Store Review – Birth Skins

Focus on Stores - COZI

I heard about Birth from a friend years ago when I first came into SL. She helped me beautify my horrible noobish self and Birth skin store is where we started. It was one of the best then, and continues to be even as SL has upgraded through the years.

FOCUS Store Review - Birth

But as I promised last month, this article is focusing on the men. You will find skin appliers for the major brands of mesh heads, bodies, and system skins for those of you that haven’t made the leap to mesh.

There are 9 skintones at every vendor to find that flesh tone to match your head and body perfectly. Every body pack contains customizations for colour and thickness of body and chest hair, tone of finger and toe nails, and musculature of your body. Every head skin pack contains a customizeable shape, 4 eyebrow colours, 6 beards, and tintable hairbases that can be turned off and on.

So if you want a new look, grab a demo. I’m sure you will be quite satisfied!

– Lyda Sands

Music Venue Review – The Junkyard Blues

If you love blues and want to dance under the moon and stars, give Junkyard Blues a spin. This venue, launched in 2006 is Second Life’s oldest blues club and 3-time Avi Choice winner for “Favorite Blues Venue.” It’s also “a nonprofit labor of love” owned and run by Kiff Clutterbuck and Richardina Petty. Located on a gulf coast themed estate, their friendly crew of volunteers run things with energy, style, and enthusiasm.

If you want to simply go and dance, go for it. There are usually a few folks dancing most of the time. It is nice to drop in on a Tuesday afternoon (SLT) under blue skies – which is usually a slow time for clubs – and find a good crowd of folks dancing. And tune into Junkyard Blues Radio and stream it where ever you are. They have a nice mix of Chicago, Memphis, Delta, New Orleans, and country blues.

I highly recommend you drop in after a rough RL day, pour yourself a drink, sit in an Adirondack chair, and just listen. No better way to relax!

– Doc Nolan

Art Gallery Review – Da Vinci Gardens

Focus on Art Galleries - Focus Magazine & Gallery

I was surprised to stumble across an article speaking to a long debate on whether architecture is considered art. I mean, it had never been a question in my mind. When looking at some of the stunning structures that are legendary for their style and aesthetic pleasure, I find it a very weak debate. But I may be biased.

I’ve been searching (enjoying every second of it) for mesmerizing places to explore. Places that photographers can find perfect settings for their many visions.

This month I hope I’ve found a sweet spot for a backdrop, a date night, or an adventure. The Da Vinci Gardens is a peaceful place with so much to explore. So far, I’ve discovered a gorgeous ballroom that made me feel like I was walking through a Baroque painting. Then after flying around the tall castle towers, I landed to find a dragon waiting to take me for a ride and battle with other dragons flying around. And when I fell off the dragon, as one tends to do, I dove into an underwater city full of colorful fish with more buildings to discover.

There is also a pirate ship, three connecting tropical sandy island beaches… and a rocket launch pad. The list is much longer which means lots of areas for creative shots or romantic moments!

– Kairi Cristole

Fotobomb with Greg, March 2019

Doc and I both attended DJ Avalon’s Disco Party at Elysium. A bunch of folks from TSFTG were there doing dances like “the hustle,” and I struck up a conversation with Doc. Angie was shooting pics, so I took the opportunity to “photo bomb” him! He has some interesting outlooks and we had fun discussing TSFTG on the dance floor!

Greg: Where are your favorite spots to take photos?

Doc: I have an unusual technique. After more than 12 years of landmarking and forgetting why I did so, I sometimes zip around what I call ‘the cemetery’ and maybe after 30 or 40 places among my landmarks of long ago I hit gold. I wander around a ‘cool place’ just seeing what catches my eye, and then I zoom in like a primitive hunter out stalking. Snap, snap, snap.It’s a lot like my yearly adventures backpacking in Colorado.

Greg: What inspires you most in your SL?

Doc: Everything in SL inspires me. For me Second Life is more truly my first life. It’s my kind of crazy. If it offered the senses of touch, taste and smell, I’d leave RL without ever looking back. I’m not ‘on the market’ but talking with and understanding women in SL in depth is something I really find mind-expanding. My RL ‘conversations with ladies’ always seem to end in boring platitudes and superficiality. Not so in SL.

Greg: How has TSFTG benefited your SL?

Doc: What a list! I’ve broadened out meeting people (and I tend to be a one-on-one person so that’s new). I have been dragged – happily – into renewing my love affair with art and photography, begun when I was 9 or 10 years old. TSFTG has let me see new sides of people I know. I just love to be around people and learn about them. And once again, I’m in an orderly world (TSFTG) where I can find meaning and purpose. This group means a lot to me. It’s like arriving in a mountain mining town after days of solo hiking, and finding a sandwich shop that serves coffee.

MEMBERSHIP: Focus on Kitten and Drevan Sinclair

Believe it or not, Kitten and DreVan Sinclair have been building even longer than they have been taking photos in SL! It’s their primary passion and, as DreVan says “the devil’s in the details.” Every build – including their current “city” build – is intricately designed and decorated. From large buildings to lamps, and chill spots to beauty shops – they have thought of everything! Patrick and I stopped by their home for a quick tour that turned into a fun evening event, and we still didn’t see it all! We were so impressed, we took the opportunity to have an impromptu interview for the March 2019 issue.

Angela: Well, first of all, you are an amazing building duo and as a couple you have created some incredible spaces together. How did you two even meet?

DreVan: Okay… how we met… It was at bloodlines east. I had just bought some new bites for my vampire hud and asked in local if anyone could help me with installing them and she messaged me. And then I ended up liegeing to her – which makes more sense if you are familiar with bloodlines and vampires here in SL. I ended up joining her clan under her. And there was something about her that I felt from the beginning.

Angela: So, I guess it was “love at first bite?” (Patrick groans in the background)

Kitten: I guess it was love at 1st bite. I love that! I think I’ll use it on a pic soon. Thanks!

Angela: You’re welcome! So, working so closely together do you ever disagree about the direction of a build? How do you plan out your builds and handle differing opinions?

DreVan: Kitten really matches my creativity. It’s almost scary! The difference is that she likes to focus on the inside. I’m into landscaping so it works out well.

Kitten: Yes, Drevan is more of the outside guy and I work more inside our builds. We do walk-thrus with each other and suggest different ideas. He’s got a little of this, I’ve got a little of that and somehow it all just works. But I’ll tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds. We both have alts, so keeping up with who has what in which inventory isn’t easy!

DreVan: So true. But as far as differences and similarities, we are definitely on the latter. We hardly ever disagree on ideas of builds and that’s been the best part about it. Sure, we get annoyed from time to time with each other, but what couple doesn’t?

Kitten: Absolutely! We’ve had our rough times and we both thought it was over. But being apart from each other for a short time really brought us closer together. Things are different now – better. You have to learn from your experiences and pick your battles.

Angela: Have you had one build in particular that you felt was the most challenging or inspiring?

DreVan: I’d have to say that one time we made a “heaven and hell” where we built a platform the size of the land and had it about 500 M up. Kitten decorated heaven and I did hell. It was challenging but in the end was pretty awesome.

Angela: DreVan got hell?

Kitten: He CHOSE hell!

DreVan: I have more dark stuff than light in my closet.

Kitten: He is dark; I am light. That’s how we work!

Angela: What kinds of things inspire you?

Kitten: I’ve always been into taking pictures. Even as a child with a little 110 camera! I always had one with me. Then came digital cameras and cell phones and the internet and it just blew up from there.

DreVan: I was mentioning to Kitten about when Patrick did the last class. It was cool how he spoke about how well Doc’s pics have been coming along. This is one of the few groups that really seem to support the new folks as much as the vets.

Kitten: I’d like to say something to that, too. I would like to see a little more coming together from the photography community as a whole. Since I started my own Flickr group, I’ve noticed that people are SO choosy on who to post awards to. It seems only the most popular pictures get the faves and the awards. But there is beauty in all art. We all started somewhere, you know? So, if people would be more friendly and help each other out more, like this group does, it would be wonderful. So, thank you for always welcoming everyone into the group and making them feel part of the community.

Angela: Thank you for your kind words and for having us over!

Kitten: Y’all are welcome to come over anytime. Take all the pics you want! We put a lot of love into this. We hope to share with others because we SO enjoy it ourselves too.

Kitten and DreVan also create the scenes for most of the FOCUS events! You will be able to see their handiwork on the sim usually at the beginning and end of every month.

PHOTOGRAPHY: An Interview with Loegan and Rachel Magic

I’m so honored to speak with two wonderful and talented photographers, Rachel and Loegan Magic, for this issue of FOCUS Magazine. They are a beautiful and loving couple who inspire each other everyday to achieve such beauty and creativity within their stunning compositions. Rachel and Loegan share their lives, their love, and their artistry with us. And even more, they show us how Second Life can be – and is – so beautiful!

Patrick: Thank you so much, Rachel and Loegan, for inviting Angela and me into your home today! You have created an amazing place to take pictures as well as enjoy your time together! To begin, let’s have some fun, shall we?! Would you rather play with Lincoln Logs OR Legos, and why?

Rachel: Oh my, I’m not too sure what Lincoln Logs are – I’ll have to Google that, but I did LOVE playing with Legos as I always had fun putting things together and playing with all the colors. I guess that isn’t much of a surprise, as I love to create my pictures and build a theme, which is so much fun!

