A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus. ~ Herbert Hoover
Another event post. No, I haven’t been abducted by aliens. Shhh. It’s Christmas. (Insert usual disclaimer about my dislike and objections to location-based events. You all know my feelings by now.)
I was graciously permitted to preview the Gothmas by Gaslight event. Presumably because they don’t know me very well. But being as I needed a break from Arcade trading I went to snoop about.
I really enjoyed this build. Most event builds are a horrendous mess, but GxG is on-theme and dead easy to navigate. It reminds me of a Dickens novel; you almost expect to see Scrooge shuffling past you on his way to yell at street urchins. I like that the use of goth throughout is dark without punching you in the face with it. There are no blood fountains or any of that other nonsense. Elements are repeated to decrease load without the build looking repetitive. Also, clock towers always get a +5 to Salome happiness. Most importantly, point to point teleport and fly are both enabled. Oh, and did I mention easy to navigate? Good.
For me, event builds shouldn’t be trying to lean on the cutting edge of SL decor. There is a time and place for focusing a lot of SIM resources to the build, but events are not it. At the same time, I get that event organizers don’t want their events looking like Minecraft. Gothmas walks the line well, utilizing traditional building elements without coming off outdated. It’s also clear they made smart choices about scripted vendors, and other SIM resources.
I am not a goth girl, nor do I play one on TV. Other than friends in high school taking turns dying my hair different colors and egging me on to wear too much black eyeliner, I never had a real goth/punk phase. However, I do enjoy Victorian goth. In a prissy way.
When you’re dealing with a genre, it’s impossible to hold merchandise to the same standard as mainstream fashion and decor. With that in mind I went into Gothmas expecting to see products that were quite outdated. It can’t be denied that a great deal of the merch looks circa 2008, but there is also a surprising number of mesh items. I’m going to try and blog a few, but I’ll make sure at least a few show up in my Flickr.
If you want to peek at a variety, Ely has pinned a good bit of it.
With costumes and subcultures, the bigger brand artists in SL don’t always offer up something to fit outside the box tastes, or when they do, everyone else has it. Since much of SL is about cultivating a unique presence, it makes sense that smaller independent creators would cater to subcultures.
As any reader of this blog knows, I don’t advocate for lower quality and I don’t have much sympathy for people that clutter up the grid with outdated muck. But, I do believe there are two instances where smaller name creators are held to different standards than mainstream creators. One is when they are offering up unique and creative items that offer high quality in one manner (scripting, concept, etc) but not necessarily the highest quality in other aspects. The other time is when a creator is catering to a small subset of consumers.
Here’s how I view it. You made a wererabbit costume? Cool! Okay, it looks a bit outdated, but it’s the only wererabbit on the grid, so that’s still nifty. On the other hand, you made a tank dress? Really? A tank dress? Adding to the two gazillion tank dresses already in SL? It had better be pretty fucking impressive.
I wholly believe that people trying to break into the mainstream categories of products should do their skilling up off stage before offering products to general consumers because they will (and should) be held to the standards of their peers. Genre creators, on the other hand, are almost a treat to watch develop and see what they come up with.
So I suppose my personal philosophy is simply: do something different or do something well.
There are many creators doing things differently at GxG.
Oh, and just in case you’re not a goth, you can still put together a cute fashion outfit that’ll jingle your bells:
GxG doesn’t have a charity associated with it. Thank freekin’ God. From their website:
This is the one event we organize each year that isn’t a charity event, and here’s why: Charities do well during the holiday season. It’s the one time of year they are guaranteed a good, solid boost. But as people bargain hunt for retail goods, independent artists often take a huge hit, right at the same time that they (like everyone else) need a sales influx. So this is the one event we do each year that isn’t connected to a charity.
I get teased a lot for being “anti-charity” but I’m not. I simply don’t like charity in SL. I don’t like the way charities are usually handled, nor the fact that some people use charities as a bullying stick, or worse — a shield for their lackluster practices. By and large I prefer to handle my commitment to charity outside of SL.
And I’m glad to see an event that doesn’t feel the need to tag onto a charity just because.
From their website:
GxG is organized by the World Goth Fair people, aka Cursed Events: Axi Kurmin, Lokii Violet, Sonya Marmurek, and Nephilaine Protaganist (with backup and supporting cheerleading by Cruel Britannia and a cast of thousands…)
I liked most of the choices this group made with the event from the build to ban on networked vendors, to the hardline position they take against participants using copyrighted materials. There is a sincere focus on supporting SL independent creators and the goth community.
That said, there are a few choices that I think only work because it’s a small event based around a genre. The one that surprised me the most is how they manage fees.
There aren’t any booth fees. However, the event takes a 10% cut on sales. It’s done this way vs. a booth fee so no one loses money. This way no one is trying to recoup booth fees against sales.
In an inclusive community that is trying to support one another this is a lovely concept, but I would balk at seeing this approach used at a mainstream fashion event. Basically it would mean that a big name successful merchant could end up paying L$15,000 for the same thing a small merchant paid L$200 for. There is already a glut of low quality merch in mainstream fashion, encouraging this sort of thing would make events utterly unbearable for me (and since they’re already mostly unbearable … you understand my woe).
For a smaller event like Gothmas, however, this works, and I think it might work for other smaller events, provided egos are kept to a minimum.
I’ve been in the group for over a week. There have been no pandering hug fests to kiss ass to the organizers. No screaming diva bitch battles. No smug pretending-to-be-nice-while-I-talk-down-to-you notices. Just a group of normal, supportive people busily trying to put up an event. No one needed applause for all their hard work. No one needed to talk to people like a class of three year olds. No one needed to rant about problem X or Y ruining their day.
To be honest, I didn’t realize there were 75 rational adult creators on the grid. It’s sort of nice to know.