In 2002, Will Harper interviewed Frank for a feature article about Frank to be published in the East Bay Express. Watch the video below to discover why Frank wrote this poem ….
Ansel Adams was no Will Harper by Frank Moore, Wednesday, January 01, 2003
Ansel Adams was no Will Harper Never could be! Hey, he barely became Ansel Adams! Took him about 25 years To get started Being Ansel Adams! Before that He was That fuck-up Ansel That drop-out That reject That hopeless kid! Thank god For rich pappy!
No, Ansel Adams was no Will Harper!
But then again Ansel wanted to be a piano player But some fool Must have told Ansel He was no Jellyroll! Some fool Must have told Ansel In this life You have to channel Your creativity Down into YOUR TALENT! Never mind What you enjoy! Never mind Ansel wrote too!
Everyone knows Each person Is a limited soul Not able To plunge Into the unlimited Ocean of free play, But has to be content In the wading pool Of genre Of TALENT
No, Ansel Adams was no Will Harper
But then I’m no Ansel I’m no Will I’m just Frank I have to live with that! DARN!
You can read the article, “Touching Our Private Parts” by Will Harper, along with subsequent related articles and letters to the editor published in the East Bay Express here: https://www.eroplay.com/ebx/index.html
Well, are not all political campaigns performances? That doesn’t mean they are not serious. My performances often start with something seemingly trivial then grow by themselves very quickly into forces unto themselves. The campaign started with a t-shirt of The Three Stooges. Michael [“Mikee”] LaBash, who is one of six people I live with in a tribal relationship and who is our graphic/web designer, had a CURLY FOR PRESIDENT t-shirt. For Christmas 2006 Mikee made me a FRANK MOORE FOR PRESIDENT shirt. When I wore it, people started asking me what my platform was. So I wrote a platform up. Everybody who read it got excited, overflowed with hope, saying it expressed what they felt and wanted. They didn’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They didn’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they saw someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shared their dreams, who talked deeply about what really affects their lives. Their reactions placed on me a responsibility to mount a serious campaign, to commit and surrender to it…and to hang on no matter where this ride would go. I never know where a performance or a project will evolve.
In one of my speeches from the campaign I said that I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates were talking honestly and directly about the state of things, were committed to fundamental change, and had a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. My running for President created an excitement for how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!
This excitement extended overseas, and we received much more coverage of the campaign in Europe than we did locally, although there were a handful of great interviews and articles about the campaign here in the U.S.. In Europe, there were great articles written about the campaign in France, Germany, Poland and the UK, and an appearance on Swedish TV!
We did many local events and attended many different local festivals during the over two years that I ran for President, and they were some of the most effective pieces I have ever done … Here is what I wrote about the campaign coming to the “How Berkeley Can You Be” Parade in September of 2007:
“The whole day blew me out. Linda and Mikee took turns pushing my chair close to the lines of people along the parade route so I could shake hands, look into people’s eyes, hear their responses, interact one on one…all of which would have been impossible if I sat on a truck. I was moved when people thanked me for running, when whole sections started clapping and chanting “GO, FRANK, GO!” Erika, Corey, Alexi, and sometimes Linda or Mikee gave out over 1,200 copies of the platform. And people didn’t throw it away as is common, but started reading it, shouting out planks they were moved by. I can see that “pressing the flesh” can be addicting! And a lot of people are devoted viewers of the public access shows of Suzy and mine. “I WATCH YOU EVERY NIGHT!” “WE TIVO YOU!” “I LEARN FROM WATCHING YOUR SHOWS!”
Camping out in our beautiful booth, which we put up for most of these events and festivals, was only slightly less intense. We were a visual magnet, decked out with banners, t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, peace flags and platforms. And people got the tribal body that the 6 of us are together!
Here is a selection of 10 of my “planks”:
— We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
— Every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
— Public mass transit will be free, 24/7, and reliable.
— I will encourage a society of small villages connected by mass transit. Within these small villages, people could walk or bike to work, to school, to shopping, to entertainment, etc. Mass transit will combine these small villages within 15 miles radius into dynamic communities. Living in these villages will end gridlock traffic, will cut greenhouse gasses, will cut stress and isolation. Housing for all incomes will be included equally in each village.
— I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
— I’ll cut the military budget by at least half.
— I will bring the troops home from Iraq immediately. Moreover, I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community.
— The use of drugs should be legalized and taxed. Pot and spirits should be sold over the counter to adults only. Tobacco and other addictive drugs should be sold by prescription only. Free drug rehab programs should be readily available.
— Prisons should be only for violent or otherwise dangerous criminals. Prisons should be a part of the health and educational system and should include drug rehab programs. This should also be true for the new creative in-community programs for non-violent criminals for paying-back, rehab, and education sentencing. These programs will be more effective and much less expensive and harmful to the community on every level than the current human warehouse system. Flexibility of sentencing should to be returned to judges. I will ban the death penalty.
— Every corporation should come up for a renewal every 25 years, at which time it must prove that it has been operating in the public interest. If it fails to do this, it loses its right to exist. Corporations that have existed before this policy will have 10 years before they will have to prove they are worthy.
By the “official” count, I received a handful of votes, spread across a number of states, Maryland, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, West Virginia, and of course California. But the “official” count for write-in candidates is always just a small part of the picture, because so many of the states that actually accept write-in candidates for President will never actually count or record the votes unless the number of votes becomes large enough to contend with the “major” candidates. For instance, we know directly that I received votes in New York, but there were 0 votes counted for me in NY.
The campaign also had a direct effect on the electoral process for write-in Presidential candidates in a number of states. We not only forced several states’ elections divisions to learn their own system, we also challenged and/or changed procedures and requirements in other states both before and after the election. In states like Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nebraska and others, the campaign had the effect of familiarizing elections officers with their own procedures, which they did not know before the campaign contacted them! We did all this with a lot of help from elections expert Richard Winger, who was an early fan of my campaign.
In Arkansas, the campaign challenged the Elections Department’s stand that “Write-in candidates are not allowed in presidential, municipal, or primary elections.”
In Pennsylvania, the campaign got an elections official to admit that Pennsylvania’s system for write-in Presidential candidates is “archaic and not good”.
In Wyoming, the Secretary of State’s Elections office actually did not know what the procedure was for a write-in candidate for President in Wyoming. The representative there asked, “What does this say about our country, and this democracy” that she didn’t know how this can work in Wyoming, and that they were not set up for a candidate outside of the political machines … She said that she should be the person to know, if anyone knew. She said, “But I am going to find out! And I’m going to call you!” In the end, the elections office in Wyoming refined their system through this correspondence.
In Utah, we got the office of the Lieutenant Governor to correct their own Elections office, which was giving out false information about the process of becoming a write-in candidate for President. It turned out to be much cheaper and simpler than they were telling us!
In Minnesota, we challenged their rejection of my candidacy because my Vice-Presidential running mate, Dr. Susan Block, and I were both from California. This was wrong! And we won, I was accepted!
Flaming hair, flaming voice singing belting raging the blues, singing setting things right for the people, belting it, the spirit, out beyond her voice, flaming her voice hoarse beyond linear limits.
Listen very closely, carefully, focus on her breasts as she leads you by the arm through an ever changing nonlinear maze of stories, connections, names, human passions. You’ll need this focus point to surrender.
She, Jesse, can and will lead you skipping and dancing into the heart of all things, of all matters.
She has lived and danced upon this liquid lusty path, has lived deep hard soft in the not-so-clear/clean/pure waters of humanity long before, and will long after, us.
So surrender to the mad woman, to the senile bag lady, to the peter pan child… fall into her time warp hole… fall into Jesse, and you’ll be falling into wisdom deep and warm!
One of the significant achievements of the Frank Moore for President campaign was to research and catalog the requirements for qualifying as a write-in candidate for President in each of the 50 states. See http://writein2008.blogspot.com/ This proved to be a long and sometimes challenging task, and in the process the campaign not only forced several states’ elections divisions to clarify and refine their procedures, but in some cases, challenged the legality of elections procedures, and in other cases both challenged and changed those procedures both before and after the election. In states such as Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nebraska and others, the campaign had the effect of familiarizing elections officers with their own procedures, which they did not know before the campaign contacted them.
In Arkansas, the campaign challenged the Elections Department’s stand that “Write-in candidates are not allowed in presidential, municipal, or primary elections.” With the invaluable help of Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the campaign talked with Tim Humphries, the legal counsel for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, pointing out that there is no basis in Arkansas election code for a prohibition of write-in candidates for President, and that in fact the state of Arkansas had allowed write-in candidates for President in 1972 and 1976. In the end, this served only as a challenge … Humphries would not admit that there were significant inconsistencies, and did not even realize that Arkansas was in a very small minority of states that do not allow write-in candidates for President. An article about this challenge is located here: http://writein2008.blogspot.com/search/label/Arkansas
In Pennsylvania, the campaign got an elections official to admit that Pennsylvania’s system is “archaic and not good”. He said that there should be some kind of pre-certification of write-in candidates like those that operate in other states, so that the county and state elections boards are all on the same page as to who the write-in candidates are, who to count votes for, etc. He said that if PA were to actually follow their own elections code which states that in order for a write-in vote for president to count, the candidate’s 21 presidential electors must be written in (and not the candidate’s name), it could be legally challenged, and the challenger would easily win the case.
In Wyoming, the campaign began correspondence with Kelly Dagostino from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Elections office to find out what a write-in candidate needed to do in Wyoming. As we talked back and forth, she began to realize that what she thought we were asking about was not really it, and that she actually did not know what the procedure was for a write-in candidate for President in Wyoming, a candidate outside of the major parties, without the money it would take to get enough signatures in the state to get on the ballot … to simply be a write-in candidate and have his/her votes counted. She said, “What does this say about our country, and this democracy” that she didn’t know how this can work in Wyoming, that they were not set up for a candidate outside of the political machines … she should be the person to know, if anyone knew. She said, “But I am going to find out! And I’m going to call you!” In the end, the elections office in Wyoming refined and clarified their procedure through this correspondence, and it is noted here: http://writein2008.blogspot.com/search/label/Wyoming
With regard to Utah, it was Richard Winger who alerted us that the information we were receiving from the Utah Elections Dept. might be incorrect. We had ruled out trying to qualify in Utah because we were told by the Elections Dept., several times over the course of months, that a write-in candidate for President had to come to Utah in person and pay $500 in order to qualify. With persistence, we were able to get to Mark Thomas in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, who was surprised to learn of the information we had been getting from their Elections Office. He would have to make sure that they knew the correct process. Filing for write-in candidacy for President was a much simpler process, only requiring a form and a follow-up questionnaire by phone.
As the election approached, on October 24th Frank received a rejection letter from the Elections Division of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. His filing for write-in candidacy had been received in early July, but they were only now writing to let him know that they had rejected it. The letter said: “Your document has been rejected because, for the office of President and Vice President, the candidates must be residents of different states.” Again, with the help of Richard Winger, the campaign challenged this rejection, and won! The Minnesota Elections Division consulted their legal counsel, and had to admit that the rejection was in error, and that Frank would be officially qualified as a write-in candidate for President in Minnesota. See: http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/10/25/minnesota-secretary-of-state-rejects-presidential-write-in-filing-for-frank-moore/
Several days after the election, Frank received a call from a woman in Santa Cruz informing the campaign of a vote-counting practice by the Santa Cruz County Clerk which would exclude write-in votes cast for President where the vice-president’s name was not also written in. This was not only a change in the way Santa Cruz county counted write-in votes for President, but went against the “voter’s intent” legal precedent already set in California and in most other states. The campaign consulted Richard Winger, and again challenged this procedure both with the Santa Cruz County Clerk and with the California Secretary of State. Due to this challenge, and the pressure put on the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s office by other interested parties, including supporters of Ron Paul (who was also one of the four certified write-in candidates for President in CA) the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that they would continue to count write-in votes for President where only the name of the presidential candidate was written in! See: http://www.ballot-access.org/2008/11/10/california-will-as-usual-count-write-ins-for-declared-presidential-candidates-even-if-voter-didnt-vote-for-vice-president/
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!
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.
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:
1981. Written by Frank. Directed by Frank and Greg Rickman. Edited by Frank at CCAC in Oakland, California.
FAIRYTALES CAN COME TRUE is my first movie and most ‘normal’. Saying ‘first movie’ is misleading. I had been reading HOW TO (write scripts, direct, edit film, etc) books along with books on radical theater (I read all kinds of stuff) when I was a teenager, and wrote scripts that always had a role for me. But I was mainly a political radical back then [among other things]. But in the early seventies I wormed [I am good at worming!] into an intensive in-depth film course in Santa Fe. It was mainly for anthropologists to learn how to make 16mm field films! I pop up in the strangest places! But after the five month, five days a week, six hour a day course, I didn’t have money to make film [and couldn’t cut film, had to wait until video!]. So I went into performance art. In the late seventies in San Francisco I was doing THE OUTRAGEOUS BEAUTY REVUE for three years at The Mabuhay gardens, a punk club. An independent producer approached me and offered to do a feature film based on the O.B.R. which I would come up with, star in, and direct [my directing was my primary condition of doing the film]. So I wrote a treatment. We spent a year doing the Hollywood thing, working with screen writers, going to Los Angeles to cast it, flying the actress up to rehearse, etc. But when the producer came back from Florida with the backer’s money, he informed me I couldn’t direct! So I walked!
So I came up with a totally different story, when I was panhandling in San Francisco I found a guy with a super eight camera and did FAIRYTALES for about $300! Then I enrolled in the San Francisco art institute Master’s program in large part to transfer the film on to video so I could edit it myself.
I thought I was making a rough draft to show backers to get money to make the real movie. But it was picked up by a Special Ed distributor because it was the first film about how to develop a full relationship….rather than a boring explicit how to sex film. It was sexy, funny, dealing with real issues that everybody deals with but many crips think are special crip issues…and it was made by a crip! Crips loved it. But the film wasn’t selling. It turned out that the people who buy those films weren’t crips…but hospital administrators and the like, and parents of crips, etc….people, with the best intentions, but also with vested interest in keeping crips not functional. They felt the movie gave people “false hopes” (an interesting concept)! It didn’t matter to them that most of the people in the cast were in such relationships. “Well, that is a fluke…not real life!”
Once there was a guy in a psychology class at which I was lecturing. After the class, he invited me to do something at the adult drama class he was doing at the C.P. Center (really a daycare warehouse). He warned me that they rarely respond. So Linda and I went there to show FAIRYTALES. When we got there, most of them were sitting there in a fog, heads bent. But my being with Linda started a low-level buzz! Then during the 30-minute film, they went through an amazing transformation. They sat up and got excited. And after the film, they wanted to talk. THESE PEOPLE RARELY TALKED! But that day they were saying things like: “my sister does not want me to date. She doesn’t want me to get hurt. But I want to risk it!” The teacher was excited about the breakthrough. He actually thought he was hired to make breakthroughs! He wanted me to come back. But a few days later he called me and told me the director of the center had banned me from the center because the crips had been harder to control because they had a whiff of possible freedom…the whiff labeled “false hopes”!
I think this captures the true dynamics of such institutions…but also of our society as a whole. Breakthroughs to new possibilities, freedom, human connection, etc. are relatively easy (surprisingly) to induce by art, etc. But such breakthroughs are threatening to the control of the powers…and hence censorship of all forms! Btw, the director of the center was himself a crip…and had been in my community/theater group.
2001. Frank wrote:
Filmed in the mid-80s, edited in 2001. The reason for the gap of over fifteen years between the shooting and the editing was that I was waiting for the technology for me to edit at home on my computer so that I could do special effects.
FEISTO was screened at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in 2002 in New York and Los Angeles.
Awarded “BEST OF FESTIVAL – FEATURE”, Berkeley Film & Video Festival.
Out of Isolation
1989. Starring Frank Moore and Linda Sibio. Written and directed by Frank. Edited by Rourke Smith.
“Honorable Mention Award, Feature Length Video”—East Bay Video Festival
1983. Frank wrote:
I edited EROTIC PLAY with two remotes taped on a table before me using my head pointer. What we do when we have no money and when we are ahead of the technology! We just made videos and put them in our closet. And now the same videos are being watched by people all over the world on THE FRANK MOORE CHANNEL [even on their television]! Thank God we didn’t care whether people would ever see the stuff. We just did them to do them! And now we have a shit load of content!
1984. Edited by Frank with the same method as EROTIC PLAY.
The Nude Cave
1984. Also edited with the same method as EROTIC PLAY.
In this [The Nude Cave] I mined the same footage as I mined for my EROTIC PLAY. But in this I created a long surreal abstract erotic collage by slowing down and speeding up the footage. I also did the sound track by playing a couple of synthesizers with my head pointer. I laid down three tracks by playing to the visuals. Because of the primitive nature of the equipment, I couldn’t hear the previous layers when I was playing the next track. Oh, yes, I hadn’t played /composed music before!
The Outrageous Beauty Revue
1998. Frank edited this by watching the footage from a VCR on our TV and having Linda write down stop and start points for each segment. He then typed up a list of the segments in the order he wanted them to appear. He also created the title screens on the computer with Paint Shop Pro. Mikee then put the film together in (the very first version of) Final Cut Pro following Frank’s edit points and sequence instructions.
1992. Edited by Frank at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley.
“2nd Place – Documentary”—East Bay Video Festival
The Outrageous Horror Show
1992. Also edited at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley.