Monday, 28 November 2016

Silent movie nights in December 2016

As we enter the holiday season, the movie selection for December will be all about Christmas - one way or another. Also, as of this month the cinema will be back to its old location in Odie, Nautilus, so make sure you have the right SLurl.

Here's the full schedule:

2nd December
Three's a Crowd (1927)
Next to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon was another superstar of silent comedies. His career peaked in the mid-1920s, after which he rapidly fell into obscurity: his later films were not commercially successful and were completely overshadowed by the likes of Chaplin. Three's a Crowd is one of those movies that keep getting very mixed reviews, from "not really that funny" to "an astonishing work of singular genius". We'll see what the Odie Cinema audience will have to say! The movie is not explicitly Christmas-themed, but some of the scenes are set at Christmastime.

Harry Langdon

9th December
Early silent movies are typically quite short, so for this day, I chose two - starring Santa!

A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa (1907)
Produced by the Edison Studios, and directed by Edwin S. Porter and J. Searle Dawley, this drama is about... Well, a little girl who did not believe in Santa. :) Only about 13 minutes long, it's actually about a boy from a rich family who comes up with an interesting way to make Santa bring gifts to the poor girl. The cast consists of less known actors such as a Bessie Schrednecky and Gitchner Hartman.

A Trap for Santa Claus (1909)
Fifteen-minute long and produced by the Biograph Company - a major competitor of Edison, the film is about a group of kids trying to catch Santa, but end up discovering an unexpected visitor. The film itself was not a huge success, but it is an early work of the famous and controversial director D. W. Griffith, whose career really took off in 1910s (we'll be watching his most famous movie in January, but more on that in another post).

16th December
The Night Before Christmas (1913)
Something we've never seen in Odie Cinema - a movie from the imperial Russia. Directed by Ladislas Starevich, it is based on Nikolai Gogol's short story by the same title. It's been described as a cinematic rendering very close to Gogol's original, and also very true to the conditions of life among the Russian (or, in this case, Ukrainian) peasants. It's full of Slavic mythological and folklore motifs. Interesting to note, there are also operas by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky based on this story, as well as several other movie adaptations.

23rd December
A Christmas Carol (1910)
As people will probably be busy right before Christmas, I've planned only one short film for the 23rd, an early adaptation of Charles Dickens' famous novella. It's only 14 minutes long, also directed by J. Searle Dawley (the co-director of A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa) of the Edison Company. Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Marc Macdermot, an Australian actor who made his career on Broadway and later acted in close to 200 movies.

30th December
The Adventure of the Wrong Santa Claus (1914)
Another Christmas movie launched by the Edison Company. Fourteen-minute long, it's a short comedy about Detective Octavius' search for a burglar posing as Santa. The detective is played by Barry O'Moore, an important American actor of the silent era.

Big Business (1929)
And finally, we're closing the December selection of silent movies with a hit - a Laurel and Hardy classic comedy. In Big Business, Stan and Ollie play Christmas tree salesmen who keep getting into a lot of trouble. Directed by James W. Horne, it's only nineteen minutes long, and the youngest of the movies in this month's selection.

I hope you'll be able to join us for some of these movies. Projections take place on Fridays at 1 pm SLT. To those who have been coming, many thanks for your continuing support!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Esperanto community in Second Life

In my First Life family, Esperanto used to be quite popular. My mother still remembers bits and pieces she learned as a teenager. And decades before that, my grandma took classes in the 1930s, before World War 2. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Esperanto is the most successful of numerous constructed languages, with tens of thousands of speakers worldwide (some say millions, but that estimate is probably too optimistic). It's had an interesting history, and if you want to learn more about it, click here.

As I've been doing some research on constructed languages lately, I was wondering if there was an Esperanto community in Second Life. And sure enough, not only is there a community, with social activities, courses and an inworld group, but their centre - Esperanto-Lando - is just north to my home in Second Norway, in Heim. It's a small world!

The view from SN train stop in Hejm
The big building contains a Lernejo (a school)... information board where you can find out about membership fees and join the inworld group...

...and a Biblioteko (library), where you can click on books to get to individual websites with PDF files or receive notecards with reading material in Esperanto - from translations of Shakespeare's sonnets to original works in Esperanto by contemporary authors.

Outside, by the ocean, there is also a large area for parties and social events.

There wasn't anyone around at the time of my visit, and both contact persons were offline, but I plan to get in touch with them and ask a bit more about the events and the state of the Esperanto community in SL. It would be interesting to hear about it, at the time when many RL communities seem to be struggling (for example, after many decades of existence, the Esperanto association in my RL city disbanded, which happens a lot worldwide, as I hear).

Until the next blog post, vi povas kontakti min en Dua Vivo kaj viziti mian hejmon en Dua Norvegio.

Esperanto-Lando, inworld location SLurl
"Esperantujo en Dua Vivo" website
A film about Esperantists in SL

Heterocera Travelogue #16: Malacosoma

It's been a very long time since my last Heterocera travelogue. In January 2016 I posted a special feature about my former home, Triphosa, but the last regular instalment was in December 2015, when I visited Philudoria. And that's where I am today, on the border crossing with Malacosoma.

There are two ways to reach the area (not counting teleporting to it directly): by train, and by car. Here I am standing next to the SLRR tracks, with the Malacosoma train station directly behind me, and one of the mainland public roads under the bridge.

The station is operated by the VRC (Virtual Railway Consortium), and here you can find more information about them and their work.

Interestingly, there seems to be a railway hunt going on, where you need to find a wrench within the Tuliptree sim to claim limited edition gifts. It ends tomorrow, 19th November, so you better hurry!

Now, the rest of Malacosoma looks rather empty. This is the view to the east of the station and the local rezz zone:

It's mostly abandoned land, apart from a small parcel named "The Ancient Heavenly Connection". There's a small zen garden with a Buddha statue, a meditation cushion, wind chimes, and a camp fire... One can come sit here and relax after a long journey on the train.

The only other parcel in Malacosoma with something rezzed on it is "W + W Ranch". Here you can get some cotton candy and ride the carousel, among other things.

Zantor, the fortune teller told me: "Remember to share good fortune as well as bad with your friends." Good thought!

The owner of the place, Winter Phoenix, was in the area, but as he was busy getting frozen in a cryogenic pod up in his skybox over 2.500 metres above, I didn't want to bother him.

Behind the game park is Winter's home, the ranch itself, which is by far the nicest thing to see in Malacosoma and the wider area. It was lovely to see all the farm animals in the middle of an otherwise empty mainland region.

Closing thoughts: Malacosoma is well connected and practically unavoidable if your travel in the area, but it's also underdeveloped and largely abandoned. It's only thanks to VRC and Winter Phoenix that there are signs of life here.

Typical Malacosma with the view of Catalpa
I'll be moving towards south from here, so for the next instalment of the Heterocera Travelogue (which I hope will come out soon), I'll see you in Catalpa!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Odie Petrol Station reopens

For a brief time, I had a small petrol station in Odie, Nautilus, along Route 12. Then I decided to re-purpose the parcel for my silent movie cinema, and all the car and bike stuff had to go away. But now I'm back in the business of tank filling!

Thanks to the recent increase in mainland prim limit, I've been able to rezz much more than I used to have there. And, sure enough, I've managed to reach that new limit within about 20 minutes... A lot of it is just trash - literally: a smashed car, barrels, used tires... I wanted something different from my neat and tidy Second Norway home.

Anyway, if you find yourself on Route 12, stop by for a refill and some donuts! Here's the SLurl.