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Friday, March 23, 2018

Celebrating Ten Women Who Made a Difference in Second Life


By Bixyl Shuftan

Since it's beginning, various women have had an impact on Second Life. Many businesses inworld have been run by them, such as Dana Vanmoer who was the editor of the Second Life Newspaper. Communities have been run by them. They have also made up many of our artists. And of course a number of the Lindens have been women. On Sunday March 18, there was a ceremony to "celebrating ten Second Life women who have, through their work" made a difference for the virtual world.

The women being honored were:

Bryn Oh, a prominent artist noted for her storytelling through 3-D art exhibitions.
Nuala Marcus, a noted member of the Relay for Life who has raised funds to fight cancer for years.
Strawberry Singh, a noted blogger whom has won many awards.
Caryl Meredith, the director of the Spirit Light Dance Company.
Kikuyu/Kikutsuru, two women who run a geisha school and house.
Marianne McCann, the lead resident of Bay City and a volunteer in events such as Burn2.
Rosie Gray, the Chancellor of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators.
Sudane Erato, an estate owner at both the CDS and SL New England Islands Estate, and a noted member of Second Life Mers.
Robin Sojourner Wood, who made the Texture Tutorial at the Ivory Tower, and has taught residents at the Builders Brewery.
Treacle Darlandes, an artist who does sculpture and fractal art, and has been mentoring newcomers.

Before the event, I talked to one of it's organizers, Kyoko (Samara Barzane). She told me she was one of the Public Information team of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, "... one thing I do is help organize events. (The) CDS usually has an event at least once a month. This is the March event. We wanted to do something celebrating SL women who have helped make SL a better place." With Brooke Brandenburg as the other person involved in the planning, they chose the Art Cafe in the Locus Amoenus sim, which Kyoko owns, "The Art Cafe is a space that belongs to me in CDS. We do exhibits, performances etc. So we decided this would be a good space for this event."

Kyoko told me the idea of the event came to her on International Woman's Day, "We wanted to do something a bit more than just a celebration so we came up with the idea of honoring ten Second Life women. And that's what we are doing. We just ran a little late (smile). In the US this is also Women's History Month." She told me it took about a week to go through the names of those nominated, "Brooke and I came up with a basic list, looking for some balance across SL. We also asked the citizens of CDS for nominations and included some of those also. So it's a CDS event, but we tried for a breadth of honorees."

Besides their accomplishments, nominees were selected based on if they were still active in Second Life. So women whom were deceased or simply not coming on any more were not chosen, "most of the ones who were not included were just for those reasons. ... The criteria emerged as we explored each candidate. The space we had dictated to some extent the number we could honor and the criteria emerged as we went over each one."

I dropped by as the event started at 10AM, and Kyoko and Brooke were there to greet me and the others arriving, "Welcome to Celebrating SL Women 2018!" The place was decorated, with ten posters of the honored women and a little information about them. "There some amazing stories connected with our honorees," Kyoko told the crowd. There was also a lady playing a transparent piano, Brook saying, "Our music is by the amazing Sandia Beaumont. Classically trained, she ranges to jazz and improv without missing a beat! ... In addition to the piano, she is playing other instruments LIVE on a second keyboard."

The event had a number of people over, "Hard to see all the nametags." Some of the women being honored were there, such as Treacle Darlandes, Marianne McCann, Nuala Marcas, Caryl Meredith, and Rose Gray. "It's an illustrious crowd!" Rosie remarked. "This shows how varied our community is," Nuala's partner Trader Whiplash spoke, "how borderless and inclusive as well."

Later, Kikutsuru (Miehina Resident) showed up, "Thank you for the invite (smile)." She brought with her a few from her school and house. They were all in traditional geisha dress, with white makeup, kimonos, and wooden shoes.

At one point, I noticed a flash of light and smoke. It was coming from Sandia's piano. "Sandia wants me to thank you all for the generous tips!" Alem (Alem Theas) spoke, "At the rate at which she destroys pianos, she is barely breaking even (grin)." She then texted the lyrics of the next song she was playing the piano to:

If there were no dreams
And there were no dreamers
And how could I dream you up
You're still a mystery to me
The way that we love
The life that we're leading
I don't want to give you up
Whatever I'll have to do, I'll do
Put a mountain there and I'll tear it down
If it's much too high then I'll go around
I won't stop for anyone or anything
And I'd love you even if there were no dreams
If there were no dreams
How could we be lovers
And how could I need you so
The reason's clear to even me


The event went well with those attending, " I want to congratulate all the amazing women who so much deserve this honoring .  ... WONDERFUL JOB all of you!!  BIG CONGRATULATIONS!!" Teracle spoke of the others honored, "I want to congratulate all ladies in SL who do whatever they do to make it a companionship and nicer online living experience for others. There are many ladies who do that I'm sure." "Yes, congratulations to all the women! I feel lucky to call many of them friends." Kikutsuru spoke before heading out, "Kyyoko san thank you for the invite, an dputting this together, and to everyone here, congratulation I will be bringing my sisters back home now for the evening, I hope everyone will have a wonderful day and evening (big smile)."

Before heading out, I checked out the other room in the Art Cafe. There were a number of artworks there. Among them, a painting by Artistic Fimicloud, the noted artist and Relayer whose struggle in the face of cancer inspired many, including her neighbors the Sunweavers whom would join the Passionate Redheads Relay team, and carry on when it folded as the Sunbeamer RFL team. While the event this day was for the living, one woman no longer with us was also being honored.

The Art Cafe is located at Locus Amoenus (122/187/26)

Bixyl Shuftan

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