Letter to Roni, dated in pencil Dec. 1986:
1812 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94703
Here is the packet including two proposals, my resume, and articles about my work. After we talked to you, I started thinking about the problem about The Painted Bride. It seemed if I did a performance there, I would either put you at risk in your job or would have to compromise … probably both! I am not willing to do either.
But it would be a shame not to do something at The Bride if it is possible. So I came up with the idea of doing the lecture there. Ideas and words are safer and more acceptable to administrators than the physical acts which put the ideas in the real world. The lecture would plant seeds, at the very least.
The performance at the other gallery should be a day or two after the lecture to give the physical product of my ideas.
Although there is nudity in “Wrapping/Rocking”, the piece has proved to be very accessible and gentle. I am looking forward to doing it there. I will need one female performer [how about you?] and up to two other dancers for the piece.
In L.A. I have attracted young artists who perform in my pieces down there. I have a dream about this also happening on the East Coast. Winter is turning out to be proposal-writing time of the year. One of the proposals is to the Yellow Springs Institute in PA. If I get accepted, I would want to work with some of the same people I will worked with in N.Y.C. and Philly this time around.
Linda and I are looking forward to seeing and talking with you on South Street … and at Cafe Roma here.
Here is Frank’s proposal for the lecture:
RAPTURE PERFORMANCE – A MAGICAL ART
There should be a kind of art that magically alters human reality, alters consciousness, subverts the existing order, and expands the limits of morals. Performance art can be such a channel of revolutionary, empowering change … if it focused on invoking the state of rapture.
In the lecture, I will go back to the primal roots of all art around the fireside and in the cave. The urge of creativity was a spiritual and communal attempt to affect, to change, the outside reality, both the natural world and the surreal world of gods and spirits. Art has hidden rituals in which power came from the acting out, not from viewing the art.
I will deal with how art, along with formal religion, lost its primal focus of change and became an object for viewing. Art became fragmented and isolated. Art failed the people.
The lecture will talk about how the avant-garde tradition, including performance art, was a reaction to this failure. It was an attempt, mainly unconsciously, to get back to the magic.
I will maintain that this magical art is still possible in this yuppie decade. In fact, it is vital for our collective sanity to have such art of rapture. By talking about what I do, I am hoping that tactics will emerge for this underground war of art and magic.
Roni’s reply, undated and handwritten on Painted Bride letterhead paper:
Dear Frank and Linda,
Happy 87 – hope all is well with you. Thanks for sending me the information – I showed it to Chris Hayes, the program director, and Chris is willing to do one weekend evening in May (*see note) around your NYC visit (either before or after) for Wrapping/Rocking. He asked if you would work for a minimum guarantee (say $150) against our standard 65% of the gate. (One hundred people at 6.00 each would be about $400 for you, if I figured correctly).
So let me know EXACTLY what your plans are regarding trip east; we can house you here, of course (do you like dogs – you can stay with me – I’m on a 1st floor.) and if you want to do Kitchen 1st or Bride 1st.
We have some ideas on getting the public out (”SEX, NUDITY, SOFT EROTICISM”*) and we also think we can get the art opening crowd out.
Hope to hear from you soon.
love to you both.
& happy 87!
*we’ve come some way, I guess.