Friday, May 30, 2008

Jazz Selections: 30's Jazz Clubs, Part 2 of 2

Hello again! Well, I'm dragging you (the interested reader) back even further from the great lounge era that Bennett was enjoying, back to the 1930's, with the second part of this series. Mr. Humphrey Bogart, and the legendary movie Casablanca has left its indelible mark on this era & genre of Jazz in SL. I was surprised to find how many Casablanca-related clubs there were in SL, similar but as always in SL, different. Without further ado, lets continue...



A bit non-descript, but part of its charm

Moonlight Club

This club is a small build, and it appears to be an homage build to the movie. Not much in the club beyond chairs, a bar (of course), and a nice outdoor walkway. However, for a quiet and romantic getaway, the Moonlight club is merits a visit.



The spartan interior - plenty of room to dance!

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Main fountain with the club's advert

Rick's Casablanca Dance Resort

This club has me a bit confounded. I've heard of clubs that have a "cover charge", but Rick's Casablanca Dance Resort was the first I actually visits that had one. Paid my token lindens to enter through the pink door (only L$ 10), and waltzed up to informational placards.



Area where the "cover charge" is requested

The build comprises of a Jazz dance area, and an adjoining more modern dance area. Focusing on the Jazz area, I do admit the build is nice, the floor is spacious, but... from a customer and a business viewpoint, I'm still stuck on the "cover charge".



Signs & maps of the area

With the multitude of clubs in SL, to require a "cover" to visit a club is either a means to discourage people from visiting (e.g. an exclusive organisation), or to control the number of visitor at the club. Both seem to be counter-intuitive to maximizing profitability in an SL club. I figure one would want to entice visitors to come to the club (especially new avs).



The large (and empty) ballroom)

I do wish them luck with their venture, but that was the last cover I'll be donating to Rick's Casablanca Dance Resort. There are a plenitude of other clubs in SL that are at least as good, with no entrance fee.

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Classic enterance area - Bespeaks well of the movie its from!

Rick's Cafe American

This club is a nice build, with an attractive entrance, large dance floor, bar (yay!), and a small beach overlooking sunsets (when properly rendered)!



The dance floor at Rick's Cafe American

Unfortunately, it was a bit empty the times I visited it, and had difficulties "nailing down" a schedule, so do consider a visit - it does have quite a bit of potential!

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Rick's

Speaking of potential, Rick's fits this category in so many ways. As part of Calibur's sim, Rick's is easily one of the most magnificent Jazz ballrooms I've encountered in SL.



Just inside the entrance to the main entrance area

Unfortunately, attending events is a vexing proposition - I've attempted to join its group a number of times, and dropping in at different RL times, but to my consternation, I have never seen any action at this club.



Stunning Ballroom at Rick's

Beautiful but empty - a sad state of affairs! Perhaps with a bit of luck I'll drop in when it is "hopping", but with my luck, I'm not counting on it!




"Hellooooo! Need a bit of happiness here! Hellooooo!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jazz Venue: Tony's Jazz Lounge

This time I'll be taking a look at Tony's Jazz Lounge. I found it via a Second Life™ chapter of the Lounge Lizards in Exile event. It was a Friday edition of the 2 Martini Lunch I believe. I followed the teleport link provided by the group announcement.

Sidebar: If you're not a member of the Lounge Lizards in Exile, perhaps consider joining. There are usually two weekly events: 2 Martini Tuesdays and the 2 Martini Lunch on Friday. Just search for the group and join. It's free. Also consider joining the group for Tony's Jazz Lounge for weekly announcements about what's happening at the club. It's definitely not spammy like some groups can be.

The teleport link deposited me right at the front door. The club is contiguous with the Rivers of Venus gardens (more on that later) in the sky, so lag is not as much of an issue as some other places. I took the pictures when no one was around, but even when packed out I found the lag tolerable on my decrepit hardware.

Tonys_001

To enter, one simply goes down the stairs. One comes to the bar first, but I'm going to skip that for now and go straight to the dance floor. The atmosphere is incredible. The place just oozes cool, even when its not busy. The blue cast is not from post processing, that's the way it really is. The normal music stream is the Martini In the Morning stream, however there are live events throughout the week of both music and stand up comedy.

Tonys_004

While I was there, I ran into the very friendly proprietor, Absolut Smirnov. She is most helpful. Thank you Absolut for letting me run all over your club and take lots of pictures!

Tonys_003

Now that I had a complete tour, it was time to head back to the bar. The bartender was quite skilled and could make an excellent Long Island Iced Tea. I better keep moving before they have to pour me out of here.

Tonys_006

Upon exiting the club, one finds themselves in the midst of the Rivers of Venus gardens. The gardens are a great place to find a secluded spot with your sweetie or just enjoy the scenery.

The scenery at Rivers of Venus:
ROV_007

A nice spot to relax:
ROV_008

A couple could make an entire, romantic evening out of dancing at Tony's Jazz Club and then lounging in Rivers of Venus.

Because it's not very common, and because I really like the idea, I'm sharing the URL for the Rivers of Venus blog outside Second Life™: http://www.riversofvenus.blogspot.com/ There you will find info about current events at Rivers of Venus and Tony's Jazz Lounge.

Until next time,

Bennett Smythe

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jazz Selections: 30's Jazz Clubs, Part 1 of 2



Overhead shot of Bogart's amazing dance floor

As I was relaxing to some music and cleaning up some entries in the other blog, I came across an old movie poster for "Casablanca". I would argue that this small but influential movie quite possibly defined exoticness and cool, during an era of global turmoil and upheaval.

Thinking this theme would be a good brief topic for Jazz clubs in SL, I popped in and began looking – and found a few… actually quite a few. As such, let me go over my finds and biased opinions…

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Outside the Cafe Casablanca

Café Casablanca



Looking towards the outside area of the dance floor

Starting with the Café Casablanca. I had actually visited it a bit before, and was a bit disappointed with the outside appearance. However, the interior of this small club was quite nice, with a good dance floor, stage, and outside area.



The main stage - where Miss Ballinger performs

The dress code is formal (no jeans), and smiled when I saw the advert for the "(practically) nightly song mimings of Miss BeeJay Ballinger". Many clubs have live entertainers, but I’m speculating that this is the first with (I’m assuming) a nightly torch singer – very nice.
I will have to make it a point to return and catch the lady’s performance!

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Jazz Club Casablanca

A pleasant surprise to me, the Jazz Club Casablanca is located in a skybox, and is heavily influenced by North African architecture. Well-built, albeit with a bit, shall we say "spectacular" colors, this club, it has a good sized dance floor, and private niches for moments away from the dance floor.



The Jazz Club Casablanca's dance floor

The Jazz Club Casablanca uses a "Martini in the Morning" (MINM) feed, but alludes to having live music at times. I was unable to locate a schedule for performances, but if one desires a quick and smooth getaway, a visit here should do quite well.



Overlooking the misty sky...

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Casablanca Society Lounge

I was on a run of good luck, but when I arrived at the Casablanca Society Lounge, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. It houses a large dance floor, but I was in the middle of a 80’s theme, a rave, or something along those lines. Not much Jazz (ok – none that I could ascertain), which was a let down, as the individuals there were quite nice.



A small group of friendly and dedicated patrons - not enjoying Jazz, I can assure you!

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Side view of Bogart's main entrance

Bogart’s

For last, the largest 30’s era club, and possibly one of the largest in SL, Bogart’s. Essentially a sim that encompasses this entity, Bogart’s is an amazing place to enjoy Jazz. Though it uses a MITM feed, it has numerous qualities that set it apart from other clubs.



One of the two bars at Bogart's

Perhaps the best quality is the ambiance. The build is spectacular (as can be seen from the dance floor photo), the hosts are quite friendly (and astute – even though I tried to sneak in a few times without their seeing me, I have always been greeted politely), the shopping area is extensive, and though it uses the old ani-balls for dancing, they suffice well enough.



Dancing with my dear Artesia on the floor

The only complaint I have is one that affects any successful club, and is the nemesis of every av – lag. It can be chokingly slow at times, so if you do visit, I might recommend some off frame or just be prepared for some thick lag (at times).



Two bars, no waiting...hmmmmm

Still, this is minor to the high quality build, active events, great hosts, and era-appropriate décor and atmosphere. It is one of the best 30’s era Jazz clubs, and most certainly one of the most popular Jazz clubs in SL – deservedly so!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jazz Venues: Halfnote Jazz Club

Greetings! First, a small introduction. I am Bennett Smythe and I am a Second Life® jazz and blues fan. Rafael has very kindly invited me to share some of my impressions of SL jazz clubs that I visit. Thank you, Rafael, for allowing me to do this.

The Halfnote Jazz Club is the first jazz club that I ever visited in the Second Life® virtual world. It's the place where I was introduced to the wonderful SL jazz culture. I have returned many times since to just enjoy the ambiance and dance with my sweetheart. I found the place through search while looking for jazz clubs. The music the club plays is the Martini in the Morning stream. It's a great mix of vocal jazz and standards.

In all the times I have visited the club has never been packed out like some others can be. A busy evening seems to be one or two other couples. I think it would be fair to describe the place as "intimate". This is a place I like to bring new residents precisely because it is kind of mellow. It seems to give them space and time to figure things out and ask questions without a million other things going on around them.

The arrival placed me right at the entrance. One can walk through the red-curtain door to go inside or walk around the building to go straight to the dance floor. There don't seem to be any sort of greeter or club staff. At least, when I have visited, no one representing the club was there. It's pretty easy to find one's way around though.

Halfnote_001

Once inside there are some nice corners to just chill out and chat with a friend.

Halfnote_002

The dance floor is spacious. There seems to be ever changing sets of couples dances that are set out as I've never seen them configured the same way twice. Indeed, when I visited to take the pictures there was only one slow dance set out. I didn't try setting out my own, so I'm not sure if that would be an option or not. There is a singles dance ball that is usually suspended over the middle of the dance floor.

Halfnote_003

Of course, there are several quiet corners to hang out with a special friend. There are even cuddle animations in some of the couches. Just perfect for a quiet evening with that special someone.

halfnote_004

A unique aspect of the Halfnote is the roof of the club. A quick jump up to the roof reveals another spot to chillax or to play some games.

halfnote_006

Hey, where's that bartender? Must be a self-serve place. Just put it on my tab.

halfnote_005

Until next time,
Bennett Smythe

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jazz Selections: New Jazz Clubs I



Entrance to Club Nouveau

Been giving consideration to the length and depth of the articles on Jazz After Midnight, and came to the decision that they may be a bit too long... and with the multitude of clubs in SL, perhaps allowing a reader to make their own judgement on them would be the best method of bring light to them. As such, I'll attempt to focus on the bring to light more clubs, and let the readers make their own opinions (of course, feel free to post said opinions about any clubs you may have visited)! I'll start with a few new clubs I've visited in SL...
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[Ed. note - There will still be longer reviews, but I hope to at least provide a glimsp into more clubs.]

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Club Nouveau


Main Dance Floor

A nicely designed venue, the Club Nouveau has a formal air to it, but is well built and looks to be a relaxing place to enjoy an evening with a partner, or just a good friend. Being a "skybox" type of build, the lag is less than many areas, allowing one to suffer less with jerky dances and odd movements.


The adjoined dining area to Club Nouveau

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The Glass Slipper


Main Stage of the Glass Slipper

A very new club (opened on the 9th of May), the Glass Slipper is a simple but elegant build, with an adjoining deck, and an associated merchant area just down the path (left to the dance floor, right to the stores upon arrival via tp). An events board is posted at the entrance, allowing a quick check of times for events at the Glass Slipper.


Overview of the Glass Slipper's main dance floor

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Rhapsody in Blue


Logo of Rhapsody in Blue

Found Rhapsody quite by accident, but after visiting it a few times, I've been quite impressed with a it, for a number of reasons. First, it focus on Jazz and Blues specifically. Many larger venues need to add different genres of music to maintain profitability - but Rhapsody in Blue makes it a point of staying within the Jazz/Blues world.


View of the dance floor...

Second, the owner, Mr. Dweedle Coronet, is an experienced venue owner, having transition to a smaller locale for personal reasons. Quite an amiable fellow, if you do come across him, he'll be most helpful with anything you might need.


.... followed by another (from Rhaposdy in Blue's official site)

Finally, Mr. Coronet has begun something that for some strange reason, very few club and lounge owners have done - started their own blog for their business. Aside from the Blue Fusion, I don't know of any other club (aside from these two), who make use of a blog to promote their investment. Odd not to take advantage of it, but... if you wish to visit Rhapsody in Blue's blog, please go to ...


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Jazz Venues: Jezebel's Jazz Club



Jezebel's Jazz Club

During my travels for new places as of late, it seems as if I’m been stumbling upon tropical lounges – not that’s a bad thing, but a coincidence that I tp’ed upon Jezebel’s Jazz Club.



Leaving the arrival shack...

At first, one arrives in a bamboo hut, which has a usual notecard/landmark distributor. However, I grinned upon reading the note, as it explained the background of Jezabel’s…



Expansive floor - guess I arrived a bit too early (not even happy hour)!

Essentially, the original owners of Caribbean Breeze’s Jazz Club, Mr. Cooter Coorara & Ms. Jezebel Dunheved explained the growing success of the original club, and how RL began to intrude on their SL, so they sold it to new owners at the beginning of 2008.



A beautiful waterfall away from the main floor

However, Jezebel loved the small club on the Whanganui sim, so Cooter kept it, and renamed it after her. (Oddly enough, itunes just kicked in "The Look of Love" by Billy May – another coincidence, go figure). In the narrative, it states …



Attempting to do my Dean Martin impression (not quite as good as il Mastero, I can assure you!)

"Jezebel’s is a dedicated Jazz club and open to the public. We have no shopping mall, sploders, or any schlock to detract from your enjoyment. And of course there is the jazz. We play smooth, romantic jazz exclusively."

Can’t ask for more in a jazz club… and it is quite the club. The little hut will take you directly to the main dance floor, a cozy environment that has a number of traditional dance balls, and a piano, among other things. However, there are paths that’ll take you to other sections, like the waterfall, a beautiful sight of the water, or floating circles on the edge of the water, with a singe set of dance anis – for romantic moments.



Another shot of the floor

The build is well done – the tropical theme, including foliage, the floor are all good. This club uses danceballs, but they are quite sufficient.



Photo of the same couple deep in IM...

One of the pleasures of visiting the multitude of jazz clubs in SL is the opportunity to see the creativity involved with design and operation of relaxation areas. Many individuals who make their mark in SL take their goods and disappear into the ether. I’m glad that Mr. Coorara and Ms. Dunheved didn’t. Jezebel’s is a beautifully rendered and classically romantic Jazz lounge in SL – most certainly meriting a visit with that special someone.



Hey - whadda mean I"m 86'd? I'm perfectly fine, really!