Monday, December 14, 2009

A Farewell Notice


After three years in Second Life®, I’ve decided to take a break. There are many factors contributing to my decision, both real life and second life.

Without going in to a lot of detail, suffice to say that I have become disillusioned with Linden Lab® and the way they operate creating what I consider a difficult forum in which to operate a Second Life® business. I’ve also become more and more discouraged with the Second Life® platform as it stands. But I’ve blogged about my feelings toward Linden Lab®, so I’ll leave it at that.

My real life has become much busier and I have found lately that I just don’t have as much time to devote to operating within Second Life®. Real Life will always come first and as such, SL will have to be put on hold.

Second Life® has served its purpose for me. It was a welcome therapeutic adventure at a time I needed one. I learned so many things hear that can only help me in real life. I’ve also met so many wonderful people beginning with my life as a newbie right up to today. So many people have helped or encouraged me along my journey and I am appreciative of each one of them. I also like to think that I had some help in the lives of others.

I’ve been discouraged with a lot of things that make it frustrating and lately I’ve become bored with my Second Life®. I no longer spend the time I once did nor feel the creative juices and excitement that once encouraged me.

I am proud of everything I’ve done and accomplished and feel satisfaction that the goals I set for myself early on have been met. With no new goals that interest me, I leave with some satisfaction.

So over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll remove my items from XStreet, dismantle my stores and malls and store away my inventory.

At the present time I will keep my account active as I plan to log in once in a while and who knows, I may decide to become more active again in the future.

Thanks to everyone who has made my journey a pleasant one and good luck in your future endeavours.

Jenny
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Friday, December 4, 2009

CATE LLEWELLYN "Cold Hand Cate"

by tracy serra

I wandered over to the Drunken Drow the other night to listen to Cate Llewellyn. In real life, Cate Llewellyn is a singer-songwriter living and playing music in the Chicago area.

The evening started out with Cate welcoming everyone who was there (and yes, I was on time this night). She started her set with a cover of Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”. I found myself thinking if this was a warm up song, we were in for a fantastic night. New arrivals were welcomed and Cate did a little promotion of the previous performer before covering the Beatles’ “Blackbird”. Before starting she let us know that whenever she sings a Beatles song, she asks everyone to tell her their favorite Beatle. It turns out that Cate and I share the same favorite Beatle: George.

Taking a small break from singing covers, Cate performed an original called "All I Think Of” or the “do-do-do-do song” (which reminded me of the SNL monologue of Taylor Swift. Not the song, the way it was introduced). Letting us all know she is a fan of the Apple line of computers (which I won’t hold against her :p), Cate sang what she called a fun song because it reminded her of Apples’ stuff called “New Soul”.

If you have read my reviews, by now you know I like it when the artist plays the crowd with more than requests to tip the venue. Cate certainly did that when she sang a quick happy birthday song for a friend in attendance after which she told us when she was looking for a man she would like to have created a note she could give to a guy with all the qualities she wanted so she wrote a song about it called “The Note”. Letting us know that a fan had requested she learn the song, “At Last”; tonight was the first time she performed it and was hoping it would turn out OK. I have to say, it went more than OK! Next up was another original she wrote for her sweetheart she found in-world called “Heart Song”. Thanking people for tips received she also reminded everyone to tip the venue with a “please, please, please”, and a “give, give, give”.

As Cate introduced her next song, she said she thought she sounded like she came from Minnesota. Cate told us she never thought she had an accent till she heard herself. The song was called “Cold Hands” and we were told to remind her to ask why it had that title. After the song, and being reminded to give us the song title explanation, Cate told us she has a circulation problem and always complained about having cold hands. I believe a trip to a museum that had a thermal camera proved it when she walked in front if it and her hands were blue on the monitor.

The night was winding down as Cate did a Weepies cover of “Gotta Have You”. More thanking people for tips and apologizing for messing up name pronunciation was followed by an original about feeling lazy called “Today” and “Key West” which was about getting away. A plug for her Subscribe-O-Matic led in to "Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. After thanking the venue for its support and asking for support for the venue, Cate performed her last song appropriately called “The End”

As her introduction states, Cate “…effortlessly shapes evocative and stirring melodies that capture moods and emotions in their dynamic simplicity!” Cate certainly created moods, and painted emotions this night.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

WINTER WETHERBY "Intoxicating"

by jenny heying

With a deep deep voice and a smashing guitar, Winter Wetherby opened his set at the Drunken Drow with “Dublin Blues”. His guitar sounds like he’s ready to launch into something wild any second yet his voice leads you through the drama of the song. He is telling stories that his guitar just wants to whip through. It’s a strange yet intoxicating combination that makes you more inquisitive about the singer-songwriter.

Following with a self penned number called “Headlights In My Heart” gave proof to what Winter is all about. He is dramatic but his stories are appealing. The thrashing sound of his guitar just makes it so much more powerful. I just love the sound of an electric guitar especially when it’s put to the test. Changing to an acoustic he gave us another original song “Far Away Trains” that had just a touch of country feel to it. Sometimes you think he’s a good ole boy, other times you’re sure he’s a rocker. But either way he continues to offer his versions of his life and times through song.

His deep voice is enchanting yet provocative sometimes coming across on the verge of Tom Waits but never quite crossing the line to the other side. His voice is clear with the raspiness you’d expect and with a little bit of a boozed filled feel to it. Okay, it’s intoxicating.


On “Me And That Train”, his guitar took over center stage. Nothing overdone, it just drove us out so that he could sing. He’s an accomplished guitar player and no matter what he does, his guitar is either a perfect accompaniment or the lead performer when called upon. His axe does the driving while his voice shouts out the directions.

He changes guitars often giving you a different sound each time he does but his voice never falters. On “Stolen Moments”, his guitar wails behind a voice filled with sorrow yet hopeful. He gives you the blues the way only he can and his guitars whether electric or not provide the atmosphere to be filled. He takes you down to depressing sorrowful times that his guitar is only to happy to provide.

Winter is a rarity in Second Life®, playing a variety of guitars throughout his performance while singing to a few covers but mostly to songs his written about life, mostly his. The dark place he takes you to is not so scary, actually it’s kind of fun. “The River Song” fills the void making the journey somewhat pleasant, but alas, you don’t mind the feeling because it’s good no matter where you end up.

It’s hard to tell what he does best. While I just love the way he attacks his guitar, I also find his voice soothing and eerie at the same time. Normally I would be taken aback, but not with Winter, he seems to want to protect you providing the comfort you need on a musical journey through life’s hardships.

Treating us to a song he wrote just last week “Ride” was a ride alright. With his electrified instrument at his side, he strummed and sang us down a highway we’ve probably ventured on a few times but never with Winter leading the way. He likes to lead and you like to follow enjoying the whole adventure.

Telling stories is in his blood; not only in his songs, but between them he fills the silence with compelling versions of his songs and history. He knows you’re there and he doesn’t want you to leave so he keeps you tied with his songs and stories. I’ll bet he’s the life of any party, sitting in the middle telling his yarns, but really, to music his stories are best. Like “Shades Of December” which gives us a deep look in to lost love and the heartache that stays with you a long long time.

Entertainment can be many things, especially in Second Life®. Winter Wetherby provides it in any way you may want it. You can sit back, listen and dream, you can become entranced in the music, or you can wail away at a marvelous compilation of guitars. No matter which journey you take, it’s a marvelous time that you don’t want ending any time soon. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

Winter brought us home with “Cold Northern Rain” and a raucous version of “Midnight Special” leaving us wanting to take another journey with him very soon. You’ll want to as well.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TAUNTER GOODNIGHT "Has Talent"

by jenny heying

With the finals of “Lil Egypt Has Talent”, I felt it only fitting to review the one finalist we haven’t gotten around to yet. So off to Lil Egypt to take in Taunter Goodnight performing the second of the two finalists’ shows. It’s fitting to mention that Tracy Serra had previously reviewed the other finalist Skye Galaxy.

Opening with a raucous version of “When You’re Good To Mama” and an apology for not playing an instrument, you quickly realized that Taunter’s voice is her instrument. It’s strong, clear and doesn’t miss a beat. Her voice suited that song and you can’t help but pay attention. She holds the notes and mixes her tempo perfectly.

Between songs she’s just as powerful and tends to like to talk, almost as much as she likes to sing. Following with a little blues “It Hurts So Bad” showed the range that Taunter has. As much as she is a powerful singer, she doesn’t let the emotions fall by the wayside. The emotion never got in the way though, especially with “Me And Bobby McGee”.


Using backing tracks that were never overbearing, actually just enough of a compliment, she moved those in attendance with a voice that could handle the raspiness of heartbreak to the smoothness of love. Regardless of the kind of song, it’s the fervor of emotion that she embraces each number with that knocks you over. She takes them seriously and is sure to win you over or at least let you know she’s intent on trying.

This lady knows how to deliver. Changing tempos doesn’t stop her excellence. Moving into “LA Song” she proved that to no end she can handle it all. She’s an accomplished vocalist who knows how to work her art. She gives her all and doesn’t leave anything behind.

