Frank got his picture on the cover of NEW CITY in 1990 for the Lower Links show. One of the highlights of that trip was when we were wheeling Frank through the Amtrak station in Chicago and a Red Cap shouted across the very large lobby, “Hey Frank Moore!!” He had seen Frank on the cover of New City!
Frank and the Chero Company performed “The Outrageous Horror Show” at Lower Links in Chicago on October 11, 1990 as part of their “Year of Peril” series.
Here is the pre-show article from the Chicago Reader:
October 5, 1990
By Albert Williams
“I have a body that is ideal for a performance artist,” says Frank Moore, who was born with cerebral palsy and is 99 percent physically disabled. Moore’s performances are touching in the most literal and provocative sense. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts performance art fellowship in 1985, Moore shares with Karen Finley (who’s also appearing in town this week) the distinction of being on the “hit list” set up by the fearmongers who seek to set the arts agenda these days. (Performance spaces that receive NEA grants are investigated; if they have presented certain artists, such as Finley and Moore, their grant-worthiness is called into doubt.) But if, to paraphrase the title of Finley’s controversial show, the oppressors keep their victims ready, Moore refuses to play victim. In his group piece Outrageous Horror Show, he and his company, Chero, employ erotic play, nude exhibitionism, audience participation, and unorthodox concepts of narrative, space, time, and beauty as means to challenge the barriers society erects around sexuality, cripples, and art. Moore’s appearance is the first offering in “Year of Peril (The Censorship Issue),” a series of performances that will also feature Annie Sprinkle’s Sex Education Class and filmmakers Monte Cazazza and Michelle Handelman’s True Gore later this month. Club Lower Links, Thursday, October 11 (954 W. Newport, 248-5238), 7 PM. $7.
Here is the script for Frank’s performance:
A review from the Chicago Reader:
The Plucky & Spunky Show
December 20, 1990
By Anthony Adler
THE PLUCKY & SPUNKY SHOW
I might have liked The Plucky & Spunky Show a lot better if I hadn’t seen Frank Moore first. Frank Moore has cerebral palsy. He rides around in a wheelchair, his head and hands move spasmodically, and when he tries to talk the words come out as a series of incomprehensible whines and screeches.
So naturally he’s a performance artist.
I saw Moore’s show when he came to Club Lower Links in October. The evening was long, strange, and very trippy–picture a student pageant at the Jimi Hendrix Memorial School for the Disabled, circa 1971. I found myself squirming almost as soon as I walked in. There was Moore, facing us from his wheelchair, howling and gesticulating to music–his torso straining up against his seat belt; his hands wild; his tongue lolling out of his mouth; and Sonny & Cher on the box, singing what else but “Laugh at Me.”
Drinks were being served. The audience applauded after every appalling number. I was thoroughly upset: my sense of dignity was being assailed. Not my sense of my own dignity, but of Moore’s–my sense of the dignity of the handicapped. What amusement, what pleasure was there in seeing this unlucky man demonstrate his incapacity for us?
Then, whoosh, I saw how completely I’d missed the point. Or rather, how completely I’d fallen into it without seeing it. Moore wasn’t playing to anybody’s prejudices. Just the opposite: he was attacking them. Attacking them with his whole writhing, caterwauling being. His simple presence constituted a challenge to conventional notions of what a performer may and may not look like. And by extension, what roles disabled people may and may not assume. He was all wrong, and yet there he was: sitting center stage, rocking out–even turning sex symbol when his wife appeared, half-naked, to croon “I Got You Babe” with him.
I realized then that my solicitude was actually condescension: a healthy man’s attempt to put a handicapped man not only in his place but in his persona. I wasn’t really angry at the audience for demeaning Moore–the fact was that I was angry at Moore for playing against his assigned type.
The Plucky & Spunky Show offers similar insight–but in the form of a punch line rather than a revelation. Where Moore got in my face with his difference and defiance, Plucky & Spunky came at me with a big hug, a patient look, and an easy laugh. A comedy revue about the peculiar difficulties of the handicapped–written by wheelchair veterans Susan Nussbaum and Mike Ervin, and performed by a mixed ensemble of blind, deaf, paraplegic, and even tall actors–Plucky & Spunky pretends to a certain amount of wiseass irony; we’re supposed to take the title with a heavy dose of attitude. And yet the show’s overall tone actually expresses the pure essence of pluck and spunk. Nussbaum and Ervin are out to cajole us into enlightenment. They tend to teach by ingratiation.
