by BabypeaVonPhoenix Bikergrrl
Elysium Opus Art Gallery officially opened Wednesday, March 30th at 6pm SLT with a three-hour Grand Opening celebration. This gallery has been a thought for more than three years. Since The Empire Room opened in December of 2012, home of Elysium Cabaret, there has been an empty corner of the sim. I have for years wanted something lovely there, something uplifting and inspiring, a place of peace and beauty where a person could visit and contemplate creativity, a place of imaginative pursuits. A friend some time back said she wanted to have a show of her photography, so she dropped a building. It sat empty for half a year. I then replaced that building with one of my own. It sat empty for half a year. And then the stars and planets lined up just right, and Shiloh Emmons fell into my lap. I found out she is an art curator in both lives, with years of real life gallery experience. I was thrilled to learn she knows the names of my favourite artists. I was thrilled to learn she knows so much more. Her background in Southwest art astounds me. I finally found my person… someone respectable and professional, dedicated and knowledgeable, someone who knows how to curate a show, someone who understands the subtle nuances of hanging an exhibit. She has worked very hard to establish and open Elysium Opus Art Gallery, bringing our first artist to show, Ronin1 Shippe. His show “Land of Enchantment” is hanging through April 30th. It consists of inspired New Mexico landscapes with a touch of Native American Indian energy.
Our celebration started with a very special dance show, featuring five acts. Each choreographer visited the gallery and selected one of Ronin’s artworks, using it as inspiration to create a dance. DJ Gunner streamed Native American Indian music by Santa Fe musician Ronald Roybal as the audience was greeted. Taking their seats until there was standing room only in the special outdoor venue right outside the gallery, Jilley opened the show. Dancing to Sacred Spirit by Yeha Noha, she gave us a spiritual and emotional journey that was full of symbols, spiritual magic and hope. Her set was vibrant and full of brilliant colour, giving off a sparkling energy. This dance made me cry in real life, it was so beautiful and deeply touching. I and Paul Woodrunner joined her on stage, in an act that was visually stimulating, a song that pulled at the marrow of the soul, choreographed with eloquence and grace.
Kyshra Rhiadra then took us to an ominous place of mystery and suspense. The song was Bad Moon Rising by Mourning Ritual. The set was the desert, layers of sandstone in the moonlight, a lone coyote like an omen overseeing a woman who seemed to dance with death. Or was she death? She looked like a woman to be wary of, dressed in revealing black leather. And then in a burst of black and purple magic, she transformed into La Muerte. But our audience had nothing to fear! La Muerte is Spanish for Holy Death. She is “a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees.” So she had only come to heal, protect, and take her followers home when the time comes.
Our next act started in the bedroom of a lonely woman who dreamed of running free where wild horses run. Kellan (Kelika Dubrovna) was stunning in an aqua dressing gown as she danced with aching longing to follow her dreams. Suddenly the set transformed, melting away to a glorious night in the desert, with moonlit sandstone formations, cacti, and an eagle soaring in representation of freedom. She danced beautifully, diaphanous aqua billowing in the spirit of a wild horse ambling across the plains, which was so fitting as the song was Wild Horses by Natasha Bedningfield. The set transformation was powerful, causing many in the audience to gasp in amazement.
Dancing to Call To Thunder, Ame (Amethyst Starostin) gave us a scene amidst green trees in the mountains. Another moonlit night, this one in a downpour of rain with thunder and lightening as animals huddled nearby under a canopy of boughs. The rain was symbolic, mirroring the spirit of the song, casting down blessings from the limitless sky, seeming to nourish rather than drowned the fire that burned brightly as Ame danced in Native regalia. Ame’s animations in this dance were exquisite, and very unusual. They were new to me, and I was mesmerised by how perfectly the intricate hand movements suited the hypnotic meditation of the music.
Finally it was my turn to take the stage. I chose a song that I found through a Google search on songs about moons, Moon and Moon by Bat For Lashes. I had never heard this song before, and it has completely enchanted me. For my set, I chose to create one of Ronin’s artworks in 3D, a blue midnight sky and trees alongside the Rio Grande River, all in shades of blue. The simplicity of the set proved relaxing, lulling the eye and the soul into opening up to the bittersweet song. I danced as the moon who longed for her love, the sun. Though she is guardian of the same sky and reflects his light, she longs to feel his warmth but alas, she will never have her bear to lick her clean, feed her soul milk and honey. Eventually, I rose into the sky to take my quiet place, overlooking the midnight blue land below.
After the dance show was finished, the audience had some time to enjoy the art exhibit as well as meet the artist himself, talk to him, and further explore his vision. Ronin1 Shippe is a generous and complex individual filled with passion for isolating and focusing on the quintessence of his subjects. A chat with him will guarantee a fascinating and enlightening conversation that will linger in your mind days later. He is a person capable of giving another new thoughts that may help them grow in directions they have never before considered. And from what I have seen, this is his approach to his art.
At 7pm, we were thrilled to have Redhawk (Camlach Gans) take the New Mexico night sky stage. If you have not heard this man perform before, you have something powerful to look forward to. He delighted the audience with original compositions, and WOW is he multi-talented! There seems to be nothing he can’t do musically, no instrument he can’t play. He sings, he writes, he composes, mixing traditional Native American Indian music with contemporary rhythm, producing a style he calls Tribal Funk. It is fantastic! Plus, he interjects humour and an easy-going banter with his audience that is engaging and will make you smile.
At 8pm, the magic of Second Life allowed us to journey to Argentina, where Joaquin Gustav performed for us. His presentation tucked us into the most delicious blanket of romantic tangos, jazz, and a few eclectic cover tunes including Eric Clapton and Over the Rainbow, the audience just melting to the passion of his tunes! A friendly and intriguing persona enhanced his performance, endearing him to the audience, and we can surely see why he is a favourite amongst live performance enthusiasts. We were so pleased he came and performed for us.
It was an overwhelming event, attended by many friends, fans, and family. How joyous and uplifting it is to share creative energy with one another. It is Second Life at it’s best… art, dance, music… all coming together under one moonlit sky, promoting the bonding of the human spirit and healing the human soul. I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. I wish to thank Elysium Cabaret, such a wonderful, dedicated team of passionate dancers. My partner in both lives, DJ Gunner, without whom I would be unable to do any of this… he is the foundation under my feet and the wind beneath my wings, the shroud of calm over my hysterics. Shiloh Emmons, whom without I would still have an empty building in that little corner across the street from The Empire Room. Lex and Misty (Oldlex and MistyRose Poindexter-Lex, owners of Pure Love Wedding venue) for their help in polishing the gallery build. Ronin1 Shippe for generously sharing his spirited creations with us. Redhawk for enchanting us with his infectious charisma and captivating music. Joaquin Gustav for gracing us with the sweet passion of his soul and vibrant music. And most of all, I want to thank every person who came out to attend our Grand Opening. You are a huge part of this, and you are why we do it. We reach out to you, embrace you with our warmth, and invite you in to share in our imaginative journey. Without you, it would be very empty, so know that we greatly appreciate you.
To find out more about Shiloh Emmons, Ronin1 Shippe, Redhawk, and Joaquin Gustav, please refer to their bios here: http://showtimemagazine.net/?p=11643