Sunday, 22 June 2014

034: A walk around Second Pride

I had some time this afternoon and wanted to see what my neighbour and friend, Jak Calcutt, had done as a build for the Second Pride installation on three sims. So instead of doing the recommended thing and looking at the guides, and maps, and helpful materials that I'm sure are out there -- I went and did what about half of its visitors will do and just showed up and walked around.
Now, I'm very fond of that walkabout idea. I like to do it in strange sims, just walk around and see what the designer has planned for my eye to encounter. I like to do it especially in sims where I want to put up a house, because I like to know what my neighbours' houses are like and what the overall impression will be that I'll be living with. I expect it would really be better if I had followed some sort of official guide and looked around with the aid of a map, and really, I'll give that some thought next time LOL.
I arrived near a large sculpture that I found quite charming, since I like artworks that are pieces of type: P-R-I-D-E, cycling through the colours of the rainbow, is a simple idea but at this size an effective one. That's me in the foreground, to give you an idea of the scale; of course I could have fooled about lining up the shot to make the type line up perfectly, which it actually does; but, folks, if you walk by it, you get it at all angles and all colours. It's an interesting little sculpture and a nice backdrop for pictures, I thought.
Next I called up the map and headed for the largest group of green dots, which turned out to be a dance party in the main pavilion as a celebration for lesbians. They were welcoming, but I had things to look at and so declined; someone had a really nice exploding effect on, though, and I'm sorry I can't give it to you in full detail. The music sounded good and everyone was having a good time. But I had spotted something in the distance that looked like a ferris wheel and had decided to head for it, since I love ferris wheels.
Unfortunately, this particular ferris wheel was kind of a bust for me. There wasn't really a chance to see a lot of spectacular views from the top of the wheel, which is one of the reasons why I like them.
I'll be honest and say that they are more fun when you're with someone; there certainly wasn't anything wrong with the wheel itself, mechanically, just that there wasn't a lot to look at and no one with whom to giggle. But the midway, or arcade, or whatever you'd like to call it, well, that was a lot of fun all by myself. I didn't have much of a chance at such a thing when I was younger, since they didn't seem to hang out in my home town (or perhaps my parents sensibly declined to tell me). At any rate, I've always been fascinated by midways and carnies and now that I'm mostly grown-up ;-) I try not to miss an opportunity.
This one was, as they say in my neighbourhood, everything and a bag of chips. It had every ride and shooting gallery and fun thing that I wanted, and it all worked, and it was all fun to experiment with. I loved Zoltar, who told my fortune about a glorious future quite accurately (at least, he did with a little prompting and a couple of false starts LOL).  And although the big rides were very dramatic, I had just as much fun with the little tiny rides probably meant for younger kids -- that's me, pretending to be falling off the flying saucer ride.
I did feel as though I should be looking for more of the cultural attractions; I found an area with some interesting pieces of SL art. The photo I've provided here doesn't really do the sculpture justice, because it's moving; it's a set of shifting prims that change colour in a couple of ways, and it's quite fascinating. I didn't find a way to discover who had done this work, but I imagine that information can be found; I was lazy and didn't try hard, though. I like seeing what people can think of to do with the possibilities of SL sculpture, and you should check out this exhibit -- there's some clever stuff there.
Then I wandered into the shopping district which, to do it credit, was NOT awful and quite restrained and tasteful. By not awful, I mean that there was not a single store devoted to the purveyance of awful rainbow-coloured tatt that you'll wear once and then relegate to dead storage in inventory. Instead, there were little pop-up stores from brands that I associate with gay people's interests in SL. Some sell good clothes, some sell good furniture, hair, whatever, and they had put together a little sample of the kind of work they do and didn't sell it too aggressively. Nicely done, and very tasteful, thank you retailers. I think these stores get rented as a favour to Second Pride in order to support the effort financially.  So thank you very much, retailers, and honestly, I think you should wander through the shopping districts while you're there. Go ahead, buy yourself a new bathing suit like I did, and while I'm on the topic a donation into the box that supports the tier of this set of sims would not be unappreciated either, I'm sure. This work is probably a labour of love for a lot of people, but we can at least defray their expenses a bit.
Finally I was attracted to a building off to one side that was like architecture from my native British Columbia -- large airspace, cedar and green construction that reminds people vaguely of trees, and a lot of glass to bring the outdoors in. A beautiful building. I ran into Jak Calcutt pushing a few trees along the exterior *exactly* into place -- we all know how that goes, you never have enough time to tweak it just before the reveal, right? LOL -- and he confirmed my thought that it was a combination wedding chapel and remembrance chapel (note the eternal flame at the front), all non-sectarian. There's quite a bit of memorialization in this whole Pride build, with an extensive installation about the life and times of Harvey Milk down the way a bit, and to me it is a very appropriate way of paying homage to the men and women who got gay people to the point they're at today. I hope this building survives the Pride fete; I'd like to see it live somewhere.  Hell, I'd like to get married in it some day!
I haven't been to any of the Pride dances; I know there was a lot of good DJs who have some place in the lineup, so I intend to dance whenever I can. But just wandering around the sim was a nice experience in itself. I had fun doing things that had nothing to do with Pride, particularly, and I also had fun experiencing art and a bit of tristesse at the Harvey Milk installation. And I have to tell you, there really IS some good design in this build. I look at it from the point of view of someone who just plops himself in and goes walking. Can I always see interesting things towards which I can progress? Are there intriguing glimpses of things off in the distance? And, very much to the point, are there paths that make it possible to get anywhere you might want to go without wading through a canal, or taking to the air. As a walker, I find that important, and here it was done properly. There's lots of good landscaping here, it's super-easy to know where you are on the sims at all times -- great whacking slabs the height of my house with a huge "W" for "west" on them are hard to miss, even for the geographically challenged like myself.
I've been hearing a lot the last few days about the history of this event and an enormous amount of trouble and bad cess that's happened in the past. I got an aggrieved note from a well-known DJ while I was actually touring the sim, laying out his issues for everyone in his group. I have to respect the seriousness with which people approach these issues; for me, though, I have no axe to grind, nothing to gain, and I tend not to attend Pride celebrations in RL because I don't care for the crush of all those people. So I wanted to have the privilege of a virtual celebration, and I'm taking Second Pride -- like so much else in Second Life -- as I find it. I don't care who did what to whom for how many cookies two or three years ago; it's wise to be vigilant about what happens to charity donations, but that goes for every such situation. Like so many others, I don't care for drama and while I am glad that residents obviously care about how to put on a good celebration, at the end of it all -- it's another party. I'll attend things to have fun and I hope you have fun too.




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