It’s Second Life’s eleventh birthday on June 23rd 2014 and that means an excuse for one of the biggest celebrations on the Second Life grid, and one that will involve Spiral himself!
For those of you who aren’t on Second Life, the scale of this event will be hard to comprehend – and the fascination with it possibly harder. Let me attempt to give you my perspective and show you a few teasers along the way…
It opens at midday Second Life time (Midday PDT, 1pm Mountain Time, 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK etc.) on June 22nd 2014 and will be attended by tens of thousands of avatars (that’s people!) all over the world during its run until 6th July. I was privileged enough to get a Press Pass which allowed me in for an exclusive “Press Only” tour prior to the opening – and it’s this tour that turned up some some very good reasons to get yourself to SL11B,as it’s affectionately known. Eleven, in fact.
One: The Pod
Whatever you do, you must get a Pod. This futuristic method of travelling will help you get around and act as a tour guide. Of everything. These nifty little cars allow two people to travel together and will take you all over the eleven ( notice a theme?) SIMs hosting the event. The Pod gives a running commentary of what you are seeing as you travel, and it’s so clever that when you run out of road and have water to traverse, it turns into a boat and when you need to travel by air, it turns into a hot air balloon!
Catch a Pod here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Spectacular/154/225/22
Two: Spectacular Sci-Fi
The theme of this year’s event is “The empires of the future are empires of the mind” (Winston Churchill). This has meant that a lot of creators have seen the word “future” and gone all out to express their idea of “future” in the most fabulous ways you can think of – as well as many you probably can’t. Expect to travel to other universes and back – or simply take the elevator up this incredible tower to see the view from the antenna at the top. Very apposite – SL is a haven for music both live and playback ; so beaming that out around the grid, and the world, is just one thing it does so well.
Three: Exceptional Art
Art is everywhere in Second Life, because Second Life IS art. Everything in this world was created by one of the inhabitants of this world, so it’s not surprising that art exhibits are commonplace and really exceptional art is not hard to find. You can explore a wide range of different artworks at the exhibition – and lose yourself for days. This one piece caught my eye, and the quote that goes with it (by Pablo Neruda). Profound, I thought, but then I suspect I have the heart of a poet, despite having the tact of a bulldozer.
Four: Superb Socialising
SL11B offers so many different types of interaction it’s hard to believe. DJs, both traditional and live mixers, can be found all over the grid. A full schedule of Live DJs will be performing at SL11B, and they are blessed with a fabulous build on which to show off their skills. Designed to give the impression of a comic-book villain’s lair, the DJ set sits amidst a cave of desert boulders, and is full of futuristic machinery. Despite this look, the venue is thoughtfully geared up (pun intended) so everyone can party!
Shimmy on over to the DJ stage at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Impressive/124/144/39
Five: Terrific Theater
DJs are not the only performers you’ll find in Second Life. You can find performances on everything from Shakespeare to Stand Up comics. SL11B has a great theater to showcase a variety of acts. When our press delegation arrived, a rehearsal was going on for a Chinese ballet – so you can be guaranteed diversity! The set is fantastic – don’t miss your chance to experience some of the best performance art on the grid!
Visit the Theater here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Fascinate/199/69/22
Six: Curious Contemplations
Ever wanted to get inside someone’s mind? Second Life can let you get into thousands of minds, and in some of them you’ll find wonders (in others you’ll just wonder… !). I stumbled across this beautiful piece of art that was a story all unto itself – kind of like a collection of memories. The whole thing was built into a giant bell jar, which you could walk into and around. The fact that there was a musical theme in there might have been another reason I had to stop and take a photo. In case you’re wondering, the paper next to the Cello says:
“This world was a magnificent, mysterious thing… thrilling as a dance on the precipice of the earth. Charred with unspeakable unnameable powers that rose up out of this land and plummeting from the night, possibilities invisibly colliding and exploding all around… Rushing, inaudibly roaring to the ends of this universe. And… they were the center of it.”
Seven: Spaced Out Snacks
Food, despite its irrelevance in a pixelated world, is actually a big part of it. Every birthday party will have a cake, and SL11B is no different. What a cake, though! You won’t see anything like it on your dining tables at home, which is kind of handy, as you’ll need crampons to get to the candles at the top of this one! I recommend you set your windlight to “Midnight” and stand well back to enjoy this especially designed Second Life eleventh birthday cake. No, you’re not hallucinating!
Enjoy the view from here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Astound/256/222/33
Eight: People’s Politics
Even in Second Life, you’ll find opinions expressed openly – and why not? Last year I got to visit the Second Life tenth birthday exhibition, and was pleased and amused to find “The Church of Philip Rosedale”, an allegedly religious institution claiming Philip Rosedale as Creator. They’ve got a point, you know. He DID create Second Life! On my travels around the SIMs I managed to find this exhibit and had to take a picture, because I knew it would be appreciated by followers of the blog. She says what we all KNOW is true, right?
Nine: Real Life Vision – Second Life Twist
Every public exhibit in SL11B has had an enormous amount of thought put into it. Some of it brings Real Life (known as RL in Second Life shortform) into Second Life and adds a twist. This picture shows one of two live music performance stages – with a very Tron-inspired decor. Seating here is up in the Gods – or more accurately in seats and boxes that hang over the light show spectacle with a galactic feel. How can one not be inspired?
Grab your seat here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Enchant/2/144/31
You know you want one. In fact, truth be told, you know you want as many as you can get! Along with the spectacle, Second Life birthday bashes are known for the fabulous collection of free gifts you can get. This year you can get all manner of things, teddies included. If you really, really want to burst your inventory, you can take part in the SL11B massive hunt. Hundreds of gifts all around the eleven SIMs, kindly donated by creators grid-wide. So: the fun of the hunt and the chance to pick up an enviable and sizeable collection of fabulous free gifts! You’ll find a couple of gift stations at the exhibit; the hunt you’ll find everywhere!
One gift station is here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Wonderous/177/217/22
Eleven: The REAL Reason
Last, but not least, Spiral! The swirly one himself will be appearing on one of the most spectacular and evocative stages you are ever likely to see – at 10am SLT (10am PDT, 11am Mountain Time, 1pm Eastern Time, etc.) on Saturday 28th June. It’s an event not to be missed – at a location where you can sit, dance, chill, whatever you wish. Make sure that whatever you do, you find a way to be there. Take a look at the picture and you’ll not need any more convincing you have to see and hear this! If you’re very lucky*, you may just see me, too.
Come and give Spiral a big hand here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SL11B%20Astonish/11/94/22
You can keep up to date with SL11B by following their blog here.