A review of Frankly Speaking: A Collection of Essays, Writings and Rants (Paperback)

By Dr. Susan Block, July 1, 2015

Frank Moore was a man of breathtaking accomplishment, a true counter-culture hero, poet, artist, philosopher, rock star, talk show host, comedian, U.S. Presidential candidate and filmmaker, as well as a devoted “family man,” if you accept his definition of family (which I do). Yet the first thing many people noticed when they saw Frank was his physical “condition.” That is, in addition to being all of the above and so much more, Frank was quadriplegic.

Born with severe cerebral palsy that rendered him unable to walk, talk or control the movement of his limbs, Frank conquered what some might call his extreme “disabilities” to become one of the world’s foremost performance artists, deep thinkers, political leaders and inspirational teachers. The Steven Hawking of Erotic Theater, Frank coined the term “chero,” combining “chi” and “eros” to express the physical energy of life. He also created the word “eroplay” to describe the physical interaction between adults released from the linear goals of typical sexual intercourse, often in the context of long, 5-48 hour ritualistic performances. These performances were transformative experiences (full disclosure—I was privileged to participate when he and his wonderful family were guests on my show) that melted the barriers between participants, performers and audience.

As such, Frank Moore was the ultimate wounded healer, a differently-shaped medicine man, a spastic magician, a wild shaman and a trickster lover that inspired so many people, from performance artist Annie Sprinkle to Berkeley councilman Kriss Worthington. Of course, some folks feared his tremendous power, especially certain old-guard Republicans. In the early 90s, he rose to national fame as one of the NEA-funded artists targeted by then U.S. Congressman Jesse Helms for doing art that was labeled “obscene.”

Whether orchestrating an outercourse orgy or running for President (where—more disclosure—I was his running mate), Frank always said he had the perfect body for doing performance art. It was true; you couldn’t take your eyes off him. And then there was that wild mind of his—steeped in the ethos of the swinging 70s and the living theater of Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski and Richard Schechner. He was also a painter who painted with a brush attached to his head before he started digital painting on the computer. But what moved me most about Frank was his poetry.

Which brings me to this brilliant, bonoboësque, galvanizing, poetry-packed book of his, “Frankly Speaking: A Collection of Essays, Writings and Rants.” What a masterpiece of freedom of speech! Even more disclosure: I quote him heavily in my own book “The Bonobo Way.”

Since Frank passed away a couple years ago, I’ve missed him terribly. But reading “Frankly Speaking,” it’s like he’s right here with me, hollering with infectious glee as his life-partner Linda (who helped organize this magnificent collection) patiently translates his astounding, inspirational wisdom, a gateway to truth and deep joy.

Photos from “The Magical Gestures of Play” at Dr. Susan Block’s Speakeasy, Los Angeles, September 2, 2000