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Breaking News: NBC to Make Virtual Debut in Second Life Tonight!

The virtual tree in front of the virtual building inspired by 30 Rockefeller Plaza will be lit at 8pm tonight, marking NBC's jump into the virtual world alongside, Huffpost, Reuters and other media in Second Life.
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Will Aimee Weber cross over into mainstream celebrity when NBC makes its virtual debut on Second Life tonight?

The powerhouse creative force Aimee Weber, designer of the popular *PREEN* clothing line and project manager for the creation of NBC's virtual presence in SL, sat with SMF in her Midnight City skybox, her "secret lair," to talk about the groundbreaking project.

The festivities will kick off at 8 pm on Wednesday, November 29 in Second Life, when the virtual tree in front of the virtual building inspired by 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan will be triumphantly lit to cap off NBC's opening of roughly 20 sims to the public, joining Reuters, the Huffington Post and other major media in SL. This is a significant event, and not just because free ice skates will be available and free gifts will be under the tree.

Weber, who collaborated with Electric Sheep and Bedazzle on the project, gazed through silver shades at the starlit SL rain as we chatted on the eve of her major accomplishment. Her Blue Morpho butterfly wings opened and closed.

"I'm tired," she said, "and I can't really rest."

When asked what the user-created virtual world SL means for artists and society, Weber was ebullient. The idea that many of society's most creative members should scratch out a living at mind-numbing work is well entrenched in real life, but in Second Life, that condition has been removed, and the only inherent limitation on an "avatar" is the ability to make things happen.

"I think a whole new medium is opening up for artists," Weber said. "A whole new market. So I think you will see this stuff get huge."

When we finished with the interview she told me to walk off the edge of the skybox and fall until I hit the Midnight City streets below. As my body fell through the sky, stars streaked the darkness and the sensation was palpable in my stomach. I fell to the pavement with a thud to find cabs and graffiti and urban windows lit from within slate gray buildings. I wandered to a lonely street and as I drifted under a streetlamp wondered if anyone was watching me from the hidden recesses of this virtual world. You can freefall through space and land safely only to find yourself worrying about a virtual violator. I looked around for a pose ball scripted for kickboxing as I ambled to a dark, deserted bridge. Like Dorothy clicking her ruby slippers, I teleported myself instantly back to the safety of Knysna.

SMF would like to take this opportunity to forge a virtual bond with NBC by inviting Keith Olbermann to my Knysna beach hut for an interview about the implications of major media in SL (and he's got plenty to say about RL, too!) I can hardly wait to see what his avatar will look like.