Wednesday, May 27, 2020
By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)
In a recent article, I wrote about how virtual conventions can temporarily be an alternative to real life conventions. It seems that more people are coming to this conclusion as well as there is now a My Little Pony convention called SLPonyCon that will take place the whole month of June (June 1st-30th). I had a chance to interview the two con chairs Pop Princess Sakairi (Sakairi Melodious) and Braniac -Piper- (rosetheunicorn).
Sakairi: Piper and I are the Co-Chairwomen of SLPonyCon. We`re both in charge of making sure the convention runs smoothly, as well as making sure the rest of the staff and guests have what they need to make their jobs easier. Planning, building, delegating staff tasks... We sort of have our hands in a little bit of everything!
Piper: I mostly take care of our panelists and the general artistic direction of the project.
Cyfir: How did the idea for this convention come about?
Piper: It started as an idea to bring attention to the wide pony community in Second Life, which was already starting to dwindle due to the end of the show as well as the final brony convention. But when the COVID-19 virus happened, the idea was kind of pushed forward.
We wanted to help make up for all the conventions that were cancelled. Many people were affected by it. Since it's on SL and everyone is home due to the corona virus we decided to do it in game with all the stops we could pull for the fandom we love.
Sakairi: The main idea in all was to bring a morale boost to the community and invite people to it!
Cyfir: Who else is involved and what do they do?
Sakairi: There are so many people involved with SLPonyCon. It’s a little hard to name specifics. For starters, we have every major pony sim in Second Life representing embassies at the convention. Carbondale, Neighberry, RubyHills, Trotsdale, Ponytown, Trot Springs, Canterlot, Luna`s Empire, and even a brand new Anthro Pony Sim called Riverside Bay, will all be there to welcome people and show SL what our community has to offer. We also have many many vendors joining us like Ambix, Inzoxi, and Blackback Studios just to name a few. All of the popular pony avatar creators such as N.E.I.G.H, Flower pony, and even some newer bodies like Sparklepony and the long awaited NutBusterz Pony body, which we will be hosting a release party for! We have many many performers and panelists like Captnhoers, Haymaker, and Somberpony. But I think the most important people would be our Staff like our security team lead by Geminai Mills, TDMayo, Nick, and Akasa, Our wonderful Vendor manager Kokuma, our Social media expert Ember, and not to forget our owners LAMP, Serendypity, and Michi. Like I said.. there's just so many people who got involved!
Piper: We have so many people involved with this naming them would take forever but we have quite the team who have put a lot of effort into this project to make our little dream a big reality.
Cyfir: Who are the special guests and what panels can fans look forward to?
Sakairi: This is definitely a question for Piper. She's worked so hard to gather all the amazing panelists we have.
Piper: We have Somberpony; the author of Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons doing Writing Workshops. We have Captainhoers, an animator on YouTube and comic artist doing DND style table top one shot sessions. I will be doing how to draw ponies panels personally. We have Molly doing How to use Second Life panels for newbies. We have many shows including live music from bronies like Haymaker and WoodenToaster (aka Glaze), various gaming events, dj sessions, galas, and other fun activities to participate in.
Cyfir: Who will the live DJs be?
Piper: Various people from our SL community like Serendipity and Kota.
Sakairi: From Carbondale and Neighberry respectfully. Many of our Sim Embassies have volunteered to host many events for the convention.
Cyfir: You mentioned merchants that will be involved. Will there be an artist den?
Piper: Yes. We have a museum actually.
Sakairi: The Art Museum will feature walls for all kinds of artists to not only show off previous work, but give information about them like where to find their gallery online and how to commission them if you'd like a special piece done for yourself! It also has a really pretty interactive walkway out front that plays chimes when you enter, Hehe!
Piper: It’s pretty rad, actually.
Sakairi: SLPonyCon has had a fair share of challenges, like most conventions would. But one of the more challenging aspects would be coordinating a team of varied individuals. The Pony Community is one big family. And like any family, we don't always agree on everything. There's always going to be differing opinions, especially with a group as big as this convention team. But in the end, the important thing is we always find a way to compromise and move forward. Our community looks to us all, and it's our hope that this convention shows them that we are all here for them no matter what!
Piper: We have a no nonsense policy as well for backup.
Piper: Meaning if anyone decides no not play ball with everyone else we have a three strike policy and then they are out.
Sakairi: We have a very top notch security team who are on top of things should anything happen. <3 br="">
Cyfir: What have you learned from putting this convention together so far and is there any advice you could give to anyone thinking about putting on a convention in a virtual world?
Sakairi: Being our very first convention we've ever run, we've already learned a lot.
Piper: Teamwork is important. We wouldn't be able to pull this off without all of our amazing staff, and I think it goes without saying that friendship is magic! I would say try your best to get as many people who would like it on board as you can and play to their strengths and show how much you appreciate their hard work all the way through. Your team is what makes things happen.
Cyfir: How did you both become fans of My Little Pony?
Piper: I have been a fan of MLP since I was a little kid. My favorite pony was Sugarberry in generation 1... though these days I am more well known in the Fallout Equestria side of the fandom.
Sakairi: I became a fan through other friends of mine. I used to be one of those people who thought it was just a show for little girls. My friends, who were bronies, told me about it, and I had the excuse at the time of having kids, so I gave it a shot and watched it with them. I fell in love with the messages of kindness the show sent, and later on, the kindness and acceptance I found in the brony community. One thing led to another and I became hooked. My Favorites would be Celestia, Cadence, and my spirit pony, Pinkie Pie!
Cyfir: What about My Little Pony do you think created such a loyal fan base?
Piper: I think the show has such a loyal fan base due to it’s creative community and wholesome content in a world where it's truly needed.
Sakairi: Mostly I feel it's the positive messages it sends out to it’s fans. It teaches people that we can all be different and still accepting of everyone. The cute artwork is a big plus too!
Cyfir: Do you think that the My Little Pony community is much different than the furry community or is there overlap?
Piper: I personally think it's vastly different especially in energy.
Sakairi: I personally differ there. There are differences, sure, but it's a lot alike in other ways. It's a way to express yourself as an individual. There's things in both communities for all kinds of different age ranges and tastes. It's not really about the entire community as a whole as much as the individual and how they choose to use it. There are even Furries and Anthros IN the pony community.
Cyfir: Anything else you would both like to mention?
Piper: I sure hope this makes people’s year just a little bit better.
Sakairi: We can't wait to see all of you! Visit our website and our discord if you would like any more information on the event!
You can check out the SLPonyCon website here: https://www.slponycon.com .
You can check out the convention’s Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/hsD34cH .
Their Twitter can be found here: =https://twitter.com/pony_con .
Finally, for a full schedule of events, go here: https://www.slponycon.com/events-1 .
Monday, May 18, 2020
Yours truly knew her as an occasional visitor to the Happy Vixen and Club Cutlass, and some other Sunweaver events. Standing out in a bovine avatar when most everyone else was a fox, bunny, wolf, normal human, etc, she was certainly a unique personality around. It was unwelcome, sad news when word began getting around on the evening of Friday May 15. Her real-life age was 70, something not revealed to most until after her passing.
"Came as a shock," Dusk Griswold told me, saying she and Violet Solano, "were both good friends with CC. We were almost a team. I think I first met her at Amaranth. Amaranth was her home club, but I'd invite her to Happy Viven or Cutlass if nothing was happening there. One of those people who stand out. And very creative when it came to themes. We'd always look forward to how she'd dress for themes. Might show up at 'Come as your are' as an av of a U and and R, and an R, too.
"Always had a dance chim, I'd always wait for her to show up at the club before dancing, and she'd invite me and usually several others to the chim, so we'd all dance together. Her and Vi and I were kind of an unofficial team.
"She was also good at modding, I learned some of my modding skills from her. Remember my Gazelle from 'Zootopia' av? That would not have come about without her help.
"Also, could always count on CC to attend RFL events. She was very popular, a lot of people will really miss her. ... overall, we have lost one of the nicest, most creative and funny furs I have ever known. We don't know what happened, and Vi does not plan to find out. ... It has really hit the Amaranth family hard.
"Know how sometimes we meet what we realize are special people? If that makes sense. CC was one of those special people."
I would later talk to Violet Solano. She told me she had known her for seven or eight years, "It's amazing how many people CC knew. FullAuto posted a notice in Raglan shire chat, and there was 15 minutes of river dancing and mooing. ... "It's amazing how many people she touched. I have people I never knew IMMing me, thanking me for the info."
Violet would tell me they met, "at a club in a now long gone vintage Los Angeles sim. I used to go to listen to swing music. (I) met her there, brought her back to Amaranth, and she was just part of the family in very short order. There was no place where she didn't get along."
As a member of the Relay's Meli's Maniacs team, she did much to keep spirits up, "and sadly there's no possible way to tell all her friends of her passing. And that's the saddest part of it. To a lot of people, she is just going to be one of the vanished."
She would go on to say she had fond memories of her, "running battles on the sim surface between her and her power shout and me with my dubstep. Or with tanks, guns, or getting a few of us in jex avatars and big game outfits going on the great jexpidition on the old Grendal's jungle sims. CC was a silly old graymuzzle who only wanted people around her to have fun and be happy."
"As one of our other club staff, Kulara Darkstone, posted in Facebook : "
In loving memory of ComCat Fenstalker aka CC. Our beloved bovine avatar friend. CC was a great friend to everyone. She was Funny, Smart, Clever, Kind, Generous and loved a good PUN and loved silly gadgets in Second Life. All she wanted was a "stable" home, and she was "udderly" bodacious
Sadly, the story of a resident whom just wanted to make others happy, has come to it's close. What are left are the screenshots, tales, and memories.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
By Bixyl Shuftan
The SURL took me to "Party Time Dancers," high above the Deep Woods sim. To my surprise, when the lag started to clear I found I was on stage. I promptly stepped down. Just in front of the stage were four seats with red unlit "X"s in front of them. Three of them were occupied by a man and two women: Bigtex Cuddihy, KaliiNoire, and Pastor Lynne (Lynne Applewhyte). I went ahead and got into the seating area. PastorDanT soon appeared on stage, and in voice welcomed everyone to the show.
After most everyone else had cleared out, I had a few words with PastorDanT, to which he responded to my questions in voice. When asked where did he get the idea for the talent show, he answered that it was from "Out of boredom," and with all the things happening in real life lately. He had been spending time in his "mancave, a house outside of my house. Anyway, I did this because this would be a good pressure relief" for the public, and fun and exciting.
When he announced the tryouts for his talent show, twelve people answered. "Six bailed," he told me, two thinking they were "too good" for the competition. Pastor Dan would say the show was inspired in part by "America's Got Talent," adding, "I'm a live singer in Second Life as well, I love to perform." He felt the show was "a nice tension breaker, seems to be working." He was getting no money from this, "This is just for fun. ... this hectic world we're living in. Everyone had fun."
The winner of the competition would be determined by a process of elimination, with the judges voting after each performance. Lighting an "X" up was a strike against the person, "one person get two Xs, she won't be back next week." The winner at the end would be getting a trophy. While there was no cash prize, "they get the recognition, get a chance to sing at one of the places for money."
Of the six women, three "have never done a live event, so that's good. Usually they DJ, so they don't use their singing voice. I think they were pretty good. One got the golden buzzer." He commented she was surprised when it went off, "she didn't know what it was." With this event, there were five with one going out, and four staying to next time.
Pastor Dan told me the next event would be held at the same place, but "we're going to try to go to different venues. meet more people." He told me over time, he'd been with a lot of venues in Second Life, clubs and lounges and places selling musical instruments, "I've been to a lot, too many. I've heard from some back, a few nasty, oh well, that's SL. Working on getting out more."
He had wanted four judges for the event, but only three were able to make it today. Still, he felt they were "a great group of judges." Each runs a venue inworld. Bigtex Cuddihy ran "Party Time Dancers" where the event took place. KaliiNoire, Pastor Dan told me she ran "one of the biggest restaraunts with a club inside." Pastor Lynn was a pastor here in Second Life.
Of the next round of the competition, "Probably on Friday the 8th, 3PM SL time." It would still be in Party Time Dancers, "Later events at the Elixr, hopefully."
And yes, Pastor Dan is a pastor in Second Life, doing church services on Sunday at Noon SL time, with live broadcasts on Zoom, "people can join in. ... Other than that, I chase my chickens and feed the rabbits."