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?
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.
In the early days of people being diagnosed with AIDS, one of Frank’s students, Carlos, got the AIDS diagnosis. Frank told him his job now was to bring death into life and to live and die joyfully. Carlos followed Frank in this and was a joy and inspiration to all of us around him.
Frank believed in type casting. After Carlos found out that he had AIDS, Frank cast him as the “dying man” in his performances. At the 5+ hour ritual performances Frank had nude, body painted Carlos wearing his “I have AIDS” sign around his neck inside of a small tent. Each audience member was led into the tent before entering the performance space and Carlos talked to them briefly about death, that it is not something to fear, that it is not painful in itself, it is part of life. When Carlos passed away he was in a very peaceful, joyful state of mind. When we got the word that Carlos had passed we looked at each other and said let’s have ice cream sundaes!! (Eating ice cream was one of the indulgences Carlos allowed himself with Frank’s encouragement, as part of his dying process.)
Below is a transcription of an excerpt of a conversation recorded December 10, 1995 at Father George’s house in San Francisco. Frank Moore, Linda Mac, Mikee LaBash, Corey Nicholl, Father George, and Louise Scott were present. (Father George was a friend of Frank’s during his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico when Frank lived with Louise Scott and her family.)
Linda: What, the house? No, Carlos? Um, one of Frank’s students, Carlos, died of AIDS-related stuff. And he’d been working with Frank for a few years when he found out that he had AIDS. And Frank said, “O.k., your job is to die as lustfully as you’ve lived, and to bring death into life.” ‘Cause it was a whole group of us that were part of like the community that were working with Frank, and doing performances and stuff too. And so, well he did fine for a long time …
Frank: I …
Linda: … You cast him, Frank cast him as the dying man in performances, after he found that out. And so people, it was in the all-night ritual performances, people are lead in by nude body-painted dancers, and it’s like all very ritualistic and quiet, and there’s body music playing. And they would be lead to this little kind-of cave made out of back-drops, and Carlos would be in there, nude and body-painted with a sign that says he’s the Dying Man. And it would be like two people at a time, and they’d be left in the room with him for like a minute or two, and he’d give them a rap about death. And he said, that death is not painful in itself. And it’s not something to be feared, that it’s just a transition. And then they’d be lead out. And most people actually didn’t realize that …
Louise: … that he really was.
George: … that he was really dying.
Linda: … the dying man. And …
George: Did he do it when he was really sick? I mean, did he continue doing it?
Linda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah, right up to the time he died. And at the point where his body really started to go … he was like really fine up until that point. And then, he moved upstairs with a couple that had been his friends, so they could take more care of him. And they called us, and they said, they called us one afternoon and they said, “We’re worried about Carlos because he won’t get out of bed and he won’t eat.” And we had a tour coming up to Portland that Carlos was planning on going on with us. And so, Frank gets in the car, we drive over to San Francisco. Carlos is lying in bed, doing this Camille thing, you know, that was his like picture of himself dying. (all laughing) And Frank said, “Look, you have to look and see if you’re dying or not. If you’re dying, tell us, and we’ll help you die. If you’re not dying, (Frank screams), you have to eat, you have to start having fun with us. Eating, you have to be in shape to go to Portland.” And he said, “Take the night to think about it, and tell me in the morning.” And he said, he told Carlos that people are afraid to push him because they’re afraid that he’s gonna die if they push him. And he said, “I don’t care if you die, because it’s better to die than to live and be a wimp.” And so, you know … and next morning they call us and they said, “I don’t know what you did, but not only is he eating but he insisted on getting up at the table.” (George laughs)
And it kind of went up and down for a while. We started going to his house for sessions ’cause he was too sick to come to meet with Frank. And Frank had everybody …
Frank: He came to …
Linda: Oh, an all-night thing? Yeah. He had never gone to one of the twenty-four hour, like Frank does these twenty-four hour like workshop type things …
George: Carlos had never gone?
Linda: … and Carlos had never done one of them, and he really wanted to. So we had one scheduled, and he was in the hospital, and he got out like the night before, he was in and out of the hospital a lot. So he shows up with like, it was like a portable hospital room … Well he was late. O.k., so … when he had first started meeting with Frank years before, he was late for everything. And that was one of the first things that Frank said had to go. You know, “you have to be on time anytime you say you’re gonna be some place.” So he was always on time then. And now, here he is, like really sick, depending on other people, and he’s like a couple hours late for this thing. And so, while we’re waiting for him to come … a lot of the people that were in the workshop had never, didn’t know any of us. They were just doing this workshop they had signed up with to do with Frank. So Frank said, “Well I have someone coming who’s gonna be playing the part of a dying man.” And he starts giving this whole rap about how he’s gonna pretend he’s dying of AIDS, and he’s going to da da da da … And so Carlos shows up then two hours later with his entourage of like he’s on oxygen, he has all these medications for his skin and all this stuff. And he’s in tears. He’s so upset ’cause he’s late. And he comes in, “Frank!” You know, and he’s like … and Frank, you know, lets him talk for a minute, and he turns to everybody, he says, “This is him. See?”
And Carlos is looking, and Frank said, “I told them that you’re playing the part of the dying man.” And Carlos just looks at Frank and goes, “O.k., Frank!” You know … (all laugh) And Frank had set it up so that he could set his own pace, ’cause we didn’t know like what he’d be up for. And he said, just join in as much as you want. And by the end of it, he was off oxygen. He like was totally, you know, back into everything and he was involved in everything, through the whole thing. He didn’t like take a break at any point. And he said that it, you know, he felt a lot better at the end of it. And the process of him, he would kind of go in and out of being o.k. …
George: Yeah. That happens pretty regularly.
Linda: Yeah. At one point when we were over there, he told Frank that Frank didn’t know what it was like to have to depend on people for your every need. (all explode screaming/laughing) Which he denied saying. He said, “Frank, you made that up. I never said that.” The thing would be, Frank had, you know, everybody that was part of this little community, somebody was with him all the time, and they’d just hang out with him, or play cards or just whatever, you know. And he would be this, (plays Camille) like “Ohhh … you knowww … I’m in soooo …” Like that. And then we’d get a card game going. Boom. He’s sharp, he’s fine, nothing hurts, he’s winning. (all laugh) You know, and so … that was like during his period when he’s going in and out of things. One time he’s in the hospital and the Portland trip is approaching and Frank had told him he has to be able to walk, you know, to go on this tour. And, we get there and it turns out, he’s not walking. He’s not getting out of bed, he’s not moving.
George: He’s in the hospital at this point.
Linda: Yeah, he’s in the hospital, this is one of those like three or four day things, and then he’d be in and out for different things. And, Frank said, “O.k., I told you you should be walking. I want you to lean on Michael,” and another guy that was with us, Rourke, “and walk as far as the door and back to your bed.” And he says, “Well I’m not gonna lean on anybody then. I’m just gonna walk.” He gets to the door, and the door is open. He waits ’til he gets to the frame so that he’s in view of the nurse’s station, and GRABS onto the frame, trying to get Frank in trouble!
And Frank just yells at him, and says, “I told you to lean on Michael and Rourke. Now you lean on them to get back to bed.” And that all happens, and he goes through this trauma over that, and we play cards, he’s fine, you know. And we’re leaving and the nurse calls us over and she said, “What did you do to get him to walk?” It turns out that they’d been trying to get him to walk. He said he needed a physical therapist. They brought a physical therapist. The physical therapist said, “You should be able to walk.”
“Oh no, I need a doctor.” They bring a doctor: “You should be able to walk.” No, he can’t walk. And then they see him walking, you know. And so Frank said, “Well, not only that. He’s supposed to walk a step more each day.” The nurse said, “Fine, I’ll enforce that.” (all laugh)
So by the time he died …
George: You should have billed him. (all laugh)
Frank: Uh huh!
Linda: You did! Oh yeah, he paid. He paid all the way to the end. By the time he died he was pretty consistently at peace with it, and a pretty jolly soul with it all. It was very neat, and … so it actually felt, you know, it wasn’t as drastic a thing when he died, ’cause he was so kinda right there with us. Yeah.
Frank: We ate …
Linda: Right. The day he died, we decided … you know, his whole thing when he was dying was that, his fantasy had been having ice cream or something, something like that. And Frank said, “Pffft, you know, you’re dying, have as much ice cream as you want.” So he used to have the people he was staying with make him milkshakes, so he could get up in the middle of the night and drink a milkshake if he wanted it. So, the day that he died, we’re sitting there, and we said, “Well, let’s have a sundae.” You know, so that started like a ritual. So on his birthday and on his death day we go out and we have these decadent sundaes, and it never makes us sick, you know …
George: (laughing) Banana splits …
Louise: Right, you just do it.
Linda: … if we did that on any other day, it would be like “Ooohhh.” You know, but we do that …
George: Oh jeez … People do dance around dying, though. We’ve certainly, we have people who come this close, you think they’re gonna be gone in two hours, and then they back away. And then … for another couple months, and approach it again, and back away. Just never know …
George: … but we’ve never had anyone eating ice cream on the way out. (laughs)
Frank: Carlos was joking …
Linda: … with the nurse, as he died. Right. He was getting a transfusion, and he was joking with the nurse, and he just passed.
George: He was getting, what, how did, did he have cardiac arrest, you know, was that the thing …?
Linda: I guess that was it. Did he have cardiac arrest as he was having the transfusion? (Frank – yes) Yeah. Yeah.
This is the text that displayed in the “Dying Man” tent along with a large photo of Carlos wearing his “I have AIDS” sign at performances after Carlos died:
I AM CARLOS. FOR THE LAST YEAR, MY ROLE IN THESE DREAMS HAS BEEN TO GREET THE PEOPLE, AND TO PREPARE THEM FOR THEIR DEATH WHICH THEY (AND YOU) WILL EXPERIENCE IN THIS DREAM. I TOLD THEM THAT DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE FEARED, SOMETHING THAT IN ITSELF IS NOT PAINFUL. I TOLD THEM, IN MY MARVELOUS VINCENT PRICE VOICE, THAT DEATH IS A PART OF LIFE TO BE LUSTFULLY RELISHED AND ENJOYED.
I WISH YOU COULD HAVE HEARD MY VINCENT PRICE. I TRIED TO GET HERE IN MY BODY, WHICH WAS FINALLY FITTING THE BODY OF THE DYING MAN. I EVEN FANTASIZED ABOUT DYING HERE WHILE I WAS TALKING TO YOU ABOUT DEATH. BUT THAT WAS NOT TO BE. 2:35 P.M., JANUARY 30, 1989, MY HEART STOPPED. BUT I AM HERE WITH YOU BECAUSE LIFE, WHICH DEATH IS A PART OF, GOES ON.
WHEN I FOUND OUT A YEAR AGO I HAD AIDS, THE KNOWING I WAS DYING LIBERATED ME SO THAT I COULD LIVE MORE FULLY, MORE HAPPILY, MORE OPENLY, MORE PEACEFULLY THEN I EVER LIVED BEFORE. FRANK, ALWAYS A BELIEVER IN TYPE-CASTING, CREATED FOR ME THE DYING MAN ROLE TO SPREAD THE LIBERATION TO PEOPLE WHOSE DEATHS ARE NOT IN SIGHT. A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THE “I HAVE AIDS” SIGN I WORE AROUND MY NECK AND THE DYING MAN WERE FICTIONS OF THE ART. BUT WHEN THEY DISCOVERED THAT I WAS REALLY DYING, THE DREAM BROKE OUT OF ART, AND INTO THE REALITY OF EVERYDAY. I HOPE BY MY BEING WITH YOU IN THIS WAY IT WILL SPREAD THE LIBERATION TO YOU.
Videos with Carlos
EZTV – Wrapping/Rocking & Statues Los Angeles, California, September 9, 1988.
Playing with Reality (in two parts) Berkeley, California, November 19 & 20 1988
The Outrageous Horror Show Berkeley Square, Berkeley, California, October 29, 1988
This is an interview from November 2, 2002 that Frank did with Corey Deitz of About.com. LUVeR was active from February 1999 through April 2012.
