Thursday, June 26, 2008

On a personal front...

On a personal front, I find myself suddenly unemployed. I was the head of R&D for a 200-person company. The R&D was software development, primarily. If you know of anyone who could use my talents, please let me know.

At least I'll have more time to work on SL5B for the next two weeks.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fringe Festival Information

In the wake of all the changes and uncertainty with the SL Birthday celebration sponsored by Linden Lab, several of us have decided to create a new group to run the Resident birthday celebrations next year. Instead of calling it a "fringe festival" it will be the Resident Birthday Bash.

Although our goal for 2009 is to create our own event to celebrate Second Life's birthday, we want this to become a cross-metaverse event, as well. Furthermore, if we have the resources, we would like to make this a venue to run Resident events throughout the year. With that in mind, we have created a parent organization: Virtual Resident Events.

Look for kiosks to join the Resident Birthday Bash group. They will be scattered around SL5B, as permitted. The kiosks will allow you to register your interest (it's not an SL group, so it won't take an additional slot), to get information, to offer to volunteer, or to donate. (We'll get back to you on donations, since we aren't allowed to accept lindens on SL5B property.) Don't forget, you can donate lindens, but you can also donate the use of your sim(s). In kiosks that are not on the official SL5B list, the kiosks themselves will accept lindens for donations.

The current organizers of this particular event are (in alphabetical order) Pyrii Akula, Shoshana Epsilon, SignpostMarv Martin, and Will Web. Welcome to the Resident Birthday Bash.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Open Letter to Linden Lab

To whom it may concern at Linden Lab,

In the interest of transparency and good will, I would like to inform you of a new Resident-run initiative. A Second Life fringe festival.

For several years, Linden Lab has graciously provided space for the Residents of Second Life to showcase their talents. For their part, the Residents receive recognition from their peers. (Due to my participation in SL3B, I was interviewed for Le Monde on-line magazine and asked to participate in the University of Texas at Dallas' first display of Resident art. Later, I was asked to be the art director for SL4B and SL5B. My continued presence has given me additional exposure to be asked to be curator and board member for several galleries.)

I understand the need to provide a squeaky-clean image to the "outside" world. Honestly, I want Second Life to continue and succeed as much as you do. However, many artists and exhibitors find the "squeaky clean" image that you wish to portray as being too restrictive. In truth, there are MANY aspects of Second Life, and the G rated version is only part of it.

In the image of the International Arts Festival at Edinburgh with its associated Fringe Festival, several of us from within the community wish to have our own fringe festival. The intent is that Linden Lab's Birthday event is to the Resident event as the Edinburgh International Arts Festival is to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: the official, major event, and the supplementary smaller event. We would welcome your cooperation in coordinating these two separate events so that they can support each other and create a stronger whole.

We have yet to actually name our event, but I am rather fond of calling it the 'fringe festival' following a concept commonly used in Great Britain. (There are actually concurrent fringe festivals in many cities throughout northern England and Scotland.) The festival organizers will be meeting in the upcoming weeks and months to iron out these details, and we welcome input from all sources on how we can construct a truly wonderful festival to celebrate all the things we love about Second Life.

For 2009, we will be asking individuals and corporations, rather than Linden Lab, to donate the use of their sims to host a festival concurrent with Second Life's 6th birthday. In subsequent years, if this is successful, we may include other non-birthday events, especially if we can arrange long term donor support.

The intention of this event is not to take attention away from your primary event(s). It is to allow additional participation by people who love this place and see it as "home".

In thanks for your continued support,

Pyrii Akula
Shoshana Epsilon
SignpostMarv Martin
Will Webb

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Open Letter for SL5B protest display

This letter was sent to Dusty Linden on 12 June 2008. As of now, there has been no response. (This is not to say that she is hiding anything, but most likely a finely crafted response is necessary from the corporate lawyer.)


I realize that you don't make the rules, you just have to tell us about them. This "no adult in the same picture as a child" rule is one I am very saddened about. I will not quit working for SL5B unless you tell me to step down, but I AM working on my own protest. You should know about it so you are not surprised. Furthermore, you (LL) can decide to shut it down if you feel that it is necessary.

I am soliciting RL pictures for my SL5B display. These will be pictures of RL families. They will all be G-rated. I will review each picture before it goes into the gallery. If you wish, I will thereafter submit them to you for review.

The fact of the matter is that I strongly disagree with LL's position on this. I trust that this form of civil disobedience will be seen in the light in which it is intended ... as part of my support for Second Life and its continued diversity.

-- Shoshana Epsilon, Art Director, SL5B

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As The Brain Churns (a flashback to the early soap operas)

I want to make a stink. I really do. This is soooo stupid! I haven't heard a word about whether anyone who has RL pictures of families has been told not to display them at SL5B.


I want to donate my display to a protest. If you have any clean and wholesome family-type RL pictures that YOU OWN ALL RIGHTS TO, please send them to me in-world. I will heavily moderate the pictures, so not all pictures will be allowed. I expect good quality art pictures that are wholesome. Credits will be given to the photographer.

Second Life 5th Birthday: 12 June update

Good news first ...

The artists who applied should all have their invitations in hand. (An invitation is an offer to belong to the SL5B group and a notecard with some information.) People are starting to claim their plots of land and the sims are filling up nicely.

There was an official announcement from Dusty, who is now the head of SL5B, that Phaylen will be coordinating all the resident efforts.

Now the bad news ...

Several people have been told that they cannot have displays that feature both an adult and a child avatar in the same picture. (I wonder if that restriction goes to real life pictures, too?) Stephen Venkman has decided to withdraw the majority of his display and put a landmark to a special gallery he is creating.

Personally, I find LL's reaction to this difficult to understand. And in support for my friends and in support for diversity on the grid, I will do the same. (Picture to come.)

I will continue to support the artists for SL5B for as long as they let me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Second Life 5th Birthday: June 11

First, a positive note on SL5B.

We received an additional set of artist applications for SL5B and the number of art exhibitors has climbed to 98. (There's nearly 300 performing artists, so we don't have a chance to catch up to them. But we DO have more land area than anyone else.) We couldn't fit all the artists in 3 sims, so I've expanded out to part of a 4th sim. If you come by SL5B during the display, we have the middle three sims on the bottom of the map and part of the right sim on the bottom. The first set of artists are nearly all installed and the second set are just choosing their plots now.

On a less positive note...

They are dropping like flies. The upper management of SL5B, a resident-run organization. First, our head, Marv, quit due to clashes with a heavy-handed Linden. Next, Ariel left. She was Marv's assistant. I understand the same Linden pissed Ariel off enough to make her quit. So, Meghan, Trinity, Phaylen and Dawn stepped up to the plate to try to run this supposedly resident-run organization. Unfortunately, they don't all know each other well and trying to coordinate so many people who don't have a history of working well together ... it was a disaster doomed to happen. So now Dawn is no longer "on the board", Trinity has left the group, Meghan is trying to help everywhere at once. Rumor has it that Phaylen (whom I don't know) is the defacto head. I know that Yadni has dropped out. There's been a major turnover in the music department. Many people from the children's groups had already planned to not-display since it sounded like their work would be booted. Other people are grumbling mightily, but don't yet have the final straw in hand.

I hope it doesn't happen, but if things don't get turned around, I'm about to quit as head of the art department. It would be a damned shame -- I don't want to let the artists down. But the whole child/bdsm/gor thing has gotten out of hand. First LL said "no children, bdsm, or gorean displays". That's a stupid statement. It's divisive and unfair. They also said "PG" which, although restrictive, is understandable and even-handed. (Resident uprisings caused them to rethink their posture.) Now they are saying "you can't have a picture of a child and an adult in the same picture." That's STUPID. Their statement should be "we'll evaluate each picture on a case-by-case basis" and then decide each picture on its REAL MERITS. They also said "no pictures of children around beds". So, kids, don't jump on the beds and don't crawl into your cribs!

I understand the intent of these rules, but the words and the messengers being used are less than perfect.

Grumble-growse. Things had better get better.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Second Life 5th Birthday: status as of 9 June

First, a notice: NO MORE APPLICATIONS FOR DISPLAYS ARE BEING ACCEPTED for SL5B. Certainly, the art sims are completely filled up. I'd even say they are overbooked.

Almost all the first run of artists (nearly 60) have installed their art at this point. These are the people who got their applications in by 31 May. The art sims look AWESOME. Everyone seems to be pitching in and doing their part. Thank you.

I finally have the list of artists who submitted their requests before the second (or was that the third?) deadline of 6 June. It is another 28 artists, making this (perhaps) the largest collection of contributors. (Music may have more, I'm not sure.) I've been given another sim and a half to play with, which MAY be enough.

Just a heads up ... some people have asked for really huge plots. I may not be able to accommodate them in my 3.5 sims. I'm going to spend tonight going over the space and the requests and seeing if any other "cultures" have space in them. The largest plots are the hardest to place. If you have asked for a large plot and you only need it for the extra prims it allows, please contact me as soon as possible. I may have extra prim allotments. The problem is that I want to accommodate as many artists as possible and when people take up large plots of land, others may not be able to display their work.

Once I figure out how to best divide up the parcels, I (or Codie) will be sending out group invites to this last batch of artists. Remember, you have until 20 June to put up your work! (The show opens on the 23rd.)

Oh, and if you've heard about a corporate offering ... the event will actually run 2 weeks. The first week will feature resident displays and the second will feature corporate displays. Don't ask me about those, Linden Lab is coordinating that effort!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Second Life 5th Birthday: status as of 5 June

You may know that SL5B is primarily a resident-run event. All residents running this are volunteers. Be nice to us -- we're not paid to put up with angry residents. The recent changes are due to LL's recent decision to take a more active role in the celebrations. Probably the biggest change for the artists is that all art must be PG. Also, LL has changed the location for signups. To apply for space, go to this web page. Linden Lab has extended the application deadline to June 5th. (Note: If you signed up on the old site, you do NOT need to sign up again.)

Linden Lab has donated 16 sims for SL5B. Two sims have been reserved for the artist community. Every artist who signed up by May 31st (the earlier deadline) should have received (or will receive tonight) an invitation to the SL5B group and a notecard. With this, the two art sims are full.

Because Art isn't the only community to fill up, the SL5B coordinators are asking LL for an additional 4 sims. If we get that, then one of those will be dedicated to artists. I'll be letting people know if they have been accepted as soon as possible.

Also, if you have art with an oriental theme (Japan, China, Thailand, India, etc) then the Oriental sim is accepting art plots, too. Ask for what you need, but don't be greedy -- we have lots of artists in Second Life!

Once you have your plot, if you find that you need a tree removed, please IM me. I am working on getting into the right role to delete those. (Hopefully CodeBastard Redgrave and Stephen Venkman, too.) The three of us are working hard on getting everything set up. If you find that the plot you are assigned isn't as large as you intended, contact ME in SL. I'm coordinating the space requests.

Comments are welcome. Criticisms are welcome if they are helpful. Nastiness will end up in the bit bucket. Additional information on the topic of SL5B can be found at the Linden Lab blog.