In 2005, Frank did a workshop series at a space in San Francisco. Here is an email exchange after the fifth workshop of the series:
First off, I enjoyed the workshop on Friday. The energy it sent into me and the community has been VERY palpable. We’ve been on a big ride there. Personally, I felt dancing with Adam broached a lot of subjects with me that I’m slowly sorting through.
Onto less fun things. I’ve been talking with our lawyer pretty extensively over the last few days. He is very concerned on a lot of levels about what happened on Friday night. His concerns, after talking about them, are valid in our book and we’d like to make some changes immediately. He says, and I agree, that not doing so puts our space in jeopardy.
(1) We cannot video tape the workshops anymore
(2) We cannot have the past five workshops being broadcast on Berkeley Public Access television
(3) We would like any mention of our space or any of our names taken off your website
(4) In future emails/promotions, please use only our first names and not our last names
(5) And, we would like the return of the 5 video tapes of the first five workshops so we can destroy them.
Please call me at xxx.xxx.xxxx to discuss or email is fine as well. I am sorry it is going this way but in this era, it seems prudent.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Frank’s reply (in bold):
Frank: Robert, I’ll respond throughout your letter to you.
First off, I enjoyed the workshop on Friday. The energy it sent into me and the community has been VERY palpable. We’ve been on a big ride there
Frank: Yes, it is very powerful how it is developing on all levels. But it is an on-going journey, more than a “ride.” The word “ride” suggests a thrill ride which trivializes the journey of the workshop. I know you see the workshop deeper than a thrill ride. We are journeying outside the walls of fear, isolation, etc. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I agreed to let those same walls limit, contain, undermine, that magic journey within the workshop. That would totally kill what is growing within the workshop. And I have not done that in 40 years of doing this in THE REAL WORLD. I don’t plan to start now.
Personally, I felt dancing with Adam broached a lot of subjects with me that I’m slowly sorting through.
F: Yes, everyone got a lot out of it. And that liberation spreads out into the outside world through broadcasting it, through webcasting it, through writing about it, etc. It would be extremely sad to deny them this out of fear generated by a lawyer. According to him, what happened Friday night? What happened that didn’t happen in the other 4 sessions, including the first one he was at? What are his “concerns?” What would jeopardize your space? How? You kindly offered me your space to do my performance/workshop after I described what I had done in my series at U.C.B….including videoing every session to play on luver, b-tv, etc. This was during your first appearance on my SHAMAN’S DEN show. So you knew before you offered that we would be videoing the sessions. You knew that videoing was part of my art/work. We have videoed all 5 sessions with your full knowledge. So the below ultimatums are surreal!
Onto less fun things. I’ve been talking with our lawyer pretty extensively over the last few days. He is very concerned on a lot of levels about what happened on Friday night. His concerns, after talking about them, are valid in our book and we’d like to make some changes immediately. He says, and I agree, that not doing so puts our space in jeopardy.
cannot video tape the workshops anymore.
F: This would end my doing the workshop at your space. This is your right of power. But it would be a shame. And I don’t think that is your desire. It would be impossible to do the workshop without the freedom.
We cannot have the past five workshops being broadcast on Berkeley Public Access television.
F: As you
know, they have been playing on luver and b-tv…as have the two SHAMAN’S DEN
shows you guys were on. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The workshop is/was a public event of my
We would like any mention of our space or any of our names taken off your website.
F: Why on earth would
you want that? Rather insulting. But I don’t hold that against you. Fear is
irrational. But we have a history together. I don’t erase history.
future emails/promotions, please use only our first names and not our last
F: Again, why? No. And hey, how many good looking ROBERTS are there at your space?
we would like the return of the 5 video tapes of the first five workshops so we
can destroy them.
F: Those tapes are of my art/workshop and are the property of Inter-Relations. Your space has no right to them. RETURNING IS AN EXTREMELY STRANGE WORD to be using. But then so is “destroy” art and history.
If I were you, I’d fire that lawyer…or at least get a second opinion!
am sorry it is going this way but in this era, it seems prudent.
Here is what Frank wrote for Vimeo about this series of videos:
Today we put up the first in the series of private performances I did in the early eighties. I now am calling these NONFILMS. These were also the raw footage of my films EROTIC PLAY and THE NUDE CAVE. I told the people we were filming I was doing a film. So I made films! But basically I was bringing back the concept of NONFILM which I played with in the early seventies and now videoing these private performances.
