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

Category: Miscellaneous (page 1 of 7)

Karen Finley Letter

We never got the gig ….

July 8, 87

Dear New Langton Arts,

          Frank Moore asked me to write a recommendation for him to you in helping in his selection at N.L.A. It is my pleasure to do so.

I deeply recommend Frank Moore’s work. Why?

  1. He breaks the current, popular acceptances of time length for performance art.
  2. Through his encounters, makes the audience, participants realize that touching nonsexually is still taboo in our cool, knowing 1987.
  3. Puts humour in place of pity for acknowledging his handicap. And that our handicap (The audience’s) is our preconceived notion to the limits of his world.
  4. His spirit and positiveness of not being a victim to his condition is a precious philosophy to make art by.

After seeing Frank at Franklin Furnace I felt uncomfortable, ill at ease, & oh no, no touchee feelie for me – Wow, I can’t give a complement like that to many artists!

I hope you find a way to present Frank Moore’s work.

Best, Karen Finley



By Crag Hill

This was a night for statement. An artist had been locked out. Because he was too old-fashioned? But why were ninety percent of the people passing by Frank Moore’s performance outside The Lab reacting as if they have never seen any of this before? Who is the audience? Other artists? Art hobbyists? An initiated elite? He was too old-fashioned for whom? Too avant-garde for whom? Too famous for whom? The fact was the performance of Frank Moore’s group (and others whom I will mention shortly) shredded the boundaries of what one does in public, what one does on the street. They were dressed in tights and sweat-clothes with holes cut in them for easy access while skin-drumming. Who does this business-as-usual? There was touch, sound, and sight (for all you addicts of visual stimulus, the performers were painted and/or wore painted clothing), but it was not an everyday touch or sound or sight; it was an intimate touch, an ecstatic sound (a harmonic pitch almost sexual, but something even more satisfying), a welcome sight. The overall effect of Moore’s group was a breaking down of separation, a drawing together. Those who were courageous enough to be present, to stay present, became equal with everyone else, not one, yet closer. Who cares if it’s “art”? It was genuine. At its best it far transcended aesthetic pretensions and all that flapdoodle. I might call it spiritual if that word weren’t so smudged. It activated parts of personal humanity that usually lie dormant, ignored, discouraged, and repressed. Frank Moore’s performance might have been cancelled by this venue, but that was only yet another obstacle for Moore to leap. If you know anything about him, as a victim of cerebral palsy, you are amazed at his leaps. If you’re not, let this quote from the Village Voice serve as an introduction: “In performance, Moore takes advantage of his disadvantage, becoming an unlikely guide into the pleasures of the body, taking audiences places they would probably never go without the example of his vulnerability and trust….that Moore would be the one urging us to stay connected with our physical selves is both ironic and poetic….”

Also appearing on the bill (on the street) were The Outpatients, Jack and Adelle Foley, and Jesse Beagle. The Outpatients protested with a picket march, chanting “All we are saying is give brains a chance,” and a rollcall of lobotomies with an extra emphasis on “art-scene lobotomy.” They topped off their appearance with an energetic version of “Mennonite Surf Party,” which included a searing Rock-and-Roll riff on classical guitar by Tom Hamill.

Jack Foley, appropriately, read his poem “Nightmare,” which is dedicated to the man who tackled him as he read his poetry in a San Francisco gallery. He too knows the thoughtless knocks, the censorship, of an often selfish art world. He also read a chorus or two with Adelle Foley, keeping the street charged with energy.

Jesse Beagle also contributed appropriately to the demonstration/performance. She sang a couple of songs with the spirit, the spunk, of protest, and read a trenchant commentary on Frank Moore’s Café Milano (Berkeley) performance. In effect, she berated the café-goers for their passivity; they only became interested in Moore’s performance when they heard the moaning sounds, and, taking two stairs at a time, only then did they try to peek.

All in all, these people responded strongly, cohesively, to the lockout of Moore. Frank Moore came to do what he had been invited to do (before The Lab cancelled for spurious reasons—they were rude to boot), but on this occasion, on Divisadero, it seemed to have an extra charge. The Lab missed out, but fortunately many people on the street did not.

SCORE REVIEW is a forum for ideas on books, performance, elections, and what not. It appears when it has something to appear with—contributions are welcome and needed. Oakland, California.

Photos from the performance outside The Lab.

The original newsletter

And of course, as everybody knows who has ever played at games, the ones that are the most fun – to lose as well as win – are the ones that are the hardest, with the most complicated, even dangerous, tasks to accomplish. And so it is that artists are generally not content, either in the Orient or in the Occident, with doing merely simple things – and much soon becomes simple for an artist that for the rest of us would be difficult. The artist seeks the challenge, the difficult thing to do; for his basic approach to life is not of work but of play.”

Joseph Campbell, MYTHS TO LIVE BY, page 126.


Saturday March 7, 1992, FauxReal, Oakland, California.

Flier for the performance by LaBash

I, STAVROS experienced a unique event, in which I was shamanized by Frank Moore at an event billed as the “Passions Play.” I met Frank on GEnie, where I learned that Frank Moore had been investigated by Jesse Helms. I was intrigued with Frank’s posts about his Shamanistic Art, and when the opportunity came for me to attend his Passions Play, I couldn’t resist. I had to go to find out what a Shaman was and what he did.

On Saturday March 7, I drove to Oakland, to an artist studio located on the waterfront near Jack London Square. I knew at once that I was at the right place when I saw a woman standing in front of a building with a blanket. Frank had instructed us to bring a blanket.

I entered the studio where I could hear a man singing. It was a chant and his voice would move from high tones down to low ones, as he periodically slapped his body to the mantra he was singing. He was naked. His body was covered only with body paint, as were two other painted men, who walked around those of us sitting on the floor. They moved ever so gracefully and ever so slowly.

After about a half hour or more, one of the men came up to people sitting on the floor and ask them if they wished to be prepared to see the shaman, who was in his cave. The cave was behind the curtain in the front of the room. At this point, one couple decided this wasn’t for them and they left the room, never to experience the visit to the shaman.

Those that elected to go were taken in pairs. They were first blindfolded. Before they were led to the front of the room, where the entrance to the cave was situated, they were kissed on both cheeks.

We could hear weird sounds coming from the shaman in the cave. A very beautiful naked woman, who was also decorated with body paint came out of the cave. She walked up to the blindfolded participant and gave instructions. They were given a cup containing a magical formula, which tasted mysteriously like water. This, they were told, would release their inhibitions. Then they were taken to the cave.

Some would come back sooner than others. Some came back naked, others fully dressed. One young man hadn’t come out yet, when it was my turn. He was one of the first to go in. After drinking the magic formula I was lead into the cave. My instructions were not to speak in words and only in sounds.

When I left the cave I was instructed to go back to my nest and not to reveal what had happened in there. And I will not break that word even for this review.

After I came out, I was asked by an elderly gentleman if it was a positive experience. I gave him a thumbs up. Later, when he came out he gave me the thumbs up sign.

After all had entered the cave and returned to their nests, we prepared to see the shaman. Until this moment I had touched Frank Moore and had written to him on GEnie but I had never seen him.

The Shaman enters and he is placed naked in a wheelchair. Before my very eyes is that great intellect I have come to respect on the GEnie Bulletin Boards.

Then to the tune of music, he made the most God awful animal sounds and grunts. There was a happy smile on his face. I had read other reviews of his work, where they refer to Frank’s grotesque body, but I couldn’t see the grotesqueness. I saw a very happy person.

Frank was later strapped into the wheelchair. They placed a head band on his head, which had a pointer attached to it. In front of him there was a word board. Frank, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, couldn’t control the muscles of 90% of his body. He cannot speak and using the only muscles he can control, his neck muscles, he communicated to us much like he communicates on GEnie, only using the word board instead of a keyboard. It’s his survival in this state, as a happy being, that gives him the power to be a shaman.

