The Weekly Peek, SL12B Edition: Welcome to the Land of Awes

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Cheers to another beautiful week in the SLUniverse! Rather than looking back, this week I’m peeking forward into the singularly spectacular event that’s exploding onto the grid today in a feast of color, sights and sounds. You may land there in curiosity, unsure of what you’ll find, but “what dreams may come” will leave you feeling spellbound. This is the SL12B Community Celebration, honoring the 12th birthday of the Second Life virtual world.

SL12B New England
SL New England (please click for full size)

For those who may be unfamiliar with the annual celebration, this passage from the the official SL12B press release sums up the event beautifully:

Spanning 15 regions with over 200 exhibits and more than 600 performers, disk jockeys and speakers, SL12B is a showcase for the accomplishments and content of all SL residents, celebrating the anniversary of Second Life© leaving its initial beta in 2003.

SL’s official “birthday” is June 23rd, but this entire week is dedicated to celebrations and festivities, including interactive and highly photographic art exhibits; a diverse and dynamic series of talks and presentations; an astonishing array of musical performances, comedy shows, and performing arts concerts spread across 5 (five!) unique venues; the “Big Hunt” with a huge variety of free prizes to be found; and so much more.

I was graciously given early access to the celebration regions, along with a coterie of amazing bloggers and writers, and I was dazzled by what I saw. The best way I can describe SL12B is a World’s Fair meets Disney’s EPCOT, with a bit of eclectic art gallery and local carnival eccentricities thrown in for good measure. It overwhelms the senses and is impossible to take in superficially. When you visit these sims, you become Dorothy in her whirling, twirling farmhouse abode, spinning off into a dreamland of immersive sights, adventures and experiences. Welcome to SL12B, the Land of Awes.

SL12B Welcome Area Train
SL12B Welcome Area Train Station (please click for full size)

SL12B’s Welcome Area coaxes you gently into the experience, leading you down a staircase to a deliciously moody atmosphere, a station with a magical and ominous train whose cars traipse a skyward path, off to destinations unknown. It’s the perfect place to get your bearings, as a Welcome Board (and some wonderfully friendly resident volunteers) will greet you with quick teleports, landmarks, and notecards with performance schedules and other helpful information.

Not far from the Welcome Area is a Pod Tour station, and if you’d like a narrated tour of some of the exhibits, it’s a wonderful place to start. I took the first part of the tour, then jumped off to explore on my own. I used the landmarks to visit the various performance stages, and was delighted by their unique designs. SL12B is not a place that seeks conformity; while their universal theme this year is “What Dreams May Come”, it’s been interpreted in wildly unique and diverse ways by its many designers and artists, leading to some truly unique and extraordinary builds.

SL12B Astonish DJ Stage
Top-down view of the Astonish DJ Stage (please click for full size)
SL12B Cake Stage
The visually dazzling Cake Stage (please click for full size)

In addition to the performance venues, SL12B is a sumptuous buffet of artistic expression. The exhibits range from serenely beautiful to chaotic and hypnotizing. The official website provides SLURLs to both the hub regions, as well as direct teleports to the individual exhibitor parcels.

SL12B M&M Creations
M&M Creations by Marcthur Goosson (please click for full size)
SLB12 We Are the Music Makers and We Are the Dreamers of Dreams
We Are The Music Makers and We Are The Dreamers of Dreams by Krystali Rabeni (please click for full size)

As a child, I had the wonderful fortune of enjoying an educational entertainment center for children that was modeled on the short-lived but well-loved Discovery Zone. It was held at a children’s museum and featured interactive science exhibits, creative art stations, puzzles and play structures, and much more. So when I saw that many of SL12B’s installations were interactive, my inner child was excited and delighted! These are just two of my favorites:

SL12B The Rooms of My Heart
The Rooms of My Heart – by Wendz Tempest (please click for full size)
SL12B Where Fairy Tales Come to Life
Where Fairy Tales Come to Life by xxstevonxx resident (please click for full size)

SL12B kicks off today at Noon (12 PM) SLT, and the festivities run through next Sunday, June 28th. The sims will remain open until July 4th for viewing before they go offline until next year. It’s truly a multi-day, once in year experience not to be missed!

Below, please find links to the SL12B performance schedule, which is offered as an overview as well as broken down by the individual venue. There’s a helpful page of SLURLs on the SL12B website, but I would highly recommend starting from the Welcome Area. I’m also including a round-up of some of the wonderful articles that have been written about this unique event. If I’ve missed anyone, please don’t hesitate to leave me a link in the comments! <3

SL12B Welcome Area
SL12B Performance Schedules
Official SL12B Community Celebration Flickr Photostream
SL12Big Hunt (details from the official site) | Happy Hunting TV (interview & preview)
SL12B Articles at Living in a Modem World by Inara Pey
Celebrating Dreams at SL’s 12th Anniversary by Ricco Saenz
Second Life is Turning 12! Join the Celebration! by Raznay Decosta
Second Life Turns 12! by Shug Maitland
SL12B: Five Must See Exhibits by Uccie Galway
SL12B, Happy Birthday Second Life Open June 21-28 by Kara Trapdoor
SL12B Opens Today at 12pm SLT by Daniel Voyager
Stuff to do in SL: What You Need to Know for SL12B by Tymmerie Thorne
What Dreams May Come ~ SLB12, June 21st-28th by Wendz Tempest
What Dreams May Come SL12B Celebrations by Anna Rain

Welcome to the Jungle: Second Life’s 12th Anniversary Premium Regions

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Some of the loveliest people I’ve met in my 2nd Second Life journeys are from Australia, and I frequently marvel at how adept they and residents from around the world are at figuring out the time zone disparities when it comes to SL events. Second Life server time is the equivalent of Pacific Daylight Time in the United States, and many in-world events are timed to correspond with typical US work and leisure schedules so they can attract the biggest audience possible. Now you would think that someone such as myself, who happens to live in a place that syncs up with SLT, would be killin’ it with all my event attendance and time-sensitive deals, but that would be a logical and rational assumption, silly!

After reading all about the surreal experience of the LL gathering at Basilique, I really wanted to attend the next one, but y’know, life and stuff. /me sighs. I’ve also been sleeping really poorly lately, snatching cat naps here and there and working altogether too much for anyone’s good. So if someone would kindly clone themselves to my likeness and take care of all the day-to-day drudgery for me so I can enjoy my 2nd Second Life, I would be tremendously grateful! At this point, I’ll even take a trio of kitty cats standing atop each-other’s shoulders, draped in a trench coat and ginger wig. Hey, beggers can’t be choosers! ;)

Since I couldn’t make it to the LL Premium Member meet-up on Thursday, here are some excellent blog posts about the event and the special event area: Tymmerie Thorne, Inara Pey, Ziggy Starsmith, Markham Weatherwax. Interestingly, the SL Premium Coast regions are still open to the public (presumably they’ll be closed after the SL12B Celebration), so I sneaked over this weekend to take a look around.

My first stop was the crocodile wrasslin’ pit, because of course it would be. What else does one do at a deserted SL jungle-beach? I gave it a valiant effort, but after amassing approximately 17 pairs of prim crutches, I determined that victory was not to be mine. I’ll get you next time, Crocky McNibbles!

Ever vs. Crocodile
I’ve made a huge mistake.

The SL Premium Coast areas are split across two regions, which Inara notes was a very smart move on the Lab’s part to help ease lag during the meet-up. There’s are beach and bar areas, and various scenic spots for relaxing if you cam up into the jungle. Flying is disabled on both regions, but you may either use the Fly Override setting (found in the Advanced menu of the Firestorm viewer), or you can port around quickly by locating cushions and seating areas and choosing the “Sit Here” option from the right-click menu. As long as you’re clicking on a seat-enabled item within the same region, it should get you from place to place very quickly. That’s how I found myself on a lovely sunbeam-lit jungle pathway, climbing upward toward the curiously crumbling ruins.

Welcome to the Jungle
Please click for full size.

While I had an enjoyable time peeking and poking around the SL Premium Coasts, the builds felt rather primitive, both literally and figuratively. There was mesh to be found here and there, but many of the items and objects were old-school prims and sculpties, and the animals had very rudimentary animations. Still, I found this to be charming and authentic in a way; it reminded me of Learning Island and the sort of vintage SL style that I associate with the in-world building and modeling tools. These aren’t slick regions by any stretch, but they still offer some pretty vistas for photography and general sight-seeing.

Linden Lab also sent out an email recently offering an incentive on Premium Memberships: 50% off for new subscribers, limited to the first billing period of the quarterly membership plan. As I wrote in my recent post, Second Life Premium Membership and Value in the Virtual World, I genuinely feel that the annual billing option is the preferred way to go, as it really is an exceptional value when you factor in the price break for yearly memberships and the amount of in-world currency that’s rewarded over 52 weeks. Still, this incentive would be a great way for new residents to try out the SL Premium benefits and determine if springing for a longer membership is worthwhile. The promo runs through Monday, June 29th!

We are creating new islands ...
Please click for full size.

Skin / Essences | Kendra – Medium 01 | Free Gift, No Group Needed
Hair / Eaters Coma | Hair 03 – Dark Mocha | Group Gift
Eyes / Asineta | Fantasy Eyes – Tropical | SL Marketplace
Lashes / Ri | Lashes 03 | SL Marketplace
Lipstick / Pink Fuel | Harley Sheer Gloss – Light Coral Pink (Mouth) | Past Group Gift

Earrings / Pure Poison | Tiandre Gold Earrings | Group Gift
Necklace / Pure Poison | Boho Time Necklace | Group Gift
Ring / Fawny | Sweet Rose Ring | Past Event Gift
Jumpsuit / Ricielli | Kenya Jumpsuit – Tropicalia | Group Gift
Shoes / Daisy Shop | Mesh Ankle Boots | SL Marketplace

Willard / Young & Beautiful 1 and 2 / SL Marketplace

SL Premium Coast