Monday, April 30, 2012

"The A List"

               Within the vastness of Second Life there is a great deal to explore and any person, unless guided by a friend or knowing where to search or what to look for, can easily get overwhelmed. There’s so many clubs and places to hang out at, it’s easy to get lost.

When I was a noob in SL almost 5 years ago (My rez date is 6/12/2007), and didn’t really know anyone as I aimlessly wandered around looking to make new friends and see where the hot spots were. When I first started SL I didn’t know I had to be in a sandbox to open a furry avatar box. Luckily one of the people I ran into was a lady named Raftwet Jewell at a club named TJ Icey’s, which is now dance Island. Raftwet is Xavier’s wife as Xavier Thiebaud is the founder of the group you may have heard about from hearsay called the “The A List.”

Now there’s good news for someone wondering where the best of the best resides in SL and where their digital self needs to go. “The A List” compiles all of the best events into one group. It’s pretty handy when lots of clubs ask for a group to become a VIP to get the heads up on their events. At 42 groups max that would take up lots of space getting a VIP at every club you liked. Plus there’s non club groups you may like. Even worse is when you only had 25 groups a few years ago. The A List solves that one problem.

            In the words of Xavier Thiebaud the founder of the SL “The A List,” “It seemed as if there was a need to be filled. Raftwet and I collectively travelled the grid and invited those who had excellence. Before that everyone was segregated and very cliquey. It was not easy but we successfully tied many people from many walks of life and interest into our group.”

Xavier and his longtime wife Raftwet worked hard around SL nurturing their A List making it grow. For the past four years since its birth Xavier and Raftwet looked in every nook and cranny of the digital realm of Second Life looking for the best to add to their list.

One great thing as I got answers back from Xavier and Raft is that anyone would find something of interest from the A List. For example my buddy Qwark Allen when I logged on SL happened to DJing 80’s music and pop music along with some house. The only way I knew he was DJing by checking the A List under notices. I quickly ported over and had a great time.

Xavier told me that everything from Opera to Country music is on “The A List.” Art gallery openings to opera to grand ballrooms to dance with that special someone. Opera or art not your cup of tea? There are also notices about DJs playing electronic music like Trance, house, techno or psytrance from a popular DJ like Healer Ladybird or Qwark Allen. You’re not into a techno beat? There are live rock performers on the A List as well to warp to and listen in and have a good time. Not really in a music mood but you would rather laugh? The A List has comedy acts too!

Any Joe or Jane resident is allowed to join the A List after being in SL for one year sorry for those who just started SL a month ago or so. However if you just started SL you could still follow them on Facebook under the A List. Some A list members have the ability to send notices to promote their clubs or live performers to promote their live music act.

For example if a live performer or DJ wanted to promote him or herself they have to talk to Xavier and or Raft to be able to send notices.  This helps keeps the group spam free keeps up the high quality of the A List’s musicians and artists etc. Nobody wants to see a notice about to keep their teeth clean in Second Life either. Also not being a drama Llama helps and Xavier doesn’t want any D listers however in Xavier’s words

Xavier Thiebaud, "We look for people who are at least a year old, so most of the time it means they are established on the grid."

Xavier hinted there was celebrities within the A list that you could see with the tag “A List Celebrity”  around SL. Xavier told me that as of now there’s a little over 400 people within the A List.

Xavier says to join the A List as a year or older avatar you have to pay a one-time fee of 2,500 Linden UNLESS you happen to know a friend to refer you. The good news is I Grease Coakes am a member of the A list so if I know you I could refer you to the A List if you’re a buddy of mine.

So if you want the very best of SL and you have been around a year at least look into the A List by searching under groups “THE A LIST!” Xavier and Raftwet are always looking for fresh pixelated avatars to expand their A List and as I trade off you can tell your friends and family you’re a grade A avatar as a furry, human, robot or whatever.

Grease Coakes

Sunday, April 22, 2012

DJ "Naughty" Nydia's Day at the Relay

Sunday April 15th was a pretty active day for the Relay for Life. There was live musician ax Kleene performing for charity, and a Relay Road Rash party and racing event that I stopped at briefly. Among the events was an afternoon of DJs playing not just for the audience but also in a competition for the "Best DJ in SL" from 1 to 4 SL time.  It wasn't just for the day. Those who came out on top would be competing later in semifinals.

