Friction Of Passion Pleasure
Friction Of Passion Pleasure

Friction Of Passion Pleasure
Center For Sex & Culture, San Francisco, California
July 16, 2011

 


Friction of Passion Pleasure
Center for Sex & Culture, S.F. July 16, 2011

Doing a performance at the new space of the CENTER FOR SEX AND CULTURE is like going home.  It is fully accessible on every level, warm, beautiful, sexy.  Carol and Robert make it that way! 

The performance for me was like eating an artichoke, peeling off layers, scratching off the meat off the leaves, waiting to get to the heart of the artichoke.  For the first half of the night I was swimming up stream, revealing blow hards, discovering the truly adventurous spirits, etc.  But things were not really clicking in.  This was even true when there were a lot of people who had come to other performances of mine going back to the seventies.  But I was searching for the release and wasn’t finding it!  Then everything just sank to a much deeper level with the ritual of GESTURES getting juicy, fun, explicit.  Sometimes you just have to keep swinging until the bat decides to connect with the ball! 

At the end of the night Sandra the intern who had helped us all night felt to me like she wanted to be inside the performance ritual.  So I dragged into service something that we used to do in my seventies workshop.  This drew everybody left into a tribal body!  About fucking time! 

Frank Moore  

WHAT HAPPENED by Erika and Da Boyz

Back at the Center for Sex & Culture for the rare San Francisco appearance of Frank Moore!  We were there last year, at their old location, a few blocks down Mission Street in the SOMA district.  The new CSC is a huge ground floor space that reminded us a lot of the Temescal space in its openness and coziness.  When we arrived, early, the pole dancing class was still in progress, so the four of us, Corey, Alexi, Erika and Nat (who has been working with Frank since she met him at the June performance in Oakland), hung out, had coffees, and waited for 5:30p.  Then Carol Queen met us at the door and ushered us into the beautiful space, still breaking down from the pole dancers.  Fun! 

We loaded everything from the two cars into the space, and Carol and Robert helped clear the floor of all the furniture and several table-top Annie Sprinkle installations.  Annie had an “EcoSex” art show running there, and her art was hung all across one long wall of the space, the wall that Frank would be set up in front of.  Robert talked Alexi through the mixer and light boards, and soon they had left us with Sandra, their great intern, who was there to help us with anything we might need, and helped us set up too. 

It was not long before Frank, Linda & Mikee arrived, and the set-up continued.  We were ready early!  But not too early, as folks arrived early, and Frank soon got started talking to people.  But there was a little time, and Frank started talking with Nat about how she works at Peet’s and Linda asked if she drank a lot of coffee on the job, and we heard about the perks of working at Peet's.  And then Sandra talked about working at Kara’s cupcakes in SF, and described the different kinds of amazing cupcakes they made there, making our mouths water!  Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel and chocolate ganache, etc.!!  And they could take home/eat as many as they wanted!

The first to arrive was a guy who came in and flopped down on a comfy pillow.  It turned out that he had seen Frank back in the late 70s in the Outrageous Beauty Revue at the Mabuhay.  Then sometime in the late 80s he said he had actually met with Frank.  But when Frank asked him what happened when they met, he said, “Not much …” Frank giggled.   The guy said that they talked for a bit, he didn’t really remember what they talked about …

Another one of the first to arrive was a librarian volunteer for the CSC, who went by the online name of Library Vixen, who asked Frank if she could take photographs.  So for a while at the beginning before things really got started, she was taking photos of the space.  When Frank talked with her, she said that she volunteered at the Center to get their library put together after the move, which was a big job!  She worked for a living at the SF Public Library.  Later, after the performance, Frank and Linda talked with her about the contact they had at the SFPL, Andrea Grimes, who had brought The Cherotic (r)Evolutionary into their zine collection.  Library Vixen knew her. 

A woman in black came in and went way to the back of the space.  Frank asked her to come closer, and then closer still.  She was hesitant, but she came right up and sat right in front of Frank.  Frank asked her how she had heard about the performance.  She said she had seen a flier, actually taken a handout tucked into a flier on a pole in Oakland … she said she had seen the quotes from Karen Finley and Annie Sprinkle, “singing Frank’s praises”, and she wanted to see what they were talking about. 

Then a couple came in, an older man with a young blonde girl, who we later found out is a nurse assistant … they had picked up a handout at Good Vibrations on Valencia, and had looked Frank up, did some “research on him”, and he said that he had been to a lot of workshop type events and that the two of them were interested in “exploring” … she described herself as a “newbie”.  She said that she was exploring her sexuality and her identity … And he said something about their exploring and defining their boundaries, and that it was important to have boundaries for health. 

In the context of exploring, Frank asked her how far she was willing to go?  She said pretty far …

Meanwhile, another woman had come in, sitting a little further back, a larger woman wearing a hat.  She had seen the flier when she was at another event at CSC for “sex nerds” … when Frank asked her what attracted her to the performance, she said that anyone who was investigated by Jesse Helms had to be worth seeing!  She had gone home and looked Frank up on Wikipedia, and was very impressed and interested to see what he did.  Frank asked her what she does, and she said that for work, she is in computer software, and for fun she pleases herself and learns new things. 

Ken Cheetham had arrived too … he has been to Frank’s performances for years, and Frank told everyone about his great web directory, bapd.org, listing bay area progressive organizations and non-profits. Ken added that his own music and photography was also up on his site. 

Kay had also arrived, a long time attendee of Frank’s performances as well, who had also been over to the Blue House when we had events for the presidential campaign and/or Frank’s birthday.  She had also sent money when Frank was in the hospital last year, and Linda and Mikee were not going to get paid from IHSS.  She said that finally Frank was in her neighborhood, so she could come! 

There was another couple who had come in and went to sit in the back.  It turned out to be the heckler from the Fuck The War Ball at Burnt Ramen 10 years ago.  He has been following Frank since, sometimes attending performances …   he was there with his girlfriend, and said that she was teaching/writing about rituals and shamanism, and he thought, what better than to bring her to a Frank Moore experience, a modern day shaman.  Frank asked her, “What is shamanism?”  She said something like that it is a bridging of worlds, connecting worlds.  Frank said yes, and added that it was the direct experience of reality. 

There was also a young Asian guy who came in and sat in the back too … he had heard about it from a site that we just noticed had listed the performance, Openly.us. 

Frank asked Nat to describe the last performance, which was her first … she talked about it being very magical and life-changing.  She said people left, and the best stuff happened at the end, so she told everyone, “Nobody leave!”
Linda described how Frank often says that the best stuff happens after everybody leaves, and Frank added that he also used boredom to screen out the people who have come for something that they want to see happen.  They often leave when it is not going the way they expect it to …

Another couple had come in … he was a tall lanky guy, and she looked like Frida Kahlo, wearing a lacy long black skirt, and facial hair … his name is Matthew, and we think hers, Aloma.  They had seen the flier on 18th St. in SF, across from the Bi-Rite grocery, where he said they dumpster dive.  When Frank asked them what had attracted them to the performance, she described the kinds of workshops that she does, combining touch and voice and movement, dance, group intimacy.  Frank asked her something more about what she does, and she talked at length about the philosophy/history behind it … how she feels that people are hungry for touch and intimacy … she said that when she became a fruitarian, she looked into the history of how/why we eat the way we do, and found that our modern diet is set up around a kind of patriarchal societal structure that affects everything, including intimacy.  Monogamy, polygamy, etc. set up a social pattern that excluded intimacy, and that even now where people are “sexually liberated” in their relationships, it is still taboo to be intimate with everyone, in a tribal way.  She said that if everyone would just touch one another, no one would get sick, no one would be heart broken, people would have everything they need. 

Frank asked her if she would trade clothes with the nurse assistant.  They both said yes.  The girl had jeans and a t-shirt on, and as they took off their clothes and exchanged, Aloma said that the other girl didn’t need to put all of her outfit on, because it was complicated!  And then said something about how it was not a big deal for her to undress, but wearing jeans, now that was a taboo!  She never wore jeans!  And the girl said something like she never wears skirts!  Frank asked the nurse assistant how she felt after changing clothes.  She said she felt elegant, like Frida Kahlo …   Frank asked her if she would take her underwear off, and she did.  He said they don’t go with the skirt!  He asked her if she would model the outfit for everyone, and she got up and did a quick twirl to show it off … you could see her nude through the lacy black skirt. 