Best of all, Taunter seems to be having so much fun on stage. Whether improvising or doing requests like “I’m A Blonde” she takes it all to a new level. The fun is contagious and that just makes the whole event more enjoyable. She has an energy that must require re energizing between tracks. The energy was most noticeable on a stellar version of “I’m Guilty”.

Taunter must have been born on a stage because she seems so comfortable that she doesn’t seem anxious to leave it. She can stay all night performing the way she does. With “Son Of A Preacher Man” she left the blues behind but not the emotion. She sings it with desire. She’s willing to try anything and will if you ask her no matter what the genre.

Winding down her show, Taunter launched into an amazing cover of “Walking In Memphis”. I know, I’ve heard this song a thousand times, but I never get tired of it especially when it’s performed so well. Followed by a special dedication of “At Last” to the venue owners, Taunter sang in timeless fashion.

Taunter Goodnight is powerful yet wonderful. She’s talented yet deliberate. She makes a wonderful performance great. She finished her incredible performance with “I’m Yours”, “Bitch” and “Angel Of The Morning”.

“Lil Egypt Has Talent” featured some amazing talented performers over the weeks and the two finalists are definitely the cream of the crop. Drawing between 50-60 people for the finale showed the interest in “Live” music in Second Life®. The choice for the winner is a tough one.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

CHANDRA DEED "Romance In The Air"

by jenny heying

Relatively new to Second Life® (July 2009) Chandra Deed is definitely not new to performing having performed since the age of three. In the elegant setting of Midnight Romance Ballroom Chandra led off with “Our Day Will Come” followed by “Wishing And Hoping” to a receptive crowd of just under 30.

Chandra has a lovely voice, one that embraces the songs she sings and puts them out for you to embrace as well. It soothes the soul but it’s on songs like “Ooh Baby Baby” that you really get its full impact. Neither overbearing or harsh, her voice is openly sweet but consistent with the tone of what she performs. She hits each note with pinpoint accuracy with backing tracks that complement her target.

Her backing tracks suit her well. Again they are not out in the open but do their job supplementing a singer who leads out with melodic vocals. She sings classic love songs like “Walk On By” with the grace held by only seasoned performers. With every note on every song she holds true to the original performer but elevates it to a new level. She makes the love obvious on “My Valentine” keeping it real and forgiving.


Between songs she is professionally sweet. She converses with her audience, not only acknowledging them with is a prerequisite in Second Life® but her spoken voice is as soft and enduring as her singing voice. Okay, her singing voice is a bit stronger, but it ought to be. Her version of “Till You Come Back To Me” was a little more forceful but maintained the composure of Aretha in days gone by.

Chandra also looked exquisite sporting a formal mauve gown perfect for the ballroom atmosphere. Her look fit perfectly with her voice and the d├ęcor.

A Chandra Deed show is all about the sentiment of love songs. There are not a lot of women who would tackle some of the songs she does as evident on “This Masquerade”. With a slightly deepened voice, she made it a memorable performance.

Performing, she is professional as much as she is graceful. She does each song with confidence and her tracks take nothing away, sounding more like a backup band should. With “What You Won’t Do For Love” she let the professionalism carry her albeit in a good way. Letting the lyrics carry the mood, she complimented the mood.

Chandra Deed suited the atmosphere but maybe more appropriately the atmosphere suited her. Her show is mellow yet fun, and made for romance. She sings everything you wish you could say to that special person in your life. You appreciate her doing that for you. “You Are Everything” is a case in point. If you hadn’t risen a few degrees by this point, you probably never will.

The nice thing about a Chandra Deed show is that you make you forget about what’s going on in your life and you fall in to a dream state. Even on more up tempo songs like “Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher” puts you in to a glassy eyed state. It’s all from the heart and that’s where it stays.

An hour long set flew by very quickly but not before stellar performances of “Close To You”, “A Love Song”, “Magic” and finishing with an astonishing version of “You Raise Me Up”.

A Chandra Deed show is made for romance. If you feel the love or if you’d like to, you just might want to venture out to find where she’s performing next.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MAXIMILLION KLEENE "Better Late Than Never"

by jenny heying

Having been around Second Life® since mid 2006, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get around to reviewing Maximillion Kleene. But I guess better late than never. Having said that I popped over to Chichen Itza, Mexico to have a listen to him.

