The LUVeR CRew by Ken Cheetham

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LUVeR @ the People's Park 40th Anniversary
People's Park, Berkeley, California
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Sunday we started Luver’s summer of festivals by having a “cave “[table] at the 40th Anniversary of People's Park. Basically it was nonstop amazing six hours of relating with people! It really was an overwhelming tide of feedback of How what we are doing has a profound effect on so many people. Really it’s now a blur… Not really… But so dense and intense! Reading the poem on the main stage for the large crowd, backed by Shelley Doty and her band, felt like a breather from the human stream! Thank God I have Da Boyz and Jen to write more detailed reports of what went on. So read on!


Soon we were off, stopping at the PH to pick up the boombox and the last two totes, and off we went! We were pulling up to People's Park not too long after 8am. It was just us and the People's Park regulars, watching us set up. We started unloading, and Jen went down to Peet's to get our coffees ... mochas all around! The first thing that happened, almost as soon as we started setting stuff down at the spot, was a big smear of dogshit on our plastic that we had put down to protect the stuff from the wet grass! We discovered landmines of dogshit everywhere! We moved operations over a ways, and covered the poop anytime we found a pocket with plastic and rocks!

T hen we got started setting up the booth. Always fun. This was the first time with the backdrops, so it was a learning curve to figure out the best way to do it. Now we know for next time exactly how we'll do it. But in any case, it just looked beautiful with Mikee's colorful erotic flowing backdrop and panels ... created a really neat feeling in the booth ... we called it a cave! Especially when it got so cold!

And then it was noon, and people were already coming to the booth to check it out ... There was the guy who knew Frank and Linda from the Mabuhay days, and who noticed when the fliers went up for performances, and how quickly they got torn down, especially on Shattuck Ave. A guy wearing a 911-truth t-shirt came by and ended up giving LUVeR 2 of his CDs! He, like a lot of other people throughout the day, really seemed to appreciate what LUVeR did in being such an open channel ... People were really enjoying the booth, and really enjoying looking through and selecting the sample CDs that were out for free from bands that play on LUVeR. Every one of the CDs amazing! It was really fun to watch people selecting just the right thing for what they liked ... and often asking us to tell them more about the CDs ...

In comparison to what it was like the rest of the day, it was kind of mellow the first couple hours, but when Frank, Linda and Mikee arrived, it really got going! How can we remember everything that happened! Frank could barely get a sip of water in between talking with the waves and waves of people who came by the booth ... amazing interactions, and possibilities opening up ... It was amazing how many people watch Frank's shows on BTV, and we talked later about how incredible it was to hear, when Frank asked them what they thought, how they really saw what Frank is doing, how he is opening up possibilities, pushing the boundaries, altering reality ... using these very phrases! And a lot of folks remembered the presidential campaign too, which had made a stop at the park the year before. They loved that Frank had run, one guy said he wanted Frank to run again, and said that he would vote for him! Later, the black woman who had read Frank's platform the year before, cover to cover, totally engrossed, not saying a word at the end, but just giving Frank an intense look of approval and appreciation, ... came up to the table, and it was the first time we actually heard her voice, big and loud telling Frank how much she loved what he did, and checking in again now with LUVeR!

Before too long, it was coming up upon Frank's turn at the mic onstage ... Jen and Alexi manned the booth while Corey went down to video Frank. Frank got Shelley and her band to back him up while he read "That Goddamn Weed of Life", just the most perfect poem to capture what People's Park was all about, and it felt like everyone really got it deeply. There were murmurs and shouts of recognition throughout the poem. Shelley tore it up on guitar backing Frank! We found out later that she had asked Frank if he wanted her accompaniment to be "clean" or "dirty"? "Dirty", of course! She knew the answer already!

Wavy Gravy intro'd Frank, was doing most of the MC-ing throughout the day. After the poem ended, Corey heard a guy telling his friends in the crown about seeing a performance, with strobe lights, Frank, nude bodies, etc., on BTV ... pointing out that it was the same guy!

Frank was stopped several times just getting back to the booth by people who loved his poem, shaking his hand ... a poet told him that it was amazing, but no one really applauded. Frank said that was ok, he didn't like applause! There were tons of Shaman's Den interview possibilities that came out of the day, out of Frank just talking with all the folks who came up to the booth. It was so much fun ...
When Frank, Linda, Mikee and Jen went down to Peet's to go to the bathroom and get a coffee, who should walk up but Wavy Gravy, going on and on about the beauty of Mikee's backdrops, wondering who did those??? We told him ... He also needed his fish on the end of a harness repaired. He turned to Alexi! He had his intuition, obviously! Alexi fixed up the fish harness with some gorilla tape, and then who else should walk up but Country Joe MacDonald, and he and Wavy bantered about a movie that Wavy was recommending ... it was hilarious!! And Corey got it all on video! Wavy left what we called his turd instrument, because it seemed to have a turd in place of a bridge for its one string. He later pointed out that it was a real meteorite ... he said, "A turd from outer space."

When he came to get it, Frank hit him up, yet again, to be a guest on the Shaman's Den. He said that Mrs. Gravy did not approve ... she said she didn't think it was a good idea for someone running a children's camp, to be on a show where Frank's weenie was hanging out! Frank and Linda explained to him that on the Shaman's Den interview show it would be Frank and Wavy just talking. Hearing that, he was open to the idea, and said that they should talk about it. It was just the weenie hanging out, or "tits to the wind" that made it a problem! Wow!!

There were so many amazing interactions ... near the end of the day, an artist from Vancouver stopped by the booth, and she and Frank ended up talking deeply about art and the function of art and the artist ... she brought over her black & white, psychedelic, liquid dreamlike comics, a lot like Mikee's art in the way that you could see so much in each page, get lost in her drawings ... Linda said later that you could see from what the comics were talking about, that she was on the same page with Frank ... at one point she cried and looked deeply into Frank's eyes. It was after Linda had given her the flier for the Temescal performance, and also after she had started reading the Magical Act of Doing ... She did a trade with Frank for his Chapped Lap book of poems ... she gave a copy of her comic, signed ... We also got a few of her painting postcards, which are beautiful ... She couldn't set up a Shaman's den with Frank because she was traveling, so Frank did the interview right there.

We were blown away by the day ... Another couple bought Chapped Lap after seeing Frank's poem about Connie. They have a daughter named Connie ... something struck the guy about the line, "a black sheep, raising black sheep" ...

Kay came by, a veteran of jams and performances, and checked in again with Frank ...

There was so much, and it was only slowing down a little at the point when the event was officially over, and we were ready to start breaking things down, and Frank, Linda and Mikee were on their way home ...

While we broke down, people kept coming up to the booth, wanting to know about LUVeR. We were handing out fliers right and left!


Found a good place to open the canopy and then we went to work putting it up. Once that was done we put the back drop up. This was new and we had to figure out how to do it. We didn't want it to hit ground. Clips and ropes were rigged up and we eventually got it.

We put up the other panels back to back on the sides. Talked about how we could make it better next time using sturdier clips and some weights so that the bottom stays down. They looked great though. Really vibrant, creating a cozy space that really caught your attention. We started decorating. Table cloths, peace flags and bows were put up. We got all the flyers, buttons and cds out. Alexi put up the t-shirts. Went to the bathroom at one point and when I saw the booth on my way back it looked amazing. Then I went to Bongo Burger and got us all breakfast. Tasty stuff. The boyz had omelets with sausage and I had scrambled eggs with bacon.

We sat and Corey was shooting video. People came up to the booth here and there. We told them about LUVeR, gave them flyers etc. A guy came up who said he knew Frank from the Mabuhay days, and he was glad to see us there. A girl came up and wanted to take one of the cds but didn't know what the music was like so the boyz described it to her and she picked one that sounded good. It was fun. We got the call from you that you were on your way. After a while I could feel that you were near and when I looked around I saw you coming down the sidewalk.

You got cozy in the booth and people started coming up more frequently. Frank worked his magic and asked some of them what they did. It was amazing the people that came up to the booth and said they saw Frank's tv show and what they thought of it. Really incredible how they could see what Frank does. One guy said that it was disturbing in a good way, in the way that made people go outside of the norm and think about things that weren't in the box of what is considered normal. They all loved the show. I can't remember what everyone said, but it was really great to see how many people responded to what Frank is doing. How they could all see the value of Luver, and just everything as being something different than what is out there in the mainstream channels. Doing it for love rather than for money. So many people came up and could see that, responded to that, wanted that. Frank is amazing. What he does is amazing. I have always felt that. It's what sucked me in to you.

Frank went on stage to read his poem about the goddamn weed of life. It silenced the crowd. You could feel how much it touched the spirit of that park and the people that were there today. When you guys came back and talked about how people came up to Frank and told him how much they liked it you could feel how much more important that was than applause. When you got back to the booth it was again a constant flow of people coming up and Frank pulling them in, asking them what they did, getting possible guests for the Shaman's Den, connecting. It was a great fun day.

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