Hansi Sturm returns to the Eldorado

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Hansi_Sturm_come_Miss_EldoradoIn 1920s Berlin we like to tell our visitors about how exciting and interesting that city was back then.
One of the places that does this is is our Eldorado club, a so called transvestitenlokal, based on a real gay and cross dressers club.

Berlin was famous for its tolerance and this club where women dressed like men and men like women was very well known and in stead of hidden away it was celebrated, written about and visited by people from all walks of life.

One of the stars in this scene was Hansi Sturm, married father of two who in the evening changed into ‘Miss Eldorado’, entertaining the crowds ad the infamous club with his singing and dancing.
Ending each show by throwing his fake breasts at the orchestra.

Hansi became somewhat of a celebrity, even outside the gay and transvestite scene.
Postcards show him as Miss Eldorado but there was even an article about him in a regular magazine.

But of course the golden age of tolerance and freedom ended and after the Nazis took over power in Germany, the many gay clubs were closed and Hansi vanished into the shadows of history.
We don’t know what happened to him, was he persecuted and was he murdered in a camp somewhere, did he hide his past and ended up being forced into the army or did he manage to do one more transformation and turned into a regular man who managed to stay unnoticed for the rest of his life?

We just don’t know and it made me a bit sad.
Because the last thing Hansi seems to have wanted was to end up being practically unheard of.

By bringing a Hansi avatar to Second Life and letting her/him relive his glory days, in our own little way, bring him back from oblivion.
And share his story with the visitors of our sim.

From now on Hansi will perform at the Eldorado club almost every Saturday at 2pm SLT.

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Sponsoring a monument to victims of Nazism

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The 1920s Berlin project is more than just a roleplay sim, where we all have lots of fun.
We are about history, remembrance, understanding the past and trying to show our respect to the Berlin that was before the Nazis took over.

We support an impressive project that commemorates individual victims of Nazism by sponsoring a Stolperstein.

“Stolperstein” is the German word for “stumbling block”, “obstacle”, or “something in the way.”
Throughout RL Berlin (and many other cities all over Europe) you can find, or stumble over, thousands of these little brass stones in the pavement.

These memorials commemorate individuals – both those who died and survivors – who were consigned by the Nazis to prisons, euthanasia facilities, sterilization clinics, concentration camps, and extermination camps, as well as those who responded to persecution by emigrating or committing suicide.

While the vast majority of stolpersteine commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust, others have been placed for Sinti and Romani people (also called gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Black people, Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) opposed to the Nazis, members of the Communist Party and the Resistance, military deserters, and the physically and mentally disabled.

The stones are dug into the pavement outside the houses where these people used to live.
A very moving and emotional monument to a single person can sometimes leave a bigger impact then a monument to thousands.
When I fist stumbled upon such a stone I must confess I had not heard about them and found it hard not to burst into tears on the spot.

It seems suitable that our 1920s Berlin Project, created to remember what the city was like before 1933, should be involved with the Stolpersteine.

We have been in contact with the artist and other people involved with this great way to remember who and what was lost, and they are very excited about what we do here. We, in turn, are in awe of their great undertaking.

Last year our donations paid for the creating and installing of a Stolperstein for Rosa Bleiberg, a young Jewish girl born in Berlin in 1926, murdered in Auschwitz in 1943.
The stone can be found on Rykestraße 52 in Berlin.

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This year we hope to sponsor 2 stones.

We have placed a donation meter at the entrance area to our sim and, as soon as it is full, we shall pay the artist Herr Gunter Demnig to plant two of these stones in Berlin.
When the time comes, we will decide what kind of person we would like the monument to be dedicated to.

You can do your part by donating into the special Stolperstein donation meter.
All the money donated goes straight to the Stolpersteine Project.

You can find the donation meter here at the entrance of our sim;
http://slurl.com/secondlife/1920s Berlin/236/232/751

We will keep track of this and announce when the stones will be installed in RL Berlin.

Be warned, it takes a lot of work to make and Herr Demnig is not that often in Berlin, so it can take up to two years before our stone is ready.

But, no matter what happens in SL or to our sim, we shall make sure the stone is placed and that everyone hears about it.

We plan to sponsor another stone next year.

For more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolperstein

http://www.stolpersteine.com/

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New Babylon Cinema

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Newest addition to the 1920s Berlin Project sim in the virtual online world of Second Life.

The building is based on the real Babylon cinema on the Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 30 in Berlin that you can still visit today. It was build in 1929 and designed by Architect Hans Poelzig and is a good example of the Bauhaus style. During the Nazi era there was a KPD resistance group who used the building for secret meetings.

Of course there are a lot of limitations when you try and build a replica of a RL building into Second Life. For starters there is always a shortage of prims and in this case there was also not a lot of space. I could not just demolish a few buildings, it had to fit into the same spot of the old cinema and on a different corner than the RL one. So in a way I mirrored it. Luckily the building was expertly renovated a few years ago so after some contact with the people running the cinema today I realized I could use the same colours the current building has. On a very rare photo of the building of the cinema I spotted the ‘Automaten Buffet’, I could not find any more information about it so had to guess what it looked like on the inside, but I think I got pretty close. An ‘Automaten Buffet’ is also known as an Automat and used to be quite popular across the world in the early 20th century. By inserting a coin into the slot, you would be able to open a little glass door that gave you access to food. Come and try it, our Automat has been expertly filled by Clarrington Catering.

The Babylon cinema in 1920s Berlin is not just there for show. It is being run by Fraulein Myfanwy McMahon who keeps original 1920s and 1920s themed movies playing on the silver screen. There is a special feature every sunday at 15:30 slt. More about that on the Babylon facebook group.

You can see a collection of photos of the new building here;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1920sberlin/sets/72157640042931996/

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New Drug laws

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NEW drug laws from december 10th onwards.

Please note;

Opiumgesetzes vom 10. Dezember 1929
(RGBl. I S. 215) listet § 1 Abs. 1

Achtung!

From the 10th of december onwards it will be illegal to buy, sell, own or use the following products:

Rohopium
Opium
Morphine
Kokablätter (cacao leaves)
Rohkokain
Kokain (cocaine)
Ekgonin (Ecgonine)
Indischer Hanf (indian hemp)
Diacetylmorphins (Heroins)
Kokains und Ekgonins.

Some of these products may still be obtained at the Apotheke (pharmacy) trough a prescription from your doctor.

If you break the law you can be fined and even jailed.
Approximate fines and punishments;
-Being caught buying them can get you fined 150L$
-Selling these products can get you fined 500L$
-Owning one of the aboce substances can get you fined 250L$
-Being caught using, or having used them recently, can get you arrested for at least one night in the cell.

New secret club house for Berlin children

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The old hidden away room in the back of the pottery was discovered and removed when the buildings were improved by the city planners.

But the children of Berlin need of course a secret headquarters where they can plan their adventures or just hide from mother superior who runs the orphanage or the teacher when they are skipping school.

So when nobody was looking, a bunch of them sneaked into the huge Tiergarten park, found a nice quiet spot and build a huge tree house!

This is now their base of operations, no grownups allowed!

A place where they can get together to play, read comics, sleep when dad is drunk and violent again, or just enjoy some peace and quiet, away from the city.

However it was build right next to a circle of mushrooms, in English we call it a fairy ring.
Or as the Germans call it; “Hexenringe (“witches’ rings”)!
In German tradition, fairy rings were thought to mark the site of witches’ dancing on Walpurgis Night (last day of april).

So maybe keep one eye open while you sleep…

I won’t tell you where the club house is, but if you ask other kids they will show you or if you’re brave enough… you can just look for the Hexenringe…

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1920s Berlin Project sponsors monument to World War two victim

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To us the 1920s Berlin project is more than just a roleplaying 3D world for our little community.

It is also about the past, trying to learn from history, envisioning what Berlin was like before the Nazis took over and trying to understand the dark times that followed and the damage done by the horrible things that found their origin in the 1920s.

When I heard about the ‘Stolperstein’ remembrance project, I wanted to support it.

“Stolperstein” is the German word for “stumbling block”, “obstacle”, or “something in the way.”
Throughout RL Berlin (and many other cities in more and more European countries) you can find, or stumble over, many of these little brass stones in the pavement.

These memorials commemorate individuals – both those who died and survivors – who were consigned by the Nazis to prisons, euthanasia facilities, sterilization clinics, concentration camps, and extermination camps, as well as those who responded to persecution by emigrating or committing suicide.

While the vast majority of stolpersteine commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust, others have been placed for Sinti and Romani people (also called gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) opposed to the Nazis, members of the Communist Party and the Resistance, military deserters, and the physically and mentally disabled.

The stones are dug into the pavement outside the houses where these people used to live.
A very moving and emotional monument to a single person can sometimes leave a bigger impact than a monument to thousands.
When I fist stumbled upon such a stone I must confess I had not heard about them and found it hard not to burst into tears on the spot.

Gunter Demnig is the artist behind these very impressive series of monuments which commemorates individual victims of the Holocaust and when I contacted him and his assistants about our project they were excited and promised to visit us in Second Life.

When, in February 2012 I mentioned the Stolperstein project to the people of 1920s Berlin everyone got excited and soon enough money was collected to sponsor one of the stones.

Together with the Stolperstein people we picked a name from a long list, much too long, of names of Nazi victims.

I picked Rosa Bleiberg who lived in a street that we also have in our sim.

She was born in 1926 and would have been a 3 year old girl in 1929, the year we are recreating in our simulation.

She was deported in 1943 and murdered in Auschwitz.

As every stone is handcrafted and installed by Herr Demnig in person it took a while before he managed to put the one we sponsored in front of Rykestrasse 52, Berlin.

But it was unveiled last month and I think we can be very proud as a virtual community to have given this almost forgotten victim a little monument of remembrance.

And I hope we will be able to sponsor many more so we will start another fundraise for these ‘Stolpersteinen’ in November.

Thank you everyone who put Lindens in the Stolperstein donation meter.

If you are interested in sponsoring such a stone, contact the people behind it on their site.

Photo; Paul David Doherty

Photo; Paul David Doherty

First Oculus Rift user visits Berlin

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Björn-Christian Bönkost decided to try his Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in our 1920s Berlin Project sim!

I am of course very jealous because I can’t wait to try this myself, but I’ve decided to wait till the commercial version is ready to go public.

Björn-Christian was able to visit Second Life with the Oculus Rift thanks to the latest upgrade of the CtrlAltStudio Viewer which recently had this option added.

You can read more about this in this blog;
An Initial Foray into Second Life with the Oculus Rift

I asked Björn-Christian to write about his experiences as an Oculus Rift visitor in 1920s Berlin;

I visited Berlin in 1920 today in second life, with my Rift Dev Kit.
The new prototype viewer from ctrlaltdel made this possible.
I was impressed, amazed and stunned.
The city is bigger than anything you can find as a demo for the rift.

The client is still in it´s infancy so after some trials, I decided to go to places in the standard mode and only take a look around in the rift once I got there.The presence and immersion in the environment is one of the strengths. 2013-08-28 16_01_44-Der Keller - YouTube

You sit on the bench in the Biergarten,you feel the narrow walls in the back alley.
The height of the ceiling in the asta cinema.
I was surprised by the size of the cars. I am not exactly small and my feeling was, I could not drive some of these because I instinctively know, I would not fit behind the steering wheel.
I visited a library, a gallery and the Volksbad bath house, admiring the design.
This is another plus point for this virtual world, Berlin has a constant scale, houses are big and the newspapers and glasses, tables and chair all have the right size.
And this is present in every corner I saw, nothing stands out or  breaks the suspension of disbelief.
I made a video of a rat, I saw on my way, movement certainly adds another layer of realism.

2013-08-28 19_01_15-Volksbad - YouTubeI also saw another person on my travel through the city, she walked just behind me and I was a little surprised, when I first saw her eye to eye, so to speak. But it reveals one of the main missing pieces, you have no interface in the client in Oculus mode.
So you can not see her chat message and cannot really answer, I switched back and answered her question: “taking a look around ?” with “Just a little” ;)

Another thing is a certain lag in motions, only after setting pre-rendered frames to 1 in the Nvidia control panel it was bearable.
I had to leave after I got really sick after 15-20 minutes in the rift.
I am very new to second life, I started in 2004, to try this new thing but I logged out right after I saw the first graphics, tried to move and got the feeling this wasn’t for me.
I tried again in 2008, just looking around, for maybe an hour to forget about it again.
I just started this with the oculus and had for the first time the feeling this will be interesting and was realy excited.

About myself:
I am Björn-Christian Bönkost, I live in Koblenz Germany.
I bought the rift for a simulation project I am working on in unity.
I got hooked by the dream of virtual reality and read “Ready Player One” and “Snowcrash” in a hurry.
In my free time I go rambling with my fiancee and am into photography.

Björn-Christian made a few videos of his visit, it is very exciting to see SL trough Oculus Rift eyes.

If you own a Rift, you can use it to view these videos and experience a visit to 1920s Berlin yourself.

To see more of the Oculus Rift videos in Berlin, visit this link;

http://www.youtube.com/user/yassokhuul/videos