Monday, March 01, 2004


Somewhere in Austria in the very early morning of last Saturday (around 3AM, to be more precise), someone sat down in front of her computer, and let the world in. Undoubtedly blurry-eyed, Andie Apollo acted as hostess to an Opernball, a traditional Vienesse Opera Ball held in Dark Wood, replete with formal wear (tails for the men, white evening gowns for the ladies), and the sounds of Strauss' "Blue Danube" flowing through the chamber. Guests arrived from all over the globe, from as far away as San Francisco, where it was still 5pm on Friday. By the time I arrived (after struggling into my formal wear), the fete was already in full swing, the simulator filled to capacity, bandwidth crisscrossing the Atlantic, giving a dreamy, waltzing feel to the proceedings. Urbane and witty chit chat tinkled through the air:
"Wake up Rhett," Jodiette Flower tells Rhett Butler, "this is no time to let the dog out."

"You better," says Dragen Zaius to an unidentified woman, "after I caught you with the hockey team."

"May I present to you the Queen and King of the Ball," Andie says, announcing the arrival of the honored guests.

"Have you heard, good ladies and gentlemen?" someone calls out. "Our compatriot has taken the governorship of that barbaric land of California. Let us all give an Austrian toast to Governor Schwarzenegger!" Cheers and huzzahs ring out.

"Dragen," says Mistress Midnight, a full-lipped temptress in a Jezebel-red gown, "when you dance with me, I feel like I'm sixty-three again."

Alexis Patel chimes up: "Sorry for the newbie question: how do I turn off the names above everyone's heads, please?"

Upstairs, the famed Catherine Omega (and the title for her avatar now reads "The Catherine Omega") displays her elegantly cut dress-- and an equally elegant samurai sword. And as we approach 4:00 AM in Austria, I imagine a blurry-eyed hostess peering into this vision of a forgotten Europe, shared with her by people a continent away, twirling on the screen before her, re-invented anew.

(Event also co-hosted by Sarah Fate.)

Posted at 12:35 PM | Permalink


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