Friday, December 12, 2014

Interview With Graine Macbain

By Fritter Enzyme

Graine Macbain is one of the best supporters of live music and the arts in Second life.  For close to five years she has had clubs giving newcomers a chance to get up for open mic night and test the waters.  Bringing live music, poetry readings, live comedy and particle shows to fans in many venues, starting with the Azure.  Now the owner and operator of two venues and galleries:  The Riverside Café and Galleries, and The Avian Retreat.  A third location is often rented just for special events, seasonal music festivals like the Holiday Festival coming on December 12 – 14.  She is definitely in it for the love of doing, as, with most club owners, there is no profits being made. 

Fritter Enzyme: Was the Azure your first club?

Graine Macbain: Yes, it was. I sort of adopted it off the previous owner.  Dem Uriza  I was at a point in SL where I had grown tired of just wandering around and exploring, or hanging out at other people's clubs, so I thought I would try running a club. I couldn't script or build or sing so it seemed the only thing to try.   I also must admit I thought I might make so small profit, but that was a dream,(laughter).

Fritter Enzyme: Hehe, a dream many have had. Many of the same artists that came there come to your two venues.

Graine Macbain: Yes, I have kept in touch with most of my former Azure performers, although some have left SL or otherwise become too big for my small place.

Fritter Enzyme: You have always supported the arts in a big way, do you make art in real life?

Graine Macbain: I went to art school, and I realized there that I was just another mediocre artist, so I never pursued art in real life except for my own amusement. I tried to do it here in SL as well, but no one ever seemed impressed with my work, other than a few SL photos.

Fritter Enzyme: Do you know how many people have you given a SL career start to?

Graine Macbain: Well, that is hard to say, but I only know of one who claims I enabled her to have an SL career, and unfortunately she no longer sings in SL. I think Smilemaker Mathy gave more people a start in SL through the Open MIc Nights she used to host at the Azure every Sunday night.  I still see many of those names in SL playing.  So I provided the space but Smile did the work.

Fritter Enzyme: Most venues are not there because there is money to make this way, what are the other benefits to the time and love you put into a club in SL?

Graine Macbain: Well, I heard a lot of great music I would never have had the opportunity to hear otherwise and made a lot of friends who I wouldn't have had much interaction with had I not hired them. I hope I helped many people have a good time on their computer for a few hours that they might otherwise have spent watching TV or something else totally passive. I learned a lot and I a lot realized that running a club in SL was almost as much work as doing one in real life. Almost...

Fritter Enzyme: You have always brought in the new and unique things, live comedy, poetry readings, and the annual festivals, like this coming Christmas one.  Are there any new plans on the horizon for The Riverside Café?

Graine Macbain: Well, not at this point. After the Holiday Festival we will host another ambient/classical festival after the New Year, and of course, as you know, trivia continues every Thursday night from 5.30-7 PM SLT. I was thinking of having more activity at Avian Retreat again, but right now I am just trying to survive the holiday season in both SL and real-life.

Fritter Enzyme: You have preserved some of the Apollo sim at your sky gallery, and award winning photographs have been taken there.  Are you interested in keeping pieces of SL for a museum with that basis?

Graine Macbain: I have thought of that but it is beyond one person's ability to do that and do the effort justice. It is something the Lindens should have been doing for years now.  There was a fellow who passed away about a year ago, whose name escapes me now. He was mostly a fox furry, one of the first in SL, He used to do a blog dedicated to preserving SL. He would visit the earliest sims and give their histories with data and photos. He should have made a book about the subject, but even he found it too time consuming. He eventually moved to InWorldz, but then came back to SL. He died not long after that.

Fritter Enzyme: I would love to see that blog.  With the festivals and the booking for the club there are many times when things don’t go right, what keeps you going? 

Graine Macbain: Well, I just have a sort of inability to give up. I feel obligated to honor a commitment and not just give up once I start something. Not that I've never cursed myself for being a fool and taking on too much work. And I've known a few moments of panic as well, but ultimately, no one has died yet at one of my events, so I keep my fingers crossed and keep plugging.  If you try to control things too tightly they get even more out of control, oddly. Its best just to relax and let things go their course.

Fritter Enzyme: It is very nice that you have a gallery for Edward Vintner here.

Graine Macbain: Yes, I wanted to ensure that his name was not forgotten, and his art as well.  The nature of SL is ephemeral, so it takes some effort to make sure people don't forget.  And many new people will who never have heard of him.  I couldn't stand the idea that his art would disappear after his death. And I knew that Skye Gravois wanted to preserve his memory. It means so much to her.

Fritter Enzyme: Thank you for the interview, and thanks for the friendship.

Graine Macbain: You are most welcome, and thank you for yours, not to mention the great bartending (smile).

Graine has a blog at

Fritter Enzyme

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