Monday, May 30, 2016

Cica Ghost's "Arachnid "

By Becky Shamen

During the last month, we have been tied up with producing a full length animated tour of Sunweaver Estates. The next sim to be included is remodeling for upcoming RFL events, so we were faced with either rescheduling our shooting sequence or taking a break and creating a new article for the Newser. At the same time, we learned that Cica Ghost had a new exhibit, called "Arachnid", located on the Weeds sim. Having already enjoyed exploring and writing about two of Cica's previous exhibits, it was a no brainer and I informed the Editor that I was heading there to play with the spiders.
For maximum enjoyment of this exhibit, set your viewer to use local "windlight" settings and allow music and media to play automatically. This reviewer rates art by how well the artist uses their skills, tools and materials to communicate a series of thoughts, from their mind, into the minds of those viewing the art. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we expect these creepy spiders to tell us a detailed story of  "What was Cica thinking?"

The sim landing places us in a large cage, or trap structure, with information, a TP to Cica's workshop and a tip jar. The sim lighting is a cloudy twilight grey. It's the kind of sky that makes you wish you had brought an umbrella along. As we look around, the large spider webs, in every direction, suggest the umbrella might also serve to hack our way through the sticky barriers. We also notice that there are eight cages, like the one we started in, scattered around the sim. Eight is also the number of legs on a spider. Is Cica doing this to show that there is a connection between the spiders and cages. These structures are "man made". Are they here to protect us from the spiders, or are they the webs we weave for ourselves, that trap us and remove our freedom to live a full life?

One of the cages contains several revolving displays of fancy gowns. How much of our life energy is drained by the need to stay in style with the trends, when most of us would be just as happy to wear the same old t-shirt and jeans, every day?

Several of the cages have TV sets, that play music videos, in the living room, the bed room and by an open bookshelf. As we walk to the next cage, we wonder if we have misread these symbols. Surely, Cica is not suggesting that pretty dresses and TVs are going to kill us. Such thoughts are quickly dispelled, as we almost fly into a large web which holds the wrapped remains of two humanoid victims, with a pair of trash cans on the ground below.

In another cage, we find a stack of commercial clothes dryers. These, at first, seem to have no place in the theory being pondered, until we notice that each dryer is an amusement ride that will spin and tumble two avatars together. One has to ask, how much better would life have been, had you only learned to avoid whirlwind relationships that ended up taking you to the cleaners?

The last cage that we explored took a little longer to extract the thoughts from. It contains two chairs and a table with a potted plant on it. Over by the bars of the cage, a raven is looking outside the cage. You can sit in the chairs, so we parked our cotton tail down, to contemplate the meaning. The old saying, "a little birdie told me so", came to mind. What is this little bird telling us? He is looking outside the cage. Next, we notice the unusual construction of the furniture. The chairs, instead of having four wooden legs, each have a pair of human legs, wearing shoes. The table has a single wheel, in place of legs. A wheel and legs suggest motion and the raven is looking outside the cage. We got the hint and moved on, in the direction indicated by the raven.

Our forward motion is rewarded, as we come upon a small stage. The lighting is cheerful and a free butterfly is perched on the roof. Sitting down, we find it odd that the pianist, while still playing the same style of music that added to the gloomy atmosphere of the sim, now sounded more cheerful and entertaining. While we were enjoying the concert, an avatar with a pistol was dashing to and fro, behind us. It did not disturb our peace, in the least. We figured he just hadn't found which cage he belonged trapped in, yet.
I give the Arachnid Exhibit my top rating. Cica Ghost's  continually evolving artistic skills and abilities to communicate with thought forms, makes her exhibits a "Must See". Come to the exhibit and set your butterflies free.
Weed (155/170/37)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Castle, Home and Garden Contest

By Gemma Cleanslate

“Come explore the 12 sims- journey across the land of the Smurfs, join Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, enjoy some merry shopping in Holiday World, believe in magic on Once Upon a Time, take a tale far far away in Brothers Grimm, join Snow White Anna and Rapunzel on Princesses, go to the land of the Mother of Dragons on Meereen, join the dragons on Dragonriders of Pern, go back into the world of Sherlock Holmes on Victorian London, join the hobbits in the Shire, find Harry Ron and Hermione on Godric's Hollow, and go down, down, down with Alice from May 23 to June 4th!”,  is the invitation from all those who have worked so hard  to make this experience a special one. Every builder has had contact with cancer.
I roamed some of the sims and am glad it is open until June 4 because there is so much to see! There are 29 builds of all different styles from small to large but all lovely. 79 merchants of fashion, furniture, breedables and more have set out their wares for you to shop with proceeds going to the Relay for Life. Check out the hunt going on during the event where you can find 50 gifts!!
There will be a judging of all the submissions with money prizes to the winners. You can also cast a vote for your favorites with a donation to the kiosks in front of each. The winner of that popular contest will get a money prize also.
The opening was very touching  to all and brought tears to many eyes when Rowena Dubrovna announced “ We lost one of our own builders this season. Zaphara Cazalet was one of the most loyal, dedicated and passionate builders we had. She was here with us two years ago, and again last year. She spent the entire year both last year and this year up until she passed away working on her build. She was a member of our team, of our family. We lost her and we mourn for her. However, her passion lives on at this event, and we will never forget. We have decided to set up an honor for Zaphara and start a tribute to Zaphara by way of honoring someone who has put in a lot of dedication, commitment and loyalty to the Castle, Home and Garden Contest.”
The dedication of all who worked on the project which has grown to a major event for the Relay over three years is to be commended. It is an amazing event . I wish the judges well because it is not going to be easy! I stopped in at every delightful region just to see the overview. Don’t miss it!! As Rowena put it, “We were once a seedling, now we are a full grown rose bush. Let’s see how we do becoming a tree”.
Speed building contests will be taking place during the week also and you can find the schedules of entertainment at the website

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, May 23, 2016

Death Picks a Winner

By Gemma Cleanslate

The theater at New Toulouse is deceiving. It is empty however the poster on the wall says that “Death Picks a Winner… is Now Playing “and it is starring ME! The darkened screen invited me to click and when I did I received a hud to wear that will take me through clues to solve a mystery and where to go to find clues. Evidently the prospective campaigning Mayor has been murdered and I am elected to find out who did it!  There is also a missing news boy in the mix. My first visit was to a pub so I ordered a rum and chatted up the barmaid who was very cooperative and pointed me on to the next locale to find another clue.
 I have been here in this quaint town I recall for a parade on Mardi Gras. It is a lovely site with charming buildings and appointments. I walked around a bit to renew my memories of the shops and homes before continuing on my investigation. I stopped in the little church and at the impressive Town Hall square to admire the fountain. “New Toulouse Bayou is a private estate community based on the American city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and its surrounding environs in the first 25 years of the 20th century. (1900-1925)” is the description of the region.
 My next stop was at the campaign headquarters which was in disarray with the loss of their candidate but a glum campaign worker sent me on my way. I picked up some campaign materials as a souvenir. I found a lost sock and followed the boy who had dropped it from his basket on the way to the laundry. At the laundry I helped out a bit while I searched for the next clue. The story is getting more involved. You will have to follow it all for yourselves.
My sixth clue was hidden in voodoo shop near the cemetery that was so interesting and informative I spent a long time exploring that building which is chuck full of information and history about the religion of voodoo and Gullah.  I almost forgot I was there to find a further clue to the mystery. That one was not easy!
As I moved along on search of the clues I picked up so many little gifts. I had tea, and coffee, delicious jambalaya, fruit, great Cuban cigar, Bacardi and more.  I even acquired a circus tent and some buildings from the town.! I sat down for a few minutes with Liza Veliz, and had a beer with her as she filled me in on the region. I learned that the mastermind behind the mysteries here is Nikita Weyman and the scripter for all is Mosley Sperber. They were assisted by a myriad of others that you will learn about at the end of your quest.   I am still on my mission and have a few more clues to track down before I solve this mystery. The hud records all the completed clues and earns you prizes at the end where you will find out the secrets of the Death.  I highly recommend this fun. The mystery clues probably won’t take you as long as they did me but I was distracted by all the fascinating d├ęcor and stopped to check out everything I saw. If you would like to find out more about New Toulouse you can visit this website   I look forward to more mysteries!
 Come on over and ramble through the clues with your honey, friend, or alone. I would say this is a winner! You have until May 30

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, May 6, 2016

A New Look at the Windlight Art Gallery and Water Haven

By Gemma Cleanslate

 It has been a while since I have been to visit the Water Haven region which is the home of Windlight Art Gallery and Windlight Magazine. I found changes there that make the sim more interesting and delightful. I go to fishing contests on the sim also but have not been to one lately so missed some of the changes that were going on.  

My first stop was at the main gallery. The building itself with the sparkling  fountain in front is an appealing site for many Second Life artists to display their work. They are part of the fellowship program and are offered a place to showcase their works for a month.  Each has an area  for their portraits and photography pieces. At one end of the gallery you will find a kiosk where you can pick up a copy of the latest Windlight magazine.
Outside the Gallery, across the street there are small galleries also displaying the art of Second Life and that art is for sale. These are rented galleries . I saw some lovely pieces of artists I know and also some I did not until now. Make a stop in each to see the varied styles of art represented there. 
 “Windlight Magazine is a publication about the art and photography world of Second Life. The goal of Windlight Magazine is to support artists, photographers, galleries, and related events. “  wrote the owner of the Windlight Magazine, John (Johannes1977 “is also publisher and Editor in Chief. The magazine began publishing in July and the Gallery opened in August. 
There are offices for the talented staff of Windlight Magazine behind the gallery.   and also the offices and gallery of “The Edge”, a magazine about style in Second Life. The Editor in Chief is Eleseren Briann . This magazine addresses Styling in Mesh and is an arm of Windlight Magazine. I read the article on Mesh with a lot of interest in the May issue since I have so much trouble with some of it. The Edge has a Gallery next to the office that has just moved from its old location.
As I walked along the road I passed the Tribute and Crown Club which I visited in the past in the old sim. There are parties there on Tuesday through Thursdays and it is available for private parties. Tucked into a corner there is a quaint Italian style building that is a self-service restaurant, Ristorante Ivanna. It is a great place to have lunch or dinner with your honey or friends. It also is available for private parties. I sat at the bar and had a talk with the bartender, Maureenga , who is a great listener.
The Windlight Magazine has many activites going on with partnerships. Right now there is a contest in conjunction with Madpea’s latest game “The Interview “ . It is a chance to enjoy the experience and take pictures and win prizes. Another one is Wicca’s Wardrobe which offers participants a chance to show their photography and fashion style and  also win prizes.  To check out the rules for both you can visit the contest page on the website .  
I noticed that they also are also publishing ‘Quill and Pen,’ a literary journal .Writers are invited to submit their work, nonfiction, poetry, fiction . It is published twice yearly in June and December. Those interested can read about the submission on the website. The time for the June issue is closing soon.  
May15 there will be at the opening of the new exhibits in the Gallery. May 28 through the 30th there will be an event to raise funds for Creations for Parkinson's called the Red, White and Blue. On the same day there is an opening event for The Edge Gallery. 
There is a lot to see and enjoy in the sim and the website can inform you of more. You are invited to join the group Windlight Readers to keep up with everything and there is a lot! The website tells all. Kudos to John and the entire staff that keeps all this going.
 This landing will put you at the door of the Gallery. The next exhibition will open May 15 but there is much to explore on the sim until it does. . Check it out.

Gemma Cleanslate