Monday, December 22, 2014

Interview with Brace Coral, Founder of NCI

By Wesley Regenbogen

I interviewed Brace Coral a few months ago, but recently she asked me to re-interview her once again. So here is interview.
Wesley Regenbogen: Hello there Brace Coral.
Brace Coral: Hey Wes (smile).
Wesley Regenbogen: You requested a new interview in the Second Life Newser. So, I will ask you a few questions. Here we go. ... 

How is the NCI in general doing at the present?
Brace Coral: We're doing great, I think! There's been a reshuffling of some staff, and we've got a whole new education program being set up. That warms my heart, because getting New Folks learning and having fun is always my main focus.
Wesley Regenbogen: Which new classes will be held at the NCI, or what changes are you referring to?
Brace Coral: Well for one, I'm teaching again! Basic Clothing Creation. Had my first class this past Tuesday and it was a blast (smile). We're getting more Newbie focused classes on board too. Pajobra Zessinthal is our new Education Coordinator and she's doing an excellent job.

The other big change... We've started paying our Instructors and Event Hosts again! 300L/per class/event. That's one of the main things I wanted to see happen when I came back. That was the main reason behind startng my weekly fundraiser event. I'm so excited!

Wesley Regenbogen: Which fundraiser event are you referring to ?
Brace Coral: Every week on Saturday at 5pm SLT I throw a Salsa Dance event. We shake our butts and throw cash into the big Donation sign. It's a lot of fun (smile). People can come donate there, or any of the kiosks at our NCI Campuses. They can also help support the NCI by donating tier and buying stuff from the NCI Store (smile).
Wesley Regenbogen: Cool, a dance event. But how do you raise virtual money for the NCI then. Do people need to pay to participate in the event or which means of entering are available?
Brace Coral: Ginger Lorakeet runs the store, so you can ask her about donating things to be sold there as well. ... Oh the event is FREE like all our classes and events. People can donate lindens during the event if they wish. Most do (smile). But it isn't mandatory. I appreciate people donating themselves, their fun, and time to come make the event special each week.
Wesley Regenbogen: So entering the event is free or donations are required?
Brace Coral: The NCI stays afloat solely from donations from residents. Tier, fees, and rent. So a HUGE thank you to our donors!
Wesley Regenbogen: Are there changes to the NCI places as well?
Brace Coral: Well Wellington Beam who's currently heading things and running the NCI is always on the lookout for how we can make things better. We tweak each campus, clean up scripts and decorate for the holidays (smile). There's always something new, so I hope folks come visit and see what we got going on.

Wesley Regenbogen: Ok, But I didn't mean decorative wise. I meant landscape wise or something?

Brace Coral: Well our main campus at Kuula sim is mainland, so we don't have too much leeway in terms of landscaping. And the basic format that we have now works pretty well. Sandboxes, classrooms etc. The layout works. We just have to get the word out on our other campuses - NCI South and NCI Beach. They're always on my Profile Picks (smile) Happy Visiting!

Wesley Regenbogen: You mentioned changes in the staff. May I ask which changes have been due?

Brace Coral: It's just easier to give a link (giggle). the Personnel by Role list gives you the info on our campus coordinators and other staff positions:

Wesley Regenbogen: Ok, thanks for the list.

Brace Coral: Our main website/blog has the links at the top for how to donate tier and also info about the store as well: You can also follow us on Twitter!

Wesley Regenbogen: Are there new areas of classes that are organized ? I mean : are there new topics that can be learned or does the shedule stay unchanged ?

Brace Coral: The schedule, found here: is updated each week, with the new classes being added as they come online. We're looking for someone to teach Beginning Scripting, so contact Pajobra Zessinthal if you'd like to teach or if you have a referral (smile). Other Newbie Focused classes are welcome as well.

 Wesley Regenbogen: Ah ok. If I find someone with that field of expertise, I will let you know.

Brace Coral: Wonderful (smile).

Wesley Regenbogen: Is there anything new that we haven't mentioned ? Please explain a bit more, if so.

Brace Coral: That's it for the most part. If I've missed anything, we can talk about it the next time we meet for an interview (smile) Also our Twitter feed keeps a pretty up to date rundown of NCI goings on.

Wesley Regenbogen: Ok. I would like to thank you for this short interview and I wish you the best future for the institue NCI (big smile).
Brace Coral: Thanks so much Wes! Love your Afro by the way.

Wesley Regenbogen: (laughter)

Wesley Regenbogen 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Interview With Graine Macbain

By Fritter Enzyme

Graine Macbain is one of the best supporters of live music and the arts in Second life.  For close to five years she has had clubs giving newcomers a chance to get up for open mic night and test the waters.  Bringing live music, poetry readings, live comedy and particle shows to fans in many venues, starting with the Azure.  Now the owner and operator of two venues and galleries:  The Riverside Café and Galleries, and The Avian Retreat.  A third location is often rented just for special events, seasonal music festivals like the Holiday Festival coming on December 12 – 14.  She is definitely in it for the love of doing, as, with most club owners, there is no profits being made. 

Fritter Enzyme: Was the Azure your first club?

Graine Macbain: Yes, it was. I sort of adopted it off the previous owner.  Dem Uriza  I was at a point in SL where I had grown tired of just wandering around and exploring, or hanging out at other people's clubs, so I thought I would try running a club. I couldn't script or build or sing so it seemed the only thing to try.   I also must admit I thought I might make so small profit, but that was a dream,(laughter).

Fritter Enzyme: Hehe, a dream many have had. Many of the same artists that came there come to your two venues.

Graine Macbain: Yes, I have kept in touch with most of my former Azure performers, although some have left SL or otherwise become too big for my small place.

Fritter Enzyme: You have always supported the arts in a big way, do you make art in real life?

Graine Macbain: I went to art school, and I realized there that I was just another mediocre artist, so I never pursued art in real life except for my own amusement. I tried to do it here in SL as well, but no one ever seemed impressed with my work, other than a few SL photos.

Fritter Enzyme: Do you know how many people have you given a SL career start to?

Graine Macbain: Well, that is hard to say, but I only know of one who claims I enabled her to have an SL career, and unfortunately she no longer sings in SL. I think Smilemaker Mathy gave more people a start in SL through the Open MIc Nights she used to host at the Azure every Sunday night.  I still see many of those names in SL playing.  So I provided the space but Smile did the work.

Fritter Enzyme: Most venues are not there because there is money to make this way, what are the other benefits to the time and love you put into a club in SL?

Graine Macbain: Well, I heard a lot of great music I would never have had the opportunity to hear otherwise and made a lot of friends who I wouldn't have had much interaction with had I not hired them. I hope I helped many people have a good time on their computer for a few hours that they might otherwise have spent watching TV or something else totally passive. I learned a lot and I a lot realized that running a club in SL was almost as much work as doing one in real life. Almost...

Fritter Enzyme: You have always brought in the new and unique things, live comedy, poetry readings, and the annual festivals, like this coming Christmas one.  Are there any new plans on the horizon for The Riverside Café?

Graine Macbain: Well, not at this point. After the Holiday Festival we will host another ambient/classical festival after the New Year, and of course, as you know, trivia continues every Thursday night from 5.30-7 PM SLT. I was thinking of having more activity at Avian Retreat again, but right now I am just trying to survive the holiday season in both SL and real-life.

Fritter Enzyme: You have preserved some of the Apollo sim at your sky gallery, and award winning photographs have been taken there.  Are you interested in keeping pieces of SL for a museum with that basis?

Graine Macbain: I have thought of that but it is beyond one person's ability to do that and do the effort justice. It is something the Lindens should have been doing for years now.  There was a fellow who passed away about a year ago, whose name escapes me now. He was mostly a fox furry, one of the first in SL, He used to do a blog dedicated to preserving SL. He would visit the earliest sims and give their histories with data and photos. He should have made a book about the subject, but even he found it too time consuming. He eventually moved to InWorldz, but then came back to SL. He died not long after that.

Fritter Enzyme: I would love to see that blog.  With the festivals and the booking for the club there are many times when things don’t go right, what keeps you going? 

Graine Macbain: Well, I just have a sort of inability to give up. I feel obligated to honor a commitment and not just give up once I start something. Not that I've never cursed myself for being a fool and taking on too much work. And I've known a few moments of panic as well, but ultimately, no one has died yet at one of my events, so I keep my fingers crossed and keep plugging.  If you try to control things too tightly they get even more out of control, oddly. Its best just to relax and let things go their course.

Fritter Enzyme: It is very nice that you have a gallery for Edward Vintner here.

Graine Macbain: Yes, I wanted to ensure that his name was not forgotten, and his art as well.  The nature of SL is ephemeral, so it takes some effort to make sure people don't forget.  And many new people will who never have heard of him.  I couldn't stand the idea that his art would disappear after his death. And I knew that Skye Gravois wanted to preserve his memory. It means so much to her.

Fritter Enzyme: Thank you for the interview, and thanks for the friendship.

Graine Macbain: You are most welcome, and thank you for yours, not to mention the great bartending (smile).

Graine has a blog at

Fritter Enzyme

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

News and Commentary: SL Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence

By Any1 Gynoid

 Concerned citizens of Second Life built a monument and gave recognition to those who passed on December 6, 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.  One of Canada’s finest engineering colleges became the scene of a violent anti-woman atrocity with 28 casualties all told. I got the call from Scylla Rhiadra (Pictured at the memorial) and it was like a getting an invite from movie director Martin Scorsese, of course you go.

There I met Teachergirl Razor and Carlotta Adagio, but what was very important about this gathering was the fact that 4 years ago, together, we organized 16 Days Against Violence Against Women, a grid-wide Second Life event that focused particularly on the anti-woman drug violence in Juarez Mexico. Then, after men and women in SL walked a mile in high heels (Walk a Mile in Her Shoes), we settled down to hear this amazing eye-witness testimony about the 400+ unsolved murders of women of Juarez.

Are these tragedies connected? Like events at Virginia Tech, UC Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook, Columbine High, and so many others? Indeed. And it would be wrong to blame the victims. The most common question after a reported rape is “What was she wearing?”… indicative of the rape culture which pervades society.

The potential for such events is very high. US states have mostly eliminated budgets for mental health services, neglecting to care for over 1,000,000 diagnosed schizophrenics now in the general population. Is it any surprise that these tragedies occur with regularity?

What can be done? In Second Life, we can take to first step to recognize serious gaps in society and to raise awareness. Our strength is our ability to communicate without threat to our physical safety. We can and do organize around many RL issues such as Violence Against Women and epilepsy Get involved.

-- Any1 Gynoid is a freelance contributor to SL Newser