|I'm back, surviving a weekend of performing. Maybe I will start with Wrapping/Rocking at the pagan conference Sunday. It was OK. The cast did good. Two out of the three in the audience were into the ritual (one guy never committed to being there ... wanting to be coaxed/sold). Sienna of Thought Crime from Tempe, Az. was also in the audience. She said she first heard of me from you, Lob. She is now working on bringing me out to Tempe ... which is why I never cancel a performance ... even when the cast outnumbers the audience ...never know what the performance will open up. |
But the context of the conference was weird ... it is like having a song by The Animals played on a "lite rock" station. The context drains away the power of the song. The conference felt like a Star Trek convention, but without the fun and the passion. You could never forget you were in The Marriot! As I went through the hotel to the ritual room, people kept making sure I knew that they knew who I was ... then gave excuses why they weren't coming to the ritual!
OK. I might be unfairly (?) comparing it to the Friday night event which I was so lucky to be a part of ... St. Valentine's Midnight Masquerade Debauch ... A Love Tunnel, A Cabaret, An Erotic Ball. It was the kind of happening you read about in books. It was put on by Kim Jorden and Dave Normal (about 5 years ago he brought me to L. A. to be a part of his rave, Magica Sexualis). When we got there at 7:30, about 50 artists were feverishly turning a two-floor old empty theater into a maze of rooms of different inter-active environments. The building had gone on for a week ... but it had gone down to the wire and they were scrambling ... young punky artists ... the wire had to be moved back an hour or so to get everything created. Under this creative chaos, there was order. Every time we needed something, Dave, Kim, or their helpers would appear with what was needed, then disappeared.
To enter The Love Tunnel, people had to go downstairs (they tell me the upstairs rooms were incredible!), go through the giant pussy, make their way through a narrow passage way with different delights on both sides. There were "fucking unicorns" in a loft in the restroom. On one side of my cave (6X7 foot old meat locker), was a real free shrink open for business. On the other side, Walter Funk played his amazing gong machine!
It was a hard performance ... hard in a good way. We realized that the all-nighters have become easy and comfortable for both us and the people who come. People know of me and the work ... a lot of them have come to many of my performances and know what will happen. This isn't bad because it allows things to go farther. But it isn't risky, edgy anymore.
But Friday night, there were hundreds of people going through "the tunnel," a long line waited to enter "the cave of the Metasensual Beast." Most of them didn't know who Frank Moore was ... so they had no idea what was in the cave ... in fact, at the dance (to a great cha cha band) afterward, people who had come in the cave still didn't know I was the Beast they had played with! About 50 people came into the cave in the three hours. Because of the small size of the cave, the mass of people outside of the cave (many tried to sneak a peak!), not having the foggiest idea what each person who entered the cave would do, Linda (in a cut-out dress that hid nothing), Michael (dressed only in sunglasses and a ritual hat), and me had to remain highly focused for the whole 3 hours ... taking care of the people ... not knowing what would happen next ... performing without a net! We like this risk, this edge. It placed us at the same level as the people who we blindfolded. For the first half hour, it looked like the piece was bombing ... people were waiting for Linda to lead them out. They were groping for the door faster than she could lead people in. But at one point, a woman started joyously playing with The Beast. This pulled other people into playing.
I can't reveal what exactly went on in the cave. Today Kim said people keep talking about the cave ... but they will not tell what happened in the cave ... because we requested them not to ... which tells you something of the reality of the cave. To know what happens in the cave, you must enter the cave!
In Freedom, Frank
Oakland Marriott at City Center
February 16, 1997
The Cave of The Metasensual Beast
St. Valentine's Midnight Masquerade Debauch
The Jewelry Store, San Francisco, California
February 14, 1997
Are you The Enquirer?
Frank in the meat locker before the St. Valentine's Debauch.
Photo by Linda Mac
Which way to the beach?
Michael at the door to the Cave of the Metasensual Beast.
Photo by Linda Mac
|St. Valentine's Midnight Masquerade Debauch poster by Dave Normal|
|Back to The Shaman's Cave|
by Carol Lloyd
from The SF Weekly, March 5-17, 1997
St. Valentine's Midnight Masquerade Debauch.
Created by Mistress K and Doctor Normal.
At The Jewelry Store, 259 Mission, Feb. 14
There's theater, that ancient and polite art form wherein you trade cash for a ticket to sit in the dark and watch a handful of people recite lines and pretend to have meaningful experiences that somehow-via catharsis, empathy, or variour other psychological metaphysics- are supposed to become your experiences. But why does the theater purchased with a square ticket-even when the action onstage is flawless- so rarely captivate? In the real world, the smallest thing can thrill. The coiffed theatre of Aunt Mildred's beehive; the furtive theater of gang youth silently staking out their turf; the chaotic theater of a Ghanaian funeral. That outside theater almost always involves something intense, amusing, or surprising; why doesn't the indoor version?
That was the question twirling in my brain as I left "St. Valentine's Midnight Masquerade Debauch," a one-night interactive performance event created by Mistress K and Doctor Normal. This show, the equivalent of real peach after years of canned fruit cocktail, reminded me that the old unprocessed theatricality of the world can still infuse live performance. We approached the large warehouse space at about 10 pm, and were greeted with shouts and a hail of beer bottles crashing down a flight of stairs. Tumbling after them was a goateed youth pursued by bouncers. He released a cloud of pepper spray and then ran off. "Just hold your breath as you enter!" said a bouncer. "Everything is under control!" Our nostrils burning, we made our way through several rooms decorated in punk Victorian style before joining a crowd waiting at the top of a stairway marked "Tunnel of Love." At the bottom of the stairs we stepped through a giant foam-rubber vagina into an interactive space of mythical love creatures and sex spirits- each intent on engaging the guests in his or her own peculiar reality.
Just past the labial entrance, Dr. Harold Haldol, a balding, disconcertingly believable therapist, offered his red velvet couch for free-love therapy. Though the sign said he specialized in nymphomania, gluttony, and idolatry, he seemed well-versed on all matters of modern anxieties, mixing his pragmatic prognoses with odd poetical insights.
Looking up, we saw an open attic space in which two butoh-esque dancers with unicorn horns performed a slow-motion make-out session. We could hear some hissing and tiny explosions, too, these from the creative use of Pop Rocks. Below them, real entrails were strung like gleaming pink crepe paper, all accented with an arrow impaling a real cow's heart. A character who called herself Little Miss Fickle, dressed in pink chiffon and sitting at a vanity littered with cosmetics, carried on a rhyming dialogue about the impossibility of deciding between Tom, Dick or Harry with people waiting for the bathroom.
Nearby, in a small kitchen covered with tacky centerfold, a married couple hurled lewd insults and the occasional beer can before making up with each other. "Goddamn, you're a bitch," the man sobbed, "but I love you!" Down one crevice, blinfolded guests were escorted into a bright red meat locker to encounter the "metasensual beast" (the naked, sweating body of paraplegic performance artist/horn dog Frank Moore). A reverential St. Valentine roamed the halls, blessing guests with good love and great sex. You could also pray for love to Venus, a nubile maiden reclining in a large shell, as her attendants anointed your forehead with perfume. Eleanor, Queen of Aquitaine received guests in her Court of Love, grilling them on their love lives anad either punishing them with a spanking or rewarding them with a heart-healing or red rose. In another room, the Oyster Goddess offered her cleavage ($10) or her belly button ($5) as a plate for raw oysters garnished with lemon and hot sauce.
Performed by over 70 people, this kaleidoscopic fantasia of postmodern love did not conform to the narrow definition of theater, but it captured the word in its raw essence. Without the traditions and the institutions, the conventions and the glossy programs, this weird show revealed the human imagination's capacity to forge character, costume, and word into wicked unpredictable entertainment.