Dejá View

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For the past week or so, I’ve been slowly easing back into SL.  In many ways, it feels like I never left.  My avatar, inventory, and land are exactly as I left them.  My virtual wallet has gotten thicker (thanks to my premium stipend), but other than that, everything appears the same.

But it isn’t, of course.

I was barely present in SL for almost two years – and I don’t see myself returning my previous levels of activity.  However, time in SL is something I enjoy and so I will.  🙂

Many things have changed in those years, obviously.  I’m excited to experiment with animesh, but I’ve seen much less of it than I had anticipated.  Lots of stores/venues I used to frequent have closed – people moving on in RL as they do.  My friends’ list looks the same, but it seems a few of them have disappeared.  They are present in my list and nowhere else on the grid.

Yesterday I was trying to wrap my brain around the bakes-on-mesh project.  I see the benefits, but understanding how it all will work was tough.  In some ways it seems like going backwards, even though it isn’t.  It will be interesting to see what happens on the grid when it finally appears.

I feel a bit like a time traveler – things seem familiar on the surface, but underneath there are changes I have yet to uncover.  Hence the dejá vu.

I look forward to seeing what other changes I’ve missed.  In the meantime, I have inventory sorting and shopping to do!

Performance Art?

Performance Art
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Yummy wrote a post on the Dance Queens blog about Performance Art.

It’s good – so go here to read it.

Yummy and I talked a lot at the beginning of the year about how things seemed to be changing – for us and for others.

As the year has gone on, however, more and more changes seem to be happening.

I don’t know if the announcement of LL’s Next Gen Platform (not SL 2.0, but Project Sansar, for now) played a part or not.

I know that, with the announcement, I personally took a step back to re-evaluate my involvement in SL.

I’ve been involved in dance since I started in SL.

But it seems that there have been lots of changes this year – more than normal.

Dancers moving to new venues, venues closing, venues opening – all normal activities, but the number of them this year seems to be rising.

One of the shifts centers around the label ‘performance art.’

Yummy stated that “There seems to be a collective mind-shift away from traditional dance-as-entertainment towards dance-as-art in the SL dance-show world. I think it is because here exists the perception that dance-as-art will allow more freedom for creative personal expression.”

I’m not sure that I agree.

I think that part of the shift has been because the terms ‘burlesque,’ ‘neo-burlesque,’ and ‘cabaret’ (which have usually been used by dance troupes), don’t really capture what dance-as-entertainment shows are in SL today.

Most of the dance shows I go to these days are what I would term Vegas-like fare.

After some researching of definitions, perhaps ‘dance revue’ is the most accurate?

A typical dance show is a variety of performers dancing in various acts – usually the length of one song.

Most acts have a single dancer, though there are also couples and group dancing.

And some contain nudity (much like Vegas shows). 😛

As more tools have become available, we now see avatars moving in formations, objects moving, sets fading in and out, and light/particle/special effects.

I wouldn’t label these acts as ‘performance art,’ though I will likely be in the minority.

Yummy’s post contained a quote/definition that sums up my feelings on the subject:  “...Performance art is a term usually reserved to refer to a conceptual art which conveys a content-based meaning in a more drama-related sense, rather than being simple performance for its own sake for entertainment purposes.”

Of course, what is art?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder, so what you consider art might be something I consider junk, or vice versa.

I think the central concept for me is that ‘performance art is non-traditional.’

So simply changing the name of an act/venue/club/whatever from ‘burlesque’ to ‘performance art’ isn’t all there is to it.

It will be interesting to see how the shift progresses.

Brief Hiatus

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RL has gotten busy and I find myself needing to step back and make some changes.

I will still be blogging, but I am taking a brief hiatus.

Hopefully only a couple of days, so stay tuned!

I’ve been shopping (uh-oh!) and I have some terrific new things to share with you all.

See you in a few days!

I’m So Confused . . .

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well, I’m not sure exactly what LL’s intentions were, but they don’t make a whole lot of sense to me (and judging from some of the reactions I’ve seen, they don’t make any sense to others).

A few days ago, I picked up some chatter via my Twitter feed about a change to the Transaction History page.  I wasn’t overly interested or concerned.  In the 4+ years I’ve been in SL, I’ve only ever used my Transaction History page if I had either a) a problem with delivery of an item I’d purchased or b) I couldn’t remember spending my L$, and looking at the transaction history reassured me that no one hacked my account and stole all my L$. (Did I mention I love shoes?)

However, many merchants use the Transaction History page to track their sales and the change caused a huge upset.  Enough of an upset that LL actually rolled back the change and asked for some more input.  It didn’t stop the changes, as LL still plans to change the Transaction History page in order to better serve ‘all users.’  I’m not sure exactly what that means, because I’m a ‘user’ and it worked just fine for me.  I would much rather LL spent time focusing on other things.  But that’s just me.  😀

In addition to all the uproar over the Transaction History, LL is now also requesting that merchants ‘help customers buy clothing that fits their avatars.’  Now, I read through the post, and even as a long-time SL’er, I’m still confused.  Apparently, because we now have mesh, LL feels the need to clarify what’s what.  That sounds great, right?  So they want to classify avatars by the following categories:  ‘classic’ – the original, default, non-mesh avatar (like the one I have), ‘standard mesh avatar’ – a classic avatar wearing a rigged mesh attachment, and ‘custom/branded’ – ‘an avatar of either type (i.e. that does or does not use mesh) that is a custom size or shape, requiring custom-made clothing to fit it. A brand name for the shape will help users easily identify which clothing fits which custom avatar.‘  But I have a classic avatar, and I wear rigged mesh attachments.  So am I a classic avatar or a standard mesh one?  Or does it change depending on what I have attached?

Because I was still confused, I followed their link to the Knowledge Base here.  ‘Classic’ I understand – that’s me.  Plain old avatar.  The standard mesh avatar is ‘a classic avatar that is wearing a rigged mesh attachment, usually a full-body avatar, and whose classic body is hidden by a full body alpha mask.’ Ok, I think I’m following so far.  I do wear mesh attachments, but not a full-body avatar.  Last is the custom/branded avatar, defined as ‘a classic avatar that is hidden by a full body alpha mask and is wearing a customized rigged mesh attachment or attachments that otherwise replace the classic avatar body.’  Ok, I’m with you.

Then they talk about the clothing and how they want merchants to make clear what kind of clothing you are purchasing.  There’s ‘classic only’ – system layer clothing that only works with classic avatars.  Got it.  There’s ‘mesh only’ – an attachment that appears as clothing on a standard mesh avatar, and does not work properly on classic avatars.  So I can’t wear ‘mesh only’ clothing, because I’m a classic avatar.  Then there’s ‘classic/mesh’ – attachments designed for standard mesh avatars that can work on a classic avatar.  So this is the mesh I currently have, which works on my classic avatar.  Then there’s ‘branded’ – this is their catch-all category for anything that doesn’t fall under the previous categories.  Ok, I think I’ve got it.

Does your head hurt?  Mine does.  I must admit that typing all this out helped me to understand the categories.  However, I was confused after initially reading the article.  I mean, I buy clothes, I adjust my shape, and ta-da! I have mesh clothing that looks good.

At the bottom of the Knowledge Base article, LL displays an icon they want all merchants to use to allow customers to easily distinguish which kind of clothing they are buying.  Except there are only two options – classic and mesh.  But wasn’t one of the categories ‘classic/mesh’?  What about those items?  And what about ‘branded’?  There’s no icon for that?  And the icon that LL wants merchants to use is copyright material – so creators have to put that copyright on all their vendor ads, in addition to the icon?  Can you imagine having to go back through all your already created vendor ads and make all these changes?  Change all the vendor ads, upload the new ones to Marketplace, plus change all the ones in-world?  So you have to pay to upload them all again?  I’m already tired and I don’t even have a store!!

Plus, the only difference between the two icons (besides the text) is the cross-hatching on the mesh icon.  When merchants shrink those down to fit on an ad, odds are you won’t be able to tell clearly which one is which.  So it will probably only lead to more confusion, rather than being helpful.

I had no idea that people were so confused about what clothing they could and could not wear.  Apparently the confusion is of such epidemic proportions that action had to be taken.  Who knew?

Me, I have other things I’d like fixed first.  I do a LOT of shopping on Marketplace.  Why?  Because my computer is slow and tp’ing around to stores and waiting for vendor ad textures to rezz in takes forever.  So it’s much easier to shop on MP.  It would be nice if there was a check box for mesh (like the boxes for copy/mod/transfer), because sometimes I’m looking for mesh and sometimes I’m looking for anything BUT mesh.  While I’m dreaming, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to exclude demos from your searches?

Wishes and dreams aside, the search function is sometimes all but useless.  Why?  Because merchants are allowed to tag their items with pretty much anything.  So if I do a search for say, ‘street light’ because I need a light for a set, the first two items that come back from my search are *ahem* sex HUDs.  Whaaa????

No wonder people are confused . . .