Ever since college days, I had been writing nonsense scripts dealing with nudity and nonsexual eroticism. Also during my college days, I read such books as Toward a Poor Theatre and The Theatre and its Double. But it was not until I and my communal family took a very intense film‑making course in Santa Fe in 1972 that I was able to put my weird ideas into performance.
We made films of rolling nude down a hill, smearing bodies with baby food, nursing by a sexy woman. But when the film course was over, I did not have money to make films. I could not see putting my energy into getting money to make films, could not see putting up with the compromises and outside control involved in an artistic context requiring big bucks. For me, the act of breaking a taboo is what is magical, what effects change…not someone seeing it in a film.
This not having money, this not wanting to be controlled and limited by money, was what sealed me into a performance life.
So I started looking for a way to work with people. I wanted to see people nude, and touch them, and to create an intensity between us.
I had been painting oils for years, painting with a brush strapped to my forehead, painting nudes from magazine photos. One day, a rich woman asked me to paint a nude of her. My wife set me and my paints up in the fancy living room as the woman undressed. On that day I realized how art can give people permission to do what normally is forbidden. It gives a frame that switches realities from the narrow normal reality to the freeing altered reality of controlled folly. If you go up to a stranger on the street and ask him to show his body to you, you will be lucky if he just walks away and does not hit you. But if you sincerely (and sincerity is a key) ask him to model for a painting or be in a video that involves nudity, there is a high chance he will do it because you are offering him a key to a new, different, and temporary reality.
This began my street series. I sat on the center plaza, “selling newspapers”. But selling papers was only a context. The context for me was an excuse for watching people, talking to people who had the slowness and the insightful curiosity to stop and talk…a way for me to ask them to model for me. These special people were my real targets for my street pieces. They saw past the mask of the cripple. The masses used the mask of the cripple to relieve their guilt, to reinforce their fragile superiority of being “normal”, to make themselves feel better by throwing money (up to $20 a throw) at the less fortunate at whom they would not even look. The third type of person was made up of the poor and the kids who gave money as a pure spiritual act. When the special person stopped to talk, a crowd gathered around to listen. Money fell on my board while I was asking the special person to model.
The newspaper selling quickly fell away. All I had to do was sit there on the sidewalk, being available to talk. It did not matter that I dressed fancy, or had a sign saying “I don’t want money; I want you”. The money kept falling. But I did discover that there are special spots and special ways of sitting which attract people. Sit at a slightly different angle, or on a spot a few feet away from the special spot and you become invisible.
I have done these street performances across the country. I have gotten tickets to the Joffrey, filled a couple of workshops, got my cameraman for one of my films, all from the street pieces. I almost caused a riot in front of Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, N.J. The crowd did not take kindly to the casino guards trying to push me away because I was taking Caesar’s money.
I painted a lot of the special people from the street performances. I noticed the changes in the people when they took off their clothes; how they relaxed, how they started talking on a deeper level about important personal things. After I got a taste of direct inter‑personal acting out of erotic dreams, painting became too static. I began a series of private performances called Nonfilms. I asked the special people from the street performances to come to my home, into my study which was my first cave. Within this cave, cut off from the normal reality, we created scenes which no camera would shoot, nobody would see. Although I had played with my friends before in nonsexual eroticism, this was the first time I tried to use “sexual” acts in a nonsexual art form. I was surprised with the power that this released. Because of these scenes, the people started talking about their lives during these sessions and said it helped their other relationships. Not one person minded that there was no film. These nonfilms were the base for my career in relationship counseling.
I first noticed the nonlinear effects of private performance in these secret rituals. People whom I approached on the street came to me weeks after the nonfilm, the person usually reported changes in his life, in his relationships, in how people were towards him…all of which amazed him (and me too) because he hadn’t told anyone that he had done the ritual. Part of the change in how people related to him can be explained linearly by the change in the person emotionally and even physically caused by the performance. But this does not explain how things “just happened” to him, things that were improbable, things that we both linked to the ritual.
Here is a selection of stills from some of the videos:
The new book, How to Handle an Anthropologist: Russell Shuttleworth, PhD interviews shaman/performance artist Frank Moore, was featured on “Jovelyn’s Bistro” on KPFA’s Cover to Cover Open Book, August 21, 2019.
