Thursday, January 26, 2017

Inauguration Weekend in Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

In January 2009, our predecessor paper the Second Life Newspaper did an article about an inauguration ball in honor of President Barack Obama. Eight years later, on January 20 2017 and the weekend after, there were a few events and displays in honor of the new President now, Donald Trump. But not everything was in his honor.

Following a tip from ShadowRene Ivanova, I headed over to the London City sim at (79/226/23). There in a city park area, the British sim had a tribute to the new US President. Painted on the ground was an American flag with the Presidential seal in the middle. Not far away on a stage with another American flag and a picture of the White House behind it was the name "TRUMP" in red, white, blue, and gold.

There was some discussion going on, partially in chat, partially in Voice. Despite the controversy that often follows Trump, the conversation was more or less civil. But among the crowd was one of the Lindens, Warp Linden, out of either curiosity or perhaps wanting to make sure the place wasn't griefed. Among the other avatars were a few tinies and furs.

I heard about an Inaugural party held on another spot in the sim. It was being held at a club called, "One Soho Square." The place was all decorated in red, white and blue, on the floor and with balloons. But not everything about the club was first class. There was a bit of irreverent humor involving Queen Elizabeth and a phone booth.

Mike Fahley of Kotaku also wrote about the tribute at London City, including a brief video of the place at the time Trump was giving his speech. He stated as many as 97 residents were in the sim at the time. He saw a "few" people shooting at each other or having "laid down on the ground in dying poses with daggers in their backs." But for the most part the crowd was civil.

The Trump Pub that had been around on Election Night was gone, but there was another Trump hangout high above the Atomica sim. The crowd was definitely more partisan, "We are conservatives and Republicans or Libertarians and gracious people." Some were talking while others were watching a film. There was a little speculation about who the Democrats would run next time, feeling Hillary Clinton had her chance and Sanders was too old. One was expressing revulsion of a CNN article that openly asked the question what would happen if Trump and Pence were assassinated. Seeing me, she was a little surprised to see there was a media aimed at covering Second Life.

The Second Life Republicans would have a couple parties. One was on Friday night. The second was on Sunday. While I was there, it was a small crowd with light conversation.

Not all Second Life residents were celebrating the new President. Hamlet Au wrote about an inworld photographer (NSFW picture), Shilo Selene Goldlust (Shiloselene), whom had started a Flickr "body language" challenge,"As the war on humanity intensifies via attacks on our gender, our sexuality, our religious beliefs, and our cultural identities, it has become even more important that we retain the confidence to speak up for ourselves, and let the establishment know that we won't be cowed, and that we won't allow ourselves to be victimized." The picture she had contributed she explained on a blog was inspired by her being sexually assaulted in college. Any1 Gynoid informed the Newser of one other protest screenshot by artist Adolf Chapman (NSFW).

Inauguration Day in real life would see numerous women's rights protests. In Second Life, One can get one of the pink "pussycat" hats at Tableau (169/112/23).

Like on the day after Election Day, there were numerous comments on Facebook, about a third in support of Trump, a third against, and about a third with mixed opinions or not caring. The photo posted on Friday when linked to on Facebook got a few dozen comments from both sides.

For the second time in it's history, Second Life has seen the election and then the swearing in of a new US President.  Much like last time, many have high hopes for him while others fear he will bring ruin. This time the ideological roles are reversed. How he will perform, time will tell.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 2, 2017

Scenes From New Year's Eve 2016

By Bixyl Shuftan

New Year's Eve has been celebrated for many ages, at least in places using what's called the "Gregorian calendar." The Julian calendar which it's based on came about in 45 BC, which gives some idea just how long it's been celebrated. Besides marking the end of the Christmas holiday season, and one last chance to have a good party before having to get to bed early the next night for work the day after, usually it's been a chance to look back at the old year and look forward to the new one. But 2016 saw the demise of many public personalities, including childhood heroes, from old age, disease, violence, or the effects of hard living earlier in life finally catching up. This became a year to be despised by many, someone dubbing it the "Year of the Reaper." So that gave a number of people additional reason to look forward to New Year's Eve and the stroke of Midnight to finally put the year behind them.

Shockwave Yareach was among those doing things to celebrate the end of 2016, including making a "Burn in Hell 2016" hat, which he passed out to some at Club Cutlass' New Year's party on Friday night. He also did a video in which in real life he blew up a calendar, which took a little more effort than planned. "The old year didn't want to die," one remarked when seeing the youtube.

Going about on New Year's Eve, it was in my Luskwood striped skunk avatar instead of the fox. I guess with all of the formal outfits in some parties, black and white seemed to be the thing to do.

I heard there was an event going on at the International Space Museum at Spaceport Alpha, but by the time I got there, the fireworks show had come and gone. I went aboard the boardable rocket for my own personal fireworks.

Club Serenity, which Grease Coakes recently reviewed, was among the locations having events early in the day. The normally sci-fi club had been winterized into an ice cave. Grease and DJ Khyra, who can be found at the Happy Vixen club on Mondays, were among those spinning the tunes.

For the Sunweaver/Angel community, their Saturday night venue of Club Cutlass was closed that night, but there was another hangout that officially opened that night, the "Goblin Cave" at
Pacific Waters (185, 178, 31). Although it's owner Cynthia Farshore planned to start things off at 8PM SL time, things got started off at 7PM.

The Goblin Cave has a jacuzzi and a couple of couples' spots, but it was the game room that got the attention of the crowd, at least for the first couple of hours. There was a pool table, SLopoly, chess, and the popular SL favorite game "Greedy." But the star of the show was a Second Life version of "Cards Against Humanity," a game with a cheeky sense of humor in which sentences with one or two blanks pop up, all the players but one pick one of the set of cards they were given to fill in the blanks, and one randomly selected player takes the part of judge to make the call on the best answer. Not surprisingly, people are inclined to give the funniest, or most perverse, possible answer.

 The first player to win ten rounds in the Second Life version of the game is declared the winner. So who won, well, I won't say as the cheeky nature of the game makes it one in which winning makes it look like they have a bit of an odd sense of humor.

Just before 9PM SL time, or Midnight EST just as the New Year first reached the United States, the party moved to the dance floor and bar, where the crowd danced away for a while. Cynthia played the tunes from her Farshore Radio station. We talked about a few things as we danced, including that the "Year of the Reaper" would claim one more celebrity on the last day. But on the whole it was mostly optimism about what was ahead and happy to spend the evening, and early morning, with friends. After Midnight SL time, those left began retiring for the night one by one.

At T1 Radio's Legend's club in Arinultra Cay, Trader Whiplash played the tunes for a crowd that included a number of personalities from the Relay for Life. The party lasted from about 7PM to some time after Midnigh SL time.

The Furry Fashion Lounge had a special New Years Eve bash that night, starting up at 9PM SL.

DJ Moff (Moffetmephit) was spinning the tunes, but instead of being behind the regular DJ Booth, he and the hosts took on the appearance of a rock band, "The Lem n' Ems," named after their host Lem Aiko.

One of the latest starting events was the "Prim Drop" at Bay City's North Chanel sim in the Fairgrounds. The event gets it's name from New York City's Times Square's "Ball Drop," which has been taking place since 1908, and broadcasted over radio and then television since the 1940s. 

The party started a little before 11:30 SL time. Marianne McCann, like other major Bay City events, was the organizer of this party, "You outdone yourself, Mari!" And at ten seconds to Midnight, the prim, now lit and glowing, began coming down.

 And when 2017 had officially come to Second Life, fireworks went into the air, as well as some ticker-tape that floated down. There were cheers, and a few couples kissing one another. "The prim is down! Here's to a new year!" Marianne announced, "It's my pleasure to bring this to all of you, my friends in Bay City and elsewhere, and everyone who called Second Lifer a Second Home."

 Among the people in the crowd was Draxtor Despress, who shot this video of the event, "Thanks to Drax's live stream I didn't have to miss it when locked up!" "Can't say I've ever seen you sober, Drax."

And so, Second Life bade 2016 farewell, and welcomed in a new one.

Happy New Year, Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan