Shot by NWN alum Coley, here's a beautiful, atmospheric look at this year's Hair Fair:
Now in its 10th year, Second Life's Hair Fair is a massive annual event bringing together dozens of content creators selling virtual hair and accessories, with Linden Dollar proceeds converted to US dollars and then donated to Wigs for Kids, a non-profit providing hair pieces to kids undergoing chemotherapy and other medical issues. It's epic in scope and talent, and a case study in how powerful collaborative charity online can truly be.
I've never really got the point of displaying 2D art in a 3D virtual art gallery that's actually displayed on a 2D screen, but when it leads to machinima as strange and surreal as this, I do:
(Possibly NSFW for some, as it contains a bit of arty nudity. Then again, if there are people at work looking over your shoulder might just be wondering WTF's the deal with the monkey.) The gallery itself is Berg by Nordan Art:
In this powerful machinima, SLer Anjelikka Kowalski explains how using Second Life, admiring the creativity within it, and learning how to create herself, has helped her recover from post-traumatic stress disorder:
PTSD is usually associated with soldiers returning from war, but in Anjelikka's case, she was a secondary victim to war's tragic aftermath:
"It was due to a terrible incident that included my husband at the time," she explains to me. "He went to Iraq numerous times and every time he came back, he changed. Four years ago, he came back from Iraq on a two week vacation, and he got so violent and tried to kill me, I ended up with a broken nose.
"Needless to say I am lucky to be alive since this could have ended bad. But I suffered badly from PTSD because of fear he would return."
She tells me all this in a rush, and I ask if she's comfortable discussing such deeply personal real life details for a blog post.
"Feel free to do so," she says. "It took me all these years to finally being able to say I suffered through this. Second Life helped me in so many ways I was able to escape, make new friends, and create beautiful things. It was really therapy for me and I was able to find peace."
Linden Lab's 12 anniversary "What Second Life Means to Me" marketing campaign is a bit too marketing-y for my taste, but this new entry by Huckleberry Hax has a dreamy, vivid poetry (both visual and in Hax's resonant narration) that's well-worth watching:
If you're wondering about the poetry part, there's a very good reason for that:
Whether you're a rap fan* or not, you should totally watch this new music video shot in Second Life:
From the talented hands of Mr. Blaq Magik, I particularly love the camera work, which looks like it's literally hand-held -- i.e. Magik is pointing a video camera at the screen. Another excellent creative choice:
It's still hot off the machinima presses (that's how people make machinima, right?) but this short video from designer Maylee Oh might be the cutest Second Life clip I've seen in ages. Just watch it for yourself above if you don't believe me.
Maylee's name may sound familiar if you saw the promo video she produced last year to advertise her brand, The Secret Store. The promo was catchy as heck and a phenomenal success, which I covered here on New World Notes at the time. Her latest machinima work is miles away from the glitter and polish of her promos, though. "Small Town Cafe" is the second short machinima she's produced this week, and both offer sweet little vignettes into surprisingly precious worlds.
This is a really interesting walkthrough of Second Life's current first-time user experience by someone who hasn't played SL for about 10 years:
I created an alt account 2-3 years ago, as I recall, and the on-boarding process has become even more polished and robust since then. A couple other points that emerge from watching this video:
The UI is still extremely challenging for anyone who isn't deeply familiar with MMOs, and the first-time user experience doesn't even come close to doing enough to address that. But friendly, chatty videos like this (by Beau Hindman) are in themselves a good way of introducing people to the UI and all its irksome eccentricities.
A perfect way to end this week is watching this new SL machinima from SamLowry Hawks, who after a long absence from the genre (his 2010 classic here; 2012's masterpiece here), returns with this visually stunning and story rich short inspired by Ang Lee's Life of Pi. In this version, however, it's the tiger who must find the boy, in a dreamscape even richer than that film:
" I wanted to try to build a scenario for the first time, simple as it is," Mr. Hawks tells me, "to bring a plot line to what I've been doing for years. These are obviously my first steps in this area, and I am not a writer, but my wish for this little film was to have a story, even a simple one, to bring another dimension to machinima." SamLowry himself plays the tiger in the machinima, an avatar which also inspired the story: