Skip to content Skip to footer

“Not Possible in Real Life” you say? Or maybe you shouldn’t.

As someone who has worked as an art and non-profit administrator for some decades, I am well-acquainted with what a very nasty and competitive world it can be. It saps our energy, our joy, our creativity. I have seen it turn idealistic, energetic young people full of ideas into bitter, guarded, pessimists within years of working in an embattled orchestra or other arts organization.

Part of what is so restorative about participation in Second Life arts over the past three years has been the relative rarity of huge egos, competition and other nonsense of one kind or another. Anyone making art or supporting the creation of art in SL has to be mainly doing it for the love of it. Financial rewards are much lower than RL and promotional rewards have been slow in coming. While all of us hope to improve the tangible rewards for SL’s fine artists, it would be a shame if the positive spirit of collaboration were to be lost.

A small event that is both ridiculous and dismaying over the past couple of days has given me pause. Although the Music Island series is two years old, and my own participation in Second Life has spanned 3.5 years, I only started this blog a couple of months ago because a) I was too busy actually organizing value-added content in Second Life to spend much time writing about it b) a couple of server crashes that affected the Cedar Island website made the events listing on Music Island unavailable anywhere on the web, c) the visit of Toronto Star music critic, John Terauds to a Music Island concert made me realize that while there were bits of content everywhere about Music Island, there was no one spot on the web to refer anyone to for history, information and ongoing news of Music Island concerts, and d) lastly, I had been occasionally writing about arts in SL and Music Island concerts in the context of my more general arts & social issues blog which was muddying the mission of that blog and not providing a focused account of the activities of the artistic community surrounding Music Island. And so with all these utilitarian reasons rather than any sense of blogging for the sake of blogging, nor aggrandizement of my virtual self as author, I set text to .html to pen these pages.

As it has been my intention to mix news of upcoming and recent events with articles of a more general nature and some reflection on past events, I thought to write a post on a group of concerts presented over a period of about a year that were not possible in real life. In my May 2008 presentation at the Technology in the Arts Conference at the University of Waterloo, I noted that the reasons for presenting concerts in SL included: audience development, musical education, professional development, musician promotion, international musical collaborations, and not-possible-in-real-life multi-media creation. The last is the only purely artistic objective and as such is uniquely important and worthy of comment by all of us who care about arts in virtual worlds, or any world.

Soon after my post appeared I logged on in Second Life to receive a message from an avatar, Bettina Tizzy, whose name was not familiar to me. The content of that message was simply, “What the hell?” followed by the URL of my blog post. It was an odd introduction, and although taken aback, I remembered the simple credo of one of my mentors, Howard Rheingold to “assume good will” and remembered that “What the hell?” with a different tone of voice can mean surprise or puzzlement, so I queried the sender and provided a little background. A little while later I saw that the same individual had commented on my blog post, “Is this an April Fool’s Day joke?” and I again tried to ‘assume goodwill” and thought, “hmmm, likely is someone who finds the accounts of these concerts to be preposterous” and so I provided a courteous reply expanding on the information. However, clicking on the link of the poster’s comment, I saw that she in fact had a blog which she had named after the familiar VW catch-phrase “not possible in real life”. While I applauded the effort and intent of the blog, I had a sinking feeling that this individual’s recent communications signalled that she felt that she “owned” a common phrase that is in use far beyond her blog, her group and pre-dates her own participation in Second Life.

I did not have to wait long for confirmation of my theory as I dealt with an IM communication that made me sigh and, Gentle Readers, please forgive me, even to muse out-loud that Ms. Tizzy had chosen her last name with an aptness that eludes many of us in Second Life as this little tempest-in-a-teapot had all the ear-marks of a classic tizzy.

In describing the various concerts in series at Music Island over the years, I have employed many phrases in familiar use: classical music, early music, electro-accoustic music, new-age music, ambient music, space music, etc. Yet I have not had, for example, Thom Dowd, the owner of the Early Music group say, “I own the group and you cannot use ‘Early Music’ to describe your concert!!!!” Why? Because he knows that the concert I have described as “early music”, is in fact early music as broadly defined in the world at large. Nor has Tyrol Rimbaud, the grande doyenne of the Classical Music group asserted ownership over the phrase “classical music”.

By the same token, “not possible in real life” describes a type of virtual reality experience–not limited to artistic practice–that when applied to artistic practice denotes a school of artistic expression within 3-D virtual reality. It is great that Ms. Tizzy has chosen to seek out and write about her experience and critiques of such events within SL and I honestly hope that her prolific blog has promoted awareness and practice. But to put the cart before the horse and suggest that a blog which titled itself after a familiar phrase and began to report on an artistic school of practice well underway at its inception in fact “owns” the phrase or created the movement is a transcendentally ridiculous position.

In conversation with a couple of artists yesterday (whom I will not name so they not be troubled by our volative blogger’s demonstrated vitriol) we amused ourselves as we tried to find a word for a blogger whose ego and sense of entitlement had transcended their subject and all sense of reality. My favorites were “blaggart” (a cross between braggart and blog) and “blogusoity” (a cross between “blog” and “pomposity”). Personally I thought “blogulence” (blog+flatulence) was a little rude although it did capture a certain something of how a good thing…. a blog post celebrating some fine not-possible-in-real-life concerts…. can be stink-bombed by negativity.

I was just going to let this all blow away (as bad smells tend to do) until I was contacted by one of the artists involved in the concerts who had been approached by Ms. Tizzy to ask me to do what…not clear… remove my post… not use the phrase? Now that really got this plain Kate angry. When people start to involve and trouble the artists over their petty agendas, the gloves come off. I HAVE now edited my post to acknowledge the existence of Ms. Tizzy’s blog and to make it clear that I am using “not possible in real life” as a descriptor and not a title of a concert series, which I am told by some might have been a reading by someone unfamiliar with the varied Music Island concert series. Frankly, at this point, despite any positive Ms. Tizzy’s blog may have done for SL Art, her territorial and uncollaborative attitude of blowing up before engaging in any courteous dialogue or fact-finding, makes any association with any of her enterprises anathema to this SL and RL arts presenter.

So please a disclaimer: When there is a “not possible in real life” concert at Music Island–and I am sure we will host many more– it is not to be confused with the SL group of the same name, or to signify endorsement by the blog of that title.

Ah, there, breathes easily again. And now back to our regularly scheduled program–putting the focus on artistic creation, on art, on celebrating and sharing the opening of our spirits through art.


  • Anonymous
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I’ve just been through a ridiculous legal claim at my workplace that centered around presumed ownership of a common phrase. I shudder to say that I’ve also had some dealings with this particular SL bully, (about whom the description “territorial and uncollaborative” only scratches the surface).

    Our corporate lawyer cited the well-known precedent explained here:

    “Copyright laws disfavor protection for short phrases. Such claims are viewed with suspicion by the Copyright Office, whose circulars state that, “… slogans, and other short phrases or expressions cannot be copyrighted.” [1] These rules are premised on two tenets of copyright law. First, copyright will not protect an idea. Phrases conveying an idea are typically expressed in a limited number of ways and, therefore, are not subject to copyright protection. Second, phrases are considered as common idioms of the English language and are therefore free to all. Granting a monopoly would eventually “checkmate the public” [2] and the purpose of a copyright clause to encourage creativity-would be defeated.”


    Keep up the good work Kate. I’d rather visit your island any day. It’s always a pleasure to associate with people who value art over ego. That includes those who haven’t so lost touch with reality that, for them, “checkmating” the rights of fellow SL residents is the only way to overcome their own insecurities.

    The lawsuit at work was dismissed as frivolous and the claimant paid damages. Unfortunately, “NPISL” has so far been a pretty good description of how likely it was that anyone would call Bettina Tizzy on her outrageous conduct. Good on you, Kate.

  • metaMeerKat
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Impressive and Courageous. I love free speech in its intelligent form.

    It is certainly possible and desirable in all lives… first, second and after life if all goes well.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that has been expressed not only here but in SL, sometimes by people I have not even had the chance to get to know yet in Second Life but who have been touched by the music at Music Island over the past years. Thank you so much friends.

  • Anonymous
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    It appears that Miss Tizzy has just gotten a bit big for her britches. She dominates the SL art world, right? And form what I’ve been told, maneuvered herself into that position despite not being an artist herself, or an authority on art with any qualified experience, and now she’s trying to throw her weight around to. But that is the nature of second life. People can become anything they like, regardless of credentials, all it takes is charisma and the ability to con followers into a lemming state of mind. I’m glad you didn’t go all lemming. Stay strong and don’t back down!

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Second Life is what we make it and no one can dominate art. There are lots of groups and lots of venues, and goodness knows lots of blogs!

  • Anonymous
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Miss Tizzy does not dominate SL Arts – she just likes to think she does! Even her own NPIRL group think she is a joke but pander to her fragile ego to get a blog post out of her. She has no art credentials and she can’t built. All she has is a blog tool to promote others to make and place herself in a postion of control and self deluded power – all off the backs of others peeps creations. She uses her closed so called elite group to self promote. Tizzy’s reputation as a bully and a manipulator who throws a hysterical temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her own way or feels threatned is more widely known that her blog is.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    As a professional arts administrator, I have to note that sometimes artists feel that administrators, managers are also getting rich of the backs of their labour. :-)

    However, most value the fundraising, planning, and promotion that goes into making arts events a success for all. Someone has to make sure the trains run on time and everyone knows the schedule!

    My first work in SL was helping to assist musicians with events in various places around SL. The lack of awareness about how to promote and support musical events boggled my mind. That experience was the impetus to the founding of Music Island at Sea Turtle Island as part of the Cedar Island Open-learning community.

    Blogs and websites that offer critiques and backgrounders to arts events should help us all stay informed and contribute to the life of the mind that the experience of art is all about. Informed and thoughtful criticism is a skill set in itself. I hope that there will be an increasing number of people choosing to comment on the Arts in Second Life.

  • Bettina Tizzy
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Kate – I took your parting words from our conversation to heart: “It is nuts that we’d be enemies as our interests are congruent and non-competitive,” and left it at that.

    I appreciate your efforts on behalf of the music community and understand how much work is involved.

    As I explained to you, I have been in the process of creating a non-profit organization for NPIRL in the hopes of promoting great content to even wider audiences.

    I was upset because, after 600+ blogposts (many written in the wee hours of the morning and at the expense of balance, sleep, food, exercise, family and so much more) and literally thousands of notices, I have tried to create a focused movement, and yes, even a brand: Not Possible IRL (NPIRL).

    It has been hard work, but I do believe that more would agree than not that if NPIRL has promoted a creation… no matter what the style or who was involved, it will be of tremendous **QUALITY**.

    I love seeing the term “NPIRL” (an acronym I believe we coined) used freely because it means that we are succeeding… that our concept is growing and actually means something. What I didn’t want was for others to brand their events and projects as such because then we really do lose that quality control. I was shocked when I read your original blogpost. It featured one of NPIRLs members. It was tagged “NPIRL.” It really looked as though you were branding your series this way… a series I had never heard of. I showed it to a couple of others and they understood it that way, too, and were surprised as well. So, like the MGM lion, I roared.

    Your blogpost and the anonymous comments, however, are a wake-up call that I have, indeed, taken my efforts to build a movement too seriously. The arts are exploding in SL and the burgeoning community needs many more individuals willing to help organize events and showcase and promote so much fantastic work.

    I try to promote those individuals and their efforts as much as I possibly can. When you consider the size of Second Life, my little groups are teensy drops in the bucket. I keep thinking that I’m devoting too much time to this, but there are always new projects in the hopper to advocate for better creator rights or to promote something or somebody, so I delay… and then new projects come up, in a never-ending circle.

    The number of people who are upset with me can’t help but grow, though. There are so many artists I have not been able to focus on, not because of the quality of their work, but because I haven’t the time! There are other artists whose work is extraordinary, but it doesn’t fall within the focus/concept of our group. And then there are the artists whose work I simply don’t care for.

    I don’t feel compelled to promote art that I find mediocre or worse, but by the same token, I don’t devote time to writing negative things about their work. No time to be negative… there is too much beauty and too much wonder.

    Some people have done everything within their power to knock me down a notch or two or ten. You can’t even imagine how underhanded people have been. Some things have simply broken_my_ heart. Does that make me bitter and disappointed? Oh yes. But the MAGIC that so many are creating keeps calling me back like a siren’s song, so I brush myself off like those funny avatar gestures after a fall and just keep on going. I’m still, after all this, wildly in love with everything that is going on.

    At any rate, to work so hard, and then generate this much acrimony… well, it’s not right. It makes me very sad. Good luck with your projects, by the way.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    A very classy post! I must say.

    Hopefully all the acrimony is aired and over. I really never felt terribly acrimonious myself, just bemused and saddened. If an artist had not come to me feeling under pressure to talk to me, to publically dissociate from me or something, I really would not have blogged about this. To me that took things a step beyond the range of funny and into the realm where people were hurting.

    I did a short google of the term Not Possible in Real Life and I turned up its use in descriptions of types of events everywhere from Wikipedia to academic papers to photos. Some were associated with the SL group and blog but most were not and the oldest reference I found was 2004, with quite a few in ’05 and ’06, well before the group was founded. Certainly it is my memory that in the online forum where I first learned about Second Life, enthusiasts were speaking of the potential for “not possible in real life” events long before I made my first visit in late 2005.

    When Marketers start talking about “branding”, in talking to artists and arts orgs, I usually zone out. There is something to be said for staying on message or on Mission, but art is not a soap brand or a box of cereal, it is alive and vibrant and will find its own way. It is often untidy and has bad manners. It refuses to stay in any box.

    Certainly no one person or one group is going to be able to control, promote or be the sole spokesperson for art in Second Life because there is always someone else coming along with a new idea for some events, activities, gallery or concept.

    Once upon a time I tried to engage in some dialogue with other classical music series to collaborate on scheduling and form one big group for notices. It was like herding cats! And now I can see that each of the series has its own flavour and the diversity is a great thing.

    Yeah, for diversity!

    Yeah, for more art in SL! (And I even like the bad art.)

    Yeah for us for talking this through, moving on and learning from it.

  • Anonymous
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Why would an SL Art group be closed and capped at 172 members? It goes against the core of art, which is to be inclusive and not exclusive. Do not alienate or divide artists. Trust in peer review and not some unqualified self serving hot head who obviously has no idea how to serve an arts community. I agree Miss Tizzy does a poor job of representing SL in this clique little set up that she has going on. It’s simply laughable and really gives SL Art a bad name. I for one would never agree to be part of such a closed ideal, shame on those who are.
    ”NPIRL’s membership is closed at 172” Taken from Bettina’s blog.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    The owner of the NPIRL group is free to do whatever they wish to do with the membership or membership levels.

    I am reminded of a personal story.

    At one time I publicized the concerts at Music Island only through two generic classical music groups, and those groups are great resources! However I did realize that if the groups were to be deleted or I lost my posting privileges through any reorganization of the groups, then I was going to have no way to conveniently reach the people who had regularly attended concerts. So I started a group just for notices of the weekly events at Music Island. From that experience, I can tell you that building a group in SL is hard work due to the 25 group limit. You add 20 people and 10 people leave due to group restrictions. Two steps forward, one back. If you aren’t actively inviting membership, the loss will be more than the gain.

    The more events of interest you send members notices about, the greater the appeal of membership in your group. From having built a group myself I can understand that the work Bettina has done in getting a membership of 1500+ in her group was, I’m sure, prodigious. (I don’t know what the limit of 172 refers to… I am assuming member artists?)

    My group is quite different in that it is exclusively news about one concert series–with the very occasional notice about a related event or news item. My goal was to reach out to a core audience base which I pegged at about 250 members (for a weekly attendance of 30-60). I’m gratified that membership today is about 530. I continue to reach out to new audience members through also posting to generic lists that publicize a lot of music events, but my series is no longer dependent on those musical listing groups in the same way. It makes me less worried about what the group owners may or may not do.

    My point here is very simple, I would recommend the same course of action to galleries, artist collectives and individual artists. Develop your own list and group of people who are your core contacts. Start your own blogs, start a group on Ning, put up a Google calendar of events… use any tool that works for you to not feel dependent on others for your profile.

    This in no way takes away from the important role that is played by independent bloggers like Ms. Tizzy, who survey various aspects of art in Second Life, or from the various groups that are built to offer their members news about a range of events.

    I liken the situation to the situation in RL when a newspaper critic comes to a concert. They can choose to come or not based on their own schedule and preferences. If they come, they can write good stuff or bad stuff. The arts group can’t control what goes into their newspaper or make them come if they don’t wish to come.

    But by the same token, that one bad review is not going to close an orchestra or a concert series down. We’ll go on creating the art and reaching out to our own audience members. And we’ll keep on sending out press releases to the critics (even the nasty ones) because we continue to hope for the good reviews.

    IMHO I think that there is a confusion of identity here in some minds which confuses one (prolific) commentator and events lister with some sort of godlike gate-keeper of all art in Second Life.

    As I understand it, Ms. Tizzy has vehicles to provide two valuable types of things in SL Arts. First is a blog where she offers her own news and critical opinion (like arts critics everywhere) and the second is one group which provides event listings to group members. To give another RL analogy, this is like subscribing to a service like “Eventful” to get news of a type of event that you personally like. As long as members are happy about the events she lists and find them worthwhile attending, artists will be eager to gain the advantage of being listed.

    Both of these activities (blogging and listing events) have every potential of contributing positively to the SL arts scene, just as critics and listing services help people find events of note and to think critically about the art.

    However, as a professional arts administrator in RL, I will seek to have critics come to the concerts and I will seek to have concerts listed in appropriate listing services, BUT, I this is not to say that the critics and the listing services control the artistic content or the communications for my arts organization. The job of subscription renewal, single ticket sales, audience development, arts education, and web and print communications is still something that the arts organization has to do for themselves.

    Just like RL, if you are not doing your own job of communicating your artistic message, building your own audience base, whose job is that? Since the beginning of art there have been good critics and bad critics, informed critics and stupid critics. And people will disagree about who is informed or not, and I will offer no opinion on that. :-) Complaining about the critics does you as much good as complaining about the weather. It is just there and one must deal with it.

    The art goes on with or without the critics and history has shown us that critical opinion is not much of a predictor of the ultimate success of any artist. The composers we revere today range from celebrated successes to those who laboured all their lives in obscurity.

  • Anonymous
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I looked into this more as my curiosity was peaked when reading all these posts here. I see that Miss Tizzy has infact two groups.”Not Possible IRL,” capped at 172 and “Impossible IRL,” with 2,000 members for those Miss Tizzy thinks deems not to be worthy of her elite group of 172, judging by what has been said here and what I have been told in the last few days in world. Making a clear distinction of who is hip in her unqualified eyes and who is not. Looking at this list on Miss Tizzy’s blog of her 172 NPIRL members, so many are no longer actually active in SL Art or SL at all or indeed have nothing to do with SL Art. It is an odd mix to be frank – I cross checked in world and many are not even in her group still but are still listed on her blog. It would appear that not only goes Miss Tizzy have an ego but vanity to match. Sad to say, Miss Tizzy appears to be on the surface one thing, but beneath quite another. Working hard does give anyone the right to behave badly and be a bully and demand changes because she does not like it. How Miss Tizzy behaves is at best questionable, and I am inclined to agree that anyone can pretend to be anything in SL even if they don’t have the RL Credentials. It’s very apparent that indeed Miss Tizzy has no arts background. It’s typical behaviour of someone who is insecure and who has a fragile ego to maintain.

  • Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Finally the truth about that woman is coming out! She is a supreme manipulator and yes a bully too. Her ego and self worth is immense and totally unjustified. She is the biggest faker in Second Life. How does such a fraud make her way in SL? Because she is a supreme duper! She is the laughing stock on her own snobby elitist group. You get what you deserve and you reap what you have sown Bettina.

Comments are closed.

We will give you emotions and impressions at our unforgettable festival! There is no better time than time spent with good music among friends.

Germany —
785 15h Street, Office 478
Berlin, De 81566

ThemeREX © 2023. All Rights Reserved.