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Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

Okay kids, here it is. Act 1 of An Atompunk Opera!

The remaining Acts (4 in total) will be released each Tues from here on in.

A few things:

1. Please bear with it. Think of this as a weekely series and this first episode is of course where we set up the pieces. A single act is only 20 something minutes and you may hate me when it suddenly ends. But i’m very curious to try out this format and curious what you think of it in the long run.

2. Don’t forget, your purchase will go straight to paying the singers, those delicious voices you hear who make the opera sound awesome and not like crap. They are literally what brings this thing to life. The poor dears need fed, BY ALL THAT’S HOLY PLEASE FEED THEM.

3. Posting links and tweets and talking about this online is how we have gotten here. It is THE reason there is now 3 of these instead of just 1. Thank you all for that. Please keep it up.

4. I love you all. I hope you enjoy.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Hard Times: The Adult Musical in 1970s New York City

Hard Times: The Adult Musical in 1970s New York City

Ask me what book i’m reading. Go ahead. Ask.

Hard Times: The Adult Musical in 1970s New York City by Elizabeth Wollman, as if the title of this post wasn’t a dead give away. It is awesome and you should go download it or order it from Amazon.

1970s New York was such a particular place in such a particular time. The city was going bankrupt and everyone predicted it would crash and burn any day. The wild 60s had transformed into the strange and decadent 70s. The sexual revolution was in full swing. Times Square was not the Disneyland it is today, it was the sleaziest sexland you’ve ever witnessed. Hookers, peeps shows, sex shows, adult book stores, adult movie places…little crappy booths whose seats were grimy and sticky where you could watch scenes from porno movies featuring ugly dudes with ridiculous mustaches and chicks with feathered hair and unshaved nether regions. It was before computers where everyone could just quietly enjoy titilation in the privacy of their home. It was before even video cassettes. You wanted sleaze, you had to go out there and get it. And Time Square was the world’s epicenter, the wonderland of sleaze.

Out of this feral mix arose a very specific genre of theater, the adult musical. Oh, Calcutta is the most famous. It would be the one you’ve heard of if you’re heard of any.

This book explores this genre that rose for a few years during the 70s. It’s kind of hysterical at times. At other times it’s quite interesting from a social point of view.  Many productions attempted to be serious in many ways. They tried to frankly discuss the issues arising in the age of sexual revolution, feminism and gay rights. Some tried to be clever. Some tried to be cheap. Some were out for a fast buck and some had high minded aspirations. There was nakedness and lots of pelvic thrusting, but no actual sex.

There’s these delights such as the Musical ‘Let My People Come; complete with the cheesiest 70s soft rock score you’ve ever heard (which we’ll feature in a moment), but also gay musicals reflecting the sexual revolution from a gay standpoint post Stonewall riots.

It’s this lost, forgotten and needless to say fascinating genre which this book explores. I seriously can’t recommend this enough.

Here. Take a listen to this abomination:

That is…. that is so bad it’s…. it’s… it’s hysterical.

And yet, there’ much more. It was a sign of the times. Feminism, gay rights, sexual experimentation were all finding their footing and this genre of New York musical was a part of this moment, as well as a central target for the obscenity controversies that roared and backlashed, particularly as the 70s sputtered to an end the conservative 80s began to slouch towards Bethlehem to be born.

Plus it cannot be left unmentioned, this genre did give birth to a movie. Oh yes. One of the most WTF movies of all time: Alice In Wonderland, an X Rated Musical Fantasy.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Album Is Here!

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

Welcome everyone to the grand premiere of the entire album The Dolls Of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera. This 90 minute, 4 Act slightly demented musical story features the immense vocal talents of Lauren Osborn, Jason Broderick and Kayleigh McKnight. Written and produced by Paul Shapera.

Officially out today you can purchase the entire double album for only 12 little measly US dollars. If you live in England or Europe this is like money you lose in your couch and if you live in a Scandinavian country, this isn’t even money. It costs more there to feed a flea.

But wait! There’s more! Not only does the full download come with the complete lyrics, should you want them compiled in one easy spot then take note, if you look near the top of the page you’ll see a new tab called Libretto. It has all the lyrics so you can read them, copy and paste them, or use them to make dirty rhymes by substituting naughty nouns and verbs at just the right places.

It slices! It dices! How many times have you had to put up with embarrassing spills and odors? Well no longer! It’s a @#$#^## download! It won’t mess up your kitchen and is great to cook while listening to!

In order to take this project from here to the live stage in decent venues we need more than anything word of mouth. Seriously, word of mouth is gold. It’s a long road from here, folks, barring unforeseen miracles. Word of mouth…

I’d like to lastly thank Mark Swetz and MProductions for their invaluable assistance.

