Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —
I’ve made it to part four of my Gimme Six contributions. I’m enjoying sharing my favorite places with you. I’m about to take you from New England into the southland and into the heart of the blues, the Louisana Gulf coast in Second Life.
- Role Play in Time
- A World of Nature & Beauty
- A New Englander at Heart
- A Bluesy Kinda Luv
- Shopping, Shopping, Shopping!
- Somewhere Beyond the Sea
4) A Bluesy Kinda Luv
Junkyard Blues is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever visited the Gulf coast of the United States, from the Florida Keys to Galveston and beyond. I say this because I’ve visited many spots along that coastline. I’d like to borrow an idea from Canery Row and twist it into a notion about that Gulf coast, it’s a sweet and sometimes pungent smell of Gulf waters & sea breezes. And in Louisana, it’s about swamps and cranes and crawfish and it’s about many other things. And it’s about rust. The people of this region have an easy way and a love of music that seems to revolve around the blues. There’s much more, but if you are going to begin representing this place in pixels, it’s going to take some thought, and some artistry.
Junkyard Blues began in 2006 and became a long-term project of Kiff Clutterbuck & “Dina” Petty. The club is a labor of love and its history is documented that history on the JY website. There are docks, marshes, board walks, bridges, water towers, lighthouses and everywhere there’s rust. Kiff loves rust. Fortunately, Dina adds a woman’s touch everywhere too, with her motel, shops, furnishings and sense of style. There’s a is a boardwalk with shopping along southern canal, and there’s a large open-air nightclub where blues music is played almost round the clock. The blues in all its forms is at the center of this way of life.
I didn’t know much about the Blues when I came to Second Life, and I’m not the only one; in a chat with Dina she said the same thing. Sure, everyone knows about Ray Charles and Muddy Waters and BB King, but when you follow the branches you begin to see just how far the Blues has extended. When you come to the Junkyard, you hear it all and even music you may not recognize as the blues. There’s a type of music I’d heard and love, but couldn’t identify it by name. At the JY I learned it was Zydeco, a cousin of the goodtimes Cajun music that Louisiana is known for. After five years, I still don’t feel like I know much about the blues, even after five years of coming to the club It seems I learn something new every time I come.
There are thirteen sims that make up Junkyard Blues group. There are ten outer homesteads owned by long-time supporters of this family of friends. The two inner sims include the area of the nightclub but follow any path from the club and you’ll find houseboats, trailers, cottages and even a motel, all rentals and usually all rented. There’s several marina sections, a gas station, a drive-in movie theater and canals you can ride through on free boats. And there’s people. There seem to be people on this sim 24/7 and if you like people, you’ll find this is an exceptionally friendly group. It’s not something that happened accidentally, there’s a sense of community here that make people want to maintain the way of life that’s been created here.
I first visited the Junkyard back in 2007 and I’ve shot many photos of this place (many on Flickr). But the thing that makes this place survive year after year is Blues music. From time to time, the club has live Blues shows but the majority of the music comes from talented and knowledgeable Blues DJs. Kiff and Dina manage a crew of nearly forty DJs, and their hosts, and since this is everyone’s second life, that means there is always work to do. I was a hostess for DJ Miss Luci, every Saturday Nights for over a year. And there are many more DJs I could I could tell you about but if I start then I’ll have to list them all. I’ve chosen DJ Fiery Otaared (below) because the other night she helped me in my quest to define the blues.
In talking about the blues, I’ve been looking for an explanation as to why this particular music reaches out to some many people of such diversity. I’ve been looking for a way to describe it. When I asked Fiery that question, she started by saying, “You feel it before you understand it.” When I heard that, it was one of those things I knew to be true deep inside but she went on, “Find tears before it speaks your pain. Laugh when it reminds you fo joy. It’s an intersection of all human emotion. When you are in a room of blues lovers, there is a recognition of our humanity.”
Before writing this post about this bluesy place I love, I spoke with Kiff & Dina. We were going to do an interview and were set to go, but I felt I should reserver that interview for a standalone article. Kiff & Dina are a unique pair. For one thing, they’ve been partnered by over five years in Second Life. And then there’s the fact that they’ve kept this club popular and growing for over six years. Kiff is a U.S. Marine (there’s no such thing as an former Marine, btw), Dina is a NASCAR fan and their success as a couple gives a lot of us hope. More to come!
Please checkout Junkyard Blues for yourself. Listen to some blues, hang with some of the Junkyard Dawgs. And see what happens, maybe you’ll find that Bluesy kinda luv.
Coming Soon, Part 5 – Shopping, Shopping, Shopping (it’s about shopping)