Saturday, March 31, 2012

Seven Nights, Seven Clubs - Starfall

The second in my series of "Seven Nights, Seven Clubs" features a place that's dear to my heart, for several reasons.  I got my start as a SecondLife DJ there, and, uncommon in SL, this club was a true product of "community," forged by a group of like-minded individuals who suddenly found their favorite dancing and socializing venue closing down, and decided to build their own.

Starfall 3.0, The Refuge of Awesome, today
The place?  It's "Starfall", now celebrating nearly four years of existence, and going strong, despite humble roots and a spontaneous "birth" from an unfortunate circumstance.

Some will remember "The Wharf", a venue operated by Finnegan Chesnikov and Chester Howley, several years ago, and which became popular almost overnight, with a crowd of cantankerous "regulars" who made our hours of dancing and conversation a real treat, with events often evolving into pure fun, like running popgun battles and silly avatar distortions and clowning-around of the first order.  Go AFK in this crowd, and you usually found yourself returning to an avatar 20 meters underwater, pushed offshore by the pranksters who'd let no opportunity for such mischief go unattended.

When the Wharf was suddenly closed, this little group of alternative music fans and creative minds were adrift, and promptly decided, practically within an afternoon, to "roll our own" club, and continue our gatherings in a venue of our very own.

The usual questions ensued.   Where do we go?  This was quickly solved by the donation of a bit of land from Koen Whitfield, longtime "kliraton" sim owner and operator of "Camerade", a beautifully crafted Neko-centric sim and shopping venue.   What do we call it?  Well, that came about in a funny and interesting way.

My memory of "the day" of Starfall's creation is scrambled... it was a mad, two-day rush, with Kyne Tigerpaw and myself and a relatively new resident and budding DJ, Merrick Ying, as the key "builders" in the effort, Kyne constructing the main structure of the build, and myself and Merrick Ying adding many decorative textures, plants and trees, and a water-feature consisting of a waterfall into a pool, with stars afloat in the moving water.

Easter 2010 at the original Starfall
The donated land was basically a "hole in the ground", a sim anomaly that had long eluded repair despite tickets submitted to The Lindens to get the sim fixed so this "hole" could be returned to ground level.  We took advantage of the anomaly to build a multi-level structure with a basement "playroom" below, a prim deck for the main club floor surface, and an open structure resembling the "ruins" of a cathedral, all nestled against a Linden-land "wall" that was artfully covered with a literal "Starfall", a moving water cascade with stars in the water textures.  It was stunning in its simplicity, openness to the sky and surroundings, and uncluttered surrounds that allowed free-camming and easy viewing of the participants and guests.  Artfully placed rocks and structural elements hid the unsightly "hole", and another "glitch" in the sim gave the place its name.

The Elf Himself - Dehrynn Shepherd

Starfall owner/proprietor Dehrynn Shepherd, who appears as a Goth Elf in SecondLife, is Starfall's mentor and the chief motivator of the effort.  Dehrynn attempted to "terraform" a portion of the glitched sim, and a huge protuberance of land suddenly sprang up, a phallic column of dirt that would not, could not, be resolved.  We jokingly referred to it as the "land erection", and I still have, and wear, my "Erector of Starfall" tag as a charter member of the Starfall group.  The donated bit of land resembled the impact crater of a meteor, and Dehrynn's penchant for all things Elven resulted in the name: Starfall.  It fit, it stuck, and it's "awesome".

Starfall's now in its third reincarnation, and the present-day build is every bit as pleasing to the eye and senses as the original.  Simple, open-air dance area surrounded by stone "ruins", now occupy a full quarter-sim parcel, with beautiful tropical foilage and an ocean view out the end of the dance-floor, the "club" is still simple, elegant, and beautifully uncomplicated, no spinning prim-lights, eye-blistering animated textures or other trappings that make eye fatigue and cam-traps an exhausting feature of many excessively decorated venues.  (Pardon my editorializing, but it's a sore point with me... club designers so often fail to remember their audience, and decorate their otherwise well-designed "builds" with such an excess of "clubby" crap like spinning spotlights, laser beams, garishly animated floors, and the like, that the experience of being in the club is nearly seizure-inducing, and tipping, perv-camming, and interacting with contest boards, is nearly impossible, frustrating, and distinctly un-fun!)

The Flaming Penis of Love, Donate to the Penis!

Starfall boasts many "quirky" features that grew out of the twisted minds of the "regulars" who frequent the place, such as the "flaming torch" donation kiosk that's now become a flaming penis rock sculpture... help the club, sacrifice to the penis!  The crowd at Starfall on any given night or afternoon is comprised of wit, intelligence, delicious perversion, sexy appearances, and oozing with the "base metal" of which Starfall has been forged... it's called "Awesome".   "The Refuge of Awesome" is Starfall, and if you know you've got some "awesome" in you, you'll feel right at home there!

Starfall today is still going strong, and remains one of the best "starter" venues for those interested in launching a DJ career in SL.  Many of the regular DJ's at Starfall have gone on to play other venues, including Dehrynn himself, as well as Kaj Juutilainen, Merrick Ying (who's making a name for himself in BoysTown, these days), Dov Watanabe (in my opinion one of the best DJ's, with the most stunning music collections, in SL), myself, and others.  The ambience of Starfall is tolerance, conversation (often pretty "out there" and delightfully twisted), and fun.  The music's varied but mainly focused on alternative and modern rock and pop, with emphasis on "dark" or Gothic rock, metal and trance.

Starfall remains a stunning destination club for those who crave a little of the less-urban environment, the alternative music stylings, and the nearly gesture-free conversational style of clubbing.  If you haven't been, make it a "must-see" on your pub-crawling schedule.  I'm betting you will not be disappointed, and will spend many hours enjoying what this little club has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Mikey! I'm truly honored. And I'll keep leaving my bedroom curtains open while undressing just in case my favorite neighbor happens to peek in . :-)

    ALso, great information about Starfall's back story. I didn't know about the place's roots until now. All the folks like you and Dehr and Kyne and Merrick really have made this labor of love into a special place.