Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mill Pond Reunion

Last Picture of Open Latte taken just prior to the closing of Mill Pond - April 3, 2009

Mill Pond and its coffee shop, Open Latte, holds a very special place in the memories and affections of so many residents of Second Life. It is not uncommon for someone to express their deep feelings for this place by declaring that they found all their friends at Open Latte. More friendships have probably been started there than in any other place in Second Life. The number of people who had been active members of the Mill Pond community at some time in their second life number well over 200 at the very least. And Mill Pond has touched countless others. But time has gone by. It has been almost two years since the unfortunate closing of Mill Pond and the diaspora of its community.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing.

Leesa Donner and Johnny Firehawk in their old Mill Pond era avatars.

Two weeks ago, Leena and Johnny were soliciting ideas for events, especially one for the opening of Johnny's Pub. I suggested a Mill Pond reunion, an idea that I had been cherishing for some time. Leesa loved the idea and immediately decided for it. If anyone can make such an event happen and make it very special, it's Leesa Donner and Johnny Firehawk.  The reunion was set for Sunday, February 20, at 2:00 PM SLT. Leesa compiled that list of over 200 former Mill Pondies and set out noticies. The buzz was immediate and excitement was building leading to the reunion. I heard from so many people from long ago. And the question that everyone was asking was, 'Are you going to the Reunion?'

Reunion Time at Johnny's Pub

This might have been the first reunion of anything ever held in Second Life. Well, certainly no reunion was ever held the size of this one. People kept coming into Johnny's Pub until it was wall-to-wall full.  We recognized people primarily by their name tags as many avatars changed so much over time. And quite frequently a name from the past would appear that generated excitement among the crowd. And Johnny's Pub was perfect - a worthy successor to Open Latte. And the pub's ambiance was pure Johnny Firehawk, which meant that it is down-to-earth, amusing, and classy.

Popular live music performers Loran Andretti and Freestar Tammas provided the night's entertainment.

Mill Pondies are notorious for their wall sitting. If you ever see a group of people chatting and sitting on a wall, the odds are that they are Mill Pond alumni. The regulars of Mill Pond were just as famous for sitting on fire place mantels. The mantel over Open Latte's fireplace was the choicest seat in the entire coffee shop. And the fireplace mantel of Johnny's Pub proved irresistible to this bevy of Mill Pond beauties.  From left to right are: Naiya Kazyanenko, Lulubelle, Unknown, Leesa Donner, and Dagmar Heideman. (If anyone can identify the person in the middle, please sent me her name in a comment to this post or by IM in world.)

Johnny Firehawk was the consummate host. And, even in his old skin, he's a babe magnet.

The highlight of my evening was seeing my dear friend, Art Shostakovitch. Art returned to Second Life for a visit after an absence of almost two years. I sent him an IM about the reunion knowing that he received IMs in his email. I was thrilled when Art sent a reply saying that he might attend. I missed him dearly. Art and I are political opposites. I'm a conservative who cherishes liberty and inalienable God-given natural rights. Art is a progressive who believes in equality and the preeminence of government-created positive rights. Naturally, we have had some spirited debates. Nevertheless, we are the very best of friends.

 Best Couple - Poke Hummerly and Jenny Silversmith. No, they are not The Frog and Toad.

Samantha Kazakov, still clothed

Smidget Beamont and Syd Straaf

J1mmy Weiland - Remember his 'thoughtful'  sitting pose. You had to have a good sitting pose when sitting on the wall at Mill Pond.  Some say J1mmy was just counting his fingers in that pose. And the count always came out different.  But I think it was bemused contemplation.

In the midst of all this excitement, I caught Dino Ferina dozing (not really).
Lulu is wide awake.

Gee Gee Zerbino

Leesa is one of the elite high-fashion models in Second Life. She is always recreating herself and has so many different and marvelous looks as a model. But it was wonderful to see her again as her pre-model self. And when I think of her, this is the Leesa that always comes to my mind.

Mony Markova - She always brightens every event she attends.

Random Mefusula (no comment) and Traveler Denimore

Beatnik Ghost

Caudia Balbozar

The party eventually moved outdoors to accomodate the large crowd
and to hear Freestar Tommas sing at the music venue.

Micala Lumiere, creator and owner of Mill Pond, could not make the reunion.
However, Reginald Golding, her husband, did drop by.

Biggles Magic and Traveler Denimore

The most popular person at the reunion was probably Soy Source. His name was displayed in so many greetings by so many people. Soy was such a fixture at Open Latte. What kind of fixture you ask? A Trash Can, among other things, remember. But such a cute can.

Nicholas92 Sinatra
Lulubelle and Jaysun Dagger

Nash Lannoch - Oh he has such a sweet way with words. He makes a girl feel special.

Michael Langway, wearer of scarves. I don't think Michael likes it when I call him Mikey.

Rowan Masala

Frey Bravin, my old friend and former mentor.

Howard Niosaki

Kirra Sirah

Jaysun and Me.

Samantha Kazakov has taken some wonderful pictures of the reunion and is allowing me to publish a selection of them here. I have posted them below with her captions. Thank You Samantha.
Mill Pond Reunion. Cue Nostalgia!
Traveler and I are staring at Beatnik, hmmm, wonder why.
GeeGee, Smidget, Syd, Dino
Mony, Michael, Mariko  (Leesa in the background)
Scarlethoke, Mariko
Soy stands alone with cake
Johnny's Pub:
Other Mill Pond Posts:

My loving homage to Mill Pond 
Open Latte at Mill Pond (January 2, 2009)

A picture gallery of Mill Pond regulars - See how we looked in those days. 
Open Latte - The People You'll Meet (February 23, 2009)

The dramatic story of Mill Pond's final days. 
Open Latte at Mill Pond: The Final Chapter (April 3, 2009)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mariko Magic: City of Darkness

Loshi by GothiCatz

There's something about the look and feel of leather that is so irresistible. Maybe because it's so evocative.  Leather is attitude, confidence, individualism, and rebellion. And maybe because I look so darn hot and sexy in leather. Well, I always have my eye out for that magical leather outfit. So look at what I found at GothiCatz. It's called Loshi.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing.

Created by Looloo Beck, designer and owner of GothiCatz, Loshi has a powerful look that is dark and post apocalyptic. Loshi comes with a highly detailed, tight leather jacket with sculpted folded up sleeves, a black feather collar, and matching pants with sculpted cuffs and belt. It has deletable menu driven resizers and sells for L$520. Loshi shouts High Adventure! Well, I was up for it. So donning the outfit, I set out looking for danger and intrigue in the Walled City of Kowloon.

Nightfire in the Walled City

Kowloon, the Walled City, in Second Life
Infamous and shadowy, the Walled City of Kowloon was an accident of history, a no-man’s land situated between China and the New Territories of British Hong Kong. Originally, a Chinese outpost with formidable defensive walls, the fort was attacked and briefly occupied by the British in 1899 which established a tenuous British claim on the city. During WWII, the Japanese tore down the walls and used the material to build nearby Kai Tak Airport. After the Japanese surrender, the city was left totally ungoverned as neither the Chinese nor the British exercised control. The Walled City became a haven for criminals and fell under the control of organized crime syndicates known as Triads. The city was infamous for its many brothels, gambling parlors, opium dens, and unlicensed doctors and dentists. Yet, it offered a unique freedom that attracted 33,000 residents to its 6.5 acres. The Walled City grew rapidly into a dystopian megacity. Buildings were constructed on top of each other, and they merged to form a single solid block of construction that reached a uniform height of about 10 stories. The construction was so dense that the city’s lower levels never saw sunlight and had to be illuminated by fluorescent lights. It was a City of Darkness. In the 1970’s, a series of massive police raids broke the control of the Triads. In 1987, the Chinese and British jointly agreed that the decaying city should be torn down. In 1994, the Walled City was demolished and replaced with a public park.

I hope you enjoyed this look at Loshi by GothiCatz. If you have a taste for high adventure, head out to GothiCatz and get acquainted with Loshi. And then set sail for Kowloon, a Second Life treasure, and explore the alleys of that City of Darkness.


Kowloon in Second Life

Video: City of Darkness - Life in Kowloon, The Walled City