The Frank Moore Archives

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

Interview with Godfrey Reggio 2014


When Frank lived in Santa Fe in the early 1970s, one if his friends was Godfrey Reggio, who later became a filmmaker, most known for his trilogy of films Koyaanisqatsi (1982), Powaqqatsi (1988), and Naqoyqatsi (2002). After Frank died we had Corey (Nicholl) contact Godfrey about doing an interview about what he remembers of his time with Frank and the scene in Santa Fe at that time. Here is the complete interview:

Corey: Hi, is this Godfrey?

Godfrey: Indeed.

Corey: Hi, this is Corey.

Godfrey: Hey, Corey. Thanks for taking the time.

Corey: Well, thank you. I really appreciate it.

Godfrey: I’ll do my best, Corey.

Corey: OK, I’ll do my best. Yeah, I was a student of Frank’s for almost 20 years, and at a certain point we went over a lot of his history and he talked about his time in Santa Fe and he talked about you. So I guess my first question would just be, how did you first meet Frank?

Godfrey: Oh boy, what an incredible event. I was at … this is in the early ‘70s. I was at the infamous bar called Claude’s, which allowed all different cultural strands of Santa Fe from machismo to hippy to homosexual to lesbian to straight guys in the bar. It was quite a raucous place. The bar was divided into two parts, one part where you could sit by the bar and tables and talk, and the other was a huge room where music, usually by a live band, was played. I walked in – not sure of my state at the time – but I walked into the big room and there I saw this gorgeous woman with Frank Unicorn dancing in gyrations on the floor. Frank, of course, was dancing in his chair, but I have never seen someone so animated with such a liability. Also his face was beaming with … with delight. It just blew my mind. And he was with the woman at that time who was, I don’t know, like his surrogate mother. Let me say that, I hope that’s not wrong. Called Louise Scott.

Corey: Louise, yes.

Louise Scott

Godfrey: And I recognized in Frank, an extraordinary person at that point, someone who took a liability and made it an enormous asset in his life. During the course of him being in Santa Fe and me being here, I had countless “discussions” with him. He had an enormous sensitivity and brilliance, which was shown principally through his humor. Of course, Frank – I say “discussion” in quotes – Frank talked to me with his arrow pointer on his brilliant board, and after a few rounds of that, I got to pick it up quite quickly. And I would see in his eye when I connected with what he was struggling to tell me … a great delight. I just loved the dude. I felt he was an extraordinary human being and one that was a light for all of us, actually. His courage in the presence of such a, let’s say difficulty, was beyond admirable.

Corey: He talked about the way that everyone would get together and talk. He sort of – we had at a certain point went over and spent some time with Father George and Louise in San Francisco and just spent an evening talking with them. And afterward he said, “That’s the way we all talked back then.”

Godfrey: Right. It was like a free, open discussion of not just chatter or how’s the weather or, you know, can we get any more drugs? It was meaty and full of brilliance. It was a delight to be with him. A true delight.

Corey: Do you remember George and Helen and Phoenix?

Godfrey: Oh, yeah, I do. Yes, I do. I remember his beautiful wives that were certainly in love and devoted to Frank and all of his enormous talent.

Corey: Right, so he was there first in about 1970 and ‘71, and then he left for a little bit and then he was back again. And I was actually gonna ask you, were you still in contact with him when he came back?

Godfrey: Yes. When he came back.

Corey: Yeah.

Godfrey: Now I’m not sure where he went, but I know he picked up a degree at the University of New Mexico. Or I thought he did.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: And I also know that he sold papers on the Plaza.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: And he was a very smart boy. He knew that people seeing him, his condition, would pay dearly for the paper. And they did. So he really had the showman, he had a showmanship. He was not, you know, running away from his infliction. He was embracing it and using it for not only himself, but all those people that were fortunate to be in his light.

Corey: Did you actually see him out there selling papers?

Godfrey: Indeed. At that time the paper cost a quarter. I don’t think anybody paid less than a one dollar bill for it. He got a great, great joy out of that. And he used that. He was a supporter of his community.

Corey: How do you mean supporter?

Godfrey: Well, he worked, he had to work and get money. And, you know, money was used in a very, let’s say, minimal way to support the basic needs of life, but mainly to give joy to the, as it were, the leisure that he lived his life by.

Corey: He said … he talked about the cop patrol, and he said he went – did you remember him going on a cop patrol with you?

Godfrey: I remember him being very interested. Louise Scott and Frank realized that the coming of the hippies in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s into New Mexico was a bit like oil and water. They became the object of … they became the lowest, as it were, on the totem pole. And it was all during that time he lived in a place called the Jose Street compound, which was a very funky part of town on the north end, which had a little plaza in the middle of it. And I remember Louise and Frank put on a fiesta there to invite all the local Chicanos, Hispanics to that event. They had a greased pig event. I remember Frank was like the ringleader of the entire thing with Louise. During that time, I was working as a street organizer with barrio groups. We had a thing, we had a group called La Gente. And we were at that time, police were, you know, running roughshod over the poor and – because they had no access to legal care or legal advice, etc. After trying to talk to the police and getting nowhere, we decided to follow them around. Having access to the ten code through nefarious means, we were able on police radios, two-way radios, which were sold at … where was it … what’s the … I can’t remember, one of the electronics stores in town, were able to hear all their conversations and drive with people following the police and would actually get to the location before the police did, to be there to make sure that nobody was, nobody’s rights were trampled. Frank was a great admirer of that and was just blown away by the audacity of that act.

Corey: Of doing the patrolling.

Godfrey: Right. And we always patrolled not just with gang members. These were all gang members who were taking their energy from fighting each other to helping their community. We always rode with either a lawyer or a news person in the car so that the police couldn’t plant us with drugs or guns or anything like that and then accuse us.

Corey: Wow. What is a greased pig event?

