The Degenerate Art Ensemble in TimeoutNY

April 24, 2009

TimeoutNY has posted a review of our work-in-progress showing of last week. Read it here.

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DAE in NYC update

April 20, 2009

hello, i have no time to write anything new; luckily, i don’t have to.

as you know, i have been doing the artist in(n) residency gig at the new museum with the degenerate art ensemble. they have some great posts, pictures and videos up on their site so check it out: The DAE on Tumblr.

i’ll post my own shots, stories and whatever else ephemera over the next week.
it should be juicy and scandalous. especially if jeff gives me those bathtub shots he promised…

pol

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the degenerate art ensemble's 'sonic tales'

March 09, 2009

hello, it’s been quite a while since i last posted. lately i’ve been working on the degenerate art ensemble‘s ‘sonic tales.’ this could be a tentative title or it could be the final. who knows…

last year, joshua and haruko, the main instigators/driving force of the dae, asked me if i’d like to collaborate on some song writing for the next album. i assented; working in a musical fashion with those two was something i’d been itching to do for years. unfortunately, my chops had never been proportionate to the task. luckily, all i was asked to do was contribute lyrics and some vocal lines. lyrics i can spit all day if given the impetus. melodies? much the same.

eventually the dae (which now includes composer jeff houston) asked if i’d consider coming on to their latest production as scripter, actor/dancer and to even perform some of those songs i’d helped to lyricise. i of course said yes and my life has been made much richer thereby.

DAE's Sonic Tales Flyer for NYC '09

sonic tales will debut in seattle in october over the 30th and 31st of october at the moore theater. in april we all fly out to manhattan where the new museum will be hosting us for a residency slash incubation. we’ll be doing some filming out there and probably play some public participation games (guerilla theater? does that still exist?); the new museum will be hosting a working production of whatever ideas we’ve generated and refined on the 16th and 17th of april. more details on that as they come.

that’s enough for now. if anyone has any ideas for promoting our work while in nyc please feel free to contact me at artofmulata ATsign gmailDOTcom. sorry for the dopey obfuscator. you can also go to the contact link at the top right of the page.

here are some far too dark photos of the dae recording some tracks at inphase productions here in seattle. i’m not in the pics as i was shooting them. make of them what you will.

pol is artofmulata


Degenerate Art Ensemble 2009 Recording Sonic Tales
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to get to the other side…

November 08, 2008

I’m off to korea in a few days… for Lim Inza’s seoul marginal theater festival 2008. I’ll be there for two weeks and not as a performer. Simply as an observer.

This will be the first time i have ever traveled alone; its kind of a frightening prospect. I’m taking a couple of cameras, video and film, and a small field recorder with me. It’ll be interesting to only have my own head to bounce things from.

Now I’m kind of scared. Not by my trip. My trip is necessitated by that which I’m nervous of, namely, this smooth transition of power. Or perhaps I should call it a smooth transition in narrative.

We have a new guy in the seat of highest public office in my country. I’m sure you know who I’m alluding to. The night they announced that he’d been granted the reigns people poured out into the streets in so many cities. dancing and cheering. Drinking and blowing things up. That’s us. That’s what we do. We’re Americans. It’s good.

For the last few days since that event so many people, including my banal self, have expressed the same sentiment. Seeing people smile again in such great numbers was beautiful, striking and humbling and infectious.

It even got to me. Now, I love a good street party, but as my friend 9 was saying only tonight over glasses, healthy glasses, of whiskey, “It was so weird to be surrounded by all those smiling happy people. I’d gotten used to only feeling that kind of bonding at protests and riots,” and I had to agree with her.

The last time i can remember that kind of bacchanalian emo-overflux I was with the marching band in New York to say ‘eff-u’ to the republicans four years ago. We swallowed a deserted area in the city with two other marching bands and we all went to jail. For days. And it sucked.

I have always believed that the endpoint of any successful revolt, revolution or uprising should be the party. Not just the drunken mêlée, but the real party. You know, all that peace and justice and respect stuff leading to a land and a lifetime of joy and fulfillment. Where the pain you feel isn’t from a truncheon upside your nay saying head or finding out who got shot in the eye with a rubber bullet or the back with a steel jacketed one. The reason we should be making all these demands is to find some happiness in the day-to-day. All the time. World without end; amen and forever.

So the gathering in the streets on election night. Some woman grabbed my hand and yelled, “yes we did!” and it was intense, man. So very spiritual and overwhelming. Sitting in a car for a moment with my friend Sruti and she said, “When I found out that he’d won it felt like I should be making out with someone…” god. It’s so weird to hear people say all the things that are perpetually playing in your own heart.

For forever I felt that I was alone in thinking these things. Such hubris. And maybe that’s why I’ve fallen from such great heights so many times. It’s just a shock to hear it spoken by so many people out loud your own post-philosophical mantras.

But it’s wonderful and it makes me realize why I keep my art-mouth shut so much now a days: because it’s becoming clear to everyone how this shit should be going down.

Here’s my concern. A philosophy professor I was hanging out with in the spring of this year told me that he’d already prepared a zine with Obama’s face on it. The title of the pamphlet is, “the face of the new enemy.” It doesn’t matter how much you love the man or his principles or his story. It’s true.

Obama’s just taken on the mantle, the crown. This is the office that truly waves the velvet glove. nothing changes that. The office is metonymic, a synecdoche, for all the brutal policies that issue forth from our country to the rest of the world. Remember that. He’s your man, but he’s also a policy himself now. He is an image and a representation. Old school critical thinking on my part , Sure… true though.

I will give him his first 100 days and then some because in spite of his being terribly conservative by my reckoning I want to see him promote the slow move of this juggernaut back to something a little less ugly and frightening.

I wanted to be gone from this country for a while after the election; cast my vote and bail, say, on the night of the fourth be on a plane to Korea. Not come back until after the furor over the fuhrer was spent. I didn’t think I could handle the gloating of the ‘bamites over those other people, but it hasn’t been so bad.

I forget sometimes that I’m surrounded, by choice, by groups of people who are aware that this changes very little. Yes we have a wonderful new story to write thanks to all this marvelous hope that’s floating around, but we also have a lot to do still. It’s so good to know that the people I run with aren’t allowing a small thing like an election to interfere with their plans for social restructuring.

I think it doesn’t really matter to some of us who wins that boring race. There’s always so much to be done. People want to talk about how the left shouldn’t put all it’s energy into running this candidate and defeating that one as if there is such a thing as the ‘left.’ The left as it was once understood no longer exists. When Clinton (either) is referred to as a liberal it’s time to put the term away. [Update… forgive this; I was much younger then. -Pol]

The left is no longer monolithic and it never was. The left is constructed of so many small and autonomous groups doing what they feel is necessitated by circumstance and the circumstances have barely changed. They will remain more or less the same set of suspect circumstances up and through January the 20th when they ride the motorcade through the streets of DC.

Does anyone remember what happened four years ago when George junior had his second little moment in the limelight? People came to DC in droves to protest. To riot. To ruin the day for the old fool and his cronies. Folks went nuts. Banners and loud speakers and eggs. None of it really made the news.

I met these two ladies from Chicago the day after the election who’d just flown in to Seattle. They told me about the street party there. About throwing up on the plane ride. My kind of people. They told me that they had already bought tickets to DC for the inauguration. They want to do that whole dancing on public land with a drink in your hand thing again. I can’t blame them; I suspect they will not be alone. I would not be surprised if a lot of people go to DC just to party the Bush away. I hope Rice and Powell cry as they pack their bags singing, ‘Free at last/Free at last/Lord god almighty/I’m free at last”

Not that you should ever trust those motherfuckers again.

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Music: no confessions… a ring of fire

September 18, 2008

recently i went into the studio with my good friend anna huckabee. we recorded a cover of the cash family’s ring of fire. the song is by the lovely june and popularized by the cranky bastard johnny. and it really is the only song by the man i have ever had any affinity for. i suspect it’s the mariachi horn arrangements and the way that june’s stellar vocals come in at the end of the track. it’s enough to raise the hackles listening to that woman sing.

anna and i travelled through korea and japan last year as part of the p.a.n. dance theater company. the impressario of the group, dk pan, asked us to perform the song as part of the floor show. i was antagonistic at first, but after anna and i had rehearsed it a few times i began to fall madly in love with her strange r-n-b through a country filter vocals. not to mention that the little sprite just threw herself into it so much that i was basically dragged along. and, of course, ‘je ne regrette riene…’

here’s the track:

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 Ring of Fire.mp3

anna sings. i percuss. a really nice cat named chris recorded it and did the cleanup. and it was so much fun.

and yes, i did make a film. it debuted at the northwest film forum a month ago. it was exciting. while i will not be putting the film up on youtube or vimeo or whatever i am planning to write about the experience still at some point. i’ve rreceived a lot of favorable responses to the piece and so i want to shop it out to festivals. if you know of any film fests that would be interested in the work of a black film maker who focused on queer projections of performance and desire let me know. sundance?

anna singing in the studio

anna singing in the studio

me at the dead science video shoot for the new record with etosha and nick tambura in the background

me at the dead science video shoot for the new record with etosha and nick tambura in the background

osama bin laden whom we now know had nothing to do with 911 or sarah palin's stolen email

osama bin laden whom we now know had nothing to do with 911 or sarah palin

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