Hipshooter sold out!

I had a lot of fun making the music for Hipshooter, and making the CD poster was an experience in and of itself. But due to the labor intensive process of making each one by hand, they are now sold out. I might start making more in the future, however only if enough people request it to warrant the effort. I'll post some pics later of the process, but roughly it goes like this (each step was done in batch):

  1. Buy supplies
  2. Cut out 8x11 square of foamboard
  3. Go to Kinko's to make color photocopies of artwork
  4. Glue artwork to foamboard, trim edges
  5. Write on back of foamboard with paint marker
  6. Use computer to make a copy of the CD
  7. Spray paint CD, masking off section for later drawing
  8. Let CD dry, don't let anything fall on wet paint
  9. Draw outline of TV and lettering with black sharpie
  10. Color the inside of the TV with red, green, blue sharpie
  11. Take CD center plastic piece, attach it to foamboard
  12. Put CD in CD holder
  13. Wrap finished CD Poster in crumpled newspaper
  14. Insert into addressed manila envelope
  15. Go to post office and mail it

Altogether I estimate that it took me 110 minutes to make each CD poster. If this was a real job I would've gotten paid less than $1.50/hour, haha. I definitely didn't think it'd take so long, and I also didn't anticipate the number of orders I got all at once. Along the way I ran into a number of problems: getting all the supplies took some time, I'm a pretty bad drawer, and I ran out of spray paint which meant taking a trip to get some more + signing to get it (selling spray paint in Chicago is illegal).

Part of my drought in releasing CDs is that it seems like a pretty boring format to me, disposable. I buy a CD and listen to it a few times, inevitably the CD case and artwork get lost and then I misplace the actual CD itself for a few months - only to rediscover it later with joy. But even then, I don't listen to music much on a CD player anymore and will search for a digital copy (I'm too lazy to even rip CDs!).

So it would seem weird to me to give/sell something to people that didn't have much worth to me on its own. So to try and remedy the situation, I decided to try out this CD poster idea, and so far I like it. I like the idea of flipping the format to something else (i.e. poster) and then affixing the CD to that. So instead of having a CD with some artwork, it's a poster that has a CD attached. As a bonus, the CD won't get lost in a pile and itself is part of the visual work.

I also wanted to package everything online in a way that was easily accessible and embodied the sense of what an "album" means to me, a package of something: ideas, artwork, music. Stream it now, or download it for later. Buy the CD Poster if you want. Read the notes and contact me, learn more. The only limitation is that my hosting company is pretty bad and sometimes people's downloads wouldn't work. Hopefully that didn't happen to the majority of people though...there isn't a way for me to track this that I know of.

More important than all of this though, is that I feel energized to make more music. Black Tie Elephant has been playing some, and we have a recording date this Saturday. Which is great, because I love BTE and the songs we've composed, but we've done such a terrible job documenting and recording the songs that I'll bet at least 2 albums worth of material have either been forgotten or are just sitting in our heads. That ain't right...

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The internet is a fast place.

zirafa review! also some tracks now floating around on hype machine. nice.

Quarter Life Party Review

Keepin up with friends

Spinnerty's new record, Sweet Soul
Asif Siddiky Interview (this kid had 2 films debuted at SxSW!)
Kaveh's encounter with Nels Cline
Dunno if I am allowed to link to this yet, but check out DRT YRT. Trippy downtempo with that crunchy sound...

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New Release! Zirafa - Hipshooter EP

I promised some big updates...here they are!

I'm happy to announce a new music project I just finished, the Hipshooter EP. Hipshooter was inspired by dancing, blips and bleeps, old cowboy movies, lasers, free jazz, forgotten technologies, and bagel sandwiches. It's a listen-from-the-hips type of record (a first for me). So if you get a chance, please visit zirafamusic.com to stream the album, download it for free, or purchase a very limited CD release.

+ Includes 320 kbps MP3 version of the album.

+ Full Color 8x11 CD-Poster with CD mount, and hand drawn CD. Very limited supply since they are made by hand. Free shipping!

Feel free to forward this to people you think might be into it! I hope to be releasing more work through zirafamusic.com in the future.

Also, if you didn't notice, I gave this site a nice makeover to match with the new zirafamusic.com.


Ah, birthdays...

WE MADE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!

Major, mind-blowing updates coming soon. Promise. For real.

Attached audio files: 

Save Chicago's vibrant music community!

Please take a moment, read the following, take action and save the Chicago music community.


The City of Chicago is trying to pass an ordinance this Wednesday (May 14th, 2008) that could severely damage the live music and theater scene.

In summary:

The "Event Promoters" ordinance requires any event promoter to have a
license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000,
but that's just the start:

* The definition of "event promoter" is so loosely defined it
could apply to a band or singer-songwriter that books their own shows
or a theater company that's in town for a one-week run.

* "Event Promoter" must be licensed and will pay $500 - $2000
depending on expected audience size

* To get the license, applicant must be over 21, get
fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and jump over
several other hurdles .

* This ordinance seems targeted towards smaller venues, since
those with 500+ permanent seats are exempt

* Police must be notified at least 7 days in advance of event.

The first link gives a summary of the proposal, and the second is a
petition (Chicago Acoustic Underground is one of the sponsors of the
petition). Please read the links and contact your alderman before
Wednesday, when the City Council will be voting.


Jim DeRogatis's story: Chicago Sun-Times


Sign the petition and Save Chicago Culture!


Click here to find your local aldermen.

The alderman for The Empty Bottle is Manuel 'Manny' Flores.

Make your voice heard, call your alderman and call often!


Every year there is an all night event in downtown Chicago (the loop) called Looptopia. My roommates had told me that this event was a bunch of crap. But Griselda and I headed downtown to check it out anyway to see for ourselves.

It indeed was Crap-topia. Or rather, we felt it was more like Police-topia. There were dozens and dozens of cops on each corner, eyeballing everyone, breaking up any chance that people were having fun.

We thought we heard a band playing, but upon walking towards it saw a movie projector playing terrible music videos. Nobody was watching it. Why they didn't they hire a real band is beyond me. And the one guy who was dancing was told to stop by a police officer. Huh?

So we decided to go to the Art Museum which was supposed to be open till 1 am. We get there at 12:20am and they are kicking people out. Apparently there were too many people. Huh?

So we decide to walk to Millenium park. Surely there must be lots of things happening in the park for an all night festival. The park was closed, with police officers and barricades at every entry point. Huh?

We start walking back to the train and finally we hear MUSIC. Street performers in front of the cultural center. A man playing saxophone and 2 tap dancers. These guys were killing it and a big crowd quickly formed. Not even 10 minutes into the police come and break it up. WTF??? People shouted "fuck the police!" as this happened. It didn't make any sense.

What a waste of time. This event could have been cool if it had an ounce of planning put into it. I bet that secretly the Chicago police department organized this festival to have an excuse to get paid mad overtime and waste tax dollars, practice harassing lots of people for no reason, and create the sense that Chicago is a draconian police state.

They could have hired ANY block party organizer from ANY neighborhood and they would have done a better job!

a) Block off the streets from traffic!
b) Let lots of street performers loose on the streets!
c) Let street vendors do their thing!
d) Have some stages with live entertainment happening!
e) Let people have fun!

It was really depressing to see that the city was more interested in wrangling up people and having them shop in Baskin and Robbins than actually putting on a festival that had any sort of value. To me it is weird that downtown isn't always alive and bustling, like Times Square at 4 am. But even when they try to make it alive and bustling, they turn the place into a tense police state and restrict people from doing anything.

Here is a picture that summarizes the event. CPD on the side of a building - Chicago Police Department. You can see Millenium park, closed, in the background.

A Bit of Nostalgia

Recently I discovered a 2003 archived version of this site. Back then I didn't know shit about how to make a website. But you know what? I think when I knew less I did more. Or maybe I just had more style back then??? I mean compared to this current site, 2003 was bumpin.


I am thinking about bringing back Click-Your-Own-Adventures. I forgot how much fun those were! Also, back then picsounds and stuff actually opened properly. What's the deal, zirafa?

Go-go and Trouble Funk

Robert Reed, keyboardist for DC go-go band Trouble Funk died recently.

Courtesy of kaveh:

If you are 1) into any hip-hop at all, 2) someone with even a tenuous connection to the DC area, or 3) a lover of deep, funky music, then you should be saddened by the recent passing of Robert Reed, keyboardist for the seminal go-go band Trouble Funk. Since I'm far less an expert on this music than Henry Rollins, I'll let him do the talking.