Friday, September 14, 2012

September LEA6.....Cinema! review by Victoria Lenoirre

Up at LEA6 this month is Cinema! TAKE BACK THE AMBIENCE by Mary Wickentower. Mary Wickentower has been a Second Life resident since 2008, located in the snowlands of Sansara, mainland.  Mary is a poet/writer songwriter, artist, SL builder and machinimatographer, and owner of Wickentower Art and owner of the film production company, Polished Puppet Productions.  "Cinema!"  represents a collaboration of some of the finest creators, builders, machinimatographers  in Second Life and is a tribute to their amazing talent.

It is a grand gallery with so much to see and the ambience is just marvellous. Set in the 1940s and 1950s in California, it really takes you back to a time when moviegoing was such a magical, delightful experience. Visiting here, just made me feel like a tiny kid again and I love when a piece of art fills me with that childlike wonder.

Cinema! opened on September 3rd at 4pm SLT. To celebrate the opening, the classy and distinguished Antonio Galloway was present to sing in his  "melodious voice." He sings in the style of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley.

The landing area is set behind the La Paloma and next to planter corner filled with flowers. Walk to your avatar's left to move towards the front. On the marquee you can see that The Foutainhead is playing, that old movie starring Gary Cooper that is based on the novel by Ayn Rand. La  Paloma theater was built by Hideo Inaka. It won second place in the 2011 Virtual Museum of Architecture Build-off. He kindly donated it for use in Cinema!, thank you Hideo! You can also find it at marketplace

I took these pics with different windlights for better effect, but when you get here, the windlight is midday.

La Paloma Theater, taken with the Doomed Spaceship windlight

To the Southwest, across the way from the front entrance of the Paloma is the Dirty Rat Gas station. Take a look inside. There is even a working cash register inside that opens and closes on touch. There does seem to be a clash between classy and gritty. The streets look gritty as doing the gas station. It reminds me of how society is divided into classes. 

Next door to the gas station is the Empire Movie Palace. It is a large theater built by Khan Omizu, specifically for Cinema! How awesome is that? This theater looks grand and majestic, with crimson carpeting and several flights of stairs. Two sections for people, the upper class section and the middle class section, Box A and Box B, respectively. You can find this splendid build at marketplace

Front view of EMPIRE Movie Palace, taken with Analu Outdoor City Night windlight

Walk out and to your avatar's right is the Roadside Diner. It was built by the same creator who built the gas station, n0th1ng Ackland. He is the owner of ~Dirty Rat~, a brand that makes vintage builds. You can find the mainstore in his picks.

Leaving the entrance of the diner, walk to your avatar's right and you should arrive at the doorstep of the Skyview Drive-in Theater. The Drive-in was created by Ethos Erlanger. He built the drive-in specifically for Cinema!. Thank you, Ethos for your generosity! Vintage cars are parked up front, waiting for the movie to start playing. One of the vehicles, the Dune Buggy RC3 is a premium gift from Linden Labs. The figure standing on that rusty car is me. That car wouldn't let me sit in it. I was able to set in the red racer at the end of the row I'm in and just in front of the door, that classy Ford Coup. The RC3 is the car on my left. A concession sign announces that food can be had at this small, cozy place. Ethos has been building for years. Feel free to IM him inworld and visit his marketplace page. He is a great builder and supporter of Builder's Brewery.

Front view of the SKYVIEW Drive-In

SKYVIEW Drive-In Theater and the EMPIRE Movie Palace  intersection, taken with the A-3AM windlight

All theaters have screens from, the Shared Media Frame TV screen. Just click and media should be enabled and you should be able to watch movies. Besides old movies, you can also watch videos from the LEA MOM, the 48 hour Machinima, and the University of Western Australia's  MACHINUWA contests  It did not work for me, but it is pretty awesome anyhow. I came for the art, not to watch though. Maybe it will work for you. :-)

This sim got me so excited and I could not wait to hear from Mary about this sim. Below is my interview with her.

1.What do you like about old movie theaters?

