Thursday, January 20, 2011
CONNECTING WITH PORTER PAQUOT
“This is my favorite place in SL,” explained Porter as we swam with the colorful fish. “When I first came to Second Life, I met someone who took me scuba diving in the Costa Rica sim and it totally blew my mind. In real life I kind of have a fear of the ocean... not major but enough. But I feel so free when I swim in the SL ocean - it's so beautiful down here”
It really was. As we chatted, I allowed my avatar to float aimlessly in the water as I continued to explore my underwater surroundings. I noticed a cave, complete with cuddle and dance balls.
Benares, a lovely island estate full of fine-looking homes including Porter’s, is owned by Brinda Allen . “My sim owner, Brinda, has been a real mentor and friend to me in SL since the very beginning. When I told her I wanted to sing in SL she encouraged me, but I think she didn't really think I would do it. She's a wonderful person. This sim really is like a family, and she is the den mother of us all. I was very lucky to fall in with them my very first day in SL.”
Brinda gave Porter the space and the prims to make a public Scuba area for the sim. It is a project that is clearly close to her heart, a never ending work in progress, and she is quick to point out that many of her fellow residents have contributed to it.
“I don't come down here nearly as often as I would like to.”
“You are clearly proud of it,” I remarked.
“I am proud of it. I really wanted it to be a place everyone could enjoy together. I wanted to share that first experience I had - where it blew my mind. I want everyone to feel that way in Second Life. I want to give that gift to other people.”
Porter with ease grabbed hold of a stingray and allowed it to guide her around the underwater garden. She suggested I ride the turtle, commenting that its “more my speed.” Unable to find the turtle and feeling a bit cocky I chose the nearby octopus. Immediately, I was on the verge of becoming nauseas due to the bucking creature that was clearly unhappy to have me as passenger. I realized Porter was probably right, the turtle did seem more my speed. First chance I had I quickly abandoned the octopus for the much more docile turtle.
“It is clear that you love your fans, they aren't just people who come to your shows.” I commented.
“ No they IM me, and we go out on boats in the middle of the night, and they come scuba diving, and they end up living on my sim and coming to play with me other times. The word fan implies I don't know them but they know me. I hate that. If they care enough about my shows to come and join my group, I want to get to know them. Then they aren't fans, they are friends.”
“So the peeps are another community for you, like your neighbors here at Benares.”
“They are a special community.”
“Why special?” I asked.
“I feel very close to them. I know I can ask a question or invite them to an event and someone will come or if I'm lonely they are there to cheer me up and I would do that for them. They are wild and crazy and fun but they are also really caring people."
“But the Peeps wouldn't exist without your music.”
Porter is not joking about obnoxious gestures. Just attend one of her shows and you will realize that the louder and more unruly the people are the happier she is on stage. She clearly feeds off of it and her fans love it. You never know what you’ll get at a Porter show; it truly is an interactive experience. I asked her what a typical show is like.
“I almost became an opera singer but when I was 18 I was diagnosed with vocal nodules and had to go on voice rest. I haven't been the same since. My voice rest period was 1 year.”