Subject: All-nighter unabridged
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 18:55:07 -0800
From: bloobird@sirius.com (Blue)
To: Frank Moore <fmoore@lanminds.com>

Hey, this is pretty long but it covers what I felt about this fantastic evening. Peace, Blue

 

Playing Dream Passions Naked

I went to Frank Moore's All-Nighter on Saturday, February 21, 1998 at 848 Community Space in San Francisco. I invited two of my artsy/spiritual friends who were as intrigued as I. One of them called to cancel, saying that he wasn't ready for it. The other friend followed through, but then bugged out two and a half hours into the evening for his own reasons. I stayed all night long, entranced and exhilarated by one of the most transformative spiritual/erotic/art environments I have ever experienced.

Last year I found one of Frank Moore's flyers for an all-nighter invoking the "garden of Pan." Keywords that grabbed me were "naked," "ritual," "all-nighter." This sounded like something along the lines of what I had experienced at a Rainbow Family gathering and in the best of times among a group of pagan-ish queers called the Radical Faeries. The idea of going to this event stimulated my life-long dream of reclaiming the joyful, open, free, sexually playful, spiritual and creative buzz of the sixties, which I was too young to experience firsthand. I wanted to be in a time-space free of taboos and limitations, encouraging the opening of the heart and the blossoming of the creative id. Although I wanted to go, I wasn't ready to attend the Frank Moore All-nighter at that time because I had too much internalized repression.

By the time I was of age to explore life on my own, America had become the playground of Ronald Reagan and the "greed is good" mentality. The Christian Right had shamed America into compliance. AIDS forced joyful sexual adventurers into fearful closets of isolation. Walls were being raised once again, there had been a backlash against free-spirited exploration of life and of sensual self-awareness. I actively sought alternatives to this limiting, depressing, coldly dysfunctional worldview. All through college and my post-college years up to this point I rebelled in anger and frustration against the workaday worldview, the modern global capitalism which has reduced all life to commodity and supplanted the warm heart of man for the hard driving, fearful, overactive mind. The performance I enjoyed Saturday night encouraged me that it is possible to rebel against this worldview in ways that are constructive, loving, beautiful, creative, magickal, spiritual and deeply human.

I want to share with you the experience of this event, but not so much as in the form of a "review;" more like in the form of a personal account because that's what I intimately know. I don't feel qualified to be a "reviewer," but I do feel qualified to talk about my personal relation to having been an active part of Frank Moore's production.

When we first arrived my friend and I sat down at the far end of the space, near a television which was playing Frank Moore's videos of people trying on and taking off different costumes. There were several tapes playing through the course of the night, one of which showed Frank and his partner Linda playing naked in bed, among other things. The films weren't exploitive in any way, not pornographic, but rather sweet and playful. The space became full of people both young and old and soon most everyone was naked. There were musicians playing in the front of the space, and the music often sounded like children playing a toy piano. Other times the music was darker and more mysterious. There were colorful backdrops on the wall which had been created by the artist Michael LaBash, who, along with Linda, were part of the performance.

Michael began to select people from the audience and gently blindfold them. He's a big man who is quick to smile and laugh. He often adds the words "nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" to the end of his e-mail postings, an apparent reference to his resemblance to Curly of the Three Stooges. He explained to me when it was my turn that he would be leading me to the cave of dreams (I believe it was called). When I arrived at the cave of dreams, which was an area made of colorful fabric walls painted with nude figures by LaBash, I was met by Linda. She gave me a dixie-cup full of "Somala," which "tastes like water, removes inhibitions but has no side effects." I was then led gently by Linda into the cave. In deference to the requests of the artists, I am not at liberty to discuss what happens inside the cave. You have to find out for yourself.

When I was brought back into the main room, I sat down next to my friend (who I don't really know all that well yet) and found that I could think of nothing to say, or was too stimulated/distracted by the environment to want to chit chat about anything. I found myself absorbed by the pleasures of watching all the naked people around me, and by the surreal nature of the whole event. I found myself feeling uncomfortable sitting there naked not really "doing" anything while others were brought in turns into the cave. I watched the videos and tried to think of something to talk about with my friend, who seemed as uncomfortable as I. Then I started to feel lame or disappointed by just watching videos, like I wanted something to happen and I wanted to flow with it and be part of it but didn't know what to do next. It seemed like most of the people in the room were feeling the same vibe at that point. Of course, it's not an everyday experience to find one's self in a room full of naked people who are not sure what is going to happen next: would we be asked to start drumming or dancing around? Would this scene become an orgy later? How would the hours be filled from now until early Sunday morning? It seemed possible that once you went inside the cave, nothing would follow. For weeks I had been anticipating the ritual-event, and had focused my intention on using it to let old, negative, unwanted parts of myself die and to ground new, more positive energies which I wanted to be motivators in my life. I was feeling a bit disappointed because I expected so much more, but as the evening proceeded my timid uncertainty was replaced by blissful engagement.

My friend and I moved to sit along the wall so that we could lean against something. I had an additional motive in suggesting this move, I won't lie. We would be sitting next to a man who had just gone inside the cave, whom we both found to be pretty good-looking. I didn't necessarily want to fool around with him, but I did want to be near him and enjoy his attractive presence. Soon the guy came out of the cave and sat down beside me. A glint in his eye told me he knew why we moved over to sit near him. He began to lean against me a little bit and I didn't move away. Across from us there were a man and a woman flirting and playing with each other, and in other parts of the room there was a man or two playing with their own erections. The sensual temperature of the room was heating up whether or not this was the planned course of events (though perhaps it was), and I was definitely engaged by this vibe.

I began to lean a little on the cute guy next to me and soon we were openly touching and playing with each other although we had not said a word. We just looked at each other now and again and smiled. I just didn't feel like speaking, or more accurately didn't feel like words were necessary. I didn't want to chat and I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, just someone to cuddle with and share happy sensual energy. The friend I came with sat there for a while next to me, frozen, and then abruptly decided that he wanted to leave. Perhaps I made him uncomfortable by playing with the cute guy (though we weren't doing anything really intimate, just touching each other). Perhaps he thought I was rude by not paying more attention to him (perhaps I was, but I was just going with the flow and not putting up obstacles), perhaps he had issues with being naked, perhaps he was afraid the evening would turn into an orgy and he wouldn't be included, perhaps he was just bored. In any case, he decided to leave and didn't say why. I initially felt personally responsible, but got over it later.

His umbrella was in my car so I had to get dressed and get it for him. Out of a sense of duty I offered to drive him home and then I found myself saying maybe I would just leave as well. Part of me was afraid of my own sensual energies and another part was thinking that by having been inside the cave maybe I had already done all there was to do that evening. But then, in typically Libran fashion, I changed my mind and decided that I didn't really want to leave yet; I just said I was just going to leave because of my own tendency to repress my wishes and be ashamed of my own sensuality. I decided I wanted to feel and do all there would be, and that just because my friend was bugging out early I wasn't obligated to drive him home. It was still early, he could catch a bus; he had money, he could get a cab. I decided I shouldn't feel obligated to leave just because he was uncomfortable; I wasn't uncomfortable.

When I came back into the space, the cute guy and I continued playing with each other out in the open and were probably being the most blatant in the room. I wasn't trying to shock, but just rolling with the flow. People were beginning to look over at us. Across the way that man and woman (and additional men) were still playing, with little inhibition. I found myself very turned on watching them fool around. I admired how cheeky and racy they were. The woman had her panties off and was being fingered and stroked. She was reaching in her boyfriend's underwear, playing with his dick. There was one handsome man sitting with them in his black underwear, also playing with the woman. Soon, their group noticed me and my friend across the room playing with each other's dicks, and we openly watched each other being turned on.

My cute friend had met the guy with the black underwear earlier when they were in line to take a piss. He told me he thought the guy was hot and indeed he was. Soon he came over to us and started chatting us up. He asked us if we wanted to go into the bathroom and lock the door behind us. Though he was apparently straight, he said he really got off on watching guys shoot their loads. I was reluctant; I didn't really want to get into anything too heavy and wasn't into turning the evening into something that was just about sex, but then I decided that I would go with the flow once again and not put up fearful defenses or obstacles to the totality of the experience. We went into the bathroom and locked the door behind us. Black Underwear wanted us to jack off all over him, and so we did. It was very sexy and fun. We went back out into the room and didn't talk much. Soon both Black Underwear and the cute guy decided they wanted to go (separately). The cute guy asked me if I wanted to go get something to eat, and at first I said sure, but then realized I was just acting out of a sense of obligation again, not out of genuine desire to leave with him and hang out. I didn't want to start a confusing relationship with him; I have a life partner. I had just wanted to play around and have fun, which we had done, and I then wanted to experience the rest of the performance/ritual. We parted with a friendly embrace and warm smiles.

The Cute Guy left and I was alone sitting along the wall next to the TV. I was having fun watching the people playing across from me but since my sexual energies had been dispersed, I was looking for some other way to be part of the event. I noticed that next to the cave there was a small group of naked people not having sex but rocking with each other, patting each other all over their bodies, giggling, making animal noises, hugging and being playful and intimate. I looked around the room and realized that there seemed to be three groups of people: some who were either clothed or naked and uptight/confused/alienated from the whole experience, those who were uninhibited but being too narrowly focused on sexual desire and release, and then this small group of people playing so sweetly and joyfully together in a loving, naked, intimate though nonsexual way. I decided I wanted to be part of that energy, though I was afraid of approaching this group of strangers and just joining in with them. I decided it was lame to sit there against the wall wanting to connect with these people but being afraid to reach out for such a connection. After I came to the decision that establishing such a connection was worth the risk, I walked from the sex through the shy observers and joined this group of playful innocents.

I found that I had a hard time letting go and vocalizing with them, making animal sounds and such. I tried it for a while and then just decided I didn't need to do this if I didn't feel spontaneous doing it. It felt unnecessary or forced (for me, anyway) and I loved just being part of a clump of kind human bodies, touching and stroking all over each other but not in a way which was overwhelmed by sexual expectations. I had been feeling a little guilty about getting off with the two guys in the bathroom earlier, but then began to feel like I must have needed to process that energy to get to a mellower one. Not to say that the sexual expression was bad in any way, but this sharing felt so much more childlike and loving. I felt a wave of unconditional love energy with this group that I didn't feel before with the two guys. That was about sexual desire and release, this was about being together in a loving, intense, familiar yet regrettably uncommon way. I was starting to really bond with this small group of people and could have played with them like that for a long, long time. Some of us did touch each other in sexual ways, but playfully, not focused on any expectation or obligation of release. Somebody started taking pictures of all of us, I didn't know what that was all about but it didn't freak me out. I was happy to be part of that energy and understood why someone would want to record it. I felt blissful, and thankful to have been part of that moment of pure, unconditional love energy.

Then suddenly the group split up because someone started talking. They had called everyone in the room over to the cave area, which had been disassembled, to listen to Linda reading a long monologue about the wounded healer and an island called Lila where there was an innocent loving goddess energy. I was having such a powerful, timeless time with the group of cuddlers that I was not particularly engaged by this monologue. I think it was again this feeling I had all night of not wanting words to get in the way. I was into just feeling the energy and flowing with it, and was reluctant to become part of a more conventional audience/performer exchange.

During this monologue I was distracted by the overt sexuality of the same group of men and the woman who had been playing earlier. I say distracted but I don't mean that in a negative way. I again admired the cheekiness of this lusty woman and her companions. I admired her lack of inhibitions and was turned on looking between her spread legs as the men fingered her pussy. As a self-identified gay person, it was fun to remember that part of me is actually bisexual. I enjoyed feeling that a label I had lived with for many years was feeling less important to me, that I didn't need to define myself into any sort of box if I didn't want to. Sitting back along the wall where I had been earlier, I also enjoyed watching a young man who was openly stroking his meaty cock. I decided I enjoyed just watching him play with himself and though my inclination was to hide my voyeurism, I decided it wasn't necessary. I didn't need to feel afraid that he would think I was cruising him or that I would be obligated to do anything more than just enjoy watching him. He was sitting directly in the light, he knew everyone could see him, in fact he dug it. Why not feed his fetish by openly watching him as he stroked his beautiful cock? There was nothing for either of us to be ashamed of.

Soon I noticed that a man who was part of the playful loving clump was looking over at me. I smiled at him, being friendly. Then I felt his eyes on me again and looked over and smiled again, not cruising him but not wanting to seem off-putting especially since we had enjoyed a nice easy wordless bond earlier. Then he came over and sat next to me, trying to start conversation. Again I felt so wordless that I didn't know what to say. I didn't really want to talk; again I wanted to absorb the scene and the energy and not become stuck in chit chat or small talk, especially not if I was being cruised. As I said before, I wasn't looking for another boyfriend. I also didn't feel like it was appropriate to carry on conversation while the performance was ongoing. Perhaps my inability to talk was simply part of my basic shyness. In some ways I'm very inhibited, in other ways I am totally uninhibited. I guess we are all a bit that way. On another level, I didn't want to spoil the connection we had before which was wordless and therefore not limited, we bonded with our spontaneous spiritual/physical energies, not with the grasping words of our overactive minds.

Soon Frank was helped from the cave area into his wheelchair by Linda and Michael. They went to the other side of the room and told all of us to come closer. I was happy to be able to move into another part of the room without giving offense to the guy who wanted to talk. Lots of people got up and left during and after the monologue. I don't know why that was, but that was what happened. Perhaps they felt, as I did, that words were unnecessary, or they didn't want to be part of a more predictable audience/performer relationship. Maybe they were put off by some of the open sexual expression. Maybe it was just the lateness of the hour. For whatever reason, many people left. Judging from some of Frank's words, he planned on weeding out the audience through a variety of "trials" so that at a certain time in the early morning, he could work on a much deeper and more intimate level with those who remained. This is the way the events played themselves out, in any case. He said he would get to the "really fun" part once more people had left, which is something I respected. He didn't want everybody to stay all night and be entertained in a conventional way, he wanted to really work with the hardcore few who remained. In other words, he wasn't into becoming a big star or anything by entertaining the audience, he wanted something of an entirely different nature to happen. This gave credibility to his reputation as a "shaman." He's not in it for celebrity or even conventional art-fringe-sexual outlaw notoriety, there's more going on in his performances than might meet the eye. The people who left early indeed missed out on the most powerful moments of the evening.

When Frank and Linda grouped under the spotlight near the front of the space, a young long-haired naked guy started playing the keyboard and a blind, naked woman named Teresa played the flute. Then music came over the sound system as Linda and Frank sang along. At first it was difficult watching Frank singing, to be truthful. Because of his physical condition he is unable to form words, and in casual conversation uses a pointer attached to his head to indicate letters and words on a Ouija board-like tablet. When he sang, he wailed incomprehensibly and moved his twisted, beautiful body heroically in the chair. It was difficult watching him because in conventional terms of "singing" and "dancing," he was making a fool of himself. He was up there singing slightly cheesy numbers, flailing the air, drooling. As a person who has been on stage myself, I suddenly realized how fearless he was to face the audience nude, defying his obvious physical challenges and the expectations of any audience member looking for the usual polished, flawless performance. He knew what he was doing, he knew the buttons he was pushing with the audience. He was being the Sacred Fool. Some felt uncomfortable and left in the middle of the performance. Perhaps they felt he was exploiting his condition. Perhaps they thought the whole act was simply bad, regardless of his condition. Others stayed and seemed to be profoundly moved (they had passed another trial). Frank was transcending his "limitations" in the most ballsy and direct way possible. He was singing, though he could speak no words. He was dancing, though he could not walk. His vocalizations sounded like pure, painful emotion, the crying of a baby or the lamentations of an old woman, the depth of whose mourning makes the expression of words impossible. His contorted body in the white light became the body of Jesus struggling on the cross. Even when they sang a superficially cheesy number like, "I got you, babe," it was imbued with a much deeper, more beautiful meaning, and the love between Frank and Linda was made clear and real.

After a few numbers a woman got up and started dancing around Frank and straddling him on his wheelchair. This woman was one of the people in the loving cuddle clump earlier in the evening. She sat down by me while Frank and Linda sang and I put my arm around her. It was nice being close to a woman in this way, with no anticipation of anything but friendly innocent body contact. She was nude and very erotically rubbed against Frank, who moved around and danced in his wheel chair.

Next Frank said (as Linda interpreted for us) there was a final trial before the real fun got started. He said there would be an intermission, during which people could leave in a less noticeable manner (than those who had left before). They passed out chocolate to all of us and we waited for the next experience.

Next we were told to lay down and close our eyes. He said that there were basically two groups of people in audiences, "watchers" and "heroes." The heroes stayed until the bitter end because they thought that risk was necessary to get to the good, transformative stuff, and that watchers were those who sat along the wall feeling isolated. He also said that some watchers turned into heroes as the evening wore on and their inhibitions had dissipated. He said that the watchers were just as important as the heroes and that he is sometimes a watcher, too. His words, as translated through Linda, were kind and loving, teasing, prodding, encouraging, the words of a teacher.

We were told that we would now take part in a rebirthing ritual which would allow us to shed our old personalities in exchange for a new one rooted in self acceptance, connection to one another and playful sensuality. We were told the death of the old personality would not be painful, but would be in the form of a gentle massage from toe to head. Then we would curl into a fetal position and enjoy the blissful floating in the sea between lives. After that we would experience the progression of evolution from single-celled entities all the way up to the reborn human life form. We would be reborn as humans from the island of Lila, where all is peaceful and loving. This would be our new personal past, our reference point for experiencing the new life we would enjoy. He also said that what we did in here, this transformational ritual, would affect not only us but the world, the universe at large. As gods and goddesses our intent would have the affect of creating real, positive change.

I enjoyed shutting my eyes and visualizing my old personality, all my doubts, my fears, my procrastination and anxiety, all of my insecurities being put to rest to make room for self-confidence, motivation, sense of purpose, self-acceptance and love. I visualized the death of this old personality and prayed for the birth of the new one. I felt gentle hands touching me from foot to head, then curled up like a baby. I did indeed feel blissful and warm, floating in the sea between lives. There was no sense of danger, nothing but belonging and hopefulness for my new life.

When we had all gone through this process, we were told to roll into the center of the room until we were surrounded by skin. We were then guided through various forms of life and told to move and to respond to one another as though we were parts of a single-celled life form, then seaweed, fish, snakes, frogs, dinosaurs, birds, monkeys, and finally humans. I really enjoyed this process at the beginning because as single-celled and the subsequent amphibious forms, we all moved our bodies tightly against each other and it was very stimulating for me on different levels. First, I found myself passionately embracing two of the guys with whom I found myself once again sharing a wordless yet powerful, heartfelt, chemical-cellular connection. I don't know if I "should have" been so turned on and passionate at this point, but I was and they were as well, and we rolled with it for a while. In addition to the connection with those two, I must admit I simply loved writhing around on the floor naked with all of these people and finding a deliciously hairy belly or tumescent cock in front of my face. Though I did nothing more intimate than a hand job, I felt free to play sexually and to embrace my playful sexuality for one of the first times in my life. In the past I repressed and warped this sexual energy, causing it to erupt in tawdry episodes despite my best efforts, but now I see it as one of my strengths, and something to be celebrated.

When we became the higher life forms I enjoyed it less because I loved having such close, though wordless physical/spiritual contact with the others. When we had to run around as chickens and monkeys and such I found myself wanting to be seaweed once again. But it was still silly and fun making fools of ourselves.

Next came the final part of the evening, which was "wrapping and rocking." Linda got up and straddled Frank very erotically as we all grouped close to one another, sitting with our knees up. One of the guys I was passionately drawn to before came up and pointedly sat next to me, and on the other side was an attractive long haired guy. We cuddled close together and I began to play with them. As we were being wrapped with saran wrap and tin foil, while Michael LaBash read about the power of rocking, I was giving hand jobs to the guys next to me as one of them did me. It may sound like I became one of those people I mentioned before who was overly concentrated on the sexual energy, but I think what happened to me at this point was that the sexual/spiritual energies had totally blended or unified and I was out of my rational mind with the passionate spontaneity of the moment. I wanted to give them pleasure as they did me. We dropped all of our walls of shame and separation and flowed with the energies of the moment. It seemed like a right conclusion to the evening to be ecstatic, sweating warm and hot under tin foil and plastic wrap as we came with each other.

On Sunday morning instead of going straight home I drove to the beach to watch the sun rise. The ocean was wild, the waves strong and white. The sun rose over misty San Francisco hills. It would be a beautiful day and I was glad to be alive.

Blue,
bloobird@sirius.com



SATURDAY
FEBRUARY 21, 1998
848 COMMUNITY SPACE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA


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