Previewing Men in Focus in Second Life

Inara Pey: Living in a Modem World

Men In Focus

Men in Focus is a new gallery opening on Thursday, November 1st, 2018. Owned and sponsored by Men in Motion, a team of male choreographers and dancers promoting men’s mental and physical health in cooperation with the Movember Foundation. The gallery is curated by JMB Balogh, who invited me to preview the first exhibition at the gallery.

“The gallery features photography and 3D artworks of men at work or play in SL by male artists,” Jo informed me, adding, “There are hundreds of art galleries in Second Life but few, if any, that focus exclusively on the art of men.”

Men In Focus: Slayer Tanaka

The primary aim of the gallery is to showcase 2D art; however for the opening exhibition Jo has brought together both 2D and 3D artists, with works displayed across the multi-level gallery space that offers plenty of room for it…

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Lost Your Muse?

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By Sebastain Bourne

Dancers in Second Life are very creative people.  Their ideas seem limitless and more fantastic with every show.  There are times however when even the greatest finds their muse has taken a vacation.  They feel they have lost their dance mojo.  This is a list compiled from interviews with SL dancers and RL artists about how to get that loving feeling back and dance again with your inner muse.

First of all, cut yourself some slack.  You are an artist. No one can be in the process of creating art every minute of the day. Life, family, friends, play time away from the studio, time for quiet contemplation; all of these are essential to balancing our lives. They are equally as important as our art and deserve to have our full attention.  There are many ways to kindle your creative spark, some involve re-centering or re-energizing yourself, while other involve seeking inspiration.

Take Care of Yourself. You know the usual, get enough sleep by not pulling all-nighters on your work. Don’t forget to eat and make it interesting, not a bag of chips or a left over sandwich. Get up and walk around some, don’t forget there is a real life out there.

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Do something mindful. Meditation is a proven way to clear the mind, focus attention, and help us be more in the present moment. It also promotes divergent thinking (when the brain can visualize a task and come up with different ideas on how to perform it), which improves the likelihood of creative problem solving.

Make Space to do nothing. It’s hard to nothing in today’s world, but necessary for attracting creativity.  Find a way to fit “do nothing” into your schedule.  When faced with a challenging problem, we tend to try to think harder about how to solve it. Sometimes this creates a lot of static under our craniums that increases our frustration without yielding a clear path to the answer. Taking a mental timeout can have the same effect as a short break during intensive physical exercise. Give yourself some space to just “be”, and don’t feel guilty about it.

Make your workspace inviting.  If your build platform is full of old set pieces, other builds, a multitude of clutter, if it is uninviting and bland, your subconscious will pick up on this and weigh your creativity down.  Clean your area up, put up some pictures that inspire you.

Make yourself inviting.  Dress up in an outfit that makes you feel good about yourself.  Get a haircut, try a new exercise routine, meditate, or go out with friends.  It’s time to build up your confidence and feel good about yourself, because if you feel good about yourself then you feel good about what you’re doing. It isn’t self-indulgent to give yourself a little care. It’s critical to your creativity.

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Let it go. What do you think about all day? I would bet it is not about the magic of life or vacations past and future.  It’s more likely about someone else’s dance, or a slight done to you, the bills, the house needs work, or the multitude of things we weigh ourselves down with every day.  Try meditation, listen to the music that fits your project (no, sit back close your eyes and LISTEN to it), write down everything bothering you and set it aside, exercise, or sing “Let It Go” from Frozen (okay stop grimacing, had to add it).

Reconnect with what you love.  When was the last time you did something you really enjoyed doing?  Something more than just watching a movie or going out to dinner or creating a dance.  The idea is to stop renting your life and start owning it. There is a whole world out there where dancing is not the main area of concern. Get back into something you left behind, something that used to make you so happy you forgot about everything else. Or, try something entirely new. Novelty wakes up your brain, and helps you make new connections that may inspire your work.

Remember your bravery. Courage is everything to an artist. The courage to make a mess, the courage to ignore what others are doing and take your own path, the courage to face a blank empty stage and blaze ahead with color.  Do whatever it takes to remind yourself that right now, today, no one is creating art that’s more relevant to you than what comes from your own hands.

Teach someone else.  Step back and mentor a new dancer. Help them learn and explore their own creativity and you just might regain yours in the process. If you can see art through their eyes, even for an afternoon, you can possibly lure your muse back from the Caribbean vacation on which she’s slipped away.

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Take a long walk somewhere beautiful.  Inspiration exists everywhere in the world immediately around us- we just often can’t or won’t see it. It’s not stubbornness on our part, or a lack of imagination, that prevents us from keeping our heads up and our eyes scanning our environment- usually it’s as simple as being out of practice. Take some time to explore the forest behind your house, the local city park, or your back yard. You’re likely to come up with ideas while you’re out, so take some notepaper with you so you can jot them down.

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“I, at times, find a fascinating texture that inspires a set.  I build the set then find a song to compliment it, organize a costume and create the choreo.  Try searching Google images: Fractal, Digital, or a particular color, even searching by a mood.  Include the word “background” or “panorama” to discover some really cool textures that can inspire a dance.” 

                                                                                                               Babypea VonPhoenix

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Go to galleries and museums both in SL and in your town/city.  This bit of advice may seem like a no brainer, but really when was the last time you visited an art gallery or museum as an artist, rather than as a tourist? We forget that we actually understand this stuff, that it lives in our blood and we are active participants in the culture that produced such works. Find an artwork that stimulates your imagination, something that excites or affects you emotionally.  Use this artwork as your muse to create a dance. You could go to pose shops and find a pose that inspires you to build around it.

Explore SecondLife. Go to the Destinations on the SecondLife homepage at: http://secondlife.com/destinations and explore the creativity of others through the worlds they have built. Visit some RP or fantasy sims, observe the atmosphere or characters that you meet there.  See what sort of dance can be inspired by focusing on some of these outside sources.  Draw from them to incorporate their stories into a story dance. Visit an animated texture shop such as Sanna or Sirius.  Pick a piece that really stirs your imagination, and use that as your muse.  Create a dance around it.

Collaborate with someone else. Create a dance with someone else.  Split up the choreo and set build. Explore animation shops together, you may find one that inspires you. Have someone else select a song for you to create a dance to.  This can be very uncomfortable.  More likely than not, you will not like the song much.  It is a journey down someone else’s road, in part, and a chance to see some things you would otherwise probably never see.

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Find a costume.  Sometimes while looking for costumes for one dance, I’ll find costumes that I want to create a dance for. Forget about the music and focus on costumes for a while.  Go costume hunting.  Visit some wonderful shops.  Select a costume that is totally out of your usual style.  Something outrageous, something fabulous!  Then go build a dance around that costume.

Limit your options. Studies show that restricting one’s choices can more effectively trigger creative thought. That’s because leaving every door open makes it difficult to focus on which way to go, while having a more specific target helps you channel your thought process. And the target doesn’t even have to be logical. Try to create a dance entirely with items already in your inventory!  Do not spend anything on this dance!  No telling what you will discover that you forgot you had or never got around to using.  Put that inventory to work!

Laugh out loud. Laughter helps stimulate activity in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, areas of the brain associated with creativity. It can also boost your mood and help give you a more positive outlook that is conducive to creative activity. While it helps if you’re actually laughing at something funny, no punchline is required; the mere physical act of laughing provides benefits.

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How do you tap into your creative brilliance? Play!  Create for the joy of it, not the outcomes you think you should be creating. Go somewhere you haven’t been. Talk to different people. Invite new questions about what you ‘know’ – and don’t assume you know anything!!

I am reposting several good articles here from MOVE Magazine.  MOVE was a venture started by myself, Babypea VonPhoenix, Cherri Banks, and several others.  We published a quarterly magazine for the dance community.  For lack of writers and time it fizzled out but Showtime Magazine was born and MOVE became a small part of it.  You can find more MOVE magazine articles Here.

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Needless to say, dancers spend a small fortune on dance animations and gear… props, costumes, HUDs, particles and other effects.  Even if it has never happened to you, we all know someone who has had entire folders vanish from their inventory.  We all know someone whose dance HUD vanished into thin air, never to be seen or heard from again.  Protect your investment.  It is frustrating that there is no secure way to back up inventory in case of cyber disasters.  But there are things you can and should do to insure your virtual property.

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Only buy copy animations.  They may be more expensive, but at least if your dance HUD gets ate you won’t lose all your dances and all your money.  If your HUD does get ate, you can rest assured neither the dance creators nor Linden Labs will replace your lost inventory, no matter how much proof of purchase you may be able to provide.  If your HUD does suddenly vanish into thin air, try checking at point 0,0,0 on the sim where it vanished.  I have found all sorts of odd things randomly floating at this location, just off sim, about 40 meters under the water.  I have three times found my partner’s dance HUD floating here and was able to return it to him.  Regardless of finding lost items floating just off sim at Point Zero, shop smart and only buy copy animations.

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Then!  Make a box and put a copy of each animation into it.  I have a different box for each animation creator, then a Master box with these boxes in it.  I box up every dance I create with everything needed for the dance that copies.  I also have boxes of costumes and clothing that copy, boxes of building materials, furniture and props, particles, and anything and everything else that copies including scripts, photographs, and notecards.  If it is in your inventory and it copies, take the time to pack it into boxes, then organize these into master boxes of animations, clothing and costumes, props and furniture, particles and effects, scripts, photographs, notecards, etc.  You can then put all of these master boxes into one Super Master Box.  This is the Queen Mother of boxes, the one that has ALL your copy inventory items.  Copy this box and park it in different places in your inventory so that if one or two or five folders get ate by the Mystery Inventory Eater, you will still have a Super Master Box with ALL your copy inventory items in it.

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If you have land, rez that Super Master Box somewhere on your land.  This is recommended by Linden Labs.  That way, if the SL inventory eater ever strikes your inventory, it won’t get the box of stuff you have rezzed.  You can always go to that box, unpack it, and still have your hundreds (thousands, probably) of dollars worth of dances and other copy items.  Never think it won’t happen to you.  It happened to me and has happened to my other half three times.  In all instances, we got all our ‘stuff’ back because we had taken the time to pack up copies.  It is time-consuming and a major undertaking the first time you set up this system of insurance, but it is so worth it.  And once established, it is easy to maintain by adding to your boxes weekly.  So protect your investment… box up copies, rez it, park a master box with copies of everything in several different places.  If disaster ever strikes, you will be so very happy that you took the time to do this.

MIM IS COMING

MEN IN MOTION IN SECOND LIFE

I have grandeos schemes for MIM in November or Movember as we like to call it.  I want to do a week long event ,although the Foundation thinks a month long event would be fun.  With shops from the dancer community primarily, Dance team DJs almost every night or afternoon, and then the show itself on the Saturday of the 11th.  So Movember 4th through the 11th will be the Men In Motion  Movember Event.  We may even have an auction of the guys.  I have the Movember Foundation on board.  And for the last week or more I have been building the venue on the land so wonderfully donated by Ame as you can see by the pictures above. This is a great way to come out and not only see MIM in action, but support your dance team community as well.  As more information comes available I will keep you…

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Meet Belleza Jake by Tricky Boucher and Shyla Diggs

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The new Belleza Jake is getting a lot of talk in the men’s groups in SL.  Many are liking the shape of it.  I would guess that it will probably become third in line of most popular men’s mesh bodies.  It’s very new right now so there is not a lot specifically made for it but you can get mesh clothes to fit it fairly well.

I liked the overall shape of it.  The hands and feet are a part of the body, they are not separate like other mesh bodies.  The HUD has extra tabs I haven’t seen before like articles and outfits. I’ll expand on those a bit more later.  I like that the alpha layer presets have upper and lower arms and legs too.  Only thing I do not like about the HUD is that the body has to turn around with arrows to get to the back.  It can be very slow in laggy areas and you’d only be saved by presets if you had to change fast and modify the back alpha manually.  There are a lot of preset saves.  You can save omega applied skins to the slots on the skin tab and then just apply them later from the Belleza HUD.  This gives you 21 skins on the HUD, 14 Belleza skins and then 7 Omega skins you save to the HUD.  Same with the other tabs.  The Nails tab (both finger and toe) gives you a wide natural selection then gives you the option to tint them with a color picker so you can make various colors.  It also gives you omega applier slots to save nails from other designers.

The interesting thing about this body is the Article and Outfit save tabs.  You can save something like 20 articles of clothing on three layers upper and lower.  For example you have a tank and briefs you like to wear a lot, you can save them as an underwear upper and lower article and wear them at any time by clicking on them in the Article tab.  Same thing with the Outfit tab, you can save full Omega applied outfits to the Belleza HUD to wear at any time.  I have a few dance costumes that are applied, currently with my Signature body I save a separate body, apply the costume to it and save it to an outfit folder and then because I can’t rename the body I save it in a separate folder with the outfit name on it.  No more with Belleza, just save it in the HUD and wear it when you need to.

I tried several outfits on with the body, most mesh fit just fine.  All my shoes worked well.  The feet on this body are good if not a bit flat footed.  Slink feet worked well with it and the shoes for them as well.  Alphas worked good with all the outfits I tried on.  The body is a bit ‘curvier’ than others.  Maybe that’s the way I shaped it but the big running joke among most of us is that most men’s clothing and bodies have no ass.  This one not only had that but a waist and calves that were more defined than the other two as well.  Remember I used my own shape for all of them without any adjusting to the body or special lighting.

This is a great men’s mesh body, small HUD when closed; easy to shape, wears most mesh clothing, works with Omegas.  I can see why it is getting a lot of talk in the men’s groups.

Price: 2,999L @ Belleza

Mesh Body Addicts Jake Review

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Belleza Jake mesh body and skin both with and without body hair.  Gabriel mesh hakama. And Coovey, who always likes to get into the picture.