Public performances naturally evolved from what was created from the workshop. The first major public piece was a fantasy costume parade through Berkeley, flaunting brightly painted skin and see-through costumes of net and lace. The parade ended up with a free punk concert in the park. I have talked about how my art is not made of separate public pieces but is an evolving monster. For example, in this parade, an inner character of one of the cast members, Diane Hall, emerged (photo below). This character was a middle-aged, middle-America-on-acid, fast nonsense talking, dizzy dame in a skin-tight Frederick’s of Hollywood gown, long fake eye lashed, and a two-foot beehive bleached blonde wig with blinking Christmas lights. This creature grabbed the mike away from the hippie M.C. Wavy Gravy, and started hosting the concert. A year later, when I needed a bridge between a wacky stage show and the audience, I brought back this Woolworth babe.
This “note” was written by Frank in October 1993 after the October 9 “Passion Quest” performance at Passion Flower in Oakland. The March 19, 1994, “Passion Quest 2,” also at Passion Flower, incorporates the changes Frank talks about in this note. The scripts for both performances are available to download below under each poster.
Here is Frank’s note:
Yesterday I rewrote sections of the all-night ritual…partly in response to the increasing anti-sex environment of our culture (I wanted to make it clearer that the work is NOT anti-sexual)…and partly (mainly) following the desire of the ritual itself to go into different, “deeper” physical trance states. (“Deeper” is a misleading term because of its vertical linearity.)
These are some of the new sections:
“WE ARE GOING ON A NONLINEAR JOURNEY, A TRANCE JOURNEY, A JOURNEY BEYOND TIME AND TABOO, A JOURNEY OF PLAY, A JOURNEY TO LILA. FOR THIS JOURNEY, I NEED HEROS WHO ARE WILLING TO GO INTO THE TABOO AREAS OF EROPLAY, WILLING TO PUSH BEYOND WHERE IT IS COMFORTABLE AND SAFE TO EXPLORE AND BUILD A LARGER ZONE OF SAFENESS. ONE ADVANTAGE OF WORKING IN A SMALL ENCLOSED SPACE IS IT FOCUSES THE ENERGY, BUILDING UP PRIMAL FORCES. ALSO, BY HAVING OUR PLAYING EXIST WITHIN THE SACRED CIRCLE OF RITUAL, OUR PLAYING CAN BE DONE OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT OF TABOOS, WITHOUT BEING INFLUENCED BY JUDGMENTS OF THE AUDIENCE. SO THE PLAY, WITHIN THE EROPLAY RITUALS, CAN BE INTENSE, VULNERABLE, AND MAGICAL WITHOUT ANYTHING SEXUAL ABOUT IT. THIS ENERGY THEN WILL BE LEAKED OUT FROM THE ENCLOSED SPACE INTO THE OPEN PERFORMANCE SPACE, BECOMING THE MOST POWERFUL THING HAPPENING IN THAT PLACE. USING THE MAGICAL STATE RELEASED BY OUR PLAYING, THE DUEL-BODIED ROCKING JOYOUS FIGURE OF LILA WILL CARRY US IN A TRANCE, THROUGH SEX, TO WHAT IS BEYOND…TO THE REALM OF ALL-POSSIBILITIES.”
“EROPLAY AND WHAT IS USUALLY CALLED “SEX” ARE BUT TWO OF MANY WAYS TO RELEASE AND CHANNEL THE ENERGY OF PHYSICAL PLAY. IN THE WESTERN CULTURE, THESE MANY WAYS HAVE BEEN HIDDEN FROM US WITHIN SEX. EROPLAYING WILL LEAD US TO DISCOVERING THESE MANY OTHER WAYS. EROPLAY IS NOT ANTI-SEXUAL ANYMORE THAN WALKING IS ANTI-SWIMMING.”
During the years I was exploring just eroplay trance in my work, I found that people in their head would pull themselves out of the playing when the play reached a certain intensity. What was happening was they were stepping out of the play to check if the play had turned from eroplay into sexual. Most of the time, this stepping back and checking was not from mistrust or not wanting to play, but from a carefulness and a confusion. But what the stepping back does is remove the person from the experiencing (playing) mode into the thinking/observing mode. This creates the jerkiness which is not pleasurable. This greatly limits the playing/experiencing, greatly increasing the confusion factor. It took me several years to come up with a way around this dynamic. I finally started asking people before they committed to the work if they would be willing to use sex in the work. This willingness bypassed a lot of pulling back, jerkiness, confusion, carefulness…and the whole sexual question…allowing the person to experience the play with the intensity unlimited. The play remained eroplay. The reasons that the play needed to remain eroplay rather than sexual in the work were practical rather than moral.
When the work turned to exploring, mapping, other physical trances “closer” to “sexual”, the need for this willingness grew for practical reasons.
