Mmmmmmm… I might need more musicians because none of my regular amazing musicians appeared last night. So maybe the next performance will be an audition!
Mmmmmm… Mmmmmm… I don’t try to be transgressive. If you try, you ain’t, which is dullish deadening boring. A motor mouth at one of the ends of the performance complained that it hadn’t been transgressive enough. He obviously was talking and hadn’t noticed when over three fourths of the audience ran out en mass when things got hot and surreal. That is, when I shifted from my stand-up [sit-up] act into absorbing the boundaries to direct explicit participation, like any self-respecting sex cult guru would do, like what they just told me they came for! And he must have been talking when Eugene told me that when he read the review in THE VILLAGE VOICE about my 1987 THE INTIMATE CAVE at FRANKLIN FURNACE, he wanted to do that kind of art. But it scared him shitless. It took all this time to get here! Now if just a review had that profound an effect, what is transgressive?
Anyway, it was a night of collaborative experimenting both with Guillermo Gomez-Pena and with the dancer Kyra Rice. The dance with Kyra, Linda and I was the ocean waters of subjectless limitless desire for life, rubbing against cliffs of sand, slowly melting.
As usual, we arrived to the space nice and early, got a head start on the set-up, blasted the heater to warm things up … the weather forecast had been predicting snow! It was going to be that cold! But Frank’s weather karma won over again, and it was clear all night!
When Frank, Linda & Mikee arrived, we completed the set-up, and the first people came in as we were finishing setting up the last gels on the lights. First there was a man, maybe in his 60s or so, who came in asking a lot of questions! Including where should he be seated? Linda told him to come sit on the floor, but he ended up sitting off to the side behind the band area … we noticed he took some photos, and was trying to get Mikee to tell him more about the performance … he stayed back there, and we weren’t sure when he left …
The other guy who came right around 8pm had been to at least one performance before, and was admiring “Let’s Twist Again” and “Falling In Love”, the gorgeous vinyl banner blow-ups of Frank’s recent computer paintings, and asking about how Frank did them. Frank and Linda were telling him about Frank’s paintings, and gave him a set of the painting cards …
A couple came in around the same time, the guy had a portable seat with a back that he set up on the floor … others came in … Frank started talking with the guy who had come to a performance before. And while they were talking, most of the rest of the audience for the night arrived, including the performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena, with a group of friends. Before everyone had arrived, Frank asked the first guy to describe the performance he had come to, “warn them”, meaning the rest of the folks there. He really couldn’t describe it with much detail, but he said things like “nice” … He started describing a scene from one of Frank’s 48-hour processes from the late 70s in Berkeley, the one with a “stud” named Joe, which involved their going to a café together, and Frank having Joe approach someone in the café while Frank finished eating, anyone … Joe picked a girl in a low cut blouse and short skirt, who he later said was a “dumb girl” who didn’t “get it” … but then this “dumb girl” appeared later in a padded box, playing with Frank naked. How did Frank do it??
Frank described this 48-hour process in detail, a great story! But after the performance Linda talked about how this beginning to the night’s performance felt very uncomfortable, like it was going up against a lot of expectation and pressure for the performance to go a certain way that it was not going … like, “what is this, what is this long story he is telling about this performance that happened years ago? When does the real performance start?!” But how in the end, it brought all of us right there into the performance, because this was what it was all about … it was not meeting anyone’s picture, not staying within any comfort zones … just by telling a story!
Two young women had come in together, one of them carrying a guitar … Frank now turned to the first and asked her how she had heard about the performance and what had brought her? She had seen a flier … she came because of the mention of instruments, and that you could bring your instruments to play. She had brought a tambourine. Her friend was next. She had been attracted by the mention of “improv”. Frank asked her if she did “improv”? She said yes, she did improv comedy and music. Frank asked, “Will you make us laugh?” She said she could, maybe when she is more comfortable … Frank pointed out, “Well, this is the ‘Uncomfortable Zones of Fun’!” Right … She said yeah, that people often laugh when they are uncomfortable. And Frank said that this was the secret of “stand-up”, making people uncomfortable. She said that she often makes people uncomfortable … “How?” Frank asked. She said by being confrontational, speaking her mind, being blunt. Frank asked her if she would make him uncomfortable? She tried … she said that it was really fun being there at the performance … Frank asked if that was supposed to make him feel uncomfortable? She said, “Right, I guess kind of the opposite, huh?” She said something like that if she played the violin, she could make everyone feel uncomfortable. She said she had picked up a friend’s violin the other day, and really made the roommates uncomfortable because of the sounds she was making! Frank asked her if she had a violin? No, she didn’t. She had her guitar. She said that she writes and sings songs, plays at cafes, etc. So Frank invited her to sing one of her songs, and she got up next to Frank, and played it. It included some lines of her laughing as part of the lyrics, and it was raw … Frank said afterward that he liked the laughing part! And asked her if she would do more of it. So she laughed loudly. She said that her laughing often makes people uncomfortable!
Then we think Frank turned to a guy in glasses and a ponytail and goatee who had come in and was sitting near the front. He had seen the fliers for years, and recently had seen 6 of the fliers up in various places, and then online too, and decided to finally come to a performance. Frank said that fliers often take years to work … meaning that people often say that they see the fliers for years before they actually decide to come. Frank asked him what he does, and he said that he makes people uncomfortable … “How?” Frank asked. Well, he said, when he starts talking to people about how our oil supplies are going to run out, and that we are going to have to reorganize our society, etc. Frank said, “Try harder.”
At some point around this time, Guillermo raised his hand and asked Frank what were his main obstacles/challenges as an artist at this time? (Something like that!) Frank replied, “Him.” Pointing out a young guy who had come in with a buddy, and was sitting toward the back of the room. Frank went on to explain, “Baby-faces always give me trouble.” Guillermo asked him what did he mean? Frank said, “Well, let us see …” He turned to the baby-faced guy, and asked him what had attracted him to the performance? Baby-face said that he was fascinated at what makes people uncomfortable. Frank asked him, “How so?” He responded, “How, you mean, fascinated?” Yes. “You want me to justify being fascinated?” Frank turned to Guillermo, and said, “See what I mean?” Guillermo and a lot of the others in the room, including the baby-face’s friend, got it, and were laughing. But baby-face was not laughing, and said something like, “I guess I’m not getting the joke here. Maybe I will later.” Frank said “See?” again. Linda said later that it was like he was a plant! He played the role perfectly!
Frank also talked with Eugene, who is friends with Guillermo and who came all the way down from Oregon to attend the performance and meet Frank. He had read the Village Voice article about Frank more than 20 years ago and had been very inspired, and then Guillermo had been talking up Frank more recently … His base is western Massachusetts, and as they talked, it came out that he had had experiences with the same commune that Frank lived in for a year, The Brotherhood of the Spirit. He had been called in by a social worker to help a quadriplegic man who lived in the community, as he was working in an independent living center at the time. He talked about how he had spent many years doing political work, and now was returning to art … he had been in a band years ago, that combined James Taylor, James brown, Kool & The Gang, John Coltrane, all at the same time … we think he expressed something about feeling frustrated working in politics after years, and that Guillermo was showing him how to integrate the two … that art could be political. Frank said that he ran for President. “So anything is possible!” Regarding the Village Voice article, Frank and Linda told the story of the performance which that article talked about, how it had been a “bust”, because the actors from L.A. that Frank brought to be in the performance looked down on Annie Sprinkle, who was also in the cast. Annie was great throughout the whole thing, but Frank had his hands full with the L.A. actors, who had come in with a lot of pictures and prejudices. In the end, for those reasons, it had felt like a bust, although people who came to the performance had really had a positive response to it.
Frank also talked with the couple who had come in at the very beginning. How had the guy found out about the performance? He said that he had seen the flier a few years ago, and then he saw it again just the other night on http://sf.funcheap.com and the reason he came was the fact that it had popped up again for him, after seeing it before … so it was something that he should come check out. She had come with him … Frank asked her what she does? She said that right now she was happily unemployed … Frank asked her what she would like to do? She said she would like to do work with people one-on-one that is fulfilling and direct/personal. Frank referred to Erika, and had her describe what she does at the Chaparral House, a skilled nursing home where she organizes activities for the residents, which was really just the kind of thing that the woman seemed to be describing.
Frank also talked with the women who had accompanied Guillermo. There were three of them. One runs a meditation center, another runs the art space in the mission called “Galeria de la Raza”, and the third is an Indian woman who works in theater, directing plays and had just written a play for herself and Guillermo, about a Mexican Shaman and a Tantric Guru. Frank said, “What a reach!”
Frank asked each of them why they had come … in reality they had all come together in the same car, and had all been invited by Guillermo, and it was clear that he had talked Frank up to them a great deal, that Frank had been an inspiration to him for many years, since he was a young man in Los Angeles. So they all expressed in some way the desire to come and meet Frank, and experience what Guillermo had been talking about. The meditation woman explained that Guillermo had described Frank as someone who did not accept limits, that he went ahead with his vision … She said she really liked Frank’s quick wit. Frank asked her if she was like that too, not accepting limits, following her vision? She thought for a while, a pregnant pause … then said yes. She said that the meditation work she does with people is deep, meant to bring people fully in touch with their core being, not superficial. Frank hit the gallery owner up to talk about doing something at her space later … The Indian playwright said that Guillermo had described Frank as a sex cult guru! (which Guillermo denied!) But she didn’t have a problem with cults. The others echoed this … apparently it had come up in the car ride over … Frank said that cults get a bad rap. The U.S. was founded by cults …
At some point before all this, another person had come in, which turned out to be Kyra, the dancer/performance artist who has been corresponding with Frank and very much inspired by his writings online. She had been turned on to him by another performance artist Philip Huang, and was already scheduled for a shaman’s den appearance in March.
At some point around this time, Frank asked Guillermo if he would create a piece for the two of them to do together there now? Guillermo said that he would be too shy to do something in front of Frank … Frank said, “How about behind me?” Everyone laughed! Guillermo agreed to this, and came up and stood behind Frank and gently held Frank’s shoulders for a long quiet time, and then kissed Frank on the forehead. Then he went back and sat down again. It felt very deep.
Guillermo asked Frank more questions, including what was his first performance? Frank talked about dancing at Carnegie Hall with Spirit in Flesh, the band from the community …
but that wasn’t the first performance …
the first was when Steve pushed him into the Marine recruiting office in 1968 when he was in college in San Bernardino, and let Frank do his thing! Frank wanted to enlist! What would he do? He could “push the button”! Everyone loved this story! …
But that wasn’t really the first performance …
The first performance was actually the all-nude play that he couldn’t get actors for in college …
but that wasn’t actually the first performance …
in fact, Frank said, he actually has been performing his whole life.
Another question Guillermo asked Frank was what makes him happy, and what makes him horny? Frank said, “Life.”
After the performance, we talked about how there was this feeling that a different format for the performance had seemed to settle in place … a safe kind of question and answer session … that it seemed like it was coming from the group that had come with Guillermo. And it seemed like it was at this very point in the performance that Frank had Linda describe “Gestures”. And Frank added that the people who are paired together would undress each other before the Gestures started. Then Frank asked the audience who would like to do Gestures? Only the ponytail guy and Eugene raised their hands. Frank asked Kyra if she would do a dance in the open space in front of the large painted backdrop while they did Gestures. And she could put on any of the costumes that were laid out too. She said yes, and headed over to the costume area, putting on Frank’s pink skirt as her top … Frank then asked Guillermo’s friend, the playwright if she would be the rocker, rocking nude on Frank’s lap? No, she wouldn’t. And then as everyone got set up for the Gestures and the dance, there was a mass exodus out of the space! All of Guillermo’s group got up and left. The two girls, the musicians, left. Frank called out to them that they could play music! The guitar girl said that they would be back, but they never did come back. By the end of the exodus, it was a much reduced group! There were two guys sitting in the back who stayed until the end, playing tambourines and shakers, there was Eugene and the ponytail guy, and there was the regular attendee, Emanuel, who always wears a mask and takes his clothes off, and there was Kyra. At first, Frank and Erika did the gestures that Linda read, all of them nude, while Kyra danced and Eugene and his partner did the gestures. Finally, Frank had Mikee and Alexi play music, since no one else had stayed to play! Then Frank asked Kyra if Linda could undress her? She said ok. Linda went over and undressed Kyra, except for her pants, which she wanted to keep on.
Then Frank had Erika join the Eugene pair in eroplay dancing while Frank and Linda went over to where Kyra was to dance with her. The lights had gone down, and the slides and strobes were on … the music going … a very trance-like dancing … exploring intimate … Frank had Linda rock Kyra, they all explored each other physically in an evolving dance which was very beautiful … it felt like the whole feeling deepened … Linda rocked on Frank’s lap for a long time while Kyra watched them, still involved in the dance … And all the while, Erika, Eugene, and the ponytail guy danced together, with Emanuel joining them at some point.
After a long while of the dancing/exploring, Frank asked if Kyra would read his poem Wrapping/Rocking. They went back up to the front and Kyra sat next to Frank, and read “Wrapping/Rocking”, which she obviously really liked. She said something about recognizing the feeling of “Wrapping/Rocking” in the dance they had been doing, but seemed to focus on the aspect of “almost sexual, not quite”, that this is what she liked about it, although in the poem Frank always brings it back to “beyond sexual”.
Frank asked her to talk about her experience of the performance … We think one of the first things she mentioned was how interesting it was that there was this mass exodus from the performance as soon as the action really got started. She found it interesting that Guillermo and his group would leave at that point. She said that she didn’t know Guillermo very well, but that the last performance she saw of his was very intense, sexual, and that it surprised her that he would find anything in Frank’s performance that would scare him off. We said later too that it seemed perhaps that Guillermo might not have left had he been there by himself, as opposed to with the group of people who left. He was the last to leave.
Kyra said she really enjoyed the dancing with Frank and Linda. She asked if Frank wanted her to be totally honest? Frank said, “We’ll see!” She said that she seemed to feel more comfortable with Linda’s touch, even though she could see that Frank was obviously directing Linda to do certain things, and of course she knew that Linda enjoyed and wanted to do them, and even though she did feel a degree of “sexual” in Linda’s touch … but she said that she always has issues when she feels someone’s desire directed towards her, which she does not meet with the same desire. She said that she felt a desire coming from Frank. Later, in the context of her coming over to do the Shaman’s Den interview with Frank, Frank said that he will be there with his “desire”! And she said that was ok, as long as it was ok that she did not meet that desire. And Frank said, “I am comfortable in my desirability!” She laughed!
Frank asked the ponytail guy what he had thought of the performance? He said that he enjoyed it, but it was not as trangressive as he would have hoped, or was expecting (something like this…). Frank said “Damn!” Later we were saying, however, that we feel that Frank is a lot more “transgressive”, in much deeper ways, than many who are thought of as “transgressive”. Including in that very performance!
Eugene really liked the performance, and really enjoyed the touch and the hugging. He said that there isn’t enough of that in the course of a day. If you think about it, he said, how much touching and hugging do you do in a 24-hour period? You could feel that it meant a lot to him to come and meet Frank, and to participate. He talked with Frank and Linda for a long time at the end of the night before finally heading out, and bought a Chapped Lap, Frank’s poetry chapbook.
To close out the performance, Frank asked Kyra to read one last poem, “Boundaries Kill”. She again seemed moved by the poem. And that was The End.
But that wasn’t really the end, because Kyra stayed talking with Frank and Linda for a while afterward … and Corey turned off the camera! Frank said you can’t get good help these days!! Jeez! Corey got the camera going again, but missed a lot of good stuff, which we’ll try to reconstruct here:
Kyra told Frank that she had read almost everything on his site!! She had read through Art of a Shaman, and much more. When she was first introduced to Frank, she thinks perhaps the sheer enormity of what was there on the site turned her off, but obviously now she was really inspired by it. And then, she was reintroduced to Frank through Philip Huang’s shaman’s den appearance. She said she knows Philip well, and loves his work, and then to hear the way that Frank talked with Philip, the way that Frank “disarmed” Philip’s shtick, that he had come armed with, and how deep the conversation went, she was really impressed and totally inspired. Frank said that he and Philip are really coming from the same place, have been through the same experiences with the “art world”, so Frank just needed to make that link…
She also talked about how Frank had Mikee sit on Philip’s lap, and how great that was … how Philip has what he calls his “asian body shame”, and how he sexualizes nudity and touch, and so how great it was that he had Mikee sitting there on his lap for a long part of the show, Philip with his arm around him, it was so great! She asked if Mikee would be sitting on her lap for the show? Frank asked if she would sit on his lap? She said, “We’ll see!”
The weather report had been saying for days that there was a chance of not only rain but snow the night of the performance, but Frank's weather karma held true and there was no rain and no snow! We arrived at the space and started setting up blasting the heaters so it would be toasty warm when Frank, Linda and Mikee arrived. We hung Frank's new paintings, "Falling In Love," and "Let's Twist Again" blown up on vinyl on the back wall behind where Frank and Linda would sit. By the time the first person arrived we were just finishing putting the gels on the lights. It's amazing how quickly the space transforms from an all white room to cozy and colorful.
The first guy who arrived wanted to know if he had to participate or if it was optional and could he sit in the back in a chair. He stayed on the side for the performance and left at some point. The second guy who arrived went up and sat on the mat near Frank and Linda saying that he had been to another performance years ago and Frank had talked at that performance about the performance Frank did where the guy was in a restaurant and everyone in the restaurant was in on it. As other people came in Frank and Linda told the story of a 48 hour performance with a guy named Joe who thought that he was spiritually above people and a stud. For the first part of the 48 hours Frank and Joe read Siddhartha and Frank would relate parts of the book to Joe's life and they would talk about it. After hours of reading and discussing Joe felt elated and in a state of bliss saying that this is the way that he had wanted to feel for a long time, this feeling was what he wanted. Frank said great, let's go to dinner. For the next part of the 48 hour performance they went to eat at a nearby diner. Joe finished eating before Frank so Frank said to pick someone in the diner and go talk to them. Joe picked a woman who was dressed in a short skirt and a revealing top. When they were heading back to Frank's studio for the next part of the performance Joe was putting the woman down as if she was beneath him. Then that same woman knocked on the door and went into Frank's studio where she undressed and got into a box the size of a double bed with Frank who was also nude. A lid was put on the box. Linda led Joe into the studio and he was told to meditate on what was going on inside the box. Then Frank and the woman came out of the box and Frank asked Joe how this could have happened. He said that he had no idea. Frank said what if I hired this woman knowing exactly what type of person you would pick in the restaurant. Joe said that wasn't possible that there was no way that Frank could know who he would pick. So then Frank said what if I paid for everyone's meal in the restaurant and then whoever you picked would get paid even more. Joe said yes that is possible. Because Joe was a stud he could not believe that he was so predictable and that Frank would be able to predict and hire someone that Joe would pick. During the telling of this story several more people arrived including Guillermo Gomez-Pena and several people that he brought with him. Frank told everyone to move up closer. Everyone moved up a little bit and Frank said to move up even closer and everyone moved up even closer to Frank and Linda.
Frank asked a woman who had come in how she had heard about the performance and she said she saw a flyer. He asked her what had attracted her to come and she said that it had said something about bringing musical instruments. Her friend played the guitar and had come because she liked improv. Her friend said that she wrote songs and did some comedy improv. She also said that she made people uncomfortable. Frank asked her how she makes people uncomfortable and she said because she says what is on her mind and is confrontational. Frank said, "Make me uncomfortable." She really couldn't come up with anything other than saying that the room and all the colors on the walls felt good. Frank said is that going to make me uncomfortable? She said no I guess not. Frank asked her if she could make everyone laugh. She said maybe after she is there for a while and feels more comfortable. Frank said but this is The Uncomfortable Zones of Fun! She laughed. Frank asked if she would come up and play a song on her guitar. She came up and sat next to Frank playing her guitar and sang a song that she wrote.
Frank asked a guy sitting near them how he heard about the performance and he said he had been seeing flyers for years. Recently he saw about 6 flyers and saw a posting on-line so he came. Frank asked him what he did and he said that he made people uncomfortable. Frank asked him how he made people uncomfortable and he said because he brings up issues about oil and global warming and things like that that people want to ignore. Frank said to try harder!
Frank asked a couple how they had heard about the performance. The guy said that he had seen flyers up for a couple of years. Frank asked him what attracted him to come this time and he said that since he saw the flyer more than once he thought he should come. The woman with him came because the guy invited her and ordinarily it would have taken seeing a lot of flyers for her to come to something that involved participation. Frank asked her what she did and she said that she was newly unemployed. Frank asked her what she wanted to do and she said something that was working 1:1 with people that was beneficial to others. Frank said that Erika worked at Chaparral House. Erika said that Chaparral House was a small non-profit nursing home in Berkeley that was a good place. She worked in activities having fun with residents and that if the woman wanted to become a volunteer there that was a good way to start.
Guillermo raised his hand and had a question. He wanted to know what Frank's biggest obstacle was right now. Frank said, "That guy!" and gestured to a young guy sitting near Guillermo. Frank said people with baby faces are always trouble. Frank asked the young guy how he had heard about the performance and he had seen a flyer. Frank asked him what attracted him to come. He said that he was fascinated with what makes people uncomfortable. Frank asked him why and he said do I have to have a reason.? Frank said, SEE WHAT I MEAN! The baby face guy said he missed something, didn't get it. Frank said another obstacle was when you don't know if your musicians are going to show up, like tonight, the musicians did not show up.
Frank talked to the people who had come with Guillermo. One of the women taught meditation, taught about living life more fully and enjoying in real and practical ways. Frank asked her why she had come to the performance and she said that she had come with Guillermo who had a deep respect for Frank and she had a deep respect for Guillermo. Frank asked her what Guillermo had told her and she said that Frank lived life to the fullest without letting things stop him or get in the way. Frank asked if she lived life that way and she said yes. One of the other women with them was a woman from India who said that she was an over educated and under paid artist and a playwright. She studied a lot about Indian and Asian theater and had written a play for her and Guillermo but they were waiting for funding. In the play Guillermo would play a Mexican Shaman and she would be an Indian Tantric Sex Guru. Frank said that isn't much of stretch. He asked her what lies Guillermo had told her and she said that Frank was the leader of a sex cult. Guillermo quickly said no no that isn't what I said. One of the other women with them said that Guillermo had said that just to get the woman to come because she liked cults. Frank said that cults get a bad rap and that America was founded by cults. The third woman who we later found out was Guillermo's wife was a children's book writer and the curator of an arts space in the Mission. Frank said that he was always looking for spaces to perform at and she said yes they could talk about that. Frank asked her why she had come tonight and she said that she came because what fascinates Guillermo fascinates her and that Guillermo had a deep respect for Frank.
Guillermo had another question he said out of deep respect what makes Frank happy right now, what makes him horny. Frank said life.
Frank asked Guillermo if he would come up with a piece that the two of them could do together now. Guillermo said that he had the utmost respect for Frank and in this moment he felt very shy in front of him. Frank said how about behind me and Guillermo said yes. He came up and stood behind Frank touching Frank's shoulders, stood for a while behind Frank without words, kissed Frank on the forehead and went and sat back down. It was very moving.
Frank then talked to Eugene a guy in a wheelchair who also knew Guillermo. Eugene was from Massachusetts and was traveling around. It turned out that he knew people at the community where Frank had lived in Massachusetts and he knew of the band the community had, "Spirit in Flesh." Eugene had been talking with Guillermo and exploring ways that he could bring his art into the grass roots political action he was doing. Eugene had first heard of Frank when he read about him in the Village Voice in an article about Frank's performance that had been a bust. Frank and Linda told the story about how they arrived in New York a few days before the performance to have time for rehearsals. Two actors who had already been in the performance in LA came to be in the New York performance. Frank was also looking for some New York performers and someone had suggested Annie Sprinkle who was a burlesque dancer at the time. When Annie found out it was Frank's piece she was very excited about it as she had read about Frank and Frank and Linda had also read about Annie. Annie had them stay at her house while they were in New York for the performance. The first day of the rehearsals there was a very tense feeling because it turned out that the LA actors were not talking to Annie because they felt Annie was beneath them because she was a porn actress. They would do everything with Annie that was part of the performance but other than that they would not talk to her. Linda said that she cried and did not understand why they were doing it since the performance was about people being together and connecting when the cast wasn't even talking to each other. The next day at the rehearsal Frank had one of the LA actors eroplay naked with Annie and he led the rest of the cast on a mind trip journey. He said we are cancelling the rest of the rehearsals and for the cast to just focus on this feeling. Frank said if the performance is a flop nobody is going to know anybody’s name except for mine. Annie was used to people like the LA actors so when one of them needed a place to stay she said he could stay at her place. He ended up taking a bath and eroplaying with Annie in her bed. That is how she dealt with people like that.
Guillermo asked Frank how he started performing, what was the first performance he did. Frank said that he performed with the band Sprit in Flesh as a dancer at Carnegie hall. But that wasn't his first performance. When he was in college he had his friend Steve wheel him into the Marine recruiting office and said that he was there to enlist. The guy finally said but what could you do and Frank said, "I could push the button!" But Frank said that wasn't my first performance. He had written an all nude play that the school said he could do but he couldn't find any actors to be in it. But that wasn't his first performance. He had been performing all his life.
