Again after last night’s performance I said we are doing our best performances in forty years. I don’t mean the past performances were inferior in any way. But last night there were a lot of elements to play with. The audience was eager to play, going outside the zones of dullish death-bed comfort. And they brought abilities and vulnerable willingness to jump in all the way. Of course having the core of the seven of us helps, providing willing bodies to undress, explore, and take on silly sexy adventures of liberating fun, created and led by audience members. But last night, this was amplified by the range and depth that the people brought. Of course there was Guillermo playing music, jamming with me, floating into juicy bits of debris of the beds of inspiration of brandy healing. But I always have musicians who drill to the core. What made it magical is when the shy woman who loves playing piano but thought she could not play started to play keyboard and got into it. And the woman Rain who came because she liked how on the flier Mikee mixed genitals all up. Her willingness to go into rituals and even to make them up on the spot and to lead others into these melted everything in to pure fun… Not to mention her lusty exploring the male bodies, which allowed me to touch on criticism of last month’s performance. Now there was just male nudity, for you who are keeping count. No female nudity, except when they kicked on their backs, legs wide apart high in the air, revealing holes of possibilities.
Then there was Blossom, the woman in white. She was a sexy female Harpo Marx with her chirping, beeping, giggling joyfully, moving her body swaying gently trying to project deep meaning physically. She was willing to dance small intimate with me and do a vocal duet with me, using a range from operatic to dirty growling noise.
The above are just some of the examples of the elements I had to play with last night. Of course I always find some elements to play with. And the first five minutes I thought I would have to drill for those elements. But after that, I just had to follow and not get in the way. For example, I had Blossom read my writings at random as I jammed with Guillermo and the piano player. Blossom ended up flipping back and forth between pieces, reading lines from different poems and essays, creating a new poetic pattern of images and thoughts. It reminded me of the technique William Burroughs used. It also reminded me of how I wrote the long poem that she was reading a lot from. In the early seventies there was a book, BE HERE NOW, by Ram Das. In the back of the book there were around sixty photographs on cards that you could pull out. So I had a shuffled pile of these cards beside my typewriter one day when I was tripping on acid. I wrote a section based upon each photo. Then I flip the top photo onto the floor and started writing the next photo. Blossom tapped into this streaming improvisation between the universal underground mind and the erotic physical bodies. And all the while Rain was leading her charges through their playful adventures around the space! This was one of the times during the night I thought this is mind-blowing mind-expanding! I couldn’t have created this! Just had to stay out of its way… Don’t block or limit it by holding on to pictures or expectations!
As usual, we did the hustling quick set-up. Guillermo was there too, setting up his equipment ... he would be doing music!
There was already a young asian woman there as we were just completing all the set-up, getting the heaters plugged in and going ... it was cold outside! Frank started talking to this woman, who had seen a listing for the performance on a website ... it seemed that she wanted to explore new things, she was curious ... Frank asked her what she likes to do, and she told him about the outdoorsy things she likes to do ... Frank asked her if she plays music ...? She said no, but she has taken piano, but said something along the lines of that she was working on her technique ... Frank said technique was over-rated! Linda described how Frank plays piano ... Later in the performance, Frank asked this woman if she would join the jam that he and Guillermo and Blossom were doing ... and she got up and played the keyboards for a good long time, really getting into it,. really great!
A young man had come in, and was in the shadows, talking to Mikee ... we never heard what he was asking Mikee, but when Frank started talking to him, he quickly left! But he came back 15 or 20 minutes later for his shoes!
A young woman came in around the same time, and sat down with everyone else. Frank started talking to her ... what attracted her to the performance? She had seen a flier at a bus stop, but it was for October, and had already passed. She was disappointed that she had missed it. Frank asked her later why, and it was because she thought it was only a one time thing, didn't realize that it was every month. But then shortly after that, she had seen a brand new flier at the bus stop! She was attracted by the art especially on the flier ... at first she said she liked all the genitals! Frank made the most of this throughout the performance ... Later, she expanded upon this, when Frank had her talk about her experience of the performance that night ...
Frank asked her if she would undress the camera man, Corey? He explained that in the last performance he had gotten shit for the camera guys being the only ones who were dressed! She wanted to make sure Corey consented ...? Sure! She came over and introduced herself ... Rain ... she undressed Corey ...
Then a woman came in, dressed in flowing white clothes, dancing in and sitting down ... we later came to know her as Blossom. And a big guy who had been to previous performances came in too ... an older man with white beard and a cane ... Frank talked to Blossom and to him ... Blossom had also seen a flier on a street pole, and so had he ... We can't remember now what Blossom said when Frank asked her what attracted her to the performance, but she talked for a long time with Frank and Linda after the performance, and they said later that she really got what Frank is doing, and it was what she had moved out here from Iowa to find ... but all she had encountered was glamor, until she found this!
Frank asked Blossom if she would undress Alexi, but she said she wasn't comfortable with that, and neither was the first woman ... so he came back to Rain! But this time, Rain said that the first time she had asked if Corey was comfortable with her doing that, but now she wanted to know if everyone there was comfortable with her doing it? Frank talked about how the performance was exploring outside of comfort zones, and expanding what is "comfortable". It seemed that everyone really got and really liked what Frank was saying. And that was enough for Rain. She went over and undressed Alexi too. Frank had her undress Mikee not too long after!
Frank asked Blossom if she would lead him in something? She was willing ... she started making sounds and doing movements from where she was sitting, and Frank had Linda and MIkee take off his board ... Blossom came over and she and Frank ended up doing an amazing movement and sound jam duet, which had everyone transfixed ... it was incredibly beautiful and deep. Guillermo was jamming with them on his devices ... he seemed to be manipulating tracks of pre-recorded music ...it was really neat! The dance got deeper and deeper, and more physical ...at one point, Frank pulled off Blossom's cap, and her long brown hair spilled out. She laughed and everything deepened more ... amazing ... it went on for a long time, and was totally captivating.
After this, we think what happened next was that Frank said that he and Guillermo were going to do "their song". Linda, Jen and Erika would dance while they played. Guilermo and Frank started jamming, Linda, Jen and Erika were dancing, rubbing together ... at some point Frank asked if Blossom would join them, reading from his binder of writings ... and he asked Rain if she would lead Linda, Jen and Erika in something ...? And he asked the young asian woman if she would join them on keyboards too?! All the plates were spinning! Rain asked the big guy if he wanted to be led too? He was happy to participate, and it became an amazing jam, many layered ... it was hard to know where to look! As part of Rain's thing, she explored Betty's jewelry, and they all ended up wearing the jewelry and then putting it on other people, including Frank, Corey, Alexi and Mikee ... Rain was really amazing ... a great "ring leader" as she said later! Blossom was reading through Frank's writing in a nonlinear way, flipping back and forth between pages, and sections of Frank's poems and essays ... a lot of what she was reading from, Frank pointed out later, was his "Dream Traveling" poem that he wrote in the 70s, based on flipping through a book of images ... Frank said that the way Blossom read the poem was just like the way he wrote it! It was a really amazing experience to watch and listen to everything that was going on, and the jam was great! It felt like it could really go on and on ... At some point, Frank had Mikee time out 5 minutes more, and then it ended.
A guy had come in, very late, at this point, and Frank pointed it out! He humbly acknowledged that he was late! He said he "really should be on time" ...
We can't remember the order of things, but Frank had Linda talk about Betty, so everyone knew where the jewelry came from ... and Frank pointed out that he did not get undressed. Rain called out, "Yet!" Frank said, "Ok." And asked her if she would undress him and explore his body? She did ...
Frank said that the jam was amazing ... he asked Linda to say something about the night ... She said that it felt like everyone came to play ... Frank asked Rain to describe her experience of the performance, and she took us all on a journey through her experience of the night from the very moment she walked in out of the rain into the space. It was amazing to hear ... and to hear her describe how things affected her and what they made her think about. She liked undressing the guys, liked how it makes men softer to be undressed, and liked the nude men behind "machines" ... she talked more about what had attracted her about the artwork on the flier ... that it was more about how the genitals were all mixed together, the bodies were all mixed together ... she especially related to this because she herself was transgender ... and after undressing the guys, she thought about what it would be like if she undressed and how she would want to describe everything ... all the "parts" that were a part of her being transgender. Frank said she could do this at the next performance! She said she really liked seeing people without their clothes on too, she liked bodies ... she said she was an artist ... and she also really liked being a "ringleader". It felt like, even thought she didn't really know Linda, Jen, Erika and the big guy, it felt like they were all together. Frank said it was the tribal body ...
Frank asked Jen and Erika, Guillermo and the big guy too to talk about their experience ... we remember the big guy thanking Rain for including him, and that he really enjoyed being led ... Guillermo talked about how much he liked participating in Blossom's jam with Frank ... he referred to all the different parts of the night, and how much he enjoyed them ... he liked seeing the guys get undressed, loved Rain's description of the night, and Blossom's sounds and reading ... Later, when Corey was heading of the bathroom, and Guillermo was there getting out of his costume, he told Corey how much he loved being there with everyone, and loved our "team", how we all work together ... that it was really beautiful, our energy ...
Frank also asked Blossom to talk about her experience .... Most of what came out of her was in song and movement form ... but you really felt it from this! She also said that it was great to feel that she could just be herself, that it was ok whatever she wanted to do, that she could participate to whatever degree she wanted to, and that was ok.
Frank said that she and he could get together to "plot"! Blossom was excited! And that was the end ... It was a shorter performance, but Frank and Linda were saying later that it also skipped over that first hour of getting past all the "blocks"! Everyone who came was ready to just jump in and play, and things developed very quickly ... Blossom stayed and talked with Frank and Linda for a long time, as we broke down the set, munching on popcorn ... Another amazing performance ...
Pretty soon we were loading up the car, and Blossom was heading out ... she went wild for the car ... just loving Mikee's paint job, and saying that it reminded her of the way she paints shoes!
On the way home, we were talking about the performance ... remembering all the amazing parts of it ... and talking about how incredible a thing this series was ... how we flier / do publicity for about a month, and hundreds, thousands of people see the flier ... everyone tells us that they see it everywhere ... and then out of all those people, 3, 4, maybe 5 come to the performance, ready to play, and to really go deep. Linda pointed out too later that all those people who just see the flier and never come to the actual performance are another whole story ... their experience ...
When we were all home, and had unloaded everything at the PH, we were talking about this, and about how amazing the performance was ... how everyone had come ready to explore and play ... Frank had said that if he had had pictures, nothing would have happened ... the performance would not have happened. Linda said that you can just imagine the numbers of artists who would look at the people who came tonight, and think there was not going to be anything to work with ... a small number of people, etc. etc. ... full of judgments, and nothing would have come of it, there would not have been anything ... but that Frank does not have pictures, just follows, and that you really feel that people walk out of the performance with an expanded feeling of who they are, and what is possible.
Corey was saying something like that on the way home too, that these performances always gave him this feeling like a "renewed faith in humanity" ... that people are so willing and able to go deep, to be vulnerable ... that there are so many others who feel and see things the way we do ... and these performances bring us together.
The Reality Playings’ performance last night was amazing. The people who were there came to play and that opened everything up. Frank said, "Look what would have happened if he had had pictures or a plan of what was going to happen. It would have limited it." Just after we got the space set up people started arriving. Frank started talking to people as they arrived. There was a woman who was a consultant for an engineer who had taken some piano lessons in college but did not think that her hand and eye coordination was very good. Frank said that hand/eye coordination was overrated! Later she joined Guillermo as the band and she was amazing. There was another woman who had seen one of the flyers up for last month’s performance and had wanted to come. When she saw the new flyer up, that there was another one this month, she was really excited to come. She really liked the artwork on the flyer. All the different genitals all mixed up. Frank said that "He delivers genitals." There was a woman who came all dressed in white. She was new to the area and saw one of the flyers up too. She felt a gut pull to come but did not know why so there she was. She liked to move and to make sounds/sing so sometimes she would answer with movement and sound/singing. Frank said that last time someone gave him shit for the camera men not being nude so the woman who had liked all the genitals on the flyer ended up undressing Corey, then Alexi and Mikee. Before she did it she wanted to know if she had their consent an then after undressing Corey and a couple of the other women said they did not feel comfortable undressing Alexi the first woman said that maybe even if it was ok with Alexi we should get everyone's consent. There was also a guy there who has come to performances over the years. Frank asked him if he would like to warn everybody. He said not warn but that he felt that the performances were opportunities to step beyond where you are comfortable, that you can choose to step out beyond and explore or you can choose not to. Frank then talked about the comfort zone and moving beyond the comfort zone or that the comfort zone did not really even exist. She said ok I'm into that and she went off to undress Alexi and the Mikee's clothes.
Frank asked the woman who was wearing all while to come up and lead him in something. She went up to Frank and they did a beautiful dance and sound making/singing that was amazing and Guillermo did music with them that added a whole another dimension and was amazing! Then Frank asked Guillermo if they could do their song together. Guillermo did music and Frank sang while Linda, Erika and Jen danced together soft and fun and melting. Then Frank asked the woman in white to read from his book of writings. She asked if she could read randomly or should she read a whole piece straight through and Frank said whatever she wanted to do. She ended up reading bits and pieces of many different writings and poems while Guillermo played music and Frank sang. Frank asked the woman who loved the genitals on the flyer to lead the rest of us in something. He said that she could explore our genitals. She took a group of us on a movement play journey together. We did many fun movements as we followed her around the room, sometime clapping together, laying on the floor laughing, playing musical instruments, putting jewelry on ourselves and on Frank and the camera guys. It was really fun! A new guy had just come in and Frank said that he was late. Yes he said. And later after hearing about what he had missed he said that next time he would come on time.
Somehow it came up that Frank had not gotten naked for the night and one of the women said, "Not yet!" So she undressed Frank and then explored his body while Guillermo played music. Then Frank asked her to described the evening and she did it eloquently. She talked about how she enjoyed seeing the flyer with the mixed up genitals because she is mixed gendered. She enjoyed taking the clothes off the camera men, seeing soft naked men behind cameras. When she first came in she did not know what was going on or what was going to happen and she was thinking that maybe she was holding back or not being as soft as she could have been when she undressed people but she kept exploring. She said that the woman in white who moved and sang with Frank was like part cat and part snake and that she really loved it when Frank pulled her hat off and she had all this hair. She talked about the woman who got up and played the piano who played really beautifully even though she said that she couldn't play very well. She had really enjoyed leading the group in the movements and she felt more comfortable when she was leading, and Frank said "The Tribal Body." She said that it all made her think about her own body and how many stories are in peoples bodies. Even if you see them naked you do not know all of their stories. Frank said that next month we could explore that more. She said that Frank invited people to explore and opened up space for them to meet their desires. The woman in white said that it was hard to find words to express the evening so she did some movements and sounds and she had really loved reading Frank's poems. Frank said that most of the pieces of poems that she had read were from writings he did in the 70's when he would open up a book and pick a word or a phrase and just start writing from that. Guillermo said that he was really honored to come and make up a song with Frank. People came to play last night to play together in a beautiful web of being together and playing together. It is amazing what happens when people come who really want to play and explore. It was an amazing night! Both the woman who loved all the mixed up genitals and the woman in white really got what was happening on a deep level and were able to articulate it on a deep level. The one woman stayed after the performance was over and talked with Frank and Linda for a long time.
Erika and the boyz were setting the space up. We jumped in and soon everything was set up. We really transform the space with lights and colour. The jewelry and toy instruments were out and Guillermo from the Pow Pow festival was there with a sound system set up already making scratchy melodies in the background. He was wearing a furry costume with a red stripe across his face and he was going to play a healing song with Frank tonight.
The first person to arrive was a woman who saw our flyer on the Temescal website. She said that she was interested in art and went to different things all the time. Frank asked her what she did for fun and she said that she did a lot of different things like playing tennis etc. He asked if she played music and she said that she had once taken piano lessons but didn't practice. Frank had never taken a lesson and he played. He said that there's more than one way to play the piano, like Jerry Lee Lewis played with his elbows, feet and butt.
The next woman to arrive said that she saw last month's flyer and was sad that she had missed it because she thought it was a one time thing, but then when she saw this month's flyer she came! She was intrigued with the genitals on the flyer drawing. Frank asked her to talk about that and she said it was neat how they were all mixed up together. Frank asked if she would undress Corey. She said only if he consented, which he did.
A man had arrived who has been to several different performances over the years. He sat down and Frank asked what keeps him coming back. He said that it's always interesting! Another woman arrived all dressed in white. She said that she had seen a flyer and had a feeling that she should come. She didn't know why, but she followed that feeling. Frank says that he always follows! He asked if she would do a dance with him later and she said she didn't know but to ask her later. Then he asked her if she would undress Alexi and she said no. The first woman also said no, that she didn't feel comfortable with that. The woman who undressed Corey was asked and she said that now she wanted consent from everyone in the room because she didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable. Frank said that we are outside the zone of comfort. Outside of that zone we can find new things, but in the zone of comfort we are limited. She said that she was into it and then she undressed Alexi. Frank also had her undress Mikee. Then he had the guy who had come warn the others as to what happens during performances. He said that he didn't know about it being a warning, more of just an observation. He said he has never seen anyone forced to do anything they didn't want to do, that everyone did what they wanted to because they had that freedom. He also said that it is always different and always interesting.
Frank asked the woman in white to lead him in something. She came up to him but didn't know what to do. Then she just started to sing. She had been making little noises all along, chirping, clicking and purring noises. With Frank she sang very beautiful sonorous notes, no words. She also vocalized and made all those little sounds too while she touched him and moved her arms around him. Frank sang along, made little sounds too, and moved his arms with hers. Guillermo kept making his soundscape and played with them. It was very beautiful to watch. At one point Frank took the woman's hat off and all this dark wavy hair fell to her shoulders. Everyone giggled because it was so playful.
When they were done, Frank asked Guillermo to talk about healing because Guillermo wanted to do a healing song with Frank. Guillermo said that they would let something come through them from another place to share with everyone. He was honored to do a song with Frank. They started and Linda, Erika and I danced together. We huddled because it was a bit chilly in there, and then our body heat warmed us up as we rubbed bodies together. We shook our hips to Brazilian beat which morphed and we slowed down with it so we were slowly rocking together. Then Frank had the woman who first arrived get up and play on the keyboard. He had the woman in white read randomly from his book of writing. She even skipped from piece to piece reading bits here and there, and one of the poems she read was something Frank had written in the 70's much the same way that she was reading - by random and stream of consciousness. Then Frank had the woman who had undressed the guys lead Linda, Erika and me in something. That woman quickly invited the other guy who had come, and soon all 4 of us were following her every movement. She did sweeping gestures and hoping around, then looking at each other deeply, then prancing around with our elbows out. It was a lot of fun to follow her, and she had fun leading. Whatever she did we did. She picked up jewelry and put it on, then started adorning Corey, Alexi and Mikee. We did too. Then she picked up the cane that the man who had come used. She twirled it and then we all did and passed it around. Then she lead us to the woman in white where we all sat around her. We got up and then sat on each other on the chair beside Frank. Then we all held hands and lay down. The next thing she did was start deep belly laughing. We all laughed and that kept us laughing! We held hands and lifted our legs. Frank announced that we had 5 minutes left so we gently wrapped things up.
A man came in and sat down. Frank said he was late. He had missed everything and he heard all about it when Frank asked everyone what they thought of the evening. The woman on the keyboard had to leave early so she was not there, but the woman who we had followed did an amazing recount of everything that happened since she arrived. She said that when she answered Frank about her interest in the genitals in Mikee's artwork, she said that she had given a superficial answer. Her real answer was that she was transgendered and had her own genitals in transition. It made her think of bodies and her own body. She said that she likes nudity. Frank said next time she comes she can show us her body. She said she liked undressing the guys because she thinks that men look very soft naked, and she never sees men naked behind machinery. She talked about listening to the woman in white singing and reading, and she said that she liked having everyone following her. It made her feel like she knew us. Frank said that was the tribal body. She said she had wanted all of us in her body.
The woman in white said that it was difficult for her to put everything that she experienced into words. She sang her sonorous notes and made her sounds to describe the evening. Then Frank asked her how it made her feel and she said that it made her feel like she wanted to get in closer but then she would back off but then she would come in and then back off etc. back and forth. Frank asked her if she would get together with him to plot and she said she would. The man who had followed with us said that he had a great time, very fun. He doesn't usually move around much and is awkward, but he didn't feel that way tonight. He just loved it. Erika said that it was deep fun, and I was amazed at how Frank always creates something so amazing out of nothing. We never know what to expect, if anyone will even show up! But it always is magical like tonight, so much fun with people jumping right in and Frank conducting everything into play that explodes any idea of 'normal' or 'comfortable'. It really was an incredible evening, just like the whole series has been.
When Frank said 'the end' the lights came up. The transgendered woman who had lead us talked to the man who had come late. Then she lingered by the table where we have all our flyers before she left. Guillermo said goodbye to everyone, and the man with the cane came up and hugged me bye saying that he had an incredible time. The woman in white talked to Frank and Linda for a long while about coming out here from Iowa and only finding glamour. She was very glad that she had come tonight because it was something real. Linda told her about how she had come to Berkeley and had feelings about something but didn't know what that was until she met Frank and he had it all worked out. Then she told her about how Mikee, Erika and I met them and got involved. She was amazed by all the stories and she exchanged contact info with Frank. When she left, Corey said she asked 'what do I do now?'. When she saw one of the painted cars she danced around it saying that it reminded her of the shoes she paints.
We all got our gear together and put away, pigging out on popcorn the whole time. We talked about how amazing the performance was. We were all blown away. The car got loaded up and then we were on our way. We drove home talking about how everyone was so ready to just jump right in. It felt like the performance went by very fast, and Frank didn't even have time for a piss break! There was not the usual lead up to get people to let go into what was happening. They were ready right away. It is simply amazing what we are doing and the people who come to play. Frank said that if he had pictures about any of it, it wouldn't happen. There were only about 5 people there tonight, so any pictures about numbers couldn't be there, and the people that come are so different that any judgment would limit what could happen with us all. Even the woman that appeared straight who Frank had playing the keyboard had joined in and become a great part of the experience. Frank is a master.
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