The eroplay rituals will stay about the same, with only a slight widening of the frame. The real change will be in the WRAPPING/ROCKING ritual in that the rocking couple will have a wider “keyboard” of gestures, including “sexual” (really sursexual or tansexual). This new range of possibilities will effect the ritual…even on the nights when the couple (really the trance) happen not to “use” the “sexual” gestures.
During the WRAPPING/ROCKING ritual, the “audience” sit and watch and are wrapped together by nude body-painted dancers. The physical focus, the physical trance generator, is the rocking couple who are using the wider keyboard. The rocking couple are a female cast member (Linda in recent performances) and me. I’m not sure the audience will be aware of the widening…but they will be effected by it. The eroplay rituals in which the “audience” physically participate more remain the same.
ripping paper, revealing the beautiful rough wood buried under all of those littering words, ideas, events, messages, images of humans gone out of control, seeking contact right out on the street where anyone and everyone can see and read and get tempted, get distracted, get pulled into i-don’t-know-what.
all on the telephone poles on my avenue.
beautiful telephone poles.
so i make my rounds pulling, ripping, making our world neat again, making it safe and comfortable and pleasant again for tourists and macy’s.
after all, ideas stapled up everywhere are disturbing, disquieting, and messy.
i don’t look or read as i rip, i just listen, then pat the nude wood, then move on to the next pole covered in scales of communication of strange communities and subcultures who don’t know that there are right and correct channels of communications.
buy an ad on a bus bench, for pete’s sake.
ever hear of the classifieds?
get a review, you lying nixons and funky headshrinkers, whatever you are!
they are probably oily slimy dark so-called beat punk poets writing pages upon pages.
no sense of order or of the correct style.
they wonder why sensible papers don’t list their wailing sessions.
so they deface my natural beautiful pole with their crude rude announcements.
is your mutt lost? check the pound.
lost child, see the police. but i’m getting carried away. i leave missing persons and wanted posters up as a public service. after all, the cops always wink and smile… except when i tried to burn the disgusting flyers off… it got out of control… but i will keep control.
cops and managers of up-scale chain stores and the city beautification committee all smile and wink as i pass. i’m their agent.
i do what they want until they can pass a law.
there will be a law because there should be one against this rubbish of scum.
and when that day comes, as it surely will, the chamber of commerce will reward me with a scroll, and a grant, and the position of the keeper of the poles, complete with handcuffs for anyone i catch pinning words to nude wood.
i don’t care if it is martin luther nailing his protests, robin hood posting his demands to the evil sheriff, tom paine banging his broadsides up at every crossroads and outside every tavern in the land, ben franklin plastering his newspaper all over towne, the girlie posters by that french dwarf, or whathaveyou?
it is not a question of censorship or free speech.
we should just keep things in their proper places, keep neat order!
now i’m willing to let the real politicians have the use of my poles only during elections. after all, i’m american!
but the rest of the year the poles must be nude!
Andrew Goldfarb of The Slow Poisoners reads “Naked Poles” on Frank Moore’s Shaman’s Den, March 26, 2000.
Pole Art Series – “Telegraph Poles” by George Kauffman – 1994
It feels like things are just roaring along and we are running to catch up … !
We had started talking about resuming work on Frank’s multi-volume, full-color, coffee table Performance Books, but we didn’t know it was starting right away … and then one thing led to another …. and we were trying to figure out which year a Gilman Street performance was that just showed up on Facebook … and in the course of searching the internet, we came across this Cornell U. collection of punk flyers … which led to their collection of flyers that included Frank … BOOM! … work on the Performance Book has resumed!
This is what is written under Frank’s name on this poster that we found posted on Facebook: “Several yrs back the paraplegic God type on VideoWest? He’s back, and boy is he something.”
We just ran into this poster for the Mutants show at our club, The Blind Lemon. Here’s something Frank wrote about the Blind Lemon:
We got the little theater that I named THE BLIND LEMON (because there was a painting of Blind Lemon Jefferson in the lobby) on San Pablo Ave in Berkeley in 1979. In the thirties it was the communist center. In the sixties it was a hippie club at which Bob Dylan once played. Obviously it also had been a blues club. So I continued the tradition! I did a lot of different things in the space. Including having bands play on Fridays. I was doing THE OUTRAGEOUS BEAUTY REVUE at the San Francisco punk club, THE MABUHAY GARDENS on Saturdays. So I booked bands that played at the Mab at my club. It was an all-ages club before all-ages club was a popular concept! Sure, no drugs/booze. But also no smoking! I actually made the scary hard-core chain smoking band, THE MUTANTS, to not smoke! Hey, I have always been a mother fucking bad ass, not a “harmless” guy as Kevin described me below. Would Kevin write the below great piece thirty years after I only booked him. Not ripped off his clothes and licked his nipples! But I am flattered. The work just is that powerful! Thanks, Kevin !
We ended having bands play at THE LEMON because we thought we were doing too many different projects. Which seems silly considering how much we are doing now!