Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tragedy and a New Blog

Hey virtual performance people....

This is the last post to the SF 1.0 blog, as we are in the process of making a spiffy new SF site, and we have the SF Blog going, where we will tell you all about June 30th's Iron Lung Grand Prix at Amsterdam. We smoked the crowd with clouds of cigarettes, other "stuff, and drove our jaunty jalopies made of |Soviet-era Iron Lungs around the Dam...

More soon.


Yes, it's true! (Well, maybe...)
Only days after the Grand Theft Avatar performance, a freak mishap claimed the lives of SF'ers Wirxli FlimFlam and AliseIborg Zhaoying. During a rehearsal for |SL5B, a 10m anvil was accidentally dropped that was not set to "Phantom" and smashed them to bits (or bytes, or pixels). A virtual memorial was held with SF & friends in attendance, Bit from Tron, MegaByte from ReBoot, and Buzz Lightyear.

Well, maybe it's not exactly true.
The good news is that Jeremy and Penny were accepted to Graduate School in Vancouver. But conversely, they join the ranks of SF Emiritii that have thrown pies at the virtual world (or pizzas, at least). These things happen, but for them it's a good thing, because they don't need to be worried about the likes of the evil Investor Allen and the invading alien horde of the USS Allenvest.

Oh, wait... that's another story.
Hey - see you on the other blog...


Monday, May 12, 2008

News Flash! Bank heist was an Inside Job!

Personal Secretary (AliseIborg Zhaoying) working undercover for the robbers performs a ‘laptop’ dance in order to distract the Bank Manager (Wirxli FlimFlam) just seconds before the robbers storm the bank.

In Grand Theft Avatar, Second Front challenges the authenticity and embodiment of virtual identities by assuming avatar identities including those of Camille Utterback, Char Davies, Howard Rheingold and Christiane Paul to commit a parodied staging of a bank hold-up of the Linden treasury. As the robbers plotted their raid, it was just another regular work day for the bank staff that included Gazira Babeli as the Janitor, Bibbe Oh as the Bank Receptionist (looking like the reformed Patty Hearst), Wirxli FlimFlam as the Bank Manager (looking very Howard Rheingold-ish even in Wirxli's signature purple) and AliseIborg Zhaoying as the Personal Secretary. With one exception - the Personal Secretary was actually a double-crosser working on the inside for the robbers and was doing her best to distract the Bank Manager from the drone of the approaching robber-copter above.

Lounging in our post-heist lap of luxury, and not having to work in our boring bank jobs, some of us at Second Front are finding the time to be philosophers, pondering on such lofty questions as: Who is my avatar self? How much of my Pre-Second Life self am I investing in my avatar? Can we actually own our avatar identity? If not, is it possible to steal virtual identities? and even if it's verging on paranoia, should we ask ourselves who or what really does - Linden?! YIKES! We welcome all you Second Front groupies to send us your comments and to help us do some very serious soul searching.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grand Theft Avatar

Last week, Second Front did a live performance at the San Francisco Art Institute on a panel titled "From Cinema to Machinima" (moderated by Christiane Paul and Lynn Hershman Leeson). The problem is that Second Front is out of cash. Dead broke. We're forced resort to extreme measures.

Here is our hit: The Linden Treasury.

Don't let the doe eyes and the dragonfly wings fool you: the vaults were heavily guarded (guard is our own Lizsolo Mathilde).

Tran Spire, Great Escape, Man Michinaga and Fau Ferdinand assembled in the "evil genius" room to plan the heist. Not only do we want to pocket some Linden Dollars for ourselves; we also planned to free the currency from the virtual bank.

After all, Linden Labs owns huge swaths of land, they make their own laws and the mint their own currency. They essentially are a nation-state.

First, we donned costumes to resemble those on the panel. Man Michinaga disguised himself as Christiane Paul. Fau Ferdinand is Camille Utterback toting a cute scarf and giant gun.

Tran Spire looks suspiciously like Char Davies — armed and tres dangereux.

And Great Escape assumed the identity of Scott Snibbe, mild-mannered mastermind.

Stick 'em up! Here you can see us arriving in the copter. The janitor (played by Gazira Babeli) stopped scrubbing the floors and put her hands in the air. Smart move.

Patty Hearst (played by Bibbe Oh) was the bank receptionist. Sigh, we miss the days when Patty was fun.

KA-BOOM! We used custom-built explosives to crack the vault. Yikes! Howard went down. We didn't mean to hurt anyone...

A-HA! Sacks of Linden dollars. Great Escape grabs all he can while gunfire erupts in the background.

We hop in the copter with the police in hot pursuit. Fly away money, be free!

As the grand finale, we hop on a H-Bombs and ride them Slim Pickens style into the sunset. Yahoo! Yee-haw!

