might think, no matter how simple the form appears. I took a picture of a chair that I thought would be perfect for the first island, a social gathering space. I did indeed build something very close. Ahuva-built garden furnitureThanks to PatriciaAnne for advice about the arms. I actually stumbled on one answer as she was responding, but she saved me much time by explaining the other issue. *grin* Love you, PatriciaAnne!!! I also learned that it really makes a difference where you put the root prim. 🙂

How it looked it edit modeBadges. LOL. I am making handouts and freebies for the people, too. I am not just a gardener anymore. I worked on a conference badge. It’s not that easy to make a shape that fits about a neck. Just think on that a bit. It must curve and bend and shape. It must be a tortured prim or a sculpti. Yes – I got help learning how to do that too. *grin* But I was extremely pleased with it. I figured out the textures all myself – got the logo on the lanyard, oriented correctly. 🙂 Then I wore the badge. Edited it to position it properly. Looked fine. Came out of edit and…. oh wow. I must not have SAVED my changes??? The badge went flying through my shoulder, instead of staying positioned in front. Repeat the edit, looked fine, come out. Repeat the badge through my shoulder. how it looked when my AO took overI sat and stared. And watch as the badge MOVED. ROFLMAO. I was trying to be clever. MANY items get attached to the chest of the avatar. I wanted to put the badge someplace it wouldn’t interfere, in case the people were wearing an attachment. So I attached it to …….. my nose. *giggle* Which was fine til my AO moved my avatar’s nose. The badge followed the nose. LOL. Okay, that just wasn’t going to work. At the moment – the badge is attached to the chest. *grin* I’m hoping that will be okay for most folks. It’s those little things that get you. The kind of thing that once you “know”, you never do again. But if you don’t know, it can be quite baffling.

shadowsJust for good measure, while I was still struggling with “more sculpty trees”, I was told to add shadows for realism. I had never seen/done a shadow. I got that it was a texture, but, confession: I have been really bad at making my own textures. I spent hours figuring out how to do an alpha texture of just TEXT!!!! It can’t get any simpler than that. Sometimes I really wonder if I should have stuck to scripting. Anyway, I was up til 12:30 am the other night struggling with 2 sculpty trees (hence my Apology to Joyce Kilmer. That post has a subtitle but I suspect my life is forfeit if I print that.) I woke at 4:30am to continue working. I made 2 shadows. Look – they might not be the best shadows. But they are mine. I made them. By myself. one good, one not so good shadowBy the meeting deadline. In the picture that shows trees with shadows – the shadow on the right foreground is not mine – was given to me by a teammate. The shadow on the left distance is one of mine, layered and copied. You can see that my shadows have a way to go. But, I AM doing this. I may not be the best and there might be flaws, but I am making my deadlines and meeting my commitments. I am doing the best I can. It seems to be okay.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I have included here my chairs, tables, badge, shadows and some trees. Happy Trees to you, until we meet again!

Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

Building a tree
I think that I shall never see
A thing I hate as much as trees.
I used to love them, this is true.
But now tonight I build and rue
The day I said that I would play
At building flowers, trees all day.
I cannot quit, nor can I stop
And still my mind whirls like a top.
You’d think I’d learn, perhaps grow wise,
And not keep giving in to pride.
Poems should be the work for me.
Who thought I should be building trees?

Another Musical Find

I’ve had some talks lately with folks on my friends list. They told me they were bored in SL, that they thought they should leave. I replied that we all feel that way at times, that it’s a cycle. We all need to take a break occasionally. I said to one friend that she should remember what she did when she first rezzed: she went everywhere, tried everything. She didn’t have a routine – everything was fresh and new. Heaven knows there is enough in SL that you could do something new every day. So when I logged in a few days ago, weary and tired from work, wanting a diversion and finding myself dissatisfied with my “usual” routine, I remembered my own words. A group notice came up from Live Music Enthusiasts promoting artists I’d never heard. So I took the taxi.

David and OneI found myself listening to DavidRamborger Texan (on the guitar) and OneSummer Oh (vocals). I don’t remember the venue. A beach-type local, very pleasant. I perched myself on a bar stool and settled in to listen. Well. I was pleasantly surprised. David really rocks on the guitar and OneSummer was a good vocalist. I really enjoyed their song selection. I WAS a bit surprised that they tackled the Doors. Somehow in my mind, no one can touch Jim Morrison. But they did a very good rendition of Riders on the Storm. I forget what came next – also something I enjoy. Then they swung into Stevie Ray Vaughan. So their play list alone won me over. But I thought they did a good show. Good music, singing, nice chat. I went there expecting nothing and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I broke my routine, was in a new place, hearing new music. I felt great. It was a whiff of “newness”. That’s part of the thrill of SL, so much to enjoy and explore.

