Vagabonds

We are exhibiting a new collection of seven real life photographs taken by Laura – this Thursday in Gotham Warehouse, just off the city’s main square. It is called “Vagabonds” …

vagabonds

Laura has exhibited at Furillen a number of times, most memorably perhaps with Birds. This new collection follows a period during which she has rethought various aspects of her style. Whereas one of the most notable features of Laura’s photographs up to now has been the unusual angles she uses, the images in this new set are – to my eye, at least – fundamentally about place and time.

“Vagabond” literally means “a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job”, or “having no settled home”, and as you will see on Thursday, this spirit pervades the new set of photographs in quite a profound way.

I am not usually taken to flattery. This collection is outstanding.

What a Feeling …

Wednesday’s party in the Iceberg Lounge was a big success – lots of people there, and a really good set from Jero. The setting was perfect, as can be seen in this spectacular shot from Magic Marker …

Hip check

Next up, on Tuesday, we’ll be holding a party to celebrate one of the greatest movies of all time (or of April 1983, at least!) …

flash

… so get your leotards and leggings out of the closet and get ready for some of this …

Partly for the occasion, and also because we like it, we have installed a new venue, right next to Chinatown where the boxing hall and pizzeria used to be. We called it The Dork Knight …

dork knight_002

… and it’s loud and bright – inside, at least. This is the second new building from Nomad that has been installed at the sim during the past week, the other being the beautiful Stockholm-inspired Mjölnir Kompaniet, which fits perfectly on the ground and seems true to the Swedish origins of the sim …

new building at furillen

And just in case you missed it, we are also planning a mega-event, dedicated to The Beatles in general, and specifically to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This will be held during June, and although we’ve hardly even started the planning, it’s likely to be on a similar scale to the previous events devoted to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. It will therefore involve transforming the ground part of the sim, so expect a few days of closure during late May.

Meanwhile, to celebrate our new building – and to show we don’t take this Batman stuff too seriously – I leave you with this …

 

Sgt. Pepper comes to Furillen

The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released. In every city in Europe and America the radio stations played [it] … and everyone listened … it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. For a brief while the irreparable fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young. (Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone)

On 1 June 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, and we will be celebrating its fiftieth birthday at Furillen with an event whose scale will match those we dedicated to Bowie, Radiohead and Pink Floyd.

pepper at 50 C

This was a great – epic – record. It was described in The Times as “a decisive moment in the history of Western civilisation”, as “a historic departure in the progress of music” in Time magazine, and in Newsweek, as a “masterpiece” whose lyrics rank alongside literary greats such as T. S. Elliot, Edith Sitwell and Harold Pinter.

Just look at the tracklist …

the-beatles-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-7-cd

… and then remind yourselves that two of The Beatles’ best-loved songs, Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, were recorded during the sessions for this album but released separately as a double A-side single – and you begin to appreciate the hot creative streak that the band must have been on at this time.

Besides the songs, the concept – playing as an alter-ego group enabled the band to experiment musically – together with the artwork

Making The Cover for Sgt Pepper_s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1)

… and the influences …

mrkiteposter

… give the album such richness, depth and quality that the hyperbole surrounding it seems quite justified. This was – truly – a great record.

As always, we’ll be turning the entire sim into a tribute: to the group, their albums and songs and the artwork associated with them, and – of course – to Liverpool itself. It’s a city I know quite well: the first house I bought was right here on this street …

penny_lane

So, to get you in the mood, here’s Take 9 of the title track, which contains some speaking at the end and will be released as part of a special anniversary edition

“Furillen is …” – our next show starts here

We had a nice event at Furillen yesterday, launching the first exhibition at the new gallery in the city part of the sim

exhibition 2

Most of those who had their pictures included were able to show up, and it was enjoyable meeting some of you for the first time. What I really like about the show – which features images of Furillen City taken during its first month – is the sheer variety of pictures as well as photographers.

The city is not the easiest place to take photographs: there are no soft ‘gimme’ shots because the best angles are tricky to find, and the texture load means that those with ‘normal’ graphics cards are prone to crashing as they try to fix their shot. It’s also quite a complicated place to explore, as any city should be! So do visit the show if you haven’t done so, because the pictures on display here are terrific.

So … what’s next? The plan is to keep this show open for most of May, and then put on another show at the beginning of June – this time, of pictures taken on the ground part of the sim. We’ll keep things simple and just call it “Furillen is …”.

The Furillen Flickr group is huge, of course, with over 9700 pictures, of which the vast majority were taken on ground level – so how to select? I think we’ll stick to pictures of the latest iteration of the sim, which we called Furillen 3.0 and opened on 8 January 2017. It will still be tough pulling out 24 highlights from the many, many images of Furillen taken since then, but we’ll do our best. What’s guaranteed is that the quality will be very high indeed.

We’ll be making the selection around mid-May, so it isn’t too late to be included if you still have that killer shot in mind … or, perhaps, sitting on your hard drive.

“Furillen City Is …”

exhibition 2

Furillen City has been open since the beginning of April, and as ever, the Flickr stream has been busy, with some excellent pictures taken by some very talented visitors. We decided to mark the first month with an exhibition of our favourites, which will open in the massive Trident Intercontinental Shipping Hangar – quite radically modified as an exhibition space – next Tuesday, 2nd May.

We will be holding similar shows for pictures of the ground part of the sim  – and will be re-opening the gallery on that level specifically for the purpose when the time comes – in the near future. Look out for notices about this, and if you are a photographer yourself, an invitation to participate.

For geeks, the title of this particular show is a reference to the very first page of the very first volume of one of the most successful recent ‘resets’ of the Batman series, and one of my own personal favourites, The New 52. Here it is …

gotham is

Stayin’ Alive

Long-time visitors to Furillen might be excused for assuming that its owners are minimalist snobs … or geeks with childish obsessions like Star Wars and Batman … or that we have our ears tuned permanently to the depressing sounds of Radiohead. But nothing could be further from the truth. The sim is – always has been, always will be – a silent tribute to an event that detonated into the popular culture in 1977.

This was a momentous year on so many levels. Politically – Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as US President in January, Indira Gandhi resigned as Indian PM in March, Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations dominated the British summer, and Steve Biko died in September. Economically – the first Apple II computers went on sale, inflation stood at 6.5% in the US and a whopping 15.8% in the UK, you could buy a BMW320i for less than $8000 while a Barbie Road Trip with Motor Home, Dune Buggy and a Bicycle could be snapped up for just $72 (although sadly, these haven’t fared well in the vintage Barbie toys market). There was the famous and disturbing New York City Blackout in July. And of course, Elvis Presley died, on August 16 that same year. Or so some people allege …

But to us, one event stands above all of these for its lasting significance and impact on our lives and the lives of countless others. On 14 December 1977, cinema audiences watched in awe as the camera swept across Brooklyn Bridge, the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, the B line subway train, until … finally … we saw these shoes …

JT boots

… and heard that great song fading in with those first two immortal lines …

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk

… the camera panned up, and there he was, Tony Manero himself, and we could indeed ‘tell by the way he uses his walk’ …

manero

… that life just got a whole lot better, that music got a whole lot richer, and that disco dancing will never be quite the same again. Because, let’s be absolutely honest, what’s not to love and admire – really – about the music of the Bee Gees

bee gee gif

All of which is simply a way of announcing that we’ll be staging our own tribute to Saturday Night Fever after 40 years, as the Iceberg Lounge gets the playlist it deserves, this coming Tuesday.

saturdaynightfever-test3

So … as you throw open those wardrobe doors and select your sequinned outfits for the celebrations, here it is, that four minute sequence that changed the world …

Update from Gotham

It’s been a week since Furillen City opened, and we’ve had around two thousand visitors. Having said “that’s it, we’re finished” a few days ago, we immediately went and changed one or two things. The old, atmospheric but somewhat ‘primmy’ Trident Intercontinental Shipping building has been replaced with a mesh building that has a smaller land impact and better textures. It should make a good gallery, and we’ll be arranging an exhibition or two in due course. I also replaced the road system – again, a combination of more efficient mesh and (marginally) better-looking textures were behind this. The new roads look very similar otherwise, most people wouldn’t even have noticed. The guestbook has been quite busy – entries are published here – and I wrote an updated city guide with more information about the reasoning behind this build.

