Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Visit to Gor in Second Life

Do not ask the stones or the trees how to live; they cannot not tell you; they do not have tongues; do not ask the wise man how to live, for, if he knows, he will know he cannot tell you; if you would learn how to live, do not ask the question; its answer is not in the question but in the answer, which is not in words; do not ask how to live, but, instead proceed to do so.

Gorean saying from Tarnsman of Gor

               As some of my friends and readers know from my travels across Second Life (SL), I’ve been frustrated for some time about my inability to enter the community of Gor  inworld and meet its participants and learning about the lifestyle.  I felt like any writer trying to get into a closed society (e.g., organized crime, cults, the Jimmy Kimmel fan club) and is frustrated by his or her inability to get inside. 
          Gor is a fictional universe based on the novels of John Norman.  They are fairly controversial given their treatment of women.  But, SL being the place that it is, whole communities have been built around this theme.  Gorean communities are purportedly among some of the largest and best organized inworld.  I’ve been meaning to visit them and see for myself what’s going on.
          Well, I’m happy to report, I’ve finally made it inside Gor in SL! 
          A friend introduced me a freewoman of Gor, Lady Wiebeline Hoorenbeek (AKA Lady Bel, seems no one can pronounce her name.) who would be happy to meet me and show me around.  (OK, maybe she wasn’t happy to see me but she was happy to show me around Gor.)  An exchange of IM’s and we were set.
          Now, one doesn’t rush into a Gorean sim in SL.  One must be properly attired.  Lady Bel gave me some homework of which the primary to do was getting an appropriate set of clothes.  She even gave me a LM for a place to obtain some freebie Gorean clothing. What could be simpler right? 
          Well, to make a long story short, I waited until the night before our appointment to visit the freebie shop.  Seems they had primarily women’s clothing and what little men’s clothing they had was suitable for me.  I didn’t think cross dressing was appropriate for my first introduction to the Gorean lifestyle.  As for the men’s clothing, after a little research, I’d decided to go as a scribe.  Seemed logical and less likely to get my avatar killed.  So, the professional assassin’s costume didn’t work. 
OK, SL is full of freebies right?  How hard could this be.  Let me just say this, women have a lot more choices when it comes to dressing as a Gorean in SL.  Especially if they don’t object to be partially dressed and fully chained.  Men are OK if they’re willing to either do the same or go as Conan the Barbarian.  While all this is going on a female friend was chding me via IM about the usual female prejudices about men and shopping.  I don’t want to say I was stressed but pressure was building.  (After all, I couldn’t exactly go nude because that would have brought up a whole slew of other issues I wasn’t about to go into either.) 
Eventually, I located a fairly decent scribe’s costume from a purveyor of medieval costumes and it cost me a few Linden (not too many) and I was set. 
Except that I waited until about fifteen minutes before I meet Lady Bel to put my new clothes on.  (Remember my latest failed makeover.)  I sense the dismay in Lady Bel’s voice when I ask if I could show up nude.  I manage to get my pants on and literally run out the door of my house to go meet her at Spirit Wilds.  After a rushed exchange of greetings, I manage to complete getting dressed while Lady Bel completes the arrangements for our trip.  I’m told to greet people by saying “Tal”.  OK, I can handle that. 
A word about Lady Bel.  She is dressed in a free woman’s costume which consists of a floor length dress and a veil.  We may be going to Gorean communities where women are required to go about veiled in public.  She had once been a slave and obtained her freedom and is now a seamstress in Gor. 
Our first stop is Genesian Port where I receive my first introduction to Gorean life.  (That is after learning to dress myself.)  Lady Bel instructs me in how to obtain and wear my combat meter and HUD.  (This is where I’m telling myself that I’m a non-combatant. Right?)  We then TP to the nearby trade docks.
When we arrive, I look around at the surrounding scene and am impressed.  I see a port in the style of Late Middle Ages or Early Renaissance in Real Life (RL).  (No, I wasn’t there but I read a lot.)  Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to create a realistic scene.  (Or, as realistic as something can be when based on a series of books about an alternate Earth.)  The few people about are dressed in typical Gorean costume. 
