Monday, January 30, 2012

Dieselpunk Masters: Mr. Alexey Lipatov, Dieselpunk Artist



One of the great developments of the Dieselpunk era is the outstanding poster art - always an easy sight to enjoy and inspire.  There are a handful of modern artists who have the talent and vision to emulate the style of the era - one of my favorites is a superb gentleman named Mr. Lipatov.




Mr. Lipatov is a bit of an enigma, as the extent of the information I was able to divine is from his location on Deviant art.  However, his outstanding work is amazing to behold.  He has a knack for melding genre vehicles (e.g. trains, airships, hovercars), with lovely ladies (including a few risque works on his Deviant art page)...




I would certainly recommend a trip to his virtual outpost, to see more of his amazing works!  To do so, please follow the link, and you will be agog at the work!  His locale is found at: http://lipatov.deviantart.com/
Do enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jazz Venue Review: Jazz Music - Music World


Hello again!  Well, back after a bit of a trying week (the wonderful work/school combination), and a bit of introspection (yet again) on the SL JAM.  I have been hoping to highlight numerous clubs in SL, but unforgivably, I've become a bit wordy over time.  So, in hopes to "cover more ground", I'll be cutting down the review for most clubs I visit.  Realistically, there are only some basics that visitors want, and I'll hope to address them, while trying to highlight the good clubs (and warn about the not-so-good clubs in SL).



The reviews will be shorter... and ideally more frequent.  I'll still keep on with the "Big Jazz" artilcles once or twice a month.  They'll be a bit longer... after all, the idea is to eyes the larger Jazz clubs in SL.  Still, there are really some simple questions (I postulate) people have about a SL Jazz venue, such as:

1) What's the joint like?  Is it a busy lag fest, or is it a quiet and secluded location?
2) Do they mostly play Jazz, or is the term used as a key word search?
3) If they do play Jazz, what kind of Jazz?
4) Do they have live performers?
5) Where is it at?
6) (Finally) - what do you think of the place?


As a segue, I'm starting the new reviews with Jazz World - which is ironically the same build as my own Empire Jazz Club (by the lovely Miss Blue Jishnu).  This is the full sized version of the club, with a few tweaks (including the giant sax just outside)!  It has a smooth Jazz feed, but I didn't see any live performance offerings at Jazz Music - Music World.  Not a bad location, though I'm a bit biased toward my (almost identical club)! To pay it a visit, please turn to: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Music%20World/201/207/42.
Remember, stay cool, hep cats!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Classic Jazz overview...


Andrej Hermlin, and his Swing Dance Orchestra (date unknown)


(Note: This is a reprint from my submission to the Dieselpunk wikipedia, so not much has changed, but do consider paying it a visit, at: http://dieselpunk.wikia.com/wiki/Dieselpunk_Wiki!)

The foundation of what might be called the "sound track" of the Dieselpunk genre is Jazz music, the most pervasive and best known genre of music of the 1920s through the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Having its roots in the New Orleans music scene, the Jazz genre began to emerge after World War I, and with the help of new technology (radio), became known throughout the United States.  This being said, there are numerous variations of Jazz which were popular in the different eras of Dieselpunk, but the best known are…




1920's

Hot Jazz 
Circa 1925, Louis Armstrong recorded his first Hot Five records - the first time he recorded under his own name. The records made by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven are considered to be absolute Jazz classics and speak of Armstrong's creative powers. The band never played live, but continued recording until 1928.
The music was characterized by collective improvised solos, around melodic structure, that ideally built up to an emotional and "hot" climax. The rhythm section, usually drums, bass, banjo or guitar supported this crescendo, many times in the style of march tempo. Soon, larger bands and orchestras began to emulate that energy, especially with the advance of record technology, that spread the "hot" new sound across the country.


Chicago Style Jazz
Chicago was the breeding ground for many young, inventive players. Characterized by harmonic, inovative arrangements and a high technical ability of the players, Chicago Style Jazz significantly furthered the improvised music of it's day.
Contributions from dynamic players like Benny Goodman, Bud Freeman and Eddie Condon along with the creative grooves of Gene Krupa, helped to pioneer Jazz music from it's infancy and inspire those who followed.




1930's

Swing 
The 1930s belonged to Swing. During that classic era, most of the Jazz groups were Big Bands. Derived from New Orleans Jazz, Swing was robust and invigorating. Swing was also dance music, which served as it's immediate connection to the people.
Although it was a collective sound, Swing also offered individual musicians a chance to improvise melodic, thematic solos which could at times be very complex.
The mid 1990's saw a revival of Swing music fueled by the retro trends in dance. Once again young couples across America and Europe jitter-bugged to the swing'n sounds of Big Band music, often played by much smaller ensembles.

Kansas City Style Jazz
During the Depression and Prohibition eras, the Kansas City Jazz scene thrived as a mecca for the modern sounds of late 1920s and 30s. Characterized by soulful and blusey stylings of Big Band and small ensemble Swing, arrangements often showcased highly energetic solos played to "speakeasy" audiences.

Gypsy Jazz
Originated by French guitarist Django Reinhardt, Gypsy Jazz is an unlikely mix of 1930s American swing, French dance hall "musette" and the folk strains of Eastern Europe. Also known as Jazz Manouche, it has a languid, seductive feel characterized by quirky cadences and driving rhythms.

The main instruments are nylon stringed guitars, often amounting to a half-dozen ensemble, with occasional violins and bass violin. Solos pass from one player to another as the other guitars assume the rhythm. While primarily a nostalgic style set in European bars and small venues, Gypsy Jazz is appreciated world wide.




1940's


Bebop
Bebop (or Bop) was developed in the early 1940's and had established itself as vogue by 1945. It's main  innovators were alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

Until then, Jazz improvisation was derived from the melodic line. Bop soloists engaged in chordal improvisation, often avoiding the melody altogether after the first chorus. Usually under seven pieces, the soloist was free to explore improvised possibilities as long as they fit into the chord structure

Differing greatly from Swing, Bop divorced itself early-on from dance music, establishing itself as art form but severing its potential commercial value. Ironically, what was once thought of as a radical style, Bebop has become the basis for all the innovations that followed.





The Dave Brubeck Quartet

1950's 


Cool Jazz
Cool Jazz evolved directly from Bop in the late 1940's and 1950's. A smoothed out mixture of Bop and Swing, tones were again harmonic and dynamics were now softened. The ensemble arrangement had regained importance.
Nicknamed "West Coast Jazz" because of the many innovations coming from Los Angeles, Cool  became nation wide by the end of the 1950's, with significant contributions from East Coast musicians and composers.

Mainstream
After the end of the Big Band era, as these large ensembles broke into smaller groups, Swing music continued to be played. Some of Swing's finest players could be heard at their best in jam sessions of the 1950s where chordal improvisation now would take significance over melodic embellishment.
Re-emerging as a loose style in the late '70s and '80s, Mainstream Jazz picked up influences from Cool, Classic and Hardbop. The terms Modern Mainstream or Post Bop are used for almost any style that cannot be closely associated with historical types of Jazz music.

Hard Bop
Hard Bop (1955-70) is an extension of Bebop that was somewhat interrupted by the Cool sounds of West Coast Jazz. The melodies tend to be more "soulful" than Bebop, borrowing at times from Rhythm & Blues and even Gospel themes. The rhythm section is sophisticated and  more diverse than the Bop of the 1940's. Pianist Horace Silver is known for his Hard Bop innovations.

By the mid 1960's, Hard Bop had  split into Post Bop,  Modal Jazz and Soul Jazz. Hard Bop emerged as a major influence again in the early 1990's.


A lot of the aforementioned list seems a bit technical, but most people actually recognize more versions than they realize.  From Louis Armstrong's Hot Jazz of the Roaring 1920s, the Swing tunes of the Depression and World War II era, or the Cool Jazz found in many Film Noir productions, Jazz permeates the Dieselpunk genre.  With the advent of Electro-swing, new life has been infused into the classics of the era, but one can always hear a bit of the past in the new works!  For more information about Jazz history of the era, please visit…

References:
Jazz Timeline, A Pasison for Jazz website, located at: http://www.apassion4jazz.net/timeline.html
(The main reference for this entry)
Wikipedia web entry on Jazz, Wikipedia website, located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz
A history of Jazz, HistoryJazz website, located at: http://www.historyjazz.com/
Burns, K.,, "Jazz", PBS.org, located at: http://www.pbs.org/jazz/

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Dieselpunk Wikipedia!


Just a quick break between articles... received wind from Dieselpunks.org that there is a sadly neglected Dieselpunk wikipedia, just waiting for articles to be added!  If you are adverterous, and wish to make your mark in the genre, please do pay a visit and add your two cents!  It is located at: http://dieselpunk.wikia.com/wiki/Dieselpunk_Wiki - See you there!

