Frank Moore’s
Reality Playings
experiments in experience/participation performance

at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, California
Saturday, August 22, 2009


8/24/2009

Oh, we here are hurting, are recovering from weeks of multiple shows! Just this past week, we did three SHAMAN’S DEN shows and Friday at the new performance space Flux 53 in Oakland for the Los Angeles band Magick Orchids I was a guest vocalist. Btw, Flux 53 is a great theater (actually two performance spaces)… But bring your own P. A.!

Then Saturday was another REALITY PLAYINGS. It is building, digging in to the meat. Actually the performance started for some of the audience members before they got to the Temescal. Of course this is always true, but is usually hidden. But THE TRAVELING CLUBHOUSE contacted me a couple of weeks ago about bringing one of their groups to the performance as a part of a day long guided tour of challenging adventures. Moreover they asked me to give them a pre- performance ritual to prepare them. I told them to randomly pair up the people before going to dinner. The people in the pairs would feed each other. I thought this might be the last I would hear from them. But if they did do this ritual, it would open everything up. And by God they did it, and it did open everything up for everybody. It is amazing we are attracting people like THE TRAVELING CLUBHOUSE who value being stretched even if it is uncomfortable. And they were not alone. We had a room full of people who came to go deep and have developed abilities that allow them to risk. It feels like we are only beginning to tap into a deep vein of potentials! Of course we have only been doing this for over forty years. Moreover the six of us create a personal base which allows us to call upon our intimacy together… And Erika being there adds something. Tomek and Kene-J have developed trance quivering flesh music which allows us to slip into unknown freedom which can feel scary. And people like Unrulee and Michael the street mayor of Berkeley who have come to my performances for years add a calm to the mixture, not to mention a knowing humor! And now people are coming who have an understanding of what is occurring under the surface level because of their own personal work, such as gal*in_dog [the POW POW guy] who is a performance artist and teacher. We are creating a powerful nexus of expanding erotic zones of an underground community building subversion!

Stay tuned! Better yet, come to the next performance!

JEN:
Erika was already there unloading with the boyz when we rolled in. We all set up the space and it looked great, warm and inviting. There was one guy there already and he came in and sat down. Then very quickly a whole bunch of people came in. Most of them were from the Traveling Clubhouse, an urban adventure group that went to challenging community events. They had chosen Frank's performance weeks ago and had emailed him saying that they needed a challenge to do as well. He challenged them to pair up randomly and feed each other at a cafe before coming. Well, here they were and Frank asked how the challenge went. They said that it was difficult. Feeding each other is intimate and they did not feel comfortable feeding another person who they weren't already intimate with. Charlie, one of the organizers, didn't want to feed anyone but her husband. Two of the guys were paired up and had to feed each other. Frank started asking everyone what they did, and what they did for fun. There were physics guys and a chemistry guy in the group. Frank talked with one of the physics guys about what time and space are. The guy said that the best answer he heard was that time and space were what kept everything from happening all at once. Frank talked about particles existing everywhere at once. Later Frank asked if light was a particle or a wave. The physics guy said that it was neither, it was something new. Frank asked what and the guy said that it could be called anything just to call it something. They really don't know what it is. The conversation got into quantum physics and Frank said that this performance was quantum physics, and that made the guy think. He eventually said yes, that you could describe it that way. You could feel it opening things up, melting physics and science with life by talking this way about it.

There were a lot of people in the room. It wasn't clear who was with this traveling group. Frank kept asking people what they did. People did all kinds of things like teach, play music, read, party. Basically, live. Frank asked one guy who played music if he would join the band. Tomek and Kene-J were already playing amazing trancy music in the background. One of the organizers from Pow-Pow was there, the performance festival that Frank is going to be in in October. He was loving it. He talked to Frank about being on the Shaman's Den and having his character interviewed. He gave a hint to this character and growled into the microphone. He had a cow bell with him and was playing along with the band as well. There was a couple of girls, a poet and a writer. Frank asked the writer to undress me and put jewelry on me. She said yes and then did that. Then the physics guy was asked to undress Erika and do the same, so he did. Frank asked another girl what she would like to do and she said everybody get up and dance. While we all did that, the guy from Pow Pow undressed Linda and put jewelry on her too,

We were all grooving to the band, everyone jumping and gyrating away. There was an older woman who came in and sat next to Frank talking to him. After the performance he said that she was a teacher who said that Frank was an angel who opened up everything. She gave her contact information to Linda. Everyone was still dancing away, and at first it was like people stuck to who they knew. Eventually though, a big circle formed and we were all dancing together, kicking and batting around the little pillows, playing with each other. People would get into the center of the circle and dance and then we were all dancing together and the circle disappeared. It was great! Frank Linda and Mikee went to the bathroom and then the dancing ended soon after they got back. I was dripping with sweat.

Frank began talking to more of the people again. There was a philosophy teacher who talked about his book he wrote. Frank asked where was the mind, the soul and the personality. The guy said that he didn't know but that the mind wasn't confined to the brain. Frank talked about how the skin is actually the connecting organ between us, not a division. First physics, now philosophy. When Frank talked to Charlie and her partner about why they started the Traveling Clubhouse, they said they wanted to challenge people. Frank asked why she risked that, and risked bringing everyone here. She said that she didn't see it as a risk because it was something everyone should do. She also said that people could feel anyway they wanted to about it, she just felt responsible for giving them the opportunity to experience. Frank said that was his philosophy too. The Pow Pow guy said that Frank was communicating to us from a different dimension and that there was more being communicated than we could perceive. He felt that this was very important and he felt very good to be here.

It was really amazing how people were open to experiencing this, even if they felt uncomfortable or afraid because they didn't know what was going to happen. Didn't know if they would even find out, but they stayed and they experienced it knowing that they would be thinking about it for weeks afterwards. Frank had Linda read the warning sign. These people wanted to be challenged. At the beginning of the night Frank asked them how much they wanted to be challenged and Charlie's partner said 'somewhat challenged', but Frank pointed out that those two words didn't go together. The physics guy said that he was willing to be challenged 8 out of 10, 10 being the most challenged. Frank kept asking him if we were at 8 yet. It was a fun night!

Frank asked Charlie and her partner if they would direct him in something. They first wanted to build a human pyramid, but Frank said he didn't offer up anyone but himself, saving us all. So they said that Frank should come up with a limerick which is a type of poem. Frank did one and then asked them to repeat it, but they stalled because Frank can't talk so his limerick was a series of noises. They didn't get how to repeat it. Tomek helped out and repeated it almost exactly as Frank had done it. Then they got it but it was still difficult for them. Charlie's partner started and then Charlie tried, but Frank said she should do it again with humour! While they were working on it, the rest of the group was ready to leave. Frank asked Charlie's husband to come up with one more thing they wanted to do and he said have someone tell a storey, so Frank had each of them talk about their experience tonight. What they said has all blurred together, but really they loved it. They all said it was challenging and they didn't know what to expect, or what was happening, but they really enjoyed it. Charlie ended up staying, and so did her husband. Then Frank had the poet woman read randomly from his book of writings while Linda Erika and I went around 'getting' people. We got every single person in the room, ending with Frank, as the woman read several poems and then the long Combine Plot which talked about the censorship of art in society. It wrapped the evening up and everyone was blown away.

As we packed up, a couple of people hung around to talk to Frank. Unrulee was there, had come late, and thanked Frank. There was also a young traveler from Long Island who stuck around. And the philosophy teacher asked Frank that none of the video of him be shown on the web. They talked about that, how Frank always does what's moral and that has always protected him. The video wouldn't be on the web anyway, just photos. The video would be played on Frank's Unlimited Possibilities tv show on BTV. The guy wasn't worried about the tv show, but he figured that photos on the web weren't that bad, wouldn't get him fired from his job. Thing was, he knew what Frank did before he came and he came anyway. He brought a mask to wear, but he took it off because it didn't feel right to wear it. And after he realized everything was being videoed, he still stayed!

We ate popcorn and took the set down, packed everything up and got it back into the car. Then we were riding back home and talking about the night. Linda said there was this incredible wellspring of experience we had that people could tap into and how that felt very important. People were looking for this. There was this need for experience like this, where you consciously don't know what's going to happen. All you can do is follow and enjoy and be. Of course it feels uncomfortable and challenging because this is not the way our society is in general. But despite all that, people love it, they crave it. All the people tonight were open to whatever. Some came and went but most stayed. It was amazing. This performance series is really incredible, and it just shows how amazing our life is.

DA BOYZ:
We were at the space! Hustle time! We loaded in, Erika was walking up as we got out of the car, and she started loading in with us ... she set up the sandwich boards, and we were soon all there setting up, always fun ... We were ready, just in time ... one guy had arrived, Linda welcomed him in, and he came in and sat down ... and then in filed the Traveling Clubhouse! There must have been at least 10-12 people all at once that came in, some wearing funny hats, and sat down on the mats ... and the performance started!

Frank started talking to everyone, asking what people did, heard about how Charlie and Nicole had found this performance to bring the Traveling Clubhouse to, and why they chose it ... it was free, and it looked very interesting to them, and wanted something that would be challenging ... they had seen it somewhere online on a search for free things to do on that date ... and they talked about why they had set up the Traveling Clubhouse ... after experiencing a similar mystery tour of NYC, organized by a local arts collective. Frank asked them how challenging? Nicole said "somewhat challenging" ... Frank asked her if those two words went together? She had to admit that they didn't ... she said she wanted it to be challenging! Another guy said he wanted 8 out of 10. He was a physics grad student ... and there was another one there too ... and a chemist ... Frank asked the first physicist if time exists? And then what about matter and space? He had a hard time answering ... he said the best answer he had heard was that time and space exist so that everything doesn't happen all at once! Their conversation continued over the course of the performance ... Frank pointed out that particles exist outside of time ... and later he brought up light ... what was that? A particle or a wave? The physicist said that it was really neither ... he also said that the way that they looked at it was that a particle really was not defined unless you tried to observe it ... they exist everywhere at once, until you observe them. Frank related this to the performance ... he said that he has always thought of the performances as quantum physics ... the physicist said something like, "Yes, it could be defined as that." !!

There were a lot of other people coming in, some leaving right away, others sitting down and staying for some time ... Frank talked with a bubbly young woman who said she wrote creative non-fiction. There was another woman who came, who was a writer as well, of poetry, but she didn't have any of hers with her, and couldn't recite from memory ... Later, Frank had her read from his writings ... which was amazing. Frank asked the nonfiction writer if she would undress Jen, and put on some of the costume jewelry that was laid out nicely on a mat ... She did it ... A little bit later, Frank asked the physicist to undress Erika and put jewelry on her too, which he enjoyed! Frank kept asking him if he was reaching 8??! Later, when most of the Traveling clubhouse was going to leave, and Frank asked them what they thought, the physicist said that he liked it ... he said it was not unlike most normal human interaction ...

There was so much that went on, so much that connected to so much else ... one of the curators of the POW POW performance festival came too, and Frank talked to him about what he does, and asked for a hint of the "character" Frank would be interviewing when he and his partner come on the shaman's den. He gave a low guttural growl ... that was the hint! Later, Frank had him undress Linda and put costume jewelry on her too ...

Throughout the night, Frank would ask people what they thought of it so far ... it was really neat to hear, in the moment, as opposed to at the end, what people were experiencing ... and a common theme was a sense of being uncomfortable, of not knowing where it was going, but liking this, liking this challenge. Even the music made Charlie uncomfortable. Oftentimes, we don't hear people's experience until the end of the performance, and this is when many have left. But this time, you got a sense of what the experience was like throughout the performance, which was really interesting! It showed how powerful an experience these performances are ... in many different ways, and how quickly they affect people.

A really funny point was when Frank asked the two creators of the Clubhouse to direct him in something ... they asked him to come up with a limerick, and Frank vocalized his limerick, and then asked them to repeat what he came up with ... they had a hard time! How about Tomek, could he repeat it? He got it! Then Frank did another line ... the two girls were still having a hard time. Tomek got part of it, but had to take a second crack at it to get the whole thing! Finally, the girls attempted to repeat Frank ... but then he asked them to do it with the humor. It was really challenging for them! Frank was earning his 8, really 10!

Closer to the end, Frank asked Guillermo, the POW POW guy, to talk about his experience of the performance. He loved it. He said that it felt to him as if Frank were communicating with everyone from another dimension ... and that the way he spoke, and what he said was bringing everyone into that other dimension ...

Earlier, Frank asked the nonfiction writer's friend what she wanted to do ... She said she wanted everyone to get up and dance. So Frank said, ok, let's dance. Everyone got up and danced to the music that Tomek, Kene-J and another guy, who had come to the performance, were playing, which was amazing! Frank took a piss break, and then was undressed for the rest of the performance. The dancing was fun ... an impromptu game started up with the word pillows that we bring ... people were tossing them to each other, and using them like hackey sacks ... forming a circle.

In the "second half", there was a really interesting conversation with a philosophy professor and author, about what constitutes reality ... what is mind, soul, self? Frank said that he has never been able to pin down where is the mind. Frank had asked him what was his philosophy? He was saying that he doesn't think that the mind ends at the skin ... They talked together about how the mind and the world interpenetrate each other ... that the self is really a combination of these, a relationship ... Frank said that the skin is the connecting, rather than the dividing organ ... It was really an amazing conversation ...

The "last" part of the performance, Frank invited the poet to come up and read randomly from his book of writings while Linda, Jen and Erika "got" the audience. But before this, the Traveling Clubhouse announced that they would have to leave, and Frank asked them to come up with one last thing to do before they left ... Charlie's husband suggested that someone tell a story, and Frank asked each of them to tell the story of their experience that night at the performance. Charlie's husband started ... he really liked the performance ... we can't remember what he said, but it felt like he got and appreciated the reality-altering nature of the performance, and how it challenged all of them to go beyond their expectations. Almost all of them said this in some way or another. Charlie said that it was the most challenging thing that the Traveling Clubhouse has ever done. Frank said that was good! Or he would have to amp it up more! Nicole said that part of what affected her experience was the feeling of responsibility for bringing a group of people to the performance, and she was curious what it would be like for her to come by herself. Frank invited her back. Charlie later said that she didn't feel that ... she felt like she was opening up possibilities for people by organizing these tours, but that they could do what they wanted with the experience. She was not responsible for that ... Frank said that this was his philosophy too. Even though most of the Clubhouse left, Charlie and her husband stayed until the end.

The reading of Frank's writings was amazing. The poet turned out to be the woman that Erika had met and invited to the performance, and it felt like she really sunk into Frank's writings, really felt them ... it was a really good reading. Meanwhile, the people that remained were, one at a time, "got" by Linda, Jen and Erika. Jen later said that it felt like people were really open to being "got" ...

After the performance ended, the philosopher tried to get Frank to not put any photos of him up on the web ... he said that where he worked, they were unfairly trying to push people out, and would use anything to discredit him, and try to push him out of his position ... He talked to Frank a long time. He obviously liked the performance and liked Frank, and he knew he had no real grounds for asking Frank to do that. He knew what he was in for, he knew that the camera was running, he knew about Frank for years and what he does, and still he came and stayed the whole night. Frank told him that he always does what is morally right, and the guy knew this was true. Frank wouldn't edit or delete anything from the performance, and it would play in its entirety on BTV too! But the professor didn't seem to worry about that! Frank also gave him some really good advice about his situation. Frank said that he always takes responsibility for everything he does, and does what he wants to do, and that this protects him. It wasn't clear if the philosopher really got this. Frank said later that the philosopher needed to be logical!

Breaking down the set, talking and eating popcorn was fun as always ... we were blown away by the performance ... this write-up seems to really only capture a fraction of the experience. We tried the cell phone thing on the drive home, but it was hard to hear Linda ... we did get that Frank was saying that there were a lot of levels to the performance ... the philosophy level, the physics level, the hip hop level... ! That's right, Kene-J did a set too! Amazing ... It was really incredible how much gets packed into these performances. Linda also said that it felt like there was this deep well to draw from for these performances, and how important that well was ...

We were also saying on the ride home and later that it was so amazing how there are always, in every performance, these moments, sometimes a lot of them, of being blown away by things that people say, or simply what is happening in the performance. Corey said that it was often, behind the camera, a sensation of a historical moment. Something that one could look back on and really see how important what we do is, in a broad historical context ... and there were so many of them ... month after month, year after year ... archives full of these moments. And what made it especially poignant, videoing, was that it was often this combination of the music and the words and what was happening, that just gave you a jolt of this feeling of "historic".

ERIKA:

I got to the space and Corey and Alexi where unloading the car. I jumped in and joined them and soon Frank, Linda, Mikee and Jen arrived. I set up the mats and blankets and then all the costumes and jewelry, really fun! There was a lot of jewelry. It was really fun setting up together and then people started arriving before 8:00. Before we knew it the performance was off and running. At least 10-12 people where there from the Traveling Clubhouse an adventure group that singed up to go to unknown events for the day. The leaders of the group had found the performance online when they were looking for events that would challenge people and would be free or almost free. Frank had had email contact with the leaders of the group beforehand and suggested that they feed each other at a restaurant before coming to the performance. Many of the people in the group said that they had found it very challenging because of the intimacy and had wanted to do it with people that they knew. Frank said that is why he had said to pair up randomly. The leader of the group Charlie said that she had only wanted to feed her husband and a couple of the guys who knew each other said that they had had a lot of fun doing it.

Frank started going around and asking people what they do and what they do for fun. Several of the people were students of Physics and Chemistry. Frank talked with one of the guys about if time and space existed and soon his wheels where churning. The conversation got into Quantum Physics and Frank said that the performance was quantum physics and eventually he said that yes you could describe it that way. Frank also asked him how far he wanted to be challenged and he said 8 out of 10. Throughout the performance Frank kept checking in with him to see if he was getting there yet and the guy kept saying that Frank was getting closer but not yet an 8. By this time there were a lot of people there all sitting in the back in the dark so Frank told everyone to move up closer. Frank continued to asked people what they did and what they did for fun, reading, walking barefoot, painting, living. There was the leader from Pow Wow there and he introduced his character who was soon to be a guest on the Shaman's Den and he made a deep and magical growl. Tomek and Kenny-J were there weaving trance music into the background and at one point one of the guys asked if he could join the band.

