Saturday, February 7, 2015

Back to a Community in Second Life

 Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

Robert Frost


          A while back, I visited Beau Belle Village, a community in Second Life (SL), and met two of its co-owners, May O. Mingzi and Kelly Cross. 

          I had a wonderful time but only visited part of the sim.  As it always seems to, time had caught up with me and I had to leave as Real Life (RL) called out to me.

          Time passed, actually almost eighteen months.  (Time does tend to get away from me as Significant Other nods in violent agreement.) I’d run into May and promise to come back but somehow something always got in the way. 

          While I may make an excuse and say this is the risk of befriending a wandering scribe such as myself, I knew I had to return to check in with May and to finish my story. (Significant Other applauds in the background.)

          Finally, just recently, I met May again and we agreed to meet and, believe it or not, I showed up.

          Beau Belle is a comfortable SL sim built around three primary communities, Belle’s coffee shop, Kelly’s Closet, and the Leonard Cohen Club (LCC).  In addition, there are several small businesses, and residences for people wishing to make Beau Belle their SL home.

          The sim has the feel of a small seaside town, mixing New England and English architectural elements.  (Throwing in the occasional Dutch windmill!)  The communities are welcoming and friendly.  All maintain a highly active social calendar.  Many times including live RL performance artists on their programs.

          During my prior visit, I had toured Belle’s, Kelly’s Closet, and the residential area.  I had been impressed and was now happy to know that I was finally going back.

When I rez in to meet May, she’s at an LCC dance which is underway as I arrive.

          Bystanders are hospitable and greet me as I join May at the bar.

          May explains to me that LCC is a private club of people who enjoy the music of Leonard Cohen, the well known RL Canadian musician.  (BTW when I arrived they weren’t dancing to his music! They tend to be somewhat eclectic in their musical tastes.)  Club members are mainly Europeans so their social functions tend to be on European time.  (Which is perfect for Western hemisphere night owls.)  She continues that this is a “real” community and not just a virtual one.  Many of its members have belonged for more than seven years and have met in RL at Leonard Cohen tours across Europe. LCC also has its own blog covering its history and planned events.

          Below the bar, May points to three Hollywood style memorial stars hung in memory of three former LCC members who have passed away in RL.  Their names are Eros Xenobuilder, JonJo Ravenheart and Sockeye Admiral.  On a hill overlooking the club are three gravestones in their memory.

          For me, this is another example of how the virtual world of SL blends with the reality of RL.  When people move off the grid into RL with their friendships and relationships or memorialize inworld those who have passed on in RL then we’re talking about something beyond mere roleplay or even a simple chat function. 

          I believe that we’re talking about just another facet of our RL lives. 

          May also operates two of the small businesses in town. 

          One is iMatch which is a non-profit self-run matchmaking service.  iMatch doesn’t actually match people but through boards lets people know who’s looking and who’s available. 

          May’s other business venture (She’s definitely a very busy woman!) is Hearthaven Photography and Creations, a landscape photography, SL artwork and SL portrait services venture.  She also makes jewelry and knick-knacks.  Anyone interested in any of these products or services should definitely check this shop out!

           There are other small businesses in the sim and I’ll come back and blog about them in the future.  (And I promise it won’t be as long this time!)

          As before, I find Beau Belle Village to be a friendly and hospitable sim inworld.  Residents who are looking to either party or put down roots here won’t regret those decisions.  Especially for those who enjoy a SL experience that also includes a RL component, Beau Belle Village is a must visit location.

          May maintains a website with a schedule of events and other information.  She is active on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for anyone looking to follow her. 

          I still recommend Beau Belle Village for all who looking for a sociable experience in SL with likeminded folks.

          Drop by, say hello, and tell ‘em web sent you!

          Maybe I’ll even let you buy me a drink at the bar!

I’d like to thank May for her time and hospitality, not to mention her patience, in meeting me for this story.     

Additional pictures from my visit can be found on this flickr page.

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.         

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

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.

          Open roads and kind fires!

1 comment:

May O. Mingzi said...

Good to see you again, Web! FYI Beau Belle is also on Twitter now @BeauBelleSL and on Facebook at