Fotobomb with Greg, June 2019

As I was out celebrating the US Memorial Day when I noticed Yoh Boa — one of our TSFTG members — dancing away. It was a great fotobomb opportunity seeing how his wife, DJ Avalon, was spinning tunes to the packed crowd. I took some time to catch up with Yoh as I crept up behind Avalon’s tip jar…

Greg: Yo, Yoh! (editor’s note: Greg totally got that from Angela) Nice to see you here on this fine Memorial Day!! Tell me, where are your favorite spots to take photos?

Yoh Boa: Well, I’m an old SL surf bum. I’m drawn to the ocean, so I love to take beach and surf photos. Avalon and I just did a blog and took some pictures at Kia Kaha.

Greg: That’s awesome – I saw a few of those photos on your Flickr page! What’s your favorite place to shop?

Yoh Boa: Other than Cabela’s? Oh, you mean in SL! I’m kind of a Cold Ash fan. Shopping may not be on my top 5 list in SL though 🙂

Greg: Haha of course. We’re guys! So when you have free time, what things do you like doing most?

Yoh Boa: Avalon and I have been building out a sim. It’s called “Mon Joli Cadeau.” Our vision is a classy place for couples in a Paris setting. We are also planning an art exhibit and gala for July. It’s been a blast! Avalon does most the creating, and I hold the toolbox and blueprints.

Greg: Sounds amazing! What else inspires you most in SL?

Yoh Boa: AVALON! I’ve been in SL for 12 years and most of that time lived a quiet surf life with close friends. I come from a technology background in RL so the graphics, photography, and creativity always intrigued me. Now that I have more time, and have an amazing creative wife, I am enjoying learning photography. I have a long way to go, but it’s been fun to learn.

Greg: Well, you’ve really come a long way. Those classes at FOCUS are paying off! Finally, how has TSFTG benefitted your SL?

Yoh Boa: We are both pretty new to TSFTG and have been introduced though DJ gigs. What a fun and nice group of people! Patrick and Angela are very warm and welcoming, and I think they model that for the rest of the group. Kindness is addicting and FOCUS is all about that. Greg: I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your time and we look forward to seeing more of you at FOCUS and TSFTG events.

Greg: I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your time and we look forward to seeing more of you at FOCUS and TSFTG events.

Catwalk Buzz, June 2019

Catwalk Buzz with Cheyenne Sadee

Models hit the runway for a cause

This month, 15 models from MADD Modelz styled and rocked the runway at the Sci-Fi Con Event. It was a huge success in gathering so many people together for the same goal and purpose. The event had everything from the models, to more regions than you can count of events and other interactive displays. Well over 100,000L was raised to support relay for life.

May has been a busy month for everyone. SCALA had an amazing runway show to kick off the Spring & Summer fashion lines that have hit the events and main stores from some of Second Life’s hottest designers such as Heels, Jumo Luxury Fashion, and Luxe Paris. This show was also done as a tribute to the late and great Karl Lagerfeld.

The Miss SL Pageant was on fire this month too with some amazing style challenges hitting the runway from the kick off to the Neo Japan event incorporated into a style. Then they showed us some inspirational outfits styled as an Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Tribute.

This month came to a close on an inspirational note with all that has been accomplished to and for a good cause. Thanks to the Miss SL Organization, models from everywhere and even those who are not in the industry were able to come and support an amazing show dedicated to the Notre Dame de Paris.

Keep watch for future information about various charity events sponsored by multiple modeling agencies to help support and encourage awareness, and lift us up from disasters.

Something… with Tania de Rang – June, 2019

Something New, Something Old, Something Borrowed - by Tania de Rang

The new generation of Linden homes are already here and they are amazing! Available exclusively to premium members and located in a brand new continent called Bellisseria, these homes won’t disappoint you. Their release on May 15th included traditional homes and house boats across 384 regions. In just 48 hours, they were already claimed! But don’t worry if you are like me and couldn’t get a hold of one. More are yet to come in the near future, with even more options.

Nothing has survived the passing of time like the wonderful old “Vintage Village” on the Verdigris sim created by Oriolus Oliva. Immerse yourself in this Hungarian ambiance filled with fantastic details. Climb atop a working windmill overlooking The Centaurs’ Hall, or sit with a friend at Balaton Coffee Shop and watch the waterfall. Make sure you allow your profile photo to be displayed for a funny surprise!

Windlight is an atmospheric lighting and rendering system within SL and can be especially helpful to photographers to create stunning images and to capture different moods. But getting the settings right can be tricky at times. Fortunately we can borrow from Strawberrysingh, former #1 blogger in the SL community and currently working for Lindens Labs. On her website you can find lots of useful information as well as instructions on how to download her own windlight settings and some from other too. Enjoy!

Virtually Spiritual, June 2019

“Spirituality” was once a word that almost always referred to formal religion. Today, the term also refers to personal experiences of a transcendent dimension and the deepest values and meanings by which people live. Outside of organized religion, a spiritual belief can be in something beyond the observable world. Perhaps a belief in personal growth, a quest for the meaning of life, or encountering one’s inner self. Virtual spirituality? Same meaning.

In a virtual environment like SL, the opportunities for spiritual pursuits are limitless — as befits our nearly limitless environment. Spiritual organizations of every type abound, as do the opportunities for individual discovery. Some celebrate formally in groups and others just provide opportunity for individual thought and contemplation.

A celebration in June you will see observed in SL is the pagan celebration of Midsummer or “Litha.” The focus of this celebration is the power of the sun. The earth has warmed up and is pouring forth its bounty in crops, flowers, and general greening of the northern hemisphere. Days are longer, and nights are softer. There are many ways to celebrate this holiday, both formally and informally. Perhaps the best celebration is to spend some time enjoying the outdoors and connecting with nature, or — in our virtual world — visiting one of the many beautifully designed nature sims with a bit of imagination.

Spirit Pond Chrystal Mountain

Also in June is the new moon around June 3, and the full moon around June 17. New moons are traditionally a time for making wishes and plans for things we wish to manifest in the future. The full moon is a time of releasing whatever no longer serves us in our lives. This can mean anything from physical cleansing to letting go of old limiting beliefs. The June full moon is the Strawberry Moon and celebrates the sweetness of the ripening fruit and the fertility of our world, which makes it a good time to identify and release the things that are keeping ourselves from ripening or growing. Whatever your spiritual path, these markers — which occur every month — are just two of the ways our universe (if we listen) gently guides us to self-care and offers us an opportunity to grow.

Namaste (the divine in me sees and recognizes the divine in you).

Kitten’s Korner – June 2019

Kitten's Korner with Kitten Sinclair

Something I like to do, from time to time, is go to one of my favorite artist’s page on Flickr and look at the very 1st picture they posted. It’s fun to go through their photo-stream and see how far they’ve come. I’ve asked Lolita Paragorn to be our re-creation focus for this issue.

Kitten: Thank you, Lolita, for agreeing to this interview and project. I see your 1st pic on Flickr was posted in April 2012. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Lolita: With the new rules of Flickr, I deleted many pics, but I kept my old pics that are important to me. This pic in 2012, is a styling for my graduation from modeling school. I did this pic because it was important to post the look.

Kitten: Did you have any mentors? Or how did you teach yourself to take pics?

Lolita: No. All I do on SL I learned on my own, except modeling. For that, I can thank my friend Ondine. With photography, I learned slowly. I read books and watched YouTube. I have a few friends on SL and we share our knowledge.

Kitten: What inspires you to take photographs in SL?

Lolita: In SL, I’m a model on the runaway. When I started to learn modeling, it was necessary to do a blog to post all my stylings. Then some designer friends asked me to blog for them. It’s the beginning of my new goal on SL, my blog and my pics. But I think it’s the outfit that inspires me. Whatever the style, I try to find a good background and pose.

Kitten: What are some of your favorite windlights, photography tools in SL, and
editing programs?

Lolita: I use GIMP to edit my pics, for that I bought a book and watched many videos on YouTube. I use the Firestorm windlights and I don’t modify my pics a lot. I focus on the color of the outfits, skin, or eyes.

Kitten: What advice would you give to other photographers?

Lolita: For newbies, I would advise them to start with a simple background. Practice using the camera and zoom. As for editing, it’s important to keep the textures and colors. So I would say try not to depend on a lot of editing outside SL.

Art Gallery Review – Palazzo di Basilique

Focus on Art Galleries - Palazzo di Basilique, Second Life

It’s an absolute pleasure when I come across a gem in my wandering travels or suggested by anyone that knows how much I love getting lost in a place or time I’ve never seen. A reminder of what makes this world so very special. Giving access to culture, art, music, and many other things that we don’t always have the privilege to experience. So, when I see places like the breathtaking Basilique, I cannot help but want to support its owner Niccoli Sweetwater who is actively bringing another world to my fingertips.

The first thing I noticed was the grand church modeled after the San Pietro Martire which was built in 1348 in honor of St. John the Evangelist. A lovely place for an inworld wedding. Immaculately detailed all the way to down to the art on the chapel walls.