Not that there aren’t darker modulations here and there. Nussbaum gives herself some rich, surprisingly sharp passages–as in the skit where a spilled order of shrimp in black bean sauce momentarily knocks the spirit out of a paraplegic woman. Or the one where Nussbaum and David Pasquesi play wheelchair-bound lovers debating their chances of maintaining a long-term relationship in a world of hostile architecture and patronizing strangers.
Then, too, there are some plain funny bits–plain funny loosely defined here as anything with Pasquesi in it. A Second City mainstage regular, Pasquesi brings a stunningly specific comic imagination to everything he does. As just a small for instance, there’s a scene where Pasquesi comes between a man and his irate, deaf wife: the wife signs the word “sorry” on Pasquesi’s chest and Pasquesi goes giggly from the feel of it. The tickle’s a minor detail, but it has an unexpectedly major effect, simultaneously grounding the scene in physical reality while making it fly as comedy.
Mostly, however, Plucky & Spunky goes for the warm and runny. The warm and runny and pat. An ongoing story about former poster girl Spunky and her search for identity ends with the requisite I’m-Just-Me song. Even the shrimp-and-bean-sauce tragedy closes on an up note. The revue format itself tends to defuse any dangerous interplay between show and audience, its familiarity breeding a complacency that’s never challenged. People with all their limbs and all their faculties can see The Plucky & Spunky Show and sympathize with its agenda without ever examining that agenda on a personal level. Wild Frank Moore would never permit that.
The “Year of Peril” brochure by Karen Briede:
1990 was also one of the busiest years for Frank in terms of travel!
We just found the original sign that Frank had taped to the front of his board to get people for his film Erotic Play. The resulting raw footage became the Nonfilms. Here is the sign and the text that appears on it:
I AM LOOKING FOR PEOPLE FOR MY FILM
I WOULD LIKE TO SHOOT YOU FOR MY FILM. I JUST RECEIVED MY MASTERS IN PERFORMANCE/VIDEO AT THE SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE. I AM ASKING PEOPLE WHO I FIND ATTRACTIVE … ALTHOUGH MAYBE NOT IN HOLLYWOOD’S CONCEPT OF ATTRACTIVENESS, BEAUTY, SEXINESS. THEN I AND MY WIFE, LINDA, SHOOT THESE PEOPLE ALMOST LIKE IN PAINTINGS, IN DIFFERENT POSES, DIFFERENT CLOTHES, SOMETIMES NUDE (WHEN THE PERSON FEELS COMFORTABLE WITH THAT), FOCUSING ON DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BODY AS ABSTRACT FORMS. THEN I WILL EDIT THESE PIECES INTO A SERIES OF COLLAGE SHORTS WHICH WILL BE FUNNY, BUT ALSO HOPEFULLY EXPAND THE CONCEPT OF BEAUTY. ONE OF THESE SHORTS WILL SHOW PEOPLE JUST PLAYING AND HAVING FUN; ANOTHER WILL SHOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BODIES; A THIRD WILL POKE FUN AT THE PIN-UP CONCEPT OF BEAUTY.
I HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS SAME SUBJECT IN MY OIL PAINTINGS AND PLAYS … ESPECIALLY IN MY ROCK COMEDY, the outrageous beauty revue, WHICH RAN FOR FOUR YEARS IN S.F., AND IN MY FILM, fairytales can come true, WHICH WILL BE USED IN SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASS.
I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, FROM LITTLE BODIES TO OLD PEOPLE. IT IS FUN.
IF YOU WILL POSE, WRITE DOWN YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER FOR ME, AND PUT IT IN MY BACKPACK, AND LINDA WILL CALL YOU TO SET UP A TIME FOR US TO GET TOGETHER. IT USUALLY TAKES TWO SESSIONS. DURING THE FIRST TIME, WHICH USUALLY TAKES BETWEEN ONE AND TWO HOURS, WE WILL JUST PLAY AROUND AND TALK ABOUT IDEAS FOR US TO FILM, COSTUMES, POSES … AND IN GENERAL, HAVE FUN. THEN AT THE SECOND SESSION, WHICH USUALLY IS BETWEEN ONE AND THREE HOURS, WE WILL VIDEO YOU.
