Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Reader Submitted: On Gallery Graine Closing

 From Graine Macbain

   I arrived in SL in March of 2009, and spent most of my first year just wandering about exploring, shopping, and listening to music. Wanting to actually do something creative and productive, in April, 2010, I took over the Azure Jazz Club and Gallery from Dem Uriza, and hosted both DJs andlive musicians like Joaquin Gustav, Melodee McDonnell, Ichie Kamachi, MoShang Zhao, CECI Dover, and many others, and exhibited artists like nessuno Myoo, KIcca Igaly, and Edward Vintner. We also featured Trivia and Tunes every Thursday night, hosted by Clancy Huckleberry with music from DJ Sparrow Letov-Meredith. I even dabbled with a poetry night and a comedy night.  I closed the Azure in May, 2011, frustrated that I was unable to break even let alone make a profit. But mostly it was too time consuming.

   I intended to spend the rest of my SL time doing nothing, but sometime in 2012 or 2013, I was bitten by ambition again, and I opened the Riverside Cafe and Gallery Graine on the same sim where I lived, at first just to revive Trivia and Tunes, but then began to host regular live music events again, and even started hosting weekend-long, multi-artist music festivals, The Riverside Ambient/Classical Music Festival, and a second festival that was more pop-rock and vocalist oriented and usually named after the time of year it happened in (the Riverside Summer Splash, for example, and I always had a Christmas Holiday Music Festival).

   In my new gallery I featured such artists as Kayly Iali, Masako, Mathilde Vhargon, Aruba DeCuir, and most recently, photographer Anibrm Jung. (I even had my own amateurish stuff on display once.) Sometime in this period, I can't even recall exactly when, I heard that Scottius Polke's otterly fantastic interactive art pieces, mushROOM and The Docks were going to be taken down for good. A big fan of Scottius (all his fans are bigger than him, actually), I offered to host it free in the sky above my sculpture, but only had enough prims for mushROOM. I have been honored to showcase this SL classic until, and hope it finds a new home soon. I believe that the Lindens should accommodate it as part of their SL historic preservation program.

   Around the same time I took over the Azure, I began hosting Djs and live music at Avian Retreat, a nature preserve for birds and bird lovers, created by my friends LadyDi Andel and Zoezoe Xue, in an effort to bring tips and traffic into their mainland sim. Mostly, I hosted the same performers who played at the Azure, with some even preferring to play the "outdoor" venue with its round stage floating on the bay.  Health problems caused both of them to be absent for long periods of time, and eventually my dear friend LadyDi passed away in 2015, and Zoe also has left SL due to illness. But before she passed away, I purchased Avian Retreat from her to prevent her from having to close it, and I promised her and Zoe to keep it up and running as long as I could.

   Eventually, I stopped hosting music events, including the festivals. I stopped featuring new artists in my galleries, and continued with only Trivia and Tunes on a regular basis. It got to the point where it became too expensive in both money and time to own so many pieces of SL real estate, and RL was starting to make more demands on my time and money.

   Then on April 29th of this year, our longtime Trivia and Tunes DJ, Sparrow Letov-Meredith, passed away suddenly, followed recently by our trivia diva Clancy Huckleberry announcing her retirement from SL and the end of our nearly ten year run of trivia. I had been contemplating closing the cafe and galleries at Blue Curacao, and moving trivia to Avian Retreat in order to save expenses, but now I felt that RL was forcing my hand.

    And so it ends. Or maybe not. I am not leaving SL and Avian Retreat still exists, so who can tell what the future holds?

Graine Macbain

Monday, July 9, 2018

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

By Deaflegacy

Bixyl Shuftan

Bixyl Shuftan is the editor for Second Life Newser. He had been working for the Newser since its beginning in June 2010. Before that, he was with JamesT Juno's Second Life Newspaper. Bixyl  has been an editor and head of the Newser team for eight years now. He writes some of the articles himself, but the paper has always been a team effort.

I asked Bixyl Shuftan what his biggest accomplishment is. “In Second Life, at first thought, it would be the formation of the Newser,” replied Bixyl, “But starting a business is one thing. Keeping it going is another. And if it wasn't for certain individuals, it probably would have closed by now. But thankfully, it's still going. And becoming a part of a community here that I feels I do a lot for them.”

