The Frank Moore Archives

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

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Author: mikeelabash (page 1 of 8)

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.

Wrapping/Rocking, Denver 1987

Frank performed “Wrapping/Rocking” as part of the “Masters of the Mind – San Francisco Performance Artists” weekend at the Art Department Gallery in Denver in 1987. Mark Pauline, of Survival Research Laboratories, performed on the second night.

Karen Briede’s Art Department Gallery was part of her work/living space where she also did hairdressing.

Below is the letter that Frank wrote to Cecilie, a local person who Karen had found to perform with Frank as part of his cast. This was the first time that Frank described “Wrapping/Rocking” in written form.

You can read the poem, “Wrapping/Rocking” here.


Frank Moore
1812 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94703
(415)540-0907
April 13

Dear Cecilie,

Karen of the Art Department Gallery said you will be in my performance, Wrapping/Rocking, on May 8. I am glad to have you on board. She also said you had at least one other person to be a dancer. Because of changes in the piece, we need 2 to 3 additional nude dancers (that makes a total of 4 to 5 nude dancers plus you). Could you help Karen to get these?

I will get the times and dates out of the way, then get to the meat of the piece.

Linda and I get to Denver Tuesday afternoon the 5th. I want to get together with you and the dancers Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for 2-4 hours. On Friday, we will meet at the Gallery at 6 P.M. to put our body make-up on before the performance. Would you pass this information on to the dancers? Also, would you call us Tuesday night at the Art Department (303 892-0352) to confirm the rehearsals?

I am enclosing the poem which Linda will read over and over throughout the piece.

As the piece begins, I am lying on a mat. You are bending over me, rocking. Your nude body brushes over me in this dance to the live drums beating. Although our bodies are always in physical contact during this dance, our bodies will be only barely touching.

During this dance, the nude, body-painted dancers will greet each person at the door, will perform a ritual of kissing and washing of feet, give him Somala (a magical potion) and then will lead him to his special sitting spot on the floor near us.

When the last is seated, the dancers will lift each of us onto the lap of an audience member. There we wait as they replace the mat with my wheelchair. The dancers will then lift me into the chair and you onto my lap.

We start rocking together, moving together. We start making sounds together. The live music will respond to our sounds and movement. The dancers move slowly round us in a sensual ritual. Slides start being projected onto our nude bodies. Linda starts reading the poem.

Our movements, our rocking, and our sounds should cover the range of emotions of the poem … sometimes comforting and child-like, sometimes suffering and in pain … magical … sexual … insane … etc. But never linear, one emotion should not lead to another, but just flow out of us. In this way, our rocking and sounds will become a chant that will put the audience into a magical trance.

As the poem is being read over and over, the dancers will slowly create a web of ribbon, cellophane, toilet paper, and tin foil … ultimately connecting, wrapping, everyone up together.

The end will be us sitting nude in soft light in the remains of the web, talking with the audience.
In rehearsals, we will not go through the entire piece. We will focus on getting comfortable with each other, and on exploring sounds and movements which we will use.

Hope I have given you the feeling of the piece and of what will be involved. If you have any questions, feel free to call me. Is there a number where we can reach you?

I am looking forward to working with you.

All yours,

Frank Moore

Press release
Handout
Poster

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.

Early Paintings

Here is a collection of Frank’s early oil paintings. We only know the dates they were painted for a couple of them. (Frank said he started painting in high school.) Frank painted with a brush attached to a hard hat.

Frank’s first painting, on paper, 14″ x 11″.
On paper. 14″ x 11″
Oil on cardboard, 14″ x 10.25″.
Oil on cardboard, 14″ x 10.25″.
Oil on cardboard, 14″ x 10.5″.
Oil on cardboard, 14″ x 10.5″.
Oil on cardboard, 9″ x 11.5″.
Oil on cardboard, 10″ x 13.5″, 1965.
Oil on cardboard, 8.5″ x 13″.
Oil on canvas board, 10″ x 8″.
Oil on canvas board, 9″ x 12″.
Oil on canvas board, 12″ x 16″.
Oil on canvas board, 16″ x 12″.
Oil on canvas, 12″ x 14″.
Oil on canvas board, 12″ x 16″.
“The First Rebel”, oil on canvas board, 12″ x 15″, 1966.

More of Frank’s oil and digital paintings can be viewed here: https://eroplay.com/Cave/paintings/index.html

Frank painting his self-portrait in New York City, circa 1974.

New Frank Moore Films Minisite

We have put together a new minisite featuring all of the films that Frank either wrote, directed, acted in and/or edited.

https://eroplay.com/frankmoorefilms/

Below are some notes about each of the films.


Fairytales Can Come True

1981. Written by Frank. Directed by Frank and Greg Rickman. Edited by Frank at CCAC in Oakland, California.

Frank wrote:

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.

VHS tape box artwork

Feisto

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.

Feisto movie poster

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

Poster for screening at ATA.

Erotic Play

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!

DVD jewel case inserts

Outrageous Dream

1984. Edited by Frank with the same method as EROTIC PLAY.

VHS tape box artwork

The Nude Cave

1984. Also edited with the same method as EROTIC PLAY.

Frank wrote:

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!

Frank creating the soundtrack for The Nude Cave.
VHS tape box artwork

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.

VHS tape box artwork

Chero Collage

1992. Edited by Frank at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley.

“2nd Place – Documentary”—East Bay Video Festival

VHS tape box artwork

The Outrageous Horror Show

1992. Also edited at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley.

VHS tape box artwork

Internet Archive is the new home for Frank’s videos

Frank Moore’s videos are now being uploaded to the Internet Archive, http://archive.org

They can be found on the Internet Archive here as they are uploaded: https://archive.org/details/frank-moore-archives

As they go up on the Internet Archive, we will put them back up where they are missing on this blog and on Frank’s website, https://www.eroplay.com/

Poetry Bash, Fort Mason, San Francisco 1988.
Photo by Linda Mac.

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/.

Frank Moore’s Vimeo account was terminated!

On Wednesday August 21, 2019, Vimeo abruptly terminated Frank’s account for violating their “guidelines”.

Frank had over 700 videos in his account that we have been uploading on a weekly basis for over eight years. His videos had over 33 million plays on Vimeo.com.

It will take us a while to get them all back up at a new place … but they will slowly start appearing on the site again as we upload them to their new home!

The other casualty of Frank’s account being terminated is the Vimeo group that Frank created called Nude Performance Art Dance and Video – EROART. This was one of the largest groups on Vimeo with over 14,000 members. It was part of the collateral damage of Vimeo terminating Frank’s account.