Friday, January 20, 2012

RIP: Etta James


Sadly, one of the greatest voices of Jazz passed away today, one of America's greatest chanteuses, passed away from renal failure today, at an ever young 73.   Fortunately, she gravitated towards Jazz in her later years, and left an indelible mark on the Jazz genre.  As with all legendary voices, hers will be missed - RIP.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Big Jazz in SL: Foxxies Jazz


Ages ago, when the SL JAM was "young", I envisioned writing a series on the larger Jazz clubs in Second Life.  Alas, due to circumstances, I never approached this goal, focusing on smaller venues which caught my eye.  So, turning over a new leaf this year, I'll work towards that goal, ideally reviewing at least ten major Jazz establishments in Second Life, in a series I call "Big Jazz".  I will start out with the first entry, which turns out to be quite easy - reviewing Foxxies Jazz Club!



The entrance foyer to Foxxies Jazz

Foxxies is, in my opinion, one of the top venues to enjoy Jazz music in Second Life.  The arrival point (for TPs) is an excellent introduction to the club.  It may look a bit busy at first, but it has information stands in four languages, a balloon ride and a horse & carriage a quick jaunt, and two sets of formal attire (one for gentlemen, another for ladies), for those who may not have dressed up for the visit.



A huge interior awaits!

The interior is very spacious - as one can see from the still shot just above.  The dance mechanisms are easily located, plenty of space, and for a major Jazz venue, Foxxies has *plenty* of space, to indulge in a bit of dancing with your partner.



Sigh - Breezy is taking *forever* in the powder room!

The lag issue is a perennial concern of mine - though I realize that most major venues are helpless to effectively address it.  Foxxies, on the other hand, had essentially no lag, the three times I visited it for the review.



Enjoying the space to dance at Foxxies

There is a very large shopping area with fifteen (15), located right below the the main dance floor - a very clever design, as it saves space, but consolidates the merchants in an easy to visit area.  Plenty of well-known vendors (not overly familiar with lady's attire and designers, so I'm taking Breezy's word)!  There are also "specials" available only at Foxxies for the ladies (a small stand to the right, off the main vendor sign, so gents can send their special lady a gift)!



The live entertainers in "full swing"!  (oh, ok, bad pun)

The music feed is a smooth Jazz stream (Smooth Jazz 24/7), but they also have live talent perform musical selections.  When I visited, there was a live female Jazz chanteuse, who was taking requests for Jazz standards... and was exceptionally good!  (I've endured too many "singers" who need the proverbial "bucket" for their "talent").



A sweet peck from my lovely partner!

One additional note - the grounds surrounding Foxxies Jazz are replete with benches, waterfalls, relaxing seating areas... and plenty of Intan dance machines, so if you choose to avoid the main dance area, or just want to listen to some smooth Jazz in world, again, plenty of space available to do so!

So, the basics about Foxxies...
Music - A streamed Jazz feed, with a selection of live performers
Style - Mostly Art Deco, with some touches of Moderne thrown in, but well built (no random seams or bad texturing), and well decorated - the interiors are well coordinated and look excellent (mesh well with the Art Deco theme)
Traffic - Medium to Heavy... leaning on the medium side, but for the eleventh most visited Jazz club in Second Life, its amazingly lag free, which makes for an enjoyable experience.
Bottom Line - An emphatic "Yes"!  I liked it so much, that I've added it to my "favorites" sidebar for Jazz clubs to visit in SL... and I do encourage a stop by if you are in the mood to indulge in a bit of dancing, by following this SLurl to Foxxies...http://slurl.com/secondlife/ShadowFox/218/133/22
Do enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SL Art Deco Builders: Rashka's Repository



Finding a builder in Second Life who makes outstanding Dieselpunk and/or Art Deco builds is oddly enough a bit of a challenge. You might think that with all the straight lines, ease of making curves, that this architectural choice would be endemic in Second Life, but oddly... it isn't.  However, if one looks hard enough, you can always find gems - and I would say I've found one with Rashka's Respository!




Displaying all trademarks of Art Deco, bordering on Streamline Moderne, the Raska's Repository has an excellent selection of era designs, ready to adorn any genre sim, or your own private location with a touch of Dieselpunk style!




One nice aspect of Raska's Repository is the selection of non-building items, such as the "Fancy Park" above, or the "Fancy Gate Tower" below.  Much in the Art Deco tradition the austere geometric shapes are a welcome addition to SL design, and if one wants to add even more Deco touches (e.g. Sunburst designs, repeating chevrons, etc...) the builds are sold as Mod, so you can tweak to your heart's content!