There have been one or two comments about lag. On the one hand, lag is inevitable whenever there are a lot of avatars on a sim, and once the numbers rise to around fifty nobody should be surprised by it. On the other hand, having so much stuff in the sky, with so many textures, will generate some issues, and we are tracking those down and dealing with them one by one – whether the problem is a script or clashing textures, or over-sized prims.

Having made the changes just mentioned, I would say that lag problems are minimal now, certainly in tests we are getting very good time dilation and frames per second stats. As this blogger points out, there does seem to be a periodic ‘freezing’ issue, and I think this usually coincides with an avatar landing at the sim. I tried tackling this by removing the orb that tracks visitors and sends greetings, but this does not seem to be the problem. It may just be the server, and I will investigate this next.

We held the ‘official’ opening party a couple of nights ago in the Iceberg Lounge and there were some great costumes. I decided to be Scarecrow (see Mareea’s picture right at the bottom of this post), we had a mini-batman, a few examples of Harley Quinn, and plenty of other comic book characters including a rather sleek and shiny Superman. My favourite costumed visitor so far was a splendid Penguin, which I wish I’d snapped at the time. I think the avatar wearing it was on a photo shoot, and I’ll link to what they took if I find it. (Update: I found a picture of this avatar here.)

Talking of pictures, here are the highlights so far …

Favorite place to hang

He couldn't resist

Naxos Wayne

wandering_world477

Untitled

Dining Room, Stately Wayne Manor

Incy Wincy Spider

The City

Piano Grande

Papa Emeritus

HARLEY QUINN

Dancer in the dark

observing the new area...

wandering_world478

Furillen City

Joker ... is here 1

Joker ... is here 2

Humanity...

Furillen

Antiques

Joker... is here 7

Gotham

Baron Eidolon

Untitled

Being. Jax.

...is Missing

T-Rex is coming to the City

Back Room

Just An Illusion

Gold

The Beast and The Beauty

wandering_world480

Walking with a Ghost

Furillen

End of a tunnel #myass

furillen, SL

Joker ... is here 4

Gotham Furillen City

2017-04-02-Furillen

Furillen city. Pandora Empire. (the Pandora' box is still closed)

furillen, SL-artist's studio

"However dark and scary the world is right now, there will be light." Gotham TV Series

Courtyard Cafe

When my feet get bored of travelling

Furillen Grand Prix

Wasted...

Furillen city. The stage

Memories of a room

Wayne Manor @ Furillen

There is no justice among men...

Super Freak

Let's Dance

The Enormity Of It All

Furillen

The Master of Ceremonies

Next …

So we’re done building Furillen City. For now. And as this great picture from Wurfi shows, it looks pretty good.

Furillen City

But of course, we never really finish. Just today, we added the art studio behind Cat Mews, filling in the last (lateral) ‘dead spot’ on the main sim platform at 3400 metres. We’ll surely add more, and tinker with what we have. But for now, that’s enough … and we hope you enjoy visiting this place as much we enjoyed building it.

Having spent most of the spare time I had during three rather intense weeks putting the city together, I must admit to feeling some trepidation when we opened two nights ago. This was mainly trepidation at suddenly having to share the space! But in fact, seeing people beginning to occupy the city, visiting some of my own favourite spots, and just hanging out on the streets – sitting and watching – brought genuine pleasure as everything started coming to life. Long may this continue.

So … what now?

Well … in the City itself, we’ll be taking advantage of the higher avatar limit by holding music events (including live events) and exhibitions at the various venues we’ve created. We have identified where the exhibition space will be, and there are at least four spaces where music events can – and will – be held. This starts on Tuesday, when there will be a batman-themed party – what else? – in one of the sewer rooms. So get out your costumes and avatars and come along. And actually, any superhero or comic book character will do – just bring whatever you have.

And watch this space for news of more events.

Meanwhile, having barely visited the ground at the sim for the past three weeks, we dropped down today and installed an old favourite from La Digue du Braek, Maison du pendu loon-plage, which I wrote about here. It means losing the ferry for a while, but nothing stands completely still … even at Furillen.

maison furillen 01_006 copy

Furillen 3.0

I’ll be dismantling Tatooine later today in order to free up some prims while I start building again. Endor will stay in place for a few more days, and then I’ll be restoring the sim to its more recognisable form.

furillen__8

But it won’t be exactly the same as before. The latest building from the ‘real’ Furillen that I’m aiming to reproduce in Second Life is the Hotel Fabriken

hotel-fab-1

I’ve wanted to recreate this building for quite some time, having previously relied on this prefab from Soy …

Furillen

I’m a little bit reluctant to lose that building. It became quite a fixture at the sim, and we had fun decorating the rooms. But the aim has always been to reproduce as much of the original Furillen as feasible, and the main hotel is next in line. Judging from the images I’ve studied, the hotel is a low level structure – probably reclaimed – which is distinguished by clean lines and white plasterwork …

hotel-fab-2

The inside space seems to be characteristically minimalist, so I’ll be having fun with the decor once the outside structure is complete …

hotel-fab-3

I can’t say for sure when Furillen 3.0 will open, but expect the Endor exhibit to run for a couple more days and then I’ll close and refurbish the entire sim. The overall layout, too, will be have to be a little different to accommodate the hotel.

Meanwhile, Endor has proved every bit as challenging for photographers as I thought it would be. It was designed as a space to walk around – everything was placed from eye level – so landing and simply camming from the TP spot isn’t likely to yield much. This was always a forest to get lost in, a tangle of roots and dead leaves which throws up some beautiful angles on the main structures.

The colours, too, are spectacular, as is the light, as the following images testify …

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

Dance me to the end of the year

Qiana and Goliath

In the Forest of Endor

planet ground

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/N/N05/N05659_10.jpg

forest of furillen

Endor is open

Sneak Peek

Congrats to all of these photographers for capturing Endor so well. It’s a space I have loved spending time in, and I’ll be a little bit sorry to see it go.

Endor at Furillen

Oh, I told you it was dangerous here!― C-3PO

After the recreations of Hoth and Tatooine, the holiday Star Wars event at Furillen continues with the landscape people kept asking me about: the Forest Moon of Endor.

endor-at_004-copy

This one took a few days, but is my favourite of the three. I’ve always loved forests, having recreated one on a sim I used to have in the sailing region of New England … so I relished building Endor, tree by tree. For reference, I rewatched scenes from The Return of the Jedi and took a close look at the video game, Star Wars Battlefront. In keeping with the latter, I have opted for an autumnal look – the colour palette is more varied and easier on the viewer/eye. I really like the ambience at the sim – and do turn on sounds, because having listened carefully during the Endor scenes from the movie, there is bird life aplenty on this moon.

Endor @ Furillen has some unique pieces: I started building the huge platform as an experiment just before Christmas. I’m not an accomplished builder, but it came together surprisingly well. Having intended to leave it deco-only, I then decided to make it walkable, so do make your way to the top of the platform, walk those gantries and bridges, and take a look inside the AT-AT parked alongside. The doorways were the trickiest bit for me to build, and I’m grateful to KT Syakumi for stepping in yesterday to help out with these. The doors do open – press them twice to make sure.

Then there is the giant satellite dish, which (along with the platform) is an iconic feature of so many images of Endor, such as this one …

endorshieldgeneratorbunker-tcsbrbd2

Last but not least, there is the Ewok village, which in the video game looks like this …

ewok

This wasn’t easy to recreate, but I did my best and even added a rope slide, because … well, why not?

The sim will re-open later today, once I’ve added some final touches. Incidentally, Tatooine is still up in the sky, at least for the time being – just use the TP point next to the main landing point to see it.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the Princess herself …

leia-copy