Photos courtesy of: Jeff Aldrich, Great Escape, Tran Spire, Man Michinaga, Bibbe Oh and Aliselborg Zhaoying.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Minotaure Haledol Dreams...Behind The Scenes...

Find more videos like this on Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance

This video of edited raw "rehearsal" and "performance" footage is by the Curator of the Museo del Metaverso, Roxelo Babenco. This video is fascinating in that it shows the blOOpers, glitches and sim crashes. What is the point of a live performance without these special features? ;-)

Hey there Minotauring Marble-dumpers, Padded Cellmates and Hipster Haledolts!

Finally, we have had enough time to reflect at "length" about our most recent performance that took place at Dorkbot Paris called "Haledol Dreams of The Minotaure".

We were successful with our attempts to blur the once-rigid events known as "rehearsal" and "official performance" into one epic and overblown theatrical Gesamtkunstwerk escapade - an insane one, at that!

Here is a basic list of the movements for this performance....This was originally drafted by Fau Ferdinand and Bibbe Oh and revised by the rest of Second Front...

I - "Rehearsal"
This was intended to confuse the audience and question the borderlines where formal theater and "just playing around" blur. Since all of Second Life is BOTH a "rehearsal" and a "performance" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we thought we would have a movement that would reflect this.

II - "Part 1"

As the audience arrives and takes their seats in the padded room, the Nurses are already in place in yellow plastic chairs and the patients roam around the space playing their (dancing and wailing) animations. In addition to a selection of anims, each Patient has a wall they may attach as a proximity reaction when another avatar is perceived to be too close. When the Nurses spy a behavior they do not like, they react by shooting a hypodermic (enema sized needle) at the offending patient(s).

III - "Part 2"

Fau/Minotaure freaks out at a Nurse and is shot with a hypodermic and is rendered semi-conscious. Great Escape as Theseus approaches and offers Fau/Mino a tango. They dance.
The patients continue to improvise--but without the use of walls.



Fau/Minotaure is furious!

IV - "Part 3"

Fau counter-attacks by charging with a goring animation.

Liz (one of the nurses) shoots many syringes into Fau/Mino as she is charging--Fau falls. The inmates go out of control...


This event was curated by Evo Szuyuan and hosted at La Cantine Numerique in Paris in RL. If you do not believe this actually happened, just put on a beret to look like an Artiste and head down to:
151 rue Montmartre, dans le Passage des Panoramas, Paris
M├ętro Grands Boulevards

...and knock 536 times and ask for documentation from whomever is still watching re-runs of this momentous and historic event.

Speaking of re-runs, here are some photos from this performance...

Photo by Great Escape. This is the official entrance to the building. As you can see, this was a well postered event...

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a pic of Fau Ferdinand getting ready to perform as the Minotaure.

Here is Wirxli (yes, the blogger of this post) in the foreground with the audience and other Second Fronters including: Aliseiborg Zhaoying, Great Escape and Fau Ferdinand..Osprey Therian is one of the audience avatars who recorded a very classy video...

Here is Wirxli posing with the sexxxy nurses Lizsolo Mathilde and Chi5 Shenzhou.

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a pic of Tran Spire with his competing Jesus robe as well as further appearances by Alise, Liz, Chi5, Wirxli (sitting down) and Theseus aka. Great Escape...

Here is a kinky pic of Liz and Chi5 sitting by themselves with enema-sized needles.

Photo by Great Escape. Here is a close-up pic of Chi5 with a syringe...

Photo by Great Escape. Here is another action shot of Liz, Great Escape/Theseus and Chi5.

Here we can see the direct Jesus Idol competition between the equally delusional Wirxli and Tran as competing Jesus-freaks. The brand new Second Fronter Bibbe Oh is also seen in this pic. She was involved in many awesome pose-actions!

Here is Theseus (GE) chasing after the minotaur with Gog Mannonen also doing an impromptu intervention...In this instance, we have text that is calling out the performance "goo" that we were able to control in realtime...Quite honestly, this kind of text looks like Jim Morrison's poetry though...heheheheheh! ;-)

Here is a pic of Fau the Minotaure hiding behind the seats, Alise with her Nestorian tablet, GE/Theseus and Wirxli...

Once again, here is a great action shot of Bibbe flying through the air... In addition, we have Fau, Wirxli, Alise, Bibbe, Liz, Tran, and Chi5 ensuring that the spirit the "rehearsal" is still in effect...

Here is Wirxli (me) officially announcing the rehearsal, at last..sigh! What was funny is that we had a rehearsal for our official rehearsal...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! O, The Agony! ;-)

What is a good performance without some pyrotechnics and other rock'n'roll atmospherics? We managed to rez some virtual dry ice that hovered mere pixels above the padded cell's floor...

Here we have Rep Zabaleta from Dorkbot Paris having a puff of some leftover virtual dry ice pixels while we rez the crosses...

