Well, the performance was so intense, I couldn’t type until now! When I got into bed after the performance, my legs cramped up bad! And they stayed that way for twenty-four hours! But was it worth it? You bet!
Basically it built on the last one with Nellie and Unrulee coming back and Tomek and Kene-J playing music. It was a kind of thing where I was faced with a roomful of strong personalities willing to jump into possibilities and fully play! But they were a diverse group. I had to weave something together to tap the possibilities and potential. Like Neil and Petra were strong dancers /performers in their own right. And Nellie and Unrulee are erotic explorers. And Tomek and Kene-J are now used to creating a musical ecstasy base for floating into juicy trances. And of course there are Linda, Mikee, Jen, Alexi, Corey and Erika to build upon. But this time there were many threads to weave together. And in my carnival barker way, I had predicted this would be “hotter“ than the last one! I always know this is just colorful smoke. I don’t feel any pressure expectations to live up to this smoke. But some did. It was in fact hotter! But it was because of the willingness of the people there. Frankly we were just getting to the juicy molten meat when the time ran out! So next time JUICY MOLTEN MEAT!
But hopefully we are still underground now that we are THE EAST BAY EXPRESS‘ Critic’s Choice! [with a photo!]
I came down to the ph and we got Frank into the car and then were off. It was exciting because Frank said in his email about tonight's performance that it would be hotter than last time. How was he going to do that? When we stopped at a red light, Corey showed us that Frank had been written up in The East Bay Express Critic's Pick of the week! And it was a Friday night which seemed to be popular the last time, so it would be fun to see what was going to happen.
When we got there we all started setting up the space. Erika was there too and was helping set up the swag table and floor mats. It felt good. We got the set up down and had it done at 20 minutes to 8. Just as we settled in, Neil and Petra arrived. They are two dancers who are in wheelchairs and they talked about the workshops they're doing at a space on Bancroft. Neil knows Frank from years ago when he was in Frank's film Erotic Play where he dressed up and sang and really got down with it. Then he went to some of Frank's performances over the years. When he introduced Petra as his sweetheart, Frank said it's about time.
Then Michael arrived all in black with a top hat. Said he was talking to people on the street, that's what he does. As Frank talked with everyone more people came in. There was Nellie and Unrulee who were at the last performance. Frank said that Nellie was the next generation for the work Frank was doing. He asked her to explain that and she said that it's about using eroticism to enter a trance state and bring people together in a deep way. She explicitly explained what she did, helping people to deeply feel touch and then how to masturbate with relaxation instead of just tightness.
A guy who was a graduate student in molecular biology came and said that he had always seen Frank's performance posters up and wanted to finally come and see what the performance was like. He said that he thought a lot about the religion he was brought up with, Judaism, and how its values differed from his ideas about community. Another woman who was there with her daughter was a psychologist who helped people get out of religion. Frank asked what she would ask the biologist and she asked him where he was now with it. He said that he believed in some of the values he was brought up with but that he could see the difference between the dogma he was taught and what felt right. Frank asked if religion was spiritual and she said no, that they were two different things. Frank said the biologist was spiritual and the guy agreed, and also said that he was intellectual as well. Frank said that we are all crips.
The woman's daughter was a dancer and also was taking environmental studies in school. She had seen the performance in The East Bay Express, as others had. Then there were 2 guys who came. One of them said that he found out about the performance from a girlfriend who said that she thought he would love it. She didn't come, but the guy asked another friend if he would come. Frank asked the friend if he would undress Erika, but he wouldn't. He thought Frank should ask Erika if it was ok. Then he said that he would take off his own pants, and Frank asked if he'd like a drum roll. Yes! Kene-J gave him one and he dropped his drawers, but not his underwear. What was the difference between Erika being dressed, and him in his underwear? Around this time, Alexi who was put in charge of the donation basket passed it around and it filled up!
There were another couple of guys who had arrived, and one other big guy who had seen Frank at a couple of events last year during Frank's presidential campaign. Everyone seemed willing to explore and Frank started to conduct, to open the space up for play. He had Erika and Unrulee undress each other in slow motion and then play body music together. Then he had the mother and daughter undress Linda and I, and dress us up in jewelry. The daughter was then asked to dance with Neil and Petra, so she did that while the biologist read Credit Card Morality. Afterward, the mother/psychologist started to freak out about the video camera. She didn't hear much of Frank's written piece because she was so focused on it. She wanted to know what it was for and Frank said it was for his BTV show. Even though she was generating this weird vibe about it, everyone else seemed relaxed and willing to go on. This separated her out, and eventually she left. But her daughter stayed! Frank asked the daughter what she wanted to do now, and she said dance by herself for a while and then dance with others, so Frank said that she could use the space by the big backdrop. She right away asked if it was ok if anyone joined her and Frank said yes! So Linda and I joined her and pretty soon just about everyone else got up and were dancing to Kene-J rapping away. Really fun!! It was so free!
After the dancing, the girl was asked where her mother went. She said she had gone to sit in a cafe and save her profession. Frank said that's a religion. The girl said yes. She felt great and was having a blast. She said that she was really enjoying this because it was such a free and accepting space. Nellie and Linda undressed Frank while a few of the guys that were there joined the band which was now Kene-J and Tomek. Then Linda, Nellie and I were to dance together but we all had to pee, so we went to the bathroom and then came back and started dancing until it was time to stop. The night was just getting warmed up. Frank was still trying to harness all the potential in this group. It felt almost like a hunger for more, everyone ready to go wherever Frank asked us to.
Gestures came out and Linda explained it. She would pull a strip of paper out of the bag and we had to do whatever it said. Frank needed some watchers, so a few people did that while Erika played with Unrulee, Neil and Petra. I played with the dancer, and Nellie played with Frank. The first couple of gestures were sticking tongues out at each other and wiggling them around, and moving bodies together, but then the gestures for rubbing genitals for body comfort came out. The first one was to rub yourself, then the next one pulled was to rub your partner's genitals. The adjective that kept coming up was 'confidently'. The girl I was with was game all the way! This opened everything up. The game gestures just got it all started and when we were all rubbing each others genitals, Frank let the game drop and the eroplay naturally developed. Linda came into me and the other girl. We were entwined and caressing, moving, rocking. I could see the guy who was in his underwear was also rocking back and forth, and then he asked Linda if he could join us. Frank said ok, so he came in as well. Then before we knew it Kene-J asked if he could join us as well! The five of us were as one with limbs caressing every part. Sometimes it was hard to move, but we moved together rubbing heads, hands, breasts, legs, butts. It was pretty amazing. It seemed to go on and on. The girl eventually left softly, and soon the playing slowed and Linda read wrapping and rocking, voicing what we were all doing in that space. Like Corey said, it was beautiful. Tomek played amazing music throughout the entire night. We were all blown away when Frank started asking everyone what they thought of the night. He said that's why he did 48 hour performances, because 3 hours is just too short. We were all consciously one in that room, feeling one another as one body, melting together. The watchers said that the playing expanded out to them and they were really playing too. One guy said that he felt like air, like he was just a part of the air. Erika said that she was reminded of how important touch is. Frank definitely lived up to his rumor, that this performance would be hotter than the last! When the lights came up, people were all talking together, linking up. It was a great feeling, a warm relaxing accepting buzz. Really incredible to be a part of all this, to live this. I am amazed and humbled and grateful. I was very excited to be a part of an ongoing series and I can see how it is growing and expanding. It's so much fun!!! We are so very lucky, so very very lucky.
Then we ate our sandwiches, Alexi made the second tub of popcorn, and we were changing, cleaning up, getting ready to go. After all this, we had more time to spare while you guys were getting ready, and Corey started looking up the listings for Reality Playings, and we found that "Critics Choice", wow! Then we were all off to the space!
As usual, it was fun setting up, and we had it down in a groove ... it also helped a lot to have Erika there helping with the set-up. It felt good for her to be there. We were ready in plenty of time for the 8pm start time, and Neil Marcus and Petra were already there, talking with Frank ... Corey got the camera set up and started recording!
Another amazing performance ... and a lot of people again! It turned out that people did come from the Critics Choice mention, which was really neat. And a lot of people still came from fliers. It was really fun to hear where people were seeing them!
Michael Diehl was there, a veteran of performances for years, and from the streets of Berkeley ... Frank moved from Neil and Petra to Michael, and then to others who were coming in. The room quickly filled up. The "big guy" had been to other performances too ... Alexi later remembered him from One Taste, and he said he had been to the Erotic Campaign as well ... Frank had an interesting conversation with the Jewish guy ... Frank had asked him what he liked to do ... he liked to play music, and dabbled in other things, and he "liked to think". When Frank asked him what he thought about, he talked about how he thought about religion, and communities, and how he had a different take on it from his parents, and things that happened in the world were always making him think about his own religion's teachings, and how he felt about them.
Frank talked with two women who had come in together ... the older woman was a psychologist who, as she described, "helped people recover from religion" ... Frank asked her what she would ask the young man? First she would ask him what religion? He hadn't actually said at that point ... And where was he at, and where did he want to go? He said he was Jewish ... we can't remember if he said anything more about it ... the other woman, who we later found out was her daughter, was a student of Agriculture, Social Justice and Dance, which she said was her way of combining all the things she was interested in into 4 years ... Her mother had said she came because it sounded "unique". Her daughter said something along the lines of that it looked really interesting ...
Then Frank moved on to the two guys next to them ... they had come because one of the guys roommates had recommended it to them. But she didn't come! One of the guys came because his friend said to come ... Frank asked him if he always does what his friend tells him to?? He said yes! When Frank asked him what he was there for, he said to see ... Frank asked him, "Only to see?" The guy continued, "Well, to hear, smell, taste ..." Frank said, now this is getting more interesting. Frank asked him if he was there to participate, and he said yes. So Frank asked if he would take Erika's clothes off in slow motion. "What??" he asked! He said he would take his own clothes off ... so Frank said, ok. But then he was hesitating ... Frank said, "It was your idea!" He only took his pants off ... much later when Frank referred to that he only got his pants off, he said he was warming up ... But he wouldn't take Erika's clothes off ... he thought she should be asked first. Frank asked a koan-like question that we didn't necessarily understand, about Erika clothes and his underwear ... he did not get it! We got it insofar as it was clear that Erika did not need to be asked, and he could just take her clothes off ... So Frank turned to Unrulee and asked him to take Erika's clothes off ... he did, and soon Frank had them playing body music with each other ... Then there was a guy there who was a cabinet maker and now working on an organic farm ... Frank asked if the young woman would let Neil choreograph her and Petra in a dance ... he asked the psychologist if she would come up and read "Credit Card Morality" ... meanwhile, the pantless guy took up on the drums, joining Kene-J, and Tomek, who had come in a little later than usual ... Frank also told Nellie, who had come with Unrulee for the second time in a row, that she was the next generation of people doing what Frank does, and asked her to describe what that meant. Later, he also asked her to describe what she does with people, which was physical sexual sensual emotional exploration, and exploring other states of trance through sexuality ... Frank had earlier asked the psychologist and daughter to undress Linda and Jen, but it was at the point where Frank asked her to read his piece that she started freaking out about the camera. It turned out that she got uptight about her "profession", her image. When she finally left because of this, Frank said that this was "religion". The daughter seemed to agree. She wasn't going to leave. She was having a lot of fun. Frank had the Jewish guy read "credit card morality", which he really liked, and said that he had just cancelled several of his credit cards because of similar ideas he had been having ...
Frank asked the daughter what she wanted to do next after dancing with Petra, and she said she wanted to do an improvised dance by herself and then maybe more contact improvisation ... Frank said ok, and suggested she could take the "stage" in front of Mikee's big colorful backdrop ... she welcomed others to dance with her too, and Frank had Kene-J take the mic to do three of his songs, which were great! It got everybody dancing with her up there, and was really fun!! This is when the mother made her exit. We were really glad the daughter stayed!
After the dance, things continued to deepen ... Frank created groupings for Gestures ... Jen and the daughter ... Erika, Unrulee, Petra and Neil ... he and Nellie. He also needed watchers. Watchers were important. At the end of the performance, the big guy said something really powerful about that ... he said that he was a watcher, but did not feel at all separate from what was happening because of that. On the contrary, he said it wasn't that he was "just watching". He said that he felt that he was part of everything that was going on ... that the energy of what was happening filled him and the room. We always feel this way ...
It was amazing the way that everyone was so willing to be there and to do anything ... the daughter was totally game for Gestures, and Jen said later that she did them with a gusto! It was beautiful to watch everyone doing the gestures ... and then it got even deeper, and more trancelike when Frank let the playing continue from the last gesture on ... the lights went down, and Linda joined Jen and the daughter playing ... Nellie played with Frank, and Unrulee, Erika, Petra and Neil continued playing ... the music of Tomek and Kene-J was amazing. Also, joining them on the keyboards was one of the two guys who had come together. The music carried everything deeper ...
Then the pantless guy wanted to join the playing group of Jen, Linda and the daughter ... Frank let him join ... then Kene-J just jumped in too ... it was amazing that the playing just continued with the same feeling ... Linda said that it was because they just followed ...
All of this created a trance ... Corey said later that when Frank started asking people what they thought, he imagined that he could probably say something if Frank asked him ... but when Frank actually asked him, it felt like he had lost his ability to speak. The experience of the playing, and filming had transported him into another dimension ... all he could say was that it was "beautiful" ... that everything felt "transformed" ...
It was neat to hear what everyone had to say about it ... we liked how Linda said she didn't know how Frank was going to do it ... we were always amazed by how Frank weaves such an amazing performance out of so many possibilities .... it felt really good ... Interesting how the two most open and willing "audiences" came on Friday nights! The theory would be tested now when the performances returned to Saturdays ...
People lingered a long time afterward, talking with Frank and each other ... we started breaking down the set ... Corey ran into Kene-J in the bathroom, fixing his hat in the mirror ... he turned to Corey with a big smile, and said, "Cool ..." It was neat what he said at the end ... that he liked to push beyond his own "comfort zone" ...
We wished we could have heard what the daughter thought, but she left before the end ... her mother came back to pick her up, we guessed ...
It was fun breaking down the set, and talking about the performance, eating popcorn! Frank told Erika, "Good." Good to have her there ... She helped break things down too, and it went very smoothly, and we got the car all loaded up, and then realized that we both had not heard if Linda had put the check in the box or not, which we were used to hearing ... so we called you on the cell, but no one picked up! Corey ran to catch you!
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