Throughout the night there was a feeling in the room like people had some expectation of wanting something to "happen," but they weren't willing to participate. So, Frank had Linda explain what gestures were. People are paired up, they take their clothes off and Linda would pull out slips of paper that say physical gestures on them from gazing into each other’s eyes to exploring all parts of each other’s bodies explicitly. Frank asked if anyone would like to do gestures and two people said they did. The guy who said he made people uncomfortable and Eugene in the wheelchair so Frank paired them up to do gestures. And that is when the room cleared out. The woman who came with her friend with the guitar got up really quickly and her friend followed. Frank said as they were leaving that they could play music and they said that they would be back. We never saw them again. All the women who had come with Guillermo got up and left and he followed shortly after. Frank asked everyone who was not doing gestures if they would play instruments. The couple moved over to play for a little while but left shortly afterwards. There were a couple of guys left who had come in later who played instruments and Mikee and Alexi joined them. Eugene and the other guy who wanted to do gestures undressed and Frank, Linda and Erika undressed.
Frank asked Kyra a dancer and performance artist that Frank had been talking with through emails if she would dance and she said yes. Frank said there were costumes that she could put on so she did. Linda started reading the gestures and Eugene and the guy did them and Frank and Erika did gestures. The lights dimmed and the slides came on. Frank asked if Linda could undress Kyra and she said yes but she wanted to keep her pants on. Frank and Linda soon joined Kyra dancing and Erika joined Eugene and the other guy who where later joined by another guy who often comes to performances, Emanuel. There were two guys playing instruments with Mikee and Alexi and everyone else had left by this point.
Frank asked Kyra if she would read his poem Wrapping Rocking. She came up and sat next to Frank and read it. After the poem Frank asked people what they thought of the night. The guy who danced with Eugene said that it had been fun but not as transgressive as he had expected. Frank said, damn! The guy talked about trying not to put out "sexual" energy and making women uncomfortable. Kyra said that she enjoyed dancing with Frank and Linda. She asked Frank if she should be totally honest and she said that when she was dancing with Linda she just felt a small sexual charge or desire but that she felt a lot of desire from Frank which was ok but she did not feel that desire back. She said that she had looked at almost all of Frank's web site and that she had watched Frank's interview with Philip Huang on the Shaman's Den. Watching Frank's interview with Philip is what made her really want to check Frank out. She knew Phillip well and she saw that he had come to the interview with his plan as he liked to provoke people. She loved how Frank had disarmed Phillip and his plan. Through seeing Frank disarm Phillip she could see what kind of person Frank was and she wanted to know more about him. She talked about how Phillip had Mikee sitting on his lap and how much Phillip liked that. Kyra was going to be on Frank's Shaman's Den soon and Frank said that he would be there with his desire. She said that was fine but that she might not feel that same desire. She asked if Mikee would be sitting on her lap too.
Eugene said that he really enjoyed the night. He said that the touching and rubbing and hugging and been really good, that it doesn't happen enough in life. Frank asked Kyra if she would read another poem, "Boundaries Kill." Eugene stayed for a while afterwards taking with Frank and Linda.
Frank had his work cut out for him at this performance with people who came with expectations of wanting "something" to happen but did not want to participate and guys who talked a lot about things that pulled the focus from what was right in front of them. Frank moved through it like a master as usual. Once he introduced gestures it cleared the room for skin to skin dancing, erotic rubbing and exploring. Another amazing performance!
Thursday, March 10, 2011 7:28 AM
Subject: Yesterday at BNG!
Last week, Corey told one of the regular customers at BNG all about the last Temescal performance. She is a brain biologist and teaches psychology at a local college. When she heard about the group that left the last performance, she said that the performance had "no rules", but that they had made their own rules, and so they left (i.e. according to their rules, they couldn't stay!) Corey had given her a flier for the next, March performance.
Yesterday, she was back in the store, and told Corey that she had shown the flier to her whole psychology class! And to one student in particular, who is about to begin working closely with someone who has cerebral palsy and doing preparatory research, she encouraged him to check out the performance series, because it would give him a very much expanded experience of the subject!
-- Corey & Alexi
Ah, yes! The performance continues!
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