While I’ve been playing a gawking tourist with everything but a camera, Lady Bel has been talking with one of the locals to see if she can get us into some brief RP.  She leads us into the town where we meet a slave woman who agrees to take us to a local inn for food and drink.
Lady Bel and I sit on cushions placed on the floor around a round table.  The slave girl serves us pastries and tea.  I notice Lady Bel offers some of her food to the slave which she takes.  The RP is real and full of little gestures and expressions. 
          I keep telling myself that I’m in society based on dominant men and submissive women where slavery and physical punishment are condoned.  Lady Bel, a RL woman, keeps IM-ing me that this is a RP and everything I see is consensual.  She tells me as RL woman she’s not crazy about this behavior but it’s only in the context of this virtual world.  So I play along.  (Significant Other warns me not to get any ideas.) 
          We talk with the slave about her life inworld and she plays the role to the hilt.  (I won’t be starting any revolutions around here anytime soon.)  She asks us if we’d like to speak with her master about Gorean life and his responsibilities to his slaves.  We assent and she contacts him to ask if he’ll meet us.  Lady Bel are lucky because the master agrees to meet with us.  We follow the slave to a tearoom. 
           The tearoom is located on a large veranda and is shaded by a trellis overlooking the sea.  A large man in typical Gorean costume (I have to meet his tailor.) sits on cushions on the ground around a circular table.  (I’m picking up a pattern here.)
          Lady Bel  and I join our host at his table after making our introductions.  (Apparently, I’m described as a scribe for a gazette who asks questions.  Works for me.)  The slave is sent to the kitchen to help the master’s wife.  A kind repartee goes on among our host, his wife, and the slave.  It’s like being invited into a family’s home and sitting down at the kitchen table and listening to their give ‘n take. 
          The wife joins us in traditional costume covered from head to toe in flowing robes.  Eventually, the slave rejoins us.  In the meantime, the master of the house answers my questions about how he became a slave owner when a friend gave him an unneeded slave (Yes, I know how that sounds as I write it.) and the responsibilities of maintaining them.  Lady Bel has been IM-ing me that she finds his level of RP extremely good and is impresses by the completeness of his answer and their realism.  He is humorous and plays the role of a gregarious, friendly host very well.  (I wish I could people like him in RL.)  A family friend drops by and joins us at the table.  It all seems so natural. 
          Unfortunately, yours truly has to leave to get back to RL.  (Pesky thing sometimes.)  Lady Bel explains that we have to catch an early boat and we take or leave.
          Several blocks away, we stop and talk about what we’ve just seen.  I must say that I’m impressed by it.  This Gorean town is a highly functioning social system.  Everyone seems to be integrated into the RP. 
          Lady Bel offers to show me more later and I accept her very kind offer.  She did all the heavy lifting for this story.
          I thank Lady Bel for all her help and we agree to meet again soon for another  visit to Gor.  I’m finally on a roll with Gor! 
          Below please find links to several pictures that I took during this quick introduction to Gor.    As always, don’t rely on my crude efforts with photography.  But, please if you go, respect the rules around costume and behavior.  The last thing Gor needs is busloads of tourists gawking.  (Remember must people go about in Gorean sims carrying sharp instruments, even the slaves.) 
          I’d like to thank Lady Bel for taking the time to meet with me, answer my questions, and take me around the world of Gor.    I hope I haven’t embarrassed her too much!  Since in my rush to leave I didn’t receive permission to quote my Gorean hosts, I have quoted them directly or identified them.  But I am grateful to all of them for their hospitality! 
          Gor inworld is a very interesting place.  I have many more questions and I want to get answers.  I hope to blog more frequently about the world of Gor in SL.  Watch this space for more to come! 
 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   webspelunker as a Scribe

Photo No. 2   Lady Bel

Photo No. 3   Genesian Port

Photo No. 4   Meal at an Inn

Photo No. 5   Host in Tearoom

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Interview with an Art Curator in Second Life

She takes just like a woman, yes she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl.

Bob Dylan

               Recently, I’ve blogged about visits I’ve made to art exhibits in Second Life (SL).  These were the A Homage to Leonard Cohen and Aspects of Solitude.  All these were arranged by Morgana Nagorski, an art curator inworld. 
          Morgana has sent me an invitation for her next exhibition, Love & Other Bruises, being held at the Palais Orleans Gallery Complex.  She described it as “about love... lies... deceit... selfishness... indifference... jealousy... betrayal... infidelity....  Love gone bad, if you will.   Heartbreak!  I was intrigued. 
          I was also intrigued by Morgana and what she does inworld.  Who was this woman who spent all this time, meeting artists, arranging the exhibit space, and promoting the events?  To say nothing of the terrific opening night parties she throws. 
          Morgana was amenable to an interview so we scheduled a time.
          We meet (To my friends, don’t worry.  I was dressed and behaved myself.) at the Palais Orleans Gallery Complex which has been set up for the Love & Other Bruises exhibit.  Morgana’s usual attention to detail and organizational skills are in evidence as we stroll through the gallery talking about her life and work inworld. 
          Morgana is the owner and curator of the Palais Orleans Gallery Complex in SL in addition to being an artist in her own right.  In September 2011, after two stints at galleries that folded and closed along with their sims, she was asked to have an exhibition at was then the Palais Orleans Art Studio and Design.  Shortly, before its opening, the gallery’s owner asked if Morgana would like to be its curator.  As the owner was withdrawing from SL at the time (always sad to hear). Morgana was allowed free rein as its curator.  After two successful shows, the owner “gave” the gallery to her.  Morgana guesses that she really only received the name because nothing else was transferable. 
          She couldn’t take on more tier at the time so she moved the gallery to a place in the sky over her home and became a gallery owner and not just a curator in February 2012. 
          However, this became too limiting for her.  Morgana was spending all her time showing the work of other people and had not time, or time, to show her own work.  This was crazy to her.  So, in October 2012, she took the plunge and commissioned Zandy Oh to a “gallery complex” which comprises three galleries and Morgana’s studio. Now, she can show the work of other people as well as her own. 
          My next question is why does Morgana do this?  She explains that she needs a challenge.  Morgana doesn’t know how the “shop and shag brigade” can stay in SL for years doing only that.  She has to be interested to continue.  In order for her shows to go well, she had to take control of them herself.  This is what Morgana has done.  Also, profit is not a motive in her work.  (She’s very insistent about that as she spends more than she gets back.)  Her passion for her work is her motivation. 
          The how of Morgana’s art shows happen is an interesting one.  Each show has a theme such as the singer Leonard Cohen or solitude.  She goes with things that interest or inspire her.  (The word “interest” comes up a lot in conversations with Morgana.)  Ideas can come from a line in a song, something that happens in Real Life (RL), an accident in a TV show, or a dream.  Morgana says that her problem is not finding ideas  for exhibits but deciding which of the gazillion ideas that she has to run with. 
          Morgana meets artists for her exhibits by visiting other galleries and going through Flickr. 
          As we walk around the gallery, Morgana points out two of her pictures which are part of the show.  These are Support and No Man’s Land.  They are based on her own experiences with relationships inworld.  The former speaks to her supporting a partner while sacrificing her own needs and desires.  The latter uses a bed and barbed wire as a metaphor for the barriers that can develop in a relationship. 
          Morgana is already thinking about and preparing for next show entitled “Duet” and will take place in June.  I’ll write about this one later as more information becomes available.  Also, don’t forget to drop by and visit Love & Other Bruises at the Palais Orleans Gallery Complex.  It’ll run until July 21, 2013.  Maybe I’ll see you there! 
          We finish our talk and I take my leave of Morgana.  I come away impressed both with her and her work.  Morgana is yet another example of the creativity and community evident is SL.  Morgana’s latest show, Love & Other Bruises, has twenty artists exhibiting.  Her opening parties draw large crowds by SL standards.   The art works on display are of high quality and thought provoking.  (Yes, I know that I’m not an art critic but I know what I like when I see it.) 
          Below please find links to several pictures that Morgana shared with me as part of this story.    Her art work may be seen in Flickr.
          I’d like to thank Morgana for taking the time to meet with me and answer my questions while preparing for her next show.    
 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   Morgana Nagorski

Photo No. 3   Aspects of Solitude Poster

Photo No. 7   Jilted by Harbor Galaxy

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life IX – Still Nude Inworld

Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.

John Berger  

               One of the things I like about Second Life (SL) is how people help one another even when they might appear to be competitors. 
          Recently, I blogged about a new nude resort inworld, Naked, owned and operated by The Cat (AKA Cat).  A short while ago, Cat dropped me a note card with a referral to a new nudist club, Utopia Naked Isle Resort, that was opening in SL.  She said it was different from her own but was a nice place and suggested I write a story about it.
               Now, I consider myself lucky when people just read my stories let alone calling me up and referring story leads to me.  I always chase down leads from readers. (Hint, hint.)  Maybe they will lead to a story, maybe not.  But, I’ll check them out. When someone like Cat refers me to her competition then I really want to go and take a close look.  This time it paid off.  I hope my readers think so too. 
               So, I undressed and went visiting.  (I know that I’ve been doing a lot of this lately.  What between Cat’s place and my visit last week to the nude BDSM resorts, I haven’t been dressed a lot lately.  But this is what I do for my readership.  I know some of you live vicariously through my travels.) 
               I arrive at the main LZ for Utopia which opens onto the common area for visitors.  Behind me is the entrance to the forest or VIP area of which more about later. 
          The look is tropical.  Palm trees are everywhere with colorful tropical flowers profusely line the walkways.  Stepping out of the arrival building I can see Max’s Topless Bar straight ahead.  To my left a stone pathway leads to a beach with nearby waterfalls.  On the right, another path leads to more beaches and waterfalls.    The layout is natural and reminds me of tropical gardens in Real Life (RL).  (Contrary to popular belief, I sometimes do get out of SL and get around in RL.) 
          Walking straight ahead, I pass Max’s (Are topless bars in a nudist resort a sign of conservative leanings?)  and come upon the dance floor overlooked by a DJ’s booth.  Dance pose balls are scattered about.  Typically, the owners, Dai Aloix, Lori66, and Max are here when onsite. 
          I continue my walk along the beach where I hear waves crashing on the breakers.  Another piece of realism that enhances audiovisual experience of being in Utopia. 
          Which brings me to another interesting aspect of Utopia.  Besides being a nudist resort where guests can come, dance, and hang out.  There are facilities for couples or whatever number, who am I to assume, to go off and be by themselves for some privacy if you know what I mean.  (Of course the exhibitionists can stay out on the dance floor if they like.)  I spy a gazebo with a comfortable, round settee with some particularly attractive features (I’m talking about its menu).  A nearby pier also comes with functions not usually associated with such devices in RL.  
          The atmosphere is aided by tiki torches, beach chairs, and other beach resort furnishings scattered about.  Ancient ruins back in the jungle add a certain mystic aura. 
          My walk takes me on a circular path around the island and back to where I started at the LZ. I pass through the building into the VIP area, the forest  (It costs $300L to join and, yes, I paid the fee.  I want to keep my autonomy.) 
          The VIP area has an Asian theme.  TP’s are available near the entrance to take VIP’s to the themed skyboxes.  Unlike other resorts, VIP’s pay a small fee for use of these facilities. These range from $1L for sixty minutes to $4L for one hundred and fifty minutes.  (Hey, costs have to be covered somehow.)  
          Utopia contains the beach area, the forest (VIP area), play areas, and rental skyboxes which form the community. 
          At another time, I’d had a chance to meet Dai and Lori66 to talk about Utopia and why they’d established it.  I began by asking why they opened this club when there are so many others inworld.  Dai replied that they weren’t as much opening a club as just offering events at their sim.  What they offer will depend on what their guests want.  We were speaking at their grand opening which was a lot of fun. 
          When I ask what besides quality does Utopia wish to be known for, Lori said for the beauty of being able to come here and relax and play, to be able to share our vision of just some fun.  Dai added as a relaxing… no stress just friendly environment. 
          Lori66 continued saying that they wanted to do this for a long time, a beach that is open to the public, to come hang out (I was picking up a theme here) without a lot of distractions from stores, ads, etc. Just a beautiful place to come enjoy.  Dai giggled, adding that they just meshed really well to get it done together.  Lori66 retorted that the VIP area was done for Dai loves forests and wanted to offer their guests choices. 
          I asked about issues running the resort, Lori66 replied only the usual SL ones, griefers and such.  They work to keep the sim free from hassle for the enjoyment of the guests. 
                Overall, I’m impressed with Utopia.  The layout brings guests together in the center and permits them to wander off into the jungle and the beaches for privacy.  The atmosphere is realistic and fun.  The owners are friendly and helpful.  Other guests have been friendly and sociable when I’ve visited.
          Utopia differs from other nudist resorts inworld by being more intimate and chummier than some of the larger ones which can be more crowded.  The resort is not just open spaces sparely populated by a few prims scattered about.  The owners have put a lot of thought and effort into creating a nice effect. 
          One thing for male visitors, erections are frowned upon so gents please respect the rules!   
          Another thing, donation jars are scattered across Utopia.  If you visit regularly please use them especially if you’re not a VIP.  (And it wouldn’t hurt if VIP’s kicked in a little extra from time to time!)  Sims are expensive to run. 
          Below please find links to some pictures that I took during my visit as well as a few that Lori66 sent me.  Since as Glorf Bulmer  would say we’re not that sort of blog, everyone has their clothes on.  Visit Utopia itself if you want to see anything else! 
          I’d like to thank Dai and Lori66 for taking the time to meet with me and answer my questions.  I’d also like to thank Cat for giving me the lead and caring enough about the SL community to refer me! 
 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  Main TP Arrival Zone