Godfrey: Well, if you go to a fiesta sometimes they’ll grease up a pig, meaning put lard all over the pig, let the pig go and you have to run and try to catch the pig. Of course you have to dive for the pig. But what you get is grease on your hand, body, face, clothes, and the pig squeals away. It was a, you know, a tradition that was adopted by Louise and Frank for this occasion with the Hispanic community.

Corey: He also talked about the Motherfuckers.

Godfrey: Who are they? That I’m not sure.

Corey: The motherfuckers … they were like … He said – at some point – he related you to them in some way and at some point that they had, you know … Do you remember Father George’s center?

Godfrey: Yes, I do.

Corey: And then at some point, there was some kind of, not exactly enmity, but I guess it was sort of like the way you were talking about the hippies coming in and being …

Godfrey: There was an enmity between some of the Hispanic community and the hippie community. The hippie community rolled into northern New Mexico. It became like the rural epicenter of hippiedom in the United States. By putting in communes and arriving as if they had just come off an operatic stage in Paris, dressed in all kinds of used clothes and made up clothes. However, some of that brilliance that they brought with them lacked the sensitivity to the local culture. And there was a divide between the cultures initially. And Frank and Louise with Father George and some others, talking to me and working with me, helped bridge that gap by putting on fiestas, cooking food, not just coming out of expensive homes to do charity, but actually living in the presence of the barrio.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: There was a, you know, they were socially conscious people, not just there for their own enjoyment.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: I think that bears out … I remember … can’t remember when, but I remember being in New York for something to do with the film. I was there probably trying to raise money. And I got this call in the middle of the night from one of his wives saying that Frank and some others had taken over the federal building in San Francisco. And would I please make every effort to come out immediately? Frank wanted to talk to me. So because I loved Frank and knew that he wouldn’t make a ridiculous request, I got on a plane the very next day. Went out to San Francisco. I arrived. There was a huge crowd of people in front of the federal building, police, etc. Somehow I was cleared right through the lines and got up to Frank, who went ballistics when he saw me. You remember, Frank, he’d almost levitate out of the chair. And we sat and, you know, did conversation and a lot of analysis on what was going on. And I tried to give him my best point of view about what they might do. I think Frank has a lot to do with this, he called, his effort, a movement for the Crips.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: And they wanted to be recognized in terms of their disability and how the law could help support the infirmities they had. Like proper access on street corners so they don’t have to go over curbs, all those kind of things, etc.

Corey: Right.

Godfrey: And I think largely because of his efforts and those that surrounded him, a lot of laws were passed not only in California, but all over the country.

Corey: Yeah. Yeah, I was going to ask you if you had – how much contact you had had after that time in Santa Fe with Frank. 

Godfrey: Not a lot. I lived in a kind of a closet world of making films at that point working with street gangs, an activist. And I’d go occasionally to San Francisco, especially after he moved there, and would see them occasionally, but not that often. I wanted very much to catch the crip revue [The Outrageous Beauty Revue] in North Beach, but somehow that schedule eluded me. But here is a guy that, you know … he knew, he had a power of a limit which gave him an enormous capacity to use that, not only in his personal living and I guess a commune in Berkeley and his deep mind, but also, you know, for the good of other people.

Corey: How do you mean that – “the power of the limit”?

Godfrey: Well, he had a severe limit. His limits were severe, having been injured at birth. And that limit became his power. Rather than feeling sorry for himself or ending up as a helpless person somewhere, he became an active and lightening rod presence in his community. He took that limit and made it his power. A lesson for us all.

Corey: Right. He had said back when we were doing this that the people he was telling me about, like you and Louise and George and others, are all connected still. And were doing the same things they were doing then, and the same kinds of things that Frank was still doing. Do you feel that same connection with that time and that kind of continuity?

Godfrey: Well, you know, if I forget it, it remembers me. It watermarked me. It was the most dynamic period of my … I’m now just about 75. And that was in when I was in my 20s, early 30s. And everything afterwards has been like a faint glimmer compared to the intensity, the camaraderie and the intellectual provocation of the moment. So as I said, if I forget it, it remembers me. It’s in me.

Corey: Yeah. He mentioned that you had started a free clinic also back then? Was he involved at all in that?

Godfrey: Not in a direct way. We had La Clinica de la Gente. There were … the city at that time was about 40,000 people, maybe a little less, and fully 40 percent of the population was in very poor condition and had no access to primary medical care. The medical community did nothing about it. Through the Office of Economic Opportunity, we got the city declared as a medically indigent area, which caused the medical community to go ballistic because it reflected on their lack of care, and we were able to get funding to the National Health Service Corps to set up a community clinic run by the community who employed the doctors from the National Health Service Corps. That clinic lasted for probably close to 15 years in two locations for an average of maybe 30,000 people a year, which is incredible. And went under for all kinds of reasons, probably as much to do with the complete exhaustion of those who spent a large part of their life doing nothing but that.

Corey: Were you involved with it?

Godfrey: It became a model. And now there are medical clinics all over New Mexico. That clinic in Santa Fe and the one up in Rio Arriba County and Tierra Amarilla were the first two in the state. Of course, they were set up by activists and had to fight for the objectives they declared. Now, it’s part of the institutional structure of the state.

Corey: Wow. Were you involved in those through that time?

Godfrey: Well, I helped with the gang members to set up the first clinic here, my La Clinica de la Gente. I was very involved. I was an ex-Brother, Christian Brother. And I must say my time at this period was infamous rather than famous.

Corey: How do you mean that?

Godfrey: Well, we were following police around. We were having huge demonstrations. We were organizing poor people, which is anathema to anyone in authority. And we were having impact. We were against the urban renewal program, which we call the urban removal program, and played quite an active political role in the community, even set up a political party called the – what was it called …? The Citizens Coalition for Responsible Government. And fielded a group of candidates. And while we didn’t win the election, we made certainly the difference between the two principal candidates who were, let’s say, of the established order. And some of the candidates that we fielded went on to become prominent, very, let’s say, liberal politicians that are still active today. Like Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino.

