IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THIS ARTICLE:
Nine days after publishing this blog I received a group notice from the Hotel Chelsea group in SL about the passing away of Enola Vaher. All information in this blog about Enola as person to contact is not valid anymore due to this sad news. I wish all her loved ones around her strength with this loss.
Group Notice From: Hotel Chelsea Manhattan NYC, Ian McConach
Hi everyone I have some sad news for you tonight. We have been told that Enola has passed. I have no words to truly express how I feel tonight. She was a dear friend and a champion for anyone that wanted to express themselves. I will miss her terribly. Someone will share more details soon for a memorial.
My early days
I entered Second Life at March 21, 2011. The avatar I used back then does not exist anymore, she has been deactivated after I took a second avatar which became my main avatar later. That main avatar has been replaced too meanwhile by the present one, so I have been reborn and updated several times since the start. I considered it necessary back then and the replacements turned out to be good decisions indeed, but as for now I cannot imagine to do that again. Maybe it is a bit like growing in RL. We cannot change our body into a new one, but we can change into a different person after certain life experiences shaping us. This mental shaping will express itself in RL in all kinds of ways and this process in SL is a likewise transformation which for me personally just went better with also changing of avatar a few times. A visual confirmation as extra emphasis on a change, something like that. My early days in Second Life were just before MESH became the new fashion as building technique. It needed an updated viewer to be able to see it like we now need an updated viewer to see Bake On Mesh (BOM). If you do not, you will see more and more red headed and odd looking avatars. I for now have, after testing BOM and knowing how it works, chosen to downgrade to an older viewer, for the simple reason of having a better fps than with the latest (FS) viewer and not really being a heavy user of layers for make up and tattoos. Only in a few cases there is a benefit for what I use, but the benefit of a better performance weighs more to me. In short: “Change in a human in general is good and an improvement of your life. Change of what we interact with is not always a guarantee for improvement.’
Old school versus authenticity
There still are many places in Second Life with not one single piece of mesh being integrated in builds or avatars. And yes in most cases that’s like visiting an ugly old school environment where time stood still and people feel like very old fashioned. A bit like still wearing those glasses and haircut you had as well back in the sixties and keep feeling it as modern and renewing. In a retro way of how fashion and architecture recycle styles it CAN be modern but I mean the non-recycled ways :)
Yet sometimes a place should stay like it us, even if old-fashioned /old-school ways are used. This is to keep a certain unspoiled authenticity that would be lost when rebuilding a place into a shiny posh one with an uneasy and unpleasant cover of renewal killing the old spirit. There are enough examples of renovations and restorations gone wrong in RL, and the same can happen very easily in Second Life. How authentic does a renewed place look when it has the same popular furnitures, wall textures and mesh perfection we see at every sim being made according to the newest methods and standards? They look great on those sims who have no history and I absolutely like it and will prefer it as place for a home, but at other places it can destroy a lot. At places with a certain history marking the pre-mesh age of pioneers and bohemians, places with communities now slowly being polished away, we should cherish their credits, merits and influence, not only because no one can repeat it anymore, but also because this is how Second Life started and how some places represent that in a very characteristic way. I plead for keeping such places as they are despite the common response we all will have as well initially, the . . . ‘OMG look at that, sooo primitive! You can wonder what primitive is in this case. Literally you are right. They all are made of prims (primitives) and that’s it. Figuratively being primitive is relative. It suggests you miss something which places you out of the present time. But you also can say they add something to our time, namely the authenticity and character of good old prim builds and the presence of classic skills. Old school and old fashioned once were top notch too you know :)
Hotel Chelsea in New York City (The Chelsea Hotel or the Chelsea also are used as names) is famous for its special kind of visitors (artists, musicians, authors, etc) and the ‘no rules way of life’ inside. And of course also for some dramatic events. You can read more on that here. It has a Second Life version as well (over 10 years already!) run by Enola Em (Enola Vaher). The hotel in RL is being renovated since years already and the grand reopening should have taken place in 2019 but was postponed to .. no one knows when. The scaffoldings cover the hotel so long already, it gives the idea to be a never ending project and the residents (who refused to leave) fear all charm and original look and feel will be destroyed, including the art that has been taken out for the sake of it all. Despite promises of the ones managing the renovation no one really believes they will make Hotel Chelsea a better place. Maybe in a technical way yes, but not in other ways.
So imagine someone renovating Hotel Chelsea in Second Life to the present standards and techniques. Kicking out the manager and continue with a new one, just like that. That’s what happened to Stanley Bard, the RL hotel manager and no one was happy with that, most certainly not the residents of the hotel. They consider it a loss of the bohemian spirit of their hotel. The chance the same thing would happen in Second Life when it would be renovated is very big. Maybe when a super talented designer who really can make unique builds, textures, furnitures and decorations would do it, it can be a great result. But to replace it with elements we all use for our homes and all buy from the same sellers, would make it just another fancy build people would only visit to make a selfie and then put it on Flickr as proof of how posh they are to have visited the place. In most cases it even will be presented as having an interest in old grandeur, where this is not the case at all. It just will be visited for its name and fame being hot and now being good enough to be used as glamorous (so called) authentic backdrop. The authentic atmosphere would drown in tourists being tourists, like they do in RL too. It is the always annoying game of seeing and being seen.
So please, just let Hotel Chelsea be primitive and ‘ugly’ and out of fashion. Do not renew and don’t make it a tourist attraction. It is just a coat actually. Worn for years, shabby like crazy, but covering an inside which is less dusty and more alive than you would expect. Therefore I would like to help promote this old but original place, Hotel Chelsea in Second Life. There are plenty ‘perfect’ places all over the grid promoting themselves via well received channels, networking pays off, so it seems like a good moment to me to give some attention to an oldie we should cherish as much as the new mesh hero’s. Too special to change or die. Or like Living with Legends says: ‘Hotel Chelsea, the last outpost on Bohemia.’ Donations are welcome if you care for the place to keep alive. Not via me of course, but at the place itself.
That all being said, I hereby share the open invitation send by the owner Enola Em (Enola Vaher) of Hotel Chelsea in Second Life.
I would like to invite you to show in our exhibit at Hotel Chelsea’s Gallery 23.
This is a free exhibit for you the artist. We do not take a percentage. You may charge for your work and keep all proceeds, or you may just show.
Gallery 23 has been in SL for 10 years. We change artists every 2 months. It is a group exhibit of 6 artists.
Please stop by the gallery sometime to see how it is laid out, and how we do things. If you decide to participate just let me know, and I will send you a note card with further instructions.
The opening for the show is the first Weekend after we set up. I do all promotion of the opening and the Gallery. I post it in events, send notices to 8 groups in SL and post it to several groups oh FB. Our openings are usually a full house.
I also provide the DJ.
It is eclectic show, so I like a variety of art and mediums. It is not necessary for you to show me your art before hand. As long as it is not sexually explicit, Nudes are fine.
You will be assigned a section of wall, and you may do anything you like with your section within 20 prims.
If you have any other questions please just let me know. You can send me an IM, I do get them offline, or a notecard, your preference.
If you are interested in this exhibit please let me know as soon as possible
The Virtual Hotel Chelsea is a premier sim in SL, with 25 galleries, Live music and poetry events and of course many rooms to rent to live in.
We are the official Virtual replication of the Real Hotel Chelsea in NYC.
A short part of a much bigger article written by Arthur Miller, who also lived at the hotel for quite some time, as example of the loose way of housekeeping in the hotel. It is a very amusing article and I recommend reading it.
Arthur Miller, in his Granta article, remembered when the grit in his hotel room carpet had gotten so deep that he erupted in a rage over the phone.
“For Christ’s sake, Stanley,” he recalled shouting, “don’t you have a vacuum cleaner in the house!
“Of course! We have lots of them.
“Then why aren’t they ever used?
“They’re not used?
“Stanley! You know goddamned well they don’t use them!
“I never heard of such a thing! Why don’t they use them?
“You’re asking me why they don’t use them?
‘Well, you’re the one who brought it up.
“Look, just get a vacuum cleaner up here and let’s forget this conversation.
“Fine. How are you otherwise?
“‘Truthfully, there is no otherwise — all I am is a man waiting desperately for a vacuum cleaner.’
It is really worth reading these links if you are interested in getting an idea on what life in the Chelsea Hotel was/is like.
- Stanley Bard, the hotel manager for more than 40 years
- The renovation in RL
- Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen’s one night stand
- The Chelsea Hotel Blog
- The Chelsea Affect by Arthur Miller
- Stanley Bard, the hotel manager for more than 40 years
How not to mention some music based on a stay in the Chelsea Hotel: