Music Venue Review – Wonderful Dreams

Wonderful Dreams Live Music Venue

Wonderful Dreams: Ballroom, Venue & Live Music was created by Yenna Auster & Nighty Pera, a couple from the Netherlands, “with the love and passion we feel for each other.” They have been a couple since June 20, 2015.

Since mid-2015, Wonderful Dreams has had almost a quarter of a million visitors! No matter when you visit, you will find couples dancing. There is a casual dress code except on the ballroom dance floor where formal attire is required. This is a general sim and, obviously, appropriate dress and behavior need to follow from that. Don’t miss the gardens surrounding the ballroom. This is a very romantic place to just walk, talk, or take photos. The amount of time and effort spent creating this venue is noticeable. The love shown is profoundly moving.

Live singers every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m SLT.

– Doc Nolan

PHOTOGRAPHY: An Interview with Dystopyan

Dys●to●pi●an: /disˈtōpēən/ noun

A person who imagines or foresees a state or society where there is great suffering or injustice. The dystopian protagonist challenges that which would control his or her life and helps others see the truth of the dystopian world through a unique perspective.

Patrick Ireland of FOCUS sat down with our friend, Dystopyan, to get to get a better sense of his “view of the world.”

Patrick: Thank you so much, my friend, for being our FOCUS artist for April 2019! Let me begin by also saying thank you for being such an inspiring friend. Truly, your talent in RL and SL is tremendous!

First question, just so we can get to know you personally: What’s one memory in SL that you have, or an event or experience here, that you have incorporated into your daily real life?

Dystopyan: Three and a half years ago, I had no clue that SL even existed. It was so intriguing to me when I first heard about it. After joining in, and seeing the amazing creations produced by the SL community, a spark was triggered in me. Since then, it has been a constant learning curve, taking creative inspiration from SL to RL, and vice versa.

Photography in SL has caused me to perceive photography in RL a bit differently too, pulling my work outside the box. And one thing I learned the hard way, posing people in SL is so much easier than RL. 🙂

Patrick: What is your background? You get bonus points if you can tie your life experiences to your artwork.

Dystopyan: I’ve always had an interest in different types of art since I was young. I used to draw a lot and play guitar. To be honest, I never thought I would ever go professional in RL photography and digital painting until I was forced to make the decision to drop everything and pursue the passion I have.

Since then I’ve tried to create a different approach — mixing photography, image editing and digital painting — to pull off some surrealist concepts and themes most of the time.

Patrick: What does your work aim to say?

Dystopyan: My work is about people. My work says: People are different and no 2 are alike. My work can mainly be split into 2 categories, commissioned and personal work. If you really analyze my images you will notice that no 2 photos are the same. Whenever I want to photograph someone or create a specific look for someone, I try to pull the person’s character out. I try and get to know the person behind the avatar and the reason why they look the way they do. Doing that helps me visualize the photos in my mind, makes me able to fine-tune their avatar and push the photos to the extreme. The other half of my work is my personal work which shows my interests in BDSM and erotic art, fantasy and some surrealistic views of the world — trying to capture whatever SL has to offer.

Patrick: Does your work comment on current social or political issues?

Dystopyan: I know that some artists are huge social and political influencers. Not me. I try to capture emotions in my work. I like to meet different people and help spread the beauty of those people living in different parts of the world. The main message I have to share is to accept the person in front of you for who they are. Find the beauty in them and spread that out. I do not bother myself with politics either, and as Plato said: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” I am willing to live with that risk for the sake of what I love.

Patrick: Who are your biggest influences?

Dystopyan: I was first a musician before becoming a digital artist, so music plays a big role in my life. I enjoy all music, from the classical masterpieces to the more heavier and aggressive genres. As for visual artists and photographers, I like the genius classic work of Ansel Adams for some reason even though my work is exactly the opposite. On the other hand, I like Alberto Seveso, Aaron Nace and Aleksi Goferman —to name a few — who inspire me and push me to advance and develop my photography, image editing and painting skills, to be able to do what I do now.

Patrick: I’ve noticed that you’re quite helpful to “younger” photographers here in SL. Have you collaborated with others here and how do you feel your real life experience in art and photography has helped others in SL capture their own spirit for design and composition?

Dystopyan: I haven’t had big collaborations in SL — except for a few with other friends who are photographers — but I always try and help people who want to discover photography in here. Maybe because I am self-taught in RL, and I know how hard it can be for someone to learn by themselves. So I always try and lend out a hand whenever I can. Seeing other people’s work and creativity is inspiring to me. Some photographers see that as competition. I see it as growth and inspiration. Explaining some few techniques in composition, color theory and light can bring an amateur’s photos to professional levels, and that alone gives me pleasure when I see it happen.

Patrick: Lastly, is there a story behind your name?

Dystopyan: Long story short, I guess it’s because I think we’re heading towards a very dystopian era in the future. I like works such as Lovecraft and everything related as well. I guess it’s a combination of stuff. It’s just something that resonated with me when I created my av and I’m damn impulsive. 🙂 So, Dystopyan.

Patrick: Your photos have an air of your perception of dystopia as well.

Dystopyan: Yes. I try to show that.

Patrick: Thank you again, Dystopyan, for your time and sharing with our readers.

Fotobomb with Greg, May 2019

Greg was off to Nashville in April, so Patrick stepped in to photobomb for the May issue! He bombed the poor, unsuspecting Cheyenne Sadee as she stood at her home, and then bombarded her with surprise questions! Okay, it may have played out a little differently than that. Enjoy! :p

Patrick: Where are your favorite spots to take photos?

Chey: Typically, I prefer to take my photos on an empty platform where I can create my own scene and bring something truly personal and unique to my images. I find most outside sims excessively laggy and the quality suffers for it. I’m not the type of person who uses PhotoShop much. I prefer keeping my images as natural and true as possible so combining my windlights with my own structured sets my images become natural one of a kind images.

Patrick: What inspires you most in SL?

Chey: I’d have to say my love for people and being a role model. My time here is spent modeling on a runway and teaching others how to model, I teach some photography so for me, coming online every day knowing that I can be a positive impact in someone’s life in so many different ways is what I enjoy most. I love to learn, and I love a challenge. Oh! And shopping! That is quite inspiring, or a problem, depending on how you look at it. LOL

Patrick: Tell us about your blog!

Chey: I started blogging about 2 years ago when I went into modeling. I am a bit of an over-achiever so I ended up with about 22 sponsors. I blog everything from fashion to home decor. My blog is quite different than most. My images are, as I said before, always natural. And I’m a descriptive blogger so I talk about what I’ve got going on. I’m interactive and I make sure my readers know what’s up with whatever I’m showing.

Patrick: And lastly, how has TSFTG benefited you?

Chey: Well, other than teaching me 5 letters can give me a headache trying to figure out what they mean… hahah! It is truly, such an amazing group of people. Everyone is so chilled and laid back. It’s a really comforting, non-judgmental group that is there for all of it’s members.I guess it’s mainly benefited me with an even wider social circle, new friends and great people to learn and grow with.

Art Gallery Review – FOCUS Gallery

Focus on Art Galleries - Focus Magazine & Gallery

Virtual photography is fast becoming it’s own respected art form. In our lifetimes, it’s possible that we may see CGI images in museums nestled comfortably between famous masterpieces. I’m sure many find that a far-fetched idea but most novel art forms have been historically disparaged. Consider Realism, the dominant style of painting since the Renaissance. Realists cringed and scoffed at Impressionism. And the Painterly style – which placed paint into the amateur hands of the masses – with the metal paint tube. But art does not belong to the elite – or even the highly skilled. I subscribe to the ideal that art is an act of human expression and connection – for all.

I believe that photogs in SL and are taking part in the emergence of an art form that represents our modern curiosities. CGI makes the creation of art more accessible, and access is almost entirely unrelated to race, gender, location, education, and ability. This idea of equality, sharing and friendship are the core foundational values of FOCUS Gallery and Magazine. Our goal is to acknowledge each individual’s contribution, to share experience, and to encourage others to find their own voice in photography within a helpful and kind community. Lofty ideas, I know! But we make it happen every day we participate.