If you are interested in seeing some of the builds in world, I'm afraid you'll be limited to the market, as their in-world location seems to be off-line (at least the last time I visited it, per the Marketplace link).  Still, with excellent mod builds at very reasonable prices, I do recommend a trip to their Marketplace store, located at: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/95705

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RL Men's Fashion - The 1940's

1940s Men's Fashion & Clothes -- powered by ehow

Came across this very intriguing video regarding men's attire in the 1940s - some basic tips on how one can establish that "classic look" - please do enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

SL Dieselpunk Merchants: Gorgon Motorcars



One of the notable icons of the Dieselpunk era is the emergence of automobiles.  Although many RL vehicles are exceptionally beautiful, SL has its own version of era vehicles, as demonstrated by the impressive vehicles designed and produced by Gorgon Motorcars, of Seraph City!




Mr. Nix Sands merges classic styling with the unique aspects of Streamline Moderne, and his own unique touch (as can be seen with the three wheeled "Tango Super Sport", above), to provide some of the most notable Dieselpunk vehicles in Second Life.




To take a peek at Gorgon Motorcars newest designs, catch a lift to Seraph City, where the dearlship is just outside the TP point, or.. visit his store on marketplace, at: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/13088

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jazz Venue Reviews: The Jazz Castle


To get back into the groove of reviewing Jazz locations, I'm starting off with Belac's Jazz Castle, the "Home of the Jazz Kings".  A new venue to me, I went with an open mind, and was very pleasenlty surprised with the Jazz Castle!



The main dance area is quite expansive, with plenty of room to grab a bit of space for you and your companion!  Don't mind the tinies - they don't take up much space...



The Main Stage had a nice setup, and from seeing the stage and placquards, they aside from their main smooth Jazz feed, they have live performances, including a Miss TweetyVon Wigglesworth, who specializes in swing tributes (a personal favorite genre of mine)!



I believe the photos on the back wall are further artists, though I hadn't seen any further information regarding them.  Still, there is plenty of seating to simply relax, enjoy some music, and perhaps play a game of "magic potions"...



So, the basics...
Music: Smooth Jazz feed via Sky.FM, but with additional guest performers (please visit for further details)
Style: Mostly Art Deco and some Moderne interspersed in the design... and the outside is, well... a castle!
Traffic: Light to Medium - the times I visited it wasn't too busy, but its traffic numbers are over 1000, so perhaps I simply pop in at the wrong times (lol)... Then again, no lag issues, which is *really nice*!
Bottom Line: I have to still catch a performance, but I liked the layout, the music was relaxing, I'm certain I will return in the future to The Jazz Castle!
To pay a visit, please follow this SLurl: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/BLEACS/162/183/30
... and do enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dieselpunk Music - Caravan Palace with "Suzy"


Between article posts, I will make a point of add a video or so, either highlight Dieselpunk era RL Jazz, or what is considered to be Dieselpunk music, which is often up to debate (as Steampunk music is).  However, I am quite a fan of the French group Caravan Palace, and the video for their release Suzy certainly highlights a number of Dieselpunk and era themes - please do enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Dieselpunk Encyclopedia


The beginning of 2012 saw the grand opening of a new repository for Dieselpunk information and lore - the Dieselpunk Encyclopedia!  This new endeavor, by Lord K and Mr. L. Amyett, is a central location where one can familiarize oneself with the fascinating world of Dieselpunk.  Along with the outstanding Dieselpunk.org website, Lord K's Dieselpunk blog, and Mr. Amyett's Dieselpunk blog, the Dieselpunk Encyclopedia is positive step towards the future of this breathtaking genre - do enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

... and now the details to the upgrade of the SL Jazz After Midnight!


Dieselpunk Babe, by *orlarose

Hello!   After a bit of an absence, I'm working toward revitalizing this small blog on Jazz, Dieselpunk, and Virtual Worlds, through its old name, SL Jazz After Midnight.  Here is some of the why's and what's coming in this blog… 




First, I enjoy Jazz.  I like to indulge in other types of music, and have been doing so quite frequently.  However. listening to Jazz has been something that I have taken for granted, especially the early classic Jazz artists (I'm quite a fan of Lionel Hampton, and enjoy my Pandora stream, listening to him while I write), and feel the need to return to those roots.  SL has plenty of Jazz venues, however, there are plenty that use it as a search "fish-hook", to attract traffic.  So as you arrive to what you may think is an enjoyable Jazz interlude, you actually end up rezzing in a "bar" with a DJ playing Sammy Hagar, talking about how much tequila she drinks in RL (/me rolls eyes), which can be frustrating.  Therefore, as the title implies, I'll visit venues, especially ones which refelct the Jazz era (say 1920 through the 1950s, to be generous - I also enjoy the Rat Pack's stylings, albeit it is on the "far edges" of Dieselpunk), and giving my impressions of the location.  If a place is good (or at least, if I like it), I'll say so - if it has nothing to do with Jazz, I'll give you the heads up on that as well!




