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
Friday, May 21, 2010


Well, last night was the kind that if I stayed out of the performance’s way and just rode it, it would go much further than I could have planned!  Strong characters came ready to play!  Well, except for the NO GIRL!  There has to be at least one!  Ok!  I planted her!  Nobody would really say she came to see nude people playing, but, no, she wasn’t willing to play nude, although she was a nude model….  That’s for moneymaking, not for being intimate with people…  So when will people get nude? 

If I had a guy say this trash, people would have smacked him down for being a sleazo voyeur.  But my plant [was she a plant?] was a diva in a see-through blouse and a very remote bra yammering about how she was so shy!    But she was a girl and girls can say dumb controlling things! 

If she was a plant, she was for contrast to the rest of the performance!  We floated on the live music from one goose bump dance to kick-ass duet to who knows where it all exploded into depth of fun experiments in moving sound, moving poem as narration, moving sexy warm juicy bodies in rhythm dance, dancing within aroused vocal duets getting dirty tasty down to the gritty titty, arm wrestling anger out, going into the difference between being hurt and being harmed through all of this!  Strong characters in music experiments of Kene-J and Tomek playing, dancing, singing, reading!  Musical ecstasy experiments that Miles Davis was searching for!  Other musicians came ready because they have been here before, so they could join right in!  We are building subversion powerful nexus of expanding twisting art through having an on-going series! 

Hey, come to think of it, I have had at least one series going for the last thirty-five years! 


When we got to the space, we loaded in real quick and parked, and got to setting up!  It seemed like a long time since we had been there!  It was fun to be back, and you guys soon arrived, and we were doing the usual set up, done right at 8pm!  One guy came almost an hour early, and confirmed that this was the place ... he said he had ducked in in the past, and knew about it for a long time, but had never actually come to one of the performances ... Linda said something like, "And now you're ready ..."  He said, well I don't know if I'm "ready"!   But he did come back at 8. 

There were others who came in just around 8pm ... a guy who knew about Frank from the POW POW festival, had been a performer there himself ... Unruh Lee and a friend, Renee ... and two other guys ... the one who came early, and another, with a mustache ... and pretty soon Kene-J was there too, with his girl friend, Jordan.  Kene-J started right in playing ... Soon he was joined by Tomek too!

Frank talked first with the Pow Pow guy ... Frank asked him about his Pow Pow piece, and he talked about it being a kind of abstract meditation, and that in general he does performances that are interactive in some way, and unexpected ... Frank asked him to do what he does right here, now!  Oh!  He wasn't expecting to do that!  Frank had Linda read the flier ...  He had to admit, it says it right there on the flier!  So he did a piece with Frank and everyone else ... he took a piece of paper and a marker, and asked people to come up with things that they have noticed in other people's psychology over the past year ...  things came out like, "worried/needy", "fake", "says please & thank you", "creative" ... Frank said, "beautiful" and "sexy", Linda said, "adventurous" ...  he wrote the words down on a quick diagram of a hand that he drew on the paper, each word in a different section of the hand/fingers ...  Then he asked people to pair up, preferably not with someone they were already intimate with ... Erika paired with Renee, Linda was with Kene-J, and the Pow Pow guy himself was with Frank ... Unruh Lee and Jordan were with the two guys who had come ...  The next part of the piece was one of the pair asking the other a question having to do with something important that happened to them in the past year.  Everyone talked for a while ...  Linda said later that Kene-J asked her what was the "sweetest thing" that happened this past year?  It was hard to answer ... every day was sweet!  You could hear Frank talking about the new Universal Underground Video Bank ...  Erika later told us that Renee had asked her what was one of the major changes in her life in the last year, and she talked about coming back to live with all of us, and how much it meant to her. 

After the interview, the next part of the piece was for the interviewer to rub the part of the interviewee's hand that they felt corresponded to what was needed based on their response.  Everyone looked at the map again, and rubbed fingers, palms, etc. ... they were supposed to stimulate that part of the person's hand that corresponded to the adjective from the map that had been drawn out.  No talking, just rubbing ...  And that was it!

Frank went on to talk with the rest of the group ... he talked to Jordan ... why did she come?  She had come with Kene-J, who had told her about naked people rolling around together, or something like that, and she had worn her see-through shirt to do her part, basically saying that this may be / probably will be all she does ...   Frank asked her to come up and show them her see-through shirt.  Yes, it really was see-through, but the bra wasn't!  But she indicated that the bra was staying on ...  Frank asked her what she did?  She actually modeled naked for art classes, etc.  Frank asked her if she would model for all of us.  She laughed and said no way!  He said he would come back to her, but why did she come?  She said she wanted to see what Kene-J was talking about, i.e. the naked people, etc.  Frank said that this only happens if she takes responsibility. 

He talked with the two guys who had come ... we think they had both seen the flier in the lower Haight in SF ... the early guy said that the flier appealed to him because he felt like he wanted to deal with some issues, and it felt like the performance could help, that improv could help.  Frank asked him about the issues...?  It was anger, and fear ... he explained that he had a lot of anger at authority and the state, and was actually embarking upon a plan to confront "bullies" in some way, and wanted to be able to do it with grace, without fear of getting hurt and without getting angry and doing something that would mess up what he was trying to do.  Frank talked with him about the difference between getting hurt and being harmed.  How getting hurt is a part of life, a part of growing.  Frank said he wouldn't do what he does if he was afraid of getting hurt.  For example, when Jordan said that she takes her clothes off for art classes, but will not take her clothes off here, even though she came to experience that, this hurt him.  But being harmed is being maimed permanently.  It felt like the "angry" guy got what he was saying.  The other guy said he was searching ... he had been a builder, a cook ... he was looking to get back into cooking, but not just a line chef ... he wanted to be more like a head chef, was thinking about going back to school ... when Frank asked him what he liked to cook, he said everything, and liked to eat everything ... except carp!

Then Frank turned to Renee, who had come with Unruh Lee ... when Frank asked her what she does, she talked about dancing and movement ... Frank asked her if she would do a dance, show them what she does?  Sure!  She asked the band to raise their volume, and started moving around, dancing freeform ... it was great!!  After a while of her improvisational dancing, Frank asked her if she would do a dance with him, naked?  She said ok ... she said she would take off her "mask" ...  Linda and Mikee got Frank's clothes off ... Renee didn't actually take her clothes off ...  The dance was amazing ... At some point, Frank asked if she would let Linda and Erika dress her in some of the costumes on the costume pile?  Sure!  She ended up putting on the big multicolored net, and taking her clothes off underneath.  The dance continued, and was really really fun!  She played with Frank, danced around him, lying at his feet, letting him pin her with his foot, kicking and flailing!  She had Frank hold her net while she leaned away from him ... Linda got up and held his chair!  It was really great!

After the dance, Frank asked her about her experience of it?  Renee had a great time ... Frank asked her about how she started dancing?  She had been dancing since as far back as she could remember ... but when she started doing theater, and physical theater, she was inspired to do more dancing ... earlier, she told Frank that this space, Temescal, is where she danced! 

Now Frank came back to Jordan ... would she let Linda and Erika dress her up in the costumes?  No, she wouldn't.  Frank asked her why she takes her clothes off in modeling, but wouldn't here?  She said she is "shy" ...  she said that when she models, she doesn't look at anyone, is basically in her own world ... she said that she does it for the money, that it pays well.  Frank said, "So money trumps shy ..."

Now, another woman had come in during Renee and Frank's dancing.  A black woman who introduced herself as Carmen.  She was obviously enjoying all of it!  She had seen the fliers for a while, and said something along the lines of having done art, and explored dance and music, and was looking to get back into it ...   Frank asked her if she would do a dance with Renee?  But she had a hip injury and was recovering from it still ... she may be able to do it at a future time, but not that night ...  Frank said, "Now that is a sane response!"  Frank asked her if she would do a vocal, non verbal duet with him, the band backing them up?  Sure ...  It was amazing, beautiful!  Wow!!

Then there were a bunch of things that happened, not sure if we'll get the right order ... Frank had the cook come up and read randomly from Frank's book of writings ... he ended up choosing Frank's piece about what he has been up to for the last 37 years, which he wrote for the Brotherhood of the Spirit community ... it was really fun to hear it again.  Meanwhile, he had Unruh Lee try his hand with Jordan...  "Do your thing!"  Jordan said something like, why was it just the girls that Frank was focusing on?  Frank said it wasn't "girl", it was people who said "no".  Frank turned to the cook, and asked him if he was a girl?  He said, well yes and no ...  Frank said, "I rest my case!"  Unruh Lee asked Jordan if she would do various gestures of touching with him ... she did some, didn't do others ...  They ended up cuddled together on the floor ...  Meanwhile, the guys who had come to play music at the last performance, the drummer and trumpet player, arrived, and soon joined Tomek and Kene-J playing music.  The music was awesome!

At various points, Frank returned to the "angry" guy, and asked how his anger was doing.  He was obviously having a really good time.  And people really seemed to enjoy Frank's history. 

Then Frank had Unruh Lee read randomly from his writings, and Linda, Erika and Renee dance together while the band played on ...  Soon he invited Jordan and Carmen and others to join the band, and he asked the "angry" guy if he would do a vocal duet with Frank, an "angry" duet!  Exploring anger ...  It was really good!  Very soft actually, exploring ... guttural ...  Another amazing duet. 

At some point, Frank had Kene-J come up and do a few songs too, which is always fun!  Everyone was really getting into his music too, his and the band's music really had people moving! 

And then Frank said "The End"!  And he talked with various people about their experience of the performance ... the Pow Pow guy talked about how he had seen videos of Frank's performances online, so to some extent he knew what to expect, but the experience of actually being there, the "anxiety", not bad "anxiety", was something he couldn't get from just watching the videos.  He said he felt safe, but there was an "anxiety" involved in being there, interacting with people ...  He really liked the way the performance was freeform, and relaxed ...   Frank said at the end of the performance, to Linda, that he just "rode it"!

Carmen said that she would come back, that she really enjoyed it.  She had thought that it was going to be the kind of performance that was like up on a stage, but she really liked the way it was ...  The trumpet player and drummer really enjoyed playing a lot.  The trumpet player said that it was much more comfortable than the last performance, where it felt like people were very awkward.  The last performance had been the performance where there were a number of return people, who said "no"! Renee didn't have a lot to say ... she liked it ... she talked about feeling at some point in dancing with Linda and Erika that she wanted to be back in the midst of everyone, interacting with the group ... as if she was somehow removed from everyone in the dancing ... but she really enjoyed the performance. 

At some point, the cook blurted out something angrily ... we can't really remember what it was ...  Frank turned to the "angry" guy and said, "Now THAT is angry."  Frank said that he, the "angry" guy, really wasn't angry ... he would have to work harder!  Later, we referred to them as the "angry" and the "truly angry" guy!  But even so, the "truly angry" guy seemed to really enjoy the performance, and to really like Frank a lot. 

And that was about it ... Frank said come back, and wasn't the band amazing!??  Everyone applauded ... they really were! 

As people left, some came up to say goodbye to Frank ... the cook, or "truly angry" guy, would actually be coming back next time, and bringing some of his own videos for the Universal Underground Video Bank ... Jordan came up and said goodbye ...  As Kene-J and she left, Frank called out to Kene-J, "Work on her!"  For next time ...  "Don't let her make you look lame!"  She called out, saying, "Kene-J doesn't take his clothes off, why should I?"  We all remembered that he did, and Linda called out that fact ... he had taken almost everything off and played in a group pile months ago at a performance ...   Kene-J remembered, and we could hear him telling Jordan, "That's right, I did!"  Ha!

The "angry" guy was the last to leave ... he was sitting on the floor reading from Frank's binder for a while as we broke down the set.  We were talking about the performance, and then Linda noticed Frank was bleeding!  He had pulled a finger nail almost all the way off!!  Alexi pulled out the band aid kit, and Mikee got him taped up.  Ouch!!! 



We got everything set up and people started arriving for the performance.  Unrulee came first brining a friend named Rene with him and then several other people came in just after them.  Frank started going around and talking to people.  The first guy he talked to had been a performer in the Pow Pow festival last year but he had not seen the performance that Frank did there.  He said that he did interactive performances and the one that he did at the Pow Pow festival had included some interactive meditations.  Frank asked him if he would show us now.  He said that he did not know that that was what was going to happen when he came but yes.  He got a piece of paper and a marker and drew a picture of a hand, then he asked people to say things that were psychological aspects of interactions they had had with people in the last year.  People said, fear and worry, being needy, being fake, beauty, adventure, sexy and creative.  Then he had everyone pair up and one person would be the interviewer and the other person would be interviewed.  The interviewer was to ask a question about what had changed in your life in the last year.  Linda was paired with Kene-J who asked her to talk about something that was sweet that had happened in her life in the last year.  She said that everyday was sweet.  I was paired with Rene.  She asked me about something that had changed in my life in the last year and I talked about moving back into the blue house and how much it meant to me to be back with everyone.  I also told her about Betty and eating dinner every night with Betty, how Betty is a church going 81 year old who gives us her jewelry to wear in the performances and how Betty and Joe use to watch videos of the performances.  After that the person who was doing the interviewing was to pick one aspect from the hand that had been drawn, something that the person that they had interview needed more of and to touch and give that to them through their hand without talking, just rubbing.

Frank continued to go around the room talking to people.  There was a woman named Jordan who had come with Kene-J to see naked people. She said that she wore a see through shirt so that if she did not want to get fully naked she would be half naked.  She was a nude model for art classes but did not want to get naked for the performance. She came up to show Frank and Linda and Frank said but you are wearing a bra.  Frank asked if she would take it off and model for us and she said no.  She said that she came to see naked people but she did not want to get naked.  Frank said that it wasn't going to happen if she did not take responsibility for it and he said that he would come back to her. There were a couple of guys who had seen flyers up for the performance where they lived in the lower Height.  One guy was a contractor and a cook. He was searching.  He was trying to get back into cooking but did not want to be a line cook again but maybe a head cook.  Frank asked him what kinds of foods he liked to cook and he said that he liked to cook and eat all kinds of different foods except for carp. Another guy who had also seen the flyer up in the lower Height said that he was working on his anger issues.  He didn't really know what his anger was but that he saw that it had effected his relationships. He was angry at authority and wanted to be able to interact with bullies in peaceful and graceful ways.  He said that part of his anger was that he was afraid of being hurt.  Frank said that part of life is getting hurt which is different that being harmed. Frank said that he would not do what he does if he was afraid of being hurt, that getting hurt was part of life and part of growing.  He said like feeling hurt because Jordan did not want to get nude with us. 

Rene the woman who had come with Unrulee was a dancer and did physical theater.  Frank asked her if she would show us and she got up, asked the band to play a little louder and she did a dance.  Then Frank asked her if she would do a dance with him and they would both be naked.  She said that Frank could be naked and she would take her "mask" off but not all her clothes.  Frank moved over to the other side of the room, Linda and Mikee took his clothes off and the band played on as Rene and Frank danced a playful, expressive and sometimes vocal dance.  It was amazing! Frank asked her if Linda and Erika could dress her in a costume.  She put on one of the see through mesh costumes.

After the dance Frank talked to a woman who had just come in.  Her name was Carmen and she did singing and music when she was younger and loved all kinds of performance.  She had also seen a flyer up for the performance.  Frank asked her if she would follow Rene in a dance but she had some hip pain. Frank asked her if she would do a vocal duet with him and she said sure.  She sat on the mat because she had some pain in her hip and Frank said now that is a sane answer referring to Jordan's reasoning for why she would model naked for a art class but not with us.  Frank and Carmen did an amazing vocal duet with the band backing them.  Carmen really had fun!

Frank asked Jordan if Linda and Erika could undress and dress her in a costume and she said no.  Frank asked her why she would get naked and model for art classes but would not get naked with us.  She said that she had been doing the modeling for a long time and was good at it.  She said that when she models she goes into her own space and does not think about the people who are there and it would be different here at the performance because she would be with people. She said why are you picking on me I am shy.  Why is it always the girls!  Frank said that it wasn't girl it was those who said "No." Frank said so, money trumps the shyness and she said yes. Frank asked Unrulee if he would work on Jordan.  Unrulee went over to Jordan and they did some physical gestures while the guy who was a cook came up and randomly read from Frank's book of writings.  When he came up Frank asked if he was a girl and he said well, yes and no.  Frank said that he rests his case. He asked Jordan to join the band and she did.   He read Frank's piece about what he had been doing for the last 37 years that he had written about his life since leaving the community in Massachusetts.  It was really fun to hear it again and the band continued to jam on.  Next Unrulee came up and read from Frank's writings and Frank asked Rene if she would guide Linda and Erika in a dance.  The three of them danced to the music of the band, really fun!  After the dance with Erika and Linda Rene said that she has been dancing for ever.  It has always been a way of expression that she loves. Frank asked the angry guy if he would come up and do an angry vocal duet with him.  It was powerful and very tender melting away the anger the guy thought he had into being with Frank. 

Kene-J came up next and did a couple of songs.  Frank sang along and Tomek jammed along too.  Frank went around and asked people what they thought of the night.  The guy who had performed at the Pow Pow festival had taken his shirt off and was now dressed in one of the cut up dresses and a necklace.  He said that he had watched some of the performance videos and this one was different.  There had been more nudity and people interacting nude and body painting.  He said it was different watching the videos than being at the performance.  Being at the performance there was an anxiety that comes with being with people that you don't know.  He said that he really enjoyed the night, that there was a free flow to it and that even in the feeling of anxiety there was a feeling of comfort.  Carmen said that she really enjoyed the evening.  When she came she said she thought it would be more like a performance on a stage but that she really dug it and had a good time and would come back again. There were two guys who had come to the last performance who had joined the band playing drums and trumpet.  They said that the last time they were at a performance there was more nudity and that the feeling had been much more uncomfortable at the last one than it was this time.  Rene said that she had a fun night. That while she had been guiding Linda and Erika in a dance she at some point wanted us to just dance rather than guiding and that had felt freer to her.  The guy who was a cook said something about how the world worked that he did not care for and Frank said now that is truly angry.  Frank said that the guy who said that he was angry would need to work on being angry. At the end the guy who came to work on his anger sat for a long time reading through Frank's writings binder. Rene said that she had enjoyed the night and now she was ready to go.  Frank said that that was the end!

When people were heading out the door Frank told Kene-J to work on Jordan for the next performance so that he did not look lame.  Jordan said that Kene-J did not get naked either but actually we remembered a time when he had and he had rolled around on the floor with other naked people. Kene-J said, oh yes, and he started to tell Jordan about it as they headed out the door. 

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