The Uncomfortable Zones Of Fun - February 2010

Frank Moore’s
The Uncomfortable Zones Of Fun
experiments in experience/participation performance

at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, California
Saturday, February 27, 2010


3/1/2010
Ah!  How do you measure success in a performance?  Maybe when the audience (the people who come to the performance])start crying uncontrollably over releases of blocks that just disappeared just by walking through them with willingness and trust.  Or maybe when a young sexy co-ed rocks nude on your lap, arousing all kinds of new possibilities.  Or maybe when you attract a wide range of people, all ready to go all the way into the volcano, melting into a cozy little joyful community, willing to be uncomfortable and whatever else it takes to go into adventures of fun, floating on the mood music of Kene-J and a psychology grad student…  The community so strong that they (most of them) kept staying, playing together, long after the “performance” was “over”, and then most of them went to an apartment of one of them to continue hanging out together!  And I’m not even getting into what they said of how the performance effected them!  (see below for that!)  I am just glad I didn’t get in the way of the potential of the night! 

Yep!  It was a great deep success!  And the series is clearly building, tapping into the young art school student community, among other groups.  Ah, yes, very dangerous and subversive!  You need to do something for at least a year to start this kind of building.  And it goes in waves.  The art student came months ago.  She went home all Shining and open and vulnerable and creative.  Her roommates and friends saw the changes in her.  So when they came, they were ready to go into it explicitly.  This audience was the most explicitly ready in over a year!  The new title seems to be working!  THE UNCOMFORTABLE ZONES OF FUN seemed to attract people who are coming to work for the depth of fun that requires risk.  It also seemed to screen out the whiners who use their fragile limited zones of so-called comfort to make sure they are in control.  I love when a title works! 

And now there are more Shining people walking around infecting others!  Extremely satisfying and dangerous and subversive!  

DA BOYZ:
We were extra early, and it was great to have the time!  But by 10 minutes to 8, only one person had showed up, a "middle-age" guy in a blazer and plaid shirt, who ended up sitting on a chair reading some book that he had brought, waiting for the performance to begin, after being invited to sit down on the mats!  It was the first performance with the new title: "Uncomfortable Zones of Fun" .... would anyone show up?  Did people realize that it was the same series?  When we had been fliering, everyone we ran into recognized the flier as the same, even though the title was different ... they immediately recognized it as the same thing ... but there was this feeling that this might be the performance that no one came to ... 

And then people came pouring in! 

A young blonde woman in a sweatshirt came in, along with a big guy who sat up against the back wall ... she was curious, right off the bat, as to what this was going to be ...?  Frank said, "Who knows?"  and something like that he makes it up as it goes along from the people who come ...

And then the young CCAC student who had come to the December performance came in with two friends, followed by a brightly attired older woman with her friend, and then a woman in black with glasses ... and then more people!  A young long haired dude, a couple of young guys, one with wild blonde hair, and the other with short dark hair ... and a young woman ... and more people came in after them as well!    The room was filling up, and Frank asked the CCAC girl to "warn them" about the performance ... he asked her what happened after the last performance ...?  She said she had come home, and had written a lot, and then took a long hike the next day with her friends, and that she had felt like a different person ...  Frank asked her if she had brought what she written?  Or did she remember it?  She remembered a few lines ... they were very deep.   Her friends on either side of her talked about how she was after the performance ... her long curly haired smiley friend said that she was glowing after the performance ... her shy short haired soft spoken friend said that she had talked about Frank, that they had to meet him, that she had felt like she had met someone very special, amazing.  Frank asked the short-haired girl why she had come ...?  She said that she wanted to learn something about herself ...  

Frank talked with the young dude ... he had heard about it also from the CCAC girl ... we didn't really hear what he said, but it was something along the lines of that he was an artist, but not really going to the school ... it brought up the story of Frank's time at the SF Art Institute, and how he had gone there to be with other artists, and do stuff, get things going!  But how most of the other students and teachers were ... ignoring Frank, angsting, drinking beer, not excited to try things ... Frank said he liked failing!  If you aren't willing to fail, you can't do anything.  Everyone there seemed to really get this, and really liked Frank saying it ...

Frank talked with the pair of women friends ... one of the women, who really enjoyed talking in the mic!, said that she was a teacher of art to "naughty" teens ... her friend was studying to be a "sacred courtesan".  The teacher had looked on squidlist, and saw "uncomfortable fun", and said that was it for her!  Frank asked her if she felt uncomfortable?  She said she did, which she said was good!  Frank said, "And I haven't even gotten into the nudity or eroticism yet!"  Oh!!  Right!  she said ... She guessed that could be part of this!  And why not!  We've all done that!    Frank talked with her about her teaching ... how were the kids "naughty"?  She said that some of them might lift your wallet at the grocery store, but most of the kids were sweet when you get below the surface, especially with the art ...  Frank said wasn't that what art does?  Soon he had her come up and read one of his poems, "No Can Nots", and Linda later gave the context for how the poem was written.   She had to read it twice to really get it, and she really got it, loved it!  Loved just being up beside Frank, reading one of his poems.  She had a real exuberance! 

Frank talked a bit with her friend, the "sacred courtesan", who was also a commercial real estate broker ... what was a sacred courtesan?  She talked about being the muses of the world, opening things up, exploring sacred sexuality.  Frank said, "Like me!"  And had Linda give an overview of his work, and how he had to create new words to describe the physical states of play ... like "eroplay" ...

The woman sitting next to them, in black, with glasses ... she was doing her doctorate in clinical psychology, and was also in a band, which she really loved.  What did she play?  Keyboards ...  Frank invited her to play!  His band had not showed up this time ... but wait, one of them had!  Kene-J was there, had just showed up ... so the two of them got started on the keyboards, and created a musical backdrop for the rest of the performance, which was soft and trancelike ... really nice. 

Frank kept going around the room ... there was a guy who had seen the flier on poles all over, for a while ... he was attracted by the uncomfortable fun, like the teacher, but also was attracted to the "shamanic performance" aspect of it ...  the "uncomfortable fun" made him think of stuff he had done at One Taste ...  Frank and Linda told him about our One Taste experience!  Frank freaked them out there!  Gabe was impressed!  It was the intimacy that had freaked them out ... Gabe thought that One Taste now was very much about intimacy, as well as sex ... Frank asked him to define "intimacy", and he talked about being together as who we are, without feeling we need to protect anything ... he said more that we can't remember, but Frank said it was a great definition. 

His friend with the wild hair was a music teacher, and tried to organize people to start food coops ... another friend of theirs was there too ... she was attracted by the sound of the performance, "uncomfortable fun", going beyond what she was used to, pushing herself ... she liked doing things outside, growing food, cooking ...  

Frank talked to the first woman who had come in ... she was a single mom, and at the moment was working as a petition drive organizer ... she was looking for something to do in Oakland, and the "uncomfortable fun" had also attracted her ... she was looking for new experiences ...  There was also a guy there with a mohawk ... what attracted him to the performance?  He said he lived in the neighborhood!  Frank said, "I am lazy too!" 

Frank had asked the shy CCAC girl what she wanted to do at the performance early on, and she had said she didn't know ...  And now he came back to her ... he asked her what she wanted to do with him?  He was all hers ...  She said she was so fucking scared ... Frank asked of what?  "Of things that I don't understand ..."  Like?  " ... things like sexuality and trusting other people ..."   Frank asked her if she felt good to be there?  She said she did, when she didn't have the microphone!  Gabe held her hand ...  It was very powerful, things suddenly dropped very deep.  Frank asked Linda to describe gestures ... and then he asked Sarah if she would do gestures with him?  She would.  And he asked the rest of the group who else wanted to do gestures?  A lot of people raised their hands, and Linda paired people ... the artist dude with the girl who liked to plant and cook ... the wild haired music teacher was paired with his friend Clay, another guy that Frank had not even talked with ...  Erika was paired with Gabe ... the Sacred Courtesan was paired with the CCAC girl who had come to the December performance, and the art teacher was paired with her long haired friend from CCAC ... 

And the gestures started!  Sarah did the gestures with Frank, and the gestures started off all very intimate, hugging, rubbing bodies together ...  Everyone was very game!  It was soft ...   At some point, Frank asked Sarah if she would take off her and his clothes?  She said ok, and took off all of her clothes, and took off Frank's shirt ... and Linda and Mikee and Alexi got Frank's pants off ... Frank said that the rest of the pairings could take each other's clothes off too, if they wanted to ...  Some did ...  Erika and Gabe took each other's clothes off ... the teacher and the CCAC girl took each other's clothes off.  One of the pair of guys, Clay, took his pants off ... by the end, the artist dude had his shirt off ...

The gestures continued ... they were deep, fun, intimate ... a lot of lying on top of one another, rubbing bodies together, and then a whole series of leg gestures!  Knees, calves, thighs!  At some point, Frank said that he and Sarah should continue to do what they were doing as the rest of the group continued with the random gestures that Linda was pulling ... the gestures had an amazing mind of their own, like always!  Sarah lay across Frank's lap, resting her head on his shoulder, rocking ...  At some point, Frank had Linda come over and rock the two of them ... we could hear Sarah crying, sobbing ... the feeling was very deep ... intense ...   the rest of the group continued doing their gesture for a while ... at some point, the art teacher, the courtesan and the two other CCAC girls went over to the costume and jewelry pile and started trying things on, and picked up the gestures, and started reading out gestures for everyone to do ... they picked out the ones they wanted!  Skipped the "knees" when they came up again!  Meanwhile, Linda and Frank and Sarah rocked together ... it went on for a long time .... beautiful ...

At some point, Frank had Linda read wrapping/rocking, which was amazingly powerful ... we heard things in the poem that we had never heard before ...   And then he had her announce the end of the gestures ... Frank asked Sarah to read his poem, "I Came To Play"   Sarah sat next to him with the mic, and read the poem, crying at certain points ... it was so deeply powerful to hear her read it, and to feel her experience what Frank was saying in the poem as she read it...  She cried with joy at the lines about how

I came to play
and I’m a dangerous player
because I don’t play
for money,
fame,
power,
or from anger,
bitterness,
hatred,
emptiness,
or to win…
so I can’t lose
can’t be beaten!

Everyone seemed to really feel those lines ... 

And then Frank asked Sarah to talk about how she felt ...  She said that she felt like she had come back from the land of the dead ...  Frank asked her, "to home?"  She said yes ...   It was really intense... we were crying!  Frank said because she was willing to risk, willing to trust.  She said, right, she guessed that was all it took!

Then Frank went around the rest of the room, asking everyone about their experiences ... it was all very very deep.  The girl from CCAC who had come in December said that there was a point in the night when she was ready to just leave ... she realized that this is the way that she deals with feeling uncomfortable ... but she didn't leave, she stayed ... she talked about how she has buried feelings, hoping that they go away ... the performance reminded her of a note that her friends had put on her door when she lived in a house with them ... it said, "you don't have to go anywhere, stay ... talk or don't talk, do or don't do ... whatever it is, its ok, we're here for you."  She was crying too ...  her friend, who was paired with the art teacher, said that a lot of her friends think that she takes a lot of risks ... but she felt like that wasn't really always true ... but that night she felt like she had, that she had taken risks, and it felt good ...

The art teacher said that she had a great time!  She said that she had been to many workshops, therapy, that were meant to get to what this created ... and didn't ...  but this took them all right there!  She said she felt very comfortable!  She was laughing at the fact that she had taken all her clothes off, and done the gestures, etc., and there was the camera! And its all on tape!  But who cares!

