Cheers to another beautiful week in the SLUniverse! Rather than looking back, this week I’m peeking forward into the singularly spectacular event that’s exploding onto the grid today in a feast of color, sights and sounds. You may land there in curiosity, unsure of what you’ll find, but “what dreams may come” will leave you feeling spellbound. This is the SL12B Community Celebration, honoring the 12th birthday of the Second Life virtual world.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the annual celebration, this passage from the the official SL12B press release sums up the event beautifully:
Spanning 15 regions with over 200 exhibits and more than 600 performers, disk jockeys and speakers, SL12B is a showcase for the accomplishments and content of all SL residents, celebrating the anniversary of Second Life© leaving its initial beta in 2003.
SL’s official “birthday” is June 23rd, but this entire week is dedicated to celebrations and festivities, including interactive and highly photographic art exhibits; a diverse and dynamic series of talks and presentations; an astonishing array of musical performances, comedy shows, and performing arts concerts spread across 5 (five!) unique venues; the “Big Hunt” with a huge variety of free prizes to be found; and so much more.
I was graciously given early access to the celebration regions, along with a coterie of amazing bloggers and writers, and I was dazzled by what I saw. The best way I can describe SL12B is a World’s Fair meets Disney’s EPCOT, with a bit of eclectic art gallery and local carnival eccentricities thrown in for good measure. It overwhelms the senses and is impossible to take in superficially. When you visit these sims, you become Dorothy in her whirling, twirling farmhouse abode, spinning off into a dreamland of immersive sights, adventures and experiences. Welcome to SL12B, the Land of Awes.
SL12B’s Welcome Area coaxes you gently into the experience, leading you down a staircase to a deliciously moody atmosphere, a station with a magical and ominous train whose cars traipse a skyward path, off to destinations unknown. It’s the perfect place to get your bearings, as a Welcome Board (and some wonderfully friendly resident volunteers) will greet you with quick teleports, landmarks, and notecards with performance schedules and other helpful information.
Not far from the Welcome Area is a Pod Tour station, and if you’d like a narrated tour of some of the exhibits, it’s a wonderful place to start. I took the first part of the tour, then jumped off to explore on my own. I used the landmarks to visit the various performance stages, and was delighted by their unique designs. SL12B is not a place that seeks conformity; while their universal theme this year is “What Dreams May Come”, it’s been interpreted in wildly unique and diverse ways by its many designers and artists, leading to some truly unique and extraordinary builds.
In addition to the performance venues, SL12B is a sumptuous buffet of artistic expression. The exhibits range from serenely beautiful to chaotic and hypnotizing. The official website provides SLURLs to both the hub regions, as well as direct teleports to the individual exhibitor parcels.
We Are The Music Makers and We Are The Dreamers of Dreams by Krystali Rabeni (please click for full size)
As a child, I had the wonderful fortune of enjoying an educational entertainment center for children that was modeled on the short-lived but well-loved Discovery Zone. It was held at a children’s museum and featured interactive science exhibits, creative art stations, puzzles and play structures, and much more. So when I saw that many of SL12B’s installations were interactive, my inner child was excited and delighted! These are just two of my favorites:
SL12B kicks off today at Noon (12 PM) SLT, and the festivities run through next Sunday, June 28th. The sims will remain open until July 4th for viewing before they go offline until next year. It’s truly a multi-day, once in year experience not to be missed!
Below, please find links to the SL12B performance schedule, which is offered as an overview as well as broken down by the individual venue. There’s a helpful page of SLURLs on the SL12B website, but I would highly recommend starting from the Welcome Area. I’m also including a round-up of some of the wonderful articles that have been written about this unique event. If I’ve missed anyone, please don’t hesitate to leave me a link in the comments! <3
SL12B Welcome Area
SL12B Performance Schedules
Official SL12B Community Celebration Flickr Photostream
SL12Big Hunt (details from the official site) | Happy Hunting TV (interview & preview)
SL12B Articles at Living in a Modem World by Inara Pey
Celebrating Dreams at SL’s 12th Anniversary by Ricco Saenz
Second Life is Turning 12! Join the Celebration! by Raznay Decosta
Second Life Turns 12! by Shug Maitland
SL12B: Five Must See Exhibits by Uccie Galway
SL12B, Happy Birthday Second Life Open June 21-28 by Kara Trapdoor
SL12B Opens Today at 12pm SLT by Daniel Voyager
Stuff to do in SL: What You Need to Know for SL12B by Tymmerie Thorne
What Dreams May Come ~ SLB12, June 21st-28th by Wendz Tempest
What Dreams May Come SL12B Celebrations by Anna Rain