Linda Mac and Michael LaBash joined Jovelyn Richards in the studio for this live broadcast. Listen to the interview here:
About Jovelyn Richards:
“Sometimes We Need Art, More Than Food & Water.” Jovelyn Richards interviews artists who explore emotional intimacy through their narratives within theatre, film and literature, along with voices less heard. She talks with artists who explore emotional intimacy and the fringes of our culture. Jovelyn Richards is a writer, international performance artist and speaker. She holds both an MA and MFA in the Humanities.
On Wednesday August 21, 2019, Vimeo abruptly terminated Frank’s account for violating their “guidelines”.
Frank had over 700 videos in his account that we have been uploading on a weekly basis for over eight years. His videos had over 33 million plays on Vimeo.com.
It will take us a while to get them all back up at a new place … but they will slowly start appearing on the site again as we upload them to their new home!
The other casualty of Frank’s account being terminated is the Vimeo group that Frank created called Nude Performance Art Dance and Video – EROART. This was one of the largest groups on Vimeo with over 14,000 members. It was part of the collateral damage of Vimeo terminating Frank’s account.
Connie completed the fading into death this afternoon. She has always lived in her young mind, always was a black sheep, raising black sheep, always wanted to know, always hungry for education, NO MATTER WHAT! WHATEVER IT TOOK! Deaf to CAN’T, to dumb rules!
No time for social frills, no time for BS, no time for limits. Just time for deadpan joy of just everyday, for no-nonsense love, for pushing and demanding for possibilities. She bit, or pretended not to hear, just going for what’s right like a tank… running you over.
You were a fool if you believed her mcgoo act! Hero? Yes! Always growing beyond working in a doctor’s office, after getting a college education, after the leaving of Jim, threatened by his black sleep wife, after pushing me onto THE REAL WORLD, after raising Jerry and me, after getting out of Utah as a free thinker!
Just taking Tums and aspirins, Connie at 79 lived a very rich life… always young in life… now always will be young!
Jerry and I are so lucky to be in the black sheep family of CONNIE!
When Frank received the NEA Fellowship in 1985, one of the requirements was that we keep notes so that Frank could submit a diary at the end of the Fellowship year. We got a marble copy book and labeled it ART BOOK with the dates of the fellowship. I had forgotten about all of this, but in the course of digging through our archives to try to figure out where we kept info before we were using the computer to log everything in, we found the ART BOOKS! We kept using the ART BOOK as a way to keep track of all of our “art” activities, starting a new one as we filled each old one, with 1995 being the last year logged in.
After a weekend full of books, as Performistanbul Live Art Research Space, we will start to share our archive collection with you!
Our archive aims to hold 7000 resources that consists on the contributions of international performance artists and the materials that will be purchased with the donations. We are approaching our goal day by day, with getting various types of archive material donations. We want to thank the artists who remind us that we are not alone by sharing their archive with us.
You can stand by our side on the road of achieving the goals of our archive and Research Space, with your donations!
We begin with the archive of shaman / performance artist Frank Moore, one of the most extensive donations we had so far! Our Frank Moore archive consists of books titled “Chapped Lap”, “Cherotic Magic”, “Frankly Speaking”, “Art of a Shaman”, “Skin Passion”, “Deep Conversations in the Shaman’s Den – Volume I” along with dozens of various other archival materials such as booklets, manifestos, posters and postcards. In the meantime, dozens of soft copy materials of unprinted documents including more than 500 performance videos are added to our digital archive collection.
When Performistanbul Live Art Research Space (PCSAA) reach its goal, all resources will be available for the use of visitors!
With each donation, we are getting one step closer to fill our shelves with books. With your donations, you may contribute to this journey and stand by our side!
We would like to offer special thanks to Linda Mac & Mikee Labash.
I have always been lucky. I have a body that is ideal for a performance artist. And I have always wanted to be a performer. When I was a kid, my younger brother used to get mad when people looked at me when he pushed me to the movies or to the teen club. He cried. But I liked people looking at me. That is what I mean I am lucky. I am lucky I am an exhibitionist in this body. One time, I was working out on the jungle gym outside of our house…a kid came by and asked if I was a monster. I just roared like a monster. It was fun…I started to see my body as a tool. I could get away with things that others couldn’t.1
humor and an infectious smile Frank Moore (1946-2013) navigated the world in a
body of which he had only minimal control. Born with cerebral palsy and unable
to walk or talk he used a wheelchair his entire life. When he was seventeen, he
created his own personal communication system by strapping a pointer to his
head which allowed him to point to letters, words and phrases on a board, and thus
he was finally able to break out of his isolation and communicate with the
But Moore did
not let his disabled body hamper his path through life, and his obituaries
detail the myriad creative activities that he was engaged with including a long
career as a performance artist, a shaman, poet, essayist, playwright, painter,
musician, Internet TV personality, a 2008 presidential candidate and co-editor
of the zine The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary amongst
a host of other activities.2 Along the way Moore also completed a BA
in English (1972, University of New Mexico), an MA in Psychology (1976,
University Without Walls, Berkeley) and an MFA in Performance/Video (1983, San
Francisco Art Institute). Mention should also be given here to Moore’s longtime
partner Linda Mac and fellow collaborator Michael LaBash,
both of whom were key partners, and collaborators in helping Moore realize his
ideas and projects during his years living in Berkeley, California.
This text concentrates on only one thin slice of Moore’s extensive activities and that is his role as co-editor with Linda Mac of TheCherotic (r)Evolutionary, a zine that they published in Berkeley in nine issues (#0-8) between 1991-1999.3
Looking at the
inaugural issue, it is interesting to note that the first piece of news in
Moore’s editorial concerns the recent publication of his book Cherotic Magic (1990), which is an introduction to the shamanistic
apprenticeship that he was offering at the time. Moore admits to this
“…shameless self-promotion…for my apprenticeship, for my 6-session
course, for my performance art and videos and tapes, and who knows what
else.”4 Throughout the life of the periodical, Moore would use it
as a distribution outlet for the varied products of his assorted activities.
About the magazine Moore states in the first issue:
TCR is a journal of the edge. TCR is an offensive movement or measure offering alternatives to the fragmentation, isolation, personal helplessness which is actively promoted by the combine of power systems. TCR is anarchical, based on personal responsibility to reshape reality into a more human, trusting, loving reality, full of fun and pleasure. TCR is not a reaction. It is a magical act of enjoying life. It is a journal of and for people who are doing this magical art….Now we magical misfits know we are not alone, that there are others out/in here/there feeling, thinking, trying, doing similar things. This just by itself should speed evolution up.5
that the magazine should provide a network of support for these ‘magical
misfits’ is coupled with his larger vision of this movement, about which he
states “I think it is very important that there be a Cherotic Movement,
not unlike the so-called Sexual Revolution of the Sixties. This Cherotic
Movement would be (or rather, is) a physical/spiritual movement that re-defines
and expands sexual, spiritual, social concepts of reality.”6
This latter statement outlines the core themes that would form the basis of all
of Moore’s work in various media, and they would provide the links to all of his
different activities throughout his career. On the definition of a “cherotic
(r)evolutionary” Moore wrote, “…Chero is the physical life energy.
I created the word “chero” by combining “chi” and
“eros”. And revolution is the mutation stage/phase in the process of
evolution…so an erotic mutant for life!”7
The most direct
way through which Moore offered interested people an experience of the cherotic was through his performances,
in which the audience was invited to actively engage in what he called
‘eroplay’. Eroplay is another word that Moore created to describe the
experience of “…intense physical playing and touching of oneself and
others. Eroplay is also the force of energy which is released as the result of
such play”. Moore emphasizes that “eroplay is not foreplay, even
though foreplay is eroplay…” and further that “Foreplay leads to
orgasm…eroplay leads to being turned on in many different ways in all parts
of the body,” and he concludes “Eroplay is the blissed-out, warm,
relaxed, turned-on, totally satisfying feeling of a good head rub…eroplay is
that intense feeling throughout the entire body”.8TheCherotic
(r)Evolutionary would be one of the mediums through which Moore
communicated his expansive philosophy of the cherotic, and he challenged his
readers to become ‘revolutionaries’ in this radical movement to reshape, and
expand our physical, spiritual and sexual lives.
In Moore’s editorial for the second issue he expands upon his editorial position and in his desire to keep TheCherotic (r)Evolutionary an open and freewheeling place he states what the magazine is not going to do:
…we will never do theme issues such as poetry, gay, sex, women, etc. This is because the theme format is a great way for editors and galleries (etc.) to keep control of content, style, point of view, and the accessibility of the communication channels they manage. The theme concept also fragments both people and dialogue into labeled bits that can be shuffled in and out of fashion time. TCR will follow the magic wherever it non-linearly goes. We will print what we like, what interests us…9
Moore was always alert to the ways systems oppress and suppress, even within the context of magazine publishing, and all nine issues of The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary display a comfortably unruly aesthetic that embraces a wide variety of artists’ works, poetry, writings by Moore and others, and reviews of his performances and publications.10
What’s in a Name?