Among the teams there were the Passionate Redheads. And whom better to compete for the Redheads than the head of the FCA club alliance, the owner of Club Zero Gravity, and experience from numerous clubs around Second Life: the Redheads' own DJ "Naughty" Nydia Tungsten.

TP on down and bring your friends- at The Legends Classic Rock Club - party is on the beach - jump on down! Nydia is getting ready - vote her best DJ in SL by donating to the kiosk while she plays!

The event was just outside the club, right beside the boardwalk and onto the beach, people dancing away on the sand as the DJ spun the tunes while dancing behind the stand. Madonna Milena was the DJ before Nydia, whom looked a bit naughty herself with her green latex outfit. But soon it was Nydia's turn, and friends of the "Vixen of Steel" human and furred alike ported in to both enjoy her music and support her in the competition. Nydia has a reputation for playing entertaining but occasionally raunchy fare. But she kept her selection somewhat tame for the Relay. Still, there were a few tunes that reminded people why her KVXN Radio's slogan is "where the random tunes are … random." Among them were, "He Had it Coming," "God is a Girl," and "Sexy Naughty Bitchy Me."

I pick all my skirts to be a little too, sexy,
Just like all of my thoughts, they always get a bit, naughty,
When I'm out with my girls, I always play a bit, bitchy,
Can't change the way I am,
sexy, naughty, bitchy me.

Throughout the hour, the crowd danced to Nydia's music and chipped in at the kiosk, a mix of avatar types and members of various Relay teams, as well as people outside the Relay coming for the music. Finally, the hour was up. Trader1 Whiplash thanked her, "Thank You Nydia. … Your Total was $L7,281." This put Nydia third among the DJs at the event in raising money, and at the end of the event, she was still in third.

Talking to Trader later on, he told me there would be two more weekends for the DJ contest, round two this weekend, round three next weekend. On May 5th, the top four of the DJs of all three weekends will compete in the semi-finals. The next day on May 6th, the top two face off at the May Day main stage.

The Passionate Redheads will be involved in another DJ event in a few days. On Tuesday April 24th, Dusk Griswold will be playing at the "Dual Decades" event at Club Cutlass.

Later on, Nydia and the Redheads headed to "Le Palais Du Soleil" in Southern Colorado (98, 170, 51). The purpose: to give out a motorcycle as the prize for a raffle. At locations, there was a special RFL kiosk, one with a purple crescent, and a picture of the prize motorcycle. But this wasn't just any motorcycle. This was a Special Edition MLCC Majestic with the RFL logo painted on.

April 15 one of the most hated days in the U.S.A. due to the fact it is the deadline to pay all TAXES, so why not give someone a great day by giving away the MLCC Majestic RFL special edition motorcycle  back where it all started the Le Palais du Soliel from 4 to 6 dress ready to ride , the tunes will be provided by DJ Naughty Nydia, so come ready to have a good time.

In contrast to the DJ contest, the dress at the raffle was more formal due to the settling. Attendence for the event was light at first, the raffle taking place at the same time as a number of other Relay events. But numbers soon picked up. For almost two hours, everyone danced to more of Nydia's tunes. Then it was time to choose a winner.

Nydia Tungsten: okay lets see who the winner is
RFL of SL 2012 Official Central Networked Raffle Vendor shouts: Whoo!  Well done to Skylark Lefavre You have won the raffle!
Nydia Tungsten: Heh, Skylark won!

Skylark "Strawberry Sweetkins" Lefavre, one of the Passionate Redheads team, had won the bike raffle. The raffle had brought in 4200 Lindens, bringing the total raised by the Redheads to over 40,000 Lindens. Nydia expressed her wish that the raffle had brought in more, but everyone else was pleased with the results.

