Frank Moore’s Cherotic All-Star Band
1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles 90028
It was an extremely hard, expensive, scary trip…but also fun and rewarding in terms of both people and performance. Jen describes it very well below. We are still recovering from it. Linda, Mikee, and I all became sick after we got home. But Jorge our acupuncturist came to treat us. So we are getting better. And we are facing a few thousand in car repairs. And 1 of our cats…Cyb…died today after over a year of health issues. But she waited for us to get back!
But was the trip worth it? You bet! Mainly it’s how people kept being how you wish people were. How Jen stepped up to the plate when Mikee’s back went out, doing whatever was needed….how our 3 mechanics were willing to talk us through the car issues, even late at night…how the tow truck driver wired up our bumper so we could drive the car, then drove Jen and the car to a tire place [saving us over $500 in towing], then followed Jen back to make sure she made it all right…how the tire guys tied the damaged tire onto the roof of our car...how the Harris Ranch Hotel manager came up to us in the lobby to offer us a suite to wait in, put our car full of stuff in a locked room, and served us beverages…and then when it got too late to drive home, gave us the suite at a greatly reduced rate! And we always feel that Corey and Alexi [a.k.a. Da Boyz] at home in Berkeley are taking care of everything…and this time “everything” included giving Cyb a complex schedule of meds and hand feeding her. People came through! And it was fun talking to Sam [my future co-star!] at the front desk of our L.A. hotel, especially after the performance!
Being in The 14th Annual Hollywood Performance Marathon at/for Theatre of NOTE also gave hope for what people can create together. Theatre of NOTE is a closely-knit community. And The Marathon is an amazing 12+ hour show made up of all kinds of performances flowing in a relaxed, warm, and fun atmosphere. But the show stayed on schedule like magic! The show started at 2 p.m.….we were supposed to go on at 10 p.m.…we hit the stage at 10, give or take 10 minutes. That is very hard to pull off! The stage crew was amazing!
My band was made up of Cherotic All-Star vets…except for our drummer. Our scheduled drummer couldn’t make it because of car problems. But the drummer of the band that played after us filled in. But before we went out on stage, he found out it would be a 30-minute non-stop jam. He was over heard nervously telling his girlfriend “it is all one movement…I haven’t done that before!” After our set, he said when we started he fell into the groove! It was great magic jazz! It is amazing what happened in that half hour on stage. But that damn pant’s button…a nightmare of horny teenage boys in the backseat at the drive-in! [Read on to Jen’s description to find out what I’m referring to.]
Now for my criticism of the last act of the show…at 3am or so. It is the tradition of the show that Rich Werner, the passion conductor/producer of the show, performs the finale. He is nuts…and one of my favorite performers. So he produces this show filled with gems…including the powerful and moving piece by Culture Clash…creating a mighty high bar that he presumably would attempt to top off…then in the last hour he puts on a god awful video of a guy doing a monolog about [ I think] telemarketing that lasted at least 59 hours. Then he threw in two poets to deepen our painful sleep [they may have been even good poets EARLIER]! Then Rich sent one of his NOTE pals to wake us up…which he did dynamically, pulling out all the stops [and all of his parts]…stalling because Rich wasn’t ready.
There was no sleeping when Rich came on. He is high-energy, full of innocent joy which is dark and deep at the core. This was infused into his performance, very refreshing and filling. He’s a props kind of guy. His props themselves are handmade works of art. I now have his cardboard Manson Family portrait [with shifting eyes] in my studio next to the two painted faces on paper plates which we nabbed from his performance two years ago. But what I really wanted to nab this time was the scroll of the names of his theater/performance heroes…yes, because my name was on that list among the heavy weights of the underground…but also I wanted to look up the artists I hadn’t heard of before...most on the list were my heroes, my friends, my co-stars, and my cast members. But there were quite a few I want to educate myself about. RICH, I WANT THAT LIST!
Rich’s work is sloppy and messy. His transitions between parts were sloppy. Obviously he shares my philosophy that in those long chaotic empty awkward voids is where unscripted magic can occur. Of course it helped that when Rich disappeared backstage up to 5 minutes at a time, there were NOTE people and others in the audience eager to jump in filling up the void, jacking up the energy. As two years ago, the show ended with the audience pouring paint over Rich’s head! Ah, messy chaos.
Rich, I have an idea. Considering how much this trip cost me, next year how about I just write a check for $5,000 to THE NOTE!? Naw, that isn’t the same!
I got up early with the boyz and made cranberry pancakes. Had to have a good breakfast to last until we got to LA. I did a run to get coffees, and then got all packed up and waited for the word to come down. Betty called and needed a light bulb changed so I went down to do that and then got to the purple house just as the last shot for the cam was being taken. Mikee fit everything into the back of the car and then we got Frank into his seat. We started the journey with Mikee driving us to Harris Ranch where we got out to stretch our legs and have a little walk. Then I drove for a bit and noticed a couple of lights on the dash that had gone on before, so Linda got Henry the mechanic on the phone and asked about it. When Mikee started driving again at the grapevine, the gears kept slipping as he accelerated up the hill and then one of the guys at Henry's found a blog that said the 2 lights on the dash that we saw were indicative of a transmission problem. We would have to take it easy and not push it.
We got to the hotel, Le Parc, and into our room. It was cozy but with space to move, and comfortable beds along with a roll-in shower, a kitchen and a fireplace. We got ready for dinner at Hugo's, something we had been eagerly anticipating all day. When we got there it did not disappoint and we had a wonderful tasty meal of hemp salads, beet and veggie casseroles and steak sandwiches. We got back to the hotel room and into bed ready for our big performance day tomorrow at the Theater of Note. Just before bed Steve Davis from Dog called and said he was sick and couldn't make it. We would have to see who would show up to be our band!
In the morning Mikee was stretching his back as he lay on the floor and suddenly his back went out. What a setback! I could help with lifting Frank and driving, but we needed Mikee for the performance! He did what he could and Frank used Hugo's as an excuse to get him to push through the pain. It worked! He made it to breakfast and to the gig! We of course went to Hugo's. Had a great time eating carrot pancakes, eggs ragout and hot cereals, and Frank had his favorite breakfast burrito. We also met the Executive Chef and told him how much we loved the food! We enjoyed everything, especially each other, laughing and talking. We have a good time and feel very lucky to be living this life together. After breakfast we got ready to go to the 14th Annual Performance Marathon at the Theater of Note.
When we got there the parking was very accommodating, but we had to wait to unload as there was a performance with fire happening right in front of our car. Rich Werner, who started the annual performance marathon, came up to Frank and thanked him so much for being able to make it. You could feel how much it meant to him. We all got out of the car and went around to the front to give the entrance table our swag to give out. Mikee and Frank put together great little booklets called The Magical Act of Doing, and gave those out along with Frank Moore for President platforms and cards. When we got around back again to unload, one of our band members came up to Frank and announced that he had a drummer. This was great because Steve was going to bring our drummer, but since he couldn't make it we didn't know if we would have one or not. We went inside to get seats and watch some performances before we got our 1/2 hour warning that we would be on. We saw some really great acts! Ten West, Culture Clash, The Dark Bob and Vomit just to name a few. Everyone was great! Very engaging and fun.
When we got our 1/2 hour warning that we were going to be up soon, Mikee and I found out that we had to fill out cards with all our technical requirements. Mikee began scribbling and it looked like there was a lot! The stage and backstage were small and we had a full band including drums as well as various things to plug in including strobes, a slide projector, a dvd, and mics. When Mikee gave the cards to the stage hand he said it was overwhelming and that when we were up we should just come on stage and they would deal with everything one by one. Frank was ready. Linda and I were in our 'costumes' of jewelry with over tops to be removed at the last moment. Our time came and I went on stage with Mikee and it was amazing how the stage tech guys were handling all our requirements so quickly. Everything was so efficient and we were ready in a very short time! We brought Frank on stage and I videoed as Linda and Mikee set him up with his mic and turned on the strobes and the projector. Then Mikee took the video camera and I went backstage with Linda to wait for our time to come out. Frank started to vocalize. The band included Tomek, Jeff (cosmic starfish), Carl Off and 2 others from the hop frog collective, and a drummer from a band that was playing later in the evening. They started up slowly and then Linda and I came out, picked up our mics and started dancing erotically with Frank. The power of the music and the visuals was immediate. This performance usually takes an hour but we had half the time so the intensity was contracted and we sank in right away, rubbing and melting.
The band sounded like an improv jazz ensemble. Frank said for Linda and I to bring people from the audience up to him, so we went to everyone and tried to coax them up. Everyone who said yes we brought up to Frank. They held hands with him and with each other until they formed a circle with Frank. We combed the audience to find others who would come up. As we kept bringing people up, the ones with Frank started dancing and some even joined the band. The place was letting loose and everyone was enjoying it! One of the first women we brought up sat on Frank's lap and was having a great time dancing there, bopping up and down. She was loving it! When she first got up on stage she told Frank that she had come to the performance just to see him! Then Frank directed Linda and I to slowly take off her clothes. She was surprised but she let us do it and the audience was going nuts. When her bra came off there was a roar of cheers and applause. We were going for the pants but they were too difficult to take off so we left them and began dancing erotically with her as she continued on Frank's lap. Everything got slower and deeper as she laid back and let go into us. The music was pulsing along with the strobes and the slides. Melting rhythmic moaning. It felt like the whole place was in an erotic trance. The band slowed. Our dancing eventually stopped and the lights came up.
The buzz in the place went on for a while as there was an intermission after that. Many people had amazed looks on their faces, smiles and eyes wide. There was a feeling of excitement and I kept catching little bits of what people were saying; that they loved it, it was amazing, how they didn't know what to expect and how it blew their minds. It was awesome how that woman just came out of the audience and joined with us so fully. Frank had planned to have Sam, the woman who works at the front desk at our hotel, be a plant as she had agreed to be when we were last in L.A. in December. Unfortunately she couldn't make it because she was teaching an improve class that night, but the woman who was on Frank's lap looked a lot like her and Frank thought it was her! Thing was, she wasn't our plant! She just genuinely came to the performance to see Frank, and ended up doing exactly what we would have had Sam do. Truly magical.
We went to get a bite to eat after we packed up our gear, and then we came back to watch the rest of the performances. The Theatre of Note was such a great place and this marathon brought everyone in. There was an audience but everyone participated, calling out, interacting with the performers, responding to what was going on all the time, dancing to the music between acts. It was all part of the event. What we did was just follow what was already there, opening it up further, doing what was needed, playing our part. Rich came on last as The Last Man Standing. He did a number of small acts, the first where he was dressed up all super glam with cat eye contacts and read from a list naming all the people who inspired him to be who he is/what he does. He read from a long list of famous and avant gard performers and musicians and artists, some of them being Rachel Rosenthal, Annie Sprinkle, and Frank Moore! Then he danced around and sang Rebel Rebel with the audience. He did another act with puppets where he reinacted the Manson murders talking about how they were influenced by and also how they influenced society. Another act had him reading a sci-fi story he wrote when he was a kid, then he did another puppet act based on that story. For the finale he sat in the middle of the stage and had people from the audience come up and splash all different colours of paint on him. Great ending to such an amazing event.
We got our gear loaded into the car and made it back to our hotel. We were wiped out, but the next day all we did was get up for one awesome Hugo's meal, and then go back to bed until Monday. It took us a while to decide what to eat because it was our only meal for the day and we wanted it to satisfy us on every level. The menu has a lot of choices and we felt a bit overwhelmed, but eventually we chose and everything was delicious - mac 'n cheese, beet casserole, mahi-mahi, tacos...we loved it. Then we had dessert with coffee and tea. When we were done we made our way back to bed and slept until the morning.
We got up and had another amazing breakfast at Hugo's. Talked with our waiter and with the manager, Jasmine, who gave us her email address so that we could send her Frank's platform. We knew we wouldn't be back there anytime soon so we picked all our favorite dishes and then got some take-out food to bring back for the boyz. We got back to the hotel and packed and then we talked to Sam at the front desk, telling her all about the performance and the woman from the audience who came up and danced with us. She was amazed and agreed to work with Frank on something else. She said she would be honored to. Then we packed up the car and were on our way.
After getting bevs and some snacks at Urth Cafe, we hit the highway with Linda driving through the grapevine. I took over after that and was getting very close to Harris Ranch where we planned to rest for a bit and then continue home. Frank said the car was vibrating and we all noticed it but didn't know what was causing it. We were only a couple of miles from Harris Ranch so we aimed for getting off the freeway there, but just as we were driving slowly in the right lane and Linda was on the phone with the mechanic, we heard a bunch of loud banging noises from the back of the car. I immediately pulled over and hit the emergency lights. Linda got out and saw the damage. The tread was off the back driver’s side tire and there were rips in the back bumper. She was still on the phone with the mechanic who told us to drive very slowly on the shoulder until we could get off the freeway. We did that and made it to Harris Ranch where we called AAA and had a tow truck come. Our original plan was to have the car towed back to Berkeley and for the boyz to come and pick us up to get us home. But when the tow truck driver saw the damage he said that it looked like it was just the tire that needed replacing, so he drove me to a place 10 miles away where we got that done. The car drove great after that. I came back to Harris Ranch and found everyone in one of the hotel rooms. We needed the damaged tire so I went back to get it. When I got back, Frank Linda and Mikee had arranged for us to spend the night in the room. It was dark and we were all still on edge because of the blow out. It was best to sleep and drive in the morning.
We ate at the restaurant and Linda had the take-out food from Hugo's, so the boyz would only get the chocolate cake now. It was the only thing that would last the night outside of a refrigerator. After dinner Frank and Linda had a good shower, and Mikee and I had baths in the tub with jets. We slept well and got up early. Instead of eating we just wanted to get home. So we packed up the car and headed out, driving the 3 1/2 hours left straight to Berkeley. Got the car into the shop asap. Babied the cats and then sat down to our first meal of the day. Scarfed it down in no time and it hardly made a dent, but Frank Linda and Mikee were headed for bed after that. I went back to the blue house and helped make dinner. We watched the rest of the Otis special features and then started watching the incredibly good Irina Palm. The boyz ate the chocolate cake as we all had tea. I told them all about our trip. It was so much fun! Even despite the set backs we really had a great time, and we were all glad to be back.
My name is Chuck. My girlfriend and I came out to support the Theatre of Note's all night fundraiser. We attended an art opening in Silverlake and then had sushi in West Hollywood. Between us we had just enough money to see Addler's Appetite, a great rock show at the Key Club or go & support the Theatre of Note and live theatre. Honestly, I wanted to rock out to some metal. But ,we ended up choosing Theatre of Note and settled into an over packed theatre after laying down our forty dollars. We saw the anti-jesus piece. That was O.K., I wasn't overly impressed. Then, a very funny guy came out and did a spoken word rant which was intelligent and funny. That was cool. The lights came up. We moved to better seats and settled in for the next skit. The lights went down and it was The Frank Moore performance. Honestly, Frank, your performance is the single most revolting and nausiating live performance I've ever witnessed. It was a scarring experience. I'm better now.My girlfriend, having been exposed to multiple theatre,performance, etc. and experimental shit,and,therefore, was not as affected as me.
I dig your website. I dig the underground anti-corporate thing. Maybe L.U.V.E.R will inspire me someway. Maybe some good will come from having subjected myself to your "performance". I hope so. I busted my ass for that 40 bucks.
thanks, chuck, for writing your response to my piece. we artists live for such letters...especially when the reactions to the art is so intense and powerful as yours. it means the art is working! i sympathize with you about spending your hard earned money...even though the note is a worthy cause...and missing the metal show to boot! doing the show cost me several thousand dollars! we live in berkeley. on the way down our transmission crapped out and on the way back the tire exploded, blowing a hole in the car's body. that is over the normal cost of travel....hotel, food, etc.
chuck, i like how the performance is continuing through these emails. but don't get in a dark alley with linda and jen...those "older women."
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Last modified August 11, 2015