The Uncomfortable Zones Of Fun - February 2010

Frank Moore’s
The Uncomfortable Zones Of Fun
experiments in experience/participation performance

at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, California
Saturday, August 27, 2011


Mmmmmm…  Writing about the performances have just changed because we are now putting up the video of the whole performance on VIMEO even before I have recovered from the performance to write about it, whereby continuing the performance and adding new dimensions.  In fact a lot of the new people at this one had checked out the past performances on the web and were ready!  In fact one freaky chick told a bunch of her friends how nude freaky chicks always climbed all over me!  They were ready! 

At the beginning of the night only two straight looking women showed up.  But then people started piling in!  It was a good mix of new people and returnees [one of which admitted at the end of the night that he was afraid to come back because the last time was so magical].  Almost everybody was ready to play and to go deep.  One young woman [white hip woman from Georgia] read a few of my poems in a powerful hip hop style [which is why I pointed out she was a white hip woman!].  She later rocked nude sexy on my lap and danced with Linda and me.  Other highlights were Nat singing extremely dirty /sexy a South American torch song and a very intense conversation about scarification with a young guy who practices it, but didn’t know the deeper spiritual dimensions of the practice. 

Half way through almost everybody had their clothes off.  Well, it took Erika putting on the holey underpants of a guy who was holding on to them!  Who says we don’t go outside of our own “comfort zones”?!  But the possibility of “rubbing each other’s genitals” created the biggest band we ever had at this kind of performance!  See the video to see what I am talking about! 

Below is what you have been waiting for...  The write-up of the performance as remembered by Erika and Da Boyz.  Btw, GOOD NEWS...  I just signed the contract with Temescal for next year with terms which allow us to continue not charging but just accepting donations! 

Da Boyz & Erika:

The August performance!  There was a new item to display this time, a new design of the warning sign, blown up into a large poster size and laminated so it would be easy to read from the performance space!  When we arrived at Temescal, we noticed that they had installed a whole bunch of new lights, all over the ceiling of the space.  “Ask and you shall receive!”  Frank had pointed out to the two women who came to July’s performance, two of the three who run the space itself, that the lights kept disappearing.  They had been very aware of that.  And now we had more lights than ever before! 

We set up, and soon Nat arrived and joined us.  And then Frank, Linda and Mikee … Gerald was there too before 8pm, talking with Frank and Linda about acupuncturists.  The last part of the set-up was an extended gel session, as people started arriving, getting different colored gels up on all the new lights!!  It looked really great!  And Frank got right to it!

He asked the two women who had arrived to come sit on the mats and come closer, and started talking with one of them who was wearing glasses … She had seen a flier up at the Starry Plough on Shattuck, and said that it had sounded interesting and different, and that she doesn’t go out to see a lot of performance, but was curious to check this out.  Frank asked her what she does, and she said she is looking for a gig.  Most recently she had been the road manager for Hot Buttered Rum, a local bluegrass band.  Frank asked her how she got into doing that, and she said that she had started as a social worker, and that being a road manager was in a way a lot like that!  She had started working organizing events and festivals, and then had been interested to see what it would be like on the other end, the bands’ side, and so ended up working with bands, and doing road managing.  Frank asked her what her longest tour was, and it had been a six week cross country tour with Hot Buttered Rum, which she said was challenging, but fun.  Frank asked her what she does for fun, and she said she likes to dance, take walks, and sit in her hot tub. 

Now Frank turned to the other woman … we think she had seen a listing online … she had been at a gallery on the east coast that was like a beat happening with improv and music that she had really enjoyed, and was attracted by the promise of that for this performance.  When Frank asked her what she does, she said that she is a writer, she writes plays that always involve an element of improvisation, and so she had been interested to see what Frank did along those lines.  We can’t remember how it came up, but she said something like, “As you can see, I am shy, not used to talking in front of people …”

Meanwhile, other people were coming in … there was a young couple, a guy with glasses with an Asian girl … then another dark-haired girl and a guy who sat off at the far end of the mat. 

Frank turned to the shy playwright and said, “You are off the hook! You will not be the show …” It was because now there were more people!  She smiled, liked that. 

Frank turned to the couple, and asked how she found out about the performance.  She had seen it on Squid List, and it looked like something she’d never done before and liked the idea of “uncomfortable” …  Frank asked him how he had heard about it, and it was from her …  Frank asked, “Why did you let her take you here?”  He said that he liked the sound of it too, that he liked uncomfortable situations… Frank asked him how he was feeling so far.  He said that he was pretty comfortable actually, Frank.  Frank asked him, “Would you undress the cameraman?”  He said, “Sure, if that is ok with the cameraman?”  Corey said, “Yes it is!”  So he came over and undressed Corey.  Now, while that was happening, a girl named Meredith had arrived.  Corey and Alexi had actually met her while there were fliering in south Berkeley.  They had seen her riding her bike on Shattuck, and it seemed like wherever they were as they fliered along, there she was on her bike, riding one way or the other!  Then when they were inside Berkeley Bowl, putting a flier on the board there, she came up to them and said, “You’ve been following me!”  And asked them what they were putting up.  It turned out that she had been seeing the fliers for a while and was planning to come to the performance, and had actually looked Frank up on the web, and saw that there was erotic stuff involved, and said, “That’s cool!”  So Corey and Alexi had given her a flier, and now she was there!  She told Frank about this, that the two “gentleman” had been stalking her!  Frank asked Corey, as he was being undressed, “is that true?  Were you following her?”  Corey said, “Well … no …”   Frank said, “Darn, I was going to say, ‘Good job!’”   Meredith said, “Yeah, that’s what they say now!”  Frank asked her what she does.  Meredith said, “I live, breathe …” She may have said a few other things … Frank asked, “What do you do for fun?”  We think she said again, “I live, I breathe, I like to write poetry, I try to change things …”  We think she also said something like, “making people happy, making life fun …”  Frank asked her if she would read one of his poems, “I Came To Play”.  She said sure, and got up and read it with a lot of expressiveness, hand gestures, physical movements illustrating the poem.  It was a really neat reading! 

Frank asked the guy who undressed Corey if he was uncomfortable yet?  He said no, I’ve seen naked men before.  Frank turned to Corey and said, “I haven’t yet!” 

After this, we think Frank turned to the dark haired girl who had come in before, asking how she had heard about the performance.  She had heard about it from a friend, who was not there yet (but we think the friend arrived as she was talking with Frank) … she had actually seen the fliers, perhaps for two years, but had never thought of going …  Frank asked why she had not thought of coming.   She said because there were so many cultural, political events in the bay area, that she really only goes to things that have been personally recommended, and she had never known anyone who had come to a performance …   Frank said, “And you still do not!”  “Right,” she said.  But now her friend was there, a young blonde girl, and Frank asked her how she had heard about the performance.  She had heard about it from another friend, who had told her that she should really come to one of these performances.  She said he had been to one, and he was someone who was really into esoteric things, but this was something that was even “out there” for him!  So she was curious to come and check it out.  Frank asked her if she was into esoteric things?  She said yes, somewhat, she guessed … Frank asked, “Like what?”  She said music, and ideas … Frank asked her friend why she had let her drag her to this?  And the dark haired girl said that they had not seen each other in a while, and she wanted to spend time with her, and so this is what they were doing!

Frank then asked the guy who had come in with the others and sat by himself off to the side, how he had heard about the performance?  He had gotten a text from a friend about coming tonight, but she was not there!  Frank said, “Some friend!”  What did she tell you about it? Frank asked.  He said, “Well, here, let me read you the text …” and as he was pulling out his phone, the door opened, and in came a small group people, including the friend in question.  “There she is!”  He told her he was just about read her text … she laughed!  She was with three others, two guys and a gal.  They were getting situated, taking their coats off, etc. as he read her text.  It said something to the effect of:  “It is near your house, Free, 8pm, some freaky stuff, Frank Moore in a wheelchair with naked chicks climbing on his lap …” The crowd exploded!  Frank asked her, “Are you a freaky chick?”  We think she said, “a little bit …”   Frank asked her, “How freaky are you?”  Everyone was laughing, we’re not sure how she responded!  Frank asked her how she had heard about the naked chicks on Frank’s lap?  She had heard about it from her friend, Jacob, one of the guys who had just come in.  How did he know about that? Frank asked.   He said that he had seen Frank’s page on vimeo, and seen all the many videos that Frank put up there, so he had gotten a good idea of what Frank does … someone, maybe Jacob, added that he didn’t see any naked girls on Frank’s lap … and Frank said, “Give me some time … I am just getting started …”

Jacob also said that he had known about Frank from when he ran for President in 2008, which he thought was great.  Frank asked him, “Why great?”  He said, “Well, its Frank Moore … running for President … look at the other choices …”  Linda told the story of how Frank ended up running for President, how it started with Mikee’s “Curly (of the 3 Stooges) for President”, and creating a Frank Moore for President t-shirt as a fun birthday present.  Then whenever he wore it, people would ask him what platform he was running on, so he sat down one day and wrote a platform.  And whenever they would show people the platform, they would get very inspired, and look at Frank in a whole new way, and tell him, very seriously, “I would vote for you!”  So they ran!  And Frank ended up as a registered write-in candidate in 25 states, changing some of the unfair rules for write-in candidates in various states along the way, educating the people who worked in the election departments themselves about the process! 

Jacob said at some point that he would like to have heard the platform, so Frank asked Meredith if she would read his platform, the way that she had read “I Came To Play”  She said she try …   She read the whole platform from start to finish, again very expressively, and it was great! 

There were others who came in, but with whom Frank did not talk right away … and a few who came later … Ken Cheetham of the Bay Area Progressive Directory was there again, having come to a number of recent performances, including the last SF performance.

Frank turned back to the group who came with “freaky chick” and asked the other girl, who we later found out was Monica, why she let her friend drag her to this?  She said that she just wanted to be with her friends, so she came along.  Frank asked her, “Be with them how?  In what way?”  Monica replied, “In every way …” Frank said, “Mmmmmmm!”  Everyone laughed!  Frank asked her if she and Jacob would undress each other, and then dress each other up in the costumes and jewelry.  They looked at each other for a moment, and laughed and said, “Sure.”  Then he asked the freaky chick if she and the other guy in their group would undress each other, and dress each up in the costumes …   They paused for a bit longer, and then said ok, and joined the others.  At one point while they were all there, Frank reminded them that it was to undress each other completely first, and then dress each other in the costumes and jewelry.  And he said that the one who is dressing the other will pick out what the other wears.  They had started to leave their underwear on, but most of them then took it off.  Frank asked the remaining guy in the group, the one who had arrived first, if Nat and he would undress each other too and put the costumes on, and he agreed.  So the whole bunch of them was up there taking each others’ clothes off and putting on the costumes.  Very fun!  While they undressed and dressed, Frank told them about Betty, who had donated a lot of the jewelry.  People are always impressed by hearing how Betty, an 83 year old churchgoer has always loved seeing videos of Frank’s performances, and loved hearing that Linda and Erika and others wear her jewelry, and nothing else! 

Nat dressed the first guy in the new skirt that Erika had made that very day, out of Frank’s old cravats!  It was a series of cravats tied to an elastic waist band that left plenty of space in between!  Nat had removed his underwear and put the skirt on, but soon he had those underwear back on!  Frank noticed this of course, and said that Erika could wear his underwear!  The guy said, “Yeah, but she’s wearing a skirt,” meaning that he was wearing it because his skirt really didn’t cover anything up, but hers was covering her, so she didn’t need the underwear!  Frank said, “I’ll take care of that.”  So off the underwear went, and Erika slipped them on!

Meanwhile, Frank had Ken describe the last performance, Friction of Passion Pleasure, at the Center for Sex & Culture in SF.  We remember him saying that it was “a very warm and beautiful way to connect with my fellow mammals …” 

Now the group was all costumed and assembled in that corner of the room.  They looked cute!  Frank told them they could sit down now … 

A big burly guy with curly black hair came in, and then a couple followed.  Frank turned to them now and asked the girl how she had heard about the performance.  We think it was she who had went on the internet looking for something to do that night and found Frank … she said it looked “different”, something she had never done before.  And he had come with her.  Frank asked her what she does.  She said that she is a wage slave working in a café, and also “makes things”.  Frank asked if they would undress each other and put on what was left of the costumes and jewelry.  They hemmed and hawed, and he, with the mic, said, “I will take it on consideration, Frank.”  Frank said, “And?”  Frank turned to her, and asked if she would undress Linda?  She thought for a moment, and then said yes.  Frank asked if Linda could undress her.  She said no, not tonight … “When?” Frank asked.  She said, another night … Frank asked, “What would be different …?” (about that other night).  She said, “Well, really it’s that I have a personal skin issue, and I don’t feel comfortable taking off my clothes right now … I don’t have a problem with nudity, but just not now …” 

Frank said, “That makes sense.  I like people who make sense!”  Then he turned to the guy and asked, “What’s your excuse?”  He said something like it was just not his thing, and also, there are these social moral voices in the background … In response to Frank pushing a little further with him, he said, it was just a habit, keeping his clothes on, maybe a bad habit, but there is was.  Frank said, “Cigarettes?”  The guy said he didn’t smoke.  Frank asked, “Did you ever hear of ‘cold turkey’?”  The room erupted in laughter again!  Frank was really working the crowd.  The guy said yes he had heard of cold turkey, Frank … He was in quite a spot!  But despite Frank’s attempts, he wasn’t willing …

Frank asked if Linda could undress Meredith, and Meredith agreed, and came up to the front and Linda undressed her. 

Frank asked if Nat and Erika could undress Gerald, and then Gerald would undress Erika.  Gerald popped right out of his chair (he always sat on a chair toward the back of the room because he has back issues), and went over to the costume area with Nat and Erika, saying, “Oh! I’ve never had two women undress me at the same time!  That’s a first!”  Frank said that he had meant for them to undress Gerald in his chair … but Gerald wanted to be in the spotlight.  Frank said Gerald was an actor, and Gerald said yes, an exhibitionist!

So Nat and Erika undressed Gerald, and then Gerald undressed Erika, including the other guy’s underwear, at which point Frank turned to that guy and said, “See!”  He said he would take care of it!

Frank asked if Monica would undress the guy who had undressed Corey, and they both agreed … and he asked the girl with him, who had heard about the performance on Squid List, if Meredith could undress her?  She said sure.  Ken and the big guy undressed each other.  And the two friends who had heard about it from their esoteric friend, also undressed each other.  Frank also asked the shy playwright if she would undress Linda, and she declined.  So Frank asked her if she would play music, and she said ok, and Mikee went over and showed her the instruments …  Frank asked if Meredith would undress him with Linda, and she said sure, and the two of them undressed Frank. 

Now almost everyone was undressed, except for “cold turkey”!  It may have been at this point that Frank asked who was uncomfortable.  And he was the only one who raised his hand!  Everyone laughed! 

One of the “esoteric” friends raised her hand and said that she wasn’t uncomfortable until she noticed the cameras and wondered where this would be showing? 

Frank said that it would play on his show on Berkeley public access, and she said she wished she had known that beforehand.  She said she hopes that her grandma doesn’t see her on TV ...  Frank asked her, “Would she flip?”  The girl said yes, her grandma would not like seeing her on TV in the nude, is an evangelical Christian … “and she doesn’t really like me already.”  Frank replied, “So it is you, not your body …”  “Right,” she said.  She got that right away!

Frank referred to Linda’s family, and she described how they converted to Born Again Christians, and to this day cannot understand or accept her and her life.  And this led into telling the story of Linda’s dad, who did like Frank, and who was mafia!  But he had funny ways of expressing his affection … the first time he met Frank, he set stacks of money on Frank’s board, hundreds of dollars, and then when Frank tried to grab it off his board, he took it away before Frank could get to it, saying, “Oh alright!  If you don’t want it, I’ll take it back!”  But at the end of their visit, he ended up giving Frank the money because he liked him!  Then the second time they met, he set his killer dogs on Frank, and Frank as usual was fearless, which he also liked a lot.  Then the third, and last time they met, Frank and Linda were sitting in their downstairs den, and he came down the stairs followed by a bunch of family members, in a sort of ritual fashion, walked up to Frank, pulled out his gun (he always had guns around), and shot Frank!  It was a blank of course, but he shot him!  Frank response was let out three loud farts in a row, which he thought was perfect answer! 

Frank then described how Linda’s mother would always send their kids religious pamphlets for Christmas … after some years of this, they were visiting her dad again, and Frank asked Ed if, each time Charlotte sent a religious pamphlet to their kids, could he include a nude photo of Charlotte?  The pamphlets stopped … for a while!  When they started up again, Frank asked Ed where was the nude photo of Charlotte??

By the end of these great stories, the whole question of the cameras had totally dissolved … the girl said, “Yeah, whenever I tell people stories about my family, they end up telling me stories about their families that are much worse, and make mine look like nothing …”

Frank turned to the guy who had undressed Corey and asked him about the markings on his skin.  He had scar lines across his arms and on his chest and shoulders … It turned out that he cuts himself, and the most recent cuts were very recent, and were still healing.  Frank asked him question after question in detail, finding out more about his ritual, and why he does it … like what he does afterward, etc.  He basically said that he does it because he likes the way that it looks, and he also said that it was a rush to do it.  Frank compared it to what he calls “vere”, and had Alexi give a definition of “vere” …   He said that he cuts himself in the bathroom by himself, at night, and that at first there is a lot of blood, and then he takes a shower, and it heals within a few days. 

From Cherotic Magic, “One of the oldest ways of calling chero up is what I call ‘vere’.  Vere is what most writers would call the use of pain to attain spiritual ends.  But vere is no more pain than eroplay is sex.  Vere is physically different than the normal pain, releasing different chemical and psychic reactions in the body.  Vere and eroplay are related.”

At the end of the conversation, Frank asked if he had read about shamanism.  Because what he did was part of shamanism … He said he hadn’t, but could Frank recommend any books to read?  Frank said to Google it!  

After the performance, Frank said that the guy who cut himself needed to know that what he does is ok. 

Now Frank asked if Meredith would read his poem, “Wrapping/Rocking”.  She did, and it another very expressive reading, and she said later how much she liked that poem!  After her reading, Frank asked her if she would rock on him, and she said sure.  But first, Frank asked Nat if she would “sing dirty”?  First she made very erotic noises, and then Frank asked her to sing a song dirty, and she sang a torch song in Portuguese with a lot of raw feeling! 

At some point in here a last member of the “freaky chick” group arrived, very late!  Everyone laughed when he came in, just at the thought of his reaction to coming into a room full of naked people.  Frank turned right to him and asked if Jacob could undress him?  He went along! 

So now Frank said that Meredith could rock on his lap in passion and friction … She said ok.  Meanwhile, Frank said, the rest of the group could do Gestures, and Linda described Gestures … After Linda described it, there was a general murmur in the group, and there were lines thrown out like, “do we need rubber gloves …”   Frank asked who was “in” for the Gestures, and that the rest of them could be the band and play music.  Most of the group got up and went over to the instruments!  The ones that stayed were Ken, the big guy, Gerald, Nat, Erika, and Meredith. 

After the performance, Linda said that she had described the Gestures in a way that she normally didn’t … usually she would describe how the gestures pulled randomly from a bag run the range from looking at each other, holding each other’s hands … to exploring each other’s body using all of your body.  But this time, she added, “or rubbing each other’s genitals not for sexual reasons but for body comfort”, which was one of the gestures.  And this seemed to send most of the group over to the instruments! 

So the music started up, and Linda showed Meredith how it works best to rock on Frank’s lap, and then the Gestures started too, and Meredith rocked on Frank’s lap with the slides projected on their bodies, lights lowered, and Linda paired Nat, Ken and the big guy together, and then Erika and Gerald together for the Gestures.  Later, Meredith said that she felt like the big group of people now playing instruments were reflecting the feeling of what was happening, the rocking and the Gestures … she said often times when people get together to jam, they try to remember songs they know, or bits they know how to play, but the music instead came out really organically and it felt like it was responding to everything else that was going on. 

Now Meredith rocked on Frank’s lap, and Linda read the Gestures … they ranged from jerk your head slightly to touch forehead to forehead to rub each other’s breasts, breast to breast, to lie on top of another and slowly move together … At some point Linda joined Frank and Meredith, physically rocking Meredith on Frank, and then for a while, Linda rocked on Frank’s lap, and Meredith held Linda …

After a while, a lot of the folks who were playing music went over to get their clothes, and were getting dressed and ready to head out.  Frank had the lights come up and the rocking and gestures ended … As the “freaky chick” group was leaving, Frank asked them what they thought of the night?  Jacob said that they had really enjoyed it, that it was a lot of fun.  Frank asked, “Why are you leaving?”  They said that they had a birthday party to go to, so they had to go … Frank said, “Happy Birthday!”  They all laughed, looking at Frank as they left …

Frank also caught the shy playwright before she left, and asked her what she thought?  She said that she couldn’t really talk about it yet, needed to digest it more.  She enjoyed herself, but couldn’t really say more about it. 

So now everyone had left but the core group that had rocked and done Gestures.  Frank asked Meredith how she became so free/open.  She said, “Because I am alive.”  Frank said that you could say that for most people there that night ...  She said that it was being alive, but actually living … Frank asked how she found that out.  She said that it was through a lot of trial and error, and that she was still learning that … 

Frank asked her what she felt when they rocked, and she talked about this great feeling of flowing with the music playing and the projector and everything else … she felt something in her spine like she was rising upward …

She asked Frank how he felt, and he said, “Great … we just started…”  That it can go deeper … last longer …   Frank said that she was open, and Meredith said that she tries to be, that it was something she had never done before, and that she tried to keep in mind that it was an experiment, a social experiment, that we feel that we are all in separate universes, but we are really in the same universe, and that our bodies are just our spaceships!

Frank asked her if she would want to work with him.  She said yes … and asked what that would mean?  Frank said that they can get together and talk about it.  He said that Nat was his student, and Erika … and that Nat had met Frank at one of these performances …

This is where Nat described finding the flier at the Women’s building in SF, and talking to Gerald about it, who had actually come to a previous performance, and left early, not realizing at the time that the best stuff happens after everybody leaves! 

Frank asked Ken how it compared to the last performance, and he said that after the SF performance he almost didn’t come to this one because SF was so magical, and he thought there was no way that his experience could be topped!  But it had been that night! 

Frank asked the big guy what he thought, and he said that it was great.  He said, “I wish I could do this every day, I would be a lot happier.”

We think Meredith asked how long Frank has been performing, and Linda said 40 years … “All across the country?” she asked.  Linda said yes, and in Canada … but Frank added, not now, as in he doesn’t still tour.  “Why not?” Meredith asked. 

Frank said he was getting old!  Meredith protested a little, “only as old as you think you are …”  Linda described how it was only a year ago that Frank almost died, the 1 year anniversary of his getting out of the hospital being just the middle of July, and she talked about how “they” didn’t think he would ever eat normally again, breathe normally again, etc., etc., but he is very much back …  They told Meredith that the first things that Frank did as part of his rehab was to paint on the computer, because he couldn’t really type yet … and they showed her the computer paintings of Toni, Falling in Love, and Let’s Twist Again, that we had blown up onto large vinyls, and hanging on the walls of the space … Meredith was impressed!  She really liked “Toni”, and Frank and Linda told her about the real Toni, the performance artist from L.A. that Frank found online …   Then Frank indicated Art of a Shaman, and Linda gave Meredith a copy to look at, and told her that this was also something they did as part of Frank’s recovery, years in the making!  Meredith started looking through it …

Toward the end, Gerald said, “But I’m still not uncomfortable yet!  I was glad that you paired me with Erika though, because last time I was paired with Erika and another guy, and that made me a little uncomfortable.  So next time, pair me with two guys, and I’ll be really uncomfortable!”  Frank said he would keep that in mind.  And Gerald said, “And you are a Cancer like me, so you won’t forget!  Uh oh!”

And we think this was “the end” … Meredith and Ken and the big guy stayed for a bit afterward and were talking … when the big guy had arrived, he had said he heard about the performance from someone at Harbin Hot Springs.  It turned out that it was Nat and Gerald who met him up there. 

Frank gave Meredith a copy of Chapped Lap, which she was really happy about.  She said that she writes poetry too.  They would be calling her to set up a meeting with Frank. 

Another amazing performance!

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