By Jake McGee
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.
Read Jake’s interview with Frank in Kotori magazine from April, 2011:
Frank Moore: “Being so visible that it creates invisibility”