Loegan: Well, I do have a memory about Lincoln Logs: when I was in elementary school, I remember always coming back from recess, and wanting to play with them, but never seemed to get into the room fast enough, and other kids were already building their log houses! But, like Rachel, I too loved building, and in a way, what I do here in SL is a reflection of my love for creating fun, and meaningful scenes.

Patrick: What is your background and a bit about your life experiences that has influenced your artistic expressions?

Rachel: I am from Australia so when the rest of the world is sleeping, I am awake. I have always had an interest in photography and have done some photography courses years ago when I got my first SLR Cannon Camera. It was before everything became digital and it was a great learning experience on how to take RAW images without all the bells and whistles. But I have upgraded to a Nikon now and it’s very much a bells and whistles camera. I am spoiled RL to be able to be near the ocean and also have national parks close by to explore waterfalls and play with shutter speeds. This, I believe, has helped with taking pictures in Second Life when I play with windlight settings, also a big part is patience and waiting for objects to rez.

Loegan: I grew up in the United States – a child of the 70’s. I fell in love with film at an early age. I guess it started with Star Wars and as I grew older I started watching foreign film, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujirō Ozue etc. I got caught up with the visual aspects of it. I am a big David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick fan. You can watch their films with sound off and feel the emotions coming through. I love how in photography, like film, you can use framing, lighting, and composition to convey emotion. Film was my first introduction to this. I later went to school for television and radio production. I am also red/green color blind so I think that has had a huge impact on my photos. It also prevented me from getting into photography in RL. I thought it would hold me back but instead I think it just helped my develop a personal style. I am drawn towards monochrome or muted colors. I didn’t even realize that a lot of my photos had muted colors until it was pointed out to me. If I do a color photo, I usually have Rachel make sure my sky isn’t purple or some unusual color. 🙂

Patrick: What does your work aim to say?

Rachel: Well I take a variety of images, when it comes to my furry friends pictures, they are about fun and putting a smile on peoples faces, I generally just go with the flow and the theme grows. My pictures can be quite busy and involve the viewer looking at the whole picture and spotting little quirks within it. Loegan has been known to log on to a virtual zoo and zero prims left. I am lucky he is a patient man.

Loegan: I usually try to find emotion in what might be overlooked. A simple image, like a coat rack or a parked car – something you might see everyday but I try to pull emotion out of it. Sometimes a simple thing can bring back memories or conjure up emotions. That’s what I am usually going for…not sure I always succeed.

Patrick: Who are you biggest influences?

Rachel: Well, Loegan has been a big influence with my pictures. We collaborate on a daily basis. This involves screen-sharing. We offer each other advice, but also try and let each other’s work speak for itself. Earlier, I was influenced by the encouragement from friends like Jos Loll and DILLIGAF (M8TY). They opened the door to programs like Photoshop – which I am still trying to conquer – and the Anypose System. Also, being part of the Edge Galleries Exhibition for ‘Surreal’ and ‘Monochrome’ photos has also helped me explore other aspects of the creative side of taking pictures. Many thanks to Ladmilla for selecting me for that.

Loegan: Again, the filmmakers I mentioned have influenced me and I am a big fan of painters such as Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Van Gogh, and Monet. Of course other SL artists, like Rachel, inspire me everyday with the way they work. Rachel has amazing patience and pays great attention to detail. She has taught me to slow down a bit and pay attention to the details. Collaborating with Rachel has made me a better photographer and, on a personal level, I think it brings another level of closeness. We often share screens when we work and make suggestions to each other. When one watches someone work so often, it is bound to have a strong influence on them. We are pretty much obsessed with SL photography, and discuss it almost all the time!

It’s such a treat to experience a couple who share a passion for life. Rachel and Loegan are such a couple! Both are truly gifted in creativity and artistic design but, more importantly, their love inspires the other to excel into areas where they could never have reached alone.

– by Patrick Ireland

FOCUS Magazine – From the Editor, March 2019 Issue

Editor's Note by Angela Thespian, April 2019 Issue

Letter from the Editor

The saying that March comes “in like a lion, out like a lamb” has always seemed a straightforward enough proverb: when March starts, it’s still winter, and by the end of the month spring has begun. As I write this Editor’s Note, March is coming in like a lion in the northeast. We are expecting 18 inches of snow this weekend alone!

The proverb also seems to ring true this month at FOCUS Magazine. The March issue represents a few big experiences for us. Firstly, this issue will feature our first couples interview with Loegan and Rachel Magic. Their interview has a sweet, romantic dynamic that is a pleasure to read. We have also begun our photography classes, which will occur around the 20th of every month, led by Patrick Ireland, our new Managing Editor. Inspiring, incredible changes are afoot for us all! More and more people have been coming together to help with the FOCUS vision of combining art, friendship and celebrating both. Pleases contact me if you’d also like to participate!

Enjoy the issue!

Angela Thespian