Hidden treasures discovered while digging through Frank Moore's huge archives.

Category: Unlimited Possibilities / Public Access TV (page 1 of 1)

A Beautiful Madman (How I Came to Love Frank Moore)

By Jake McGee

Jake McGee reads “A Beautiful Madman”

The first time I received a note from Frank Moore, I assumed it was either spam or some bogus ruse.

I had just produced my first music video, for Chris Hatton’s “Facebook Licks My Balls.” As editor in chief of an underground arts & culture magazine called Kotori, and a wannabe filmmaker, this was a big deal, even if the production was about as low-budget as one could get. The video was shot entirely on a point & shoot Panasonic Lumix; all the locations were either rooms in my house, friends’ homes, or bars we had sweet-talked the owners into letting us use; all actors were friends; I had no clue how to edit video.

But it was a creative project I had finished, and dammit, the world needed to see it! Slapping the Kotori Films moniker on it, I sent out a newsletter to Kotori’s 30k subscribers.

2/22/11, 4:10pm, the virtual beacon went out to our mailing list. A mere 35 minutes later, I get this in reply:

HEY! I will play this sick video on my Berkeley community public access show! Send more! And get sicker!

I knew very little about Frank Moore at that time, but I knew of him well enough to recognize him as a true luminary. Which, of course, kept me skeptical of such a quick, enthusiastic response to an admittedly silly video.

Right, I thought, Frank Moore is personally replying to me about this smartass video, and wants to play it on his show.

It took me a full 12 hours to decide that I’d humor the note, and see where it took me.

“Haha,” I replied, “are you serious? If so…can you let us know when?”

His response came later that afternoon…and sure enough, it truly was Frank Moore, digging our little video! He played it on his show several times, and while the video didn’t necessarily go viral, the fact that Frank Moore championed the project boosted my ego like I had never felt before.

From there on, Frank welcomed our videos and other work with open arms. Every time we sent him a trailer or new movie/video, he’d add it to his broadcast. He encouraged me to keep being weird and beautiful, to keep digging deep into my soul to find what I really wanted to say to the world. All the while, he kept up a sneaky, depraved sense of humor, occasionally teasing me about each new clip or article I’d send his way. Nonetheless, he embraced what I was doing, because he could see that it came from my heart.

Fake was perversion in his eyes, and I knew that only the realest of the real would get him engaged.

It was because of Frank Moore that my first movie as an actor & producer- Bob Freville’s jarringly warped yet tender Of Bitches & Hounds– found the audience it truly deserved, as Frank gladly shared it with his widespread followers. He praised our performances, and treated the movie like it was a solid masterpiece. He was totally genuine about this; you knew there was no lying from Frank, so when he claimed to dig something, it had to be great.

But who was this generous, inspiring man on the other side of my computer? As any half-assed journalist would do, I somehow conned Frank into doing an interview for Kotori, in an effort to exploit him for my gain…I mean, get to know him better.

As I was doing my research for the questions, I noticed a peculiar feature on Frank’s website: a constant video feed, from at least one camera, pointed at Frank’s desk. 24/7, Frank let the world into his life, a constant performance of many different shades.

I sent him my questions, then for the next week, I kept a window with his live stream open on my computer. I’d watch him laugh at things on screen, and hope that was him reading my notes.  I’d even occasionally drop him random emails while watching him, to see if I could trigger a reaction.

Sure, this may be obsessive and a little creepy- but Frank Moore was that fascinating. Here was this brilliant human spirit, nestled within the confines of a man with cerebral palsy, and even that wasn’t enough to hold him back from conquering the world in his own way. He had total confidence; he was the master of many domains, and I felt honored to be connected with him, even in such a detached way.

He was most likely toying with me a bit throughout the course of our interview, and that made it all the more fun. He’d deflate any ego I might have about journalism, while in the next breath encourage me as a writer and artist.

At the end of the day, Frank was an unstoppable force of pure art. He didn’t just create art, he WAS an evolving piece of art. It was as if the roar of artistic creativity coming from his soul was so powerful, it made him spastic and bound to a wheelchair. Naturally, he treated his physical state as an advantage, a superpower that let him get away with all sorts of things that nobody else could pull off.

As he put it, “My body gives me a tool that other artists spend years to create. Most artists are not as lucky as me. They do not have the built-in advantages and shields that I have. They need to resist the real world, the normal world, more than I do…

“I am or have been a dancer, writer, poet, performance artist, painter, composer, promoter, director, actor, activist, producer, father, film /video editor, singer, piano player, television talk show host, publisher, critic, philosopher, dj, manager [of bands, singers, a night club (THE BLIND LEMON), etc], presidential candidate, shaman, relationship counselor, business counselor, clothes designer, interior decorator, journalist, teacher, lecturer, hole digger, distributor of music and publications, founder and general manager of LUVER, minister, among other things!”

He was an untamed powerhouse of any and everything creative. He reminded us to embrace the unique beings inside each of us, and celebrate that individuality in every manner possible. The end result might just bring us all together as one human family. As he told me, “My art is rooted in breaking out of isolation.”

Sadly, he shuffled off this mortal coil before I got to make it up to Berkeley for one of his live performances. Meeting with Frank was actually an impetus for me to move from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and I had every intention of figuring a way to shoot up the coast, simply to hang out with Frank for a spell. He often invited me to come on his show when I thought I’d be in town, and even joked about shaving my balls live on camera…and without a doubt, I would have gone along with it. It would have been funny and weird and pure, and assuming he didn’t have a spasm and slice off my penis, I would have proudly shared the story with anybody willing to dive into such a bizarre, human experience.

There you have it: Frank Moore was such an amazing person, I would have let him shave my balls in front of a worldwide audience, just to be part of his creative process.


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

Censorship Address to the Berkeley City Council

Written September 8, 2002.

City Council member Kris Worthington, Frank Moore and Dr. Susan Block

Hi. I am Frank Moore, the producer/host of the targeted UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES and the sponsor of the targeted SUSAN BLOCK SHOW. It is interesting that this proposed ordinance is designed to target shows by an uppity crip and a smart sexy woman…or is it a smart sexy crip and an uppity woman? My show is politically, culturally, and artistically radical, offering in-depth conversations about issues that affect us all with a wide range of people, live music, and cutting-edge performances, films, and art. We throw everything in this stew for social change, explore everything, including eroticism, to find alternatives. This is what got me targeted by Sen. Jesse Helms in the early ’90s. And this is why our shows are being targeted now. A few people, including some on the City Council, want to sweep these alternatives from public access because they are threatened by these alternatives.

Councilmember Betty Olds, who introduced this ordinance, has publicly proclaimed that if she had her way, she would ban these alternatives from our public access channel. She bemoaned the fact that it is illegal to censor or ban community shows on public access channels. This ordinance is an attempt to get around this legal fact. Olds actually has said she would take away B-TV, the channel of the community, if that was the only way she could force the removal of the shows that she doesn’t approve of. So the real targets and victims of this ordinance are not our two shows, but the people of Berkeley, their freedom of expression on their channel.

This ordinance came about when both the staff of B-TV and the board of BCM refused to adopt a censoring scheduling policy, following their mission of promoting free speech and diversity. They knew getting some complaints is always a part of running a free speech channel. All of us producers were acting responsibly, requesting that our shows be aired after 10pm, the standard “safe harbor” for adult content. But the City Council, fueled by very few complaints, decided to ignore B-TV’s staff and producers and the BCM board. It decided to issue rules controlling what could be shown on B-TV when. When politicians do this, it should always set off loud alarm bells.

This ordinance is a dangerous product of this misguided adventure. It purports to protect children from “indecent” programs. It doesn’t do this. Again Olds has admitted that protecting children is just an excuse to get rid of shows that she and people like her find unsettling, etc.. This ordinance does not provide cheap hardware to concerned parents that allow them to block any program they deem unfit for their kids. Instead, it does away with the “safe harbor” of the 10pm-6am timeslot for adult programming. In its place there will be an “indecent” timeslot of midnight to 6am. Except for the shows which fall into a very narrow definition of what “indecent” is as defined in this ordinance, all other shows can be shown anytime! As Councilmembers Spring and Maio pointed out as they voted against the ordinance, the two targeted shows are not indecent. In fact, B-TV doesn’t have any shows that are indecent as defined in this ordinance.

In reality, this ordinance is not about protecting children at all. It is about chilling free speech. It is about forcing people to do “acceptable” shows. Under this ordinance, a producer is expected to label her show as indecent or not. If she doesn’t label it as indecent and somebody complains, there is a hearing. This hearing, its process, its rules, etc. are not remotely spelled out in the ordinance. If the show is found “indecent” in the hearing, the show is exiled to after midnight. But if the show is found not to be indecent…well, the complainer can do it again next week…until the producer is ground down into watering down her program. This is the real goal of this ordinance, not protecting kids!

Well, Suzy and I are not chillers. We do not chill. We boil. If this ordinance passes, we will fight lustfully! And we will win. We have to because, as Kriss Worthington keeps pointing out, this would give this and other city councils the power to control what we do and say on OUR public access channels…and freedom of speech dies!

By the way, are we going to let them limit our possibilities?

The complete archive of the censorship battle is here:
https://www.eroplay.com/fmup/archive/censorship.html


This piece was published in
Frankly Speaking: A Collection of Essays, Writings & Rants.

A “Frank” Email Exchange

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:

From Robert:

Hi Guys-

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.

Regards,

Robert

Monday, April 18, 2005



Frank’s reply (in bold):

Frank: Robert, I’ll respond throughout your letter to you.

Hi Guys-

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.

  • We 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 work.

  • 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.

  • In future emails/promotions, please use only our first names and not our last names.

F: Again, why? No. And hey, how many good looking ROBERTS are there at your space?

  • And, 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!

I am sorry it is going this way but in this era, it seems prudent.

Regards,

Robert