P.S. IN THE FALL AT U.C. THROUGH A.S.U.C., I AM TEACHING A COURSE IN THE ART OF PERFORMANCE … ARE YOU INTERESTED?
In August 2011, Frank created the “Nude Performance Art, Dance and Video: EROART” group on Vimeo.com. He used the essay, “Eroart” on his group page, as an introduction and guiding theme for the group. Every night when Frank was working at the computer, he spent time searching for videos to add to the group and moderated videos that were submitted to the group. The Eroart group became one of the most popular groups on Vimeo with almost 13,000 members and almost 16,000 videos before Frank was booted from Vimeo in 2019.
Here is the text that appeared on the group’s profile page:
I wrote the below manifesto before the internet, before people like Annie Sprinkle reclaimed the word “porn” for life affirming art, before VIMEO.com, really before a lot of things. I am bringing it back from the vault because I am starting a new group on VIMEO.com, NUDE PERFORMANCE ART, DANCE AND VIDEO. There is a ton of what I called below EROART of all kinds on VIMEO.com. Frank Moore, August 2011
Frank Moore 1984
Thanks to the repressive, anti sexual, anti pleasure morality, romanticism, and pornography, the traditional area of eroart — art that uses nudity, physicality, and/or sex to turn people on to life — has been ripped off by pornography.
Almost everyone is against porn films. Almost everybody in his right mind. But everybody isn’t in his right mind, which is why there is porn anyway. But it is fashionable to be against porn. There are many good reasons to be against porn. Fashion is not one of them. The anti sex, anti pleasure, anti nudity morality is not one of the good reasons to be anti porn. This kind of repressive morality is the main reason why during the nineteenth century kinky violent porn caught on.
What I am interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is the art of eroplay. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools.
Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroplay tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroplay art, which has been called eroart. Most books on eroart miss the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond.
This is not true for what is defined as porn. I am trying to define eroart. We are forced to separate it from porn, and rightly so.
It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is human to be anti porn because porn is anti human, not only anti female. It is violence between individual people. At times, this violence is graphic. It is personal and intimate violence in a hostile and impersonal form. I hurt you to make me feel turned on because I cannot get turned on in any other way because I cannot feel … besides, you like being hurt … if you don’t … who cares. This isn’t the symbolic or surreal violence in other kinds of films.
Porn is also anti human because it creates a picture of what sex should be that is unreal and boring. It creates pictures of what you should be like … pictures which are hard to live up to … and if you do live up to them, you will be a big- dicked jerk or a big titted bimbo.
These are the fundamental reasons why to be anti porn.
But face it, the main reason that most people are anti porn is because porn is boring and dumb. The people who make porn (I am talking about straight porn now, leaving the kinky, violent porn in the trash can) think that the main reason why people go to see porn is to see tubes going in and out of holes. So they cram in as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible in ninety minutes … and as close up as possible. This may be true for some people, but for most people, it gets boring once curiosity is satisfied, curiosity about what it looks like, and once the possibility of seeing everything is fulfilled.
It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is not fashionable to offer an alternative to porn. It is not fashionable to admit that people like seeing other people nude, seeing other people getting turned on and being turned on. It is not fashionable to admit people are curious to see other people’s bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. It is not fashionable to admit people feel cheated whenever the camera moves away, fades away, when people on the screen are getting intimate. It is not fashionable because it would be putting yourself, your body, and your emotions where your ideals and your politics are.
To make videos that satisfy that child like need of seeing nude bodies and seeing people playing, making out, and having fun is not as profitable as either what Hollywood does or what the porn makers do. This child like need is the healthy human desire that is perverted in porn.
The time is right for an art form that addresses this healthy desire. The women’s movement has changed people’s standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and of women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes, and now they find the old style porn disgusting … but more importantly, they are finding porn is not meeting their needs and desires. They want to be turned on in a way that is not sexual; they want to see nudity without stupidity; they want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating … can show both purely nonsexual eroplay and eroplay as foreplay in sex.
Film and video can do this. But the producers of porn haven’t the foggiest idea of this, and have a vested interest in the meat approach. In its broadest definition, erovideo could be any kind of film westerns, thrillers, science fiction, etc. — in which the unwritten rules are not followed. The camera doesn’t fade or cut away from erotic scenes before it is logical to do so … bodies wouldn’t be cut off. Cable has made porn so available that it has removed the glamour of the forbidden. As a result, porn has to stand on its lack of merit. As a result, the sales and rentals on adult tapes are going down, and the adult cable systems are going out of business.
The desire to see nudity and intimacy and to be turned on is not being satisfied. Hollywood is caught between being ruled by taboos and being in the business of teasing. Andy Warhol once said Hollywood has been doing a forty year striptease, showing a little more each year to get people to come back.
The closest Hollywood comes to the erotic/sexual (except for a few maverick directors like Roeg) is the sex exploitation and youth exploitation films. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if it is sexy sexual nude, it has to be dumb. Hollywood does exploitative films because they make money. They make money because they are the closest thing to the erotic/sexual that is offered. But sitting through a dumb movie to see nude bodies of dumb people is not worth it. Hollywood, however, will not take risks.
Hollywood will not make such a risky, daring product as a truly erotic film mainly because of the high money stakes involved. The pornographers will not do it either because of their lack of skill, insight, and morality, or because they too are ruled by money, and by criminals.
But breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. The breaking of taboos ideally should not be a part of eroplay for everyday life. But it is. Art can slowly take eroplay out of the taboo area. This is one of the functions of art.
Here is where art comes in. As I have said, this kind of art creates a kind of bubble in which the forbidden can be done with immunity, releasing the energy of the broken taboo … energy which then affects society as a whole. Art makes a clear circle of difference between this bubble and everyday reality; it is a kind of safety valve for society … much as dreams are to the individual. According to the book THE PAINTED BODY, the caves where the first artists did their work where no one could see were such bubbles, as was body painting. Performance art is this kind of consciousness altering art. It creates a special time and place where taboos can be broken, where new ways can be introduced into the society.
The other way that art can make it easier for us in everyday life, and at the same time fight against the anti pleasure, anti human morality, against sexism, against pornography, against romanticism, is by showing us eroplay, both with and without sex, and getting us acquainted and comfortable with eroplay. This can be done in all media. Enter erovision. Erotic projects could be made on half inch video tape by individual artists to be sold directly by mail from the artist to the individual viewer. This would avoid the power structures that grow up around big money.
Half inch video, home video, is cheap in materials, editing, and post production, and distribution is much, much cheaper than in any other format. The technical quality is acceptable, and free from the comparison with film or professional three quarter inch video. Home video is the workable channel for any product that the establishment will not touch … or that you don’t want the establishment to touch, hence control. Such is erovideo.
Whether we as artists do eroart to release magically eroplay into the air (such as through performance art) or to show the non sexual way of relating that is eroplay (such as through video or film) … whether we choose to use the sex act or not in our eroart … we must not let our work be defined in relation to pornography. There has been a huge amount of time and energy wasted trying to define and ban pornography. The best way to undermine sexism and pornography is to create an alternative to them. Take back nudity, pleasure, sex, and eroticism from pornography. Show pornography up as being drab, inhuman, unfun by creating a fun, human, happy alternative. Create eroart! This is overstating the case somewhat because you cannot do good eroart if it is in reaction to porn … only if it comes from some warm and playful place, can it be good eroart. Unless we put ourselves — our creativity, our minds, and yes, our bodies — into representing eroart as the humanistic alternative, the pornographer, the sexist, and the moralist will win by default.
A collection of screen captures of the EROART group profile page (thanks to The Wayback Machine):
Lying here together Just holding each other Small, warm, Smelling each other Breathing each other in Breathing life in Breathing everything in Taking everything into our bodies Our body Breathing life, All life in, deeply To our core, Then breathing pleasure out, All warmed up, Breathing warm pleasure In all life everywhere, Watering life, Growing stronger, freer With every deep breath Taking EVERYTHING in Transforming transmuting everything Into our rose-skin reality Falling falling falling Masks falling away Who we pictured ourselves Falling away Just surrender into each other, Into egoless self within us combined, Without fear Trusting the core within us Falling Skin melting Nerve-endings pull us in From within Rich blood rushes in, Washing us from within, Tides within between us Rocking rubbing on each other In the sea of skin Everywhere surrounding us, Enveloping us You lay here, me in your mouth Not going anywhere Just slight movement To keep arouse pleasure alive Beyond time Before separation, Before birth and death A calm excitement Of being together Being within, Not being between
There is a draining, A releasing of surface tension Skin pales As everything flows deeper To the core Everything gets slower, Warm cool Beats melt together Warm wax colors flow in veins We get too small, We become invisible Rubbing rocking me From your belly button Downward In between Moist Absorbing everything Into our grooved smallness Into the life code of change Where we play Unseen, unknown Rocking small, pale Falling Without fear Into the cool tickling grass Sinking into cool slippery mud Getting dirty Falling, Following the roots Downward into cracks In hard cold rocks Breaking them open Revealing hidden meanings Breaking through to underground ocean Of dark invisible matter, Warm satin which seeks out All space, Seeks out all skin, Becoming/enfolding our body Filling everything So small That we plunge into the molten core, Into subatomic center beyond space Into solar explosion deep in the universal everywhere breathing spiraling warm change in and out deeply as we lie here smelling the sweet sweat of our very human bodies
Schechner defines performance as “ritualized behavior conditioned (and) permeated by play.”
We will get technical in this. But we should always remember that at the root, the student comes to the teacher, the audience comes to the performance, the person comes to the bodyplay to be deeply and intimately with a flesh and blood person or a group of flesh and blood people in a way that is usually denied to her in normal polite social life. She comes for touching, holding, rocking, playing, having fun, and healing. This has been usually forgotten under rigid serious rituals, techniques and theories. Again, western medicine is a prime example of this forgetting. But even spiritual methods of healing in our culture have put the rituals and techniques over the playing and fun.
This is why, before we get into the techniques of chero bodyplay, we have to be clear about what we are doing. By doing the apprenticeship, by doing performances, by doing bodyplay, we are calling forth the liminal state of controlled folly. Controlled folly is liminal because it is a combination of the awake reality and dream reality. Rituals make this combination possible.
In the state of controlled folly, the activities of playing and creating fun are intensified and expanded, because rituals take the place of the normal rules, taboos, fears, and inhibitions. This makes it possible to go into the unknown where anything is possible. Ritual is what makes this magical playing safe by giving the playing a living, breathing structure. Playing is only possible within a structure. But when ritual becomes important in itself, rigid and serious, it starts limiting and killing the play and fun. So it is important to remember that the ritual is just the channel of the play and fun.
Playing is a primal state in which things are drained temporarily of their normal meanings. Life goals for a time fade in importance in this state. Tensions and stresses of normal life are safely transmuted into creativity. In play, newness appears. This newness is translated into inspiration, into new ideas, new ways of doing things. The young, both in the higher animals and humans, learn the most through the state of play. Both man and the higher animals use play to transform violent energy into safe acting out. The human mind and civilization were evolved by playing.
In bodyplay, chero is aroused by playing with the body. Fun is created and released by this play into the world directly. Fun is energy focused upon itself, rather than upon some goal. The fun we are talking about in this work is a deep, intense fun that corrects imbalances and induces newness. This kind of fun comes from risk taking and work. This deep fun feels very different from the surface, light, fast fun of the world of politeness, glamour, romance, and social rules.
Through bodyplay, erour is slowly reached by calling forth chero in all parts of the body by eroplaying. This is true not only in the “receiver,” but also in the “healer.” Moreover, through the energy released through these magical sessions, a collective social erour is gradually created for the general world. This is the ultimate reason for this work. The chero released as focused fun “writes” upon the place in which this magical play is performed. It transforms the place into a magical site. The more play is done in a place, the more chero is stored in the physical site. The more chero that is contained in a physical site, the easier it is to perform more intense play.
Cherotic bodyplay releases, frees, creates new possibilities. This is true for the people who are actually directly playing together. But this is also true for the society, the people, the world, the outer reality surrounding the eroplaying people. This makes bodyplay not just an individual problem solving therapy. Instead, it is a playful but powerful ritual that has effects on many different levels. There is a danger in focusing too much on what it will do for the individual, how it will affect his life, what does it mean in terms of his life, how it will help him. This kind of focus can turn bodyplay into encouraging individualism which keeps the person in the prison of fragmentation.
To be successful, bodyplay has to be intensely personal between the playing people, but should not be individualistic. It should not push the people inward onto their “selves.” Bodyplay should expand them outward into others.
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!