Tag Archives: the dieselpunk opera

The Tinker (With A Shop On Tin Pan Row)

The tinker

The old tinker’s toy store was the kind of place that glowed a warm, shiny yellow, illuminated the snow and dark sky around it during the winter holidays.

It was a mecca for children, who adored the kind old man but even moreso adored the wonderland of toys his little store featured, most of which he made himself. He specialized in elaborate wind up toys which would move and seem to come alive for a few magical minutes. His most prized creation, though, of which only a limited number existed and were made only once or twice a year, were his tiny, mechanical fairies. To adults, the fairies really did seem to almost have a life of their own. The children however never doubted the truth, that they were indeed alive.

The tinker’s brilliance was second to none. He certainly could have had a stellar career in a number of well respected and high paid professions, but toys were all he cared to make. He would have died of shame if he ever were to know that he had inadvertently built of the one government’s great wartime military assets.

The tinker’s brilliance was undisputedly inherited from his father. His father was highly regarded in his prime as one of the greatest Dollmakers in all of New Albion. His Dolls were the creme de la creme of craftsmanship, design and ingenuity. His year’s previews would set the bar for that season’s Doll design and many people would rush to retrofit their already existing Dolls with his new designs.

Needless to say, when the purges came, the tinker’s father was one of the first they came for. His wife, now his widow, fled the city with their very young son. She went all the way to the great northern forest where she still had lineage who lived in one of the small peasant villages on the outskirts. She was a fish out of water there. She had loved her urban lifestyle and status and was utterly unable to adjust to village life. She began a correspondence with an old acquaintance who lived in another city, and eventually left to visit him and pave the way for her and her son’s relocation there.

Because she never returned and only wrote occasionally, her village relatives shook their heads and assumed she had been unsuccessful. A more urban observer would have taken the same facts and concluded the opposite.

So the boy grew up around the forest. He was looked after by his relatives, but they were rather lax, certainly with their own children and moreso of course with him. So it was that the boy would wander deep into the forest where it was no secret faeries lived.

The genius for conceiving and building things which the boy would come to display as he grew, some in the village assumed was a result of being touched by the Fae. This is not true. The boy’s talent was already there and would have come out no matter where he was raised. The Faeries were responsible more for his taste. That he regarded toys as a better expenditure of time and money than important gadgets and technological leaps was a result of his boyhood time spent with the Faeries deep in the forest.

By the time he was in his 20s, his obsession with building intricate things was unquenchable and the types of materials he most wanted to experiment with were unavailable. His girlfriend, a bright village girl who was kind, pretty and a caring companion to his eccentricities, finally convinced him to move back to New Albion. They got married and used the small amount of money they received as wedding presents to make the move.

He first got a job in the burgeoning radio industry. Over the next decade he was instrumental in developing much of the technology that allowed New Albion’s impressive radio network to thrive. At a drunken industry gathering one night, he even bragged that he could open a radio line to Elysium itself, but this sort of talk, even as ridiculous a moment of arrogance as it obviously was, was the kind of thing that could get you Taken. A few people starting taking a close look at him and his background began to slowly rear its damning head.

It was his boss who swooped in. His boss had watched the tinker’s brilliance with admiring awe for years and wouldn’t have hesitated to protect him with his own life. The tinker’s boss warned him of the coming trouble, and vowed to create as difficult a trail as possible. The tinker and his wife left their apartment, moved to Tin Pan Alley where they bought an unassuming apartment above a little shop. The boss doctored the tinker’s papers so much that all information about him became just a little wrong,  and put together was responsible for the authorities losing his trail entirely. No one picked it up again until the events some years later we are about to recount.

Thus the tinker became a true tinker. He took his interest in building toys and opened up a toy store.

The toy store was not very successful for a long time.

In the midst of the lean years, his wife died one winter morning. Soon after this he began dreaming of the faeries of his childhood. His loneliness and grief became obsession and it was during this time that he began building little metal fairies.

His goal was to give them life. It took him years, during which his shop sat and collected cobwebs, but he recollected enough pieces of faerie magic that one winter, close to the anniversary of his wife’s death, he finally succeeded in animating one using a snowflake placed in a special compartment in the center of its body as a soul.

The fairy became his only companion. He reopened the store, but this time, due to the tiny fairy flying about, met with an entirely different reaction: success. People began coming to the store, being enchanted by the wonderful toys and the flying little metal fairy, and spreading the word. Orders came in for little fairies. The more the tinker insisted he couldn’t build any, the higher the price offered.

And so the tinker began building fairies. At first he built four a year, but over time that dwindled to one or two.

One day a group of children came to talk to him. Two of the little metal fairies had become their friends, and they had noticed that the fairies had no ears to hear, or voices to speak. They lived in a deaf world where music was meaningless and they could not talk to one another.

The tinker thought long and hard. He remembered the Dolls of his youth and was shocked to realize he had repeated the sins of his father. He set about to correct this.

It took him some time and he had to consult some forbidden volumes which discussed a famous Doll named Jasper, but using his radio background, the tinker devised a method whereby sound could be projected into the fairies using radio. They could talk to each other, one on one,and could control who received a their particular broadcast frequency.

One weekend, during a fair, a group of the little metal fairies organized a dance number they performed for the children. It was a delightful hit.

The father of one of the children in the audience was involved in high level government military technological innovation. He became fascinated with the precision of the fairies choreography and how well they responded to live, improvised interaction. A few days later he stopped by the tinker’s store to chat with him, one nerd to another. The more he found out the more dazzled he became. He foresaw a device which could allow orders to be broadcast straight into a soldier’s helmet, either individual, or group. Specific orders could be broadcast to 20 men, 5 men, 1 man, instantly. It would revolutionize troupe movement and tactics. To later generations, this type of technology would seem passe, but in that time period, it was a game changer.

Without telling the tinker that he worked for the government, the father began returning to the store with bottle after bottle of wine, becoming close friends with the tinker, over many a late night drunken conversation getting the tinker to bit by bit, piece by piece, unwittingly tell him step by step how to build such a device.

The tinker never heard the name MCG, nor ever knew of its existence, much less that he had designed it. He lived out his life running the most beloved toy store in New Albion and making childrens’ dreams a reality.

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


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How Lloyd Should Be Handled In A Live Production

Who knows? Maybe The Diesselpunk Opera will one day be staged. Maybe all these operas will become theatrical monsters. Stranger things have happened.

If that ever occurs, i would like, as composer, to declare my intention of How Lloyd should be performed.

Question i received: So, there aren’t any puppets in the DO? That’s sad…

Au contaire.

Lloyd should be a puppet. The singer who serves as voice will stand aside from the puppet, preferably at an old style radio show microphone. However, when it is time to voice the bit parts: recruiter in The Pitch, police in The Bust, Blood Red Dogs, etc, the singer will actually up and physically and vocally assume the role. The puppet will be dormant. When Lloyd reappears the actor will again assume position.

On the album, the voice of Lloyd also plays Thomas. I wouldn’t mind Thomas being handled the same way, but i realize this could cause problems where Thomas is in the same scene as Lloyd. If possible, it would be cool to keep this up, but i realize by inserting Thomas spoken bits i have kind of shot myself in the foot on it. However, the Thomas spoken bits are unimportant OR you could have an actor play Thomas separate, although it is a bit part as far as stage time goes. Actors hate that. I leave it up to the director, but… if possible…

That’s my two cents. I don’t generally tell directors what to do on issues not regarding music, but if my intention is worth anything, i urge consideration of this.


Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Uncategorized



The Albino Tribe Underneath New Albion


Tunnels run throughout the entirety of New Albion. While many parts of them are related to sewers and aqueduct systems, some sections exist as an entirely separate city beneath a city. For generations a tribe of albinos has lived and thrived underneath the city, trading more or less peacefully with the inhabitants above.

The tribe survives by trading in gems and minerals they procure through their intimate knowledge of the New Albion underground, as well as tending archaic machines which operate deep beneath the city. Some of these machines perform tasks related to powering aspects of the city and some serve functions which no one living in the sunlight remembers.

The tribe’s numbers have never been very large and in recent times have thinned significantly. it was thought for some time that they could not breed with the surface dwellers due to a modicum of Fae blood they possessed, this might in fact be pure fancy.

Many parts of the New Albion underground are privy only to this tribe, although in they have seemed to not only welcome, but more or less merge with the influx of the Underground’s newest immigrants, the Voodoopunks, who, as of the time of the Dieselpunk Opera,  have established a settlement in the tunnels.

There are some of the Albino tribe who remain separate and plan to always do so. A faction led by three brothers lives and operates interdependently. They have grown quite powerful and their reach extends even up to the surface world. It was the brothers who discovered that some of the old power generators excrete a chrome colored dust that functions as drug when snorted, smoked, or even injected. The drug is mildly psychedelic and decently euphoric and over the past several years has become the second most popular drug in the above ground city amongst the war weary denizens.

No one above ground  knows exactly where the drug comes from and only a very few people know to procure it from the albino brothers. There are various interests desperate for this information including the red haired lad who runs a gang of feral youth (whose great grandfather was a dwarf). However hard this lad is trying to find out the source of this drug, and he is indeed trying hard, other powerful interests are competing also, including various mafias, the government and some rebel groups. It is a veritable Maltese Falcon chase and sooner or later someone will succeed. The three Albino brothers are well prepared for various contingencies.

A number of kilometers north of the New Albion, years before the city was founded, there existed a settlement populated by a tribe of very fair skinned people, quite sensitive to sunlight. Their settlement was on the edges of a forest where Fae dwelled. Their relationship with their Faerie neighbors was for the most part decent and there were even rumors that they had in fact descended from the Fae, that years before a few young Fae had left to see the world of humans, had fornicated with them one night after shape shfting and their mostly human descendants had one day returned to settled outside the forest from which a few of their ancestors had come.

Eventually, the Wager came.

The Tribe was warned of the coming of the Wager and a great City that would spring forth around  it. Rumors as to whocould  possibly knew of this and warn them of this abound, but the most insistant rumors claim Angels. Whether this is so or not is a discussion for another time.

To avoid being subsumed in the great city, whose rise was inevitable, the  tribe constructed a network of underground tunnels which could be sealed off and where they could hide when these raids came. Over time the tunnel system became so elaborate and well equipped that they abandoned the above ground settlement all together. For generations they flourished underground, becoming fully albino after some time. Their numbers were kept in check. There were even a few hidden passages, only able to be found by the truly adventurous and dedicated, which led to underground Faerie mounds deep in the forest and occasionally a youthful member of the tribe would cross over and never return, choosing to live amongst the Fae.

While most of New Albion’s citizens concentrated on building in the sunlight, the Albinos began constructing an underground. They simply bought a property and began digging tunnels in the basement. Within a few generations they had already established a sizable underground network.

As New Albion grew from a town into a city it began needing a properly developed sewer system, an aqueduct system not to mention methods of transporting good that were slightly more risque and outright illegal. The Albinos were clearly the people to talk to. They were the workforce that built most of the New Albion underground.

There were of course numerous troubles. Plans for the underground network would be drawn up by surface dwellers without consulting the Albinos who would then utterly discard the plans and build according to their own preferences. This caused friction and bitter disagreements on occasion.

Mafias would try to use the tunnels for illegal cargo, nefarious acts, secret meeting places, which would often not be acceptable to the Albinos. The Albinos had to learn how to handle gang warfare. Over time however, their mastery of the underground combined with a new viciousness made the tunnels a place to be feared. If you crossed them, your disappearance underground could be achieved flawlessly, even while other men were standing right beside you.

Entire raids would go down to the tunnels never to return. The Albinos raised pets, discarded by the above world who flourished in the sewers. New Albion maintenance teams knew that they would be left undisturbed to work on necessary parts of the sewer and plumbing systems, but would never venture to wander down unknown corridors.

The Albinos are not actually so vicious as their reputation became over time, but the reputation serves them well and keeps them safe. Numerous denizens of New Albion have numerous stories of contact with the Albinos while underground and the stories can vary wildly.

By the time of The Dieselpunk Opera, when the city above is in a civil war lasting years, the Albinos have achieved a lasting arrangement with the Red Haired Lad. Indeed one of the ways in which the Red Haired lad’s improbable little gang managed to succeed and flourish is that he was the first smuggler to actually reach a friendly agreement with the Albinos and thus is the only gang able to use the underground tunnels to transport all manners of contraband across the war torn city.

The Voodoopunks found a home underground, and many have lived their for years after the brutal police crackdown following the riots. They and the Albinos coexist amicably, though how that came about is only a matter of speculation. Some Voodoopunks continue to live normal lives above ground but descend into the underground for the weekend rituals which have yielded very, very interesting results as will be shown during the  3rd Act of The Diesepunk Opera.


Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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All The News That’s Fit To Print

Alright folks, today i’m gonna talk about the completed auditions and also inform you that the completed demo for the 1st Act of The Dieselpunk Opera will be up in its entirety to listen to for 5 days starting tomorrow.

First auditions.

We completed auditions yesterday afternoon. For you non theater types, what this entailed was the singers who had passed the first two round coming in to sing specially selected songs from the show live.

Interestingly, for one of the characters, the production staff was sharply divided between two candidates who were both out of the park excellent. So we adjourned and rewatched audition footage the next day (today). We want to respond to the auditioners as quickly as possible, but a little time must be taken in these cases.

The REAL reason a little time must be taken is not because we must reconsider, open our minds and debate it out (that’s what production staffs tell you, but they’re lying). No, in these cases there is only one way to decide.

We must build a giant Thunderdome. Then we have to decide who’s going to actually enter. Don’t forget one of them won’t leave. Can’t send the Director in, what if he loses? Then we’re out a Director. Interns usually come in handy at these times, as do friends who work Ren Faire. They have swords and lances. In any case, eventually it all gets settled, the blood gets cleaned up and put into the special wine flask for the Ceremony during tech rehearsals and a decision is made.

The Dieselpunk Opera

Starting tomorrow i shall be uploading the demo for the 1st Act of the Dieselpunk Opera, called The Dieselpunk Radio Hour, A Dieselpunk Opera. Or: DRH.

It’a demo. What that means is the voices are not the final voices and vocals and the music could change if i decide it needs to. It’s as done as i can make it for now and it’s time to move on to the 2nd Act.

I’m singing all the parts. On the final album i probably will sing John O’Brien but i will NOT be singing the Narrator/Announcer. The Announcer will be sung by a male this time around, although just like last time there will be 4 singers, 2 women, 2 men. In The Steampunk Opera the 1st Act was basically a female Narrator and the female lead, in this case it’s contrasted with a male Narrator and the male lead. For those of you who adore female vocals and female characters, don’t worry, the best is yet to come. The 2nd Act will be stellar and will feature Constance O’Brien  and the 3rd, where we really get out of hand, will feature Jacqueline O’Brien.

I have a million things to say but ultimately i don’t think i should say any of them. The 1st Act may change. This is not a final copy. Because of that i will not leave it online permanently. 5 days.  For 5 days any of you interested can listen to it and see what you think (and heaven forbid actually enjoy). It’s a particular story with a particular character and hence particular music. if you don’t care for it, i hope at least you come back to try out the 2nd Act when it comes up as it will revolve around a different character with different particularities.

So, fair warning. Dear Gd i hope you like it, but you should reserve final judgement for the entire Dieselpunk Opera taken as a whole.

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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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