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These are strange times indeed: With the current public health crisis sweeping across the globe, many of us are finding it more difficult to go out and physically do the things that comfort us and bring us joy. Socializing. Shopping. Dancing. We can’t wait to get out and explore in the physical world again - but, fortunately, you can do these things virtually right now in Second Life. During this time of great anxiety, stress and social isolation, we’ve seen a spike in interest and activity in Second Life as people seek online outlets for comfort and social connections. Many are discovering for the first time how Second Life can bring people together for friendly conversations and fun social activities - such as live music performances, virtual nightclubs and deejay events and even book readings. That’s why we’re excited to introduce two new initiatives that will help bring people closer together in Second Life. SECOND LIFE BOOK CLUB TO DEBUT APRIL 8 As book publishers scramble to adjust to new social distancing protocols and other coronavirus-era restrictions, Second Life offers a safe, synchronous way for authors to hold real-time book readings, engage in meet-and-greets with their fans and promote their publications in an immersive person-to-person setting. We’re proud to partner with Draxtor Despres for the introduction of the Second Life Book Club, a new series of literary-minded events. Drax has lined up many established authors for a series of recurring in-world "virtual book tours" that will be kicked off in April with a multi-author panel that will discuss their thoughts on writing and selling books in the age of COVID-19. Scheduled for the kick-off event, which will happen on April 8 at 10 a.m. (SLT) in Second Life, are a slate of best-selling authors: Matt Ruff (“Lovecraft Country”), Ken Liu (“The Paper Menagerie”), SL Huang (“Zero Sum Game”) and CB Lee (the Sidekick Squad series). This premiere event will also feature a yet to be confirmed guest from the publishing end of the book business. Stay tuned for further announcements. Anybody with a Second Life avatar can join this event, ask questions, mingle with fellow book lovers and the authors. These events will also be streamed live across our social channels and will be promoted to both mainstream and specialized media. We also want to help promote and expand the audience for other inworld book events, too! If you have a literary event that you'd like us to be aware of, then reach out to us at email@example.com. SHOWCASE STREAMS: SPOTLIGHTING SECOND LIFE MUSIC, ART & CULTURE We’re also pleased to introduce “Showcase Streams,” a new recurring series of live spontaneous videos that will aim to spotlight the many music, art and cultural events in Second Life. We think that there’s a lot of cool and creative energy in Second Life that deserves broader exposure. With “Showcase Streams,” we hope to bring great attention and audiences to some of these marquee experiences as we better educate the general public about the wide variety of creativity and events in our virtual world. This means that you’ll start to see more unscheduled live video streams of Second Life hot spots on our social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter/Periscope, Mixer...and, yes, YouTube. We’re working on Twitch, too! Pictured: Bryn Oh’s Hand exhibit in Second Life Examples of future “Showcase Streams” might include live video tours of popular shopping events such as the current Skin Fair, walk-throughs of art exhibitions such as the latest work by Bryn Oh, or a quick drop-in of a live music performance such as this weekend’s event from musician Mankind Tracer. Expect the unexpected! Pictured: Mankind Tracer gets ready for his upcoming Second Life performance Do you want to have your event or experience featured on a future “Showcase Stream”? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org You may also want to make sure that you are listed in the Destination Guide using the official submission form, as we’ll be using this as a source for scouting out locations for some of our streams. COMING SOON: SL17B! Another opportunity to showcase the best of Second Life is to participate in our upcoming 17th annual Second Life birthday celebration (SL17B), held June 19-July 10. Applications are now open for exhibitors, musicians and performers. Full details of the event will be announced soon, but we’ve already revealed that this year’s theme is “vacations and road trips.”