Tucked away on the south-central coast of Corsica is an open air building (pictured above) designed by the incredibly talented adudenamedanthony. This is the current incarnation of the Forum Cartel Hangout, a longstanding inworld gathering spot for residents who used to frequent the old Second Life forums. According to Marianne McCann, "the regular posters there, many of whom also hung out in a thread ironically titled 'Just ignore and let this die', eventually formed a group, which back then was headed by Chris Norse, Oryx Tempel and Brenda Connolly. The group led to the idea of an inworld hangout, and people started to contribute tier to the group in order to make it happen."
A lot of history can be found on the deck adjoining the hangout, in a book entitled "A Brief But Inaccurate History of The Forum Cartel." Created for a SL12B exhibit, the book states, "The Forum Cartel was based on the concept of helping the Second Life community, making new friends, and enjoying this world we inhabit."
During our visit there, Ziki and I met up with Forum Cartel member Joaz Janus (pictured on the right side of the bar, below). Joaz commented, "I have barely been in SL for 5 or 6 years, but I was here when this place was built. The SL official forum was very lively back then, and some of the banter had turned to abuse. This place was conceived as somewhere you could meet fellow forumites face to face...and that whatever hostilities took place on the forum....this was a space we would all be civil together. It worked very well." When I mentioned to Joaz that I'd never participated in the forums, but a friend had turned me onto the group for the banter, she replied with a grin, "Yeah this was always the place for banter....wit....swearing....and generally lewd and unquiet behavior."
When I asked about the group tag, "pie thrower", Joaz wasn't quite sure of its origin, so I went digging in the Forum archives. According to Chris Norse, founder of the Forum Cartel group, the tag had a very specific meaning. "On the old forum, before they closed it and herded us over here, many members of the group were known for derailing threads with mention of pies and panties," Chris said in an old post comment. "We held a contest to decide what the group tag would be, and 'Pie Thrower' was the winner." One can still find panties strewn all over the dressing room, located above the hangout, and a free pie is available in a room of freebies behind the pool table.
In addition to the main hangout area, which includes a bar, dance floor, fireplace, and various games, the parcel also contains a bowling alley, an On-The-Roll table game, an inner tube rezzer, motorboat rides, and a bull named Black Bart. The current forums are located here, but I don't get the sense that they foster the kind of tight-knit community that the old forums did. Maureen Boccaccio, one of the current owners, commented, "We like to host parties here; the Halloween parties are great. We used to have New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, St. Patricks' Day, etc...and every Friday night was 'Formal Night'. We still host Hippie Bowman's Breakfast Club on Sundays every 8 weeks or so."
Even if you never participated in the forums, you'll enjoy the friendly and welcoming bunch who frequents the Forum Cartel Hangout. "It is my hope," Maureen stated, "that SL residents visit the Hangout, spend some time and enjoy themselves. I hope to revitalize the group and start holding more activities as we did in the 'old days.'" Check out the group Flickr pool here, and then stop on by the Hangout and join the fun!