It may have been around this time that the woman in black, who Frank had coaxed up to the front of the room, spoke up.  She said something like Frank was either going to have to kick her out, or she would have to leave on her own very soon.  She said that she had not done her research like the others, and didn’t really know what to expect.  She said, “I am not in the same place as you all are …” and said something about intimacy, as in that it was not where she was at.  She said she was not really into participation, she was more of a voyeur.  Frank said that if this wasn’t participation, he didn’t know what was!  We weren’t sure if she really got what Frank was saying, because she seemed to take it as a confirmation that she should leave.  She had said that if she could just watch … So she said, well, she would leave then, and did say that she enjoyed it, but got up quickly and left. 

Now Frank asked the woman in the hat if she would undress the cameraman, Corey.  She was willing, but did he want to be undressed?  Yeah! Corey said enthusiastically.  So she came over and undressed Corey, and introduced herself. 
Frank asked the “exploring” couple if they would undress each other.  The nurse assistant was willing to be undressed, and he undressed her, but he said, yes, except for his socks and underwear.  Frank asked, “Why?”  He said his socks so he didn’t get cold and his underwear because he had set “a personal limit on public nudity for that night.”  She had already started to undress him, but Frank said to put his clothes back on. 

Now, Frank asked Aloma if she would do a dance … She said that she usually does it with music, for the inspiration to dance.  Frank asked Nat to sing, and asked if the nurse assistant, still nude, would play music to accompany, keyboard, and Matthew played the rototoms too.  The girl said that she didn’t know how to play, but Frank said that didn’t matter … so she got up and played the keyboards for the dance.  But first, Frank had Nat dress the workshop woman in items from the costume/jewelry area … we did notice that she really didn’t let Nat dress her, that she wanted to do it herself!

So she did a dance, and vocalized while Nat sang a song in Portuguese, and the two played music.  Afterward, Frank said, “I thought you said you couldn’t play music!” to the girl. 

At some point there was a series of Frank having different people undress each other … Frank asked Kay to undress Linda, Matthew and Ken to undress each other, Erika and the librarian to undress each other …

Frank asked the heckler’s girlfriend if she would undress him with Linda, and she said no.  Frank asked her why.  She said something like she was not comfortable with it.  And at some point soon after they both left.  A little later, Linda and the woman in the hat undressed Frank. 

When they had left, Frank told the room about this guy, how he had acted at the Fuck The War Ball, giving Frank and John the Baker a hard time for opposing the war, and how the two of them blasted him with JTB’s classic, “Fuck The Fascist USA”!  And now, Frank said, he could not get rid of him!  He recently had to fill in the “spam” box because he kept wanting to be Frank’s friend on Facebook!
The Asian guy in the back also left around this point …

When Frank asked if Erika and the Library Vixen would undress each other, the Vixen said yes, but she would be leaving her bra and panties on, for now. 
Someone also ended up undressing the guy from the Mabuhay, and we think Kay undressed the woman in the hat, so now everyone was undressed, except for the guy who had set his “personal limits” for the night! 

Meanwhile, at the door, Alexi was taking money, a sliding scale of $5-$25 … one woman came in and said that her friend was inside, but she wanted to know if she could only pay $5, because she didn’t know how long she was going to stay.  She asked, “How much are people expected to participate?”  Alexi said as much as they want!  She kept saying she didn’t know how much she would participate, so she would only pay $5.  And then after she paid, she stood just inside the curtains for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and then left! 

Another couple came to the entrance and pulled a handout out of their pocket that they had picked up somewhere … they said that it looked really interesting … but could Alexi tell them what was going to happen?  Alexi said he didn’t know what was going to happen, that Frank creates the performance around the people who come … They asked, “Could you give us some indication of what we can expect?”  Already they could see people in the performance were nude … Alexi asked if they had already read the flier?  Yes, they had.  He suggested they could read the warning sign … So they went and read it, and then left!

Now, Frank asked the nurse assistant if she would read randomly from his writings binder, while Nat and Kay undressed each other.  They did … and she picked out a piece Frank had written 5 years ago for the Renaissance community, “What I have been doing for the last 35 years.”  It was a great journey through Frank’s history following his living at the Brotherhood of the Spirit community in Western Mass. … all the way up to all of us here, in two houses on the same block in Berkeley.  After she finished the piece, Frank updated it, saying that all the cats had since died, and he almost died!  And since then, Frank added, we have added vimeo.com too as a channel to get the work out. 

Somewhere in here, another man had entered the performance … he was surrounded by naked people, was perhaps the only one clothed.  Frank said to him, “You can see what I have done so far …” And someone in the audience said, “We weren’t naked when we got here!”  The man said that he had seen the signboards out on the street.  He was just going to his car, and decided to come in.  Frank asked him what he does, and he said that he is a physical therapist.  Frank asked, “What kind?  Human or S.M.?”  He didn’t exactly understand … he said more of a traditional kind.  Frank asked, “What tradition?”  He said mainly western medical tradition, that he works in a hospital context, but he is very interested in eastern traditions …   Frank and Linda explained that Frank has had a long experience with physical therapists since he was a kid, and described how they were always trying to make Frank and other CP kids more physically “normal” which was harsh and painful … braces, brushes and ice, etc.  Linda described “Out of Isolation”, the video Frank made that showed what might have become of him had he been institutionalized as the doctors had wanted Connie to do when he was born.

Afterward, the nurse assistant talked about how she worked in a skilled nursing facility, and had been wondering if there was anything else there in the medical field.  She was very affected by the description of “Out of Isolation” because she often works with people with disabilities, not just elderly people. 

Frank and Linda also now talked about how the institutional mindset almost killed Frank last year when he had to go into the hospital for a routine gall bladder operation, and they ended up living in the ICU for 6 weeks … that we had only just crossed the year anniversary of Frank getting out of the hospital.  Linda described what happened, and how there is this way that most people in the medical field look at Frank, which led to Frank almost dying in the hospital, even though we had Dr. Kerbavaz advocating for him the whole time, trying to get across to the doctors treating Frank that Frank’s “normal” is not their “normal”, that his breathing, eating, etc. are not what they are expecting.  By the end of it, they were saying that Frank might never eat again, had tubes run all into him … and now a year later, Frank is eating, no tubes, etc.!

Frank now asked the nurse assistant if she would dance with him.  She said that she really didn’t know how to dance, that was something she needed to work on by herself first.  Frank said, “How about rocking on my lap?”  She said no, she doesn’t do lap dances … Frank asked her if she would rock on her partner’s lap, the “personal limits” guy, nude.  She said yes … Frank said he would come back to them. 
Frank asked Aloma if she would rock with him.  She was willing, but she didn’t understand what he meant by rocking … she was used to hearing that in terms of rocking a baby, or “rocking out” to music … so Linda described the images of rocking from Frank’s poem, “Wrapping/Rocking”, and demonstrated too, rocking back and forth in the chair.  So she said ok, but again said something about needing music … she ended up making sounds while she rocked on Frank’s lap …
Frank said that while she rocked with him, the rest of them could do gestures.  It was sometime during the gestures that the physical therapist left.  But as he walked out, he told Alexi, “Thank you very much!”

The nurse assistant and her “personal limits” boyfriend separated themselves out when gestures began.  They stood off to the side.  Although, as the gestures continued, they began doing them with each other, her still nude, and he still completely clothed.  At some point, Frank said that they could come into the space and continue doing the gestures, and they stood up in the front, continuing to do them together.

Linda paired the librarian with Matthew, Erika with the Mabuhay guy, Kay with the woman in the hat, and Nat with Ken … and the dancer rocked on Frank’s lap for a while …  After she stopped, Frank had her join Erika and the Mab guy, and Frank took a piss break while Mikee continued reading the gestures.  The gestures were a wide mix, but many of them were to be done “for arousing pleasure”, and everyone really got into them.  When the dancer joined Erika and the guy, their group became very acrobatic, as she had them tumbling around, almost like contact improv.  Later, Kay said it had felt very calming for her, and that she and her partner were admiring the athleticism of the others!  Frank said, “I know what you mean …” 

The gestures went on for a long time, were deep, erotic, soft …   We noticed the difference in not having music accompanying … a stillness …

Throughout the performance, Frank came back to the nurse assistant several times, asking her what she thought of the performance thus far …  We mainly remember that she said that she was really enjoying it, and something about it opening her up to new possibilities, and seeing herself better, from a different perspective …

The Mabuhay guy had “a hard time switching from physical to verbal,” but said it was good … Library Vixen said she had enjoyed it a lot, did not expect to do what she did, and felt “floaty”, high from doing the gestures … she had actually taken off both her bra and panties as she did the gestures with Matthew.  Kay said that it was really great, and that doing the gestures made her realize how touch starved she has been lately.  The woman with the hat said that is was really great to touch outside of a sexual context, without the “negotiations” that usually lead up to it.  And it made her realize that she was really very hungry for touch as well. 

Ken said that he really enjoyed it, and the only thing that would really just make it better would be if they all got up and went around hugging each other.  Frank said, “No.”  Not going to happen!   Nat said it was really intense and pleasurable, and that she felt an oneness … 

Matthew said that he really enjoyed it …

Perhaps at this point is when the “personal limits” guy and the nurse assistant were going to leave … before he left, Frank asked him what he thought of the night.  He said that they had enjoyed it, and that he had felt “relatively comfortable” …    Frank said “Darn!”  The guy said, “Right, darn … because it was comfortable ….”   Someone spoke up, saying, “Well, he did say ‘relatively’! So there was that …”  

Frank said, “Comfortable … in your jeans.”  The guy said, “Right, yeah …” Frank said, “For some, jeans are a taboo … for others, a comfort zone.”

Frank asked Sandra, the intern, what she thought of the night?  She said that it had looked really fun, maybe next time she would also participate …   Frank asked, “Why wait?”  Sandra said, well, unless Frank did the gestures over again … but she thought she would just do it next time …

Frank asked again, “Why wait?”  She said, well, it was not a good time of the month for her …   Frank said that she could leave her underwear on …  She was smiling … she said ok.  Frank asked if Erika could undress her.  She said yes, but she wants to leave her pants on too.  Frank said ok.  So Erika took off her shirt and bra and shoes, and Sandra came into the performance space … 

So now Frank said that, one by one, Sandra could do a gesture with each person in the room.  So she went from person to person, doing a different gesture that Linda read out.  It was great! 

And after she had done all the gestures, Frank said “the end”.  But then he hawked the new book, Art of a Shaman!!

After that, people didn’t really leave … for a while, everyone stayed where they had been sitting or lying, some continued playing with each other, and there was a lot of talking.  Aloma was going around handing out her fliers and CDs and describing her workshop, and mentioned that she had worked with the X-Plicit Players ...  So Frank had Linda read “In Defense of Bad Art”, a piece Frank wrote about how the City of Berkeley at the time was passing legislation to outlaw public nudity.  Frank defended the X-Plicit Players’ public nudity as art that should be protected, albeit bad art!

Several people came up to Frank before they left, to talk.  Ken Cheetham came and said that the performance had “made his year.”!  And Frank and Linda were telling him more about vimeo, which he was blown away by!

The woman in the hat came by and thanked Frank for the experience …
Meanwhile, we had all started breaking down the set, and Frank wanted the house lights up right away.  Later, we heard that Frank and Linda had seen the magical feeling of the performance turn into social chatting right away after it “ended” that took a lot from the feeling that the performance had created, so Frank wanted to break that up!  But aside from that, it was an amazing performance, in an amazing space! 

Sandra helped us break everything down, and even helped us load up the cars.  She said she really enjoyed the performance, and hoped that we would be back there again.  She said she would be writing up her internship there, and that the performance would definitely be part of it. 

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