Gabe said it was "revolutionary" ... Frank asked how?  He said because it allowed people to be together, without barriers, without limits ... and if everyone could be together in this way, we could reorganize everything.  Frank said he had run for president, and Linda said that his platform was laid out in order to reorganize society in this way!  Everyone loved that.  We heard, "I'd vote for you!" 

The music teacher and his gesture partner Clay really enjoyed themselves ... they said that they may have held back a little because they knew each other ... but the main experience was that it had felt really good to be held ... Clay thanked Frank for the experience...

The artist dude said that he had just the other day been talking with a friend, at a party, about throwing bricks through bank windows, as a protest to change things, to alter society, government, and his friend had called him out on it.  He had talked about how there are all different levels of government ... the elected government had really very little to do with how we live our daily lives ... there is a government that we create with each other in the way that we live our lives together, and that the performance made him think of that, and it was very liberating to feel how we could be with each other ...

Then there were the folks who had not participated in the gestures, but had stayed until the end, watching ... the single mom said that she had experienced feeling left out to a certain extent, that she wasn't really part of it, but she realized that she had made that choice ...  Frank said that she was participating, by staying ... but that their experience has been that it is much harder to watch than to do ...  She had experienced that.  So had another young man who none of us had seen come in, but he had stayed for the entire performance, totally absorbed in what was going on.  He said that he had also experienced feeling outside of everything, and that it had made him think about his tendency to remain aloof in relationships ... and to question that in himself ... it was really powerful to hear them talk about this.  Another couple had come in late, and had also not participated, but the gal said that she had really loved the feeling, as soon as they walked in, and really loved watching the gestures, and that she would like to come again and participate.  Alexi had seen them rocking together during the rocking gesture and wrapping/rocking poem ...

The keyboardist/psychology doctorate, said that she experienced a bit of that same feeling of not being part of it ... but her main experience was of how amazing it was, how beautiful ... she felt very loving toward everyone who was there ... she felt like she was part of it through the music ... and she also said that she was struck by how easy, given a framework, it was for people to come together in this way.  That people just jumped right into it, given a way to do it, and that we need more of it.  She was really glad that this existed. 

And then Frank had Linda read his latest chapter, the "shit" chapter!  It was a great way to "end" the performance ...  But Frank had pointed out earlier that he didn't believe in applause, when everyone had clapped after the poem, "I Came to Play" ... because it is an end to something that doesn't really end ... like the performance ...   And after the chapter, the performance was "over", but we heard people say, "Do we have to leave?"  No one wanted to go ... and everyone stayed in a big group ... talking, playing around ... for a long time as we broke things down ...  

At one point, the single mom came up to Corey as he was folding up the grey table, asking if she could help him ... it felt like it was another way that she felt that she could be part of things ... just that little gesture was very deep, and she helped Corey fold up the table ...

It sounded like the group was going off together to one of their houses ... really amazing.  We couldn't believe how amazing the performance was, and were talking about all of the details as we broke things down, and the things that people said ...   Totally blown away ...

We packed up the cars, cleaned up, swept up the room ... and it wasn't long before we were locking things up, and pulling away from Temescal ... another amazing performance!  Linda had said at one point that it felt like we had won the Academy Award ... it was what all of Frank's work was about, intensely focalized into one performance!
 

ERIKA:
We had everything set up early for the performance.  We brought everything in two cars and got the back drops and lights set up, had cozy mats with blankets, a blanked for Jewelry including Betty's jewelry, totes of free stuff including Suzy tapes to give away and a display table with the new t-shirt that says "I survived the uncomfortable zones of fun" on the back.  At first there was one guy there who sat in the back with a book.  Frank said that maybe no one would come since he changed the name from "Reality Playings" to "Uncomfortable Zones of Fun".  Not long after that a steady flow of people started arriving who were excited and ready to explore uncomfortable fun.  At the end Linda said that the performance had been like the academy awards of all the years of performances because everyone who came really understood and wanted to be together in intimate uncomfortable fun, they really saw and felt what Frank is going for, what we are really about. 
The first woman who came in was a single mother who manages petition offices.  She saw the ad in the SF Gate and was looking for something different, something that would push her a little into something new.  Then a group of art students from CCAC came.  One of the women had come to the performance a couple of months ago and this time she brought some of her friends with her.  Frank asked her if she warned everyone about the performance and she said no.  He asked her how she felt after the last performance.  She said that she felt like a different person, she had done a lot of writing and things opened up.  She had two friends with her and they talked about what she had said when she came home from the performance.  She was glowing and said that Frank was really amazing and that they really should come meet him.  The other friend was quiet and said that she did not know what to expect but that she came because her friend had spoken so highly of Frank and what had happened to her by coming to the performance. 

A couple more women had arrived by now. One of them was an art teacher of some naughty kids.  She had found out about the performance on Squid List and was really drawn to uncomfortable and fun.  She brought her friend with her.  Frank asked her what kind of naughty her students were and she said oh, the kind that steal your wallet on the bus but underneath that there is sweetness and you just have to dig a little to find it.  Frank said that art helped to find the sweetness and she said yes. She said she was a little uncomfortable now and Frank said that we had not even gotten to the nudity and eroticism.  She said oh, yes that would be good, yes we have all done that.  She came up and sat with Frank and read one of his poems a couple of times through.  She wanted to make sure that she got it.  Her friend was a real state agent who was studying with the Sacred Courtesans the muses who honor and bring out the good in people and explore sacred sexuality.  Frank said just like me.  The woman sitting next to her was a graduate student in psychology and she was also the keyboard player in a band so she went up to play keyboard with Kene-J who had just arrived.  They jammed the rest of the performance. 

There was a young guy who knew the art students and said that he hangs out with them but doesn't actually go to art school.  Linda told the story about how when Frank went to school at the Art Institute they had gone to connect with other artists and instead found a bunch of people who drank and had anxiety over things instead of just trying things.  Frank just tried things and wasn't afraid to fail and that really drove them nuts.  Linda said it was really good that Frank had been doing art for years and years before he went to art school because the teachers there weren't supportive. It was a period of time in which Frank had really had to try hard to not get famous, just after the Outrageous Beautify Revue.  Everyone at the performance could really relate to hearing about not being afraid to fail and doing art that was just under the radar. 

There was another group of friends who had arrived. They had been seeing the flyers up for the performances for a long time and then told each other about it. Frank and Linda talked about Jim Sharp the guy who lives in the Berkeley Hills and goes around taking flyers down and spray painting over things and about they guys who are making a film about him.  They had heard about him. Even though he and others go around taking the performance flyers down people still see them and come to the performances.  One of they guys in their group taught music as a job and helped people to start up food cooperatives and there was a woman who really enjoyed growing things in the garden and cooking things. Their friend Gabe said that he was really attracted to the shamanic aspect of the flyer and that he had been to some workshops at One Taste.  He was impressed to hear that Frank had put One Taste through changes and they had sicked their lawyer on him.  He said that he thought that what they were doing at One Taste now was about sex and intimacy and Frank asked him what intimacy was.  He said it was being with people as yourself, being willing to be vulnerable.

Frank went back to Sarah one of the art students and asked her what she wanted.  He said that he was all hers and what did she want to do.  She said that she was fucking scared.  She said that she was scared of the unknown and did not understand sexuality.  Frank had Linda describe gestures to everyone.  Linda had a pouch full of physical gestures that people do from holding hands to rocking to laying on each other and exploring each others bodies and then she had a pouch of adjectives to describe the gestures like joyously, childlike, aroused.  Frank had read a book about the gestures that humans do, put them on pieces of paper and started doing them in performances.  Frank asked Sarah if she would come up and do gestures with him and she said yes.  Then he asked who else would like to do gestures and most people did.  Linda paired people up and pulled gestures out of the pouch, explore each others knees joyfully, rub each others belly's, lay on each other and explore each others bodies, rock each other, touch each others genitals for body pleasure and comfort.  Frank asked Sarah if she would take her clothes off and if she would take his clothes off and she did. He said that anyone who wanted to could take their clothes off.  The art teacher was paired up with one of the art students and they had a lot of fun, rolling around exploring each others bodies and taking each others clothes off and exploring each others bodies.  Erika and Gabe took each others clothes off and some of the other pairs took some of their clothes off.  We did gestures for about an hour exploring each others bodies in deep play and fun.  Sarah was crying as she did gestures with Frank and it felt like she was realizing and melting into Frank and Linda who came up to rock her. 

At some point some of the group went over to explore the costume and jewelry mat and dressed each other up and then started reading more gestures and the group followed along after rocking and holding each other.  Frank asked Sarah if she would read "I came to play," and she did with tears coming down her eyes.  Frank asked her how she was feeling and she said that she felt like she was alive again after being dead.  She had gone into the gestures saying that she felt like she had been damaged.  Frank said see it was easy because she was willing and trusted.  She said yes that's all it took.  Frank went around the room and asked people how they felt.  The art teacher said that it had been amazing, that thanks to her partner who was so warm she was able to melt into it.  For all the years of therapy or workshops she had been to this was really what she had been after the whole time.  Her partner in the gestures said that she felt really open.  She said that most people would say that she is a risk taker but she could see how she really isn't and how she plays it safe a lot of the time and that it felt great to have taken risks tonight.  The art student who had been to the performance a couple of months before said that at a certain point she had gotten upset and when she gets upset she always leaves, but this time she stayed.  The woman who was a psychology student said that she really felt how it is human nature and is easy for people to be intimate and be together in deep fun if they are just given the space to do it and she was really touched and moved by the evening. 

There was a couple who came in during the gestures.  Several of their friends were already there and doing gestures. They said that they walked into a wonderful feeling space and were just taking it all in.  They had started rocking each other when everyone else was.  One woman said that it felt really good. The guy she did gestures with she did not know before tonight and she had really enjoyed being physical and exploring.  One of the guys who did gestures with someone he knew said that he had not taken as much risk as he could have but he thought that was because he knew the guy he was doing gestures with but that he had really enjoyed himself and he felt very close to his friend.  Gabe said that he really enjoyed exploring being physical and sensual without the boxes that keep us from being with each other.  There were a couple of people who had decided to not do gestures and they both said it was very hard to watch and not participate.  One person said that she had a lot of things going through her head about herself and why she had chosen not to do the gestures. A guy said that he always felt like an outsider and it bought up a bunch of old stuff about his past relationships.  Frank said that it has always been harder for people to watch than to do the gestures. 

Linda read Frank's latest chapter from his novel about shitting and people really enjoyed it.  There was a lot of laughter.  A couple of people got up and started playing instruments and then the group of art students and the other group of friends became one group and were talking and being playful.  They did not want to go.  Sarah who had done gestures with Frank sat down and melted into the group of people.  She was like a different person.  The woman who said that she often leaves when she gets upset was inviting people over to her house.  Frank told everyone that he was available for private performances and meeting with people.  People hung around for a while and did not want to leave.  They ate chocolate and drank water.  Frank and Linda told the art teacher about Betty and all the jewelry she has given us and how much she enjoys that we wear it in the performances.  We started to clean up and eventually everyone started to go.  It was an amazing night.  The name change to "Uncomfortable Zones of Fun," had brought people who were really willing and wanting to explore uncomfortable zones of fun and not just talk about wanting to, they jumped in.  They loved and enjoyed Frank and us and leaped in and melted into the juicy intimacy. They were vulnerable and went deeply.  It was a very moving and touching night, truly amazing! 

 

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