There have been many jazz clubs and jazz lounges in Second Life, so much so that those of us who frequent them all tend to have our favourites. There are a number I have permanently landmarks in my inventory, all of which I have enjoyed spending time at over the years.
But there is only one that has ever stolen my heart – as it did for just about everyone who ever visited it. That club was Birdland. Part of the reason many of us fell in love with it was down to the music: a wonderful mix of jazz and the Great American Songbook, spun into a wonderful and romantic fusion by Alma Fushikizoh, the club’s creator and resident DJ.
But it was not just the music that made Birdland special; the build itself was simply stunning: a true labour of love beautifully crafted to create the perfect ambience for romance and long evenings of dancing and conversation. As Alma once told me back in 2007, “Birdland is a Romantic Lounge; a place to dance with your loved one – a place to flirt, a place to meet extraordinary people”.
There was also the fact that Alma and her partner (both in SL and in RL), Blysse Biondi, regarded everyone who frequented Birdland as being part of their extended family in SL; imbuing the club with a very special atmosphere that, for most of the clubs “regulars”, made it a genuine home-from-home in Second Life.
Sadly, Birdland vanished from the grid when Alma and Blysse had to retire from Second Life due to personal reasons – and its absence was sorely missed. For my part, I’ve never come across another club the combines the same measure of look, ambience, romance, friendliness and fun.
I was therefore surprised when I logged-in to SL back in June to find Alma and Blysse both on-line and to get a bright, sunny, “We’re back!” IM from Alma. Just having two long-time friends back was reason to celebrate – so it was with a sense of stunned surprise that I accepted an invite from Alma to be one of the first to see that not only were they both once more settled in SL – but also that Birdland itself is back as well and is being readied for a Grand Re-opening!
Birdland today is exactly as it was on the last day I saw it before Alma and Blysse had to depart SL; only the setting has changed. Seeing it brought back a wealth of memories; this was a place I’d spent some of the most satisfying evening of my entire Second Life, simply relaxing with the music and enjoying the company of friends in a manner that no other club has, in all honesty, managed to match for me.
Here is a place you can dance under the moonlight (the club is specifically designed for viewers with the time set to sunset or midnight), or sit and chat with friends, watch the sunset from the broad wooden deck, or sit on the beach and cuddle while being serenaded by some of the finest songs every recorded by some of the world’s greatest voices.
Touring the club in its new location with Alma and Blysse, I couldn’t help but feel I’d somehow come home again. Looking at the familiar marble-finished dance floor with the inlaid logo, lit by the rafter-fitted spotlights, wandering the deck overlooking the sea and passing among the tables and chairs overlooking both the dance floor and the sea, I felt the years melt away. With some people only too willing to spread doom and gloom about regions closing and stores vanishing in SL, I couldn’t help but feel something precious has returned to Second Life.
There is still some work to be done before the club formally opens its doors; and Alma and Blysse are wisely not rushing things; the formal opening will take place in September, giving them more than enough time to finish-off the details here and there.
In the meantime, the club informally opened on August 2nd, and will feature a range of weekend events between now and the end of August to start warming things up. Alma will again be putting together sets for each weekend and will be mixing them with requests from patrons and guests at the following times:
- Fridays: 17:00 SLT
- Saturdays: 11:00 and 17:00 SLT
- Sundays: 11:00 and 17:00 SLT
Live entertainment will very much be a part of the new Birdland as well, and updates on performers and performances as well as DJ sets from Alma will be available through the Birdland in-world group.
I’m certainly looking forward to spending evenings there with friends old and new, dancing to some of the greatest music ever written and listening to some of Second Life’s finest entertainers. I hope to see some of you there are well.
Please note that Birdland does operate a formal / smart dress code with gowns and tuxedos preferred.