I have been away from my day to day responsibilites for two and a half weeks. I am relaxed, and I do mean from my head to my toes relaxed, for the first time in ages. I feel great.
I went to Paris for 6 days with my daughter to celebrate her 16th birthday. It goes without saying that Paris is a lovely city with enough history, art, music, gardens, and tourist attractions to keep you busy for a very long time. As is our habit, we didn't spend a lot of time doing what people do when they go to Paris.
Yes, we went to see the Eiffel Tower light up one night and yes we went to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I barely looked at the painting to be honest. I was much to busy laughing at the crowd and people with their cameras over their heads trying to take a photo of the painting from a room away. That is the tourist's Paris - throngs of people pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of the top 10 places of interest the guide books say you MUST SEE when in the City of Lights. I have a hard time with crowds and if I am being honest I have a hard time doing things people tell me I MUST SEE so we passed on most of those.
Instead, we walked and talked. Sophie tasted wine for the first time and hated it. We ordered in kindergarten French at street cafes and ate delicious cheese and the best bread in the world. We browsed street markets and bought lovely lace scarves from an ancient, wrinkled grandmother who patted my hand as she counted out my change. We cruised up and down the Seine and pondered living on one of the canal boats and biking around Paris. It was an amazing trip and I have to say I am blessed to have such a sweet, intelligent fun travelling companion.
When we got back to NY we packed up the car and the entire family took a trip to Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Please take all of your "what exit" jokes and notions of drunken guidos and toss them out the window. My Jersey shore looks like this.
When we go to LBI we stay at the same little apartment every time. It is right on the beach in a section populated by families. The beach is nearly empty, the sand is like sugar and the water is delicious. We were entertained by pods of dolphins nearly every morning We lay on the beach and read books all day. At about 10pm most evenings one of the neighbors set off a short but fabulous fireworks display.
You don't have to tell me how lucky I am to have had this vacation. Believe me I know.
Now? Back to real life.
ETA: Long Beach Island is exit 63 off of the Garden State Parkway, for those who need to know!
Today I got one of those very sad notecards from an old friend telling me one of the places that shaped my SLife is closing. Tayzia Abattoir is the curator of The Aho Musuem and has been someone who I have known a very long time. The text from her notecard is below. Please note the closing celebration starts tomorrow, Sunday August 26th starting at 6pm SLT.
Dear Artists, friends and NMC family,
Sadly it is time to say goodbye to the sim that houses the Aho Museum (NMC Campus West) .The sim of Ars Simulacra. Both Sims, provided by the New Media Consortium, have showcased some of the finest artists SL has to offer since 2006. Please join us as we celebrate the past 6 years of creativity, imagination and celebration of the arts.
We will travel down memory lane and visit art from as early as 2004 to current day art in SL. Our celebration begins at 6pm slt, Sunday, August 26th.
We will take time to explore the two sims, reminisce and listen to some fantastic music.
At 7pm slt, we have invited the wonderful musician Andreus Gustafson aka anj to perform at the stage on Ars Simulacra. Here is your SLurl to the performance.
Anj is a vocalist and multi-instrumental performer. He has performed in Second Life since the summer of 2007. Musical styles include alternative, pop and progressive rock with a definite electronica influence. (website at www.a3d3.net)
We will showcase art from 2004-2006 at The Aho Museum on the sim of NMC Campus West. Here is your SLurl to the Aho Museum
As you travel North to Ars Simulacra, the art featured will be art created from 2007 to 2012. Here is the SLurl to Ars Simulacra.
Special thanks go out to Larry Pixel, aka Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium. Dr. Johnson provided the vision for the NMC Campus in SL as well as the two art sims to showcase SL resident art.
Thanks go as well to builders and artists CJ Carnot, Stella Costello, Ravenelle Zugzwang, Forseti Svarog and dozens of others who have been involved in creating the beautiful spaces on both sims.
At its largest point, the NMC Campus Project spanned a total of 110 sims. Today, the project still hosts more than 50 sims where some 75 universities deliver courses and educational programs on a continuing basis.
Art has always been a part of the project -- the Aho you see today is the second museum to stand on that spot, and was designed by CJ Carnot. The original Aho Museum was designed and built by Forseti Savarog, and opened on the very first day the NMC Campus Project opened to the public in June, 2006. In 2007, Tayzia Abattoir assumed the post of Curator, and has guided the collection for nearly six years.
Please join us for this special occasion, we would love to you there!Tayzia Abattoir
In many parts of the US when a girl turns 16 years old her family throws her a big party called a "Sweet Sixteen." These celebrations are somewhat similar to debutante, quinceanera, or even a bat mitzvah in that they mark the transition from being a girl to being a woman. Traditionally, I suppose such celebrations present the young woman to the community as eligible for marriage although I am not entirely sure about the historical and cultural roots. Common to these celebrations are fancy dresses, participation of large groups of family and friends, and in my experience, lots of money spent on frivolous things.
When the first of the Sweet Sixteens were given for her friends, I asked my daughter Sophie if she wanted to have a party for her birthday. She looked at me as if I had six heads and simply said, "No, I want you to take me to Paris instead." I did a little mental math and very quickly decided the trip would be cheaper, much more fun and on the whole a far more rich cultural experience than a coming of age party for a kid who still wears cookie monster shirts.
Vous voir dans une semaine, je vais à Paris!
(Please click through for a much better view)
Botgirl Quest became inspired to create similar work, which is only a short hop, skip and a jump from her regular thought provoking art. In sort order an artistic ping pong game of sorts ensued. To those of us watching it was entertaining and frankly made me a bit jealous of their minds and incredible talents.
This week Whiskey and Botgirl have challenged all of us to participate in this creative effort via a blog called Single Frame Stories. Each week they will issue a challenge and willing participants will email their submission of an image that tells a story to SingleFrameStories@gmail.com and upload the picture to the Flickr Group. The images can be made in SL or not and can incorporate up to 140 characters of text, or not. You have great creative freedom to take the idea and run.
If this weekly challenge idea reminds you of a certain Robot's weekly 100 word story podcast, well, you would be right on the money. For years Crap Mariner has encouraged us to "keep it brief" and tell a story in exactly 100 words. Botgirl and Whiskey have adopted Crap's formula and applied it to visual storytelling. I simply love how the creative ideas of people build and riff and inspire each other to new ways of expressing themselves. And this my dear friends is the true product Linden Lab is selling but lets not get derailed by philosophy too early this lovely Sunday morning.
This week the Single Frame Story Challenge phrase is Last Words and my entry is the photo at the top of this post. What do you think? And more importantly, the deadline for submitting your own image is Friday August 10th so you still have time. Don't hesitate - jump on in! The creative water is fine.
Spirit by claudia222 Jewell has been on the art screamer sim since February 2012. We have been in the Destination Guide on and off since the beginning, often as an Editor's pic. Claudia's work has been featured in blogs, magazine, and several machinima. As of today we have had more than 17,500 unique visitors, with many returning again and again to drink in the primordial, slightly surreal atmosphere.
For many donning the free Spirit avatar and becoming part of the art is the highlight of their visit. "Being" Spirit and floating through the landscape while listening to the music is calming and slightly meditative. Visitors from the fashion community came for the free avatar and then made Spirit the background for other fashion photography. It has been great fun to see claudia's work inspire people who may not have otherwise spent a lot of time in an otherworldly art sim enjoy mesh creation in a new way.
Zach, Amase and I are proud of Spirit and we are pleased to have been able to offer Claudia art screamer for these many months. However, art in Second Life is by definition temporary. As much as we hate to see Spirit disappear our goal for art screamer is to bring new art to Second Life and the time has come for us to invite a new artist to build.
With hearts that are a bit heavy we will be closing Spirit by claudia222 Jewell at the end of August to make room for the next artist. We are not quite ready to announce who will be featured on art screamer or when the Grand Opening will be, but believe me the new art screamer sim will be amazing.
You still have about a month to enjoy Spirit so please visit us! We will make sure Claudia knows how much we have loved hosting Spirit by holding a going away party to be remembered. Please watch this blog for information about dates, times and performances.
Please enjoy this machinima by Kronos Kirkorian!
Spirit from David Laundra on Vimeo.