LUVeR: Anti-Corporate, Anti-Capitalist Web Radio Radical, Uncensored, and streaming 24/7
LUVeR stands for “Love Underground Visionary Revolution”. It prides itself on being anti-corporate, anti-capitalist and probably a few more “anti” things as well. What it isn’t against is provocative, fresh Web Radio. LUVeR and stations in the same spirit are what Webcasting is all about. Your Radio Guide talks with one of LUVeR’s people, Frank Moore.
Corey: What makes LUVeR unique in your opinion?
Frank Moore: Well…how many radical webstations are there that are totally non-commercial, completely uncensored, stream live 24/7, have a core rotation of over 15,000 songs (adding more every day!) of every kind of music, webcast a wide range of programs created by people around the world, cover news, do exposés, cover political and cultural events, have large on-demand audio and video libraries, a separate news site…all run by just people for almost 4 years? Guess we have to define the word “unique”.
Corey: LUVeR states it is “an anti-corporate, anti-capitalist revolution!”. Can you talk more about that?
Frank Moore: Well, LUVeR is not about selling, making money, making it big. It is communication, spreading passions, inciting revolution. This is why we do LUVeR, pay for LUVeR, etc. This is what the internet is suited for. The corporate capitalists are freaking out because they finally have realized that the only way to make profits off the web is through monopolization. They also realized that they can not compete with us passion creative people making community together. So they are coming after us. But that’s doomed to failure.
LUVeR challenges the audience. When we first started LUVeR, people freaked because we played all kinds of music together…Without the false marketing ploy of genres. I know when people freak, we are doing our job! So we have weened people over the years away from the limits of genres. They freak when we show human eroticism. They freak when we do news, politics…Anything other than straight music. But LUVeR is here, not to make money or create a mass listenership, but to challenge, to plow down limits…And that over time attracts an adventurous audience.
Corey: LUVeR’s schedule is fairly varied. In traditional radio, that’s called “block programming” where different types of shows take up “blocks” of time. Would you agree LUVeR programs that way or am I wrong?
Frank Moore: God no! Block programming fragments reality…And gets boring fast! Each person is god over her show’s content…I never know what they will do. We schedule things purely on the practical level, not on content, not what will go with what! That would be safe…Boring!
Corey: Tell us about some of your favorite shows on LUVeR…
Frank Moore: Do I look that stupid? That would get me killed! Most of the shows I love. A few I don’t like. You have to explore LUVeR yourself! But my live streaming video show, the Shaman’s Den, is on Sundays at 8pm pt…The ultimate variety show with live bands, interviews, etc. For 2 hours. And then, after the sexy Susan Block’s video show, my “Playing with Passion” comes on where we play my videos of live performances…A lot of nudity! And that is just Sunday night!
Corey: LUVeR says it’s a “tribal” channel. Can you explain more about that?
Frank Moore: Well, it’s a big tribe who creates LUVeR, us here, the LUVeR crews who go out and tape events, the people who do their shows on LUVeR (anyone can do a LUVeR show), the D.I.Y. Bands who send us their music, the voices we webcast, and of course the listeners/viewers, etc., etc….A tribe of thousands!
From Frank to the e-salon, Saturday, March 28, 2009
Subject: I’m flattered!
Corey called the Berkeley Daily Planet about the fact that they had not listed the Temescal performance in this week’s issue. Under March 21st, there was no heading for Theater, as if there were no Theater events that day. Last month, they had listed us for two straight weeks, because the calendar spanned that much time. We had been listed as Theater. Corey told all this to the woman who picked up when he pushed the line for the Arts & Entertainment calendar. Her first response was maybe they just didn’t get the listing … Corey said, “Oh …” and started looking for the email he had sent them, but then she asked, “What was it?” Corey told her that it was called “Reality Playings”, a performance by Frank Moore … She said, “Oh … well, you know, we get a lot of complaints about Frank Moore …” They had chosen not to list the performance. Corey asked if they got complaints about simply listing Frank’s performances. “Yes. It’s not exactly ‘family fare’ … Frank does have his detractors …” Corey asked if they only listed calendar events that were “family fare”? She said, “Well no …” she said that they edit the calendar, it’s not an open thing, they have the right to decide what they want and don’t want to include … they don’t always list everything they get, don’t always list things every time … She said that “adults only” listings were less likely to be listed, and that they often recommended that people just buy an ad.
The Art of Frank Moore & LaBash The first ever showing of shaman performance artist Frank Moore’s erotic innocent primitive passionate digital art, alongside the funny/disturbing/mind-scrambling/reality-bending drawings of LaBash. Sunday, Feb. 2 – Saturday Feb. 15, 2020 Hours M-F 12-8pm Sa-Su 11am-8pm
Let Me Be Frank video screening On Valentine’s Day, the first ever live screening of episodes from the web video documentary series, Let Me Be Frank, based on the life and art of shaman, performance artist, writer, poet, painter, rock singer, director, TV show host, teacher and bon vivant, Frank Moore. Come EARLY and bring your musical instruments for a music jam before the screening! Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 5-6:30pm – MUSIC JAM 6:30-8pm – LET ME BE FRANK screening and Q&A
Adobe Books 3130 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
by Erika Shaver-Nelson, Alexi Malenky and Corey Nicholl
When we arrived at Adobe for the event, we found that people had left comments and drawings in the notebook we had left in the gallery space.
“fuckin’ love this stuff!” “you inspire me profoundly” “many thoughts head full …” “whoa!” “WTF?! infathomable, navy?” “the world needs more FRANK MOORE for all of us to be sexually liberated!”
Heather said that the art show has been getting a lot of positive reactions, especially from young people who come into the shop. Heather and the other volunteers at Adobe Books create a very open feeling there, and it felt great to have the event there. She told us later that when we take down the art in a week, the next group is a bunch of young people who will be doing some sleepovers in the space, and writing their dreams on the walls …
We brought homemade popcorn (two kinds: buttered & curry), and orange spearmint water, and valentine’s chocolate … they were a big hit, devoured!
Michael Peppe was the first to arrive, and the first person who came for the jam. Only one other came to jam, one of the people we recognized from several of Frank’s later performances, including at Temescal. He brought a drum which he played, and sometimes took toy instruments and shook them inside the drum, etc.
But at first, it was just Peppe … he came back into the gallery and sat down at a keyboard and started playing … we three started jamming with him, and before long there was a couple who had not even come for the event, but were drawn back to the gallery space, and after checking out the art, they also joined the jam. It was really fun, and it felt/sounded like a Frank jam, felt primal, and Erika said that the feeling during the jam was “freedom”. As time went on, more people came in and joined the jam.
Between the first two episodes, we were talking with Michael Peppe, and he said some amazing things about Frank …
“You have a bunch of things that you regret in your life, not necessarily that you regret doing, but regret not doing, but I was thinking watching the film that that’s one I totally do not regret, is hanging out with Frank Moore, and jumping into his thing, you know, going to performances, being in the performances, watching the videos, reading the text, and all his art … not one second of my life was wasted hanging out with Frank Moore.” He remembered the first time he performed with Frank at UC Berkeley. “From that moment on, yeah, I absolutely do not regret any of that.”
He is such a once in a lifetime kind of person. Usually in art, you think well, wow, he was great, I wonder who the next guy’s gonna be. You know, who’s gonna follow up. There is no next Frank Moore. There is only one. There is only one, and that’s all you get. And I’m sure that there’s not going to be anyone quite as amazing and remarkable as him. The world has had plenty of time to come up with another one, and it hasn’t managed to do it, so … he’s it, he’s the only one.”
He also talked about the Outrageous Beauty Revue, which is when he first saw Frank at the Mabuhay in 1981. “No one had ever done that, and no one has done it since.” “Celebrating people for who they are, what they are, whatever they look like …” He was also really struck by the quotes from Frank at the end of the 1st episode, about faking it until you make it, and how Frank saw himself as beautiful. “And like he said, that’s magic. That’s what magic is. You know, that’s something to think about. That’s magic.”
Watching Let Me Be Frank with a live audience was amazing … it was the first time, after only having watched it together at home. Both the reactions, laughter, etc. and the silence really made you feel like people were taking a lot in from the episodes.
Alexi counted about 25 people at the screening. Among the people who came was a coworker from the health food store where Corey works, Kacey, and Erika’s coworker Megan and her boyfriend Josh. Megan was the last student who worked with Frank. Also, Keith Wilson came, the filmmaker who is doing his own documentary on Frank.
One of the first questions after the screening was if Frank had been an organizer for disabled people in the bay area community, or if his work drew other people with disabilities into his work. We talked about how he had participated in the protests in the early 80s at the Federal building in SF over the ADA, and also about the group that put on the OBR, and how it came together through Frank’s workshops, and that there were several people with disabilities that were part of the workshops and later formed deeper relationships, formed households together, etc.
We talked also about how Frank was challenging to the disability community in the seventies, because while they were advocating independence, hiring people to help you so that you could be “independent”, Frank was talking about having deep relationships with friends and lovers who would take care of your needs.
We also told the story of Frank showing Fairytales Can Come True at the CP Center.
Heather brought up what she had read in How To Handle An Anthropologist about Frank’s experience at the San Francisco Art Institute, and about not getting booked by gallery spaces and being embraced by other subcultures like the punk scene … and we ended up telling the story of The Lab cancelling Frank’s performances, and how the poetry community came out to perform with him on the street in front of the space. And then Peppe talked about how you can’t even count how many places have banned Frank! And how Frank didn’t care, he just thought it was funny!
A Japanese woman who Heather told us later had come specifically “for the Frank Moore event” told Erika that she had a friend who had been severely disabled, and gets very down in the dumps about what she can’t do anymore (she is an artist), and that she felt that Frank was really inspiring, and would be inspiring to her friend.
At the end of the night, after the second episode, she talked again about how Frank was really inspiring, especially how for so long, from such an early point, Frank had this idea of interdependence (instead of independence), and she was struck by his self-respect and his will to do his art, that was really admirable, and a lot of people could not do this, so she couldn’t understand how anyone could ever ban him! She also said he was “so cute! so lovable”
Afterward, a couple who had come to the event came up to us. Matt is someone who volunteers at Adobe, and is a musician who recently did a dissertation for his degree at Mills College where he helped create musical instruments for people with disabilities, that they could play and jam together with. He was really inspired by Frank, and had been thinking about doing something about Frank with his disabled students where he teaches at an Academy, but he said he will have to see what the administration of the school is open to.
Also after the screening, as we were packing up, Heather’s partner Kyle talked about the part of the OBR episode where Steve Hoffman was playing Joe Cocker. He was really impressed. He said it was “pure rock ‘n’ roll”, and that he have never seen anything quite like it.
When Peppe left, he asked us when is the next one!? He wants to be there.
Heather wants to do more screenings/jams, and suggested that perhaps the next one could be around Frank’s birthday!
Between 1987 and 2012, Franklin Furnace hosted and funded performances by artists Frank Moore (1987, 1989), Linda Sibio (1991), Gary Corbin (2005), Lisa Bufano (2006-7), and Dustin Grella (2012). These five artists utilize the ambivalent forces of hyper- and in-visibility directed towards them within a culture of ableism to captivate audiences and challenge viewers to confront their own relationships to ability, access, and identity. The performances of these disparate artists each point towards alternative modes of existence and relation.
[Label This] is the product of the passionate efforts of a group of Franklin Furnace’s 2019 interns. The topic of ability is personal, complicated, and important to highlight. Through this exhibition, we hope to work in concert with the project of Disability Awareness Month (July) by reiterating the importance of promoting diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity in the arts.
We focused primarily on works supported by Franklin Furnace (and of which original documentation resides within Franklin Furnace’s archives) and chose to incorporate some of these artists’ more recent work in order to trace their artistic development. We are excited to display documentation of work from these extraordinary artists who are connected through Franklin Furnace.
This exhibition and zine were curated by Rebekah Boggs (University of Virginia), Roxy McHaffey (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Alyssa Rodriguez (Brown University), Mari Sato (Bates College), Allison Schaum (Brown University), and Van Tingley (New York University).
Here are some of the pages from the zine produced as part of the exhibition. Franklin Furnace intern, Alyssa Rodriguez, was one of the curators of the show and she was responsible for researching Frank and curating the portions of the exhibition and zine that explore his work.
“I’m lucky to be an exhibitionist in this body. I like to be around people, but not in a polite way. I like to get down, talk about what you really feel, and play.”
Frank Moore interviewed by Chiori Santiago for “Artist on a Roll” in the October 4, 1985 issue of East Bay Express
As a performance artist and self-proclaimed shaman, Frank Moore is recognized for his development of eroart and the concept of eroplay, which he defined as “an intense physical playing or touching oneself and others.” 1 Moore postulated that intimate community, formed through playful, asexual contact, could serve as a critical tool in the promotion of spiritual healing and human flourishing. An antidote to the social fragmentation and self-alienation necessitated by a culture of individualism, eroplay calls for psychic presence, vulnerability, and spontaneity.
Franklin Furnace hosted and helped fund Frank Moore’s performances of Intimate Cave in 1987 and Journey to Lila in 1989. These pieces, like much of Moore’s eroart, consisted of sustained, multi-hour sessions and incorporated elements of meditation, ritual magic, vocalization, rhythmic percussion, physical gesture, painting, projected image, and nude physical exploration to create an immersive world experience – a realm of fantastical possibility, which he called the “awake-dream.” Moore himself performed random gestures and vocalizations throughout these sessions. Local performers, musicians, and dancers were invited to participate as a cast of playful and eccentric characters, guiding the audience towards active participation. Moore urged his audiences to surrender their fears and inhibitions and embrace pleasure in the taboo.
Moore, who was born with cerebral palsy, cited his body as a creative asset, granting him freedom from societal expectations and normative standards of conduct. Moore firmly argued for the generative, world-making potential of embodied performance to manifest new modes of relation beyond culturally sanctioned conventions.
Moore’s creative work is inherently tied to his political beliefs and personal philosophy, which drew upon psychology, non-western spiritual traditions, the occult, and the creative, spiritual, and political countercultures of the 1960s. A prolific writer, painter, and musician, Moore was a resolutely anti-establishment advocate for difficult art.
Moore campaigned for the US Presidency in the 2008 election cycle. His performances and video works can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/frankmoore
These works, as well as many of Moore’s visual and written works can be accessed via Frank Moore’s Web of All Possibilities: https:www.eroplay.com/
Background image: Frank Moore & Chero Company, 1989. Photographed by Eric Kroll
1 Caves* a book for a performance tour by Frank Moore, 1987
cold dark homeless
clogged with ice fears,
my only friend
is the wind
chilling my bones
into a cynical loneliness.
Herding my sheep,
looking in windows
of unattainable desires,
looking at presents
I don’t have anyone to give them to,
looking into the past
soft colored warm homes
that are no longer mine.
Everyone has left,
everyone is gone.
Even the sun has left
long before the manger.
And the sun
will not come back
This is the season
of dark depression
and fragile suicide.
I can always bum up
the plastic hope and faith
at 7 Eleven
it is my wonderful life
in the video store’s window.
But instead I wrap myself in a jaded pretense of dry ice isolation of not caring, and drinking the stale but warm wine of regrets.
of new hope
has always been hidden within
the long cold
clinging to our tribal warmth
as our only protection
into the scary
we always have been blind
to the evergreen
hope of life.
It has always been
the first time
and easy hope
have gone away.
So we always think
they will never
The evergreen hope
has been hidden
in the womb
of the humble
and in children’s dreams.
The forces of greys
have always overheard
of the hidden hope…
have always searched
to pervert it
into human isolation…
to kill it
for all time.
But the forces of power
the hidden human hope
in the baby’s cradle.
goes on a desperate killing,
the old world up……
we huddle together
in the silent night
upon the hill,
in our tribal body warmth.
the holy woman,
the medicine man
have always shifted
our attention away
from the dark
have always shifted
to the guiding light
of new birth…
in the stars,
then in the roaring
all human feelings
and still later
into that corny
with bright colors
Into this fire we have always gone, hearing the drumming of our innocent heart beating in a slow excitement, meeting again our love of life. We curl up with our love and wait for warm spring to arrive… as hope grows into knowing.