Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mermaid Entertainment – Discover Dance Troupes

Once you are a mermaid or merman in your virtual world – what sort of things might you do for entertainment?  One idea that has been getting increasingly popular is to participate in a dance troupe show.

This week I've come across several wonderful examples of the “joy of mer” – centered on an international friendship, a dance troupe and an event we’d like you to invite you to come watch.

The Event: Elegant Sereia Third Anniversary Mermaid Show

Think of a major Disney production.  Imagine it with mermaids as the cast, fantastic costumes, special effects, music and lots of water. That is my best description of what the mermaids of Second Life are able to produce. Come and watch one this week! You can come dressed as mermaid or in any sort of avatar if you are still getting started.

Mark your calendar for July 27, 2013 and get out your international clocks. The tricky part is figuring out the local time for the show if you aren't used to international time zones. The show starts at 7:00 am Second Life time (SLT) which is the same as the pacific time zone in the USA. The early time is because this dance troupe is from Japan and the show is starting at 23:00 JST. It’s a compromise – the Japanese merfolk stay up late to perform, and if you are in California, as I am – we get up early to enjoy their art. Figure out your local time zone from there.

Believe me – this event is worth the time investment and the slight inconvenience of getting up early. I suggest you arrive at least a forty-five minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. This will get you a seat, as literally – seating is limited.  There are electronic constraints – a limit of how many avatars can be stacked into the region to watch. It is first come first serve – and you can be blocked from entrance once the sim is full. So on my clock (SLT or PST) I’ll be there no later than 6:15 am to get a seat and prepare myself.

Prepare for the Event

How does one prepare to attend such a show you might ask? It depends on one’s experience in-world.  I suggest there are three areas to prepare. First, the day before, verify that you can go in-world, walk around, and confirm you can hear sim music. Get your sound settings working is a very important part of preparing for a dance troupe event. There is a little music symbol at the top right corner of most of the viewers – click it to hear music. You may have to go into preferences to set up some things and also if having problems, it is a good idea to double check your volume controls. As always, I’m not going terribly deep into the technical side of things. Please refer to Thinkerer’s incredibly helpful web site:  Virtual Outworlding for help with the more technical side of things. I recommend figuring out your sound days before the event if you can – it’s no fun to be at the event and not hear the lovely music that goes along with the moves. And SL is so much more fun when you can enjoy the music and sounds.

Second, get your computer ready to view what you want to see at the venue. Once you are familiar with the software, you can control the camera angles on your computer. (look for camera controls in the menu to bring up a handy little box with obvious arrows for direction control) I can move my screen picture up and at just the right angle to get to see what I want. So no matter where I’m actually seated, I can move the camera around and get the view of my choice.  You can do this if you get there early – as the region become full – things slow down. This is called “lag”. Once it gets laggy, moving your camera becomes very difficult and frustrating. Arrive early - you will be glad you did. Perhaps arriving another fifteen minutes early would be a good idea – now I’m planning to arrive at 6:00 a.m. SLT to get just everything the way I want it. I have low lag tolerance.

Lastly, I recommend you dress simply. Oh mermaids and mermen are such vain creatures – we do delight in all the variety of attire, accessories, and magical additions like bubbles. Drop those when you are going to an event where you expect there to be a full house (or a full sim as we call it). You are there to see the show, NOT to be a showcase yourself. Be simple – it’s helpful to everyone including yourself.  I've been known to go bald in just a minimum of clothing (thankfully mer don’t have to wear that much (smile). Bald is a bit extreme. It is sort of the opposite of a real life (RL) special event – you don’t want to go dressed up to these events – it interferes with the technical needs of the show! Be a good citizen and improve the quality of the show for everyone – dress simply for an event like this one.

If you are still new – just go and enjoy. Get there a little early so you can figure out how to sit.  Sit back and enjoy what you can – I bet you will still have fun!

Enjoy the Event

Use this link to arrive at the starting point. From there, use the teleport system to arrive at their sky stage. Find yourself a seat, and enjoy the show! This one is expected to go on for an hour – usually with some breaks where you just relax and perhaps chat with someone near you.  Remember it is international though – so they may not speak your language. Usually at such an event there is one or two tip jars out for the performers and/or the venue. If you have managed to get yourself some lindens (the in-world money) – pay the tip jars a little please. It encourages the entertainers and helps the venues continue to be there for our enjoyment.

The Back Story:  More about Mermaid Dance Troupes

This post’s subject is about participating in mermaid dance troupes and I’ve spent most of our space here describing how you can participate by being a member of the audience. There are also opportunities to join a dance troupe in Second Life if you have the desire. Showing my age, I still think of the dance performances as “mer ballet” – they are doing synchronized swimming events (like at the Olympics!) but with much more variety and special effects utilized. In truth – there are legged dance troupes as well – but our focus is on the mermaid ones. If you have the interest and want to explore, they are out there!

I also happen to have the gadget that allows me to do small spontaneous synchronized swimming with mer friends. Don’t underestimate this fun – if you do it with a group of friends – it is soothing and oh so beautiful. And I’m sure the dance troupe’s would tell you it takes an incredible amount of work to choreograph their productions – and then of course there is the time commitment for practice and rehearsals. If you are into it, it can be an incredible amount of fun.  I sure do enjoy and appreciate the work that goes into these productions.

I’ll try to feature other performance troupes as I can in this blog. For now, let me drop a few names of known choreographers to investigate (in addition to the troupe doing the above performance, Elegante Sereia) – if you want more information:

Note Eel’s Club Mermaid dance troupe provided my foundational understanding of mermaid dance performances. She is also from Japan (RL) and regularly organizes events. Prissy Solvang (prissy206.hammand) has been known to choreograph some wonderful productions. Elleon Bergamasco has a dance troupe called Belly Up – it’s been years since I’ve seen them do something – but you never know!

The merrow of Avilion have been known to produce lovely dance events.  Look up Avilion (A Medieval Fantasy Role-play sim) and their Avilion-Merfolk group for more information.

This Week’s Celebrity Mermaid:  Angelina Becomes a Dancer

Before finishing this missive, let me share just one story of how one mermaid, Angelina Rennahan, was swimming through Second Life and came to discover a friend in Japan, and a passion for dancing in her new friend’s troupe.
Necklace of Friendship

Sitting in Angelina’s lovely in-world home this week, we talked about how she first met Siarl Shan and learned of the Elegante Sereia dance troupe. Angelina was shopping at one of her favorite mer stores, Tir-Na-Nog.  She purchased an outfit and was surprised to be contacted by the designer, Siarl Shan, with an improvement on the necklace that came with the outfit. They became acquainted and the necklace problem was resolved. Angelina got a very special necklace (she calls it her Necklace of Friendship) and Siarl also gifted her new friend with another beautiful tail she had designed. “We became close friends from then on,” Angelina told me.

Siarl Shan and her partner, Naotaro Wulluf, had founded the dance troupe, Elegante Sereia three years ago.  In fact, the performance we've invited you to above is part of the celebration of their 3 year anniversary of performances. Angelina became a dancer in the troupe (although not in this featured performance) – and if you are able to attend – you will be watching the magic the entire troupe has worked very hard to create.

I found the story touching and worth sharing with you dear readers.  First, fantastic customer service and attention to detail brought two mermaids (at heart) together across international distances difficult to imagine.  They have explored shared interests, had a lot of fun and now make these magical performances we all enjoy so much.  So, if you get a chance, take a moment to meet friendly Angelina Rennahan and discover what other joys she finds in the mermaid life.  A well established digital mermaid, Angelina owns a residential sim (Stella Mare Mer Sanctuary)  which hosts fun mermaid events. Angelina is definitely a good mermaid to meet in order to network and discover some great places to explore (or live) in Second Life.


I hope you have found this post helpful in starting a digital mermaid existence in Second Life.  We welcome comments below. Always learning – we are seeking to introduce you to the joy of mer.

Please come back to the Digital Mermaid blog ( for more information and suggestions. We would especially like to get your ideas on other topics we could share (email them to The goal is to get you one blog-post a week – on being mermaid in the virtual world!

Author: GraceSWF Wrigglesworth, SWF Founder and CEO

Second Life, Linden, SLurl, and SL are trademarks of Linden Research Inc.
This blog is not affiliated with Second Life or anything else.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Take The Plunge


So you've decided to try becoming a digital mermaid/merman in Second Life? This article is written from the perspective that you have already gone to, downloaded the software, signed in as a new member with your own unique mer name, chosen a legged avatar and gone through some of the newcomer orientation resources provided for those legged people. YOU, my soon to be friend, are ready to take the plunge!

With a minimum of description, let me give you a list of the things to do – to give you a good solid start on the process of becoming a mermaid or merman in Second Life. This is not meant to explain all the details of everything (they change often enough that you are better off discovering them in-world yourself). It is meant to give you direction. You will have to talk with other mers and read some of the materials prepared to get the detailed instructions. There is much more to do than this checklist, of course – this is meant as a guide to get you started.


1. JOIN THE SWF GROUP: Use the Second Life program search feature and find the Safe Waters Foundation group and the Safe Waters Foundation headquarters landmark. Hint: For some silly reason, sometimes our group doesn't pop up in search – the complete and correct name to use is !!!Safe Waters Foundation!!! – give that one a try. Once you have found the group information for Safe Waters Foundation (SWF for short), join by clicking on the join button. 

2. TELEPORT TO SWF HEADQUARTERS: You may have already discovered our headquarters in search. If not, get there now. Teleport to the headquarters location. You should land at the welcome desk. Get a copy of the SWF toolkit – it is on the desk and looks like a huge big tool box. You’ll have to open it to get some very helpful note cards and a few freebies. Headquarters is a place to find a lot of help – both in group chat and around the location. Walk around the building, and outside too. Be curious and explore!

3. FIND THE GIFT POOLS: While exploring- watch for the Safe Waters Foundation (SWF) gift pools (hint: outside the building by the amphitheatre). Inside the black pearls are free mermaid/merman tails. You can get the content from each of the pearls by clicking them and choosing to purchase each for zero $L (linden dollars – the currency in SL). Get all the mer tails that are in there. There is also a great self-help Guide for Young Mermaids (and Mermen) in the pools – authored by Leslie Beaumont. Grab her guide and all the other free gifts – they are great and fun to play with – but remember our focus right now is to transform you into a mermaid or merman. 

4. TRANSFORM: To be a mer you need a tail and an animation override (AO). There are free mer AO’s (stand alone, and some tails come with an AO included). If you get one of the free tails that doesn't have an AO with it, just look in inventory and you can wear a mer AO from one of the other free tails. When you are wearing both (AO and tail), look at yourself friend – you are transformed!

5. MOVE AROUND AND LEARN TO BE MER: Take some time now to swim around. Enjoy the beauty and get used to your new form. Are you having fun yet? Now, there is a lot more information to learn – many more options for you to become the mer of your dreams. My suggestion is to explore initially by yourself, and when you run into something that you just can’t figure out or you are ready to start asking more questions – it is time to find another mermaid or merman. 

6. FIND A MER FRIEND: The most frequent questions we get is “how do I find other mermaids and mermen?  There are many answers of course, as we are creative creatures. I suggest you send an instant message (IM) to the Safe Waters Foundation (SWF) group chat. You can also find other mer groups and mer sims by exploring the adboards on the walls of headquarters.  Teleport around until your find someone! Please join those other mer groups to find ones that fit your time zone and style.  SWF is currently the largest mer group in Second Life – which is why I suggest you first sending an IM into the SWF group chat to broadcast across many mer at once. Of course, be polite and don’t spam. You will find the majority of merfolk friendly and helpful. 

7. CONTACT A MER MENTOR: Another suggestion is to find a Mer Mentor – a section of headquarters will show you which if any are online. Mer mentors are experienced mer with the heart to help new merfolk. They are volunteers – if you will go to the Mentor desk you can see if they are online and contact them. One popular SWF Mer Mentor, Blithe Binder (blithe.lorefield) describes her approach:
When someone contacts me, the first thing I do is find out if it is a casual inquiry or if they are ready to take the plunge, so to speak. Usually it is the latter, so I get them signed up to the SWF group right away, and tell them that even if I'm not on when they have a question, they can always inquire in the group chat and everyone is so helpful. I also encourage them to attend the meetings. Then if they have time, I take them to find a free tail and AO, so they can get the feel of it. I "converted" three ladies the other night and every one of them loved the feeling, describing it as feeling so free. 
We explore the SWF Headquarters and I encourage them to always feel free to ask questions, and before they know it, they'll be zipping along through the seas reflecting their own personal mer style! - Blithe Binder, SWF Mer Mentor
So don’t be scared or shy, everyone comes to Second Life with a different set of skills and we want you to get the help you need. You can see which mentors are in-world behind our Mentor Desk at headquarters.

8. QUESTION AND KEEP LEARNING: The SL world is always changing, and there are an infinite number of possibilities of things to explore in SL. With regard to being mer, some questions to explore with your new friends would have to include:
a) Getting a better than free AO
b) Where to find freebies
c) Favorite designers and styles of tails
d) Resource sims, web sites and blogs
e) How to dance
f) Organizing your inventory
g) Where to role-play or any of the other activities possible in mer form (including snail racing, mer races, mer Olympics, group swims, explore the Blake Sea, whale and pirate adventures – it’s a long list!)
h) How to use outfits (free or purchased) to mix/match outfits and create your own unique style
I hope you have found this post helpful in starting a digital mermaid existence in Second Life. Some of us are serious mers (always wear a tail) and others find they enjoy using any number of avatars. You can be anything you want in SL. We welcome comments below and hope to improve this document over time. Every trip starts with a first step (or draft *smile*).

Please come back to the Digital Mermaid blog for more information and ideas. We would especially like to get your ideas on other topics we could share (email them to The goal is to get you one blog-post a week – on being a mermaid in the virtual world!

* There are lots of resources for finding help in Second Life.  You may want to explore much more than the merm option once you get there.  We highly recommend Selby Evan’s blog, Virtual Outworld to get a lot more very accurate and up to date information on using Second Life and other virtual worlds.  Here is his web link.

There is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) in the SWF information kiosks.  They are located near either of the main entryways.  The look like a little stand and have a topic showing on screen.  Use the buttons to click through all the offered information until you find the frequently asked questions screen.  Click the screen to receive a free note card on that topic.  If you don’t find what you want there – please do instant message (IM) or send a note card (NC) to myself (GraceSWF Wrigglesworth) so we can update!

Author: GraceSWF Wrigglesworth, SWF Founder and CEO

Second Life, Linden, SLurl, and SL are trademarks of Linden Research Inc.
This blog is not affiliated with Second Life or anything else.