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Category: Writings (page 2 of 4)

The Dance Without Dancers

“Falling in Love”, digital painting by Frank Moore, 2010

THE DANCE WITHOUT DANCERS
Frank Moore
2011

What we have here is
only the first smell of fresh magic.
Matter is hollow tubes
containing fibers
of packets of possibilities.
Matter is symbol,
is metaphor
containing possibilities.
These packets shape matter.
These packets, in turn,
are reshaped by
each body /object
they pass through.
We are affected
by the stars,
and the stars
are affected
by us.
We affect the Tarot cards
and the I Ching coins
we cast.
The physicists affect
the subatomic particles
they observe.

By reshaping
these inner packets,
the material reality is reshaped.

The inner rivers of possibilities
are two way on the linear level.
The magical effects are always
two way.
The light of the sun warms us;
but we affect the sun through
the same channel.

We have entered the level
of the dynamic web
of relationships
in which the individual
does not exist.
In place of the individual,
there appear points
of personal responsibility
in a dance.

It is not the sun that warms,
nor is it us who are warmed.
It is the dance of no dancers,
the dance of relationships
that warms,
and that is warmed.

Reality creation
is a dance.
We are the dancers.
But in truth,
it is a dance
without dancers.
If we really take
on personal responsibility
for the dance,
we surrender to the dance,
give up individual “control,”
give up individual linking
with the results.
By taking on the personal responsibility
for the dance,
we are the dance.
We melt with the dance.
We are only the dance.
We admit these facts.
It is not a question
of becoming,
but of remembering
and admitting.
It is a question
of being,
living,
dancing lustfully,
without controls
or limits
in responsibility.

The life dance
is beyond morals
or limits.
It joyfully digs
into the dance
to the juicy black core.

Dotty

Excerpted from Frank’s letter to Annie Sprinkle, February 17, 1987, describing Dotty, the character Annie would be playing at Frank’s first Franklin Furnace performance, INTIMATE CAVE, May 14, 1987.

For about eight years, I have been working with the character whom you are playing. I call her Dotty. You remind me of the woman who originally played Dotty. I have tried to get other people to play Dotty in different pieces, with not much success. They have lacked the depth and freedom and control needed to pull it off.

Dotty is a zombie, mentally retarded … has no I.Q., no intellect. But she is not dumb. She is very slow. She takes a couple of minutes to waddle several feet. She does not speak. But she makes loud, long, slow laughs without obvious reason. She makes funny faces and distorts her body [Howie Mandel may have copied her moves]. She gets sidetracked very easily. A bit of dust can stop her in her tracks as she focuses to explore it. In a strange way, she is very focused. Once her focus is on you, she is locked on you until her curiosity is satisfied. She is a ball of emotional, innocent curiosity. This gives her a gentle power over people, allowing her to break taboos, sitting on laps, crawling on people, unbuttoning shirts, gently pushing limits.

In this piece, she is looking for warmth, for intense physicalness. She looks for this in the audience at first. She does not force this on people. But she does not settle for less. When she finds that a person has quit going with her into that physical intimacy, she loses interest and moves on to another person.


Dotty Gallery

Painted Bride Proposal

Letter to Roni, dated in pencil Dec. 1986:

Frank Moore
1812 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94703
(415) 540-0907

Dear Roni,

Here is the packet including two proposals, my resume, and articles about my work. After we talked to you, I started thinking about the problem about The Painted Bride. It seemed if I did a performance there, I would either put you at risk in your job or would have to compromise … probably both! I am not willing to do either.

But it would be a shame not to do something at The Bride if it is possible. So I came up with the idea of doing the lecture there. Ideas and words are safer and more acceptable to administrators than the physical acts which put the ideas in the real world. The lecture would plant seeds, at the very least.

The performance at the other gallery should be a day or two after the lecture to give the physical product of my ideas.

Although there is nudity in “Wrapping/Rocking”, the piece has proved to be very accessible and gentle. I am looking forward to doing it there. I will need one female performer [how about you?] and up to two other dancers for the piece.

In L.A. I have attracted young artists who perform in my pieces down there. I have a dream about this also happening on the East Coast. Winter is turning out to be proposal-writing time of the year. One of the proposals is to the Yellow Springs Institute in PA. If I get accepted, I would want to work with some of the same people I will worked with in N.Y.C. and Philly this time around.

Linda and I are looking forward to seeing and talking with you on South Street … and at Cafe Roma here.

Love,
Frank

Here is Frank’s proposal for the lecture:

RAPTURE PERFORMANCE – A MAGICAL ART
a proposal
for
a lecture
by
Frank Moore

There should be a kind of art that magically alters human reality, alters consciousness, subverts the existing order, and expands the limits of morals. Performance art can be such a channel of revolutionary, empowering change … if it focused on invoking the state of rapture.

In the lecture, I will go back to the primal roots of all art around the fireside and in the cave. The urge of creativity was a spiritual and communal attempt to affect, to change, the outside reality, both the natural world and the surreal world of gods and spirits. Art has hidden rituals in which power came from the acting out, not from viewing the art.

I will deal with how art, along with formal religion, lost its primal focus of change and became an object for viewing. Art became fragmented and isolated. Art failed the people.

The lecture will talk about how the avant-garde tradition, including performance art, was a reaction to this failure. It was an attempt, mainly unconsciously, to get back to the magic.

I will maintain that this magical art is still possible in this yuppie decade. In fact, it is vital for our collective sanity to have such art of rapture. By talking about what I do, I am hoping that tactics will emerge for this underground war of art and magic.

Frank Moore

Roni’s reply, undated and handwritten on Painted Bride letterhead paper:

Dear Frank and Linda,

Happy 87 – hope all is well with you. Thanks for sending me the information – I showed it to Chris Hayes, the program director, and Chris is willing to do one weekend evening in May (*see note) around your NYC visit (either before or after) for Wrapping/Rocking. He asked if you would work for a minimum guarantee (say $150) against our standard 65% of the gate. (One hundred people at 6.00 each would be about $400 for you, if I figured correctly).

So let me know EXACTLY what your plans are regarding trip east; we can house you here, of course (do you like dogs – you can stay with me – I’m on a 1st floor.) and if you want to do Kitchen 1st or Bride 1st.

We have some ideas on getting the public out (”SEX, NUDITY, SOFT EROTICISM”*) and we also think we can get the art opening crowd out.

Hope to hear from you soon.
love to you both.
& happy 87!
Roni

*we’ve come some way, I guess.

Is This Appropriate?

“Nude Stacy”, digital painting, 1996 by Frank Moore

By Frank Moore
February 2, 2003

When I cried out,
they said crying out
was not “appropriate behavior”.
I do not think appropriate behavior
is good.

Everything
that is not
appropriate behavior
makes me feel.

Don’t trust
Anyone
Who labels
Things
As not appropriate behavior!

Art,
Poetry,
Music,
Sex,
Love,
Belly laughs…
All outside of
Appropriate behavior.

That’s where I live
In freedom!

RAPTURE – A SPASTIC BALLET

A proposal Frank sent to Yellow Springs Institute, January 1987:

RAPTURE – A SPASTIC BALLET

Can someone who cannot walk, or even stand, be the center of a modern ballet? Can someone who cannot speak sing an emotional opera that will pull the audience into his reality? Can someone make what is normally seen as physical limits become the gateway to erotic grace and beauty?

I am that someone.

“Rapture – A Spastic Ballet” will be a 90-minute live performance combining dance, poetry, pre-recorded electronic music, and live and pre-recorded singing/chanting.

During the days of preparation and rehearsal, I will teach my cast of two dancers and a chanter, my noise language … how to sing like babies, like madmen, beyond words to feelings, then create a soundtrack of over-dubbed musical sounds, performed solely by myself, and a non-verbal abstract chant/wailing, which will be based on my noise language. I will teach the dancers my spastic movements. With these movements, to this intense abstract soundtrack, we will create a complex dance. This dance will use lights as another medium of emotional language.

When the audience enters the theatre, I will be nude in my wheelchair, moving awkwardly, making noises. These noises slowly become singing to the soundtrack. The two dancers appear as images of myself … but they quickly become extensions of my body, picking me up out of my chair … lifting me into a freeing dance of swirling, rocking, rubbing, rolling, flying, swinging, laughing. Throughout the chanter will be reading my poetry over the soundtrack. At certain points, audience members will be invited to be actively involved in the dance … to hold me … to rock with me.

The end of this ballet of rapport will be a bright web of ribbon, cellophane, and tinfoil connecting me, the audience, and cast all together.

The kind of art in which I am interested is art that causes change, that heals, that threatens, that unites, that subverts, that destroys limits and breaks taboos. I am not interested in doing art that comforts, decorates, entertains. In my performances, in my workshops, and in my lectures, I am trying to go back to the time when art was the magical, irrational, non-logical channel of active impact … when art was not just an object of passive viewing. I focus on live direct art for this end.

When we trace art to its primal roots, it combines with science and religion to form the primitive mans’ occult tool to influence both the natural and the supernatural worlds. It involved both private and communal rituals with no audience except the gods and demons.

In my work, I try to create an environment in which the line between consciousness and the subconscious can be temporarily erased, where the power of taboos is released so that personal and social change can be magically induced. The artist in this intensely intimate work is a conductor focusing and guiding the ritual forces. This is an avant-garde art, a revolutionary art.

In this kind of art, my body gives me a definite advantage. It links me to the wounded healer, the deformed shaman. By combining this with performance tactics, I combine realities to create awake dreams.

Of course, my kind of art is not mass media, trendy or fashionable. It is just idealistic …. Definitely not a money-maker.

But I have always thought art should be a calling, not a career.

How to Handle an Anthropologist on KPFA

Michael LaBash, Jovelyn Richards and Linda Mac

The new book, How to Handle an Anthropologist: Russell Shuttleworth, PhD interviews shaman/performance artist Frank Moore, was featured on “Jovelyn’s Bistro” on KPFA’s Cover to Cover Open Book, August 21, 2019. 

Linda Mac and Michael LaBash joined Jovelyn Richards in the studio for this live broadcast. Listen to the interview here:

About Jovelyn Richards:

“Sometimes We Need Art, More Than Food & Water.” Jovelyn Richards interviews artists who explore emotional intimacy through their narratives within theatre, film and literature, along with voices less heard. She talks with artists who explore emotional intimacy and the fringes of our culture. Jovelyn Richards is a writer, international performance artist and speaker. She holds both an MA and MFA in the Humanities.

For more about the book visit http://www.eroplay.com/hthaa/.

Connie

Frank’s mom, Connie.

Connie completed the fading into death
this afternoon.
She has always lived in her young mind,
always was a black sheep,
raising black sheep,
always wanted to know,
always hungry for education,
NO MATTER WHAT!
WHATEVER IT TOOK!
Deaf to CAN’T,
to dumb rules!

No time for social frills,
no time for BS,
no time for limits.
Just time for deadpan joy of just everyday,
for no-nonsense love,
for pushing and demanding for
possibilities.
She bit,
or pretended not to hear,
just going for what’s right
like a tank…
running you over.

You were a fool
if you believed
her mcgoo act!
Hero? Yes!
Always growing beyond
working in a doctor’s office,
after getting a college education,
after the leaving of Jim,
threatened by his black sleep wife,
after pushing me onto THE REAL WORLD,
after raising Jerry and me,
after getting out of Utah as a free thinker!

Just taking Tums and aspirins,
Connie at 79 lived a very rich life…
always young in life…
now always
will be young!

Jerry and I are so lucky
to be in the black sheep family of
CONNIE!

 © Frank Moore 5/19/2000

Creating A Masterpiece

Written by Frank Moore January 19, 2000.
Published in Lummox Journal, March 2000.

An artist starts, let’s say, a painting with a set idea of what he is going to paint. Sooner or later he makes a “mistake” — a color or a line which doesn’t fit in the original idea — which “ruins” the painting. When this happens most people give up, thinking that they are not cut out to be artists, and withdraw back into the common existence. Others try to pretend that they didn’t make the mistake, that the color or line isn’t there on the canvas. They go on painting as before. When they are done, they have painted the shadow of what they wanted. Moreover, this shadow is covered with a haze. Others keep starting over whenever they make mistakes, not accepting any mistakes. They are rewarded for their endurance with the perfect copy of the thought form which they had held for all this time. They are rewarded by what they think they want to create. Their thought form has been brought down into the material plane. The creation is perfect. But it is not a masterpiece. It is perfect within the limitations placed around it by the rigidness of the artist. The work is perfect, but not free.

A masterpiece is perfect and free. The master artist paints an adventure in color, words, or notes. What others see as mistakes, he sees as challenges, boxes out of which he has worked as the basis on which he creates a totally new, fresh pattern. These challenges, boxes, keystones, keep appearing as he works, demanding the artist’s flexibility. If the artist looks back, trying to hold on to what he thought the painting was or would be, he gets trapped in a box out of which he must battle or be turned into a rigid, bitter pillar of salt. The artist has to keep his whole attention on the swirling colors in front of him in order to be the creator.

To create a masterpiece, the artist has to use and risk every bit of himself. But he also has to create with God, for God is the one who creates what most people call mistakes, and that the master artist sees as his tools and materials. God does not create for the artist. God just provides the tools, the guiding bumps. It is up to the artist’s free will whether he creates or gets dragged down by the weight of the tools. When the artist is creating, he feels no weight.

The most important masterpiece is a lifetime. This is a statement of hard fact. Creating a masterpiece in every day living is governed by the same rules as creating a masterpiece in paint, but much harder because the artist is also the canvas. In every period of time, in every land, there are a few masterpieces of art and writing. But a masterpiece lifetime is much rarer.

Photo by Kevin Rice. Scanned from contact sheet.

a rant on an open mike

the open mike
is the most democratic channel…
well maybe except for hyde park sproul soapbox freedom.
anyone can sign up
to step up to bat,
step up to the mike
and into the sacred belljar
where art poetry is free to expose truth,
free to use whatever it takes,
whatever style it takes to expose truth…
that is, until your given time runs out
and hooks you around the neck and yanks you
from the belljar stage.
but in the belljar channel
you are in danger testing, crying, being so sucking bad that both
you and they curse your birth, sharing found ideas, listening to
the silence and the polite clapping greeting your bombs or to your
ravings of rage that hit too close to home, messing up the nice
polite parlor.

entering the open mike belljar is a leap into uncontrolled
possibilities, uncomfortable quest through good bad boring
embarrassing and sometimes magical.

nobody owns the belljar,
except when you are in the channel,
in the pipe behind the mike,
holding the modern talking stick
until it is time to pass it on to the next.
but the talking stick is everyone’s,
for anyone with something to express.
if one is banned, censored, from holding the talking stick
just to punish, just to protect a neat fragile nice order,
we all are banished from the sacred talking stick which becomes
just a cock that we rub.

i get worried if my words and images fit through veins clogged with fatty taboos of polite appropriate of comfortability.

i get worried…is the art that small that it fits through that pinhole of a hole…so small that nudes on the walls, words on telephone poles, any shift in the social power structure threatens the very reality fabric.

i’m too proud to admit the art poetry is that small. so my art becomes a roto-rooting balloon covered in razors tipped in draino acid, pushing pressuring uncomfortable unsocial grinding against the grain until the killer fatty clots of taboos burst out the other end and go down the drain like trouble.

i don’t really go after the hitlers, the mccarthys, the helms, or their brown shirts.

they are just limp-dicked power-junkies with swiss-cheese egos, each hole filled with inferiority. they are just moons with no power light of themselves, just reflecting fear.

no, i go after the nice people who never asked where the trains were going, boxcars filled with people. didn’t have to. only suspected, only heard rumors…after all, the general is a friend. never said, excuse me, i am a jew too, a jap too, a gay too, i’ve negro blood running in my body, aids too. i’m a commie who took home movies of our nude kids. so better put me on that train too. better put us all on that train. there ain’t no train big enough!

i go after the nice people who keep going to work after seeing their friends missing, after hearing rumors of blacklist and blackball. must write something about that subject to THE TIMES. he used to be such a pleasant fellow…but now he is a whining paranoid…not a sort to have to tea. he is like a wet messy fart. not in my backyard!

yes, i go after nice people. but my time in the belljar is about over.
so i’ll leave you with this. what is happening in your backyard is what really matters. so be sure to weed!

© 1995 Frank Moore

NEA Diary, Part 1

As part of receiving an NEA grant, Frank was required to keep a diary during the year of his grant. This is the first time Frank wrote these familiar words.

From Frank’s NEA Diary:

October 20, 1986:

“We are in the cave of dream. We are in a battle of an underground war against fragmentation. The battle is on all realities. The controllers have always tried to fragment us. Fragment us from each other. Imprison us in islands of sex, color, religion, politics, classes, labels, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. They fragment our inner worlds, they blow our individual realities apart, and play the pieces against one another. They are us, or a part of us. They are the controllers, the politicians, the sexists, the women’s libbers, the pornographers, the censors, the moralist, the church, the media, the businessmen, educators, the victims and the powerful.

They are us. They have divided us from our power, from our beauty, from our lust of life and pleasure. They have divided us from most of reality … divided dying from living … sex from living, sex from pleasure. We are kept in boxes of fear, of mistrust. We are kept waiting … kept waiting to do what we want … waiting for enough money, enough schooling, for everything to be right. We are kept waiting and protecting and hiding and suffering.

Time to do battles with the boxes.

Our tools are magic, our bodies, and dreams.”

November 1, 1986:

“The last (above) entry is part of a larger essay of my philosophy, and was read at my L.A. five hour piece (CAVE OF DREAM) and was read at my U.C.B. piece.”


Press release for the “Cave of Dream” performance in Los Angeles, October 18, 1986.