In 2002, Will Harper interviewed Frank for a feature article about Frank to be published in the East Bay Express. Watch the video below to discover why Frank wrote this poem ….
Ansel Adams was no Will Harper by Frank Moore, Wednesday, January 01, 2003
Ansel Adams was no Will Harper Never could be! Hey, he barely became Ansel Adams! Took him about 25 years To get started Being Ansel Adams! Before that He was That fuck-up Ansel That drop-out That reject That hopeless kid! Thank god For rich pappy!
No, Ansel Adams was no Will Harper!
But then again Ansel wanted to be a piano player But some fool Must have told Ansel He was no Jellyroll! Some fool Must have told Ansel In this life You have to channel Your creativity Down into YOUR TALENT! Never mind What you enjoy! Never mind Ansel wrote too!
Everyone knows Each person Is a limited soul Not able To plunge Into the unlimited Ocean of free play, But has to be content In the wading pool Of genre Of TALENT
No, Ansel Adams was no Will Harper
But then I’m no Ansel I’m no Will I’m just Frank I have to live with that! DARN!
You can read the article, “Touching Our Private Parts” by Will Harper, along with subsequent related articles and letters to the editor published in the East Bay Express here: https://www.eroplay.com/ebx/index.html
In the late 1980s, during the period of time when Frank was doing “The Outrageous Horror Show”, he toyed with the idea of doing a similar show with country music … and appropriate outfits. It never ended up happening. But here is the demo tape that we put together to send to clubs.
Well, are not all political campaigns performances? That doesn’t mean they are not serious. My performances often start with something seemingly trivial then grow by themselves very quickly into forces unto themselves. The campaign started with a t-shirt of The Three Stooges. Michael [“Mikee”] LaBash, who is one of six people I live with in a tribal relationship and who is our graphic/web designer, had a CURLY FOR PRESIDENT t-shirt. For Christmas 2006 Mikee made me a FRANK MOORE FOR PRESIDENT shirt. When I wore it, people started asking me what my platform was. So I wrote a platform up. Everybody who read it got excited, overflowed with hope, saying it expressed what they felt and wanted. They didn’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They didn’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they saw someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shared their dreams, who talked deeply about what really affects their lives. Their reactions placed on me a responsibility to mount a serious campaign, to commit and surrender to it…and to hang on no matter where this ride would go. I never know where a performance or a project will evolve.
In one of my speeches from the campaign I said that I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates were talking honestly and directly about the state of things, were committed to fundamental change, and had a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. My running for President created an excitement for how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!
This excitement extended overseas, and we received much more coverage of the campaign in Europe than we did locally, although there were a handful of great interviews and articles about the campaign here in the U.S.. In Europe, there were great articles written about the campaign in France, Germany, Poland and the UK, and an appearance on Swedish TV!
We did many local events and attended many different local festivals during the over two years that I ran for President, and they were some of the most effective pieces I have ever done … Here is what I wrote about the campaign coming to the “How Berkeley Can You Be” Parade in September of 2007:
“The whole day blew me out. Linda and Mikee took turns pushing my chair close to the lines of people along the parade route so I could shake hands, look into people’s eyes, hear their responses, interact one on one…all of which would have been impossible if I sat on a truck. I was moved when people thanked me for running, when whole sections started clapping and chanting “GO, FRANK, GO!” Erika, Corey, Alexi, and sometimes Linda or Mikee gave out over 1,200 copies of the platform. And people didn’t throw it away as is common, but started reading it, shouting out planks they were moved by. I can see that “pressing the flesh” can be addicting! And a lot of people are devoted viewers of the public access shows of Suzy and mine. “I WATCH YOU EVERY NIGHT!” “WE TIVO YOU!” “I LEARN FROM WATCHING YOUR SHOWS!”
Camping out in our beautiful booth, which we put up for most of these events and festivals, was only slightly less intense. We were a visual magnet, decked out with banners, t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, peace flags and platforms. And people got the tribal body that the 6 of us are together!
Here is a selection of 10 of my “planks”:
— We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
— Every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
— Public mass transit will be free, 24/7, and reliable.
— I will encourage a society of small villages connected by mass transit. Within these small villages, people could walk or bike to work, to school, to shopping, to entertainment, etc. Mass transit will combine these small villages within 15 miles radius into dynamic communities. Living in these villages will end gridlock traffic, will cut greenhouse gasses, will cut stress and isolation. Housing for all incomes will be included equally in each village.
— I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
— I’ll cut the military budget by at least half.
— I will bring the troops home from Iraq immediately. Moreover, I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community.
— The use of drugs should be legalized and taxed. Pot and spirits should be sold over the counter to adults only. Tobacco and other addictive drugs should be sold by prescription only. Free drug rehab programs should be readily available.
— Prisons should be only for violent or otherwise dangerous criminals. Prisons should be a part of the health and educational system and should include drug rehab programs. This should also be true for the new creative in-community programs for non-violent criminals for paying-back, rehab, and education sentencing. These programs will be more effective and much less expensive and harmful to the community on every level than the current human warehouse system. Flexibility of sentencing should to be returned to judges. I will ban the death penalty.
— Every corporation should come up for a renewal every 25 years, at which time it must prove that it has been operating in the public interest. If it fails to do this, it loses its right to exist. Corporations that have existed before this policy will have 10 years before they will have to prove they are worthy.
By the “official” count, I received a handful of votes, spread across a number of states, Maryland, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, West Virginia, and of course California. But the “official” count for write-in candidates is always just a small part of the picture, because so many of the states that actually accept write-in candidates for President will never actually count or record the votes unless the number of votes becomes large enough to contend with the “major” candidates. For instance, we know directly that I received votes in New York, but there were 0 votes counted for me in NY.
The campaign also had a direct effect on the electoral process for write-in Presidential candidates in a number of states. We not only forced several states’ elections divisions to learn their own system, we also challenged and/or changed procedures and requirements in other states both before and after the election. In states like Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nebraska and others, the campaign had the effect of familiarizing elections officers with their own procedures, which they did not know before the campaign contacted them! We did all this with a lot of help from elections expert Richard Winger, who was an early fan of my campaign.
In Arkansas, the campaign challenged the Elections Department’s stand that “Write-in candidates are not allowed in presidential, municipal, or primary elections.”
In Pennsylvania, the campaign got an elections official to admit that Pennsylvania’s system for write-in Presidential candidates is “archaic and not good”.
In Wyoming, the Secretary of State’s Elections office actually did not know what the procedure was for a write-in candidate for President in Wyoming. The representative there asked, “What does this say about our country, and this democracy” that she didn’t know how this can work in Wyoming, and that they were not set up for a candidate outside of the political machines … She said that she should be the person to know, if anyone knew. She said, “But I am going to find out! And I’m going to call you!” In the end, the elections office in Wyoming refined their system through this correspondence.
In Utah, we got the office of the Lieutenant Governor to correct their own Elections office, which was giving out false information about the process of becoming a write-in candidate for President. It turned out to be much cheaper and simpler than they were telling us!
In Minnesota, we challenged their rejection of my candidacy because my Vice-Presidential running mate, Dr. Susan Block, and I were both from California. This was wrong! And we won, I was accepted!
Originally written in 1990, The Combine Plot was widely published in such publications as P-Form Magazine and Short Fuse.
For months I have been thinking about writing a piece about what I call the plot of fragmentation. It would be about the aspect of the plot that focuses on making us think that to do anything meaningful, to be an effective force for change, you have to reach a large number of people, commonly known as THE MASSES or THE MASS MARKET. I was going to talk about how this aspect of the plot has limited art by making artists and galleries think that to reach this market, or at least a fraction of it, artists have to reach levels of educational, technical, and marketing skills which are set by, and acceptable to, the real world of mass communications.
Moreover, the subject matter was set to certain “in fashion” areas such as AIDS, feminism, the homeless, the environment, etc…what are “in fashion” subjects keep changing every six months or a year (obviously, the homeless people did not get homes nor did people stop dying of AIDS…rather, the glamour attention‑span wears off and the focus quickly switches before things crack through the surface into the uncomfortable depth of universals where issues explode, leaving us trying to live together).
This aspect of the plot leads artists on a chase of college degrees, of skills to operate high‑tech art‑making machines, of money or positions that will give them the opportunity to do art, even when the style, the subject matter, and maybe the content of the art is dictated by this chase, by the combine plot.
This was what I was planning to write about. I was going to call it THE PLOT OF BIGNESS. But the plot has overtaken me during my thinking about the article. I see in the press that Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher have nominated me, along with Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley, Johanna Went, Cheri Gaulke, as well as other unnamed artists, to be the next target in their war on art. By doing so, Dana and Jesse have given us artists a platform from which to fight the plot. Because doing battle with the combine plot is one of the main functions of an artist, I am flattered to be nominated as one of the top ten on the new McCarthy hit list. I was feeling left out. All my heroes in the past were banned, jailed, harassed for their work. Artists such as Finley who I respect have been fighting the censors for years. My ego was crushed when I saw Rohrabacher on CNN label Annie Sprinkle a threat to the established moral order. After all, my work is as threatening as hers. But days later, someone sent me the NEW YORK CITY TRIBUNE (Feb. 5) special report that named names, and my name was there. What a relief! I only wish Dana and Jesse had invited me to testify. Jesse, I am available.
I know the last paragraph sounds like light humor…not taking the war seriously. It is a serious war with the high stakes of freedom and liberty for everyone. But you must understand the nature of the combine plot. It does not understand humor or the personal level. It can crush you if you operate by the mass rules and try to fight it on its terms. But once you drop out of the mass headset, the plot becomes very fragile, very threatened. This is why the plot’s Helms is after me and you. Because of this, my article is forced to take on a larger scope and a certain nonlinear quality. Please bear with it.
To understand what is really going on under this “sex” witch‑hunt, it is important to understand the nature of the general plot of fragmentation, the combine plot. I took the word “combine” from the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. In the book, the combine is a fear machine network which secretly installed pacemakers of fear, doubt, and mistrust in almost everyone in childhood. This made people much easier to control. It isolates people into cells padded with fear and doubt, making the people part of the combine. There are some misfits whom the combine missed with its fear pacemakers. In others, the fear pacemakers blow their fuses. These people without the fear pacemakers are very dangerous to the combine because if they are not checked, destroyed, discredited, isolated, or enfolded into the combine, they can show others how to blow out their own fear pacemakers, can show others how to be free humans linked to other free humans. The combine rarely has to directly destroy the misfits itself. Just direct eliminations would reveal the existence of the combine. So such direct eliminations are kept to the minimum. The real tool of the combine is a vague sense of uncomfortableness, of inferiority, and of mistrust within the victims of the combine. The setting of the novel is a mental ward in which most of the patients are self‑committed. They believe themselves weak, unable to cope with the outside world. They believe the fear comes from themselves, not from the pacemakers. They just have to start believing in themselves, and they could pull out the pacemakers and walk out of the hospital. But every time they reach this threshold of freedom, the combine, by clever remote manipulation, turns up the vague uncomfortableness and mistrust. The victims themselves do the destroying of the misfit either in themselves or that con man pied piper who laughs at their fears and limits, who shows them the way to freedom. It is the victims who do most of the censoring.
A family friendly poetry reading? Really? Do you mean like READERS’ DIGEST? MMMM… I suppose some poets would go along with it… The kind in READERS’ DIGEST The kind who don’t see Don’t mind The command For “self” censorship Tucked neatly in the warmly caramel apple Phrase Of FAMILY FRIENDLY There ain’t no “self” censorship You are censoring art, Words, Intensity, Truths, The Audience Down into nice mellow Fascism
I suppose some are willing to accept this…. The kind who don’t question Questions like Which family? It definitely ain’t my family Not any of the expanding rings Of my family In fact It is down right hostile To my human tribal family Which teaches our kids How to use words To communicate with all kinds of people In all kinds of contexts Openly Deeply Freely Exploring all life With a passionate honesty, Sitting together In the yummy smelling kitchen Of Life Sitting together Around the tribal fires Generations sitting together Passing the talking stick around Telling their stories Revealing their desires and fears, Wisdom and folly Exploring myths… Listening and telling Into the center of respect and acceptance… All the family listening All tell In their own ways… Silly little sister Wise grandma Hot angry brother Mother finding new words Dad listening to family voices… All beyond taboos In this sacred ritual of telling.
I don’t really know what to make of this Hostile FAMILY FRIENDLY… Ok, I do. This is making poetry, All art, Into a hallmark lapdog Of the brainwashing “socialization” Of little lily and billy Reinforcing SCHOOL/CHURCH/CORPORATE shallow Dogma, Using us poets To be the shallow virus dogma carriers, Thinking FAMILY FRIENDLY can ever be Anything but enforced shallow reality On everyone
Sure, When I read at schools I play by THE RULES Not because of the kids
But to get into the brainwashing camps To slip the kids A subversive potion of Words/ideas/images
But shoot me If I ever read at a FAMILY/KIDS FRIENDLY POETRY READING… No… Shoot the fascist’s parents!
An excerpt from the conversation on Frank Moore’s Shaman’s Den, recorded March 14, 2004.
Michael Parenti: Look at it this way. If it means that you can get ten million dollars by stripping and destroying a natural forest that had certain species and had other things and had other uses and fishing … and you can walk away with ten million dollars, you’d do it. Because the gain is immediate, it’s immense. It involves billions of dollars in an oil fueled economy, for instance. Hundreds of billions of dollars. And the costs are, the dis-economies, are thrown onto the public for the most part. It’s true some of that comes back to them. It’s true Betty Ford got breast cancer, you know … and others. But that’s a small price to pay for your hundreds of billions of dollars.
I don’t think we properly understand the mentality of the aristocratic, wealthy class. Their wealth is their essence. They kill for that wealth. They will kill and destroy whole countries to maximize that wealth. Maybe you could get a sense of it if you understand the Mafia. We’re always concentrating on the Mafia. The Mafia is penny, nickel and dime stuff. But it’s exactly like the Mafia.
It now comes in and it gets its cut … it wants a cut of any human activity that’s going on. That’s why it has to be privatized, so that they can come in. The mafia made it that way. They go to a store owner and say, “you make so much a month, from now on you give me a hundred dollars a week of that money”. That’s all. They just come in, don’t do a thing, don’t provide any service, they just get a cut. And that’s what these guys are doing to this day. It’s not the peanuts, the way the mafia makes it. It’s billions of dollars. They do not want any kind of activities, any public sector going on, and pension disabilities, survivors’ insurance, which is what Social Security is … they don’t want that. They’re not making any money. It’s billions of dollars and they’re not making a penny on it. It kills them. Public housing … the landlords don’t make a penny on public housing. So, that’s what their passion is. So when you come along and say “pollution” … so, a river … who gives a god damn about a river? (Frank laughs) They’re very good at attacking things that can’t defend themselves. They’re good at attacking children, the elderly, the disabled. And they’re very good at attacking the environment, because the environment can’t defend itself. The environment is there, and seen as raw materials infinitely … that they can use indefinitely. They believe they have complete right to all the natural … whatever natural resources are left in this world … that they have a right to access all of those resources, to use as they wish. They have a right to dump their dis-economies back into that environment. That is their mentality. And the goal is to get richer, and richer and richer and richer. As Marx said … there are three words he used in Capital, Volume 1 … accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. And that’s the madness that we’re facing.
Frank Moore: What will happen when there is nothing to accumulate?
Michael Parenti: Well, they will go on doing what they do now. For instance, we hear that the Pentagon is now developing contingency plans for global warming wars. That is … this is the level of insanity that capitalism brings people to. They don’t say, “This could lead to a catastrophic disaster”. They accept the catastrophic disaster! They don’t say, “We should change our methods of production, our energy systems, our transportation systems” and all that, to reverse this. They say, “This is coming and there are going to be many people, there are going to be massive riots, there are going to be whole countries where people are going to be starving or inundated by floods or by freezing temperatures if the gulf stream gets smothered by the melting ice, fresh water from the North Pole …”, and they’re developing plans to … so those plans are simply the same pattern of response they’re doing now, for instance, against terrorism. They don’t say, “We should change our policies, because our policies are creating terrorists”. The terrorists keep saying to us, “We fight you because you are in our region, you’re destroying our countries, you’re taking over our countries, you’re destroying our cultures, you’re doing this, and you’re doing that … and so we want to bring the war home to you” and all that. They don’t see that! They say, “Oh, the terrorists fight us because we’re … as Dan Rather said, “We’re winners, and they are losers, and that’s why they hate us”. Other … these right wing media pundits who over populate the TV stations, have all said the same thing, “They hate us because we’re free, we’re prosperous, we’re democratic, and we’re secular … that’s why they hate us”. But when you read what they say, the terrorists who did the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden, several of his interviews, I’ve got them all in a new book I’m doing, they don’t say that, they don’t say, “Oh, we hate you because you’re so free, and prosperous and good looking and all that stuff”. (Frank laughs) They say, “We want to get you off our backs. We want you to get out of here. We are retaliating.” They see their war as a retaliation against the things the U.S. has done. And the ruling class simply doesn’t look at it that way because they’re using the terrorism more for their own agenda, which is, higher military spending, larger permanent military bases through Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Southwest Asia. Everything the Project for the New American Century has talked about, they’re doing. And so it’s very clear that the war on terrorism, they don’t want to end the war on terrorism. They want that war on terrorism to keep going on. I mean, Bush lets it out sometimes, “This is the first war of the twenty first century. This is an era of perpetual war. There are a whole bunch of countries we’re going have to confront”. They want this to keep going on because it serves their purposes. It gives them runaway military budgets. It gives them a militarization of the whole society. It gives them license to go and attack and bomb and kill people all over the world, and to build military bases. The plan is to finally put a global lock on all the resources of the entire world. A global lock on all the populations of the entire world. To impose upon all of those populations, including the one in this country, a free market system, where there’d be no public sector, no protections, no regulations of any kind. Where the right of capital, and the powers of capital will reign supreme. It’s a very rational policy. That’s not my conspiracy theory. You can go onto your computer and just click in “Project for a New American Century” and they got it all written up there, they put it up on their website now, their plan.
Flaming hair, flaming voice singing belting raging the blues, singing setting things right for the people, belting it, the spirit, out beyond her voice, flaming her voice hoarse beyond linear limits.
Listen very closely, carefully, focus on her breasts as she leads you by the arm through an ever changing nonlinear maze of stories, connections, names, human passions. You’ll need this focus point to surrender.
She, Jesse, can and will lead you skipping and dancing into the heart of all things, of all matters.
She has lived and danced upon this liquid lusty path, has lived deep hard soft in the not-so-clear/clean/pure waters of humanity long before, and will long after, us.
So surrender to the mad woman, to the senile bag lady, to the peter pan child… fall into her time warp hole… fall into Jesse, and you’ll be falling into wisdom deep and warm!
One of the significant achievements of the Frank Moore for President campaign was to research and catalog the requirements for qualifying as a write-in candidate for President in each of the 50 states. See http://writein2008.blogspot.com/ This proved to be a long and sometimes challenging task, and in the process the campaign not only forced several states’ elections divisions to clarify and refine their procedures, but in some cases, challenged the legality of elections procedures, and in other cases both challenged and changed those procedures both before and after the election. In states such as Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nebraska and others, the campaign had the effect of familiarizing elections officers with their own procedures, which they did not know before the campaign contacted them.
