The Emperor's Bridge Campaign



Campaign Receives Major Pledge to Help Fund Limited-Edition Compilation Album of "Emperor Songs"

Steven Short.  Photo:  Peter Belanger .

Steven Short. Photo: Peter Belanger.

For the last few years, The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign, through its digital ARchive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film (ARENA), has been laying the groundwork to produce a compilation album of what we’ve been calling “Emperor songs” — songs about, or in some way inspired by, Emperor Norton.

On the eve of a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to make the album, the Campaign has received a pledge of $3,000 for the project — which represents one-half of the projected $6,000 needed to pay for all costs associated with producing and distributing the album, including engineering, design, vinyl pressing, shipping materials and postage.

This wonderfully thoughtful and generous pledge comes to us from Steven Short, a longtime friend of the Campaign. Over the course of 14 years — from 2004 until his “retirement” in 2018 — Steven became a familiar voice as a news reporter at San Francisco public radio station KALW. Known for his long-running series “The Source,” on the history of Bay Area place names, and for his weekly “Cannabis News Roundup,” Steven also carved out a niche doing most of the music programming and contributing music reporting for KALW’s daily Crosscurrents show.

“My ears perked up the first time I heard about John’s dream of creating an album of music relating to Emperor Norton I, San Francisco’s original eccentric,” says Steven, referring to Emperor’s Bridge Campaign founder John Lumea. “I’m happy to be part of this effort to celebrate and preserve these songs. The Emperor deserves no less.”

Steven is making his pledge on a dollar-for-dollar, “matching fund” basis — which means that, in order to unlock the full promise of Steven’s pledge, the Campaign has to raise the “other half.”

We are announcing Steven’s pledge now, in the hope that it will inspire other generous donors and crowdfunding contributors to join together in contributing the $3,000 that — when matched with Steven’s $3,000 — will enable us to produce and distribute a truly unique album tribute to the Emperor.

Thank you, Steven, for your vision and your perfect timing!

About the Album

The compilation — IMAGINARY MAJESTY: SONGS & STORIES OF EMPEROR NORTON — is being produced by John Lumea.

There are 16 tracks in total — 14 songs and 2 spoken-word pieces. Fourteen of the tracks are previously released. Two are previously unreleased; one of these is a new song written and recorded especially for the project.

The tracks date from 1962 to the present and tap veins of rock, pop, folk, blues and musical theater — even punk, emo, Americana and Twilight Zone noir. We’re delighted that all the musicians, performers and writers we’ve asked to contribute to the album — a Norton anthology, if you will — generously have made their works available gratis.

The Campaign will produce the album in a limited edition of 300 — a vinyl LP of 8-10 tracks packaged together with a digital download code for an “extended album” mp3 of all 16 tracks.

The vinyl will be 180g, in lavender. The record will be presented in an old-school 4-panel gatefold cover. Each album will be hand-numbered “[x] of 300.”

Crowdfunding starts soon!

You can learn more and see the complete list of contributors via

Wanted: More Producers

In recognition of his generosity, Steven Short will be credited on the album cover of Imaginary Majesty as an Executive Producer.

We’d love to give him some company!

We have album-credit opportunities — including Associate Producer, Assistant Producer, etc. — at a variety of giving levels.

If this project lights your bulb and becoming a sponsoring producer is something that you or your institution would like to explore, please write to John Lumea at

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