I wanted to know if Bixyl would continue being an editor for a long time. “Yes. I think Second Life will continue to be around for some years to come. So yes, I expect the paper to be going," said Bixy, "If some real life emergency makes running the Newser impossible, I would try to put someone else in charge.”

We started discussing about Bixyl's goals on Second Life. “When I started the Newser, it was to keep the team together and give our readers the best job we could on delivering the news about Second Life, big and small," he told me, "Today, that's still the case." He mentioned another goal, "I've become a regular part of a virtual community, the Sunweavers. So naturally I want to do my part in keeping things happy and active there as well.”

I asked Bixyl  if he knows that he is an inspiration to some people. “Some have told me that, and that makes me happy.” he replied with a smile, “I've had people say they are thankful for the Newser, not just to me, but the whole team and what they do. So I suppose you can say the whole team has become an inspiration to others." I also told him that he is a mentor, too. I just wanted to know if he is aware of that as well. "Thank you. That's very nice of you to say that," replied Bixyl, "I have had a lot of practice in writing. If others use my work as examples to write better well, that means a great deal."

When Bixyl was asked what he would say to someone who wants to be a writer, he replied, “There's a lot I could say. I guess the key to being one is writing regularly, even if it's just a private journal. Writing better, you can read examples of what others do, and see over time what works and what doesn't. There are also writers workshops to see how you, and others are doing, including some here in Second Life. Back to writing. One artist once remarked good artwork requires doing hundreds of bad artwork first. Perhaps an exaggeration. But it does emphasis the importance of practice. You, I would say, got the less than quality stories out before coming here. (smile)”

My next question to Bixyl was if he is proud of how things have been going for eight years. “Yes, I am proud to have lead a great team of the best journalists here in Second Life,” he said with a smile,“The stores we've done. The adventures we've had. And what will will do and have had.”

I pointed out to Bixyl that there are also others who are proud of him, what he had accomplished. If I don't say it, then I should say that now. He has accomplished a great deal. I asked him if he has an inspiration and who would that be? “I have a number of close friends whom help keep me going. Nydia, Skylark, Cynthia, Shockwave, Dusk, Little Spirit, Nikki, Rita, and many others we don't have the ink to mention... But of course there's the Newser team, Gemma, Klause, those in the past such as DrFran, Shelly, Grey, and of course there's you. (smile)” I told Bixyl that he had done a great job over the years,and have made the paper what it is today. “Thank you,” he told me with a smile.

My last question to Bixyl are what is his hobbies. “I read fiction and nonfiction. I also try to keep up with the news. I've also played computer games for years, strategy as well as shooting, and more recently survival games. I've also been a writer of fiction, I'm currently writing a sci -fi novel on the side. I thanked him and wish him luck on his stories.

As you have it, Bixyl Shuftan who had been an editor and head of the Newser for 8 years. I look forward to working with Bixyl on the Newser for years to come. He did teach me a lot and opened the door to being a writer. I owe him a lot of thanks. Thanks, Bixyl Shuftan, for giving me a chance to be a writer. I'm glad I took that chance. That was and still is my lifelong dream coming true.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Interview with Six String

 By Deaflegacy

Editor's Note: Six String is Deaflegacy's partner in Second Life.
Six String (roleplayismylife)

I met Six String (roleplayismylife) in a comfortable room. My first question was, “What is your favorite hobby?” Six  replied, “Playing, writing, and performing music.” I wanted to know what Six write about. Six answered, “Anything that springs to mind, really. I've written a song about John Lennon, another about September 11th attacks, and quite a few that were inspired by my experiences of growing up with autism, and the difficulties that came about as a result of that. I'm in the process of writing a song inspired by my love of history, particularly the Civil War. It's about a disgruntled Union soldier who had been fighting since the beginning of the war, and has had enough of all the death, violence, and destruction. The war is ever referred to in the chorus as a 'stupid uncivil war.'”

 In real-life, Six uses WiFi at the library as well as other places so he would be able to come on Second Life.

I asked Six what kind of music does he perform. “I write my own songs, but I perform music by other musicians spawning over multiple genres, and styles of music. The next question was what would he like people to know about him. Six replied, “I also write poetry, and short stories, in addition to being a self-taught musician. I write songs, and poems inspired by my Faith. I'm even more of a caffeine junkie than DeafLegacy. As Rick James, the singer of the song 'Superfreak' once said, 'Caffeine's a Helluva drug!'” Six String has been a musician since May 21, 2000. He started teaching himself just two weeks prior to graduating from high school.

When Six was really young, he used to write a bit, but they weren't very good, and as time went on, he started doing it more, especially once he moved out to live on his own. “In character, of course, my pony was forced out of his home due to their closed-mindness.” Six  added. As for writing My Little Pony stories, Six has been writing since 2016, saying, “I started writing it sometimes over the winter of 2016 – 2017, and posted it in May of 2017.”  Six started using a pony avatar when he first got his Second Life account 3 years and 7 months ago. Six suggested that if anyone is interested in checking out his MLP stories that he has written, the link is “'First, Last, And Only Letter' is the first story in the trilogy,” Six told me. I asked him if he would be interested in reading my stories about ponies if I ever get a chance to write about them. Six replied, “Absolutely. I enjoy reading the ponyfics that other authors write.”

I asked Six what inspires him to be a writer. “My Faith, and people through our history who have had great influence on me," replied Six, "such as Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, John Lennon of The Beatles, others who were advocates for peace, such as Martin Luther King. My friends, and family, as well as members of the Congregation of my Church, and other supportive people in my community also inspired me. The Senior Pastor from my Church. He was a positive influence on my life as well.”

I did have one last question. “Would you continue to play music and write for a long time?” I asked. Six String replied, “Until I'm called home to be with God again.”


Monday, July 2, 2018

Captain Jarak Panther

By Deaflegacy

Captain Jarak Panther (jarakpanther)

I had a chance to get together with Captain Jarak Panther (jarakpanther) and his partner, RealCoffeeCat at their house. They have just became partners. Jarak's RezDay was on February 12, 2013. CoffeeCat hasn't celebrated her first RezDay yet.

 I mostly chat with people in the different sims around the grid,” said Jarak, CoffeeCat nodding in agreement.

I asked Captain Jarak Panther if he is a captain of a Starfleet ship. “Just in character," he replied, "I don't have a ship in Second Life, and am not a part of any Star Trek role play groups.”
I then asked Jarak  if he roleplays. “One on one, yes. I used to be a part of a few role playing groups, but they didn't work out very well.” he replied.. “We are thinking about roleplaying with each other.” RealCoffeeCat said with a smile. I wanted to know what Jarak's hobbies on Second Life. He answered, "Being a bad kitty. If you don't believe me about that, just ask RealCoffeeCat.” . That got CoffeeCat to chuckle.

I asked Jarak if it's true that he doesn't have wifi at his place. “Yes. However, if I had Internet at home, I would be able to use voice chat, and would possibly be able to play guitar for people over voice chat,” he replied.

We started talking about Jarak and CoffeeCat. Of when he first met her, he told, “Here, actually in Cape Heron. We became really good friends right away, and not too long after that, we were partnered to each other.” 

The next question is what Jarak's goal on Second Life is. “To meet new friends who share similar interests.” he replied.

The next thing we talked about got Jarak surprised. “Do you know that you are an uncle on Second Life?” I asked him. “No, I didn.'t That surpurrrrrises me,” he replied. When Jarak was told that one of his nieces is a Pegagsus and another niece is an unicorn, he has this to say, “Wow.”

The last question is if Jarak ever felt that he had accomplished much. He answered, “Yes. From being a small, and frail child who was supposedly 'retarded,' and would never be able to sit upright, or walk, or talk to a self taught musician.” With that, I looked at his partner, CoffeeCat, who was nodding in agreement. She did not talk much during the interview, it is clear that she is there for partner. 

At the last moment, I found out that Jarak has a DeviantArt page. I asked him if I can mention the fact that he has a DeviantArt page. He answered yes. Jarak is not just a musician. He is also a creative panther. 

Captain Jarak Panther's DeviantArt page is