– Angela Thespian

Music Venue Review – Isle of Miracles

Photography by Tyler Cross

About two months ago, the Isle of Miracles, a community sim with rentals and scenery that attracts SL photogs, became a music venue, too. Arwen Ansaldo, who wears the tag “Miracles Boss,” took the sim over from Madeline Swann, founder of the Tres Chic event. Madeline built the sim, but didn’t have time to run it, so Arwen took over at the last moment and saved the beautifully landscaped sim from being lost. The sim’s description reads “Everyday holds a possibility of a Miracle!” I can attest to that as, on my first visit, I spent 3 hours enjoying the Rock Stage – one of three stages on the sim. First on stage was Loreen Aldrin, our dear TSFTG friend. Then Lisa Brune took the stage with her sexy French voice and joie de vivre. Last, was Jack Slade playing his familiar 6-string guitar. Music events are Thursdays from 1-3pm and Friday from 12-3pm. I definitely recommend dropping by for the photo opp, but stay for the music and idyllic atmosphere!

– Angela Thespian

Store Review – KAUNA

Focus on Stores - Kauna

This month, since we are into May, it will be my last article in the theme of ‘New Year~New You’. And for you guys that are desperate for good quality affordable clothes, you are in luck, this one’s for you. You’re welcome!

Kauna is a tiny store now on the Time Portal sim for men’s formal wear. Even though he hasn’t created new clothing, everything is FREE except for a smoking pipe gotcha. The suits and tuxes are timeless and classic. Since most men now are meshed up, when you wear Kauna you will have to configure your alpha for the suits to fit properly, but it’s a small price to pay for these well designed suits. And you can’t beat free!

The XIV tux is my absolute favorite. When you click that frame on the wall, you will receive all colours and accessories, shirts, bow ties, cummerbunds, and pocket hankies.

– Lyda Sands

Kitten’s Korner – May 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 Ornella Batriani to be our re-creation focus for this issue.

Kitten: Thank you so much, Ornella, for agreeing to be the 1st to do this project with me. I just have a few questions for you. You posted your 1st pic on Flickr in November 2011. How did you get started with SL photography?

Ornella: I have always loved photography so since my arrival on SL I always had this desire to make photos but I lacked a lot of technique

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

Ornella: I never had a mentor, but it was when I discovered the photos that Bruno Kessel made that I wanted to do the same. Then I discovered Flickr and I wanted to make more elaborate photos too

Kitten: What tools do you use while taking your shots? (LumiPro, Anypose, etc)

Ornella: I work mainly with Lumipro, Anypose and sometimes Animare. For the viewers I use Firestorm or Black Dragon.

Kitten: What are some of your favorite windlights?

Ornella: I use the windlights of Firestorm a lot and I also downloaded some. My current preferences are Anan Adored Dusty, Firestorm phototools and some others but the list is long.

Kitten: Explain your post pic editing. What types of programs do you use? Any favorite filters?

Ornella: I work on my photos with Photoshop or Polarr editor. I adjust my lights and remove the defects with photoshop and for the filters I use those of Polarr editor which are quite well done.

Kitten: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get started in SL photography or for those who want to progress with their current skills?

Ornella: If I had any advice to give it would be: have fun, take pleasure in doing what you do; the main thing is not to please others but to love your own work.

MEMBERSHIP: Focus on Umshlanga Barbosa

Don’t worry. You’re not the only one who has no idea how to pronounce his name. But don’t be fooled by his humble British charm. Underneath his shape-shifting, this guy is a Renaissance man, and we’re very fortunate he has taken a leading role in TSFTG and FOCUS Magazine & Gallery.

Angela: Hello Umshi and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed today, especially by ME! 🙂

Umshi: The privilage is all mine, thank you for asking.

Angela: We usually always start with an icebreaker question so here it goes: If you could have lunch with anyone in the world from any period of time, who would it be?

Umshi: My father. He passed away when I was 7 so I would like to get to know him.

Too Cool for Cats

Angela: Aww hugs! Great answer.

Umshi: Thank you.

Angela: So, you are a pretty prolific photographer in SL. What kinds of things inspire you?

Umshi: Mainly songs. I get inspired by the music – a line from a song or the title – and usually an image pops up in my head. I have to try and recreate using myself, surroundings, etc. made affordable by the wonders of SL.

Angela: You have been in SL since 2007, but only in Flickr since 2016. How did you get involved in SL photography to begin with?

Umshi: I was making avatar shapes and needed to advertise. A friend introduced me to Flickr and showed me the basics. I just enjoyed it so much that I don`t bother with the shapes anymore. I just taking pics and socialize.

Angela: In your 12 years in SL, what is a memory that stands out for you?

Umshi: Ha! Is this a PG magazine? Just kidding. 🙂 For 9-10 years all I did was build constantly. When I finished an epic build like a castle or a galleon and it`s all boxed-up in a rezzer and it pops-out with all your scripts working etc., that is a very satisfying moment.

Angela: So when you take a picture, do you have a routine?

Umshi: No. I do like to use all that’s available to me as and when its needed. I do shoot RAW also. It depends. Most shots 1 am using all windlights, camera tools, photo tools, and then I try to choose which appeals to me most. Sometimes, its the raw – the 1st shot. I dont have a favorite routine though but I do love B&W pics.

Angela: How did you learn about SL and what motivated you to join in 2007?

Umshi: I was on a train to London and someone left a glossy at my table. Inside was an article about a Chinese lady who was the 1st to make a million dollars from SL making clothes, I think. So I thought I needed to check that out., I’ve not quite made my 1st million yet though 🙂

Angela: If you could change something about SL, what would it be?

Umshi: The lagg monster. More powerful servers to make the game more slick. SL itself is about freedom to do what you want, be who you want to be – from the beautiful to the darker sides – so I`m all for live and let live. Whatever floats your boat in here. Let’s just get it working more smoothly please. Was working fine 12 years ago before broadband, so why are we still suffering in this day and age?

Technicolor Pachyderm

Angela: Is there anything you would like to say about the group?

Umshi: Just about groups like TSFTG. I love the fact people like yourself and Patrick lend yourselves wholly committed to help others, whether it`s showcasing someone’s art work or getting some more accomplished people together with enthusiasm, sharing knowledge, and helping others. I have been involved in the past in building schools similar and love what you two are doing here with regards to photography. Knowledge and experience should be shared to encourage others creativity. Thank you both for that. I know the hard work you both put in and also others within the group.

Angela: Thank you, Umshi!

Umshi: No, thank you!

Angela: My last question was going to be how TSFTG has affected your SL, but you seem to have answered that!

Umshi: Ohh hugely! Like a new family and new chapter in my SL journey. So many wonderful people here and the photography has been amazing to view in the Flickr group. Some really talented people here who`s work I greatly admire, But
even some of the newer members, the creativity inspires me to keep on clicking.

Angela: And you are a moderator for the TSFTG Flickr group! Do you have any other groups of your own?

Umshi: Yes, I have several. “You are Cordially Invited” which is a more selective artsy group – not for snapshots – and “Show Me Your Stuff” which is a free for all anything goes group.

Angela: Do you consider yourself an artist?

Umshi: A piss artist maybe. I sing, play several instruments and build guitars in RL.

Angela: Wow! You are a man of many talents! You are a luthier in RL?

Umshi: I am, clever lady. 🙂 I have have a proper job, but I luthier at home in my spare time. I have many guitars out there by nearly-made-it guitarists. No super stars but have repaired a few for some UK stars. Not whole builds. And I still play and sing like a strangled cat though.

Angela: I doubt that! Have you ever thought about singing in SL?

Umshi: Excuse my French “fk that!” I play okay on my own, but in front of an audience I suddenly seem to be wearing boxing gloves.

Angela: Hmm. So what kinds of guitars do you build?

Umshi: Lately I have been into Cigar Box guitars. They sound so freaking awesome to me. Very raw and basic.

Angela: That is just amazing! Thank you so much for this interview, my friend!

Umshi: Thank you for asking. Though I got washed and dressed for this. I thought it was in voice with a piccy at the side, like doing a phone call for a chat show! I could of stayed in my board shorts and string vest.

Angela: Aww, you mean Skype?

Umshi: I got a face for radio anyway. 😉