There was a girl who was a writer and Frank asked her to undress Jen and dress her in jewelry and then asked the Physics guy to undress me and put jewelry on me which he jumped up to do. Later the guy from the Pow Wow undressed Linda and put her in a jewelry costume as well. At some point Frank asked one of the girls what she would like to do and she said for everyone to dance, so we all danced jamming to the music. An older woman came in at that point and went right up to Frank. She said she was a teacher and that Frank was an angel who opened things up. Frank went off for a piss break and everyone continued to dance and jam to the music tossing the little pillows around in a tribal dance circle. At first people were talking and then they melted into the music and the dance.

When Frank got back from his piss break he had Kenny-J sing songs while he sat next to Frank and people gathered around to listen. You never knew what was going to happen next. Frank went around and asked more people what they do and what they do for fun. He told the two women who were the leaders of the Traveling Clubhouse that they could do anything with him. At first they wanted to build a human pyramid but Frank saved us all on that and said that he was only offering himself up. They asked him to make up a limerick. Frank asked them to repeat it back and with help from Tomek they were able to after a few times of repeating it. At one point the woman got it but not with the humor that Frank had said it with so she tried it again and got it.

The Traveling Clubhouse said that they had to go soon so Frank asked one of the guys what we should do before they left and he said to tell a story so they told stories about coming to the performance. People talked about how they did not know what to expect and that they did not understand what was going on and that they might not ever understand what was going on but that they had had a really good time. They had felt uncomfortable but that it was good to be challenged and that it was surely the most challenging and expanding thing that they had taken people to. Charlie said that she started the Traveling Clubhouse to challenge people. One of the traveling Clubhouse women said that she was nervous when people started to undress people wondering if she would be asked to get undressed and Frank said because you wanted to and she laughed. Linda talked about gestures and Frank asked her what would have happened if we had done gestures and she was not sure. She said that taking people to new and challenging things was her responsibly but that their response to things was not her responsibility. The Pow Wow guy said that Frank was communicating to us from a different dimension and that he was loving the performance. Many people said that they did not know what to expect and they did not understand what was going on at times and that they probably would not fully understand it. They said that it had been uncomfortable and challenging and that that was a good thing and that they had really enjoyed it!

Many of the Traveling Clubhouse people left at this point but Charlie stayed and some new people had arrived. That's when the philosophy teacher came and a traveling guy from Long Island and Unrulee too. It was a night of lots of people who came and went in waves. Frank began talking to more people who had arrived and the philosophy teacher talked about the book that he wrote. They talked about the mind, the soul and the personality. First Physics and now Philosophy all weaving into each other and later with Frank's writings. Wow, what a night!

Frank had Nancy the poet read randomly from his writings book and all the poems and writings went with a magically wave into the whole night from quantum Physics to Philology and the dancing of unknown ecstasy. Linda, Jen and I went around and got everyone in the room while Nancy continued to read and ended with the Combine Plot. Everyone was open to being held and rocked and it brought the whole night together. Unrulee was there by this time and he and a few others stayed at the end to talk to Frank. The Philosophy teacher was worried about being taped, worried about loosing his job and Frank said that he always does what is moral and that always protects him. The guy said that he knew that Frank had the legal and moral right to tape it and after all the guy had come and he had stayed after he knew that we were taping it.

We started breaking things down and ate the yummy popcorn. As we broke down we talked about the amazing night! We never know what is going to happen. Frank weaves it together all so beautifully, physics, philosophy, art, the magical unknown, skin, intimacy, trance, dance, reality playing!

Saw Tom today who was at the performance. He was the guy from Long Island who is traveling. He was People's Park eating food. He said wow about the performance and looked like he was still churning it. Later I went over and gave him some handouts for next months performance so he could give them out to other people. He said that he was still trying to figure it all out and that afterwards he felt emotions that he had never felt before, emotions that did not have words. He said that Frank's writing were right on and that when he was being embraced by Linda, Jen and Erika the words of the poems changed. He said he would come next time if he was around and he wanted to know what kind of Shamanism Frank does. I talked about the direct experience of reality and that he could email Frank to talk with him more. He asked why the performances did not happen more often and I told him about checking out the web site, the Shaman's Den and Luver and how great it was that there was a performance workshop series right now. He said he would tell people about it and come again if he was in town.

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