Snapshots From The Carnival Pt. 1

uncle raven's super happy fun time carnival paul shapera creepy carnival

We have dark eyed Natalia and her talking tumor. The tumor has grown from a mole to a size larger than her head. It smoke and drinks, laughs and tells ribald jokes. Natali has long wished to kill herself but rumor is the tumor wont let her.
Gregorius designs the  fun houses and mazes contained within  and without. He is said to be from imperial Russia and created labyrinhts for several tsars. It was said his masterpiece for Peter the Great was a byzantine labyrinth whose exit could only found by acheiving spiritual enlightenment. While many were lost within the maze and are either still there or long rotted awayt, some would make it out, sometimes decades later, a hazy golden halo shining around their head.

Theres an ornate prostitution tent behind the alley of games where clowns will pay you an enchanted nickel for erotic favors

Every tues at 7 bad luck marv has good luck for 1 hour. The game alley usually closes during this time although many a pretty rube has found themselves talking to him during this time, often wondering hours later what the hell they were thinking when they agreed through the fun house with him and get frisky.

There is a ghost who peruses game alley. Over the years the ghost has learned how to win every game and will try to possess luckless players who can’t seem to win anything. The luckless players usually resist the possession attempt, to their loss.

The drink tent is enormous, much larger on the inside and is made up of several clubs and bars that used to intersect with actual places in the real world. The carnival has always attracted those with a penchant for indulgence, and sometimes a barfly would be dancing off their lids yet again in their favorite haunt and when they stumbled off of the dance floor find they were now at the carnival.

The games in game alley are all winnable, but you have to know the trick. the shooting gallery is easy as long as you simply chant the first 6 numbers of pi before shooting. The cup bounce you must either belch or pass wind right before throwing, and the throwing balls can be won by whispering the name of an unrequited love before throwing.

The Androgyous One changes gender at least once a day. In actuality they are two people, twins, who both inhabit the same body.

The most horrifying hallway of the freak show tent, which often causes rubes to lose it, is  simply a hall of internal mirrors that depicts your inner essences. Despite what some think, there is no freak show. You are the freak show.

The hall of mirrors is really a maze made up of your pathologies. It can be terrifying, (although some find it masochistically pleasant), easy to get lost in, and it takes the better part of a night to get through. Some are traumatized by it while others swear it is the single most therapeutic thing they’ve ever undergone.

The carnival is full of  labyrinths. The layout is a labyrinth, various tents contain labyrinths, the ways in and out, while still open, were all labyrinths. It is an overarcing theme.  Back before the… Trouble, before the demon uprising when the Entrances were still open, people used to arrive through various mazes, the most popular not even being physical, external mazes, but inner labyrinths. The way to the carnival is like an equation. Imagine that someone gives you a mathematical equation. You work through it, going through several logical leaps and twists and arrive at the answer. For some non mathematical equations, the Carnival is the answer. You solve the equation, look up, and there you are.

The drum circle on the outer edge is where the more… wild end up. The musicians who play the circle are some of the most revered members of the carnival. Once you sit down to drum, if the groove accepts you, you will often find that the next time you are truly self aware again is weeks later and you have been drumming all that time.

There are many dancers of many types who cavort and dance around the circle in the dead of night. Many are no longer fully human, and are in transition to whatever animal form they have chosen. More on that in a minutes.

Alcohol can be purchased using laughter as currency

There is a half woman, half cat named Stacy. in her old life she was  a waitress balancing a drinking problem who worked at the greasy spoon right where Rt. 22’s about to hit 41.  She had swore for years she was getting out of that dumpy little town, and she left a time or two with guys who turned out to be half bullshit, half asshole, and all false advertising, only to slink back on the greyhound within a few months. Now she lives at the carnival, is transitioning to feline, drinks all she wants and roars through the night with the most interesting cast of characters she could ever have hoped to come to love. She is happy.

There is young flower girl named Carla who maps out the various labyrinths within and around the carnival, at least before the entrances closed. She was on track to be an engineering student with a penchant for jam band concerts and psychedelics, but she is also an addict. Her addiction is being lost. She loves the experience of being lost to a pathological extreme, but her mind is so adept at spacial orientation she has to mess with her head in numerous ways in order to get out of it enough to actually get lost. The area outside the carnival currently, including the area beyond nearby Lost Hallow, is of course her ultimate calling, and one day she will venture off and it will be a true test of her abilities as to whether she will be able to return.

There are a myriad of animals at the carnival, most of whom were humans at some point. In one of the caravan cars is a failed wizard who became a doctor. He had often attempted to combine magic and science to help his patients, but his track record wasn’t particularly impressive and the side effects were garish.
Gordon Chokmah had been raised in a Neo Post Golden Dawn cult and as a child had been taken under the wing of the cult’s healer, who recognized that Gordon’s understanding of magical mechanics betrayed a more scientific mind than most of his peers. He secretly learned the ways of medical science at night after a long day spent  learning ritual, incantations, scrying, divination and qabbalic studies. Gordon dreamed of fusing magik and medicine.
After the healer died, Gordon made a strong case to the cult’s Head Circle to send him to medical school, since without the healer around, the cult soon realized magik really sucked at healing their various ailments. Gordon possessed no school transcripts or social security number or anything like that,  but magik actually comes in wonderfully handy when you need to convince a college admissions board that an alternative version of reality is true. So off Gordon went.
Gordon learned a lot, worked really hard, and truly tried, but he wasn’t really all that good at medicine. He was mildly okay. He did graduate,  but not anywhere near the top or even the middle of his class.
Meanwhile, his cult had been seduced by a nearby Wiccan coven and half of it left to join them. Several more tried a forbidden summoning which called a garish, nasty god from an alternative reality called Mother who seduced them into running off to join her in her dimension. A few others, horrified by the crude demonic Mother god became born again Christians and the few left after that packed it in and decided to join a eco farm and become athiests. Thus there was no cult left for Gordon to come back to.
He worked at a large city hospital for a bit which serviced residents of a poorer neighborhood. He could have plugged along there for some time, but he found the job less then fulfilling. So he spent nights secretly working on magik/medicine combinations. These had varying results. He got little sleep and often went out drinking with the autopsy crew who became quite enamored with his bizarre experiments.
His drinking grew, he slept insanely little and started exploring even darker mystic arts to help his floundering ability and lack of success. His obsession with dark magic led to quite a bit of drug use and all of this resulted in his being fired and losing his license.
He got a job as an underground vet working on animals, who he was much better at healing than people.
He was fired from a succession of veterinary jobs, mostly for pilfering the drug supply, and eventually landed in a slum where his doctoring skills were appreciated by people who has no other recourse. He healed their animals, healed people as best he could and one night was woken to heal a fallen gang leader. The gang leader had been stabbed 17 times by a rival gang. The gang leaders’s girlfriend and his 2nd in command, who brought their leader in, were having an affair and wanted him out of the way, but at the same time couldn’t bring themselves to kill him as they had all grown up together and they did really love him. The doctor, staring at the damaged body, muttered that the wounds were bad and it was more likely he could save the leader if he were a ferret. This brought up the question of whether the gang leader could become a ferret to begin with, and the doctor realized, with the right psychotropic substances consumed and the right mix of magik and surgery, he could likely actually pull it off.
It took several surgeries but the doctor both healed the gang leader and turned him into a ferret. His Great Calling was thus born.
A few years later he wound up at the carnival, and while his ability to heal is touch and go, he did master the ability to turn you into your spirit animal. This process takes about a year though, and a good bit of that time one looks rather grotesque. Still, there are a lot of carnival residents who, after having has their fill at the indulgent life, are quite excited to become beasts. The doctor always has work and is well regarded, even though he’s half out of his mind half the time. Actually, this adds to his appeal.

There is a former IT consultant who is now a mermaid residing in a tank of vodka. She at one point had alcoholism and a death wish, but Raven found her and promised he could fulfill a rather odd, drunken request she was chattering on about (namely that wished she could be one of those pretty mermaids in a tank, but a tank of vodka). Her friends at the carnival wheel her tank about so she can be somewhatmobile and attend the various going ons.


Posted by on March 10, 2017 in Uncategorized


New Albion Explained: Is It Really An Atompunk Opera? -From The Geeky Athiest

The Geeky Athiest has put up a new New Albion Explained video where they posit whether the Atompunk Opera is really atompunk or cyberpunk. It’s an interesting question, one that i hadn’t realized would come up and it’s fascinating to hear their take on it.


Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


New Albion Ringtones Available Now!