Corey: Wow. Was Frank involved in that?

Godfrey: Not that I’m aware of. No, he would have been gone by that time. I’m not sure when he moved to the Bay Area.

Corey: Right. That was around 1974-75.

Godfrey: Yeah. Well this would have been right after that. Around ‘76.

Corey: Did you know that he ran for president?

Godfrey: No, I didn’t know that. (laughs) Doesn’t surprise me though.

Corey: 2008.

Godfrey: I didn’t know that.

Corey: Yeah. We got him as a certified write-in candidate in 25 states.

Godfrey: Wow …

Corey: And he got votes all over the country.

Godfrey: Well he’s a very bright guy. I mean, one has to go beyond appearance into the clarity of a bright mind, which he certainly had. He was a genius kind of guy.

Corey: Can you talk about how you got Frank on the rent board in Santa Fe and about the rent strike?

Godfrey: Ah, well, I don’t want to make that up, so I can’t remember. I just can’t remember. We had all kinds of activity going on. When urban renewal came in, they moved hundreds of people out of their properties to nowhere, and of course no one cared who had any power, to make room for corporations like big hotels and legal offices. And all these people had to go out wherever. So there was an enormous amount of organizing around that.

Corey: Yeah, he said that it was resolved in some way by your and his involvement in it.

Godfrey: Well, it could have been. I just can’t remember. My group, La Gente, were regular and painful members for the city council at their monthly meetings. We were not just there screaming and having demonstrations. We came with enormous amount of research and diligence. And of course, we were hard to accept because we were considered militant at that time. I guess if it were this time, we would be called terrorists. A politically convenient term created by authority to give itself legitimacy. But we went in extremely well researched and prepared for anything we did. So, for example, one of the larger barrios in the west side, the city council wanted to change the housing ordinance from home use to multiple use, which means that people could set up businesses there. Well, of course, that took the property rights up through the roof. A lot of people were hoodwinked by real estate people into accepting very bad deals for their property, not realizing that if they missed one payment after they moved to another location, they’d lose all the benefit they got from their properties. So that was all part of the activity at that time, and Frank was involved.

Corey: Do you still live in Santa Fe primarily?

Godfrey: I do. I’ve lived here now for 55 years. I travel a lot. And when I have a film, I usually go to New York or somewhere in Europe to make the film.

Corey: How has it changed since that time?

Godfrey: Well, you know, it’s become the center for the hip-“eoisie”, as it were. And it has an enormous Mexican population now, of probably over 15-18,000 people, the most industrious people I’ve ever seen in my life, who have to constantly deal with their legal status. The local community, the local Hispanic community, the Chicano community, however you want to call it, there’s nothing happening in terms of any kind of community organizing. The only thing that’s happening is institutional service, which in my opinion, does very little for people other than keep them, you know, with hands out at the trough rather than letting them see they can control their own destiny. But I see little or none of that here. Now that might be limited by my, you know, lack of involvement compared to what it was years ago. But it’s become a very wealthy community and an extraordinarily poor community at the same time. It’s also pretty violent.

Corey: I was going to ask you, you know, because of the way you talked about the way you all talked together back then, and I was going to ask you how you would compare just the way people were with each other at that time to the way you see people with each other now, just in, you know, relationships?

Godfrey: Well we lived in an, for me only within that context and I’m sure for others, in an extraordinary period, the ‘60s and the ‘70s. Many people, most of them younger, decided to leap and then that will appear. They were willing to create a whole new existence for themselves, didn’t buy into the acquisition of power or money, rather, into the convivial relationships between people. That was extraordinary. Today, young people, you know, probably have not that opportunity. It’s not in the air. The culture is different. Everything that was real during that period is somehow been co-opted by corporations and put into the, you know, the enigma of a commodity culture. So it’s a different time. I must say, regretfully, that a lot of the people of that period that I knew, found an easy transition into the more dominant world and left behind, except for nostalgia, that very vital period of life.

Corey: How, why do you think that has happened?

Godfrey: Well, hmm, that’s a good question. It’s a very good question. I guess the, you know, the communities broke apart. They were idealistic communities, many of them not dealing with the, you know, with the, as it were, that which makes for the clarity of really living together. It’s like if you first meet your love in life, everything is rosy, everything is beautiful until the consistency of life takes in. And that which was so rosy now becomes ordinary and habitual. And it takes a strong person to break through that and find the real value of a relationship or the real value of the work they do. I think a lot of people couldn’t handle that and went back to, dare I say, a straight life, and now only look at what they did in the past from a nostalgic or “Gee, I did that. But, you know, that was when I was young.” That’s not to say that’s for everybody, but certainly we don’t have that same kind of cultural activity in this country now. More about conformity then about … I mean, in that time, our flag was our shadow. We were here to recreate another way of living, which is at once insane and admirable. But we all felt we lived in an insane world, so … I think we still do now. It’s on steroids.

Corey: That first place you mention where you actually first met Frank is called “Quad’s”?

Godfrey: Claude’s Bar. It’s not there anymore. It was on Canyon Road. That’s before the Art Mafia took over the art scene in Santa Fe. Real artists lived on the road with no money. They hung at Claude’s, it was like their church and it brought together all aspects of our community in a very convivial and at times raucous and dangerous way. It was a real center for nightlife, started by a woman named Claude James, herself a lesbian who was the daughter of the editor of The New York Times at that point.

Corey: Wow. Do you recall the Water Street Coffee House?

Godfrey: Yes, I do.

Corey: That’s another place that Frank mentioned.

Godfrey: The Water Street Coffee House was kind of a hangout place where music took place, a lot of drinking and talking. I didn’t hang out much there. I was much more active in the barrio, but that was right off the barrio. But my time was involved more as an organizer.

Corey: There’s a film script that we read a brief section of together that he had started writing when he was there with a part for Belle Carpenter.

Godfrey: Oh, gracious.

Corey: Do you remember anything about that?

Godfrey: No, but I used to live with Belle Carpenter for a very long time. And, you know, we share a daughter and a stepdaughter. But no, she was a very vivacious, generous and beautiful person. So I can imagine that Frank was quite taken with her. She was more than generous to people. She opened her house up for a lot of people. When I lived there, it was like a, you know, a hippie campground.

Corey: You met her at that time in Santa Fe?

Godfrey: Yes, I met her in the very early ‘70s. 1970 in Santa Fe.

Corey: Did you ever talk about girls in relationships with Frank?

Godfrey: Not that I’m aware of. No. I knew that he had a beautiful girlfriend at the time, and then two, and they were totally devoted and in love with Frank. I can never remember talking specifically about relationships with Frank. Our conversations were meaty, metaphysical, having to do with the culture of the moment and what was not happening with it and how we could do something about it.

Corey: Yeah. He talked about how … well when he was first there, he hadn’t really had like a girlfriend or, you know, a real …

Godfrey: There was Louise, who was like, I guess a –

Corey: A friend–

Godfrey: – a big sister, a momma.

Corey: Yeah. And then when he left, he ended up in a commune in Massachusetts and that’s where he met Debbie.

Godfrey: Right. And I met them here somehow.

Corey: Yeah. When he came back, he was with her and then they ended up being with Jo. There were several of them.

Godfrey: Both of them. Met both of them. Debbie first. Then Jo.

Corey: Yeah. But when he was first there and when I guess when he first met you, he really hadn’t … he said that he saw, there were so many opportunities, he just didn’t think that it could be for him.

Godfrey: Well he just – he was being modest I think. (laughs) I think he thought it could be, just had to find out how. And he certainly did that. No I think a lot of people’s lives were enlivened by knowing Frank. He’s an extraordinary person. And he cast a very large patina, as it were, over all of our lives. Incredible person.

Corey: How do you think that – how does that – like, how so? You know, what is it about …?

Godfrey: I mean, because of how bright he was, how sensitive he was, how creative and innovative he was, how the liability that he had became a real asset for him. How he didn’t let that prevent him from living a full, better than full, life. I mean, he lived a life that probably most straight people would be envious of.

Corey: Yeah.

Godfrey: I found him to be an extraordinary person. He had shine on him.

Corey: Yeah.

Godfrey: And his sense of humor was like contagious. To me, humor is a real sign of superintelligence. He played the contradictions. He knew what to do. He had a good guardian angel. As he became the guardian angel for many other people.

Corey: Did you know that he took on students in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s?

Godfrey: Not really. I lost contact with anything specific other than the love I had for him and … and I think vice versa. And I would go to the Bay Area occasionally and would look them up. But I really lost any daily contact with Frank after he left here.

Corey: Yeah. Did you stay in contact with Louise or any others from that time?

Godfrey: Oh Louise I stayed in contact with more, but she moved away as well, moved to Mexico. I know all of her children. I knew all of her children really well. I watched them grow up to be wonderful people. And I know that she had serious health problems and went to Mexico and then came back to the States. But then I lost contact with Louise as well.

Corey: She’s here. She’s north of us, here in the Bay Area. And we visited her recently, with her daughter Denise.

Godfrey: Oh, yeah.

Corey: And she’s, you know, she’s doing well. They’re both doing well.

Godfrey: How old is Louise now? Do you know?

Corey: I’m not sure. I think she’s in her mid-‘80s.

Godfrey: OK. She was, you know, like Frank: a watershed event. I mean to be around Frank was like being around an act of nature. It was astounding. And the same for Louise with her compassion, generosity, willingness to – you know, there’s a difference between giving money to the poor and bringing people into your life, into your home. And she was that kind of beautiful person. People loved her.

Corey: Yeah. This has been amazing, but is there anything more you can say about that?

Godfrey: Oh, I’d just be repeating myself. I wish I had more detail, but his presence looms very big in my imagination and my soul. I feel fortunate to have known Frank Moore.

Corey: Well, thank you so much.

Godfrey: You’re very welcome. I hope you get something out of this for what you want.

Corey: Oh, yes, definitely.

Godfrey: OK, well, give my good regards to any of his family that are still around. And Louise, if you see her again. Well, thank you so much. And let me know when you’re finished. Send me something.

Corey: Yes, definitely. So thank you so much, Godfrey.

Godfrey: Good luck for doing this. Thank you for taking on this.

Corey: Thank you.

Godfrey: Bye bye now.

Corey: Bye bye.

Listen to the interview here:

Louise Scott & Denise LaCount interviews,
recorded April 26, 2014, Graton, California

Eat Your Heart Out

December 2011

I have always had a rich full fun life.
Everything comes easy to me.
I don’t care about being
or so “successful”,
or acceptable
beyond this inner flesh.

I surrender to play and to life.
Everything comes so far
into juicy bits
of extraordinary supernatural modality
of relationship dynamics upon my word.

I know this is not what to say
if you want to be included in
the addressing Fields
of dazzling whiteness
over oils of press and applause.

They want victims
suffering against overwhelming odds
of the temptation
to editorialize
defeat to survive barely,
waiting to take possession
of these annoying
medical monsters of yokes
of repression…

A special freak
who came to replace
the control box
by profound attention
and ordeal of extraordinary dimensions
bearing upon big terms of
keeping with heavy leaden gray deceptive dawn
between the tempest
and this dreadful nightmare of repression.

Of course you can’t do it,
they say.

is special
with courage,
strength surmounted all obstacles
being mauled by isolation
resulting from between physical problems…
And abilities of luck…
All of which you
and most people
unhappy don’t have.

is special exception
that proves the extreme point of
appalling disaster
which imprison everybody
without any possible alternatives.

