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2023. A personal balance

It has been a fascinating year, this 2023 season. Full of challenges, full of limits to overcome.
We started on January 8th, proposing our Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show, already full of successes in 2022, at the Audace theater, historically one of the most laggy and with the worst script management in all of SL. I knew that the challenge would be difficult, and in fact there were some problems at the beginning of the second act, but we faced them in an original way, achieving great success.
A few days later, we started the work on our film Now or Never dedicated to climate change and environmental disaster in the world. Released on January 17, it features some extreme editing challenges and some decent SL/RL mixing, brilliantly addressed by Alex Cat in his careful editing. The video got a mention in the Second Life Enquirer. It’s published on our youtube channel.
The second challenge was born from a proposal by Lola Nippo. All is born some time ago, when someone wrote on the Secondlife Forum: “In SL everything can be simulated, everything can be done, EXCEPT one thing: the Olympic Synchronized Swimming. Due to the complexity of the movements, it is the only thing that in Secondlife cannot be done and never will be done. It’s just impossible“.
So Lola wrote me message, saying: “Hey, there is a mission impossible for Virginia Stella“.
It’s the kind of challenge I can’t pass up. I decided to prove that what was written in the forum is WRONG. Obviously, we only have one way to prove it: if someone says something is impossible, let’s do it!
My Olympic Synchro Swimming had its debut on March 5th at the Audace theatre, with a repeat on March 26th at the SSMDA, it was even more critically successful than I would have expected. There is a recording on youtube.

In April, like every year, we participated in SciFiCon, 2023 edition. We were present with two shows. On April 1st, Musa InFabula performed live with her live music show “Thunderstruck”. Just the next day, we brought the Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show to SciFiCon2023, this time with a perfect performance.

In reality, most of my work has concerned, and still concerns, day after day, the vision of the future and the team building of Officina dei Sogni. For me it makes no sense to work for a small theater month after month, without planning new challenges for tomorrow.
So, in the spirit of building new outlets for our performances, and to consolidate the team, our actress and dancer Epona Tigerfish worked for the team, managing to bring the Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show not to a theater or a festival, but … in a club!
The club in question is Ministry Of Trance 2, where on May 6th we did what up to that point was the best Pagan had ever done (up to that point).
On May 16th we did a test in our land, shooting a machinima movie in the form of a flash mob. Not everything went smoothly (many avatars were first-timers) but in the end it worked and we also learned a lot of things.
In early June, the bomb explodes. One morning I enter the world and find the IM that surprises me. For Secondlife’s 20th birthday celebration, the moles at Linden Lab have selected me and our Pagan Evocation Fantasy! A shiver runs down my spine, I gather the crew and break the news with the premonition that terror will spread. Instead the challenge is welcomed with enthusiasm by both the staff and the crew. For the occasion, we have prepared a special version, the “Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show – Enanched Version – SL20B Edition“.
On July 1st, Officina dei Sogni arrived in the Linden Lab super-sim (4 sims attached, 240 avatars max inside). Moments of terror upon our arrival, due to a griefing attack against the previous show, which however ended up involving us too. The whole crew landed in a sim already crowded with over 100 avatars… just waiting for us! I will never forget the dismay in the group chat of the dancers, and their standing at a very short distance, all crowded around me, waiting for orders.
Despite the fear, we did better than at Ministry Of Trance 2, and this was our best Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show!
Repeated again, just 15 days later, on Burn2’s “Conception” show.

Before the long-awaited and earned holidays, I had yet another important commitment, as the Viking sim of Rungardvik, with which we have a long and consolidated relationship of mutual esteem, respect and friendship, commissioned me to design their ritual event Midsummer: The RL simulation of the ancient Viking rite of Freysblot, which took place on July 30th.

On August 20th, is born our web radio, a stream radio entirely home made, not using a public commercial stream provider.

After the summer holidays, I suspended all activities for the month of September, which I wanted to dedicate to building a long and hot finale to the season.
In fact, this year for the first time we were present at Burn2, the second largest Festival in SL after the Birthday of SL, with our own camp, on an entire plot of our own. Burn2 takes place on 12 sims, and having our own plot has allowed us to come into contact with many other realities, sims, groups, and has allowed us to “network” with others.
During the two weeks of Burn2, we played 3 DJ sets, one made by me, one by Mia Rose and her progressive rock, and one by Epona Tigerfish with her Hardstyle music.
Additionally, on October 13th we replicated the Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show, and the next day Musa InFabula replicated her Thunderstruck.
Also in October, we participated with a “feline” but also steampunk song at the Dinkie’s Got Talents festival.

The month of November arrives, and it’s time to warm up the engines with what I built in September. The Metaharper’s theatre, one of the most important on the grid, hosts our full immersive show The creation of the Violin. It debuted on November 12th, with 53 avatar viewers, with a repeat on November 18th and 24th. It was a storytelling performance, in which we told a gypsy tale. The show is now entirely published on Youtube. SL’s ATG TV news called it “a masterpiece”. Some tech notes are here.

In the same month, we also released a phygital video with a choreography built around an RL video of a Musa InFabula Jam Session.

I still hadn’t recovered from The creation of the Violin, which was already upon us on December 3rd, and it was the highlight of the whole year.
In our Officina dei dream sim, we mounted a full immersive platform like that of Metaharper’s, and we proposed on a single date Circobirò, the show which was defined by the audience and critics as “the craziest show ever seen“, or also “Mind Blowing, Awesome and Magical! FIVE STARS” (DJ Puddles, The Fairy Times).
Due to a problem with the recording of the audio track, we are not yet able to publish the video of the show, so only the trailer is present.
It was a stratospheric challenge, with about 100 different things that could have gone wrong, but only one went wrong (the audio track) and the other 99 went right. Some tech notes are here.

We could have relaxed on our laurels, but a good season finale must be pressing, so we continued with Musa InFabula Live at THE REFUGE on December 15th, a sim with which a new and (I sincerely hope) profitable collaboration began (of course , we made a bad impression with not entirely clean audio due to a damaged audio cable, we hope to make it up to them), then again a commissioned event in Rungardvik, where I built the Viking celebration of the winter solstice (Jol ), and a just-released Christmas machinima movie.
Officina dei Sogni concludes the 2023 season at THE REFUGE where Musa InFabula performs live again (with a partially different set of songs).

All things considered, it was a heart-pounding season from the first to the last day, but it was also a season that allowed us to consolidate and bring to maturity a “stable group”, our “Dream Team“, which stages shows complexes like the Pagan Evocation Fantasy Show and Circobirò, a group of girls who ask nothing more than to work in my shows, a staff who supports me and loves me. Thank you Musa InFabula, Alex Cat, Clarissa Bughuntress, Ambra Starlet, Lola Nippo, Naar Rexen, Lyra Winter-Breil, Morticia1069, Epona Tigerfish, Icy Zeplin.
Thanks to your hard work, even before mine, today we are an international crew recognized by the main Conventions (SciFi Con, NatureCon, Burn2) and by Linden Lab.
Thanks also to all the sims who hosted us, and believed in our ability to fill the spaces: Ministry Of Trance, SSMDA, SciFiCon, Linden Lab, Burn2, IT-Girls, Rungardvik, Dinkie’s Got Talents, Metaharper’s, THE REFUGE .

Thanks to this work, by 2024 we have the ability to offer DJ sets in 4 different genres, storytelling shows, performing arts shows, event creation and machinima movies (the commercial offer has already been distributed to the various sims).
Obviously, I already have a couple of new big challenges ready for 2024, because when you have a team like mine, limits are made to be broken down.