We then followed his instructions and prepared to die, so we could be reborn. As I laid on the floor, death visited me and took off my clothes. I was prepared to be reborn. About 40 naked bodies huddled together in the center of the room. It was a cool evening and the body warmth of skin against skin brought warmth to each of us in our bodies and in our hearts. A group of adult men and women were playfully pretending that they were these creatures of evolution. Bodies were rubbing against bodies. Not since I was a naked babe, have I remembered my sense of touch being so fulfilled. My cup of the delight of touch had runneth over. We were single cell beings, multiple cells, seaweed, ants, birds, and other creatures until we evolved to that human form of a child, who was ready for eroplay.

Eroplay is a word coined by Frank Moore. It is a non-sexual but erotic playing. Unlike sex there is no climax. Magically, we were brought to the place where we were ready to be taught eroplay.

We were broken up randomly, mostly into pairs, but some in threesomes. The pairs would be a man and a woman, two men, or two women. At random times we were randomly moved to different partners. We received random instructions to rub your belly, or rub your partner’s belly. Rub cheeks. Rub butts. Lay on top of your partner touching their whole body with your whole body. Embrace and rock back and forth. Touch genitals.

Then we watched the great shaman perform the most erotic eroplay with a woman. In all my life I never have seen anything as erotic, as that woman playing with Frank. We were mesmerized, as he played with her. Strobe lights flashed as assistants came out and covered us with Saran Wrap and foil. It was a sight to behold, as we engaged in spontaneous eroplay under a blanket of wrap, which connected us all. By the end of the evening I found myself filled to capacity with the child-like eroplay. It transformed me to another world. I broke taboos I never dreamed of breaking. It felt good. It was a safe place for all of us.

I said good-bye to the shaman at about 3 AM. As I was ready to leave I stopped to watch three men engaged in eroplay. It was beautiful. I felt beautiful, the shaman was beautiful. I exited the magical cave and entered the world of taboos, left with the memory of a magical experience that will be with me forever.

Thus Stavros was shamanized.

Frank Moore – Out of Isolation, INTERDREAM

A piece written by Veronica Vera that was published in High Performance magazine, #53, Spring 1991.

Frank Moore communicates his world to his audience. It is a slow world built on trust. Because for a “crip” (Moore’s word to describe his cerebral palsy), time is elongated and things happen through cooperation. Frank Moore cannot move a distance of five feet on his own, but he can lead an audience by giant leaps through innerspace.

Out Of Isolation, Moore’s simple two-character video at The Kitchen, described the initial meeting and subsequent week of physical therapy between a spastic (Moore) and his nurse (Linda Sibeo). At first the patient was unresponsive to the nurse’s well-meaning but torturous, by-the-book approach: pulling at his limbs, massaging him with ice cubes and bristly paint brushes, petting and swatting him as she would a dog. Occasionally, she revealed a personal side, using the patient as her confidant. She decided to return on the weekend to pay him a non-professional visit, and by the end of the visit, they lay naked together, cuddling, sharing. Not only has the patient come out of isolation, but so has the nurse.

This is the pivotal message of every Frank Moore performance: that physical interaction—the sharing of energy, the sensual “eroplay”—is essential to life, and the more we strip it down to its basic level, the more we benefit from the force of the interaction.

That same weekend, Frank Moore and Chero company presented INTERDREAM as part of New York University’s “New Pathways For Performance” conference. Body painting, massage, primal music, chanted poetry—INTERDREAM contained all of Moore’s favorite methods of communication, including the shaman’s tent where he lay naked ready to receive audience members, collaborators, who chose to go deeper into the cave. Among the audience were members of “Disabled in Action” and “Artists With Disabilities. Inc.” They greeted his performance with enthusiasm, and contributed to bridging the gap between artist and audience.

Because I had performed with Frank Moore twice, I thought that if I entered the cave as merely one of the audience members, I might feel a let down. Blindfolded, I was led to a clear space on the shaman’s mat. I reached out and felt bodies, some clothed, some bare-skinned beneath my fingers. My clothes were a barrier, so I removed my blouse and bra. I felt Frank, his thick tongue and glasses, then I felt a woman’s breasts, legs and arms, and I couldn’t tell where one person ended and another one began. I lay with the god Shiva, half-man, half-woman, cradled by warm human flesh, so vulnerable, yet so safe. And then I began to cry. I cried my way out of isolation.

—Veronica Vera

Out of Isolation was presented at The Kitchen in New York City, October 6, 1990. INTERDREAM was presented at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, as part of “New Pathways In Performance,” October 7, 1990.

Veronica Vera is a literary artist. She is creator of The Theory of Sexual Evolution.

The article as published in High Performance. Photo by Eric Kroll.
Poster by LaBash.
The cover of the issue of High Performance that the article was published in.


New York City, circa 1974

From How To Handle an Anthropologist, Session 13, February 27, 1998, Nonfilms

Russell: So you were selling newspapers?

Frank: Yes. Really people just gave me money.

Russell: You mean they didn’t buy newspapers?

Frank: (makes “yes” sound) Or tip me.

Russell: So the money was just … what was the money for?

Frank: It was just for me.

Russell: They were just being kind or generous?

Frank: It varied. Like some people did not even look at me.

Russell: Most people didn’t give a damn, right?

Frank: The poor give because they like me.

Russell: You mean poor people?

Frank: They are who give the most.

Russell: So did you feel weird about people giving you money or did you not? Just accept it?

Frank: Yes. Because on one level it serves a function for people to be able to give, and on another level I was never there mainly for the money. I was people watching and people fishing.

Russell: On another level you also needed money.

Frank: But if that is your main reason then they feel that.

Russell: You weren’t there for money because you didn’t want them to feel it?

Frank: No. The reverse. (laughs)

Russell: Even if you had not needed money you would have been there?

Frank: Yes. Which has been the case most of the time.

Russell: Was this the first time?

Frank: Yes.

Russell: Is that what led you into the possibilities of that, of being there?

Frank: Yes. Like I have always people watched. This was more interactive.

Russell: And you were OK with the interactions?

Frank: Yes.

Russell: I am only saying that because of many people, disabled people among them, who have been in that situation. You understand my point?

Frank: Why?

Russell: I have no judgment on it myself but I think there might be many disabled people who might feel that you were perhaps leaning on past images or perceptions of disability, and not being on the forefront of new roles and images for people with disabilities. Now, like I said, it’s all a construction to me, but many people load it valuably.

Frank: (laughs) Well at that time I was wearing a jean skirt. (laughs)

Russell: So? What does that mean? What are you saying?

Frank: Not the old image.

Russell: But clothing sometimes detracts from images, as you’re well aware of.

Frank: Seriously, what you put out affects the image.

Russell: Yeah, but intent and role in clothing, I don’t see where it could affect it. We’re going too far off here, this philosophical …

Frank: I was joking.

Russell: (laughs) OK. But you still need to give me something in terms of your reasoning and intent around that issue.

Frank: What issue?

Russell: The issue of your difference from the way many people would view that situation.

Frank: If I thought it was demeaning I would not do it.

Russell: I have no doubt, but at some point, maybe in a more general discussion not connected to any particular incident or period, I want to bring up this idea again. For one, because I think you have something important to contribute on the subject, I think you have a lot to contribute on that subject. You could provide insight. So, it’s not just my obstinance.

Frank: Like the real old image is crips should be at home or in some out of sight place, or when they are on the street they are in a desperate situation. I was not in either of those. I was living a life in the outside world.

Russell: My image was the image of the disabled beggar. People in medieval times would even disable themselves so that they could beg for food. That’s the image that I’m talking about, that a lot of people try to distance themselves from. What is the difference in your thinking?

Frank: But why? Like if the crip did it to survive, that is a strong person.

Russell: You’re getting into dynamics of the person existing and doing what it takes. They may be changing or trying to change that image to fit the sociopolitical situation today.

Frank: They should celebrate those people.

Russell: I’m not sure about celebrating. I think they accept them but again want to get away from that kind of image in the sociopolitical environment today. I have the unusual ability to be able to see everybody’s point of view about everything. (laughs)

It causes me a lot of problems sometimes but ultimately I think it’s good for the kind of work that I’m doing.

Frank: And in the hippy culture in the 1970s panhandling was an acceptable way of making money. Like hitchhiking was normal.

Russell: I also understand it was different times. I also wanted to see what you felt about that point of mine, what I brought up, because I think it’s important to get at the gist of what different people are about in terms of their orientations and what acts they feel comfortable and uncomfortable doing. Again, different times and sometimes the pressures of accepting all the principles of some doctrine can be pretty authoritarian.

Frank: Like a lot of people said crips should not be on a stage.

Russell: So you didn’t listen to them. (laughs)

Frank: Who was crips? (laughs)

Russell: Right. Where were we? (laughs) We got off on a good tangent there. I like those tangents. (laughs)

Frank: When someone stopped to talk it got deep.

Russell: So you got into a lot of discussions.

Frank: And that is how a rich woman asked me if I would paint her.

Russell: You said during the discussion that you painted, and she asked you to paint her.

Frank: (makes “yes” sound) She came to our house to see my paintings, but wanted me to paint her at her house.

Russell: So what happened?

Frank: We took my stuff to her big house. (laughs) She took her clothes off. A light went on in my head.

Russell: So you weren’t expecting her to take her clothes off?

Frank: No. It was the first time I painted a live person.

Russell: So when you say a light went off you mean that this was something to get into, expand on?

Frank: Yes. That art gives people an excuse or a context to do what they would not normally do. I did see that in class. But the class context may have been operating but this was just a start. So I started doing nonfilms.



photos by Mary Sullivan

Personal Theater

EST was very popular in the Bay Area around the time that Frank did the Personal Theater:
It was in this context that Frank did the Personal Theater.


“Personal Theater dares you to take the ultimate trip. Everything you want within 48 hours or your money back. DARE YOU! IF YOU’VE TRIED EST, TM, PRIMAL, ERICA, SILVA MIND CONTROL, GESTALT, SCIENTOLOGY, SEX, DRUGS, POLITICS, ALCOHOL, MONEY AND YOU HAVEN’T GOT EVERYTHING YOU WANT, WELL …”

COREY: Did you get calls from these?


COREY: When was this?

FRANK: Mid-70s to late.

“Personal theater: Are you willing to get everything you want?”

“To get a way to be a rock star
To quit smoking
To stop feeling inferior
To stop trying to prove myself
To feel good consistently
To be open and close with people …”

(That was a list of someone who did a process.)

“To feel satisfied with regard to sex
To not let anger get in my way
To make a decision about having a baby
To stop drinking
To stop overeating
To be happy
To not be alone
To get a way to be a rock star
To not be scared
To stop being bitchy and defensive.”

COREY: How many people did the 48 hour processes?

FRANK: We did a couple of group processes, but besides them, maybe eight.

“PERSONAL THEATER: “What do you really want? What is everything you want, really want? The personal theater is about getting everything you want…

“The first step in getting what you want is knowing what you want and knowing what your priorities are …”

FRANK: In fact, it is eighty percent.

(So when Frank had the person make a list and he went through it with them before the process to define their goals, that was like most of it, eighty percent, just seeing what they really wanted …)

“Most people go around with vague feelings of dissatisfaction. They can always tell you in very concrete terms what they do not want, but they can not pin down exactly what would make them satisfied.”

FRANK: Whereas I always know what I want.

“You cannot focus on getting something that you are at best just vaguely aware of. Beyond not knowing what their real personal wants and needs are, the next common block to getting everything is either not knowing what their priorities are or not acting according to their priorities. Most people settle. Most people flow on the path of what looks like least resistance. Most people give themselves space to not really do what they want to do. Not really be what they want to be, not have what they really want. So they settle for being a bitch. It takes less work than being happy. They settle for buying a house rather than making their relationships work. Everyone knows how to buy a house, it just takes years of work to get the money, and then maybe the house will be the right setting for their relationship. It never works. After years of work chances are they are still working to pay the mortgage and still are not satisfied. The irony is that if they had focused on their highest priority, their relationship, the house would have been much easier to get.”

“This is why Personal Theater offers a special six-hour seminar that enables you to define concretely what your goals are, what your order of priorities is and what your basic life theme is. All you need for this seminar is the willingness to be honest with yourself. After this seminar, if you act consistently according to your priorities, you will have a better chance of getting everything you want. The goal seminar is led by Frank Moore and costs 20 dollars. The goal seminar is designed for everyone, but the Personal Theater also offers a 48 hour process as a very intense way for you to focus on getting everything you want. Mr. Moore and his staff create a fantastic and at times surreal 48 hour experience suited to each individual’s personality in which you are led to realize what you need to do to achieve your goals and then are pushed to do it.”

“Let’s back up and see what this really means. In the Personal Theater, unlike most growth or therapy situations there is no pre-fabricated structure or process. The experience is totally built around you and your goals. This is especially true in the single process in which you are the sole focus of attention. But it is also true in the group process which contains no more than five people and has the added dimension of inter-relationships. No getting lost, or hiding in a crowd of hundreds of people. For the 48 hour Mr. Moore and his staff will be intimately involved with you. Unlike EST, there is no vague “it” to get. You come into the process to work on getting the concrete goals on your list. You will know when and if you have gotten a certain goal because you will have made it concrete and therefore testable before starting the process. The process is not therapy. It is not focused on what is wrong with you. You will be focusing on getting what you want and being what you want to be. If this means dealing with and resolving certain problems, that may be a part of the process. Although Mr. Moore sometimes leads the person back into his past, the process does not lay emphasis on why you do not have what you want, but rather on getting and keeping what you want. The Personal Theater has an amazing track record. Everyone who has gone through the process has felt they have gotten at least a large number of their goals by the end of the 48 hours. Moreover, most people who have gone through the process have said they realized all of the goals on their list by the end of the 48 hours. Some have realized all of their listed goals in as quickly as 30 hours, leaving 18 hours to work on new goals. There is no limit to how many goals you can have on your list. One woman had 22 goals. She realized all of these within 32 hours. One man achieved the only goal on his list: to have fun. Some of the other goals which people have achieved during the process are:”

(This is where the list is {above})

“The process is a 48 hour intense push, a giant kick in your life to get you out of your ruts. Mr. Moore will include things in your process that expand you beyond the limits that are keeping you from what you want. This pressure at times will not be comfortable. Are you willing to be pushed to get what you want? The entire success of your process will depend on your willingness to be pushed beyond your limits. The process may include things you might rather not look at, rather not do. But everything in the process is designed to get you your goals. Everything is designed around you. But it is like a roller coaster. Every time Mr. Moore pushes you beyond your limits, your first impulse might be to resist out of fear. But if you remember that it is possible for you to do everything in your process, you can enjoy the dips and the loop-the-loops on this 48 hour ride. Although you can stop this ride at any time to resist, there is only one track to the end, down the deep dips and around the loop-the-loops.”

“You have to reach the end of the ride to get everything you want. Mr. Moore will work with you when you stop by resisting to get you started again and will speed up the remainder of the ride so you can get to the end in time. But if you use your 48 hours in resisting, you will get only what you have gotten to. Mr. Moore takes responsibility for designing the 48 hour experience and guiding you through this experience. This is what you will be paying for. But if you do not take the responsibility to let Mr. Moore guide you through the entire process, you will not get everything you pay for. It is that simple.”

“Your 48 hour experience may include activities ranging from magic, impromptu plays and dances to reliving your childhood or relationship counseling. People within your life may be called into your process. Your process may take you to different places, such as cafes and discos. It may even include extremely mundane, non-glamorous tasks such as scrubbing the floor, or taking one step every three seconds.”

“In short, it may include anything and everything that will get you what you want. It will include things that you may not understand until after your process. It will not include sex or violence.”

“There are three ways to do the process. The single process may be the most intense way, because Mr. Moore and his staff focus entirely on you. A single process costs 700 dollars. There is the relationship process in which two people who have a relationship together, be it a marriage or a friendship or a business relationship, work on their personal goals, but also on their goals within and for the relationship. This costs 400 dollars per person. Mr. Moore and his staff do a group process in which up to five people are in their individual processes at the same time. These individual processes are played off one another. The cost to do a group process is 300 dollars per person. Basically the Personal Theater seeks to draw each individual into a slow and peaceful world in which he can experience freedom and closeness with others. The Personal Theater is a part of Inter-Relations Incorporated, a non-profit organization which also offers individual and relationship counseling and workshops in personal closeness.”

FRANK: Amazing how much we have done.

COREY: Were there any kind of records kept of the processes?

FRANK: Slides and tapes.

Postcard-size handout
The Personal Theater handout
The contract the person signed before the process.

Frank’s letter to the IRS

In 1995 and 1996, as part of his apprenticeship with Frank, Corey Nicholl recorded a box full of cassette tapes titled, “The Frank Moore History Tapes”. Because Corey had studied history in college, Frank set Corey to the task of writing Frank’s biography. These tapes were recorded as the source material for that biography. Needless to say it was never written. About 75% of the tapes were transcribed around the time they were recorded and we are now in the process of transcribing the remainder. We are also digitizing all of the tapes to eventually be uploaded to Frank’s collection on The Internet Archive. We are going to publish the raw transcripts as a multi-volume set of very small run hardcover books.

As we go through them, there are many gems …. Here is one from FRANK MOORE HISTORY TAPES – VOLUME 1, pg.  27.

Frank’s letter to Jean Gessey (sp.) showing that that Inter-Relations qualifies as a Church …

I, as the Church representative, am frankly confused by your letter denying the Church of Inter-Relations Church classification. You stated that our doctrines are not religious because there is no “parallel to that filled by god in traditional religion.” I do not know by what standards you are basing this statement. I can only state as clearly as I can the beliefs that I and the other 30 church members live by. If the following does not satisfy you that the Church of Inter-Relations more than meets the threshold requirement for classification as a Church, then I for the Church protest such a ruling and request a conference in your San Francisco office.

Human melting/personal closeness is the ultimate motivation in my and the church members lives, therefore human melting/personal closeness is the ultimate force in our lives. That manifests itself in our lives as the center theme, the highest priority, the deepest need. This is proved by the enclosed statements by many church members. In traditional religions there is the statement, “God is love.” We have the same concept, but we have pulled it down into the concrete plane. We believe the supreme force is the ever deepening closeness. We devote our lives to that closeness. We put that before anything else, before jobs, before personal ambitions, before petty wants. We have committed ourselves to fulfill one another’s needs and to get close to anyone who is willing to get close. Hence we are directed, not by our own personal judgments, but by that unromantic willingness and devotion to closeness …

The Frank Moore History Tapes

Looking For Moore

Performance artist, guru, shaman and activist Frank Moore opens the door to life’s possibilities.

By Cathleen Loud

Burnt Ramen
Burnt Ramen, Richmond, California, 2006.

You approach the entrance of the Burnt Ramen, an old warehouse-turned-performance- venue near the railroad tracks at 111 Espee Avenue in Richmond, Calif. There is a nervous, excited energy rumbling in your stomach. This is your first Frank Moore performance. You’re intimidated. You’ve heard about this guy and his performances with the Cherotic All-Star Band and you’ve seen the fliers posted around San Francisco, flapping in the wind. You’ve heard about the nudity, the exploration, the lack of political correctness, the delight, the tackiness but you’re still not quite sure what to expect once you cross the threshold into the unknown world. Challenged by curiosity, you grab the handle of the door, about ready to charge in when you notice the following sign is posted: “Warning! Enter at your own risk! This piece may be threatening to your everyday reality. This piece may cause questioning of the common reality. These symptoms may appear days after the piece, without warning… Even during the piece, you may feel as if nothing is happening…or you may even enjoy it. But, the above symptoms may still appear, leading to restlessness and even radical change.”

You take a deep breath, lower your head and walk in. The door slams closed behind you as you enter Moore’s Web of All Possibilities.

Born with cerebral palsy and unable to walk or talk, Moore believes he was born a lucky guy. Until the age of 17, he lived shut out from the rest of the world because he couldn’t communicate and because his negative attitudes and low self-image alienated him. So, at age 17, he invented a head pointer and a board with words and phrases on it. He learned to speak by pointing to the words and phrases on the board. (He still communicates this way today.) It took patience on his part and the part of the listener to have a conversation but, at last, he could communicate!

His next battle was to overcome his low self-image. He was allowing the society’s expectation of what a “crippled” person should be, to shape his reality. Society’s expectation was winning. But not for long.

Around age 28, Moore’s life turned. Something happened that made him look at the way he viewed himself. He couldn’t get laid! Women viewed him as “the nice guy,” the guy who would listen and give advice, but never the guy who they wanted to have sex with. He accepted this because he thought it wasn’t right to burden a girl with his ugly body. Eventually, after one more failed relationship, Moore had had enough. He had identified himself for too long with a reality that thought of him as ugly, unfortunate or “crippled.” He wasn’t happy. He decided he could either accept the “reality” of his ugly body and an asexual role he played or he could change the way he thought about himself. He wanted to be happy and beautiful, and not feel like a burden to anyone. So, he started to believe he was a beautiful human being. He didn’t think of his “crippled” body as a burden; he viewed it as a tool. He viewed it as the mark of a shaman. Historically, the gods marked shamans by their deformities or abnormalities, to set them apart from the rest of the tribe. They would bring back messages for the greater good or to heal those in need.

Physically, Moore could do things with his body that most people can’t. He could bend, move, twist and contort himself. Socially, he could break the norm. The possibilities before him were endless as he was without the fear of living up to any expectations. “I was never under any pressure to be good at anything, to make money, to make it in ‘the real world’, [or] to be polished. I could focus on having fun, on going into taboo areas where magical change can be evoked,” Moore says on his web site, the Web of All Possibilities (www.eroplay.com).

To subvert reality, Moore began creating art in 1965. His first experience was playing with oil paints. Since he was in the business of breaking taboos and pushing limits, nothing was too extreme for him. He’d meet strangers on the street and ask them if he could paint nude pictures of them. Many people agreed and he saw how art allows people to do things that are generally forbidden. There is willingness, he says, to push beyond comfort and safety in art and this openness brings about change.

As he performed the magic of art, more possibilities opened up for him. He began experimenting with different types of theater, performance, and workshops and with shamanism. Shamanistic art includes public and private rituals, audience participation and apprenticeship. It allows people’s dreams to become realities because there are no limits with regards to time or space, no moral guidelines and no rules. With the ideas of normalcy suspended, anything, even magic, can happen. “Frank’s art inspired me and showed me how far it was possible to go in the direction of art as an engulfing experience, and of doing genuine, no-bullshit magic in the modern world,” says Fred Hatt, a visual and performance artist and photographer who has attended many of Moore’s performances and who is also a featured artist on Moore’s web site.

In the mid-1970s, after an unsuccessful all-nude play at California State University, relocating to Santa Fe and New York, and then finally settling in Berkeley, Moore met Linda Mac. Frank rolled into Don Travel, the agency in Calif. where Mac worked. He came right up to her. “The moment I had eye contact with Frank, I ‘saw’ him,” she recalls. He invited her to come to his house because he was casting a play. He wanted her to audition (later, she found out there really was no play). She went to the house, read some of Moore’s writings and she was hooked. “I knew immediately that this is what I had been waiting for,” Mac says. The two have been together, working and playing, for over 25 years.

Moore’s performance experimentation eventually led to the creation of a joyful community based on freedom and closeness. The community was an alternative to the way society isolates people. With an entourage of 30 people- friends, performers and students, Moore and Mac began doing workshops and private performances “just for fun.” These experiences created intimate relationships and altered states among everyone involved. Silliness, hidden fantasy, child’s playfulness and creativity became a part of their normal lives. Public performance pieces evolved from the workshops and private performances. One of the first public performances was a costume parade through the streets of Berkeley. The performers were dressed in elaborate costumes of brightly colored skin paintings and risqué outfits made from net and lace.

In the late ’70s, Moore and his gang, which had now been together for four years, started doing longer ritualistic performances. He created a rock-and-roll cabaret-style show, called the Outrageous Beauty Revue, which ran every Saturday night for 3 years at the Mabuhay Garden Nightclub and various colleges and clubs in San Francisco. Moore describes the O.B.R. as “an unpolished show that flaunted nudity, eroticism and gore in a silly, child-like playfulness — an ever-changing show with pregnant sex symbols, nude girls, crippled rock stars, men as women and women as men without any sexual meaning.” It was outrageous, shocking, and different. On the surface, the performances appeared to be entertainment laced with a kind of shock value. But Moore describes the shows as having a much deeper meaning than just shocking entertainment. They were, in fact, another way in which Moore fought against the societal “norms” of the time.

The community that performed with Moore eventually broke up. He realized, after they tried to incorporate sex into their lives that it was not the answer to the physical connectedness they were searching for. Moore continued to focus on the energy that resulted from the intense, playful, physical involvement he had with them and from this, an important physical aspect to Moore’s work began to evolve. He coined this element “eroplay”. Moore describes eroplay as “intense physical touch and play among adults that is not sexual but has no limits.”

Today, Moore incorporates eroplay in many of his performances. In creating this alternative reality, Moore tries to expand and break down the way sex is viewed in our culture. Says Mac: “Eroplay is a way of having a depth of interaction with someone that is fun. The whole social structure is set up to keep people feeling like they are not free. With eroplay, one has a direct visceral experience of that not being true.” She says eroplay is not about sex, but about people connecting with one another on a very deep level and that it gives people hope. “It feels wonderful to be a part of!” says Teresa Cochran, a performer in the Cherotic All-Star Band and a student of The University of Possibilities, Moore’s shamanistic performance school.

Cochran, who first met Moore at a block party five years ago, remembers the magic she felt the first time that she met him. She told Moore and Mac that she wanted to play music. Of course, they invited her to a jam session! The jam was very improvisational and free form and, while playing, Cochran realized the dynamics between the audience and the performers. There was no distinction between the two. Playing with them and feeling the freedom of expression liberated her. “My stage fright totally disappeared when I saw Frank doing exactly what he wanted to do,” she says. “If he can do whatever he wants to do, I can do whatever I want to do.”

“I saw Frank right away and said ‘This guy knows how to live’,” says Michael Labash who met Moore in 1988. At the time they met, Labash says he was a yuppie, well-dressed, freshly combed hair and not one you’d expect to be open to Moore’s reality. He played in a band called Mr.Dog (which later became the Counting Crows). At one particular performance he met a woman named Leigh Gates who happened to be one of Moore’s apprentices. After talking with Gates for some time after the show, she invited him to read some of Moore’s writings. He said when he read them “the floor fell out from under my world.” A few weeks later, Labash attended a small gig of Moore’s at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley. “I sat there with my mouth open the whole time. I had never seen anything like it. Nude bodies, Frank singing, saran wrap. It was wild,” he says. Not much later after the record store gig he attended a 12-hour performance and also got to meet with Moore. After a few meetings, Labash decided to quit Mr.Dog. He realized that it wasn’t fulfilling to him. Soon after, Moore asked him to be an apprentice at the University of Possibilities. Now, 13 years later, Moore, Mac and LaBash live together as partners in San Francisco.

Moore averages about two public performances (rituals, music gigs, poetry readings, etc.) a month. The shows are mostly free form and when the Cherotic All-Stars have a performance, they don’t even rehearse. They just show up and play! When Moore performs, anything goes. Sometimes there are nude men and women, sometimes they sing and dance, sometimes rock and touch, sometimes all of it happens and sometimes none of it happens.

The performances allow you to step outside of what is generally accepted in order to explore, question, test and evolve by pushing you to the limit, by making you uncomfortable and by showing you a reality that is usually very different from what you are used to. You as the audience and performers, who are one and the same once the door closes and the performance begins, are exposed to a show that can become whatever your dreams will allow. Audience members watch, some deliciously, hanging onto every movement, every noise, delighted and turned on. Others turn away, not wanting to watch, sickened to their stomachs, ready to leave. Some people feel vulnerable, some challenged; others are bored and even angered.

“People have very intense responses and reactions. A lot of times people cry”, says Alexi Malenky, another performer and apprentice of Moore’s. “I’ve never noticed anyone not be affected at all by it,” he adds. He explains that sometimes people get up and leave in the middle of a show. He says that it’s easy to think they are leaving because they don’t like what they see. But Moore says that when people leave a show early, it’s because they’ve gotten as much as they want from that performance or they’ve reached a personal threshold they don’t want to go past.

While Moore’s performances change some people’s lives and challenge them to seek authenticity, others are unmoved and disinterested. William Mandel, an activist and author of Saying No to Power (Creative Arts, Berkeley, 1999), has known Moore for about 2 years. “I haven’t attended Frank’s performances because his videos don’t turn me on to them. I don’t think the people are particularly talented. I’m not impressed by the music,” he says.

Since no two performances are ever the same, you never know what the night has in store. Sometimes the performers will take part in all night ritual performances and sacred ceremonies, sometimes music jams, or sometimes more traditional, “scripted” plays. In each instance, it is a different experience because Moore allows the shows to evolve in their own. The magic is different each time depending on who is there, who participates, how the audience feels and how the performers interact with each other.

In 1994, Moore directed and produced a scripted play called No Tongue Will Live To Speak, No Ears Will Yearn To Hear, written by Native American chief, Distant Eagle. Dorothy Jesse Beagle, a poet and artist who saw the show recalls what it felt like to see the piece. “Much of the play was played nude but was never erotic nor seemed anything but totally natural, spiritual with great lines and acting. No one would think, let alone say, ‘hey guys I’m watching nudes.’ It wasn’t about nudity but about a primitive tribe and we all felt we were part of the play.”

Moore’s ritualistic approach to his performances gives them a sort of secrecy. Mac explains a secret cave ritual that is sometimes performed. She leads you, blindfolded, to the door of a cave that has been constructed out of painted backdrops. There, she gives you a drink called somala. The drink looks and tastes like water but what it really is, is up to you to decide. Mac tells you that the drink is a drug of dreams and dying. It does not have any side effects and won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. It does, however, make it easier for you to do whatever you do want to do. From there, Mac leads you into the cave. Mac won’t give details about what goes on in the cave and she says you have to come to a performance and find out for yourself.

Hatt attended a five-hour show of Moore’s called “Journey to Lila” in New York City in 1989. He agrees with Mac about the secrecy of the performances. “You need to experience one of these full ritual performances yourself, and the experience will be fuller if you don’t know what to expect,” he says.

Moore does not separate his art from his private life or his public life. It is all the same to him. This is why he spends so much time building relationships, adding dimensions, subverting reality and breaking the norms and taboos of society. Malenky says that in blending all parts of his life, Moore is “creating a life in which people live fully and joyfully in closeness with each other and the world around them.”

Corey Nicholl found this lack of separation hard to become used to when he first met Moore ten years ago. Nicholl who is an apprentice of Moore’s says it wasn’t easy to remain open to the reality that Moore presents. “If you want to keep such a control over things and have this part of reality over here and this part over there, you’re going to work really hard to do that. Everything is struggling against you,” he says. But, he explains, if you surrender and give up trying to control things, you’ll see how life bleeds and melts together, that there are no boxes. You form those boxes yourself.

Moore’s work doesn’t rub everyone the right way. In 1991, Senator Jesse Helms labeled Moore’s art, and a group of other artists’ art, as “obscene.” Because many of these artists had received funding from the National Endowment of Arts, the General Accounting Office investigated and several of them lost their NEA funding. Moore was not one of them that lost funding but he was more or less blacklisted by Helms. He was forbidden to perform at places that received money from the NEA. If he did perform, the venues were at risk of losing their funding.

In a letter that Moore sent to Helms, he asks, “Why are you closing channels of expression and of funding to me without due process of law?” He continues, “It is a political and cultural blacklist under the cover of obscenity. Extortion and blacklists are against the American ideals and spirit.” Moore says because of Helms’ threats, his work became even hotter. It got him more opportunities for gigs. And more gigs meant more magic.

Regardless of who does or doesn’t like his work, Moore continues. His newest call to freedom is a web-cast Internet radio station called Love Underground Vision Radio or LUVeR for short (www.luver.com). LUVeR brings almost all of his art, his philosophy of life and his reality together. Launched on Valentine’s Day of 1999, LUVeR has become a forum for all different types of art and various people. “LUVeR is probably the most eclectic of radio stations, Internet or otherwise,” says Beagle who has her own show on LUVeR called Jesse’s Full Pantry. Weekly, there are alternative news shows and current events shows on politics, oppression and survival. There is erotica, philosophy, lecture programming and satirical and political humor. Original music from experimental musicians, punk rock, folk, bluegrass, and classical musicians are broadcast. There are daily newscasts by a news team, weekly interviews that cover artists and other interesting people and video coverage of live events and news conferences. LUVeR is a playground of totally uncensored, nonprofit, noncommercial expression. Hatt says that Moore is “proudly underground” and has never made any concession to try to be commercial, to fit into any respectable art scene or to be acceptable to any institution.

Moore’s work may not be considered art by some. His performances might scare you and even want to make you run the other way. The bottom line is that his work is an inspiration to people. For those people that it touches, their lives are forever changed. They look at things a little differently and probably a little more clearly. Moore’s work changed me. Call me what you will- naïve, weird or strange. I now believe in the possibilities of life. I now have a fuller understanding of a life without limitations and expectations. I am filled with a deep sense of joy just by knowing Moore. I was looking for Moore and I found exactly what I had hoped.

The Last Temptation of Christ Opening

In August 1988, Frank took his two sons, Koala and Ki-lin, and a few of his students, Leigh, Rourke and Mikee, to see Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” when it opened at the Northpoint Theater in San Francisco. Leigh, Rourke and Mikee “dressed” for the occasion. Photos by Linda Mac.

From left to right: Rourke, Leigh, Koala, Ki-lin
From left to right: Leigh, Rourke, Mikee


Written by Connie Moore, Frank’s mom.


Frank and Connie, Christmas, circa early 1950s


The summer after Frank was 2 (1948), Dad and Grace went out to Santa Monica to visit Harriet who was working then at the VA Hospital.  She had bought a duplex with another woman and Aunt Harriet had gone out to live with her.  Aunt Harriet was working at I Magnins in Westwood.  Jim, Frank and I left Ohio a week or two later and met Grace and Dad at Salt Lake.  Grace and Dad took Frank back to Mansfield with them and Jim and I went on to Santa Monica for our first real vacation together.  The Harriets were wonderful hostesses and really showed us around Los Angeles area.  We saw most of the sights as Knotts Berry Farm and La Brae Tar Pits.  Disneyland was not there yet.  We took the ship Santa Maria to Santa Catalina and had lunch at the Casino at Avalon Bay after Aunt Harriet had a short talk with the Maître D and persuaded him to let us in with slacks on.  It was against their dress code.  Her argument was that they had advertised on the way over on the boat but hadn’t mentioned that we wouldn’t be served in slacks.  They gave us an out of the way table but we were served.

On the way back home, we went through Death Valley to the lowest spot in the United States and then we started climbing to an elevation over 6,000.  Our poor car just wouldn’t make that kind of climb in one try and we had to stop along the way to give it a rest.  Sometimes I couldn’t lift my head off the back of the seat we were climbing so fast.  One place we parked along the road and walked around the lonely spot for a while and then we got back in the car and made love.

We left Frank with Dad and Grace often and had a week or two to just be lovers.  After Jerry was born, Frank didn’t want to stay there while we took Jerry home with us.  One day we wanted him to take a nap before we started home.  He was afraid we would leave him.  I promised him that we wouldn’t and he went to sleep.  Then Jim, Grace and Dad wanted me to leave him.  I didn’t want to break my promise to him and I wouldn’t do it.  I really didn’t understand why they should want me to.  So our time for being alone was over for many years. 


Pearl was my oldest sister from Dad’s first marriage.  She was married to George Ellis when I was 4 and they moved between Salt Lake and Nebraska with the Utah Wollen Mills where George worked.  I didn’t see much of them and didn’t know them very well.  They would visit now and then after we moved to Wentworth Ave. in Salt Lake.  Pearl would give us some of her clothes.  Mostly I remember that she always had silk stockings.  She would give us the ones that had runs in and I would spend many hours mending them so I could wear them.  We never got new silk stockings then. 

One day, when I was a teenager, Mother got a letter from Pearl.  It wasn’t a nice letter.  It was after Mother’s Day and Mother must have written her something about not hearing from her.  One of her remarks in the letter was that Mother was not her mother and she needn’t expect any honors from her on Mother’s Day.  She berated Mother’s housekeeping, Dad’s attitude towards his daughters, Reta’s care of her children.  It was a very vituperative letter.  I think Dad destroyed the letter but the visits from Pearl stopped as well as the letters.  I took that letter to mean that she didn’t want any part of my family.  They were still friendly with Gordon and Leah but for the rest of us for many years Pearl and George were not a part of our lives.  I always sent Christmas cards and they did us.  Pearl had never met Jim or seen my boys.

When we came back from Germany, I decided to write to Pearl in my Christmas card and tell her we would be passing through Nebraska on our way to Salt Lake.  She answered my letter and invited us to stop and visit.  We planned our route through Bridgeport and stopped overnight with them.

I had known Pearl had left the Mormon Church for the Presbyterian Church and we had a lot to talk about of our experiences as apostates and with other churches.  Pearl died of cancer shortly after Jim left in 1971, but before she did she wrote me many letters of comfort and encouragement while our marriage was going asunder.  I remember her telling me how Jim would spend many wakeful nights regretting his decision and loss of family.  I also remember commenting in my answer that I didn’t know about Jim (I really doubted that Jim was awake nights), but she was describing me. 

During our years of correspondence after our visit with Pearl and George, I wrote to her about Frank after he had gone to New Mexico to live.  I had told her about him writing for an “underground newspaper”.  Her remark about that was “What has he got against his country?”  I was so taken aback with that, I spent one Saturday morning composing a response (copy enclosed).  A mother going to the defense of her son, yes.  But it also shows where my head was at that time.

Pearl is gone now, bless her heart, but I still have some of her letters and reread them now and then to give me balance and remind me what it is like in middle America.

December 23, 1970

Dear Pearl,

Thank you for your lovely Christmas card.  But the accompanying letter left me a little shaken and wondering what I said to provoke such a reaction.  I have done a lot of thinking about it and find myself answering you in my mind so I am going to put it down on paper.

I have debated with myself whether to answer you or ignore it.  But I strongly feel that part of the problem with the world today is the lack of communication and understanding of other peoples ideas.  So I will write and express some of the feelings your comments provoked.  This is going to be rambling, but bear with me and I hope you will consider a dialogue with me.  Writing is so cold.  I wish we could talk about this in person and without excess emotion.

I have the beautiful message of your card before me and I especially like the passage “…and a love which thinks no evil, is not easily provoked and seeks not its own.”  Let me take it from there.  I don’t know who Bishop Remington is a romantic.  I hope not too romantic for our time of existentialism, the philosophy of today.

Now to your letter.  Let me quote again what you have written so we know to what I refer.  “I regret that your Frank has elected to write for underground publications.  What is his case against our country?  I have worked too long and too hard to inspire faith in it, that I cannot find charity for the subversive ones.”  WOW!!

I am not going to try and defend Frank’s philosophy of life.  I don’t need to and I am not sure I know what it is exactly.  He is radical and provocative.  But I guess you and I are, too, as we seemed to have provoked some emotional heat.

What seems to upset you is the use of the term “underground” as used with publications of any sort.  I don’t know what the term means to you, or for me for that matter.  I used it myself because that is what they are identified as.  But what are they?  Frank has written for them off and on since high school.  They always evoke controversy.  But what is wrong with that.  Anything can provoke controversy in certain circles, even the flag.  But I don’t honestly see any difference between them and the so called “straight publications”.  In high school it was a little sheet written and distributed by students with the cooperation of a church.  It wasn’t published, so maybe it was underground.  It was similar to one we put out at the skating rink when I was young.  Ours was a stupid silly affair that could not compare with the depth of conscience the young people show today.  The ones he wrote for in college, and is writing for now, were published and sold.  I equate them with the publications we receive in our home that are categorized as special interests as “The Air Force Times”, “Postal Record” and the “American Legion Magazine” which I find rather provocative at times and very biased.

The magazine that he writes for now is no worse than what you or I can read in our daily newspaper or many magazines on the market.  No worse, surely, than “Playboy” which probably has the highest circulation of any magazine and would probably rate with “Reader’s Digest” on the other side of the political spectrum.  Both of which we have in our home.  But the thing that disturbs me is that you have concluded for that word “underground” that Frank is subversive and has “a case against our government”, (If I am wrong, please correct me as I may have written something else that offended you.) without ever reading what he has to say.  That sounds like you are condemning him as guilty before he is proven innocent when justice American style subscribes to a person being innocent until he is proven guilty.  What in the world did I say to make you think that?

I am not sure what you mean by “inspiring faith” in, I suppose you mean, our country.  I am wondering why the country itself doesn’t inspire that faith, and why you are so frightened by what seems to be subversive.  George Washington was condemned, in his time, as being a traitor to his country by some of his contemporaries.  If we had lost the Revolutionary War, our early patriots would probably have been hung as traitors. 

Frank may or may not be a revolutionary.  I don’t know anymore, but I think he has lost his political fever and turned to other interests.  I am not close enough to know just what they are.  I regret that, but realize that he has to make his own life.  I am very happy that he is able to do that rather than living with his frustrations in his father’s house.

Our neighbor, who has a PhD in physics and is working very much within the establishment in college and church, thinks Frank is not revolutionary enough.  So, I guess it is just where you stand how you view him or others.  In the eye of the beholder, so to speak.  I think we have to examine our own motives and prejudices.

I do know that Frank is a very sensitive person and alert to what goes on around him.  Maybe more than we who can walk and talk and get bogged down in every day trivia.  He is concerned with the lot of the grape pickers of Delano, the plight of the blacks of Watts, the excesses of police in a legal demonstration and many other injustices that maybe are more obvious to us in California where there is so much coverage and it isn’t very far away, than a little town more or less insulated, like a baby in the womb, in the heartland of America.  But America is much more than its heartland.  It has its ghettos, its labor vs. management with strikes, its mafia, its good and bad police and politicians, the student unrest, the war in Vietnam that extended into Cambodia, shooting of students on our American campuses.  President’s Kerner Report and others reports that we indeed have a racist society.  I have to ask why.  I don’t think we can wrap ourselves in the beauty of romanticism any longer or have blind faith that our country is the panacea we’d like to think it was.  There are too many who do not share in the affluence or justice that America stands for…and I am afraid we are heading for another revolution or civil war unless we can somehow face the issues and problems we have with some degree of success.  Can we?  Is our government too big and bureaucratic to be able to respond to its needs?  I don’t know.  I hope it can, but I look to the young people to make the necessary changes.  If they don’t or can’t, I don’t think we need worry much about revolution.  We will die in our own exhaust and pollution.  That is very real out here and may not be so pressing in Bridgeport.

These are the things that bother Frank and his peers.  It is significant, I think, that Frank was born on the day they tested the Atomic Bomb at Ewol Atol and his generation has grown up under that threat.  Their world is not our world.  It can never be.  They have to live in what they can make of it and I wish them luck because I am not very optimistic about it.  They don’t want your charity.  They really could care less what you or I think.  But I am glad they have the courage of their convictions.

For a Christmas letter when one should be full of love and good will, I found your one paragraph about what our family had done during the year concentrated in one aspect of Frank’s doings rather narrow.  I think you could appreciate the extreme courage it took for a man with his handicaps to break away from home and family and go so far to prove to himself that he could.  It must have been frightening.  But the love and friendship he found there helps me to have faith in human nature.  The people he likes may have beards and long hair and not dress to our tastes, but they are all heart and I love them.

Well, I hope I haven’t bored you or that you haven’t marked me down as a subversive.  If you have, I’ve failed.  But, I got up early this morning to get this off my chest.  I wasn’t sleeping; I was mentally arguing the points with you.  Now I’d better get to work.  It is 9 o’clock.

I am hoping we can get Mother down here somehow for the holidays.  The last I heard from Thelma and Earl was that she did not want to stay there with them because they treat Ponto like a dog.  It seems everything would be easier if they would let Ponto be with Mother as she is used to rather than insist she can’t have him.  Mother feels a strong attachment and love for him that is very understandable as he returns it.  They make things so hard for her.  She is willing to ride in the back of the truck to get down here where she can have her dog with her.  If Jim wasn’t working so hard, we would drive up and get her.  I wish she would fly down.  It would be easier all around and we could take her home later.  I know everyone is up to here with her and her dog by now – Christmas love – Bah, Humbug.  I really wonder what the man who’s birthday we are celebrating would think of us.


Soon after we moved into our new home in Redlands, Harriet and her family took a vacation to the East Coast and they stopped on the way back to visit Grace and Dad.  While they were there Dad had what must have been a stroke or possible overdose as he had sent Grace off with Harriet and Dick and it happened while they were gone as if it may have been planned and his medication was gone.  He was in a coma when they came back and was immediately hospitalized.  Harriet called Jim and he got a flight out of Los Angeles International Airport.  Being new in town, we did not know how to get to the airport without driving the freeway.  Jim did not have much faith in my ability to drive the freeway system to take him in and drive back alone so he took a bus and rode most of the day to get to Inglewood.  He got his flight to Wooster and arrived while his dad was still alive but never regained consciousness.  He died a few days later in August, 1963.