They push this shit!

I am always able to handle anything,
having fun
in the freedom
of not knowing
what is impossible.

My dreams are melting
into juicy molten
every day activities just as
people who thought I was Jewish!

I surrender to play and to life.

Everything comes so easy!

Yes, it is hard work sometimes.

But I have come out

of the extreme edge
of things
in my wheelchair
addressing similar circumstances.

Escape from whatever
between us and fun!

They want you to think
you got it
better than me,

You ain’t got shit!

But at least you ain’t
a victim
of cerebral palsy for life,
suffering with cerebral palsy.

At least you ain’t confined to a wheelchair!

At least you can walk,
feed yourself,
wipe your own asshole
in the way God tends you to do!

At least you can play football
until you break your neck
playing football!

Oh, well…

At least
you ain’t
a nigger
or a woman,
or a fag!

Reporters scramble everything up.

They don’t use their souls,
their formidable pricking eyes.

They see a wheelchair
and they write
suffering victim
of cerebral palsy
confined to a wheelchair
and is ninety eight percent disabled
with no body control…

Oh yes he saw a murder!

Reporters are brainwashed.

They have only filter tip eyes!

They see me dancing,
playing piano
smothering the piece
of pounding
lustily on the keys
with vehemence and whatever else,
painting those unknown sights
in oils by Jackson Pollock physical ritualism
of direct engagement
with my whole body control of the paint
with my head,
seeing me
feeling up
right up
her inner flesh with style and aim…

And they conclude
and report
I am paralyzed,
stiffened under the bottom
of no movements
or control
or bodily feelings
and am
ninety eight percent disabled,
hopeless fizzle.
And you depend upon them
for the clear ultimate vision
of direct experiencing
of observation of objectivity!

I suppose
I could even paint
if I was Jewish paralyzed.

But I would have to come up
with a difficult style and techniques
which involve the necessity
of deferring to explore
my luck
and whatever
between physical touch
and the one more reckless effort
to free any particular color.

But the brainwashed plot
is so complete
that some playmates
who had romp with me
and yum
have then bought
that empty press surrebuttal
of my Body of Christ.

I told you so, folks.

I obviously wasn’t meant
for the control
of what is possible!

Poetry of truffles
and Champagne
and yum
yum of philosophy,
humor among various gangland serfs
and behind the curtain of fog
and romantic shit
about how boring it
was to build
upon communicating
even before speaking.

The margins exclude
almost entirely most of everything
which is noncommercial,
original Files
under the command of Bruni d’Entrecasteaux,
ignoring such bestial-looking creatures
like you and me.

Also he gave me shit
about getting deeper
into the ultimate midst
of the arousing desire
of magical colors
disappeared from humanity
and love
with wide open legs
thrust into bed
after eating
the contents of folly!

But wisdom
which may be able to procure fresh meat
for everybody here
is what I am looking for!

From the book, Skin Passion by Frank Moore:

Front cover of the book Skin Passion, featuring a detail of Frank’s digital painting “Toni”.

I Get Results! Frank Moore for President 2008

I Get Results! Frank Moore for President 2008
​Cushion Works, San Francisco, CA
January 20–March 12, 2021
Organized by Jordan Stein with Keith Wilson

Photo by Graham Holoch

From the website about the exhibit:

I Get Results! presents archival video footage, including public appearances and platform pronouncements, alongside official campaign documentation, press, and merchandise, all set within a patriotic installation modeled after the Moore/Block info-table assembled for events around the Bay. The exhibition opens on Inauguration Day, 2021, and remains on view for six weeks.

Keith Wilson and Jordan Stein looking through the archives in Berkeley to select items for the exhibit.

Visit the website for the exhibit here:

I Zoom Results!
Keith Wilson and Jordan Stein in conversation with
Linda Mac and Mikee LaBash
February 16, 2021

In parallel with I Get Results! Frank Moore for President 2008, an exhibition on view at Cushion Works from ​January 20 to March 6, 2021.

Visit the website for the Zoom talk here:

More photos by Alexi, Erika & Corey:

Lower Links, Chicago 1990 – Part 1

Frank and the Chero Company performed “The Outrageous Horror Show” at Lower Links in Chicago on October 11, 1990 as part of their “Year of Peril” series.

Here is the pre-show article from the Chicago Reader:

Frank Moore 

October 5, 1990

By Albert Williams

“I have a body that is ideal for a performance artist,” says Frank Moore, who was born with cerebral palsy and is 99 percent physically disabled. Moore’s performances are touching in the most literal and provocative sense. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts performance art fellowship in 1985, Moore shares with Karen Finley (who’s also appearing in town this week) the distinction of being on the “hit list” set up by the fearmongers who seek to set the arts agenda these days. (Performance spaces that receive NEA grants are investigated; if they have presented certain artists, such as Finley and Moore, their grant-worthiness is called into doubt.) But if, to paraphrase the title of Finley’s controversial show, the oppressors keep their victims ready, Moore refuses to play victim. In his group piece Outrageous Horror Show, he and his company, Chero, employ erotic play, nude exhibitionism, audience participation, and unorthodox concepts of narrative, space, time, and beauty as means to challenge the barriers society erects around sexuality, cripples, and art. Moore’s appearance is the first offering in “Year of Peril (The Censorship Issue),” a series of performances that will also feature Annie Sprinkle’s Sex Education Class and filmmakers Monte Cazazza and Michelle Handelman’s True Gore later this month. Club Lower Links, Thursday, October 11 (954 W. Newport, 248-5238), 7 PM. $7.

Poster for the show produced by Lower Links
Another poster produced by Lower Links
Poster by LaBash

Here is the script for Frank’s performance:

A review from the Chicago Reader:

The Plucky & Spunky Show 

December 20, 1990

By Anthony Adler


Remains Theatre

I might have liked The Plucky & Spunky Show a lot better if I hadn’t seen Frank Moore first. Frank Moore has cerebral palsy. He rides around in a wheelchair, his head and hands move spasmodically, and when he tries to talk the words come out as a series of incomprehensible whines and screeches.