As of the writing of this article, the Passionate Redheads have raised a total of 44,300 Lindens. This despite several key members being absent due to various real life problems. There are more events in store, including Dusk Griswold's DJ at Cutlass, and even a "Bid Me Human" event in the works.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 6, 2012

The New Life Church

Second Life reflects real life in a number of ways. Among them, people coming to church here on the Grid. Among them is the New Life Church, led by Sixgin Ares (Pastor Dan) and Lynne Applewhyte.

Sixgin is a pastor in real life, and has been in Second Life for a few years. In 2008 when interviewed by Second Life Newspaper, he was in charge of the Church of the Living God in the COTLG sim.

Lynne had gotten her start in another Grid, the Opensim New World. There, she learned how to build, and eventually owned two sims there. Forming the "New Life Church," others could join up and get a home there if they asked. The group went from a beginning number of five to 380. Trouble was, she found the place rather unstable.

She had first found out about Second Life in 2006, hearing about it on "Good Morning America." Giving it a try, however, "Everything was gray." A few years later, she had a new computer and was willing to give it another try. She began preaching there as well, finding it more stable. She continued to expand her ministries. She still does some work on Opensim, though is no longer expanding there.

Lynne first met up with Sixgin in 2011, him still preaching at his own church. Soon, he began holding services at hers. "He's pretty handy to have around," Lyne told me, then grinned, "So I married him. Actually, we met in real life. We married in December."

New Life Church in Second Life has several events a week. The Saturday service is at 11:45AM with Sixgin. The Sunday services are 11:45AM with Sixgen and 4:45 PM with Lynne. Tuesday has another sermon by Lynne at 4:45 PM. On Thursday at 4PM is a prayer group. On Friday, there is a Bible study group at 5PM.

There are dances at the nearby club every Saturday evening, and a small freebie store close by. There is a movie theater, which can show a total of 11 movies. There's also a 7Seas fishing area.

When asked how many attended services, they answered 14-16 was a frequent number, but it was growing over time. Anyone is welcome to join their church, and those with artistic talents are especially welcome. They sometimes preach at other places and groups in Second Life, such as Sarafina Flow's River of Life Ministries. They also do skits, recordings of some which can be found on youtube. They also have a group in Facebook: New Life Christian Center in Second Life.

Of those coming by their church on the Grid, "We find people come and go fairly quickly." Of the five founding members, "only we and Carpenter are left." They were introduced to Inworldz, but didn't find it as "cost effective" to establish a church as in Second Life, "there was a nice church … but few showed up."

Last Easter, a number of pastors came to New Life Church. Sixgin built a special stage, and the visiting preachers had up to a half an hour each to give a sermon. Their Christmas session had a candlelight service.

Lynne mentioned, "I was ordained a minister in real life. The ceremony was also done in Second Life." She mentioned one of the men from the board that approved her came to Second Life to see the church for himself. He observed things for a couple weeks. The inworld ceremony was about an hour. Sixgin and Lynn also redid their marriage ceremony in Second Life.

They described church services as "Biblical … rather than preach the law, we preach the love of Christ." The chichi is non-denominational, "we have all kinds come here."

Drama is of course not tolerated. So far, there have been no grieving incidents. Sixgen commented, "I feel when we preach the word here and preach in truth … God protects us." They've talked to an occasional troubled soul, once in a while suggesting to the person they go for professional help. Lynn told of a student asking her to pray she did well in college. She told her she would, but told her she still had to study, "We try to give practical advice in addition to praying to God." They brought up the mana from Heaven described in Exodus, reminding although God answered the Hebrews' prayer for food, they still had to go out and gather it, "A lot of people think God's going to do it all for them. … you have to earn it."

Although New Life Church is in a virtual world, Sixgin and Lynn say it's still a real ministry. Their plans for this Easter, during the interview in mid-March they felt they would have a revival. At the time, there was still a little landscaping being done, the current building being a recent one. Their tier was currently being covered by a friend.

Sixgin and Lynn mentioned one tale involving a visiting minister. A writer, he decided to do the pictures in Second Life for one story he was working on, "When he had a scene, he would pull his alt and act out the scene." He later published his story on Kindel. On his website, he included a picture of the New Life Church.

The New Life Church is in the Shelton sim. Porting to (179, 226, 52) will take one just outside the chapel.

Bixyl Shuftan