Before I explore the contents of the periodical there are two subjects that I want to address, and the first is the name of the periodical. A look at all nine issues reveals that the periodical’s name for the first five issues is The Cherotic Revolutionary and from the sixth issue the title has been changed to The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary. In editorials for issues #3 (1993) and #4 (1994), Moore spells the name of the periodical “The Cherotic rEvolutionary” with a lower case “r” and the title on the covers reflect this emphasis on the “R” by printing them with a screen that distinguishes the letter “R” from the rest of the word. By issue #5 (1995) the title of the periodical is The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary. In his editorial in issue #3 (1993) Moore explores the background around the eventual name change:
There are changes around here. Well, what do you expect from a zine with “revolution” in its last name? And that may be one of the changes…our name appears to be in the process of changing itself from The Cherotic Revolutionary to the Cherotic Evolutionary. A revolution is a mutation from the normal as-is reality, an experiment and adventure in newness. The purpose of a revolution, and any mutation, is to break new ground for evolution…to prod evolution along.11
The second subject, and question that I want to explore is, what to call this periodical? In the first two issues Moore describes it as both a ‘magazine’ and a ‘journal.’ In the third issue he refers to the periodical as a ‘zine’ and by the next issue zine is used not only in the editorial but in the masthead for all futures as well. It’s perhaps unsurprising that this new descriptor also parallels the period when the title of the periodical was in flux. I would agree with the use of the word ‘zine’ to describe this periodical, as its anarchic, and low-tech production, certainly displays all the features of a periodical published by enthusiasts and non-professionals. However, at one level Moore’s original use of the term ‘journal’ is also appropriate as well. Journals have historically been the site where the activities, and research of specialized groups was communicated to their professional community. Moore, in his editorial for the first issue, describes the periodical as being just such a place, albeit comprised of an ‘unprofessional’ community, but with the same theme of sharing their research within this group. Moore writes that the periodical will provide a site for this community to address:
…magical issues that I for one have been hungry to talk about for a long time in the depths that it is possible with people who have committed their lives to going across the taboo border to effect evolutionary change. In future issues of TCR, I hope we will move far beyond the book, Cherotic Magic, and give one another aid and comfort on the edge by linking together, by announcing new findings in our hidden experiments [my emphasis] on nonlinear change.”12
Inside the (r)Evolution
All nine issues of The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary present a smorgasbord of works by a variety of writers and visual artists, and the following overview includes the names of the more frequent contributors in different media. The periodical publishes a wide range of writings including poetry (Jessie Beagle, Robert Howington), reviews of the periodical, Moore’s performances and other events (Kyle Griffith, Barbara Smith), texts related to shamanism (Kyle Griffith, Brenda Tatelbaum), personal stories about sex (Carol A. Queen, Veronica Vera), performance art (Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley, Linda Montano), sex and spirituality (Chief Distant Eagle), and disability issues (Steve A. Brown). On the visual front the periodical is copiously illustrated (Michael LaBash, John Seabury, Brian Viveros), and throughout there are black and white photographs, and featured portfolios (Tony Ryan).
technical side, The Cherotic
(r)Evolutionary was a photocopied periodical and beginning with the third
issue was published by Frank Moore’s and Linda Mac’s Inter-Relations, their
publishing arm that took over from the original publishers, S/R Press.
Coinciding with this issue was their acquisition of a Mac computer, and with
Michael LaBash as art editor, the quality of the overall design improves
substantially, and would continue throughout the life of the periodical.
However, even in the final issue (#8, 1999) where the design is at its
tightest, there is still an element of the early anarchic quality that grounds
the periodical within the larger history of zines. The periodical was an annual
publication with the exception of #1 and #2, both published in 1992.
At the back of
each issue is information about acquiring previous issues of the magazine as
well as details about other products available from Frank Moore’s assorted projects.
Later issues also included a page that featured readers’ and advertisers’ works
and products, as well as their contact information. The periodical ceased
publication when Moore and Mac started their internet radio station LUVeR (Love Underground Visionary
(r)Evolution, and “We were just too busy to do both…”.13
Following from this brief survey of the periodical’s contents, I want to examine a number of specific aspects of the periodical that play important roles in the periodical’s nine-year lifetime. One theme that resonates powerfully throughout the periodical is censorship, in particular Frank Moore’s experience of it during the ‘culture wars’ that were raging during the periodical’s early years. I will also examine two other important elements of the periodical, specifically Michael LaBash’ illustrations, and Moore’s written contributions.
The theme of
censorship appears in the first few pages of issue #0 (1991) by way of an
article by Jack Helbig that first appeared in The Chicago News & Arts Weekly (Oct. 11 – 17, 1990) titled
“Outlaw Artists, Porn? Play? Or Immoral Plot”. In his article Helbig
summarizes the recent conservative attacks on artists doing edgy performance
works and the fact that they had all received grants with taxpayers’ monies.
Helbig concentrates on Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley and Frank Moore, and he
outlines the cases that Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Rohrbacher
launched against what the late conservative art critic, Hilton Kramer, described
as these “New Barbarians”. The censorship wars of this period raged across
the artworld and nobody in this community was unaffected by this controversy.
Artists doing provocative works were an easy target for conservatives in
whipping up hysteria about the use of public funds for this type of ‘pornography’.
Sadly, they were ultimately successful in changing the granting process in
order give local communities a greater say, and control, over who did and who
did not receive grants. Attempts to cut the amount of funds provided annually
to the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) were ultimately not successful,
but within this hostile climate there would be no move to increase the funding
Further into the above issue #0 (1991) Moore publishes an open letter to Jesse Helms and demands to have a dialogue with him writing “Why are you closing channels of expression and funding to me without due process of law?” claiming that this campaign is a way of smearing the artists’ reputations and thus making them “…untouchable, unfundable, unbookable”.14 Moore concludes his text with one final address to Helms stating “If you have anything to say to me or to ask me, come to talk to me man to man. Otherwise, get your Big Brother foot off my back”.15 One result of this controversy is that in future issues Moore would feature the works and writings of both Annie Sprinkle and Karen Finley, and in issue #3 (1993) six pages and the cover are devoted to the work of Sprinkle, including also Veronica Vera’s important Post Porn Modernist Manifesto (1989).16
Michael LaBash’s Artworks
One vital and
eye-catching feature of The Cherotic
(r)Evolutionary are the illustrations that are featured in all the issues
of the periodical by Michael LaBash. The artist was one of the intimates within
the family group that formed around Frank Moore, and Moore always spoke very
fondly of this indispensable member of the cherotic team. LaBash’s drawings are
powerful, humorous and slightly creepy works in which naked people couple and
engage in all sorts of surreal ways. Hands and body parts couple with all sorts
of real and imagined bodies, and their assorted orifices.
The first two issues of The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary feature LaBash’s works on the front covers, with all subsequent issues featuring his works on the back covers, and they provide powerful visual equivalents to Moore’s eroplay teachings.17 LaBash’s works are also found inside the periodical where they are published in a variety of page sizes, as well as being used as illustrations for different submissions. As one of the consistent features of the periodical they have a very powerful visual presence within the periodical, and they seem to merge with the periodical’s larger project, becoming in the process visual talismans for the cherotic (r)evolution.
Frank Moore’s Writings
It goes without
saying that Moore’s writings would form a key part of the periodical. Each
issue includes an editorial by Moore about the contents of the current issue as
well as other pertinent themes and subjects. There are three reviews by Moore
of different printed matter publications, as well as his own writings which are
represented by fourteen texts spread out over the life of the periodical.18
proportion of Moore’s writings explain and expand upon his key concepts of the cherotic (r)evolution and eroplay. In
“Nonlinear Bits” (#1, 1992) he writes that “The cherotic
revolution is an evolutionary movement, an anarchistic way of change, in which
the single person is the center of the creative force”. In the second
issue he examines a theme central to his practice under the title
“Cultural Subversion” (#2, 1992) and he recounts his rejection of
politics as “…a means of effective subversive change…” and how
this led him to begin “…looking towards art and magic for an effective
channel”. Coupled with this vantage point he describes how, as an artist
with very limited funds, he became a “no/low tech artist,” and the important
role his access to this personal technology played in his work, stating “This
no/low tech form is vital to work which is culturally subversive by expanding
the concept of sexuality and reality beyond the frame of taboos”.
important text in issue #3 (1993) titled “Frank Moore’s Philosophy of
Art”, he gives a very succinct account of his philosophy writing “I’m
not interested in doing art that comforts, decorates, entertains…I’m trying
to go back to the time when art was the magical, irrational, non-logical
channel of active impact…”. Further into this text Moore takes a
personal turn when he writes “In this kind of art, my body gives me a
definite advantage. It links me to the wounded healer, the deformed shaman. By
combining this with performance tactics, I combine realities to create awake
detail different aspects of his philosophy including a text on the importance
of the open mike as a democratic channel (“A Rant On An Open Mike,”
#6,1996), and with “Their Cuddling Cocoon” (#6, 1996) he describes
the bodily sensations that are experienced during eroplay. Other articles deal
with issues related to his practice, like ordinances regarding nudity in the
town of Berkeley, the larger field of performance art, musings on the nature of
fame, and an interview with his counter-cultural hero and journalist Paul
Krassner, former editor of the Realist
A word that regularly appears in Moore’s writings about his practice is the word “channel,” and he uses it to describe his view that art and magic, are important channels in assisting the individual in their personal evolution. I would like to propose expanding the use of this term to include Frank Moore’s own physical body, as the indispensable channel through which he developed his unique philosophy of art, and accompanying performance practice. Furthermore, The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary can be understood as playing a very similar role in Moore’s work, which is reflected in his editorial in #5 (1995) where he addresses his take on the functionality of the periodical, “i realize that i and this zine are just middlemen, just a pipe. when art goes through the pipe, that is when the pipe is important…not before or after”.
been immersed in The Cherotic
(r)Evolutionary over the past month, I have to conclude that the most
extraordinary thing about this zine is, that it exists at all! With Moore’s restricted
mobility, it required a number of extra hands to design, publish and distribute
the periodical, and this is what his dedicated family unit was able to provide
him. However, the contents of the periodical were Moore’s decision, and they
reflect a savvy intelligence in propagating his philosophy, and teachings on
the art and magic of living and loving. Despite his uncooperative body, Moore’s
sharp mind was laser-focused on achieving his cherotic (r)evolution, and the zine brims with this burning desire.
For the nine
years of its life The Cherotic
(r)Evolutionary would be a virtual home for Moore’s “magical
misfits”, and it functioned exactly as he had hoped for in his first
editorial in #0 (1991) as a place where this community could come together to
“…give one another aid and comfort…”19 and also to “…know
that we are not alone, that there are others out/in here/there feeling,
thinking, trying, doing similar things.”20
powerful theme that runs through all of Moore’s writings and activities is that
of ‘communication,’ and the zine would be one of the many channels, or media,
through which he was able to satisfy his desire to be seen and heard. From the
seventeen-year old who devised his own low-tech pointer communication device
and breaks out of his own personal isolation, there was no holding him back. A
key philosophical, and practical strategy was his appropriation of the new
personal technologies, all of which would become key elements in his role as a
‘no/low tech artist’ who was committed to using this ‘anarchistic technology’
for his own cultural subversion.21 A prime example of this approach
was Moore’s use of the photocopy machine to publish the entire run of The
I have noted earlier, Moore understood The Cherotic
being a part of the advance guard of the Cherotic Movement, a movement which he
likened to the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. Within this larger context The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary can be seen
as continuing the longstanding tradition of artists’ periodicals that
accompanied all the avant-garde movements of the 20th century, serving both as
indispensable players in communicating avant-garde intentions, and in this case
preparing the way for the cherotic
The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary at its core, is about healing the body politic, about mending the “…fragmentation, isolation, personal helplessness…” of contemporary life and creating “…a more human, trusting, loving reality, full of fun and pleasure.”22 It is not without irony that the messenger, and teacher of this healing message, was someone whose own body was so severely disabled, and yet it was this same body that was the channel through which this “wounded healer…deformed shaman,”23 would develop his profound philosophy in which The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary would function as one of the spear tips of the cherotic (r)evolution.
Moore, Frank, “Caves,”
Berkeley, 1987, no pagination.
3. Some basic information about the periodical. All nine issues were photocopied, with the first four issues printed in standard letter size and side stitched. The remaining five issues were photocopied in the tabloid size and then folded, and saddle stitched.
The page numbers for each issue vary from 24 – 38, with an average of 31. The covers of the first four issues were photocopied onto different colored papers with the insides the traditional white. The covers for the last five issues were printed on tabloid size white card stock, and coupled with the saddle stitching, enhance the overall look and feel of the periodical.
The first three issues (#0, 1991 – #2, 1992) were published by S/R Press (Luna and Kyle Griffith) and from #3 (1993) onwards it was published by Inter-Relations, which consisted of Frank Moore and Linda Mac as the publishers/editors. Print runs for
#3 (1993) was 300 copies, and by #6 (1996) it was 500 per issue, and continued until the last issue #8 (1999). Extra copies of individual issues were printed on demand. There were a few paid subscribers, and coupled with the contributors the readers were from all over the world.
Source for the above information was an email from Linda Mac (4.1.2019).
Below is a listing of the issues and their publication dates. Vol. 1, #0, April 1991 Vol. 1, #1, January 1992 Vol. 1, #2, July 1992 Vol. 1, #3, April 199 Vol. 1, #4, 199 Vol. 1, #5, October 199 Vol. 1, #6, July 1996 Vol. 1, #7, May 1997 Vol. 1, #8, April 1999
4. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 2.
5. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 2.
6. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 12.
Moore, Frank, Editorial, The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #1,
1992, p. 3.
10. In the interests of authorial integrity I should state that I had an article of mine published in the final issue of The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary (Vol. 1., #8, 1999) titled “Assembling Magazines,” (1997).
11. Moore, Frank, Editorial, The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #3, 1993, p. 3.
It’s interesting to note that further into this editorial Moore credits Kyle Griffith as the person “…who pushed for the publishing of the book [ed. note Cherotic Magic, 1990]…and then strongly suggested we come out with a zine.”
12. Moore, Frank, Editorial, The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary, Vol. 1,
#0, 1991, p. 2.
13. In an email from Linda Mac (4.1.2019) she recounts the larger story around the periodical’s demise, writing:
TCR was going strong when we stopped publishing it and we loved doing it! What stopped it was our starting, LUVeR (Love Undergound Vision Radio, later changed to Love Underground Visionary (r)Evolution). And that is a story in itself! We were just too busy to do both, so we stopped doing TCR.
14. Moore, Frank, “An Open Letter to Sen. Jesse Helms,” The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 24. Other artists attacked by Helms & Co. were: Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, John Fleck, Johanna Went and Cheri Gaulke.
Ibid., p. 24.
16. The text of Veronica Vera’s Post Porn Modernist Manifesto (1989) is
LET IT BE KNOWN to all who read these words or witness these events that a new awareness has come over the land. We of the POST PORN MODERNIST MOVEMENT face the challenge of the Rubber Age by acknowledging this moment in our personal sexual evolutions and in the sexual evolution of the planet.
We embrace our genitals as part, not separate, from our spirits.
We utilize sexually explicit words, pictures, and performances to communicate our ideas and emotions.
We denounce sexual censorship as anti-art and inhuman.
We empower ourselves by this attitude of sex-positivism.
And with this love of our sexual selves we have fun, heal the world and endure.
17. One commentator on LaBash’s works is Barbara Smith, and in her review of Moore’s book Cherotic Magic in issue #0 (1991) she points out the discrepancy between Moore’s definition of eroplay as an activity that does not lead to orgasm, and the fact that many of the figures in LaBash’s works do indeed illustrate this kind sexual activity. I too share this reservation, but within the broader reaches of what this periodical is about can reconcile their subject matter within Moore’s larger philosophy.
Below is a listing of Frank Moore’s
writings in the periodical:
Editorials One in each of the 9 issues
Reviews #5, 1995: Annie Sprinkles Post Porn Modernist #6, 1996: Barbara Golden Multimedia Package. #7, 1997: Tony Ryan Photobook.
Texts #0, 1991: An open letter to Sen. Jesse Helms #0, 1991: Museum of Lovemaking #1, 1992: Nonlinear Bits #2, 1992: Cultural Subversion #3, 1993: Frank Moore’s Philosophy of Art (1987) #4, 1994: Tribal Performance (1992) #5, 1995: Interview with Paul Krassner #5, 1995: Magical Masks in dialogue with James Audlin (chief distant eagle) #5, 1995: In Defense of Bad Art (1993) #6, 1996: A Rant On An Open Mike (1995) #6, 1996: Their Cuddling Cocoon (1995) #7, 1997: Mainstream Avant-Garde (1996) #8, 1999: What Price Fame? (1998) first published in Performance Journal #16, Spring 1998) #8, 1999: Out of Isolation (1986-1994) Insert in this issue as a small 8-page pamphlet.
19. Moore, Frank, Editorial, The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary, Vol. 1,
#0, 1991, p. 2.
20. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 2.
21. Throughout his career Moore worked in a wide variety of media including: radio, video, zine publishing, TV, performance art, writing, and he was a musician, painter and publisher of books.
22. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 2. 23. Moore, Frank in The Cherotic Revolutionary, Vol. 1, #0, 1991, p. 2.