So naturally he’s a performance artist.

I saw Moore’s show when he came to Club Lower Links in October. The evening was long, strange, and very trippy–picture a student pageant at the Jimi Hendrix Memorial School for the Disabled, circa 1971. I found myself squirming almost as soon as I walked in. There was Moore, facing us from his wheelchair, howling and gesticulating to music–his torso straining up against his seat belt; his hands wild; his tongue lolling out of his mouth; and Sonny & Cher on the box, singing what else but “Laugh at Me.”

Drinks were being served. The audience applauded after every appalling number. I was thoroughly upset: my sense of dignity was being assailed. Not my sense of my own dignity, but of Moore’s–my sense of the dignity of the handicapped. What amusement, what pleasure was there in seeing this unlucky man demonstrate his incapacity for us?

Then, whoosh, I saw how completely I’d missed the point. Or rather, how completely I’d fallen into it without seeing it. Moore wasn’t playing to anybody’s prejudices. Just the opposite: he was attacking them. Attacking them with his whole writhing, caterwauling being. His simple presence constituted a challenge to conventional notions of what a performer may and may not look like. And by extension, what roles disabled people may and may not assume. He was all wrong, and yet there he was: sitting center stage, rocking out–even turning sex symbol when his wife appeared, half-naked, to croon “I Got You Babe” with him.

I realized then that my solicitude was actually condescension: a healthy man’s attempt to put a handicapped man not only in his place but in his persona. I wasn’t really angry at the audience for demeaning Moore–the fact was that I was angry at Moore for playing against his assigned type.

The Plucky & Spunky Show offers similar insight–but in the form of a punch line rather than a revelation. Where Moore got in my face with his difference and defiance, Plucky & Spunky came at me with a big hug, a patient look, and an easy laugh. A comedy revue about the peculiar difficulties of the handicapped–written by wheelchair veterans Susan Nussbaum and Mike Ervin, and performed by a mixed ensemble of blind, deaf, paraplegic, and even tall actors–Plucky & Spunky pretends to a certain amount of wiseass irony; we’re supposed to take the title with a heavy dose of attitude. And yet the show’s overall tone actually expresses the pure essence of pluck and spunk. Nussbaum and Ervin are out to cajole us into enlightenment. They tend to teach by ingratiation.

Not that there aren’t darker modulations here and there. Nussbaum gives herself some rich, surprisingly sharp passages–as in the skit where a spilled order of shrimp in black bean sauce momentarily knocks the spirit out of a paraplegic woman. Or the one where Nussbaum and David Pasquesi play wheelchair-bound lovers debating their chances of maintaining a long-term relationship in a world of hostile architecture and patronizing strangers.

Then, too, there are some plain funny bits–plain funny loosely defined here as anything with Pasquesi in it. A Second City mainstage regular, Pasquesi brings a stunningly specific comic imagination to everything he does. As just a small for instance, there’s a scene where Pasquesi comes between a man and his irate, deaf wife: the wife signs the word “sorry” on Pasquesi’s chest and Pasquesi goes giggly from the feel of it. The tickle’s a minor detail, but it has an unexpectedly major effect, simultaneously grounding the scene in physical reality while making it fly as comedy.

Mostly, however, Plucky & Spunky goes for the warm and runny. The warm and runny and pat. An ongoing story about former poster girl Spunky and her search for identity ends with the requisite I’m-Just-Me song. Even the shrimp-and-bean-sauce tragedy closes on an up note. The revue format itself tends to defuse any dangerous interplay between show and audience, its familiarity breeding a complacency that’s never challenged. People with all their limbs and all their faculties can see The Plucky & Spunky Show and sympathize with its agenda without ever examining that agenda on a personal level. Wild Frank Moore would never permit that.

The “Year of Peril” brochure by Karen Briede:

1990 was also one of the busiest years for Frank in terms of travel!


We just found the original sign that Frank had taped to the front of his board to get people for his film Erotic Play. The resulting raw footage became the Nonfilms. Here is the sign and the text that appears on it:






Frank Moore


Frank talking to a student on Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley circa 1984.

The EROART Group on Vimeo

In August 2011, Frank created the “Nude Performance Art, Dance and Video: EROART” group on He used the essay, “Eroart” on his group page, as an introduction and guiding theme for the group. Every night when Frank was working at the computer, he spent time searching for videos to add to the group and moderated videos that were submitted to the group. The Eroart group became one of the most popular groups on Vimeo with almost 13,000 members and almost 16,000 videos before Frank was booted from Vimeo in 2019.

Here is the text that appeared on the group’s profile page:

I wrote the below manifesto before the internet, before people like Annie Sprinkle reclaimed the word “porn” for life affirming art, before, really before a lot of things. I am bringing it back from the vault because I am starting a new group on, NUDE PERFORMANCE ART, DANCE AND VIDEO. There is a ton of what I called below EROART of all kinds on
Frank Moore, August 2011


Frank Moore

Thanks to the repressive, anti sexual, anti pleasure morality, romanticism, and pornography, the traditional area of eroart — art that uses nudity, physicality, and/or sex to turn people on to life — has been ripped off by pornography.

Almost everyone is against porn films. Almost everybody in his right mind. But everybody isn’t in his right mind, which is why there is porn anyway. But it is fashionable to be against porn. There are many good reasons to be against porn. Fashion is not one of them. The anti sex, anti pleasure, anti nudity morality is not one of the good reasons to be anti porn. This kind of repressive morality is the main reason why during the nineteenth century kinky violent porn caught on.

What I am interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is the art of eroplay. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools.

Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroplay tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroplay art, which has been called eroart. Most books on eroart miss the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond.

This is not true for what is defined as porn. I am trying to define eroart. We are forced to separate it from porn, and rightly so.

It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is human to be anti porn because porn is anti human, not only anti female. It is violence between individual people. At times, this violence is graphic. It is personal and intimate violence in a hostile and impersonal form. I hurt you to make me feel turned on because I cannot get turned on in any other way because I cannot feel … besides, you like being hurt … if you don’t … who cares. This isn’t the symbolic or surreal violence in other kinds of films.

Porn is also anti human because it creates a picture of what sex should be that is unreal and boring. It creates pictures of what you should be like … pictures which are hard to live up to … and if you do live up to them, you will be a big- dicked jerk or a big titted bimbo.

These are the fundamental reasons why to be anti porn.

But face it, the main reason that most people are anti porn is because porn is boring and dumb. The people who make porn (I am talking about straight porn now, leaving the kinky, violent porn in the trash can) think that the main reason why people go to see porn is to see tubes going in and out of holes. So they cram in as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible in ninety minutes … and as close up as possible. This may be true for some people, but for most people, it gets boring once curiosity is satisfied, curiosity about what it looks like, and once the possibility of seeing everything is fulfilled.

It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is not fashionable to offer an alternative to porn. It is not fashionable to admit that people like seeing other people nude, seeing other people getting turned on and being turned on. It is not fashionable to admit people are curious to see other people’s bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. It is not fashionable to admit people feel cheated whenever the camera moves away, fades away, when people on the screen are getting intimate. It is not fashionable because it would be putting yourself, your body, and your emotions where your ideals and your politics are.

To make videos that satisfy that child like need of seeing nude bodies and seeing people playing, making out, and having fun is not as profitable as either what Hollywood does or what the porn makers do. This child like need is the healthy human desire that is perverted in porn.

The time is right for an art form that addresses this healthy desire. The women’s movement has changed people’s standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and of women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes, and now they find the old style porn disgusting … but more importantly, they are finding porn is not meeting their needs and desires. They want to be turned on in a way that is not sexual; they want to see nudity without stupidity; they want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating … can show both purely nonsexual eroplay and eroplay as foreplay in sex.

Film and video can do this. But the producers of porn haven’t the foggiest idea of this, and have a vested interest in the meat approach. In its broadest definition, erovideo could be any kind of film westerns, thrillers, science fiction, etc. — in which the unwritten rules are not followed. The camera doesn’t fade or cut away from erotic scenes before it is logical to do so … bodies wouldn’t be cut off. Cable has made porn so available that it has removed the glamour of the forbidden. As a result, porn has to stand on its lack of merit. As a result, the sales and rentals on adult tapes are going down, and the adult cable systems are going out of business.

The desire to see nudity and intimacy and to be turned on is not being satisfied. Hollywood is caught between being ruled by taboos and being in the business of teasing. Andy Warhol once said Hollywood has been doing a forty year striptease, showing a little more each year to get people to come back.

The closest Hollywood comes to the erotic/sexual (except for a few maverick directors like Roeg) is the sex exploitation and youth exploitation films. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if it is sexy sexual nude, it has to be dumb. Hollywood does exploitative films because they make money. They make money because they are the closest thing to the erotic/sexual that is offered. But sitting through a dumb movie to see nude bodies of dumb people is not worth it. Hollywood, however, will not take risks.

Hollywood will not make such a risky, daring product as a truly erotic film mainly because of the high money stakes involved. The pornographers will not do it either because of their lack of skill, insight, and morality, or because they too are ruled by money, and by criminals.

But breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. The breaking of taboos ideally should not be a part of eroplay for everyday life. But it is. Art can slowly take eroplay out of the taboo area. This is one of the functions of art.

Here is where art comes in. As I have said, this kind of art creates a kind of bubble in which the forbidden can be done with immunity, releasing the energy of the broken taboo … energy which then affects society as a whole. Art makes a clear circle of difference between this bubble and everyday reality; it is a kind of safety valve for society … much as dreams are to the individual. According to the book THE PAINTED BODY, the caves where the first artists did their work where no one could see were such bubbles, as was body painting. Performance art is this kind of consciousness altering art. It creates a special time and place where taboos can be broken, where new ways can be introduced into the society.

The other way that art can make it easier for us in everyday life, and at the same time fight against the anti pleasure, anti human morality, against sexism, against pornography, against romanticism, is by showing us eroplay, both with and without sex, and getting us acquainted and comfortable with eroplay. This can be done in all media. Enter erovision. Erotic projects could be made on half inch video tape by individual artists to be sold directly by mail from the artist to the individual viewer. This would avoid the power structures that grow up around big money.

Half inch video, home video, is cheap in materials, editing, and post production, and distribution is much, much cheaper than in any other format. The technical quality is acceptable, and free from the comparison with film or professional three quarter inch video. Home video is the workable channel for any product that the establishment will not touch … or that you don’t want the establishment to touch, hence control. Such is erovideo.

Whether we as artists do eroart to release magically eroplay into the air (such as through performance art) or to show the non sexual way of relating that is eroplay (such as through video or film) … whether we choose to use the sex act or not in our eroart … we must not let our work be defined in relation to pornography. There has been a huge amount of time and energy wasted trying to define and ban pornography. The best way to undermine sexism and pornography is to create an alternative to them. Take back nudity, pleasure, sex, and eroticism from pornography. Show pornography up as being drab, inhuman, unfun by creating a fun, human, happy alternative. Create eroart! This is overstating the case somewhat because you cannot do good eroart if it is in reaction to porn … only if it comes from some warm and playful place, can it be good eroart. Unless we put ourselves — our creativity, our minds, and yes, our bodies — into representing eroart as the humanistic alternative, the pornographer, the sexist, and the moralist will win by default.

