Critic’s Choice: Venue—Crossing Culture
by Kalanite Bluestar, Photographs by Lorah (lohrahlahnah)
(Please see the in-world release for more photographs and articles, also available on MARKETPLACE)
A little thread of music heaven wafts magically into Second Life®. Its filaments intertwine and spin a comfy blanket of musical fun, peace, community, and even family, that covers all at Crossing Culture. The founders create a safe haven around the hearts of any who visit.
Founded in July 2010, and having over 300 group members, Crossing Culture is in constant , yet growing, flux. As with many long lasting sims in SL, one idea brought the originators together and holds them with the bonds of strong friendship and family. The founders first worked to raise funds for the Feed a Smile charity during the birthday celebration of Nelson Mandela. With the inspired energy that only a music benefit can spark, Chriscloud Loon, Maria Binder, and RAS Mills banded together to spread peace and love through music to more residents in SL. Merlinzz Magic, who had his own venue, joined a year later to start the 80’s group. Allie McCallen is the manager of 80’s club. Lohra, who also joined after the first year, is a photographer. Brigite Binder is a movie maker and the sim owner. RAS is the music venue owner.
In their current home of Ambere, one of the founders, Chriscloud Loon, speaks with sentimental recollections of early SL days. He is a musician, disk jockey (DJ), master builder, and maker of peace. His creations include builds for The Blues Museum, Blues Roots, Club 80’s and his latest for the Crossing Culture Design Shop. Each is worth a visit!
“SL is, for me, a place to do what I cannot realize in my real life. It is amazing to test something new or crazy here, get feedback, and then translate the idea into real life. The people here are real, their feelings and answers are real.
”Though I can do some things in SL that I cannot do in real life, such as fly or teleport, SL really has no more freedom. Freedom is a real feeling, not virtual. Creative freedom matters to me—building fantasy worlds, trying new things.
“Years agoI was inspired by a blues DJ who mainly played commercial songs, of which I don’t normally listen. I thought: ‘people are here for the blues; I can bring something more to them!’ So, that very night (I must say I was a little underbeer), I asked the sim owner to let me try. After a few days, I was surprised about the feed back. The encouragement made me try being a blues DJ in my real life too. AND THAT WORKS PERFECTLY! By learning how to entertain in SL, I can now do it in real life.
”Freedom is when you are sure about your FEELING GOOD time, and you know that it is yours. The beauty of this freedom is to share with others, and to see their happiness. You get back enough that you can go with the next train, getting the power to never stop.
“When young, I grew up under communism—a dictatorship. I broke from Romania at 18, and have lived in Germany since I was 24. I thought I will find freedom here, but I was wrong. Freedom is something else. It is more than having enough food, driving a good car, making vacations 2-3 times a year. These activities make people slaves of their own necessities. I think about a better life than having all this—a freedom of the soul.
“Back to SL—another freedom here is the communication with friends from all over the world using translators. No matter which languages are spoken, we can understand each other. This is the most important aspect of SL.
“The CC community that is a great example of this cultural strength. To share this magic is important for me—I work on bringing all this into real life, hoping to help people get together, to make what we have here REAL.
“So if you want to say something about me—don’t say I’m a DJ, or whatever, just say ‘Chris is a PEACE MAKER.’ The only way to be one is to just do it, don’t think twice. I’m Robin Hood—no—I’m a blues man.” —Chriscloud Loon
Perhaps the hardest working DJ in SL is RAS Mills. She is a powerhouse—the shining gem that burns brightest at Crossing Culture. Her warmth will make you feel right at home. She knows every flavor of music, but is a bit shy to admit her role as co-founder of Crossing Culture. Master builder and organizer are her other hats, although she is frequently found in a fedora. She gleans ideas from all members who suggest—music styles, party decorations, skybox or club themes, and makes them real in virtual reality. She is a consummate professional, always with a welcoming smile for everyone.
“As a member of the Crossing Culture family, I am a DJ because I love to do my show, and love the people. SL, for me, means enjoying events, having a great time, and making friends. Here I share passion for music and find a sense of universal peace that connects idealists. I aim to spread great feelings in my play lists. Crossing Culture has wonderful people, interested in various kinds of music, that share their happiness, life’s experiences, and love. We work for it to continue as a viable force in social life, music, cultural mix , and entertainment.”—MERLINZZ Magic
“We all wear many hats at Crossing Culture—it keeps it vibrant. My main duties are as set designer, builder, decorator, and dance choreographer. I decorate the 80’s club, the diner, and creations for holidays, etc. Also, I manage the 80’s club and the dance pad during Merlin’s shows. I always have new ideas for each, and enjoy the variety. With combined ideas, we wish to continue to grow, and be sure that everyone who comes here loves it. We all need a place for finding the most caring people.” —Allie McCallen
A group of this size takes the efforts of many to move in a cohesive direction. Those in Crossing Culture work hard to entertain and care for the members. Everyone looks out for one another and are easy to talk with. SL can so often be overwhelming. And, like any big city, can even be harsh and offer many “learning experiences.” So to have a refuge—always positive and supportive, always upbeat and varied, always welcoming and active—is the common spirit that feeds this vibrant community. The chief aim there is to have fun, enjoy music, and to spread cultural peace—the most important reasons to be in SL.
Drop into an inviting courtyard with a beach view. Crossing Culture has many sites worth exploring as well as cuddle areas. Check out the daily events and join in sync dancing. Friends, musicians, DJs, artists, and art lovers of the globe can enjoy this stellar example of SL enrichment—that lives up to its name.
The Sim Street Journal will review one venue (or more if the inspiration hits) each month that represents an equal commitment in both virtual and real worlds.
Contributions are encouraged if they cover topics relevant to the real world readers.
Comments and opinions are also encouraged.
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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.