In order to guarantee multiple readings of our performance, we had ensured that there would be enough white noise on the video screen for spontaneous ITCs... On another note, Odyssey Island's curator Sugar Seville was also in the audience...

Photo by Tran Spire. Here is another angle of the white noise. The ensuing asylum cacophony still haunts both the space and the audience.

It looks like Tran has taken full messianic control of the white noise on the screen...well.... at least he believes he is channeling the 10 Commandments there, anyway... Alise is also in this photo as is an Easter rabbit (it was Easter Friday after all) and the official Dorkbot poster managed to make a special cameo appearance. Ok ok, posters do not have a choice like avatars do...they are forced to make an appearance since they are (usually) inanimate objects...unless they are goo-jects ;-)

This photo depicts an epic battle between GE and Fau... This battle is quite epic since many additional Second Fronters are involved in the action (if you can call it that). For example, Tran is on the floor writhing in messianic ecstacy while Nick Rhodes (Orange Island Curator) and assorted VIPs from the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse including the Evo Szuyuan the event's curator can also be seen in the audience...

Theseus takes a swipe at the Minotaure while Tran reaches his Christian climax when he passionately exclaims "I HAVE FALLEN...AND I CAN'T GET UP"...

This picture is very compositionally classical in that we see more action on the ground and a bigger audience for the colesseum slaying...

"WHEN I AM SEDATED, I HAVE DELUSIONS THAT THIS IS A THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE..." - Wirxli FLimflam. Great Escape looks wounded but this might just be theatrical effect. People are not meant to be wounded during the "rehearsal", right? ;-) .. Maybe some of the audience members were beginning to clue in that the official performance was about to begin as Paco Mariani found his own nosebleed seat... Also, one of the Dorkbots was doing a pole dance in anticipation of the grand finale to come... I mentioned VIPs earlier and one prominent one in the audience was Finally Outlander who lectured about his new film VolaVola earlier in the day....

Photo by Tran Spire. Here is a rather gratuitous angle showing the wounded Great Escape plus the gang looking insane as usual.

Photo by Tran Spire. Here is a decent pic of Wirxli (me) grabbing one of the audience member's body by her head like a marionette...Is this what the Second Fronter Gazira Babeli meant when she thought Second Life reminder her of some kind of twisted puppet show?

Photo by Tran Spire. Once again, here is another zany shot of Second Front.

This photo was taken due to the nice ambient lighting of the padded cell. One audience member looks like this Osprey?

Here is an amusing audience shot that also shows Great Escape with Fau about 2 tango.... Second Fronter VIP, Blued Food is also out of rehab and back in the audience...

Photo by Great Escape. It took awhile before the crowd realized that we were still "rehearsing"....hee hee! The assembled crowd began to grow which was all we needed to prolong the theatrical chaos. In this photo Tran, Alise, Fau/GE (tango-ing), Wirxli (me) and Bibbe are visible...

Photo by Great Escape. Here are some speech balloons that we rezzed when we said the magic word, "rise". Liz and Tran are also moonlighting in this pic.

Photo by Great Escape. GIMME SHOCK AND AWE TREATMENT! Here are some swarming Purpleized Iraqi flags and a speech balloon that says "Gimme Shock Treatment!" We can see more cameos from Alise, Wirxli and even Fau's bum is in this pic! Are you looking for an exit strategy at this point? ;-)

Photo by Great Escape. SHOCK AND AWWWWWWWWEEEE! Here is another tender tango pic....

Photo by Great Escape. This pic is so extremely tender, you can even see Great Escape's facial about a close shave, eh?

Photo by Great Escape. Fau looks fay in this very touching tango.

Photo by Great Escape. AWWWWW(EEEE), they must be like, in love or something! ;-)

Photo by Great Escape. Are you sick of the sentimental tango pix yet? LOL!

Photo by Great Escape.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Just when you thought you had seen the last tango pic... ;-)

Photo by Great Escape (naturally). Here is a solo pic of Great Escape as Theseus..Check out those rippling pex!

Here is a close up of Wirxli (me) with my token cross (I always fall back on a crutch such as a cross when I have nothing else to do in the performance). This pic can also be seen as an action shot of Great Escape... This is definitely a climax moment and not a blOOper as Fau is most certainly getting enema from Chi5 at this time... On a un-related note, I think everyone was in agreement that day that Samara Cioc had an AMAZING fire-extinguisher on her leg.

This one last archive pic from our behind-the-scenes footage includes a close up of Alise and Wirxli (me) as well as Liz, Fau, Tran and Bibbe...

Thanks for being patient and waiting for this posted equivalent of a "bonus feature" to arrive onto this blog! Please stay tuned for our up and coming performance premiering on April 14th, 2008 titled "Grand Theft Avatar 3, Heist City"...