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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Live from SL
Just ran across a couple of events in SL that even you non-SL folks might find interesting.

First, tonight (Thursday, August 3) at 7pm (my time) or 5pm (SL time), Suzanne Vega will be performing "live" in SL... For certain values of "live." In this case, it'll be a live audio stream combined with a live view of her virtual likeness standing on a virtual stage. Pretty slick, and a bit of a coup for SL in general. It's another baby step toward mainstream acceptance of SL as more than WoW's touchy-feely weak sister.

I expect the audio to be good, of course, but I still have a few reservations about the visual portion of the performance. Some preliminary articles have mentioned custom animations and such, presumably run by a third party puppeteer. I dearly hope that's the case, anyway. Previous live performances I've seen have often ended up featuring an avatar standing stock still and playing the same canned guitar-strum animation for 90 minutes straight. And I can understand that, of course. The performers have better things to do - like singing, playing their chosen instruments, and generally kicking ass - than running an animation HUD. It's not that big a deal, I guess. Mostly it reminded me of a mediocre Winamp visualization plugin: it didn't hurt the music, but it didn't add anything to the experience. I have hopes that this considerably higher profile concert will have commensurately higher production values. I'm sure I'll be confirming- or reversing- my fears in addendum later tonight.

Second, on Tuesday, August 8, noted author Kurt Vonnegut will be appearing virtually for a semi-live talk and reading. As before, virtual avatar, real audio stream. Should prove interesting. We'll see how it works out.

There are also two other speakers, John Maeda and Howard Rheingold, coming up on Friday and Monday (respectively). I fear that I don't recognize the names, but from the blurbs it sounds like they're both big names in the virtual community.

If you're interested, you can find more information here. URLs for the Quicktime and Shoutcast streams (for those not lucky enough to get one of the coveted ~90 available SL seats) are available an hour before the appointed time.

And please, oh please tell me they're equipping the esteemed speakers and performer with industrial strength movelocks. (Or better yet, turning off pushes altogether with the spanking new no-push flag that appeared in yesterday's update.) All we need is for some putz with a freebie push gun to orbit Kurt Vonnegut. That'd really make the mainstream world take us seriously.
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