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

Category: Miscellaneous (page 1 of 4)

Interview with Godfrey Reggio 2014

GODFREY REGGIO
© ERLING MANDELMANN

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


Corey: Hi, is this Godfrey?

Godfrey: Indeed.

Corey: Hi, this is Corey.

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

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

Godfrey: I’ll do my best, Corey.

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

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

Corey: Louise, yes.

Louise Scott

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

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

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

Corey: Do you remember George and Helen and Phoenix?

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

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

Godfrey: Yes. When he came back.

Corey: Yeah.

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

Corey: Right.

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

Corey: Right.

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

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

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

Corey: How do you mean supporter?

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

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

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

Corey: Of doing the patrolling.

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

Corey: Wow. What is a greased pig event?

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

Corey: He also talked about the Motherfuckers.

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

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

Godfrey: Yes, I do.

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

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

Corey: Right.

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

Corey: Right.

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

Corey: Right.

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

Corey: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corey: Were you involved with it?

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

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

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

Corey: How do you mean that?

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

Corey: Wow. Was Frank involved in that?

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

Corey: Right. That was around 1974-75.

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

Corey: Did you know that he ran for president?

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

Corey: 2008.

Godfrey: I didn’t know that.

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

Godfrey: Wow …

Corey: And he got votes all over the country.

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

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

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

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

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

Corey: Do you still live in Santa Fe primarily?

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

Corey: How has it changed since that time?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Godfrey: Yes, I do.

Corey: That’s another place that Frank mentioned.

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

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

Godfrey: Oh, gracious.

Corey: Do you remember anything about that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corey: A friend–

Godfrey: – a big sister, a momma.

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

Godfrey: Right. And I met them here somehow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corey: Yeah.

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

Corey: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Godfrey: Oh, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corey: Well, thank you so much.

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

Corey: Oh, yes, definitely.

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

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

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

Corey: Thank you.

Godfrey: Bye bye now.

Corey: Bye bye.


Listen to the interview here:


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

I Get Results! Frank Moore for President 2008

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

Photo by Graham Holoch

From the website about the exhibit:

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

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

Visit the website for the exhibit here:
https://www.cushionworks.info/exhibitions/i-get-results-frank-moore-for-president-2008


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

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

Visit the website for the Zoom talk here:
https://www.cushionworks.info/events/i-zoom-results-keith-wilson-and-jordan-stein-in-conversation-with-linda-mac-and-mikee-labash


More photos by Alexi, Erika & Corey:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroplay/albums/72157717828918881

I AM LOOKING FOR PEOPLE FOR MY FILM

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

I AM LOOKING FOR PEOPLE FOR MY FILM

I WOULD LIKE TO SHOOT YOU FOR MY FILM. I JUST RECEIVED MY MASTERS IN PERFORMANCE/VIDEO AT THE SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE. I AM ASKING PEOPLE WHO I FIND ATTRACTIVE … ALTHOUGH MAYBE NOT IN HOLLYWOOD’S CONCEPT OF ATTRACTIVENESS, BEAUTY, SEXINESS. THEN I AND MY WIFE, LINDA, SHOOT THESE PEOPLE ALMOST LIKE IN PAINTINGS, IN DIFFERENT POSES, DIFFERENT CLOTHES, SOMETIMES NUDE (WHEN THE PERSON FEELS COMFORTABLE WITH THAT), FOCUSING ON DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BODY AS ABSTRACT FORMS. THEN I WILL EDIT THESE PIECES INTO A SERIES OF COLLAGE SHORTS WHICH WILL BE FUNNY, BUT ALSO HOPEFULLY EXPAND THE CONCEPT OF BEAUTY. ONE OF THESE SHORTS WILL SHOW PEOPLE JUST PLAYING AND HAVING FUN; ANOTHER WILL SHOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BODIES; A THIRD WILL POKE FUN AT THE PIN-UP CONCEPT OF BEAUTY.

I HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS SAME SUBJECT IN MY OIL PAINTINGS AND PLAYS … ESPECIALLY IN MY ROCK COMEDY, the outrageous beauty revue, WHICH RAN FOR FOUR YEARS IN S.F., AND IN MY FILM, fairytales can come true, WHICH WILL BE USED IN SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASS.

I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, FROM LITTLE BODIES TO OLD PEOPLE. IT IS FUN.

IF YOU WILL POSE, WRITE DOWN YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER FOR ME, AND PUT IT IN MY BACKPACK, AND LINDA WILL CALL YOU TO SET UP A TIME FOR US TO GET TOGETHER. IT USUALLY TAKES TWO SESSIONS. DURING THE FIRST TIME, WHICH USUALLY TAKES BETWEEN ONE AND TWO HOURS, WE WILL JUST PLAY AROUND AND TALK ABOUT IDEAS FOR US TO FILM, COSTUMES, POSES … AND IN GENERAL, HAVE FUN. THEN AT THE SECOND SESSION, WHICH USUALLY IS BETWEEN ONE AND THREE HOURS, WE WILL VIDEO YOU.

Frank Moore

P.S. IN THE FALL AT U.C. THROUGH A.S.U.C., I AM TEACHING A COURSE IN THE ART OF PERFORMANCE … ARE YOU INTERESTED?

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

A Beautiful Madman (How I Came to Love Frank Moore)

By Jake McGee

Jake McGee reads “A Beautiful Madman”

The first time I received a note from Frank Moore, I assumed it was either spam or some bogus ruse.

I had just produced my first music video, for Chris Hatton’s “Facebook Licks My Balls.” As editor in chief of an underground arts & culture magazine called Kotori, and a wannabe filmmaker, this was a big deal, even if the production was about as low-budget as one could get. The video was shot entirely on a point & shoot Panasonic Lumix; all the locations were either rooms in my house, friends’ homes, or bars we had sweet-talked the owners into letting us use; all actors were friends; I had no clue how to edit video.

But it was a creative project I had finished, and dammit, the world needed to see it! Slapping the Kotori Films moniker on it, I sent out a newsletter to Kotori’s 30k subscribers.

2/22/11, 4:10pm, the virtual beacon went out to our mailing list. A mere 35 minutes later, I get this in reply:

HEY! I will play this sick video on my Berkeley community public access show! Send more! And get sicker!

I knew very little about Frank Moore at that time, but I knew of him well enough to recognize him as a true luminary. Which, of course, kept me skeptical of such a quick, enthusiastic response to an admittedly silly video.

Right, I thought, Frank Moore is personally replying to me about this smartass video, and wants to play it on his show.

It took me a full 12 hours to decide that I’d humor the note, and see where it took me.

“Haha,” I replied, “are you serious? If so…can you let us know when?”

His response came later that afternoon…and sure enough, it truly was Frank Moore, digging our little video! He played it on his show several times, and while the video didn’t necessarily go viral, the fact that Frank Moore championed the project boosted my ego like I had never felt before.

From there on, Frank welcomed our videos and other work with open arms. Every time we sent him a trailer or new movie/video, he’d add it to his broadcast. He encouraged me to keep being weird and beautiful, to keep digging deep into my soul to find what I really wanted to say to the world. All the while, he kept up a sneaky, depraved sense of humor, occasionally teasing me about each new clip or article I’d send his way. Nonetheless, he embraced what I was doing, because he could see that it came from my heart.

Fake was perversion in his eyes, and I knew that only the realest of the real would get him engaged.

It was because of Frank Moore that my first movie as an actor & producer- Bob Freville’s jarringly warped yet tender Of Bitches & Hounds– found the audience it truly deserved, as Frank gladly shared it with his widespread followers. He praised our performances, and treated the movie like it was a solid masterpiece. He was totally genuine about this; you knew there was no lying from Frank, so when he claimed to dig something, it had to be great.

But who was this generous, inspiring man on the other side of my computer? As any half-assed journalist would do, I somehow conned Frank into doing an interview for Kotori, in an effort to exploit him for my gain…I mean, get to know him better.

As I was doing my research for the questions, I noticed a peculiar feature on Frank’s website: a constant video feed, from at least one camera, pointed at Frank’s desk. 24/7, Frank let the world into his life, a constant performance of many different shades.

I sent him my questions, then for the next week, I kept a window with his live stream open on my computer. I’d watch him laugh at things on screen, and hope that was him reading my notes.  I’d even occasionally drop him random emails while watching him, to see if I could trigger a reaction.

Sure, this may be obsessive and a little creepy- but Frank Moore was that fascinating. Here was this brilliant human spirit, nestled within the confines of a man with cerebral palsy, and even that wasn’t enough to hold him back from conquering the world in his own way. He had total confidence; he was the master of many domains, and I felt honored to be connected with him, even in such a detached way.

He was most likely toying with me a bit throughout the course of our interview, and that made it all the more fun. He’d deflate any ego I might have about journalism, while in the next breath encourage me as a writer and artist.

At the end of the day, Frank was an unstoppable force of pure art. He didn’t just create art, he WAS an evolving piece of art. It was as if the roar of artistic creativity coming from his soul was so powerful, it made him spastic and bound to a wheelchair. Naturally, he treated his physical state as an advantage, a superpower that let him get away with all sorts of things that nobody else could pull off.

As he put it, “My body gives me a tool that other artists spend years to create. Most artists are not as lucky as me. They do not have the built-in advantages and shields that I have. They need to resist the real world, the normal world, more than I do…

“I am or have been a dancer, writer, poet, performance artist, painter, composer, promoter, director, actor, activist, producer, father, film /video editor, singer, piano player, television talk show host, publisher, critic, philosopher, dj, manager [of bands, singers, a night club (THE BLIND LEMON), etc], presidential candidate, shaman, relationship counselor, business counselor, clothes designer, interior decorator, journalist, teacher, lecturer, hole digger, distributor of music and publications, founder and general manager of LUVER, minister, among other things!”

He was an untamed powerhouse of any and everything creative. He reminded us to embrace the unique beings inside each of us, and celebrate that individuality in every manner possible. The end result might just bring us all together as one human family. As he told me, “My art is rooted in breaking out of isolation.”

Sadly, he shuffled off this mortal coil before I got to make it up to Berkeley for one of his live performances. Meeting with Frank was actually an impetus for me to move from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and I had every intention of figuring a way to shoot up the coast, simply to hang out with Frank for a spell. He often invited me to come on his show when I thought I’d be in town, and even joked about shaving my balls live on camera…and without a doubt, I would have gone along with it. It would have been funny and weird and pure, and assuming he didn’t have a spasm and slice off my penis, I would have proudly shared the story with anybody willing to dive into such a bizarre, human experience.

There you have it: Frank Moore was such an amazing person, I would have let him shave my balls in front of a worldwide audience, just to be part of his creative process.


Read Jake’s interview with Frank in Kotori magazine from April, 2011:
Frank Moore: “Being so visible that it creates invisibility”

Carlos

In the early days of people being diagnosed with AIDS, one of Frank’s students, Carlos, got the AIDS diagnosis. Frank told him his job now was to bring death into life and to live and die joyfully. Carlos followed Frank in this and was a joy and inspiration to all of us around him.

Frank believed in type casting. After Carlos found out that he had AIDS, Frank cast him as the “dying man” in his performances. At the 5+ hour ritual performances Frank had nude, body painted Carlos wearing his “I have AIDS” sign around his neck inside of a small tent. Each audience member was led into the tent before entering the performance space and Carlos talked to them briefly about death, that it is not something to fear, that it is not painful in itself, it is part of life. When Carlos passed away he was in a very peaceful, joyful state of mind. When we got the word that Carlos had passed we looked at each other and said let’s have ice cream sundaes!! (Eating ice cream was one of the indulgences Carlos allowed himself with Frank’s encouragement, as part of his dying process.)

Carlos, street performance at The Lab, San Francisco, 1988. Photo by Linda Mac.

Below is a transcription of an excerpt of a conversation recorded December 10, 1995 at Father George’s house in San Francisco. Frank Moore, Linda Mac, Mikee LaBash, Corey Nicholl, Father George, and Louise Scott were present. (Father George was a friend of Frank’s during his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico when Frank lived with Louise Scott and her family.)

Linda:  What, the house?  No, Carlos?  Um, one of Frank’s students, Carlos, died of AIDS-related stuff.  And he’d been working with Frank for a few years when he found out that he had AIDS.  And Frank said, “O.k., your job is to die as lustfully as you’ve lived, and to bring death into life.”  ‘Cause it was a whole group of us that were part of like the community that were working with Frank, and doing performances and stuff too.  And so, well he did fine for a long time …

Frank:  I …

Linda:  … You cast him, Frank cast him as the dying man in performances, after he found that out.  And so people, it was in the all-night ritual performances, people are lead in by nude body-painted dancers, and it’s like all very ritualistic and quiet, and there’s body music playing.  And they would be lead to this little kind-of cave made out of back-drops, and Carlos would be in there, nude and body-painted with a sign that says he’s the Dying Man.  And it would be like two people at a time, and they’d be left in the room with him for like a minute or two, and he’d give them a rap about death.  And he said, that death is not painful in itself.  And it’s not something to be feared, that it’s just a transition.  And then they’d be lead out.  And most people actually didn’t realize that …

Louise:  … that he really was.

George:  … that he was really dying.

Linda:  … the dying man.  And …

George:  Did he do it when he was really sick?  I mean, did he continue doing it?

Linda:  Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Oh yeah, right up to the time he died.  And at the point where his body really started to go … he was like really fine up until that point.  And then, he moved upstairs with a couple that had been his friends, so they could take more care of him.  And they called us, and they said, they called us one afternoon and they said, “We’re worried about Carlos because he won’t get out of bed and he won’t eat.”  And we had a tour coming up to Portland that Carlos was planning on going on with us.  And so, Frank gets in the car, we drive over to San Francisco.  Carlos is lying in bed, doing this Camille thing, you know, that was his like picture of himself dying. (all laughing)  And Frank said, “Look, you have to look and see if you’re dying or not.  If you’re dying, tell us, and we’ll help you die.  If you’re not dying, (Frank screams), you have to eat, you have to start having fun with us.  Eating, you have to be in shape  to go to Portland.”  And he said, “Take the night to think about it, and tell me in the morning.”  And he said, he told Carlos that people are afraid to push him because they’re afraid that he’s gonna die if they push him.  And he said, “I don’t care if you die, because it’s better to die than to live and be a wimp.”  And so, you know … and next morning they call us and they said, “I don’t know what you did, but not only is he eating but he insisted on getting up at the table.”  (George laughs)

And it kind of went up and down for a while.  We started going to his house for sessions ’cause he was too sick to come to meet with Frank.  And Frank had everybody …

Frank:  He came to …

Linda:  Oh, an all-night thing?  Yeah.  He had never gone to one of the twenty-four hour, like Frank does these twenty-four hour like workshop type things …

George:  Carlos had never gone?

Linda:  … and Carlos had never done one of them, and he really wanted to.  So we had one scheduled, and he was in the hospital, and he got out like the night before, he was in and out of the hospital a lot.  So he shows up with like, it was like a portable hospital room … Well he was late.  O.k., so … when he had first started meeting with Frank years before, he was late for everything.  And that was one of the first things that Frank said had to go.  You know, “you have to be on time anytime you say you’re gonna be some place.”  So he was always on time then.  And now, here he is, like really sick, depending on other people, and he’s like a couple hours late for this thing.  And so, while we’re waiting for him to come … a lot of the people that were in the workshop had never, didn’t know any of us.  They were just doing this workshop they had signed up with to do with Frank.  So Frank said, “Well I have someone coming who’s gonna be playing the part of a dying man.”  And he starts giving this whole rap about how he’s gonna pretend he’s dying of AIDS, and he’s going to da da da da …  And so Carlos shows up then two hours later with his entourage of like he’s on oxygen, he has all these medications for his skin and all this stuff.  And he’s in tears.  He’s so upset ’cause he’s late.  And he comes in, “Frank!”  You know, and he’s like … and Frank, you know, lets him talk for a minute, and  he turns to everybody, he says, “This is him.  See?” 

And Carlos is looking, and Frank said, “I told them that you’re playing the part of the dying man.”  And Carlos just looks at Frank and goes, “O.k., Frank!”  You know … (all laugh)  And Frank had set it up so that he could set his own pace, ’cause we didn’t know like what he’d be up for.  And he said, just join in as much as you want.  And by the end of it, he was off oxygen.  He like was totally, you know, back into everything and he was involved in everything, through the whole thing.  He didn’t like take a break at any point.  And he said that it, you know, he felt a lot better at the end of it.  And the process of him, he would kind of go in and out of being o.k. …

George:  Yeah.  That happens pretty regularly.

Linda:  Yeah.  At one point when we were over there, he told Frank that Frank didn’t know what it was like to have to depend on people for your every need.  (all explode screaming/laughing)  Which he denied saying.  He said, “Frank, you made that up.  I never said that.”  The thing would be, Frank had, you know, everybody that was part of this little community, somebody was with him all the time, and they’d just hang out with him, or play cards or just whatever, you know.  And he would be this, (plays Camille) like “Ohhh … you knowww … I’m in soooo …”  Like that.  And then we’d get a card game going.  Boom.  He’s sharp, he’s fine, nothing hurts, he’s winning.  (all laugh)  You know, and so … that was like during his period when he’s going in and out of things.  One time he’s in the hospital and the Portland trip is approaching and Frank had told him he has to be able to walk, you know, to go on this tour.  And, we get there and it turns out, he’s not walking.  He’s not getting out of bed, he’s not moving.

George:  He’s in the hospital at this point.

Linda:  Yeah, he’s in the hospital, this is one of those like three or four day things, and then he’d be in and out for different things.  And, Frank said, “O.k., I told you you should be walking.  I want you to lean on Michael,” and another guy that was with us, Rourke, “and walk as far as the door and back to your bed.”  And he says, “Well I’m not gonna lean on anybody then.  I’m just gonna walk.”  He gets to the door, and the door is open.  He waits ’til he gets to the frame so that he’s in view of the nurse’s station, and GRABS onto the frame, trying to get Frank in trouble!

And Frank just yells at him, and says, “I told you to lean on Michael and Rourke.  Now you lean on them to get back to bed.”  And that all happens, and he goes through this trauma over that, and we play cards, he’s fine, you know.  And we’re leaving and the nurse calls us over and she said, “What did you do to get him to walk?”  It turns out that they’d been trying to get him to walk.  He said he needed a physical therapist.  They brought a physical therapist.  The physical therapist said, “You should be able to walk.”

“Oh no, I need a doctor.”  They bring a doctor:  “You should be able to walk.”  No, he can’t walk.  And then they see him walking, you know.  And so Frank said, “Well, not only that.  He’s supposed to walk a step more each day.”  The nurse said, “Fine, I’ll enforce that.”  (all laugh) 

So by the time he died …

George:  You should have billed him.  (all laugh)

Frank:  Uh huh!

Linda:  You did!  Oh yeah, he paid.  He paid all the way to the end.  By the time he died he was pretty consistently at peace with it, and a pretty jolly soul with it all.  It was very neat, and … so it actually felt, you know, it wasn’t as drastic a thing when he died, ’cause he was so kinda right there with us.  Yeah.

Frank:  We ate …

Linda:  Right.  The day he died, we decided … you know, his whole thing when he was dying was that, his fantasy had been having ice cream or something, something like that.  And Frank said, “Pffft, you know, you’re dying, have as much ice cream as you want.”  So he used to have the people he was staying with make him milkshakes, so he could get up in the middle of the night and drink a milkshake if he wanted it.  So, the day that he died, we’re sitting there, and we said, “Well, let’s have a sundae.”  You know, so that started like a ritual.  So on his birthday and on his death day we go out and we have these decadent sundaes, and it never makes us sick, you know …

George:  (laughing)  Banana splits …

Louise:  Right, you just do it.

Linda:  … if we did that on any other day, it would be like “Ooohhh.”  You know, but we do that …

George:  Oh jeez …  People do dance around dying, though.  We’ve certainly, we have people who come this close, you think they’re gonna be gone in two hours, and then they back away.  And then … for another couple months, and approach it again, and back away.  Just never know …

Linda:  Yeah.

George:  … but we’ve never had anyone eating ice cream on the way out.  (laughs)

Frank:  Carlos was joking …

Linda:  … with the nurse, as he died.  Right.  He was getting a transfusion, and he was joking with the nurse, and he just passed.

George:  He was getting, what, how did, did he have cardiac arrest, you know, was that the thing …?

Linda:  I guess that was it.  Did he have cardiac arrest as he was having the transfusion?  (Frank – yes)  Yeah.  Yeah.

The Lab, San Francisco, 1988.
“Journey to Lila”, EZTV, Los Angeles, California, 1988.
“Wrapping/Rocking” at Poetry Bash, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, 1988.
Poetry Bash, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, 1988.
“Journey to Lila”, ATA, San Francisco, California, April 8, 1988. Photo by Linda Mac.

This is the text that displayed in the “Dying Man” tent along with a large photo of Carlos wearing his “I have AIDS” sign at performances after Carlos died:

I AM CARLOS. FOR THE LAST YEAR, MY ROLE IN THESE DREAMS HAS BEEN TO GREET THE PEOPLE, AND TO PREPARE THEM FOR THEIR DEATH WHICH THEY (AND YOU) WILL EXPERIENCE IN THIS DREAM. I TOLD THEM THAT DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE FEARED, SOMETHING THAT IN ITSELF IS NOT PAINFUL. I TOLD THEM, IN MY MARVELOUS VINCENT PRICE VOICE, THAT DEATH IS A PART OF LIFE TO BE LUSTFULLY RELISHED AND ENJOYED.

I WISH YOU COULD HAVE HEARD MY VINCENT PRICE. I TRIED TO GET HERE IN MY BODY, WHICH WAS FINALLY FITTING THE BODY OF THE DYING MAN. I EVEN FANTASIZED ABOUT DYING HERE WHILE I WAS TALKING TO YOU ABOUT DEATH. BUT THAT WAS NOT TO BE. 2:35 P.M., JANUARY 30, 1989, MY HEART STOPPED. BUT I AM HERE WITH YOU BECAUSE LIFE, WHICH DEATH IS A PART OF, GOES ON.

WHEN I FOUND OUT A YEAR AGO I HAD AIDS, THE KNOWING I WAS DYING LIBERATED ME SO THAT I COULD LIVE MORE FULLY, MORE HAPPILY, MORE OPENLY, MORE PEACEFULLY THEN I EVER LIVED BEFORE. FRANK, ALWAYS A BELIEVER IN TYPE-CASTING, CREATED FOR ME THE DYING MAN ROLE TO SPREAD THE LIBERATION TO PEOPLE WHOSE DEATHS ARE NOT IN SIGHT. A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THE “I HAVE AIDS” SIGN I WORE AROUND MY NECK AND THE DYING MAN WERE FICTIONS OF THE ART. BUT WHEN THEY DISCOVERED THAT I WAS REALLY DYING, THE DREAM BROKE OUT OF ART, AND INTO THE REALITY OF EVERYDAY. I HOPE BY MY BEING WITH YOU IN THIS WAY IT WILL SPREAD THE LIBERATION TO YOU.

The sign that appeared outside of the “Dying Man” tent (painted by LaBash).

Videos with Carlos

EZTV – Wrapping/Rocking & Statues
Los Angeles, California, September 9, 1988.

Playing with Reality
(in two parts)
Berkeley, California, November 19 & 20 1988

The Outrageous Horror Show
Berkeley Square, Berkeley, California, October 29, 1988

Gestures – Part 2

Here is the list of “adjectives” … see the previous post about Gestures here:
http://eroplay.org/gestures/


arousingly

joyfully

gently

suggestively

deeply

warmly

desiringly

playfully

SWITCH PAIRS

lovingly

child-like

knowingly

healingly

passionfully

magically

calmly

confidently

happily

JOYFULLY

exploringly

softly

vulnerably

soothingly

calmingly

intimately

pleasurefully intensely


Gestures Ritual – An excerpt from Frank Moore’s The Uncomfortable Zones Of Fun, recorded Saturday, February 27, 2010 at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, California


LUVeR: Anti-Corporate, Anti-Capitalist Web Radio

This is an interview from November 2, 2002 that Frank did with Corey Deitz of About.com. LUVeR was active from February 1999 through April 2012.


LUVeR: Anti-Corporate, Anti-Capitalist Web Radio
Radical, Uncensored, and streaming 24/7

LUVeR stands for “Love Underground Visionary Revolution”. It prides itself on being anti-corporate, anti-capitalist and probably a few more “anti” things as well. What it isn’t against is provocative, fresh Web Radio. LUVeR and stations in the same spirit are what Webcasting is all about. Your Radio Guide talks with one of LUVeR’s people, Frank Moore.

Corey: What makes LUVeR unique in your opinion?

Frank Moore: Well…how many radical webstations are there that are totally non-commercial, completely uncensored, stream live 24/7, have a core rotation of over 15,000 songs (adding more every day!) of every kind of music, webcast a wide range of programs created by people around the world, cover news, do exposés, cover political and cultural events, have large on-demand audio and video libraries, a separate news site…all run by just people for almost 4 years? Guess we have to define the word “unique”.

Corey: LUVeR states it is “an anti-corporate, anti-capitalist revolution!”. Can you talk more about that?

Frank Moore: Well, LUVeR is not about selling, making money, making it big. It is communication, spreading passions, inciting revolution. This is why we do LUVeR, pay for LUVeR, etc. This is what the internet is suited for. The corporate capitalists are freaking out because they finally have realized that the only way to make profits off the web is through monopolization. They also realized that they can not compete with us passion creative people making community together. So they are coming after us. But that’s doomed to failure.

LUVeR challenges the audience. When we first started LUVeR, people freaked because we played all kinds of music together…Without the false marketing ploy of genres. I know when people freak, we are doing our job! So we have weened people over the years away from the limits of genres. They freak when we show human eroticism. They freak when we do news, politics…Anything other than straight music. But LUVeR is here, not to make money or create a mass listenership, but to challenge, to plow down limits…And that over time attracts an adventurous audience.

Corey: LUVeR’s schedule is fairly varied. In traditional radio, that’s called “block programming” where different types of shows take up “blocks” of time. Would you agree LUVeR programs that way or am I wrong?

Frank Moore: God no! Block programming fragments reality…And gets boring fast! Each person is god over her show’s content…I never know what they will do. We schedule things purely on the practical level, not on content, not what will go with what! That would be safe…Boring!

Corey: Tell us about some of your favorite shows on LUVeR…

Frank Moore: Do I look that stupid? That would get me killed! Most of the shows I love. A few I don’t like. You have to explore LUVeR yourself! But my live streaming video show, the Shaman’s Den, is on Sundays at 8pm pt…The ultimate variety show with live bands, interviews, etc. For 2 hours. And then, after the sexy Susan Block’s video show, my “Playing with Passion” comes on where we play my videos of live performances…A lot of nudity! And that is just Sunday night!

Corey: LUVeR says it’s a “tribal” channel. Can you explain more about that?

Frank Moore: Well, it’s a big tribe who creates LUVeR, us here, the LUVeR crews who go out and tape events, the people who do their shows on LUVeR (anyone can do a LUVeR show), the D.I.Y. Bands who send us their music, the voices we webcast, and of course the listeners/viewers, etc., etc….A tribe of thousands!

The LUVeR logo
LUVeR Home page in 2012
Artwork for Frank’s show “Frank’s Deep Roots Music”
Artwork for Frank’s show “Frank Spins Hot Wax”

Subject: I’m flattered!

From Frank to the e-salon, Saturday, March 28, 2009

Subject: I’m flattered!

Corey called the Berkeley Daily Planet about the fact that they had not listed the Temescal performance in this week’s issue. Under March 21st, there was no heading for Theater, as if there were no Theater events that day. Last month, they had listed us for two straight weeks, because the calendar spanned that much time. We had been listed as Theater. Corey told all this to the woman who picked up when he pushed the line for the Arts & Entertainment calendar. Her first response was maybe they just didn’t get the listing … Corey said, “Oh …” and started looking for the email he had sent them, but then she asked, “What was it?” Corey told her that it was called “Reality Playings”, a performance by Frank Moore … She said, “Oh … well, you know, we get a lot of complaints about Frank Moore …” They had chosen not to list the performance. Corey asked if they got complaints about simply listing Frank’s performances. “Yes. It’s not exactly ‘family fare’ … Frank does have his detractors …” Corey asked if they only listed calendar events that were “family fare”? She said, “Well no …” she said that they edit the calendar, it’s not an open thing, they have the right to decide what they want and don’t want to include … they don’t always list everything they get, don’t always list things every time … She said that “adults only” listings were less likely to be listed, and that they often recommended that people just buy an ad.

Poster by LaBash

Watch the video and read about the March 2009 “Reality Playings” performance here.


Adobe Books Art Show, Jam and Let Me Be Frank Screening

From the poster:

The Art of Frank Moore & LaBash
The first ever showing of shaman performance artist Frank Moore’s erotic innocent primitive passionate digital art, alongside the funny/disturbing/mind-scrambling/reality-bending drawings of LaBash.
Sunday, Feb. 2 – Saturday Feb. 15, 2020
Hours
M-F 12-8pm
Sa-Su 11am-8pm

Let Me Be Frank video screening
On Valentine’s Day, the first ever live screening of episodes from the web video documentary series, Let Me Be Frank, based on the life and art of shaman, performance artist, writer, poet, painter, rock singer, director, TV show host, teacher and bon vivant, Frank Moore.
Come EARLY and bring your musical instruments for a music jam before the screening!
Friday, Feb. 14, 2020
5-6:30pm – MUSIC JAM
6:30-8pm – LET ME BE FRANK screening and Q&A

FREE!

Adobe Books
3130 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Corey and Erika setting up the show.
Photo by Keith Wilson
Photo by Keith Wilson
Photo by Keith Wilson
Photo by Keith Wilson

MORE PHOTOS HERE AND HERE


See the art show (and setup) here:

About the jam and screening

by Erika Shaver-Nelson, Alexi Malenky and Corey Nicholl

When we arrived at Adobe for the event, we found that people had left comments and drawings in the notebook we had left in the gallery space.

“fuckin’ love this stuff!” “you inspire me profoundly” “many thoughts head full …” “whoa!” “WTF?! infathomable, navy?” “the world needs more FRANK MOORE for all of us to be sexually liberated!”

Heather said that the art show has been getting a lot of positive reactions, especially from young people who come into the shop. Heather and the other volunteers at Adobe Books create a very open feeling there, and it felt great to have the event there. She told us later that when we take down the art in a week, the next group is a bunch of young people who will be doing some sleepovers in the space, and writing their dreams on the walls …

We brought homemade popcorn (two kinds: buttered & curry), and orange spearmint water, and valentine’s chocolate … they were a big hit, devoured!

Michael Peppe was the first to arrive, and the first person who came for the jam. Only one other came to jam, one of the people we recognized from several of Frank’s later performances, including at Temescal. He brought a drum which he played, and sometimes took toy instruments and shook them inside the drum, etc.

But at first, it was just Peppe … he came back into the gallery and sat down at a keyboard and started playing … we three started jamming with him, and before long there was a couple who had not even come for the event, but were drawn back to the gallery space, and after checking out the art, they also joined the jam. It was really fun, and it felt/sounded like a Frank jam, felt primal, and Erika said that the feeling during the jam was “freedom”. As time went on, more people came in and joined the jam.

The Jam

Between the first two episodes, we were talking with Michael Peppe, and he said some amazing things about Frank …

“You have a bunch of things that you regret in your life, not necessarily that you regret doing, but regret not doing, but I was thinking watching the film that that’s one I totally do not regret, is hanging out with Frank Moore, and jumping into his thing, you know, going to performances, being in the performances, watching the videos, reading the text, and all his art … not one second of my life was wasted hanging out with Frank Moore.”
He remembered the first time he performed with Frank at UC Berkeley. “From that moment on, yeah, I absolutely do not regret any of that.”

He is such a once in a lifetime kind of person. Usually in art, you think well, wow, he was great, I wonder who the next guy’s gonna be. You know, who’s gonna follow up. There is no next Frank Moore. There is only one. There is only one, and that’s all you get. And I’m sure that there’s not going to be anyone quite as amazing and remarkable as him. The world has had plenty of time to come up with another one, and it hasn’t managed to do it, so … he’s it, he’s the only one.”

He also talked about the Outrageous Beauty Revue, which is when he first saw Frank at the Mabuhay in 1981. “No one had ever done that, and no one has done it since.” “Celebrating people for who they are, what they are, whatever they look like …” He was also really struck by the quotes from Frank at the end of the 1st episode, about faking it until you make it, and how Frank saw himself as beautiful. “And like he said, that’s magic. That’s what magic is. You know, that’s something to think about. That’s magic.”

Watching Let Me Be Frank with a live audience was amazing … it was the first time, after only having watched it together at home. Both the reactions, laughter, etc. and the silence really made you feel like people were taking a lot in from the episodes.

Alexi counted about 25 people at the screening. Among the people who came was a coworker from the health food store where Corey works, Kacey, and Erika’s coworker Megan and her boyfriend Josh. Megan was the last student who worked with Frank. Also, Keith Wilson came, the filmmaker who is doing his own documentary on Frank.

Let Me Be Frank screening

One of the first questions after the screening was if Frank had been an organizer for disabled people in the bay area community, or if his work drew other people with disabilities into his work. We talked about how he had participated in the protests in the early 80s at the Federal building in SF over the ADA, and also about the group that put on the OBR, and how it came together through Frank’s workshops, and that there were several people with disabilities that were part of the workshops and later formed deeper relationships, formed households together, etc.

We talked also about how Frank was challenging to the disability community in the seventies, because while they were advocating independence, hiring people to help you so that you could be “independent”, Frank was talking about having deep relationships with friends and lovers who would take care of your needs.

We also told the story of Frank showing Fairytales Can Come True at the CP Center.

Heather brought up what she had read in How To Handle An Anthropologist about Frank’s experience at the San Francisco Art Institute, and about not getting booked by gallery spaces and being embraced by other subcultures like the punk scene … and we ended up telling the story of The Lab cancelling Frank’s performances, and how the poetry community came out to perform with him on the street in front of the space. And then Peppe talked about how you can’t even count how many places have banned Frank! And how Frank didn’t care, he just thought it was funny!

A Japanese woman who Heather told us later had come specifically “for the Frank Moore event” told Erika that she had a friend who had been severely disabled, and gets very down in the dumps about what she can’t do anymore (she is an artist), and that she felt that Frank was really inspiring, and would be inspiring to her friend.

At the end of the night, after the second episode, she talked again about how Frank was really inspiring, especially how for so long, from such an early point, Frank had this idea of interdependence (instead of independence), and she was struck by his self-respect and his will to do his art, that was really admirable, and a lot of people could not do this, so she couldn’t understand how anyone could ever ban him! She also said he was “so cute! so lovable”

Afterward, a couple who had come to the event came up to us. Matt is someone who volunteers at Adobe, and is a musician who recently did a dissertation for his degree at Mills College where he helped create musical instruments for people with disabilities, that they could play and jam together with. He was really inspired by Frank, and had been thinking about doing something about Frank with his disabled students where he teaches at an Academy, but he said he will have to see what the administration of the school is open to.

Also after the screening, as we were packing up, Heather’s partner Kyle talked about the part of the OBR episode where Steve Hoffman was playing Joe Cocker. He was really impressed. He said it was “pure rock ‘n’ roll”, and that he have never seen anything quite like it.

When Peppe left, he asked us when is the next one!? He wants to be there.

Heather wants to do more screenings/jams, and suggested that perhaps the next one could be around Frank’s birthday!

From left to right: Heather, Corey, Erika and Alexi

MORE PHOTOS HERE


Watch the jam, screening and Q&A here:

You can watch the two episodes that were shown:

EPISODE 1: A Lucky Guy

EPISODE 12: Outrageous Beauty Revue