There is so much more to see and do like the Hot Springs where I see myself spending some time, a bathhouse for relaxing, and a cozy bar to enjoy with friends. Perfect for a quick getaway with hidden places for intimate play as well. I hope to see you there for a chat and glass of wine or a stroll through the art gallery. Salute!

– Kairi Cristole

Music Venue Review – NAP Club

Focus on Music Venues - NAP
Photography by Umshlanga Barbosa

NAP Club is a peaceful, tropical “place to snuggle or nap” according to owner Rogue DeLaRue. Maybe it is – sometimes. Other times it’s a fantastic live music venue like Monday, when – back to back – Loreen Aldrin and Wolfie Starfire appeared in front of a happy crowd. NAP Club deserves a lot of credit for bringing in top SL talents! Other upcoming live music include Agatha Knowles, Jesie Janick, and Zoree Jupiter. Busy place!

By the way, if you want to rent a sailboat or just lie in a hammock, you can do that too. When I dropped in a few days ago, Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name” was playing on the stream, so I laid down and looked up at the palm trees. Since I didn’t get bonked on the head by a single virtual coconut, I’ll probably be writing another review soon – after I get back from a month backpacking in Colorado. (My dang RL alt drags me everywhere with him!)

– Doc Nolan

Store Review – AZOURY

Focus on Stores - Azoury

I have an interest for the fantastical, apocalyptic and the slightly macabre, so this month AZOURY fits right into this theme.

When you first land, facing you is a set of bento robotic legs and arms for female bodies that you will have to demo to believe. I have a set of each and, when I wear them, they are almost always a topic of conversation.

I quite enjoy what the creator has imagined for women’s feet. The different version of the ballet shoes are my favourites. There is also many types of masks, head and facial adornments which will be unique for your next cyborg party.

Keep an eye out for AZOURY at many of the shopping events in SL. Their products are always exceptional!

– Lyda Sands

“Just Ask Mahogany,” June 2019

FOCUS Magazine - Just Ask Mahogany

One thing that I have learned about people is that we’ve all been through some sort of trauma in our lives. And that trauma, no matter
how big or small, has brought us to SL. The beauty of SL is that no one can see our scars unless we allow it. They see the avatar that we create
to represent ourselves, and then, through conversations and interactions, they begin to see the inner workings of our minds. In SL, we have a chance to be the people we’ve always wanted to be. And that is a wonderful thing.

What I’ll never understand is why, with the freedom to be who we want to be, we allow our past trauma to define us in this beautiful virtual space that we create. So many times, we run into someone in world who is wholly defined by their past trauma. And it’s understandable, until they try to use their past trauma to justify bad behavior.

One’s past may have been traumatic and devastating. It may well have been emotionally crippling and caused irreversible psychological damage. But that time has passed. And while you may still be dealing with some of the residual effects of that trauma, you HAVE gotten through it.

I had a friend who had a terrible childhood. We initially bonded over the fact that our childhoods were so similar and we worked together to help each other heal. However, as I grew stronger and worked harder to leave the nightmare of my youth behind, my friend seemed to cling to it. Whenever we would meet, she’d rehash the same experiences. When I spoke of new hobbies and life adventures, she’d counter with “Did I ever tell you about the time when….” Cue the sad music, the waterworks, and the Kleenex. As much as I wanted to be a supportive friend, I could no longer endure living in her past. And as much as it pained me to cut ties with her, I felt like — for the sake of my own sanity— I had no choice. We still speak on occasion, but the bond that we used to share is no longer there. And I, at times, wonder if perhaps I let my friend down.

The answer is no, I did not.

If she is unable to function as an adult because she refuses to let go of what happened to her, why should that make me or anyone else feel bad? If she is using what happened as a reason to be an emotionally irresponsible asshole, then she deserves to be locked in the prison of loneliness and selfishness that she created.

There comes a point in time when we have to learn to forgive. First we forgive ourselves, and then we forgive those who hurt us. If we’ve caused the hurt, through reckless behavior based on a past trauma, then we need to be willing to learn from our mistakes so they aren’t repeated.

We are all expected to mature as we get older. Part of maturing is knowing when to hold on, and when to let go. The way I see it, when it comes to your life and your past, you can be a VICTIM or you can be a VOLUNTEER. (100L to the first person who can tell me what movie that’s from.)

I refuse to be a victim. Not to my past or to yours. And I further refuse to allow you to muddle my colorful present and bright shiny future with the emotional weight of the baggage that you refuse to let go of. Don’t be angry, just let it go. Crumple it up, throw it away, and then we’ll find out who you’re going to be. In both worlds.