Monday, January 26, 2015

In which we uncover the existence of an actual entourage

I have been in the entertainment industry since I first took up my own land in Second Life. I have run the same venue – Idle Rogue – since 2008. I’ve hired musicians, planned events, dealt with disappointment, faced the idea of closing (more than once). I’ve managed musicians, good ones, and I’ve performed myself. I currently balance the competing needs of more than thirty highly creative performers who generate fresh content on a weekly basis.

I know Second Life audiences, I know how venues work and the jaw-droppingly crazy stuff that happens in live music. I have watched, speechless, while venue owners blatantly proposition and sexually harass musicians (I don’t doubt the reverse also happens, but I am confident my musicians have not done it). I’ve known way more crazed fans than seems entirely fair, and I have known them to actually sabotage the musician they claim to love, just to prove they love them most. 

More than most people, I enjoy the idea of living out some “fantasy” adventures. Settle, you guys in the cheap seats, not those fantasies. I can totally “get” exploring being a model, a dancer, even an escort, as part of your Second Life. Why not? As I always say, what would you be, if you could be anything?

Some adventures, however, are a transaction, in which more than one person, you, is involved. If your fantasy is to be a rock singer, for example, you probably need a modicum of talent and you definitely need an audience. You can't really be a courtesan to a King without someone willing to play the King.

If you have fantasies of living the life of an A-List celebrity in Second Life, you’re probably in for some dashed hopes. Celebrity is a specially constructed ecosystem. It requires, for one thing, a cohesive media, somewhere to send your publicist with her press releases, magazines and newspapers who will herd into the PR tent to grab an interview, or who will write the reviews that make you famous. You need somewhere for your quotes to drop, and your photos to be seen, some mass way of advising the population of the necessity of your existence.

In SL, anyone can be anything, and the media, as with everything else, is a collection of indie publishers each catering to their own small audience. The audience, indeed, is not much interested in what the other outlets are doing. The “second” part of your Second Life means there’s not much time to read several gossip mags, you probably choose one – or even more likely none.

Believe me, I have pondered this matter across several years. I know whereof I speak. I’d love my dancers to be famous, they’re amazing at what they do and have stellar personalities, too. But they will only ever be “famous” to the people who have watched them perform. 

Of course, you can roleplay your fame, and it could be enormous fun. But if you want to act out your fame, and claim the privileges of fame, you have to find other people who agree you’re famous. Without them, you’re just a little bit sad.

Hi Cherry as you know [moderately well-known musician], [her partner] and I will be in attendance at Mayfair tomorrow at 2 and Sunday at 5.  [Musician’s partner] had asked [Rogue Staff] earlier if she would do us the honor of asking [another moderately well known musician] to be [moderatlely well known musician]'s escort, she said she would do this.  [Musician’s Partner] also asked for her two top favorite SL clothing designers to be invited, [Influential Merchant] and [Moderately Popular Designer].  It is [Partner]’s understanding from [Staff] today that [Staff] has been too busy with Mayfair and has not been able to accomplish any of [Partner]’s  wants, to [Partner]’s  and my disappointment, as she was hoping to inspire these designers to want to create for your troupe and to show them what is possible. 
That being said we love the work that you and your troupe are doing at GB, [Partner] loves the arts as do [Musician] and I.  We are all excited to see what special magic that you have in store for us and are extremely honored to be GB guests, would you please do us the honor of sitting at our table with us tomorrow at 2pm, or Sat at 5 pm. instead?
Thank You Very Much
[One Woman Entourage]
A little backstory: I don’t know these people, not even a little bit. I like the musician well enough, not entirely my style, but competent . I’ve been to a half dozen of her concerts. I have dealt with [Entourage] when she was booking a musician I used to manage. I don’t know [Partner] at all.

I have been oddly approached by a couple of people to book [Musician], and both times they offered to pay [Musician]’s fee. I have no issue with sponsored gigs, they are often troublesome, but I will always consider them, and I’d told [Musician] I was happy to book her to open for a show I am planning for some time in 2015. Obviously that got misconstrued, that happens, but it wasn’t even a firm enough plan for me to be speaking to these people on any level, and to my knowledge, the only favour between us was she plays, I pay.

I don’t know [Designer] at all, but as it happens I have [Merchan]t on my contact list – possibly because I would never hit her up with ridiculous shit like “escort these batshit crazy people for me?”.

So I hand the notecard to [Staff], who has been working her ass off for us all week, and doing it brilliantly. I am confused. I don’t know where these weird ideas have come from, I think maybe [Staff] knows the people [Entourage] were expecting to be pimped, or it was one of those “oh we should all get a table together and go to Mayfair” things. I like to let the people who do the job do the job, with the instruction that we try to give our audience what they want, within reason.

[Staff] has no idea what’s going on either, and really how would she? Who does this in anything like the real world? I am sure Jeffrey Epstein can dial a number and have anyone he likes ordered to attend upon him, but it’s not been my experience that this happens in Second Life. Because believe me, no matter how big you think you are in Second Life, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of people who have never heard of you.

I move on with my production, which has taken months of work by 30 people to bring to the stage, and which requires precision and skill to bring off. At the end of the show, another card drops on my head:

Notecard: Cherry
Just between us girls Cherry, [Musician] is pondering a new album and is dropping hints of a video and that she likes the GB Troupes for, for her [Well-Known Song], Partner is also wanting to invite the Troupe over to Some Venue for a Venue exclusive, she's also considering [Staff]’s Partner for an exclusive DJ Set and maybe some album work, we are just mere humble servants to the beautiful Musician after all grins *wink Oh and please don't be hard on [Staff] we love her and know she has been extremely busy.
Unsigned, but created and delivered by Entourage

So … I’m sorry, what? What the actual fuck? No, really, I don’t know you, I don’t need to pimp for you, I don’t need your venue or video or a “maybe” album. I'm not part of "us girls". I would happily recommend [Staff]’s Partner for more work, she is very well-loved on my sim, but you and I, [Entourage], we have never spoken about these things, because if we had you would know that we run a sufficiently successful dance show based on our own hard work, and we have no need of any of the things you are waving about.

There are musicians we work with, and we are delighted to collaborate with them. It’s just an idea, but maybe that’s because they don’t ask us to go beg others to attend upon them.

Your sense of entitlement astonishes me.

chryblnd Scribe - famous amongst 23 people
And by now, of course, I have seen IMs from [Musician] to people I know, asking for funds to be transferred to paypal accounts to pay real life bills. I’m looking a little side-eye at you, [Entourage], and at you, [Musician]. You smell like grifters to me. I see nice people being conned into giving you things that benefit you, and yes, that happens with online friendships. But these aren’t friendships, [Entourage]. You and [Musician] and [Partner] are bullying people into paying your way.

My PA, whom I treasure, talked me down from responding to this faux-intimacy, because she knows 0 to nuclear is a thing that can happen to me. It especially happens where I see people playing RL games with “my” people.

So we decided not to say anything, and let these people go on their way, and get on with our show. And they came back, today.

IM from Musician’s Partner:
[2015/01/25 16:17] Partner: Cherry, I am trying to have [Completely Unknown Avatar with aristocratic name] be invited to escort [Musician] for this production 5pm , does your troupe want funding, Heads should be rolling your girls are losing sight of what is important.  Have your girls invited [Aristocrat] to have the honor of escorting [Musician] to night or not, I can't be expected to have to ask Aristocrat myself, who is in charge of protocol over there.  He's French
[2015/01/25 16:18] Partner: Do you want me bowing out?
[2015/01/25 16:18] chryblnd Scribe: we have no room, and you people need to stop this intolerable behaviour
[2015/01/25 16:20] Partner: Good to know that you have no respect for your A-Listers
[2015/01/25 16:20] chryblnd Scribe: I will ban and mute you if you IM me again

No more was said, and [Partner] left the sim. As far as I am concerned, there will be no more dealings between my group and theirs. But I want to ask you, out there in Second Life, are you letting these people think this is acceptable behaviour? Are you encouraging them by scrambling to attend to these wish lists and delusions? Normally I get a bit mad when I see people sling the old insult around, "you're taking your Second Life too seriously, you need to go outside and get some sun". Why not just live and let live, all hobbies are valid and they separate us from the random mundane bullshit that life turns out to be.

But I think that crowd are nuts. For real.

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