Well all right then, ringtones from New Albion and the greater Shaperaverse are now available!

30 ringtones for 3 dollars! You can just get the whole package: 3 bucks, 30 ringtones and have at it. If you just want an individual ringtone, it’s 50 cents. All are set up to loop nicely.

Currently only on Bandcamp. I’ll put it on iTunes and other services, but you can get both Android and Apple from Bandcamp. For Apple download in m4r format and for Android (basically everything that’s not Apple) download as mp3.


Posted by on March 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


New Albion Ring Tones?

What if there were New Albion ring tones? Like when your phone rings it goes “Dolly dolly, dolly dollaaaaay, dolly dolly, heeeeeeeeeeey”

Or… like, annabel something? The Mascot 3000? I have not put any thought whatsoever into this, i was literally just lighting a fire and thought about it and thought… well that’s interesting.

Would you be interested? I’d make it really cheap, don’t worry. More importantly do any of you have any suggestions? (Can include any album from Dolls to Cabaret)


Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized


Lullabies For All Ages at our new The Melody Channel

Lauren, Kevin Hulburt and i are slowly starting out children’s YouTube channel (still looking for an animator!) with a string of lullaby songs.

There’s a few out now and more on the way. As said previously they will be compiled into a lullaby album complete with ambient/sfx segues and available through out company channel and the Bandcamp page. There are many more songs other the lullabies to come after, however our first wave is lullabies and due to: a. they were my favorite to work on and i really got into it and b. i’m not going to take up your time with “I Pee In The Potty (although it may be one of my greatest compositions) or some new version of Wheels On The Bus that no one without kids would ever want to hear and frankly, most people WITH kids don’t want to hear either, but i think the lullabies are enjoyable in their own right. I made them to be as pleasurable to listen for adults as well as little ones. And yes, they are field tested. I have put my 2 year old to sleep with every one of them.

Here are some from our first batch.

I have to add this 3rd one because i peed myself when Lauren sent this back to me. I sent her the sparse musical track and asked her to sing the melody and if she felt like it, to add any harmonies she wanted. She sent THIS back:


So yeah, lullabies. I’m doing lullabies in between album and i’m kind of really, really digging it.

The next post ( or so) will be where i put out the call for vocalists. I need a female singer, alto, scratchy voice is preferred to sing 2 songs for the Carnival, and a stellar male singer to sing the lead role of Raven, the Carnival barker who is like, one part The Joker, one part Deadpool, and one part Tom Waits fairground barker. We’ll talk.

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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


Help Fund Dolls Live Performance In Bayreuth Germany!



An incredible team of thespians at the University of Bayreuth in Bavaria, Germany is putting up Dolls and they’re trying to raise a simple 580 Euros to do it. 580 euros! Come on, that is not much. The poor arranger/music director should be making that each day due to mental anguish. (I am actually so ashamed of the state of the scores that i am working on a full score release late this year.)

In their own words:

Dear friends, I want to ask you for something.
I am currently working on a musical theatre project, that will hopefully be performed in July at the University of Bayreuth. The team is incredibly talented and we are very excited about the result of our collaboration.
My part in all this is first of all arranging the music for our instrumentation, rehearsing with the singers and instrumentalists, conducting the performances and playing an instrument myself.
Our biggest issue right now is the financial side. We have an array of ideas, concepts and plans, that we can only partially realise. If we reach our goal, we can all realise our plans in our respective fields and make something truly amazing. Every Euro brings us closer to achieving that!
Of course there are perks, that you can get by donating. You can find more information and a trailer on the project page. Thank you so much for your support!

P.S.: In case you can’t support us financially, we would appreciate any kind words or other support and we would love it if you could share this link with your friends and family. Thank you!!!

Take a look over at their funding page: and see if you can’t help out. Who knows, Germany’s pretty close and pretty cheap to get to, so i might attend this one. Especially because that promo… that was SERIOUSLY sweet.


Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


Listen To Chicano Batman, ‘Freedom Is Free’

Chicano Batman Freedom Is Free

You need more 70s  dripping , Brazilian tropicalia, spacey psychedelia, and slow-jam soul in your life. That is why you should listen to Chicano Batman’s new album, Freedom IS Free. Chicano Batman is this awesome LA band channeling a groovaliscious, 70s infused psychedelic pop and i so dig this new album.

Listen here:

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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized