Thursday, March 27, 2014

Farewell to Utopia in Second Life

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

Arthur, Camelot

          This is a sad story for me to write. 
          Just several days ago, I learned that Utopia Naked Isle Resort in Second Life (SL) will be closing on March 31st. 
          I’d first visited Utopia last May shortly after they opened.  I was visiting nudist resorts inworld (No snickering please, they’re a large community inworld.  And, yes, Significant Other is aware and is content to have me at home – where shoulder surfing is possible.) 
          Then I met two of the three owners, Dai Aloix and Lori66.  They took the time to answer my questions, show me around, and make me feel welcome.
          I found a well laid out clothing optional resort with a tropical theme and a very active social calendar.  For those seeking something a little quieter there were pathways, beaches, caves, and jungles to wander off into either by one’s self or with a friend.  The free areas were well appointed and fee based VIP zone added additional features.  Utopia was not was of those sims bloated with every AO that was ever scripted inworld. 
          Overall, a nice place to visit and hang out at. 
          During the course of the last year, I visited, not as often as I should have.  As I suffer from in Real Life (RL), I have a very bad habit of regretting not going to see someone or visit somewhere until it’s too late.  (Significant Other tries to reassure me that I’m not as bad I make out.  This is one of those days when I’m not so sure.) 
          My first story came out.  It was received well.  Utopia even put my picture on their friends’ wall at the landing zone.  (My RL mother didn’t even have my picture on her walls!  Significant Other cautions me about bring up my mother.)  I wrote another about the time I accidentally almost caused a near riot at an erotic story telling event.  (I still say it was all an accident.)   Another was about the beautiful renovations recently done on the VIP zone.  My story about Utopia’s Winter Wonderland was fun to write.  I was planning a series of stories to coincide with the first anniversary celebrations in April. 
          Along the way I made many friends.  Lisah Lorefield is one I’d like to call out as she helped me with background for my stories and showed me several other sims which will be the basis of future stories.  Lisah was also a great help to me when technical problems kept me off the Grid for a while last year and she helped get messages inworld for me.  Meanwhile, she was doing superb work as a builder in Utopia. 
          But, now, all this will be gone in a few days. 
          Utopia had a weekly tradition every Tuesday evening called Pack the Bar (PTB) with a different theme each week.  This past Tuesday, March 24th, Utopia had its last PTB event with a Disney theme and I made sure I attended.
          I arrive on time and walk down to the dance floor.  Since there was short notice, I didn’t have time to find a Disney costume so I wandered around nude.  All the other guests who eventually arrived wore some sort of costume (although a few might have raised old Walt’s eyebrows) but, Utopia being Utopia, no one even noticed. 
          I ran into Dai dressed as Minnie Mouse and asked what happened.  She replied that trying to balance RL commitments and running Utopia was getting a bit complicated so the decision was to shut down.  I guess it’s better to go out on a high note unlike some sims that outlived their useful lives and still don’t know to shut down.  (No names!)
          I stayed for most of the evening.  Guests continued to arrive.  This was the largest crowd that I’d ever seen at Utopia which is saying a lot. 
          DJ Xavia did her usual superb job of spinning the tunes mixing Disney songs with favorites from PTB’s gone by.  Occasionally, the crowd broke in song singing along.  There was banter about Disney movies and characters.  Somehow Marvin the Martian snuck in and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang played but no one seemed to notice.
          The mood was festive and happy.  People didn’t focus on this being the last dance.  A few like me wished they had come more often.  As guests left they said farewell, wished everyone well and hoped to meet them again elsewhere inworld.  Bubbles flowed overhead and the most poignant moment for me was when the closing theme from the original Mickey Mouse Show was played. 
          Then it was my time to leave for the last time.
          The dance floor was full as I made my good byes and took my leave.  I walked a short ways toward the landing zone and turned to look back for one last time.  What I saw was how I want to remember Utopia.  People laughing and dancing, having a wonderful time with their friends.  That’s what I want to remember.
          I then teleported home. 
          I’ve blogged before about loss and community in SL.  Since I began my journey across the Grid way back when I’ve learned that the value and the enjoyment inworld come from the people and the groups they form and where they hang out when they rezz in. 
          Whenever we lose an individual or a community we all lose.  Yes, maybe in this case we know what happened and we’ll probably get to meet everyone again someplace else.  But, that one brief shining moment that was known as Utopia will be gone shortly and SL is the poorer for it.
          Utopia will be open until March 31, 2014 and then will be nothing but a memory.  I encourage everyone to visit and walk around (Remember either bathing suit or nude!) and see what a really beautiful sim could be like.  Dai says the VIP group will remain open for possible future events so you may wish to consider joining.
          I’d like to thank Dai, Lori66, and Max, the third owner, for all their hard work over the last in creating Utopia and a fun, welcoming experience for all their guests during this past year.  It was a great run guys and I hope to see you doing something soon elsewhere in SL.
          I also want to thank Lisah and all my other friends from Utopia for their friendship and the good times we shared.  I’ll be seeing all of you around the Grid!
          Below, I’ve included links to a few pictures from Utopia as it is and some earlier shots from prior stories.  But, please go and see for yourselves before all that we have left will be these pictures!        
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
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 . 

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


Photo No. 1 Utopia Logo
Photo No. 4 Utopia Welcome Sign
Photo No. 5 Utopia Pathway
Photo No. 7 Ruins at Utopia
Photo No. 8 Lisah Lorefield
Photo No. 9 VIP Area

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