Secondly, I am quite fond of the Dieselpunk era.  Not that I don't like Steampunk - I've been writing on it for over half a decade (the original Steampunk blog I deleted started in November of 2006, but as I can't "prove" I was writing on it then, I'll have to wait until May of 2012 to claim the "Half Decade" title of Steampunk blogging).  Still, I have an affinity for the era - social mannerisms, architecture, fiction, and many other aspects of the genre.  I don't know if the genre will grow as quickly as Steampunk, but I have an optimistic view it will grow well, as the genre matures, not only in SL but in RL (real life) as well.  Please bear in mind, I'll leave the RL Dieselpunk to the DP blogs and fourms, which do a yeoman job of expanding the genre, but I'll occasionally dip my toe in as well (e.g. I'm indulging in a newfound enthusiasm for fedoras {Thank you, Fedora Lounge!} - just need the rest of the attire to match)!




Also, I hope to highlight some of the DP genre and locations in Second Life.  Over the past few months, I've noticed a steady stream of visitors, in spite of no new entries being made on the blog.  I'm not quite sure if its for Jazz, Dieselpunk, both, or for some other reason.  Nonetheless, I'm hoping that it'll be for both (or more) reasons, so I'll keep working to ensure the latest information is provided regarding not only the SL Jazz scene, but the emerging SL Dieselpunk scene.




Finally, I believe that Dieselpunk and associated aspect of the genre (obviously Jazz, but also archecture, and RP/storytelling, to name a couple) are creating inroads in Second Life.  Linden Labs (the owners of Second Life) have chosen to highlight the genres of Vampires (and by association the Bloodlines" game) - perhaps due to the popularity of Vampire literature, and Steampunk (which has been a boon to the genre - many of those who enjoy Steampunk are often not able to make a trek to a convention, therefore SL provide a good outlet).  I believe that Dieselpunk will make its own way in the virtual worlds for its own reasons.  In an effort to promote them, I"ll be updating a list (and associated SLurls) for genre SL locations.  I'm hoping that Dieselpunk will begin to gain ground in Second Life and establish its own notable corner in the larger virtual worlds.




So that the "why" and the "what's coming" of the blog - a virtual world relaxation with perhaps a bit Jazz, Dieselpunk, Film Noir, and the cacophony of associated thread that make up Dieselpunk.  Looking forward to seeing you again!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcoming in a new year, and a new beginning!


Happy New Year wishes!

Hello and a Happy New Year!  The SL Jazz After Midnight is recovering from its long hangover, and is back at the front of the bar, to re-kindle the long simmering interest in Second Life Jazz and Dieselpunk!



The new Xecentricty location, along with Gorgon's Motor's newest aircar!

Well, actually a lot has changed in the Jazz and Dieselpunk venues in Second Life... though, there are steadfast underpinings which hold a positive view in world.  Starting with my locale, Seraph City, major changes have taken place, including the new Xcentricty venue, the arrival of the Primgraph, and the issue which has had the greatest impact on the sim, the was the migration of of the Java Jive to the northeast corner of the city, where the New Champagne Rooms once stood.


The new and enhanced Java Jive, one of the three entertainment venues in SC...



... the entrance to the new location....


... and of one of its new wings, with plenty of shopping!



Also arriving this year was the Daily Prim, part of the Primgraph Press empire...



... complete with its classic Art Deco foyer!



Even with the fluidity of the sim's population, we do welcome new arrivals, such as Miss Quis Greenwood, and with a few parcels available, there is room to grow.



Finally, the Creighton Building is home not only to the Seraph City's skating rink, but to the adventures of the Knight of the Sky, whose latest adventures are document on the news-stand just outside the entrance!



The Seraph City skating rink - a private and intimate location!



A sunset view on Seraph City's main drag!

Seraph City has changed, and I'll be reviewing the coming and goings in the city.  As expected, I'll be tapping on my dear Breezy's shoulder for club reviews, as the jazz club scene in Second Life is always an adventure in itself.  So... between Jazz and Dieselpunk, I'm confident I'll be kept busy, and hopefully provide plenty of interesting reading this year!  One last note, the blog will undergo some updating, to include RL Dieselpunk and some era Jazz locations, so do keep your eyes "peeled" for more to come!