As usual, I was home with the kids and Jim stayed for the funeral.  They buried him in Monongahela with Aunt Harriet and the rest of the family.  Jim stayed on with Grace to help her get things in order and then he brought Moke, Dad’s wired hair terrier he had gotten for Christmas while we were there a few months before, to live with us.

From left to right: Connie, Frank, Jim, Frank C, Grace


Moke was something else.  I had often thought I would never have a dog like that.  He was very hyper and wanted out to run any chance he got.  When we visited, Dad sat with a heavy chain and a leather leash tied to his leg or chair so Moke wouldn’t get away when someone opened the door.  Grace and Dad were living on a pheasant farm and when he got away he killed the birds and wallowed in the marshes.  His predecessor, Mike, was just like Moke and lived with them in Mansfield.  When he got loose we all had to chase him and try to outsmart him so we could chain him down again.  Mike met his end on his last spree and was killed on the road.

Frank Sr with Moke.

So we inherited the fun of keeping Moke in.  Of course we couldn’t do it.  We had a nice large fenced in backyard and a screened in patio that should have been ideal for a dog.  But Moke soon learned he could cut through the screen with his claws and easily climb our basket weave redwood fence and he was gone.  The first time or two the humane officer brought him home and threatened us with a $50 fine if we didn’t take care of our dog.  Most of the time, though, we had our telephone number on the license and the new found family would call us and we would go retrieve a dirty tired Moke.  He would just run for a day or two in any direction and get as dirty as he could, then adopt a family wherever he happened to wear out.

The last time he got away, I had just had a new couch delivered and they had to take it through the back and the sliding glass doors.  I opened the side gate for them and locked Moke up in the house.  When they left, I let Moke out but forgot to go shut the gate.  Moke was always alert for those lapses of control and he was gone.  We saw him a couple of times in the neighborhood but couldn’t find him when we tried to catch him.  The dog catcher was evaded as well but a few days later he had to fish him out of someone’s swimming pool, drowned.  He had been able to scale the fence and got into the pool but there was no way out.

By that time, however, Moke had sired 2 female puppies for the local kennel.  They gave us our choice and we took Mitzie.  She was somewhat easier to handle.  She didn’t run and she was too fat to climb fences.  We kept her about 14 years until she was deaf and blind.  One day she wandered away and hasn’t been seen since.

We also had a cat, Puttycat, that we got as a kitten in Victorville before we moved to Redlands.  She lived through all the dogs and presented us with a few litters of kittens before we had her spayed.  When Moke arrived, Puttycat had to take to the outside as Moke was pretty rough with her.  He just played, and her kittens were a source of fascination for him.  He would lie and watch them for hours.  He never bothered mommie when she had kittens.  He even delivered the first one she had while she was trying to get out of his way.  It quite surprised him and then he showed a healthy awe for the process of reproduction.

Puttycat got back into the house again, after the dogs were gone, to keep me company.  The two little old ladies alone.  But it was her turn on Easter this year.  I had been to church and had Angie with me in her pink organdy dress.  We pulled into the drive and Puttycat was sunning herself on the drive.  I slowed down so she could stay out of my way.  Angie got out first and said “What is wrong with Puttycat?”  I had run over her and she was in death agony which we both watched with horror.  In a few minutes, after I had gotten over the shock, I wrapped her up and Angie and I buried her in the back yard under the flowering plum tree.


After the war ended and we were settled in an apartment in Wilmington, Ohio, it was time I learned to drive.  The Board of Education must have had husbands in mind when they decided to make driving ed a part of the public school curriculum.  I just wish they had thought of it earlier.  My husband had to teach me.  He was sure I could never drive and he almost convinced me that I couldn’t.  But he was brave and took me out to practice.  One day I drove between a parked car and an oncoming truck on a two-way street.  Jim didn’t think I could do it and started to scream at me.  I was sure I was going to be creamed by the truck but I made it through OK.  I really didn’t know why such a fuss.  Two cars should be able to go through a two-way street OK.  But once I got through that without taking any paint off, I was ready to quit for the day.  I was too shaky to drive anymore.  I am surprised I ever wanted to drive again.  But I did manage to get my license and only then did I gain confidence.  However, Jim was not as easily convinced as the DMV.  It was only after I drove home from Mansfield alone with baby Frank with me that I proved to him I could drive his car.  He seemed to feel that I had taken some of his manhood away by learning to drive.  Maybe it was because I was a little less dependent on him.  He would still drive cross country doing 8 to 10 hour stretches without ever letting me relieve him at the wheel.  If he did, I was always aware that I was not driving as well as he did.


In June, 1958, the family drove to Florida to visit Grace and Dad who were now living in Tampa.  This was our first trip south and east of Texas.  Now we were seeing the deep South, the lush plant life and the moss hanging from the trees.  We drove hard and long the last night out and got there about 10pm.  Nobody was home.  We were all so tired, we had to get a motel, anyway, and start our visit in the morning.

Florida would not be my choice of places to live.  There is just too much water.  It stands on the yards as it rains almost every day.  Frank’s braces and wheelchair were not built for that weather and they began to rust.  The grass was so heavy it was very hard to cut.  Granted, we were not there in the best season.  The winters must be better.  But I really couldn’t see why so many easterners wanted to go to Florida to live, but they did.  Grace and Dad didn’t stay very long.  Ohio was home to them now and Dad went back there to die.  Grace has remarried and gone back to Florida.

We did enjoy swimming in the ocean at Tampa Bay.  But the fishing was for someone else.  We spent one whole day fishing on a preserve owned by the Mormon Church.

On our way back, we stopped in Oklahoma to visit the Coxes who had lived in our basement apartment in Ogden.  Then we went through Dodge City to let the kids see where “Gun Smoke” was coming from.  And back to Roy where we had to turn our heat up to keep warm in June.

The house in Roy, Utah. Frank is 13.


One of the most memorable Thanksgiving Days I have ever spent was about 4 years ago, or 1976.  I had had an invitation from Lois to join her family and others here from people who didn’t want me to be alone.  Before I accepted any, I wanted to make sure Jerry had a place to go.  This year he didn’t so I turned down the invitations and Jerry and I, the vestige of our family, had dinner here alone.  Jerry was living on Palm Street with friends and he came over early.  We ate early and for the rest of the day we talked.  With Jerry I can be very frank and intimate.  He is the same with me.  This day we had all to ourselves.  We didn’t turn on the TV.  We just talked and shared our feelings like two school girls.  It was fun and very rewarding.  His friends came for him in the evening and they went away.  I was alone again but feeling very good.


Jerry has become quite an accomplished musician on the drums and guitar.  The long years of practice in my living room has paid off.  He is currently playing with a band in Yucaipa called The “Azurites” who have been in many musical festivals and engagements.  With another group called “Van Norman and Stevens” they tried out for the Gong Show for daytime and were on the air in September, 1977 when they won 2nd place.  They went back to tape a night time show in December.  Carolyn and I went down to watch that taping.  It was all so much fun with Jaime Fox and Pearl Bailey on the panel.  This time they tied with a group called “The Midas Touch” but they got the glory and everybody was high.  We have been able to catch that show a couple of times on the air and it is quite a thrill to watch your own son on the tube.

The “Azurites” got their act together and spent many hours in Los Angeles cutting a record that finally came out last year in time for me to get several off to family for Christmas.  It sounds pretty good and now they have something professional to show to prospective clients.  We are all waiting for them to make it big.

Front and back cover of the Azurite LP.