Canary Beck

The Basilique, 29 October 2014

The Basilique, 29 October 2014. Click on any image to open it in its full-size version on Flickr (they all open in a new tab).

Another historical region on the Second Life grid is going to close its doors, and I am especially saddened to hear that this particular sim is closing. On her blog, Canary “Becky” Beck announced yesterday that her region, the Basilique (Isoloto di Garda) will close on the 30th of September, unless someone steps in by the 23rd to take over the region to keep it alive; if this happens, not only the region, but also the use of all public buildings and furnishings will be transferred.

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Ne Me Quitte Pas

Ne Me Quitte Pas. Please click on the image for the full-size version.

Last Friday, I was invited to preview Canary “Becky” Beck’s exhibition of self-portraits titled Ne Me Quitte Pas, which opens on Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 12PM SLT and will be hosted in the attic space of the Arts & Culture Community (A&CC) until January 10th, 2015. To get to the exhibit, you will need to enter the gallery after you arrive and go all the way upstairs.

Canary Beck is no stranger to the artistic circles of Second Life, most notably because of her activity with the Basilique Performing Arts Company and their (until now) magnum opus, Paradise Lost in Second Life. This time, she debuts as an in-world photographer, with a collection of twenty intimate and very powerful self-portraits tied to lyrics from Jacques Brel’s 1959 hit Ne Me Quitte Pas (Do Not Leave Me), which has been covered numerous times in various languages; English speakers are likely to be more familiar with its adaptation titled If You Go Away, with lyrics by Rod McKuen; personally, I find the English lyrics lack the emotional impact of Brel’s poetry, which I can only describe as an exercise in despair.

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As announced by Canary Beck on the 15th of July, the Basilique Performing Arts Company’s critically-acclaimed theatrical adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost will be shown for a second season, beginning on August 2nd. Tickets are on sale at the Basilique store on the Second Life marketplace for alternating Saturday and Sunday performances.

Season 1 was highly successful, with every performance being sold out. If you missed the opportunity to watch Paradise Lost during its first season, I will say it again: You really cannot afford to miss it. It is the most ambitious and perhaps the most important artistic event in Second Life and virtual worlds for 2014. You can read my review of the show here. If you are interested in attending the performance, you are advised to book your tickets early. The tickets are non-transferrable, so, if you wish to purchase tickets for your friends and/or loved ones, you should buy them as gifts.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-BZ

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Having already covered the dress rehearsal and the press preview of the Basilique Performing Arts Company’s adaptation of John Milton’s famous epic poem “Paradise Lost“, I am now in a position to review it in as much depth as I can, given my own limited knowledge and understanding of the Arts and of the historical, political and religious context that influenced Milton to write his epic. Before I proceed any further, though, I could offer a single-sentence summary of the performance: You cannot afford to miss it.

In my previous posts, I described it as the most ambitious and perhaps the most important artistic event in Second Life and virtual worlds for 2014. Having watched the dress rehearsal, the press preview and the official premiere, my assessment still stands and I believe it to be strengthened even further.

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Last Saturday (March 29th), I was one of the SL bloggers that had the privilege of attending the press preview of Paradise Lost in Second Life, the adaptation of John Milton’s famous epic poem “Paradise Lost” by the Basilique Performing Arts Company. I was already familiar with the way Becky and Harvey approached the poem’s plot, but I’m not going to describe it to you in this post; it would be giving away too many spoilers. After all, in my previous post I gave away some crucial plot elements and a brief look into John Milton’s political and religious views that influenced him to compose this poem.

So, this is going to be only a short review and not a full-featured one. Fittingly enough for the poem’s theme, the theatre for this show is a church – a basilica (hence the “Basilique” name chosen by Becky and Harvey for their art group). For a more technical overview, I think you’d do well to read Inara Pey’s excellent post, as it explains the way Becky and Harvey applied RL theatrical direction techniques to the show. The action takes place not only in front of the audience, but also to the right, to the left and even above the spectators. Harvey said they’re planning to control the audience’s camera (like Tyrehl Byk does in his great particle show Catharsis) and I hope they’ll have the necessary scripts ready by the time of the official premiere, as the show will benefit greatly from this.

God creates Adam. Image courtesy of Canary Beck.

I have gone on record for saying that Paradise Lost is the most ambitious, and probably the most important, artistic event in Second Life for 2014. Everything about it pushes the technical envelope: on-the-fly costume changes (who said RLV is only for BDSM?), choreographed participation of the audience’s custom avatars that also switch between angel and demon, again via RLV, careful coordination of the animations of multiple avatars, scripted windlight changes… And that’s not even taking into account the extremely tasteful rendition of the poem and its characters. The avatars are gorgeously crafted and shaped, perfectly fitting their roles, the eras described in the narration and also their characterisation in the poem. The scenery is very well-designed, and the fade-outs between different sceneries are perfectly timed and executed (to the extent, of course, that each individual user’s computer can handle things). Furthermore, the decision to set the performance against Mozart’s Requiem in D minor proved to fit the atmosphere and the mood of Milton’s poem perfectly.

In all, I highly recommend that you watch this performance, even if it’s the only artistic event you’ll attend in Second Life this year. Even if you’re not artistically inclined. Even if you hear about classical works and turn away. The sensitivity, care, attention to detail, and love that has gone in this production has to be witnessed to be fathomed.

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Mona

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Full disclosure statement: I have been selected to be among the official bloggers for the Paradise Lost in Second Life production. I receive no recompense whatsoever for my blogging work; I cover the event because I believe in the talents and skills of everyone at the Basilique Performing Arts Company, because I liked the concept and because I want to help, with whatever powers I have, to show the creative and artistic potential of virtual worlds.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-tG