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Dressin’ up ain’t always easy

October 23rd, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Before folks think I’m going off into “zOMG Dramaz0rz,” let me start by saying I respect the opinions of the others involved in this discussion, and hold no ill will or any of that. The specific incident is irrelevant, but it points to what i want to talk about.

Recently on Plurk, an SL clothing designer was pointing out some cute real-world kids’ clothing. One person suggested making some clothes for kid avatars based on this. I also chimed in that I would love to see some clothing like that.

You see, while I love some of the kid designers out there, a lot of the clothing fits a specific “thing.” It’s babydoll tops and poofy skirts, 90% of the time. I don’t mind these, but I’d love to see a bit more variety. I want to see more of the Gap Kids or Justice look. Nice looking stuff I can still play in, you know? Never mind that all those babydolls and poofy skirts end up with my hands and arms interpenetrating them all the time.

And yes, most of the adult designers I simply can’t wear the clothing of. Either they’ve spent a bit too much time working on “boob shading,” (which I simply don’t want or need), or they have non-modifiable prim clothing bits that can’t be sized down, or the clothing is too sexy/revealing/etc.

Anyway, so this discussion went out on doing some more kid fashion stuff. It’s something I’ve wanted to see for some time: a top SL fashion designer actually take on the kid market, and turn their talents, if even for a one-off, to kid stuff.

But then the inevitable happened. Another posted made it clear that if kid avatars were to shop at that store, they would not. Even tossing in a comment about throwing up. Now they might have been being a bit over dramatic, or even joking — and see my note above again — but I believe that her comments were not out of line with how others might feel. This is somewhat sad to me.

There is such a stigma attached to kid avatars at times. I think it has changed a small bit, but it’s still very much out there. Some people are (and in some ways legitimately so) “creeped out” by kid avvies, while others assume that any and all child avatars they come across are perverts in pretty packaging. I could go onto pages about all this (and have before), but let’s simply say that its out there an we know it.

but as a result, it perpetuates the stigma. Without good people making good things and welcoming kid avatars to shop at their stores, people do not see kid avatars — and therefore they remain creepy if only because of their scarcity.

A friend of mine attended an event at Inner Child Camp at Burning Life, and was amazed at how many kids were there. From my point of view, there weren’t all that many compared to some of the circles I travel in. A lot of kid avatars really do not “mix” with the general population — too much hassling, mostly focused at kid safe locations, or spending time in their family units.

Anyway, I’d love to see some designers give it a shot some time. For one, I’ve long wanted to get some “retro” kid clothing from the 50s, 60s, and 70s from some of the places that specialize in that. I’ve love some modern cool stuff too. Mostly, I just want to have something nice and new to wear that looks good for my avatar. That’s all.

It’s Burny Life time again!

October 19th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

For those of you who don’t know what a “Burning Life” is, it’s a festival event focused on art, community, and fire, and designed more or less loosely on the Burning Man festival held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, U.S.A.

Burning Life is not a “role play” area, though it tends to fall into a certain level of role play naturally. It is set in a desert environment, and people are encouraged to treat the location as if it was the First Life Burning Man’s location of Black Rock City, NV. As such, when you enter the event, you are greeted by folks at an entrance much like the one you’d be greeted at in Burning Man, etc.

Sometimes this can lead to almost Dada-esque porpostions, such as a 20+ member queue for a porta potty at this year’s event. Note to those who are unfamiiar with Second Life: porta potties are for show, and no one need use the. This isn’t The Sims. So essentially we all stood in line complaining about the people taking too long “for the show.” We also laughed. A lot.

I’m very excited to note that there’s at least eight plots being worked on by kids, each of which is unique and wonderful. In looking at all the things being built, this will be a great year overall for kids to come out to the virtual playa and enjoy the goings on.

My own entry (created with the advice and prims of Pygar Bu, Robin Howe, Valla Griffin, and Johnathon Spad) is Inner Child Camp 2009. It takes a lot of designs and ideas from the “KidsVille” camp at the first life Burning Man. There’s a lot of stuff there, including a small shaded area for stories, chilling or whatever and a stage area for shows an stuff. You’ll find it in Burning Life-Granite.

For those who want to see Burning Man, I recommend this:

Begin at “What Is Burning Life,” especially if you have not been to Burning Life before. There’s a lot to read there so feel free to skip some of the walls of text if you want. This will, however, give you an idea of where Burning Life “comes from,” and the culture of the event. This leads you through to the entrance (and its greeters). Consider at this point that you are entering a different Second Life. Dress for the environment, and think of this is more “real life” terms than you might otherwise. Be there in spirit.

Note that there’s a small tent near here with a handful of freebies. The majority of those are from 2008: there are fresher items (and a huge stack of em!) up the road at the Art Department, in a big green tent. The Department of Mutant Vehicles has its main build near there too. The daring can grab an art car at this site. This is also close to Ranger HQ and the Lamplighter’s camp.

If you turn to the West at the lamplighter’s camp, you’ll head down a row including Windyy Lan’e beautiful camp, the Wind Camp of Tijn Erde, the ‘Splo’s contribution, Aloah Oh’s wild work, and yes, my own camp.

Just beyond Ranger HQ to the north, however, some amazing artworks can be found. Be sure to see Ub Yifu’s gulliver, Bryn Oh’s Vassel’s Dream (plan some time for this, and brush up on your camming skills), and Lorin Tone/Madcow Cosmos/Judi Newell’s Sekmet temple. The road between all these leads straight up to Center Camp. You’ll always find something going on there.

Beyond Center Camp (also along the main road) is more amazing art, and The Man. Near him is the fire stage. There’s some beautiful sculpty artworks there. Some of the most amazing work you’ll see in SL.

From the Man: There’s three main roads leading off from there. To the left (West) is Toyko stage. This is a live music venue. To the right (East) is Berlin stage. That is DJed music. Both stages are, themselves, amazing builds.

North of The Man on the main road is the Temple of Forgiveness. This is a beautiful, beautiful build. Visit it and leave your thoughts.

This is also where the nightly lamplighter’s procession ends and the fire dancing begins. That is a must visit. Look for the lamplighters to finish their procession up the main road around 7:30 or so, then dance and drum the night away. This is totally worth your time.

Other things to see: Miso Susanowa’s The Roof Is Gone is cool, as is LisaKathleen Kaligawa’s The Savants. Loki Eliot’s Waiting For Pippin is wonderful, if a bit melancholy in a Puff The Magic Dragon sense. I also got a kick out of a full scale Mouse Trap game.

There are a TON of other builds to see, each of which are unique and wonderful, and worth your time to check out. Plan on spending some time exploring — and if you need to stay overnight, feel free to hang at Inner Child camp.