Lady Stardust

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“Femme Fatales emerged from shadows to watch this creature fair.” – D. Bowie, Lady Stardust

It’s been over a week, and it still feels strange to be living in a world where David Bowie’s mortal body no longer resides among us.  However, we not only have a vast body of music and film to hold close, but the Starman has managed to give us some parting gifts.  In the coming years, his estate will be releasing a lot of music that he kept locked away until he shuffled off this mortal coil.  Spanning decades, and ending with the last ten years, we will get an era by era retrospective of new (to us) music from the Master.

As a lifelong fan, it just seemed fitting to get to all those Bowie-inspired outfits I wanted to make once I learned enough Blender to get by.  Last week, I released the male version of the Moonage Daydream, a kimono-style costume worn by David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period.

This week, I’ve finally managed to get the female version out, and WOW!  Would you look at Misha over there?  She is simply stunning in the blue Moonage Daydream option.

Like the male version, this includes a color HUD, two sizes of rigged boots, a Ziggy forehead tattoo, and you supply the Cool.  **Please note** There is a femboy size included in the male Moonage Daydream package.

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I’ve also released several other new outfits this week, which will get their own postings soon.  Meanwhile, this number is available on the Marketplace and inworld.

Moonage Daydream

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“I could make a transformation as a rock & roll star” – D. Bowie, Star from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Folks who know me have either put up with, or completely embraced my lifelong obsession with David Bowie.  I had several of Bowie’s hairstyles while slogging my way through Junior High and High School.  My Walkman always had a Bowie tape in it.  I watched LiveAid just because he was scheduled to perform.  I scoured record stores for anything and everything even remotely Bowie-related, including pouncing on artists like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, simply because they had albums produced by the Thin White Duke.  I actually yelled at Jennifer Connelly’s character in Labyrinth to stay with the Goblin King.  I would have.  When the man went on tour, I raced to get tickets to every show I could attend.  I had the massive Bowie shrine, including all the music, videos, posters, teeshirts, and anything else I could lay my hands on.  I threw glitter on him during performances of Hallo Spaceboy.  If you haven’t guessed, I’m just a bit of a fan.

Monday morning started just like any other; the alarm woke me up.  I squinted at my phone and read emails till I could actually drag my carcass out of bed.  I was puzzled by the sudden popularity of a Ziggy Stardust outfit I’d made for Second Life.  It wasn’t a huge seller…till now.  But still, things didn’t click in my sleep-fogged brain.  Then I saw an email from my oldest and dearest Second Life friend.  It was simply titled, “Shared Grief” and in it, she wrote, “E and I are thinking about you.  If you need to talk, please call.”

I was really confused now.  Who did we both know who had died?  That’s certainly the gist of the email.  I replied, saying, “It’s too early to call and I have to be at work in 15 minutes.  I’ll call you later.”

Then I saw CNN.

THE PLANET EARTH IS BLUE.  David Bowie.  On the front page of CNN.  It hit me like a ton of bricks. Right to the face.  My hero, an icon of my youth, the soundtrack of my life…dead of cancer.  I cried.  I sat at my computer at 6:15am and cried.  I briefly thought, “I need a bereavement day.” but I wasn’t thinking straight.  I went to work and it was the longest day of my life.

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“Lady Stardust sang his songs of darkness and despair.” – D. Bowie, Lady Stardust from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

I came home and immediately put on the Ziggy costume, made a black armband for good measure, and headed to The Village of Nyght for the tribute I never wanted to host.  I sent out notices, and people poured in, commiserating, reminiscing, sharing stories, requesting their favorite songs, crying.  People who haven’t been in Second Life for years showed up just to be with other fans and give Mr. Bowie a proper send off to his home planet.

I’m afraid most of us were quivering heaps of jelly, curled into fetal positions, shaking and crying when I played Lazarus from his Requiem Mass, Blackstar.  It got even crunchier when I pulled out a rare live recording of Bowie and Gilmore singing Comfortably Numb.  The tribute set lasted four and a half hours.  Maybe a smidge more.  I’d have kept going if I didn’t feel so utterly wretched, wiped out, and still mourning the loss of a man I never met, yet loved with all my heart.  Besides, after all the tears, my eyes were dry and burning.  It was time for a rest.

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“Give me your hands, because you’re wonderful.” – D. Bowie, Rock n’ Roll Suicide from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

It’s now two days later.  I still hurt, but life isn’t all bad.  If I wanted to, I could listen to Bowie non-stop for weeks.  But, it’s time to move on, just a little.  I had mentioned I made a Ziggy outfit in Second Life.  I’ve made a number of Bowie-inspired outfits through the years for Avatar Bizarre, and had a few in the pipeline that were to debut over the next few months.  Now I feel like it’s time to push these costumes to the front of the line.

The first to be built (and released soon for men, women, and femboys, I promise) is Moonage Daydream.  This is an outfit based on a design Bowie wore during his Ziggy Stardust tour.  It is a simple Asian design with thigh high satin boots.  It will likely be available with a color HUD.  But you need to give me time.  Between real life excitement, work, and whatnot, Second Life gets relegated to the back burner sometimes.  I would say after Further ConFusion (a convention in San Jose, CA) this weekend, I will have both versions available in the store and on the marketplace.

Love on, Ya!

Obi One Kimono – Avatar Bizarre is Turning Japanese for 20Twenty

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20Twenty is a monthly instore event that starts on the 20th of the month, runs for 20 days, and features exclusive items from 20 designers at 20% off the normal price.  This is a wonderful way to showcase some amazing designers, and Avatar Bizarre is happy to be included in the October edition of 20Twenty!

There is no theme for the event, but I decided it might be fun to make a Japanese kimono for this round.  There will be a couple of new kimonos available at Avatar Bizarre, and they cost 275L each, but the 20Twenty version on sale for 20% off will be the Hibari kimono, which features a pair of sparrows in the branches of a cherry tree.

The kimono comes in six sizes (5 female, and one flat chest femboy size), and includes an unrigged obi bow and a color HUD with several color choices.  It is materials enhanced, and should fit most mesh bodies with their included Alpha HUDS.  In fact, my model, pictured above, is wearing the Maitreya Mesh Body.

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If my math is correct, 20% off 275L is roughly 220L.  While the Hibari is on sale, there are two other kimonos available (Ryu and Sakura), which will be full price.  All Kimonos come with their own color HUD.

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When the time is right, point your avatar to http://slurl.com/secondlife/Burmilla/207/201/38
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Balancing on the Signpost of Life – A Hanfu for the Twisted Hunt

Twisted-Qi-PosterTwisted Hunt is once again lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce in September, and eat Second Life hunters for breakfast.  If you aren’t familiar with the Twisted Hunt, it’s a semi-annual grid-wide hunt in Second Life.  Second Life’s culture is such that hunts are kind of falling by the wayside, and most people would prefer not to take landmark after landmark, and stand around waiting for things to rez in various lagged sims so they can find some object that contains a free or dollarbie gift.  However, Twisted is one of those perennial Love It Or Hate It deals that crops up twice a year, in September and March.

While most other hunts are floundering and giving up the ghost, Twisted persists in its popularity because the merchants involved go the extra mile.  The gifts can be exceedingly difficult to find, due to reasons, but you will find all kinds of extra fun and goodies in most of the stores involved.  For example, some stores will have mini-hunts, some build fun labyrinths, some will have zombie killings, others provide extra fun by setting up games for hunters, and quite a lot of merchants will have more than one gift.  In fact, many will include a fun gift inside each of the ten visible decoys they’re allowed. Decoys.  Yes, we are fully aware that people cannot stand the things.  In fact, we don’t really like them much either because some people have gone completely overboard in inflicting them upon the huddled and frustrated masses.

The thing is, we do have rules, and even with the 30 meter global limit to where you can hide things and with the visible decoy limit, the hunt object can be…shall we say…a challenge to discover.  Merchants are allowed to hide INVISIBLE decoys under the floors and in the walls.  They are also allowed to rename random prims to that of the hunt object. The hunt object will always be a puzzle box cube (with new patterns this time!!), it will always be spinning, it will always be called something specific, and yes, it is fairly small.  But it shouldn’t be inside another prim, or recolored, or renamed.  Woe betide those who violate these sacrosanct rules!

Here’s the little critter you’re looking for in all its horrible glory:

Meanwhile, Avatar Bizarre (owned by one of the organizers) has a sneak preview of the male and female gift being handed out to the legions of hunters out there. Avatar Bizarre Qing Long Hanfu Male
The Qing Long Hanfu is a rigged mesh traditional Chinese outfit.  It includes all five sizes, is materials enhanced, and comes with a flexi sash, in addition to the mesh sash.  Avatar Bizarre is giving away (for free!) a teal Hanfu for both men and women this round.

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The hunt begins at Midnight on September 19.  Happy Hunting!  (Shoes not included)

These Shoes Were Made For Wokkin – Hanfu Warped Head Shoes

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All you speak and all you hear
Hand that’s strong and voice it’s clear
An unforgotten memory when the moon begins to call – Red Rockers, China

Okay, so really, really bad title pun. Fine, I see the pun jar, and happily pay the tax therein.  Meanwhile, take a look at these awesome new shoes I’ve just made!

Honestly, when I was doing research on Chinese Traditional Footwear for men, not a lot of interest came up, till I found some photos of Hanfu Qing Dynasty Warped Head Shoes.  They were traditionally worn by men (along with the Hanfu robes), and generally made from silk or satin with cotton soles.  In more recent times, these shoes have been adopted by both men and women, as a Traditional fashion choice.  Since the thought of making Lotus shoes feels repellent, it’s safe to assume these unrigged shoes are for everyone with SLink flat feet in Second Life.

The Hanfu Warped Head Shoes, which are copy and modify, include a color HUD with six color choices.  They’ve been materials enhanced, so the pattern (and particularly the dragon on the front) really pop.

I do want to do more traditional Asian footwear (Lotus shoe is simply not gonna happen, folks), and I’m quite excited about this project.  You can now find the Hanfu shoes on the Marketplace and Inworld.

Jade Girl – The Dark Heavens Cheongsam

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“At only twenty-eight I felt no great rush to settle into anything boring.” – White Tiger, Book 1 of the Dark Heavens Trilogy

In the Dark Heavens trilogy (Kylie Chan), Emma, an Australian living in Hong Kong, suddenly finds herself working as a nanny to the Dark Lord of the Four Winds, Xuan Wu.  He is the black turtle god or Shen, ruler of the Northern Heavens.  He’s a dark creature, the master of all Martial Arts, destroyer of Demons, and the owner of Wudang Mountain both on the Celestial plane and on the Earthly plane.  Five years prior, he had married a mortal woman and they had a child (half Shen, she would grow into a powerful force of nature).  Demons killed the wife of Xuan Wu and her family, leaving the Turtle Shen with his small daughter.

Emma works as a nanny to the Shen’s daughter, but eventually trains in the Arts, discovers she has an innate talent for both physical and energy work, and is able to protect the Dark Lord’s child from Demons, who would kidnap her in order to have power over Xuan Wu.  Of course, she also falls in love with Xuan Wu, though he is unable to touch her without draining her Chi (energy) and killing her.  She loves the daughter as her own, and swears to protect the daughter with her life.

One of the great things about diving into a good set of books is the inspiration, that can be drawn from them.  This is a story told from Emma’s point of view, and she describes all of the Immortals, the Shen, the Retainers, the Dragons, all the great characters from Chinese mythology (including the Jade Girl, the Golden Boy, Bai Hu the White Tiger, and more), and the traditions surrounding the mythical world opened up for her.  She describes a gown worn during a magnificent event; a black Cheongsam with a high Mandarin collar, and golden chrysanthemums embroidered in the silk.

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The Dark Heavens Cheongsam is a semi-formal dress with three-quarter sleeves, made from the finest pixel silk, and embroidered in golden flowers.  It’s a gown that accentuates and showcases your figure while giving you a regal appearance.  It’s available in six beautiful jewel-tones, and materials enhanced to really make the embroidery pop.

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Dark Heavens Cheongsam is available at Avatar Bizarre’s Marketplace Store and inworld.

Chinese Dragons go RAR! New Traditional Chinese Apparel

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The legendary Chinese dragon is a powerful creature.  It generally controls water and air; holds court over all rivers and streams, controls rain and floods, and brings good luck to people.  It is a symbol of power and strength to the worthy.  It flies across the sky through sheer will alone; it has no wings.  Dragons are often depicted in artwork, and you will often find them on clothing, which brings us to the Tianlong Cheongsam by Avatar Bizarre.

The short Cheongsam jacket is a traditional garment, usually made from silk or satin, and almost always brocaded in luscious, detailed designs.  Tianlong means “Flying Dragon”, and it is heavily featured on this short jacket.  Available in several colors, there is a male version and a female version.  Both come in standard mesh sizing.  Even though it is rigged, it has Modify and Copy permissions, like most of the items from Avatar Bizarre.  It is also Materials Enhanced, so the dragon design pops if you have Advanced Lighting enabled in your viewer.

These are currently available on the Marketplace and inworld at the Main Store Location.

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Women have a choice between the short jacket, and a gorgeous long Cheongsam gown.  These traditionally have a stiff upright collar, and frog closures.  They can have long sleeves (generally for more formal occasions), or short sleeves, which is the version available at the store now.  The Cheongsam dress is a versatile garment that can come in long and short versions, and will almost always have slits up the sides for greater leg movement.

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The Dragon Cheongsam is a traditional short sleeved gown, available in several colors, and Materials Enhanced.  This gown will look stunning on anyone who wears it, giving its wearer a stately and demure air.  Like the Tianlong Cheongsam, this dress has a dragon motif, in golden threads.

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Modify and Copy.  Standard rigged mesh sizing.  Please try a demo first.