Photo No. 2  Pathway I

Photo No. 3  Max’s Topless Bar

Photo No. 6  Gazebo

Photo No. 7  Swimming Pool

Photo No. 8  Ruins

Photo No. 9  Flowers

Photo No. 10   Waterfalls

Photo No. 11  VIP Area I

Photo No. 12  VIP Area II

Photo No. 13  VIP Area III

Photo No. 15  Classified Ad

Photo No. 16  Seaward Beach Shot

Photo No. 17  Aerial View

Photo No. 18  Logo

Photo No. 19  VIP Forest

Photo No. 20  VIP Forest, Another View

Photo No. 21  Dai Aloix

Photo No. 22  Lori66

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life VIII – Nude Among the Submissives

 There's the theory that nudity doesn't really make something sexy; the characters and their relationship make it sexy.

Tim Robbins  

               During my wanderings across Second Life (SL), I’ve been nude and I’ve visited BDSM sims.  But, I’ve never done both at the same time.  So, as I’ve been asking myself a lot lately inworld about a lot of things, why not? 
               I decide to head out and visit a few BDSM clubs in the altogether.  I hoped to take a friend along as several had indicated a willingness to accompany me on a jaunt like this but no one is available when I plan to go.  As in most things in my life, both SL and Real Life (RL), I’m on my own.  (Significant Other believes that when I’m off on my misadventures I should be on my own.  However, I’m always welcomed back.) 
          After a quick scan on SL’s search tool, I identify a few BDSM clubs to visit, check to make sure I’m naked (Yes, SL’s etiquette is different, isn’t it?), and off I go. 
          I begin with The Rose Unleashed BDSM Club.  I arrive at a club entrance in front of a marina.  The club is fairly typical if not outright vanilla.  A dance floor, a bar, a discussion area, and a game room (I see my first billiards table in SL here.) upstairs that opens onto the dance floor below form the club.
          When I arrive a few people in various states of dress are dancing out on the dance floor.  I wander about.  A few patrons greet me but seem nonplussed by my state of undress and uninterested in me.  (That’s not a criticism.  Anything less than outright aggression is fine with me.) 
          Walking back to the entrance I see a destination guide and select the “Play House” which TP’s me to another building filled with BDSM furniture and equipment.  No one is around which is a shame because the facilities are fairly complete for a variety of practices.  Since things are quiet, I move onto my next destination.
          My port of call is The Gateway to BDSM where I rezz into an open area in front of several destination boards.  Buildings in a classical Greek motif surround me.  A group of clothed people are sitting around talking and take no notice of me.  (I’m unsure if they were either just politely ignoring me or just too busy talking among themselves.)
          I return to the destination boards and select the “Theme Area” and am TP’d to a large room filled with a few pieces of BDSM equipment. A large image of a crucified woman dominates the space.  But, as at my last destination, no one is about.  I’m noticing a pattern here.  (Although, in fairness, my biological clock may be running contrary to everyone else’s.)  So, once again I move on.
          My third and final stop is Naughtyland BDSM Castle.  I land in a fully enclosed room with no doors or windows.  (I don’t know about anyone else but I hate these places inworld.  What if there’s a fire?  How do you get out?  They’re worse than casinos in Las Vegas.)  The space is crammed with BDSM equipment, furniture, and gaming equipment. 
          A walkway reached by stairs surrounds the open area.  One side has a large fireplace with comfortable armchairs which I avail myself of.  (What?  Walking around like I do would tire anyone out.)  On the other side, several rooms, one made out for private encounters of an intimate nature, open off the walkway.
          Still no one around.  Although I do spot someone nearby on the map whom I IM after reading her profile.  (Always read the profiles, they’re there for a reason.)  She practices Wicca in both SL and RL.  I’ve been trying to meet members of this community inworld for a story and will shortly come back with one about Wicca in SL. 
          From here I return to my home in Nowaki. 
          What have I learned from my nude foray into BDSM in SL?
          First, there are BDSM clubs out there that accept nudity.  What I also learned is that there may not be too many patrons there when you drop in.  Going alone may not be a good strategy. (Unless of course, you’re a wandering blogger who doesn’t know any better.)  Bring along a friend or friends (Wow, imagine that, actually having multiple friends!)  because the facilities are well equipped and can be enjoyed. Of course, varying the times of your visits may produce larger crowds than I encountered.  (And, no, unlike what Siginificant Other suggested, I don’t think all of SL is trying to avoid me!) 
          Next, while most of the clubs have similar facilities and equipment, their styles and layouts vary.  (What’s with all those large black and white posters of women in bondage? Doesn’t anyone ever tie up guys?  Sheesh!)  You should be able to find something you like.  I suspect that the atmosphere and clienteles vary as well.  I only selected three for this story.  There are many more.  Go out, explore! 
          Another observation as I traveled about.  All the clubs have tip jars and notices asking for donations to cover costs.  If you frequent these places regularly please make a donation to help maintain them and remember to tell your friends, or strangers for that matter, if you enjoyed yourself.   
          Below please find links to some pictures that I took along the way.  Since as Glorf Bulmer  would say we’re not that sort of blog, everyone has their clothes on.  But you can see the clubs.  Go inworld if you want to see anything else! 
 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. 15  Naughtyland BDSM Castle III - Fireplace