Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christkindlmarkt in Second Life

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Clement Clarke Moore

          After blogging about Holidays in Second Life (SL), I seem to be on something of a roll because immediately after that I wrote about my visit to the Utopia Naked Isle Resort Winter Wonderland and now I’m blogging about Perryn Peterson’s latest Christmas spectacular. 
          Perryn is bringing Christkindlmarkt to SL for the month of December! 
A Christkindlmarkt is a German street market associated with the celebration of Christmas. Generally held in the town square and any adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls.  Traditional singing and dancing are customary entertainments.
          Last year, Perryn put on A Christmas Carol which was a very realistic recreation inworld of that classic Christmas tale.  (OK, I’m biased, I like both Dickens and A Christmas Carol.)
          Perryn’s been mentioning this event for a while and I was finally able to schedule a visit with him to receive a tour of the sim. 
          I arrive at the landing zone and meet Perryn who has somehow managed to turn a couple of dreidels into a pair of earrings.  Apparently, the Mieville Weekly Theme dance is going to be more interesting than usual this week.
          Upon arriving, I’m first struck by all the lights.  It reminds me of European cities that go all out for Christmas.  Perryn tells me that light is indeed the theme for this year’s Holiday festivities. 
          Realistic light is not easy to create in SL.  (OK, at least for me it isn’t.  But, then I have trouble with matches in Real Life (RL).)  To do it on this scale takes skill.  As Perryn and I stroll through the streets and alleys of Christkindlmarkt, I notice that they are dominated by a large backdrop of a RL one.  Perryn explains that it is the actual Christkindlmarkt from Frankfurt in 2010.  The blending of the RL pictures with the SL prims and lighting effects is artistically and seamlessly done. The effects of depth and distance are very lifelike.  The sim could be seen for this technical wizardry alone.
          But, if someone were to do that then they would miss the shops, booths, and carts of over seventy-five merchants and all their merchandise.  What’s available extends from Christmas themed treats and some tricks (Like the dancing red Santa skulls) to a large variety of artwork, clothing, household goods, and a lot more. Perryn adds that there are over a “kajilion” freebies for visitors.
          Of course, Christmas is not just a commercial venture for Perryn.  He is one of the few remaining ones who remembers the traditions and joys of Christmases past. (I am another one.  Although, Significant Other says that I’m just old fashioned.) 
          For instance, there is the large ice skating rink with free skates available.  In front of Santa’s throne room (where there are gifts galore), a Christmas themed toy train that can be ridden slowly circles.  This particular piece of work was done by Wyvern Dryke, one of the creative souls who work with Perryn on his projects. 
          Further along the way, Santa’s reindeer and in their pen waiting for the word to ride out on Christmas Eve.  (Although, there appear to be three Rudolphs and the elves looked a little miffed to me.) 
          Across the street from the reindeer is a very large cup of cocoa which makes for some hilarious group pictures when Perryn cajoled poor Lenny Kenyon into joining us.  (She may never speak to us again especially after the picture (see below) gets out.) 
          As usual, Perryn ensures that food and drink are in abundance.  In front of a large dining hall with a warm and inviting fireplace, a booth serves free, hot cocoa. 
          On the outside wall of the dining hall, a large Advent calendar hangs.  Unlike traditional Advent calendars that run up to Christmas, December 25th, Perryn’s runs to December 31st.  (OK, maybe he’s not such a traditionalist after all.)  Each day offers a new freebie to visitors. 
          Elsewhere, strollers can have free Christmas cards made.  (I hope inworld postage is cheaper than what it currently is in the US now.)  A Christmas tree farm lies at the corner of a large street leading away from Santa’s throne.  Ambient music is supplied by Rufus Gracemount of The Arcadian Minstrel. 
          Perryn hits the right balance with the Christmas decorations.  I find there is a right way and a wrong way like most things in life whether Real or Second.  The right way is an appropriate blend of light, color, and wonder.  Look at a child’s eyes and you’ll see what I mean.  The wrong way looks like a rundown department store one step away from bankruptcy.  Sadly, there have been too many of these in America of late. 
          But to happier matters, once again Perryn has attracted the best and the brightest of SL merchants to his extravaganza.  I can’t mention all of them or this would turn into the Yellow Pages.  I call out several but mean no slight to those not mentioned.  Saraid Dalglish returns with the Mad Hattery and its creative hats.  Sanna Jupiter, a RL neuroscientist, is presenting her wares.  Cyne Christenson displays his original artwork from Sunlight Studios. 
          And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the work of Arcadia Asylum, who has returned to SL as Aley Resident, is available and shouldn’t be missed. 
          Our tour comes to an end and I thank Perryn for his time and wish him Happy Holidays.  I watch him walk off down the street as I copy down my notes.  The man seems very happy in his work.  Wouldn’t you? 
          A tour through one of Perryn’s events always seems like a whirlwind and I feel that I never do justice to it all but I hope the little that I’ve described entices you to visit.  Even if you either don’t observe Christmas or are an Ebenezer Scrooge (The two are mutually exclusive, I’m not implying anything!), drop by and see very creative and original work and a little bit of the magic!
          Christkindlmarkt will be open until December 31st and Santa Claus himself will be on hand sometimes when he can pull himself away from his North Pole workshop. 
I’ve included a few pictures from my tour around Christkindlmarkt.  But, please go and see the sim for yourselves and have a good time!  You’ll be glad you did.       
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.    
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


Photo No. 1  Lenny, Perryn, and Me

Photo No. 2  View from Landing Zone

Photo No. 3  Softlight Studios

Photo No. 4  Town Backdrop

Photo No. 5  Merchants Lane

Photo No. 6  Gingerbread Shops

Photo No. 7  Santa Skulls

Photo No. 8  Christmas Train

Photo No. 9  Ice Skating Rink

Photo No. 10 Santa’s Throne

Photo No. 11 Santa’s Reindeer

Photo No. 12 Hot Cocoa!

Photo No. 16 Carousel

Photo No. 18 Seasons Greetings!

Photo No. 19 Merchants’ Carts

Photo No. 20 Christmas Trees

Photo No. 21 Merchants’ Booths

Photo No. 22 The Mad Hattery



May O. Mingzi said...

I assume you're the guy with the blond hair and arm tattoos in front of the big cup. Looking good at a distance -- did you get a makeover?

webspelunker said...

Yes, I did and thank you for noticing! :)

Just recently and I'll be blogging this Saturday about it the makeover artist who made it all possible!

Not to mention the friend who referred me! ;)