Yesterday I was hanging about again, supposedly working (on my blog, on my building, on textures). Apparently I was more interested in TALKING about working than I was about working. Because when Live Music Enthusiasts announced that DavidRamborger and OneSummer were playing, I followed the TP. By the way you two – you need to tell me what nicknames you prefer. One and DavidIt is simply too much to type your full names all the time. *grin* David is going to be David. But I’m unsure if you should be One or Summer??? LOL. Can’t use OS – that means Opensim to me! The performance had already started. I won’t mention the venue because actually I was quite annoyed with it. The host was spamming in local chat, those huge pictures that take 15 lines. Also doing vocal gestures that interferred with One’s talking to the audience. Not to mention incessant spamming for tips for the venue. Um. Maybe if you’d SHUT UP I’d consider tipping. Sheesh. I came to hear David and One – NOT YOU. Even more annoying was the fact that David and One were unable to rez a tip jar there. That was really aggravating. Sigh. One was apparently fighting off a cold/flu. You could hear the raspiness in her throat when she was chatting, but she was able to sing through it. She did do a slightly different repertoire than their usual (One and I began chatting) but it was lovely. They did lots of low, smokey love songs. They did a rendition of Janis Joplin’s Summertime (yes, I know that is from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess – but they did it Joplin-style. And I’m betting more of you reading this have heard of Janis than have heard of Gershwin.) Again, it was an extremely enjoyable performance (ignoring the venue issues). I’m hoping to hear them again soon. I’m hoping that some of you, my friends and readers, will come join me!

Tiffy’s Jewelry

Ahuva in HerbalI’m so glad that I am friends with Shenlei. We are both totally consumed by our work. Our work is our pleasure. *grin* So we do understand why the other one is always too tired and too busy to play. But we chat, we laugh. And Shen makes sure that I get a break from MY work by helping out in HER work. LOL. I got to model again for an FRI fashion show, The Purple Prose show featuring Eclectica Jewelry by Tiffy Vella. For all the details, check out Michele’s blog – she always has the good write-ups on these things. *grin* She has the details about the artist and product. But I, as you know, think life is all about ME, so my blog talks about what *I* see and do at these shows.

Tiffy and KrissyI had fun! Tiffy’s jewelry is lovely. I’ve now been here in SL for nearly 16 months. I’ve seen quite a bit of jewelry. I’m very happy that I get to model Tiffy’s products and get to KEEP what I model!!! Whoooeeee! I love the set I was modeling the other day – Herbal. (So appropriate it for me – is it not? Me who has become the official landscaper/gardener of her virtual office.) Herbal is simple but elegant. I know that often I like garish things, but not in my jewelry. For jewelry – I like elegance, style, class. Tiffy combines complexity and simplicity and creates beautiful, beautiful wearable art. I do hope you get a chance to stop her store, Eclectica, in Sinaburoe and and see her work for yourself.

Calli, beautiful in EclecticaAs for the fashion show, they are always such fun!!! Here’s a litte insider-info: we models set up group chat and yak it up behind the scenes. *grin* Well, we’re not allowed to get up and move. Sometimes when a show is pulling a huge crowd, we don’t even like to cam too much. I don’t know about YOU, but lots of people do have issues with crashing when doing too much camming. So we talk and laugh and play that way during the hour or 90 minutes that we are posed and on view. It’s also a chance for me to get to see some friends that I only see when we model. Everyone is always so busy!!! 🙂 Way too much to do for work AND play. A fashion show is also a chance for me to reconnect with other friends. Eclectica jewelry showI mean – I can’t move for an hour or more. *grin* So I start looking at my Friends List to see who’s on, and I start IM’ing like mad. I got to talk with Krissy!!! We used to play all the time, then our schedules changed and we are rarely on at the same time. But there she was. I sent the taxi and she came and fell in love with Tiffy’s work also. That was an extra nice bonus – bringing together two friends. I think that I might have a chance to model again in a few weeks. I love the break from working and I love seeing friends. And I love the fun of being “on stage” in SL. Maybe next time I will remember to post in ADVANCE so that you all can come and play too!

Don’t Want No Cure

KomusoMy name is Ahuva Heliosense and I am enamoured of Komuso Tokugawa. I “discovered” him several months ago. I LOVE his music. I love his singing. It makes me crazy that he is in Japan and that means that whenever I want to hear him, I am staying up WAY past my bedtime. And most times I don’t know that he is playing until maybe an hour before show time. Which means I have been thinking that I am going to sleep and all of a sudden I realize: no, I’m staying up to hear Komuso. So the other day when Komuso sent out a notecard stating upcoming concerts, I was thrilled. I could PLAN my sleep schedule around his concert schedule! *grin* Even better than planning naps, I could invite RL friends to come inworld and hear Ko. I’ve been raving about him for so long but I never know in advance so that I can bring friends in.

Isn’t it fun when you are talking to someone in RL and you discover that not only have they HEARD of SL, but they have an avatar???? OMG, I was thrilled. We were heading to a RL rock concert and talking about work and such. RL friend becomes SL friendTurns out he rezzed back in 2005. *grin* He’d not been inworld in awhile, but as we talked, I could see his eyes light up. He asked about places and musicians. Turns out we listen to the same SL musicians. Of course I shared about Komuso. AND mentioned the upcoming concert. I didn’t think much more about our conversation. But the next night, Dz and I were dancing at the first Komuso concert when I got an IM. Mickey was saying “hi!” “Did I know who Mickey was”, he asked? LOL. That was easy. I replied that he must be my “date” from the night before. Indeed, that was who that was. He’d actually come specifically to hear Komuso as well as to reconnect with SL. I sent him the taxi and the 3 of us rocked on to Komuso. Of course it was a great show. Can Komuso DO a bad show??? I’m happy to say that Mickey agreed with me that Komuso was great and he enjoyed the show as well.

Faust, Dz and Ahuva rocking to KomusoAfter that show, we had time before Ko’s SECOND show of the night (and all at reasonable hours for me, I must say). So we played a bit, chatted, did an art opening (LOVE Calli’s work). Then it was time for the 2nd show. I texted to Faust and told him to get himself inworld – Komuso was playing. LOL. Didn’t take HIM long to log in. Then while the 3 of us were dancing and having a wonderful time, another friend IM’d. He also likes live music, so Gryph accepted the taxi I sent. Another Komuso Tokugawa fan was born. *grin*

I really truly LOVE Komuso’s music and playing. Many of you have heard me groan in mingled agony and ecstasy when I’m just about to log for the evening, and the Chat comes along: “Alrighty then….. ” And it’s Ko and he’s telling us he’s about to play. I cannot log while he is playing. Gryph joins the partyI had my head on the table in front of my keyboard, nearly weeping from fatigue and from joy at the music. That night Komuso played a version of House of the Rising Sun that was practically orgasmic. It was raw, gritty, rough, ripping. I mean – I honestly don’t know any other way to describe it. A peak experience??? I had one of those singing with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, but that was an out-of-body experience. Komuso’s music is so much more visceral. Earthy. Fills my soul. My blood runs hotter when I listen to Komuso perform. *smile* I like his music. I IM’d him the other night and told him my description of his House of the Rising Sun. He laughed and played it again that night. Bliss. I may ruin my health by giving up sleep for Komuso, but what a way to go.

Secret Bunker

Deep in the Secret BunkerThe other day I was hanging about in SL, relaxing, looking for something to do. I didn’t want to work – this was just after pulling a near all-nighter to landscape an island. I was in a musical mood, having seen Bruce Springsteen LIVE the night before, and hearing Komuso the night before that. *smile* Life can be so sweet at times. HellSpawned and I were IMing, trying to decide what would be amusing. Suddenly he said: “oooo – a friend just sent me a tp to a private concert. this could be good!” (Well, HE probably didn’t say “oooooo”, but I’m writing this story.) So Hell followed the tp and sent the taxi for me. It reminded of “The Pajama Game“. *grin* We were being allowed into Hernando’s Hideaway!!!

Just knock three times and whisper low, that you and I were sent by Joe.
Then Strike a match and you will know you’re in Hernando’s Hideaway OLE!

MischSo I rezzed in to Misch’s secret bunker. Oh yes, that is what he said. This was his secret bunker (I think there was a big sign outside that SAID Secret Bunker) and he was going to play guitar and sing for friends. I settled onto a box as people continued to tp in. Only in SL can you be hanging out in a secret bunker and someone decides to ride a giant slug. *smile* It was a very interesting crowd of friends.

providing one's own seatingYou never know what you are going to find in the way of live music in SL. Most is pretty good. Some is “ouch”. Misch – well, all I can say is that *I* hope Misch does not remain a secret. I so enjoyed his playing. I liked his playing, his song selection, his sense of humor. I had a great time. He played for over an hour. I didn’t leave until he gently told those of us there that he really needed a RL break, and he was going to stop now. I decided that was probably a hint for: please go home now. *grin*

Thank you to Hell for bringing me with him. Thank you to Misch, for allowing guests of guests to bring guests. 🙂 Thank you to Misch for a wonderful afternoon of music and good humor. Please have more concerts in your secret bunker. Please make sure to let me know – I want to be there!!!