In Arkansas, the campaign challenged the Elections Department’s stand that “Write-in candidates are not allowed in presidential, municipal, or primary elections.” With the invaluable help of Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the campaign talked with Tim Humphries, the legal counsel for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, pointing out that there is no basis in Arkansas election code for a prohibition of write-in candidates for President, and that in fact the state of Arkansas had allowed write-in candidates for President in 1972 and 1976. In the end, this served only as a challenge … Humphries would not admit that there were significant inconsistencies, and did not even realize that Arkansas was in a very small minority of states that do not allow write-in candidates for President. An article about this challenge is located here: http://writein2008.blogspot.com/search/label/Arkansas
In Pennsylvania, the campaign got an elections official to admit that Pennsylvania’s system is “archaic and not good”. He said that there should be some kind of pre-certification of write-in candidates like those that operate in other states, so that the county and state elections boards are all on the same page as to who the write-in candidates are, who to count votes for, etc. He said that if PA were to actually follow their own elections code which states that in order for a write-in vote for president to count, the candidate’s 21 presidential electors must be written in (and not the candidate’s name), it could be legally challenged, and the challenger would easily win the case.
In Wyoming, the campaign began correspondence with Kelly Dagostino from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Elections office to find out what a write-in candidate needed to do in Wyoming. As we talked back and forth, she began to realize that what she thought we were asking about was not really it, and that she actually did not know what the procedure was for a write-in candidate for President in Wyoming, a candidate outside of the major parties, without the money it would take to get enough signatures in the state to get on the ballot … to simply be a write-in candidate and have his/her votes counted. She said, “What does this say about our country, and this democracy” that she didn’t know how this can work in Wyoming, that they were not set up for a candidate outside of the political machines … she should be the person to know, if anyone knew. She said, “But I am going to find out! And I’m going to call you!” In the end, the elections office in Wyoming refined and clarified their procedure through this correspondence, and it is noted here: http://writein2008.blogspot.com/search/label/Wyoming
With regard to Utah, it was Richard Winger who alerted us that the information we were receiving from the Utah Elections Dept. might be incorrect. We had ruled out trying to qualify in Utah because we were told by the Elections Dept., several times over the course of months, that a write-in candidate for President had to come to Utah in person and pay $500 in order to qualify. With persistence, we were able to get to Mark Thomas in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, who was surprised to learn of the information we had been getting from their Elections Office. He would have to make sure that they knew the correct process. Filing for write-in candidacy for President was a much simpler process, only requiring a form and a follow-up questionnaire by phone.
As the election approached, on October 24th Frank received a rejection letter from the Elections Division of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. His filing for write-in candidacy had been received in early July, but they were only now writing to let him know that they had rejected it. The letter said: “Your document has been rejected because, for the office of President and Vice President, the candidates must be residents of different states.” Again, with the help of Richard Winger, the campaign challenged this rejection, and won! The Minnesota Elections Division consulted their legal counsel, and had to admit that the rejection was in error, and that Frank would be officially qualified as a write-in candidate for President in Minnesota. See: http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/10/25/minnesota-secretary-of-state-rejects-presidential-write-in-filing-for-frank-moore/
Several days after the election, Frank received a call from a woman in Santa Cruz informing the campaign of a vote-counting practice by the Santa Cruz County Clerk which would exclude write-in votes cast for President where the vice-president’s name was not also written in. This was not only a change in the way Santa Cruz county counted write-in votes for President, but went against the “voter’s intent” legal precedent already set in California and in most other states. The campaign consulted Richard Winger, and again challenged this procedure both with the Santa Cruz County Clerk and with the California Secretary of State. Due to this challenge, and the pressure put on the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s office by other interested parties, including supporters of Ron Paul (who was also one of the four certified write-in candidates for President in CA) the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that they would continue to count write-in votes for President where only the name of the presidential candidate was written in! See: http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/11/10/california-will-as-usual-count-write-ins-for-declared-presidential-candidates-even-if-voter-didnt-vote-for-vice-president/
The first time I received a note from Frank Moore, I assumed it was either spam or some bogus ruse.
I had just produced my first music video, for Chris Hatton’s “Facebook Licks My Balls.” As editor in chief of an underground arts & culture magazine called Kotori, and a wannabe filmmaker, this was a big deal, even if the production was about as low-budget as one could get. The video was shot entirely on a point & shoot Panasonic Lumix; all the locations were either rooms in my house, friends’ homes, or bars we had sweet-talked the owners into letting us use; all actors were friends; I had no clue how to edit video.
But it was a creative project I had finished, and dammit, the world needed to see it! Slapping the Kotori Films moniker on it, I sent out a newsletter to Kotori’s 30k subscribers.
2/22/11, 4:10pm, the virtual beacon went out to our mailing list. A mere 35 minutes later, I get this in reply:
HEY! I will play this sick video on my Berkeley community public access show! Send more! And get sicker!
I knew very little about Frank Moore at that time, but I knew of him well enough to recognize him as a true luminary. Which, of course, kept me skeptical of such a quick, enthusiastic response to an admittedly silly video.
Right, I thought, Frank Moore is personally replying to me about this smartass video, and wants to play it on his show.
It took me a full 12 hours to decide that I’d humor the note, and see where it took me.
“Haha,” I replied, “are you serious? If so…can you let us know when?”
His response came later that afternoon…and sure enough, it truly was Frank Moore, digging our little video! He played it on his show several times, and while the video didn’t necessarily go viral, the fact that Frank Moore championed the project boosted my ego like I had never felt before.
From there on, Frank welcomed our videos and other work with open arms. Every time we sent him a trailer or new movie/video, he’d add it to his broadcast. He encouraged me to keep being weird and beautiful, to keep digging deep into my soul to find what I really wanted to say to the world. All the while, he kept up a sneaky, depraved sense of humor, occasionally teasing me about each new clip or article I’d send his way. Nonetheless, he embraced what I was doing, because he could see that it came from my heart.
Fake was perversion in his eyes, and I knew that only the realest of the real would get him engaged.
It was because of Frank Moore that my first movie as an actor & producer- Bob Freville’s jarringly warped yet tender Of Bitches & Hounds– found the audience it truly deserved, as Frank gladly shared it with his widespread followers. He praised our performances, and treated the movie like it was a solid masterpiece. He was totally genuine about this; you knew there was no lying from Frank, so when he claimed to dig something, it had to be great.
But who was this generous, inspiring man on the other side of my computer? As any half-assed journalist would do, I somehow conned Frank into doing an interview for Kotori, in an effort to exploit him for my gain…I mean, get to know him better.
As I was doing my research for the questions, I noticed a peculiar feature on Frank’s website: a constant video feed, from at least one camera, pointed at Frank’s desk. 24/7, Frank let the world into his life, a constant performance of many different shades.
I sent him my questions, then for the next week, I kept a window with his live stream open on my computer. I’d watch him laugh at things on screen, and hope that was him reading my notes. I’d even occasionally drop him random emails while watching him, to see if I could trigger a reaction.
Sure, this may be obsessive and a little creepy- but Frank Moore was that fascinating. Here was this brilliant human spirit, nestled within the confines of a man with cerebral palsy, and even that wasn’t enough to hold him back from conquering the world in his own way. He had total confidence; he was the master of many domains, and I felt honored to be connected with him, even in such a detached way.
He was most likely toying with me a bit throughout the course of our interview, and that made it all the more fun. He’d deflate any ego I might have about journalism, while in the next breath encourage me as a writer and artist.
At the end of the day, Frank was an unstoppable force of pure art. He didn’t just create art, he WAS an evolving piece of art. It was as if the roar of artistic creativity coming from his soul was so powerful, it made him spastic and bound to a wheelchair. Naturally, he treated his physical state as an advantage, a superpower that let him get away with all sorts of things that nobody else could pull off.
As he put it, “My body gives me a tool that other artists spend years to create. Most artists are not as lucky as me. They do not have the built-in advantages and shields that I have. They need to resist the real world, the normal world, more than I do…
“I am or have been a dancer, writer, poet, performance artist, painter, composer, promoter, director, actor, activist, producer, father, film /video editor, singer, piano player, television talk show host, publisher, critic, philosopher, dj, manager [of bands, singers, a night club (THE BLIND LEMON), etc], presidential candidate, shaman, relationship counselor, business counselor, clothes designer, interior decorator, journalist, teacher, lecturer, hole digger, distributor of music and publications, founder and general manager of LUVER, minister, among other things!”
He was an untamed powerhouse of any and everything creative. He reminded us to embrace the unique beings inside each of us, and celebrate that individuality in every manner possible. The end result might just bring us all together as one human family. As he told me, “My art is rooted in breaking out of isolation.”
Sadly, he shuffled off this mortal coil before I got to make it up to Berkeley for one of his live performances. Meeting with Frank was actually an impetus for me to move from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and I had every intention of figuring a way to shoot up the coast, simply to hang out with Frank for a spell. He often invited me to come on his show when I thought I’d be in town, and even joked about shaving my balls live on camera…and without a doubt, I would have gone along with it. It would have been funny and weird and pure, and assuming he didn’t have a spasm and slice off my penis, I would have proudly shared the story with anybody willing to dive into such a bizarre, human experience.
There you have it: Frank Moore was such an amazing person, I would have let him shave my balls in front of a worldwide audience, just to be part of his creative process.
The expansions and contractions are the natural cycles of growth. They are life breathing. Each cycle is different in length, depending on what is happening in the life.
Both the expansion and the contraction phases have their own dangers of illusions. In expansions, things open up and become easy. Opportunities and people are attracted to the student by the chero. When this happens, the student is tempted to throw away her framework, or to go outside of it, to pursue, to run after these opportunities and people. If she does this, she loses both her base and what attracted these things to her in the first place. She finds herself out of power.
Another common reaction to expansions is to think one is not worthy enough, not able or strong enough to handle all of the good that life suddenly offers her. Such a person destroys the expansion, her framework, and sometimes even herself to avoid having her “unworthiness” be found out, to avoid the responsibilities that being happy and creating a full life bring. This reaction is more widespread than one might think. The student usually has little problem accepting criticism from the teacher. But when the teacher starts talking about the student’s strengths, abilities, and potentials, the student very often forgets her pact of trust, and starts arguing with the teacher. This is because if the student accepts her worthiness, her strengths, abilities and potentials, she is admitting her responsibility for creating her life and reality, and the effect she has on others. The student should trust the teacher even when the teacher is praising her, although this praise may be rare.
In contractions, the student faces a different set of illusions. In contractions, everything seems, appears to be falling apart. What the person thought would be a direct path to what she wants falls apart. People start flaking out on her, leaving her. Things get hard and difficult. Things seem to stop happening for her. Her life sphere gets small. The pace of living becomes slow.
Most people panic in contractions. They feel trapped, penned in. They feel like they are losing everything, going backward, dying as who they thought they were. When this happens, they grab onto things and people to save themselves and to get what they want; or they give up, thinking they are not strong or worthy enough to get to all possibilities. They usually tell themselves they really do not want all possibilities, they really want less. They lie to themselves to make their settling for less more livable.
In reality, contractions are periods in which the old phase is being rearranged to prepare for the new expansion that is coming. Some old stuff has to be burnt away to make ready for the new. Some valuable stuff is stored away to be used later. This feels like losing. This loss is not real. The creative progress in contractions is far too complex for us to rationally, logically understand or try to rationally plan out. Evolution is an automatic process when you let go into it. When you know that after every expansion comes a contraction, you will be less tempted to break out of your framework to pursue some glamorous or exciting avenues that appear to be more direct routes to what you want. You can be sure they are not.
When you know that after every contraction comes an expansion, you can better practice active passivity, which is the key to using contractions as a quiet building of creative potential. In this way, in both expansions and contractions, you can maintain the even focus that puts you in control of your reality. By knowing the cycles of expansions and contractions are irregular, you can relax, not holding on to anything, but not waiting in dread for the next contraction to hit. This is one of the aspects of erour, the vulnerable power.