Opening with a short slightly Mexican guitar intro he led into a strong version of “The Way” that showcased his ability on the guitar. He plays brilliantly with his guitar setting the melody that his vocals pleasantly follow. He continued with “Only Hope” and while I know it as Mandy Moore, Max made it his own momentarily making me forget the original.

His voice is soothing, carrying the song through its story making you relax and listen to his tales. No matter what he sings, he does so with passion but adds a little flair and fun as noted on “1,2,3,4”. He’s entertaining and while he does have a voice that is easy to listen to, he’s not afraid to venture out and throw in a few wrinkles now and then.


Although Maximillion has an enchanting voice, his guitar playing is without equal. He strums and picks his way through each song setting a roadmap for his voice to follow. It’s an easy roadmap to follow and you try to keep up as he strolls through his set list. His take on “Smooth” was simply astonishing and the 47 or so in attendance were as stunned as I was. He kept it up through “Galaxy” hitting mid set stride and appearing more and more comfortable and loose.

He does like to talk between songs and is sure to acknowledge those in attendance and just about whatever else jumps in to his mind at the time. He ensures you know the songs he’s playing but it wasn’t necessary as most of what he does you can recognize instantly.

Relaxed and comfortable or maybe it’s just confidence that makes you feel easy at Max’s show. He is definitely enjoyable no matter how he feels with his guitar sliding in and out of the forefront. He keeps that easy feeling going with “We Can Work It Out” with the strumming moving you off your chair and then back again. He appears to be having fun on stage with his guitar having just as much fun. It filters back to you but on songs like “A Beautiful Mess” you just kind of melt, but it’s an enjoyable melt.

Maximillion is definitely a musician for the soul. He sets the mood, the tone and makes sure you’re comfortable there. You appreciate the sentiment and just sit back and enjoy. That mood contains highs and lows but you don’t seem to care which way you go.

Max also takes you back in time but he made “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” a bit more refreshing while “Hold You In My Arms” was mellow yet lovable. You love listening to his voice and you marvel at his guitar playing. But together, they are simply miraculous.

He closed his set with a cute and lively “I’m Yours” and an equally dashing “It’s Only A Paper Moon” leaving you completely at ease. Again I’m not sure what took me so long to review him, but I’m glad I finally had the chance.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

KOMUSO TOKUGAWA "Cutting Loose"

by jenny heying

Leading off his acoustic set at Le Chat Tavern complete with harmonica, Komuso Tokugawa delivered “King Bee” with a lot of force and some incredible blues guitar. He’s a got a deep voice suited for the blues with a little rasp and a slightly hard edge. He teased us with the mouth harp but just enough to keep us wanting. He continued the blues with “Someday Baby” with a fine little guitar intro smoothing into some wailing away with the harmonica tagging along for the ride. Komuso is made for the blues or rather the blues were made for him. His voice tells a story whether you listen to the lyrics or not.

While the guitar and harmonica provide the focal point, he’s accompanied by a non intrusive drum beat that adds to the bluesy feel making the 50 or so in attendance kick back and enjoy. A rather large crowd these days in Second Life® that packed the small venue requiring (or rather by choice) some to dance on the bar and anywhere else they could find some room.


Between songs, he’s a personable guy with the obligatory acknowledgement of those in attendance and the tippers, but Komuso seems to be truly appreciative albeit you get the feeling he prefers to jump back to his first love, playing and singing the blues. With “Frankie and Johnny” he continued the nostalgic part of his set allowing his guitar to continue to set the pace.

Switching acoustic guitars he transitioned to an instrumental song that was kind of dreamy and had us longing for something we were missing, what I’m not sure. One thing is for sure, he’s a master on the instrument. He makes the slide guitar seem tireless as well as entertaining. Komuso picked up a notch with some boogie woogie in “Cut you Loose” using the slide, harp and the drum beat making difficult for anyone to sit still.

Komuso plays the blues the way it oughta be played, with an edge and a throatiness that tells its own tales. You get the feeling he lived it and can now tell the story and that he does, amazingly. He plays through an amazing show telling his stories through his guitar and you get a little teary eyed at times but he always brings to back to the sunny side. On “It Hurts Me Too”, he takes you to the teary place and shows you around letting your emotions come to the forefront as he means for you to do.

There are some incredible blues artists in Second Life® each with their pluses. Kosumo is one that also leads you to believe he is the blues. You sway, swagger, drink and do whatever it is you do when you get the blues. He facilitates it.

Ending his hour in an frenzied upbeat fashion with “Walkin’ Blues” got us feeling less blue and a little appreciative for a wonderful journey. If you enjoy the blues, hell even if you don’t, take in Kosumo Tokugawa as soon as you can.
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