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i`m your puppet now…

Category Archives: travel

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…



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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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i’d like to present to you a short letter i found from my past that i believe neatly sums up my feelings about most everything that has ever happened on the earth. perhaps even before that, too. and thus after. perhaps so far after that heat death is forgotten. don’t know about heat death? i refuse to provide a link to help with that one. but here is this little letter. it contains a philosophy and a telos and an ethics and even some fissionable yellow cake. please enjoy. and thank you for reading. soon i will post about my new queer-friendly film exploits. ciao!

“so how are things out there? it’s been pretty quiet around here. lars is painting all the time and i’m just asleep about 18 to 27 hours a day.

i went to fallujah last week and blew some shit up, took out some allied forces. it was cool, but i think i caught a cold out there. it gets pretty cold at night in the desert. i also hurt my ankle again changing a light bulb for the imam. he is old and doesn’t like to stand on chairs. obviously you see where this is going. some acolytes rushed into the room wanting a clarification on some minor point of shiira and knocked me off the chair.

bombs gone wild

in spite of my limp i think i might go to israel next week. they really want some help over there taking out that wall. i might just go scope it out instead of doing the old boom boom. my ankle, you know? it’s hard to escape the scene when you are on meds.

did you hear that my sister’s old college debate team boyfriend, Assad, is being implicated in the UN’s inquiry into the death of some guy from like Lebanon? i mean i remember that he wasn’t always the nicest guy and that’s why my sister dumped him, but an assassin? these german prosecutors really like to make everything ought to be so much worse than it ever actually turns out to be. remember that hostage crisis in 72 at the munich olympics? “hostage crisis.” hardly anybody killed and they got to keep the airplane and the games continued. they act as if it’s some big deal when some kids get pissed and then go do some crazy stuff. kids are kids all over the world. i don’t see them hiring steven spielberg to make a movie about their baader-meinhoff gang or that woody allen. he’s a disgusting old perv.

lars and i cleaned your room. i accidentally spilled a lot of powdered plastique in it the other day when these federal agents showed up looking for your brother. i told them he was at the track or maybe in new orleans or florida doing refugee assistance work. i had just enough time to kick the fertilizer barrels thru your door as that traitor cortez walked them into our house. he claimed he met them at the cha cha lounge. i don’t know. those women appeared to be nice girls at first and one of them was a very good kisser. but as soon she got my pants down out came the badge.

conflict market

i thought it was some kind of game at first. you know how canny those white women can be! but she was the real thing and now she has pictures of me and lars and jeff and cortez all doing the pyramid with uwajimaya bags on our heads. i think lars liked it as he dribbled a milky white substance for about an hour after they left with their insurance policy. well, they did apply a car battery’s worth of electricity to his penis. but i really do think that he liked it.

okay. i have to go now. a shower and a small trim to my beard so that i can be presentable at work. we might be hiring some more former mujaheddin for the barrista positions. the french and italian secret service really do a great job of teaching those guys how to pull a really tight shot.

pol akbar-rosenthal”

hard lady

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1. Rent a hotel room

2. Invite a local performance artist to perform there

3. Invite interesting and fun locals to your room

4. Repeat in a different city


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djma el fna live 2007.mp3

one day in marrakesh, i was sitting on a rooftop drinking coffee. the city was just waking up. i had this amazing view of the entire djma fnaa (city square/market place) from our vantage point. so lovely.

all these amazing sounds started building/roiling from the ground. cars. people’s voices. goats and braying donkeys arguing with their burdens.

there were two opposing sound systems set up on opposite sides of the fnaa; record sellers attempting to grab some attention. playing the same song at the same time, but not having started the track at the same time, they delivered the craziest, most wonderful cacophany for coffee drinking.

the song they were playing was one i’d been hearing everywhere in morocco. some crazy berber electro. always in 3 just like most everything heard during my stay in that magical country. it was definitely one of the highlights for me.

one night i sat on the windowsill of my apartment because the craziest music was coming across the rooftops. transfixed, my body extended through the window, i ignored the catcalls (inevitable in morocco) from kids playing some strange game involving hitting playing cards with a shoe to make them fly through the air and the curses from the drunk i’d threatend to kill if he ever attempted to harm my travelling companion or myself ever again. all i wanted was to hear this sound. and i wondered how could i ever produce a sound like that. how could anyone ever catch the vague echoes and pulses that only ancient clay, low clouds and cheap speakers can reconstruct music, calls to prayer, arguing animals and oblivious cars into.

the next day on the rooftop i heard this song again. i hadn’t realized it was the same music i’d been hearing on every radio for weeks because the echoes were twisting it in ways that no trance production team could hope to emulate. i ran downstairs to the closer of the two sound systems and bought it immediately. such a perfect purchase. perhaps the most exciting and fun music i’ve ever gotten in all my travels around the world.

this is just a short sample of the sound from the rooftop. maybe it will sway you to go to morocco. it’s definitely a shock to travel 600 years into the past while living in the present. who knows what the world will hold for us if we finally all catch all the improvements everyone is clamoring for.

i’m all in favor of free housing, education, food, and clothing for everyone everywhere. and the dissolution of borders and nations and government as we know/understand it. i just hope with the inevitable rise out of poverty (it BETTER happen or i suggest we all leave the fucking elites to their own grotesque devices…) on a global scale that music and art and theater don’t suffer the ravages of a pop smear, i.e. a top 40-ization of everything to fit a more homogenized populace. a global audience. please god don’t let the individuation of culture be wiped out.

i value mine. do you value yours?

the rooftop

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incheon airport juneĀ 2007

picture, if you can, a large crowd.
all moving. all talking.
all commerce and combustion.

hands touch. mouths move.
colors everywhere all flying.

the policeman wears a gun. he has a purpose. you don’t know what it is in the moment, but you can feel it in its abstraction.

at night. outside the city.
when the lights are gone.
and we face the rim of the galaxy. or so it would seem.
in the sky. at night.
the great crack, the rift.
proof that we have a location, a place.

crowds speak. quietly sometimes.
but murmurs don’t last.
and if one voice rises, even a little bit, another will do the same.
eventually, the murmur will become a hubub and the hubub deafening.
then it will all fall away again.

tonight at the menares airport of marrakech i will be playing chess. american pop music will be playing over the loudspeakers. being american, every song will be known, every melody recognized. eventually a very strange song will emerge. it will be plaintive and also sad. its melody will be elusive. almost recognizable. tracing just out past me. its rhythms dare me to reveal them. it will be decided that this song, barely audible, is unknowable. its melody and rhythm unbreached. i will stop playing chess long enough to pay my respects to its signatures. in awe i will realize that i have been listening to a female newscaster speaking in arabic.

november 22, 2007 marrakech

Chouen and Meknes

hyeongssi and i are in a small and wretched affair of a town called chouen or chefchouen.

it’s a few hours from tangiers. feels like being trapped in the food
court of an american mall. all the joints are themed, but hyeong-chan
loves this place so we are here for another day at least…

we’ve got the whole ditch-the-street-hustler thing down, “my wife says no.”

they all seem to think she’s japanese or chinese so there’s a lot of
‘kinichi wa-ing’ and ‘nee hau mas’ following us like the cat calls all you
ladies hear downtown. me, well i am obviously ‘rasta!’ or ‘africaine…’
pretty funny; especially when they accuse me of being paranoid for not
scoring kif or hash or cannabis…

hopefully we’ll leave this wretched tourist trap for meknes tomorrow.
they have famous musical instrument shops there and i want some
specific stuff.

for those who are wondering or were unfortunate enough to see me
before i left and knew how terrified i was of this trip (does she
still like me? will we be able to stand this much time together?) the
answer to that is yes. we are blissing out. a little rough at first,
but now we are like twin pigeons feasting on old pizza on the
waterfront of anytown, usa; the feast never ends!!!

story two:

we are in the imperial and thoroughly chilled out city of Meknes.

this is the place kids.

giant walls of stone made over one thousand years ago by a murderous tyrant named Ismail. streets paved with two thousand year old marble plundered from an ancient roman conquest site. a massive walled courtyard where 15,000 negro slave guards paraded before their king when they weren’t busy slaughtering the unruly tribes of animists who lived in the surrounding mountains. and streets that only a little more than 100 years ago ran with the blood of thieves and political dissidents.

i am home!

yesterday, the erstwhile object of all my recent affections, hyeongssi, and i went wandering through the more impoverished shrines of what barely passes for living in this country. children playing soccer to the sound of wandering mules in streets that are still broken from an earthquake of over 90 years ago. the stench of piss and shit gags
me, but hyeong-chan seems unaffected. she tells me this reminds her of home before her parents got money and the municipality of seoul, korea began to consider the fortune of finding favor in the eyes of its poorer citizens.

people eye us strangely not just because we are obviously moneyed, in
a sense, but because they never see koreans and what the hell am i
with these dreadlocks and that strange woman on my arm?

as i begin to fear the vultures are circling a man runs up from a
broken and smoldering vehicle. he is smiling and covered in grease and
obviously a mechanic. ‘how can i help? where do you go? this is a bad
place for you.’

i explain that i am looking for the gate, bab jdir, and the souk of
the berber instrument makers. he sends us on a better path, out of the
old ghetto and down to a main street. the stench and the poverty make
me reflect on the worse parts of philadelphia and mississippi and
anyone who doesn’t agree should try exploring those cities more.

after more wandering through the dead tyrant’s ancient courts and
boulevards we found our destination: the bab jdir, north western gate
to the medina. and it is amazing. everywhere old men in traditional
attire or three piecers selling instruments, spitting on the ground at
hagglers, grabbing a young hustler by the scruffiest of collars and
hurling him around the corner (‘yalla!’); it is my place and i have
come a long way to get here.

an old guy in a big chunk of wool obviously high out of his mind and
barely able to whisper, but quite capable of growling, shuffling and
depositing desirable objects and i really get into it. for 150 i want
a horn, some extra mouthpieces AND some cymbals, dammit. no way, 200
you stinking tourist; here, smoke some of this and let’s argue some
more. forget it pops, if i were to smoke that crazy mountain shit it
wouldn’t be while i’m arguing about cash and prizes. fine, but still
200 you stupid interloper.

all this occurs in the most ridiculous pigeon stew of french, spanish,
english, arabic (‘bismillah!’) and berber. eventually things get loud
and someone old and grouchy is stuffing my new horn with extra
mouthpieces while a younger guy intervenes and argues with me in pure
french. after much more haggling, a small child getting slapped for reasons i was never able to pry from these grumpy old farts, hyeongssi telling me that i am ‘beautiful language’ every ten minutes or so and snapping candid shots while being asked not to and a lot of kif
smoke clogging my contacts, i have the horn. i have the mouthpieces. i have my amazing obsidian cymbals. all wrapped in newsprint like the fish i used to watch my dad buy from the door to door muslim fish mongers when we lived in akron. muslims, muslims, muslims. i love muslims.

did i ever tell you the one about the muslim, the christian and the
jew who were trying to get into heaven? another time. just stop me on
the street or buy me a cold one and i will happily give you an
american’s rendition of real moroccan storytelling.

i have been taking a lot of photos. i just can’t post from here. or
maybe i can. it’s just too much work to find out. whatever. i will be
seeding them to some online site when i get back or else illustrating
my dormant blog with these same tales that i have been sending you. i
promise that some of these shots will be worth the wait: i have so
many nudes of young dancing boys and voluptuously large old ladies
feeding me couscous by the pea in my ramshackle bed. hey. did anybody
out there know that they finally outlawed pedophilia in this country?
can you imagine how awful the state of american and european letters
(cough.cough.) would be today if they’d done that back in the 20s and
30s? no good burroughs, or bowles or any of the rest of those boy
lovers who made our literature possible.

god bless the King! Mohammed the 5th! A’Salaam!

from Meknes, Imperial City Extraordinaire,
pol rosenthal
‘a jew in the high country…’
p.s. i do not do drugs. really. ask around. i also have not had a
drink in days. i am going crazy without my rum.

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