MP: The old move theaters reflect  an ambiance of an earlier time - a time of elegance, when going to the cinema was luxurious, and the theatres were grand places; huge and ornate with immense balconies, high domed ceilings, massive red carpeted staircases and décor that rivaled the Vatican. Their equally impressive facades dominated that landscape.  Even the cozy, smaller theatres had a rich character, where you could ease back in splendid surroundings and suspend all worries, leave you tribulations behind and enter a world of imagination.  And then there was the drive in movie - a culture all to itself.  The mammoth screen filled the sky, and you could hunker down with friends or family, cuddle in a fluffy blanket, and bury your head in a soft pillow, all in the comfort of your own car.  The real life movie cinemas of today are colorless and sterile places, much like the work cubical that we spend our lives in. They leave us hungering for a touch of class, a bit of chic.

2.What inspired you to put together "Cinema!" ?

MP: Producing & viewing Machinima is one of my favorite SL hobbies. When I applied for the grant from the LEA Endowment for the Arts for the Full SIM Series, I specified that rather than use an entire SIM just to represent only myself and my own art, I wanted bring together and represent a broad range of top talent in Second Life. "Cinema!" is a tribute to first and foremost to Machinima, as well as to the designers, builders, performers & the amazing talent that is Second Life.

3. How did you meet  or hear of the three individuals who provided you with the movie theaters?

MP: I have known  Khan Omizu  [K.O.] the builder of the Empire Movie Palace for a few years now.  I have a large collection of his textures and sculpties.   When I asked Khan to build a palace style theater for my "Cinema!" project , he did not hesitate for one minute.  When Khan donated the spectacular Empire Movie Palace, my jaw hit the ground.  The attention to detail, the enormous effort and love of design that radiates from this build is palatable. Khan Omizu is a sterling example of the generosity of spirit of some of the finest, creative community that is Second Life. 
Empire Movie Palace by Khan Omizu / [K.O.]

I did not know Hideo Inaka / E&D Designs when I contacted him about the La Paloma Theatre, which took  second place in the Fall 2011 Virtual Museum of Architecture Build-Off.  Despite my contacting him out of the blue, he didn't miss a beat and kindly donated the magnificent art deco La Paloma Theatre.  Hideo Inaka is another sterling example of the generosity of spirit of some of the finest, creative community that is Second Life.
La Paloma Theatre  by Hideo Inaka / E&D Designs
The impressively detailed Drive-in movie screen is a generous donation by Ethos Erlanger, a  "passionate" builder and resident of SL since 9/12/2006.  When I contacted Builders Brewery for donations, Ethos Erlanger responded and built this vintage classic specifically for "Cinema!"  Ethos Erlanger is also a sterling example of the generosity of spirit of some of the finest, creative community that is Second Life.

4.I noticed the vintage cars in the drive-in parking lot. Which is your favorite?

MP: I am not really much of a car buff, but if there had been a tangerine orange Classic Dream Series Edition PT Cruiser, then  that would have been my favorite.  I contacted a number of car dealers in Second Life for car donations and got a response from Loki Dancer who generously donated two of the vintage cars to the Cinema project;  PREFABRICA Cheetah - v2.0  and  PREFABRICA Cougar - v1.0
PREFABRICA Cheetah - v2.0  and  PREFABRICA Cougar - v1.0

5.The Empire reminded me of the theater in Inglorious Bastards, the movie starring Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz. Have you seen that movie? Do you think movies should be used for propoganda, as seen in that movie?

MP: I have not seen Inglorious Bastards but it does look interesting and I will make a point to see it.  Movies are products of the imagination, and expression of ideas.  At their best, they allow us to get lost for awhile in a great story.  They are not documentaries; they are not meant to be real.  I do not have an issue with movies that have any kind of agenda, other than those that would promote abuse or brutality to any living thing.

***End of interview****

I love the paved road in this full sim build. In my head I was singing, "Follow the black paved road", to the tune of "Follow the yellowbrick road." I know, I know, the original is the best but I got used to following the road to get to the buildings in this old town. There didn't seem to be a bus service and I don't think the cars are drivable. Hehe. But then, I have such respect for vintage cars that I'd worry about ruining them (even if this is virtual :P ).

"Cinema!" is an outstanding homage to the classic, golden years of filmmaking when going to the movies was a magical, grand experience. Now they seem "colorless" and hackneyed like any other commercial building we enter to obtain a service. This full sim collaboration brings that joy back and makes us feel excited and happy that we will see a movie in a fabulous theater. 

Please drive over to see "Cinema!" TAKE BACK THE AMBIENCE, going on all this month.

Have fun and enjoy the art!

- Victoria Lenoirre

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