Monday, May 4, 2009

Grand Opening "Bring Back the Bards" an Incredible SUCCESS!!

Virtual Chelsea Bohemians filled the Lyseum Lounge to be a part of this groundbreaking event, and filled the entire Sim as well.

From 12-7pm. SLT (Second Life Time, add 3 hours for EST) it seemed to be the hottest ticket on the grid as the Sim stayed nearly full for all 7 hours!!!!!

The night kicked off with Mykal Skall reading a prepared statement from the RL (Real Life) Residents of the Hotel Chelsea, who run the Hotel Chealsea Blog , the statement was:

"We at the Chelsea Hotel blog would like to thank Mike for all of the hard work he's put in on creating the beautiful virtual Chelsea Hotel. This really helps to draw attention to the issues surrounding the hostile takeover of the Hotel by the minority shareholders and their continued attempts to evict residents and demolish important historical structures throughout the hotel. By going online and continuing the traditions of the Chelsea at the virtual chelsea hotel you too can support us in our struggle. Someday we hope to welcome you here in person and open up the doors of the Chelsea to the creative people who have always dreamed of coming here. Long live the Chelsea Hotel! Bring Back the Bards!"

Amazing spoken word and poetry followed, from some of the most talented writers in Second Life.

Mykal Started the event by reading several of his original poems relating to New York City and the Chelsea Hotel, followed by the emotionally charged prose of Kitviel Silberberg. The final pieces of original work were written and read by NYC's very own Pooky Amsterdam, who read two pieces from her suite of work written about life in a virtual world. Pooky is also resident of the SL Chelsea who spent a lot of time hanging in and around the RL one, including being part of the scene there the day that Andy Warhol died. Due to a cancellation, Mykal then read two pieces from former hotel resident Leonard Cohen. All poets were met with rousing applause.

Next on stage was Ms. Phiona Ember who played a set of cover tunes transformed to the Phiona style, she even made a Miley Cirus song sound fit for the Chelsea crowd. The highlight of her show was the performance of her own composition, that was simply stunning.

The satin voice of Moondoggirl Moomintoog was to follow, but due to so many people being there, and technical difficulties, she didn't get to play her entire show. But what we did get to hear was fantastic. Moon seemed to carefully pick her setlist for the night, to fit the Chelsea Hotel history, and included a cover of former resident Bob Dylan that seemed to transform it into her own. We can't wait to have her back without the stress of the tech problems.

The beautiful baritone Lauren Weyland had the place in stitches as usual sporting bright yellow spandex, and taking jabs at RL and SL subjects as varied as Marlene Krauss, Virtual Sex, Elderly Valley Girls.

Back to spoken word we were treated to the works of Rosedrop Rust, House Ragu, Klannex Northmeade, Skylar Smythe, CorvusPDX Noble, Gwenette Writer, a veritable smorgasborg of SL poetic talent. House's performance of his work was incredibly fit for the venue, and brought to mind whisps of Keroauc and Ginsberg. Skylar also chose to open with her intense slam poem "Bunny Boiler" and followed with surprisingly non-erotic original works. (Skylar is one of SL's best known erotic poets). If you've not heard Klannex, "Rusty", Corvus, or Gwenette, do yourself a favor and attend their next events, as always it was memorable.

Multitalented Rosedrop Rust then put on his musician hat, and treated the crowd to a great mix of originals and covers, highlighted by his talents on not only guitar, but keyboards, and drew the crowd in like moths to a flame.

Treating the crowd to the true storyteller experience, Whirli Placebo painted a picture with every song he sang. Drawing from a catalogue of work dating as far back as the 1800's, he led the gathered bohemians through an hour of time, space, and emotion. This was a true singer/songwriter experience that will not soon be forgotten.

Moxy Barracuda admitted that he had read the sign stating that we at the Lyceum don't usually allow artists who use backing tracks, but that it was all his original music, and it was well received, and sounded great, but Moxy then turned us all on our heels, buy taking up guitar and keyboard, and performing stripped down and emotional versions of his originals which were very good, and very fitting for the night.

Closing out the night, Mykal took the stage as a recording played of Herbert Huncke talking about his take on the term "Beatnik", as this ended the first chords of Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" began to fill the room as a fitting opener for Mykal's act. Telling the story of arriving at the Chelsea Hotel for the first time, taking out his acoustic guitar, and playing, while thinking "Wouldn't it be amazing if someone living in this historic building heard my music through the walls?" he then said that "for those people out there who think that Second Life is "just a game", here's proof to the contrary." "Because of SL, people in the real hotel have heard me, and are hearing us now, and we hope that the rest of the word hears us too, and it helps in some small way to bring attention to the current situation at the hotel, and someday soon they bring back the Bard family." Mykal thanked those listening at both the RL and SL Chelsea and stated that he was "Extremely humbled" by the buzz and attention that this small gesture of his is attracting.

Sometime during the night, an impromptu performace began by Buck Sideshow, as the Chelsea crowd didn't want to give up the night.

Hey baby, there's noise on 23rd. Street, both of them.


Pooky Amsterdam said...

It was with great heartfelt joy I was there, the Chelsea Hotel has been a part of my life for ages. I lived in Grennwich Village till I was 11, at which point my parents looked to move to Chelsea. I remember we even thought about living there, and one night we all sat in Stanely's office and there was a giant round painting on the ceiling, with the sky and I thought fishes. I didn't want to appear rude, it was almost like we were being interviewed, but I couldn't help but keep staring up at this marvelous piece of work. I remember thinking, "He has this artwork on the ceiling, how cool is that!" And despite myself keep rolling my eyes upwards to glance at it. The rest of his office was a bit, cluttered and he had mounds of paper seemingly spilling over his desk.
There was of course a lot of art in the lobby, and the great marble piece which hangs over the fireplace and has been so faithfully recreated has never lost its beauty as it has gained patina over the years.
We got however a small brownstone townhouse, a few blocks away on 20th street. My family went out quite a bit to the restaurant in the hotel, El Quixote whose walls were covered with deep orange paper and the brushwork which shows a pattern of Don Q and Sancho Panza in a very late 50's style.
My first date as a teenager was there, and it felt so grown up to be there for dinner without my parents for once.
I have fallen in love, lust and broken hearts at the Hotel Chelsea. I was in a movie, and stayed wiht the director in a room there for weeks.
I was there the night Warhol died and we sat in the back at the white clothed tables drinking rum and cokes and whispering. The usual clatter of so many platters of paella and grilled shrimp (delicious!) not in evidence as everyone, including the waiters seemed to be holding their breaths. For what, we didn't know, maybe we were waiting for Andy to show.
And when my own dear Mother passed away in July of 2007, it was where I went to raise a cosmo to her memory with her best friend. Fitting, we had had so many great times there over the years.
More recently, a few weeks agao I went to drop off some prints for a friend who lives there, we drank recently at the bar at the El Quiote, talking about the life he had as a young artist in Manhattan and I will most likely return soon.
All of these memories, all of this life itself really is made so beautiful Mykall, and I think you so much for recreating a place where I feel so very much at home. It is a rare and special spirit you have captured in your build, and one that is there because you have also the very spirit of you in your soul. So I have commented on your blog, because it is because of you, I am here.
See you at the Chelsea, my SL home now. Thank you

Russell Boyd said...

It was a great event, thanks Mykall, and Skylar for hosting.

We managed to get about 40mins of readings before going to film the journalist, which is on Vimeo

This was as well as the short Youtube version