If you have already purchased the 1st Act or the Random Tracks sampler before May 8th, 2012 and would like a half off discount, please email me at paulms@gmail.com with your name (which i have on file) and i will send you a special download code. Also, thank you, each and every one of you who not only buys it, but actually likes the damn thing. I cannot put into words what that means to me.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Next To Normal

While i grew up with musicals, at a certain point after loving them to death, i started to hate them with a passion. Trying to reconcile this leads to the type of musical i write. It also means, especially now that i don’t live in New York and have to chance to see what’s playing just by walking by every day, i don’t keep up with what’s going on in the world of musical theater.

So it was quite interesting for me to discover Next To Normal, a psychologically dark and VERY interesting newer musical (technically a “rocksical”).

While the entire album stays to much in the high octane musical theater genre for my tastes and gets a little musically redundant, i give it the benefit of the doubt of that being more my problem than the show’s. I mean really, you can’t fault a musical theater piece for sounding… like a musical theater piece.

Because when you get over that fact, the show is REALLY kind of awesome and shockingly hard hitting. It’s about a mother with mental illness (bipolar disorder?) and the toll it takes on her suburban family.

In a way, the musicalness of it adds to the impact. Take that first track i just posted. You have this rocksical score with people singing brightly and yet it’s horribly twisted and broken.

While the show’s original modd had a lot more tongue in cheek irony, as the show developed the production staff made the excellent choice to cut out the cute wink winks and instead just be damned serious about the whole thing. Which in my opinion works amazingly. This is not f****** Cats. It actually stares you in the face and doesn’t blink.

The subject matter is.. well… NUTS to put in a musical. Especially without some comedy to lighten it (which is how they did it originally). But the sheer… daring of it is deserving of full kudos, and the fact is, they do pull it off fantastically. Like i said earlier, most of my issues with it are more my issues with the genre itself. What i LOVE is anything that pulls and pushes and stretches the genre, which is the very thing i long for, since deep down, i love musical theater in a sort of strange, bipolar kind of way.

This last clip is from the Tony Awards and i would just point out that the mother and father have a teenage son and daughter. Except they don’t actually have a son, as he died 16 years before. But the mother sees the son regardless and to her he is a very real part of the household.

(P.S.: I’m still alive. i made it out of the village and the mountains with my 3 year old and we are now sitting comfortably in Belgrade where we will be staying until after next weekend.)

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

If you were to ask me what my favorite musical of the past 20 years is, my answer is hands down immediate.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is one of my favorite things EVER. EVER. When i was stuck on how to end the 4th Act i would watch the ending of Dr. Horrible because it is one of the greatest, most perfect endings of all time. (I never did come up with the ultimate ironic twist, i went for something different)

It was released about 2 years ago on the net FOR FREE by nerd darling Joss Whedon. It has 3 episodes. Many of you have probably seen it For those that haven’t i’m gonna post it. I know all you Americans can just watch it on Hulu anytime, but here in Europe, i don’t get Hulu, so i have to post shorter YouTube vids. I wish i could stream it in just the 3 episodes, but here it is regardless: Pure Awesomeness.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Devil And The Angel

On a periphery from evil clowns, we’re going to feature the closest thing to an evil clown character i’ve made.

Today’s track is from another show i wrote and toured in the States (It’s actually slowly gearing up for another run, but i doubt before 2013). It’s a multimedia theater piece called The Fallen, choreographed by the amazing Shaun Rolly. The track is obviously, very theatrical.

The show is about a fallen angel. She kisses a lonely demon, gives up her wings to experience the world, there’s parties and an orgy and strung out on drugs, yadda yadda yadda. She eventually finds herself maneuvered by the show’s MC/Narrator, who is called Raven, into his Carnival world. He has been subtly drawing her there.

He’s kind of a Devil archetype and this track is where he finally greets the Angel as she enters his realm.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Subculture Song

I’m actually done musically with Act 3 and now working on vocal melodies and lyrics. I, of course, am not actually signing any of the material, but i sing all the lines on the scratch tracks so the vocalists will know what to sing (they also have the option of sheet music).

So i thought since i discussed it earlier i’d post that subculture song i was talking about last week so you can see how it came out.  It’s mean to be sung by a female (who likes to dress up like a dead, mechanical doll), so keep that in mind.

I must mention that there are scratch vocals on it, BUT there are no lyrics. I am literally improvising complete nonsense syllables. Until the lyrics are written they’re there to demonstrate the melody. You must picture it NOT being my voice, and instead a girl’s, with, you know, ideally really cool lyrics.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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