Friday, 8 October 2010

You are almost guaranteed a good night out at the Azure Club,  house of smooth sounds and cool time.Pick the right night and you are likely to see one band you desperately try and remember the name of the next morning amongst the four or five who usually play each gig night. There is a relaxed vibe with an open-minded clientele who all have an obvious love of live music, which is appreciated by the bands, many of who are starting out their careers, who regularly pull out all the stops here. ##M:[more]## The Azure takes its music seriously .They won’t put on bands or singers  just because they will be able to fill the venue with their mates, demo tapes are judged on their own merits; and many musicans have played here on their way up, including  WaltKeys Faith, Thunderfoot Lorefield, Idella Quandry, Zen Revnik, BGSinger Hermit, Tia Macbain, BellaDonna Lemondrop, Trowzer Boa and more...

The venue is rectangular-shaped with a small stage against an azure wall and there's  also a two floor art gallery plus canalside artwalk currently featuring many good artists.
Azure is the colour of almost all the details of this place, whose motto is  "Azure the colour of your dreams".But above all Azure is Graine McBain's dream and with her I had a nice conversation about music and passions in Second Life.

Graine discovered SL because she saw it mentioned on the net somewhere back around 2006 and even went to the SL webpage and investigated it. She almost set up an account but thought she'll never get anything done in RL if she signed up for this. But she kept the page bookmarked, and came back every now and then to reconsider joining, and finally in March of 2009, she took the plunge, telling herself that she would try it for about two months then cancel. "I'm still here" she says smiling.

 As most of us she believes in keeping SL and RL separate. "Why do I want to be constrained by my RL identity in SL?"she asks , and definitely she's right!
What she does in SL is quite similar to what she does in her RL, where she's involved in managing and scheduling, and that's about it.

In SL she has opened "Azure"  a live music venue and I asked her why she started this virtual adventure."Intially I was here only to have fun, meet people, and explore,-she says- but I got to the point where I was bored with being a consumer of other people's creativity and decided to find something to do that I could call my own and maybe, just maybe, earn some money. The Azure was a club I patronized, and when I found out it was for sale, I jumped at the oportunity. I never believed those stories about people making big money in SL, even though I bought the "Entrepreneur's Guide to SL" by Daniel Terdiman, in which he bluntly states that clubs are the only SL businesses that don't make money. I soon found out that was true. So I guess I'm here for the fun of it, mostly."

Graine thinks that SL is a much better showcase for art made inworld than art imported from RL. "I have had some of my SL photos exhibited in a gallery last year, and now that I have my own gallery adjacent to the club, I might mount my own exhibition. But the art that impresses me the most in SL is the sort that uses the virtual world itself as a form of art, what is known as Not Possible in Real Life art. Just as I don't understand why you would want to merely replicate your earthbound self in SL, I don't see why you would want to merely replicate the "real" world in SL."

Then we started talking about people who , in her opinion, really  made a success in SL.Of course it depends on which kind of definition of success we're talking about,both of us agrred on the poit that  it 's impossible to get a real business success inworld. But Graine told me that there are some people who really got a good" artistic" success, I know plenty such artists as Rose Borchovski and Miso Susanowa, to musicians like Ichie Kamachi and Joaquin Gustav and DJs like Violet Ormenthal. Furthermore there are some  musicians like Zen Revnik, Idella Quandry, and MoShang Zhao who are both RL and SL successes.

Graine thinks think that the most successful people in SL are those who have embraced the medium and reinvented themselves as new personalities, even new beings of a sort, if you consider all those people who opt for some nonhuman avatar like furries or Tinies, or a floating ball of rotating lights. "You can make your SL life itself your best work of art if you want to." she says.
Graine  promotes her venue in many ways with a very professional approach.
Other than the standard Azure group and Subscribe-o-matic notices, Graine pays for a classified ad every week in Search, and she lists every event at the Azure in the SL Events listings at least 48 hours or more before the event.
Furthermore Graine says that she usually goes around wearing her "The Azure Owner" tag everywhere she can (some clubs won't let you advertise any other venue that way). She also belongs to a few art groups that allow her to send notices about art related events at the Azure gallery.

 She also has a blog that she uses to mostly advertise the shows at the Azure, but also occasionally to chronicle her experiences in SL and showcase places she likes. She  intends to expand that aspect of the blog in the future.
At the "Azure Club" she also feature a Trivia night on Thursdays from 4.30-6 PM and she's planning  to have poetry/spoken word events as well as comedy nights.

 On weekends, she  tries to line up two or more concerts in a row so the audiences will overlap and the musicians will pick up some new fans and patrons will be exposed to an artist or style of music they may not have appreciated before.

 During concerts, she always mention the fact that she also has a gallery, and if any of the artists are present, she will introduce them and encourage people to visit their exhibits.
"During one show, -Graine says-I mentioned that and an artist who was present sold eight pictures! But I try not to sound like a circus barker!".

 Graine also tries  to expand the patron base to other SL communities. "The Azure is Tiny friendly-she says- we have some Tiny sized furniture and a Tiny dance ball that some Biggies mistakenly click on to their discomfort, and they have have featured Tiny performers like Luvvie Starsider and Tia Macbain. I want the Azure to be seen as an inclusive place for all SL residents, except griefers."
 Finally I asked her where does she see her self a year from now and if  Second Life will still exist she responded :"
Second Life will still exist a year from now and I will be the CEO of Linden Labs".This is our wish too!