A collection of screen captures of the EROART group profile page (thanks to The Wayback Machine):

MARCH 11, 2016
JANUARY 16, 2017
APRIL 8, 2018

Falling Into Skin

by Frank Moore, Thursday, January 10, 2002

Lying here together
Just holding each other
Small, warm,
Smelling each other
Breathing each other in
Breathing life in
Breathing everything in
Taking everything into our bodies
Our body
Breathing life,
All life in, deeply
To our core,
Then breathing pleasure out,
All warmed up,
Breathing warm pleasure
In all life everywhere,
Watering life,
Growing stronger, freer
With every deep breath
Transforming transmuting everything
Into our rose-skin reality
Falling falling falling
Masks falling away
Who we pictured ourselves
Falling away
Just surrender into each other,
Into egoless self within us combined,
Without fear
Trusting the core within us
Skin melting
Nerve-endings pull us in
From within
Rich blood rushes in,
Washing us from within,
Tides within between us
Rocking rubbing on each other
In the sea of skin
Everywhere surrounding us,
Enveloping us
You lay here, me in your mouth
Not going anywhere
Just slight movement
To keep arouse pleasure alive
Beyond time
Before separation,
Before birth and death
A calm excitement
Of being together
Being within,
Not being between

There is a draining,
A releasing of surface tension
Skin pales
As everything flows deeper
To the core
Everything gets slower,
Warm cool
Beats melt together
Warm wax colors flow in veins
We get too small,
We become invisible
Rubbing rocking me
From your belly button
In between
Absorbing everything
Into our grooved smallness
Into the life code of change
Where we play
Unseen, unknown
Rocking small, pale
Without fear
Into the cool tickling grass
Sinking into cool slippery mud
Getting dirty
Following the roots
Downward into cracks
In hard cold rocks
Breaking them open
Revealing hidden meanings
Breaking through to underground ocean
Of dark invisible matter,
Warm satin which seeks out
All space,
Seeks out all skin,
Becoming/enfolding our body
Filling everything
So small
That we plunge into the molten core,
Into subatomic center beyond space
Into solar explosion deep
in the universal everywhere
breathing spiraling warm change
in and out deeply
as we lie here
smelling the sweet sweat
of our very human bodies

“Linda and Frank”, digital painting, 2008 by Frank Moore

From the book, Skin Passion: poems and paintings by Frank Moore.

about play (playing)

By Frank Moore, May 1, 1995, from his book, Cherotic Magic.

Enjoying playing unlocked every possibility.

Schechner defines performance as “ritualized behavior conditioned (and) permeated by play.”

We will get technical in this. But we should always remember that at the root, the student comes to the teacher, the audience comes to the performance, the person comes to the bodyplay to be deeply and intimately with a flesh and blood person or a group of flesh and blood people in a way that is usually denied to her in normal polite social life. She comes for touching, holding, rocking, playing, having fun, and healing. This has been usually forgotten under rigid serious rituals, techniques and theories. Again, western medicine is a prime example of this forgetting. But even spiritual methods of healing in our culture have put the rituals and techniques over the playing and fun.

This is why, before we get into the techniques of chero bodyplay, we have to be clear about what we are doing. By doing the apprenticeship, by doing performances, by doing bodyplay, we are calling forth the liminal state of controlled folly. Controlled folly is liminal because it is a combination of the awake reality and dream reality. Rituals make this combination possible.

In the state of controlled folly, the activities of playing and creating fun are intensified and expanded, because rituals take the place of the normal rules, taboos, fears, and inhibitions. This makes it possible to go into the unknown where anything is possible. Ritual is what makes this magical playing safe by giving the playing a living, breathing structure. Playing is only possible within a structure. But when ritual becomes important in itself, rigid and serious, it starts limiting and killing the play and fun. So it is important to remember that the ritual is just the channel of the play and fun.

Playing is a primal state in which things are drained temporarily of their normal meanings. Life goals for a time fade in importance in this state. Tensions and stresses of normal life are safely transmuted into creativity. In play, newness appears. This newness is translated into inspiration, into new ideas, new ways of doing things. The young, both in the higher animals and humans, learn the most through the state of play. Both man and the higher animals use play to transform violent energy into safe acting out. The human mind and civilization were evolved by playing.

In bodyplay, chero is aroused by playing with the body. Fun is created and released by this play into the world directly. Fun is energy focused upon itself, rather than upon some goal. The fun we are talking about in this work is a deep, intense fun that corrects imbalances and induces newness. This kind of fun comes from risk taking and work. This deep fun feels very different from the surface, light, fast fun of the world of politeness, glamour, romance, and social rules.

Through bodyplay, erour is slowly reached by calling forth chero in all parts of the body by eroplaying. This is true not only in the “receiver,” but also in the “healer.” Moreover, through the energy released through these magical sessions, a collective social erour is gradually created for the general world. This is the ultimate reason for this work. The chero released as focused fun “writes” upon the place in which this magical play is performed. It transforms the place into a magical site. The more play is done in a place, the more chero is stored in the physical site. The more chero that is contained in a physical site, the easier it is to perform more intense play.

Cherotic bodyplay releases, frees, creates new possibilities. This is true for the people who are actually directly playing together. But this is also true for the society, the people, the world, the outer reality surrounding the eroplaying people. This makes bodyplay not just an individual problem solving therapy. Instead, it is a playful but powerful ritual that has effects on many different levels. There is a danger in focusing too much on what it will do for the individual, how it will affect his life, what does it mean in terms of his life, how it will help him. This kind of focus can turn bodyplay into encouraging individualism which keeps the person in the prison of fragmentation.

To be successful, bodyplay has to be intensely personal between the playing people, but should not be individualistic. It should not push the people inward onto their “selves.” Bodyplay should expand them outward into others.

Front page of the handout which was on display and available to take for free at performances. Drawing by LaBash.
Handouts on display at a performance.

Download the handout here: