By Nicole Fitzgerald
Who: G Willy
When: Dec. 15 and 16
Where: Crystal Lounge
He’s at home in Whistler and isn’t worried. Plenty of time, he assures.
There is no guitar case to lug around, no amps to set up and transportation comes at the speed of a mouse click.
G Willy is one of nearly 2 million avatars living via cyberspace in a three-dimensional virtual universe called Second Life.
More of a sophisticated reality than a video-game like program, the user-built virtual world reflects the real world with real estate, shops, entertainment, education, politics and even an economy based on the digital linden dollar that can be converted into real U.S. dollars.
On average, Second Life hosts an exchange of over $5.3 million US a month as avatars, cartoon representations of the user, buy everything from land and running shoes to putting dollars into musician’s tip jar.
G Willy is taking advantage of the Second Life craze by transporting himself to various music venues around the world, where he performs as well as networks with bar owners.
“I arrange auditions and gigs on it,” G Willy said. “I get paid for gigs in linden dollars. I am playing a club in the U.K. at 3 p.m. here. It will be midnight in the U.K. It will be party time there for me.”
G Willy performs with mic, mixer and guitar at his home studio using computer software to both visually and audibly broadcast his music into the cyber phenomenon.
“People can see and hear me and can choose to dance on the dance floor or lounge on the couch,” G Willy said of the virtual clubs. “People create these virtual bars where I can see them and they can see me and you can change your view and perspective of what you are looking at.”
Already G Willy has fans. Two of them purchased digital guitars for G Willy.
“I am a newbie,” he said. “I am just playing little pub gigs right now. I have a tip jar. I advertise my real life website and the money goes to my linden account.”
G Willy has other Second Life gigs scheduled for the week. And even though the shows are only in cyberspace bars, G Willy takes the shows very seriously, making sure to pen them into his day timer like any other gig.
“I don’t know if this is going to change my music and career, but the potential is incredible. There is virtual business potential here. I could be an agent… Second Life is a real paradigm shift in how we can use the Internet. It’s getting really Star Trek… The power of the Internet and virtual world really takes away the limits of time. When you take away the time and space element, you are in a club with real people. There are real human beings behind the controls.”
Including human beings who have become multimillionaires designing virtual bikinis or who have purchased digital land to build a concert stadium, such as Duran Duran.
However, for listeners who still prefer their music off a computer screen, G Willy performs Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Crystal Lounge.