11 years ago, I actually got Dirk to come over to the house for the following interview. It was supposed be Part One. But he died before Part Two. He is that kind of guy.

Frank Moore

Interview with Dirk, Pt. 1

(In the late 70s, Dirk Dirksen “produced”/booked the shows at the North Beach new wave club, The Mabuhay Gardens.

During the rehearsals of Glamour, when the strip joint got unbearably boring after hours upon hours, I took a walk along Broadway, into what then was the West Coast hardcore punk center, the Mabuhay Gardens or the "Fab Mab". Since I did not have anything else to do, I asked the gruff manager if I could do my next production at his club. To my surprise, Dirk Dirksen was a visionary who, instead of seeing a crip asking for a hand-out, saw me somehow as a misfit artist perfect for his new wave cabaret. Dirk gave me a sheltered theatre for six years, with complete artistic freedom and moral support. The first production was a raping of a high-brow comedy, Meb, which I turned into a multi-media farce, full of camp, nudity, sex, violence and rock n'roll. The straight playwright walked out in horror, the club owner wanted us out, and only a handful of people came. But Dirk wanted to extend the run. He loved it.)

9/6/95 Curtis St. 1:19

Dirk: ... made unless five of my attorneys have approved it, as well as my deceased mother.

Frank: And I don't have any m -

Dirk: Ha, he's gonna say "money". (laughs) See, I can read you like a book, Frank! Except it's much shorter than your WORDY BOOKS! (everyone laughs) Cut to the chase, baby! (F wails) Or I'm pushing you on the freeway. Remember folks, if you're seeing this, it's unauthorized! If you're reading it, it's a different thing.

Frank: And you are ...

Linda: ... watching it? (F - yes, laughing)

Dirk: Allright Frank, let's get to the interview here! (F screams)

Linda: Allright, so I'll be -

Dirk: OH, this is just me and Frank. If, by the way, you know, if anything happens to Frank, I didn't do it!

Linda: I'll be back with some [trails off] ...

Dirk: O.k., now we're alone.

Frank: How did you get started?

Dirk: Harassing you? First time I saw you, it set my wheels in motion. Remember folks, (cracking up) this is unauthorized if you're seeing this. Only the written word. Ah, when did I get started? Ah, well, I believe it's when the doctor spanked me as I was coming out of my mom. (F screams!) Yes, indeed, that's when it started. I immediately began scheming on how to produce the world's biggest show, which up to this point was the Outrageous Beauty Pageant, for Frank Moore. Ahh, how did I get started. Well, of course, the usual making a circus with the kids on the block, followed by using a 35 millimeter box camera to make black and white pictures for my social studies classes in the 4th grade. That didn't particularly work. Then trying ... I conned the nuns into letting me rent films from the public library in the 5th grade and run it on an old projector, 16 millimeter projector. That gave me a thrill of seeing people respond to stuff that I was presenting.

Frank: The nuns may have warped you.

Dirk: I may have warped, I know I warped them more than they warped me. Ummm, the Sister Superior, name of Sister Boniface used to walk around the recess, the playground at recess with a bat hitting the guys on the knees for laughing dirty, which to this day (chuckles, Frank laughs), that has wonderful connotations for me. Uh, did they warp me? I don't think so. I think even at an early age I had a good dose of ... I don't want to use the word sarcasm, because, or cynicism, because that has a negative connotation. I think "questioning" ... questioning kind of mind. So, in school, I can distinctly remember taking my eraser and sticking like toothpicks in it with little strike posters, creating little placards with messages like, "On Strike". Because some of the concepts that they were pushing, in a sense, or presenting, that I took exception to, in terms of when I asked questions and I wouldn't get satisfactory answers. So, I got a shock a couple of weeks ago, I was going through some of my personal papers and I ran across some of my grade school report cards. And it was interesting seeing the reality of the grades that they had given me. The few A's, some B's, predominantly C's and an occasional D, which now I can see must have terribly distressed my father and mother. My father was a PhD in physics and math, so a very brilliant guy, and I can see that that must have been frustrating to them, because like I always thought of myself as quite intelligent and possessing a relatively high IQ. I was terribly bored in grammar school, and even worse so in high school. So did they warp me? Well, I think I wouldn't give them credit because I think we have to take responsibility for ourselves. So I've had to fight certain personality, let's call them minuses, or defects. I wouldn't wanna really call them defects, but things that I have tried to turn into positives, that ...

Frank: Like?

Dirk: Umm, getting depressed. I feel that probably the only thing that I would say, like is a philosophical absolute, is: Never allow yourself to despair. Therefore, to get anything, to get negative, or upset, or paranoid, those are the kinds of things that I try to get rid of, o.k., you're pointing to "or" ... "b", the letter "b" ...

Frank: ... bitter.

Dirk: Bitter is horrible. Horrible. You got to totally stay away from being bitter. Umm, you're saying yes. I, that's ... yeah. I think, I would say the greatest gift that my mother passed on to me was that she was called the eternal optimist by all that knew her. My father, because of the fact that, as I said, that he was a physicist and a mathematician, was more questioning. He had a good sense of humor that was very sort of based in satire and irony. So in, that sort of presents the picture of someone who is a little bit sarcastic and cynical. And I think that cynicism is sort of a tangent of a little bit of negativity. And though I find it stimulating to have a, like a smart remark readily available in my quiver of things to shoot at people, that it's better to be a nice, to have nice things to say about people.

Frank: That is irony.

Dirk: Yeah, irony. Yeah, no he was very, everything was irony. He saw life in ironic terms. I do that too, and it's, that I believe is self-depreciating humor.

Frank: Me too.

Dirk: Me too. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree. No that was why when you proposed your play, some of the things, the concepts, that you presented, and I think that's where our affinity comes from. So, yep. Anyway, so where did I get started? I'm saying that I don't separate, of saying, "I started with this particular event in my career." When people say, "Well, what do you do?" I don't say, "Well, I'm a producer." I say, "I live." Producing or writing or directing or promoting, it's just a part of my life. I try to enjoy this adventure that is life. O.k.. Does that explain where I got started? Satisfactory answer?

Frank: But in show ...

Dirk: Show business? Uhh, well, the kid's circus in my backyard, when I was five, which would have been Germany in the last years of the second world war. My professional things, what were some of the first things to get paid for?

Frank: Me too.

Dirk: Yes.

Frank: I was in G-e-r

Dirk: Grammar? No. Ger - ma - ny. When?

Frank: '63.

Dirk: How old were you at that point?

Frank: 13.

Dirk: 13? You visited Germany when you were 13?

Frank: For 3 years.

Dirk: Hm, interesting. Did you have any problem with the language?

Frank: We were on base.

Dirk: Oh, military base. Good, good. Makes sense. Was that with your family?

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: How many brothers and sisters were there with you?

Frank: One ...

Dirk: Brother, sister?

Frank: ... brother.

Dirk: Hm, didn't know that about you.

Frank: Why were you in ...

Dirk: Born. My family is from Germany. Been there for many many many many many hundreds of years. Came over here after the war, my father as a mathematician and physicist, was one of the rocket scientists, one of the German scientists. That brought it up, that's what brought us over here. I came in 1947. Didn't know that, did you? (Frank wails) O.k. folks, remember, this is an unauthorized tape, if Frank is merchandising this thing to you, cause he had NO authority, NO license, nnnilch, zilch. O.k., what's next?

Frank: N-a-z-

Dirk: No. He asked if I was a Nazi. (Frank screams) My attitude? Come on. Un-compatible. Besides, I was just a little kid. (Frank laughing) Uh, family? My father was part of a pan-Europe movement before Hitler came to power, so wasn't exactly popular in that clique of people, because the very word "Nazi" is derived from nationalistic, and pan-Europe would have been [a] very international movement, so they were the antithesis of that. Like much of my family were in other parts of the world. My aunt was the wife of the ambassador, I think from Belgium to Finland. My godfather was the English Air Minister, so it would have been like the Secretary of the Air Force. So, just didn't fit the role of a German nationalistic person.

Frank: Your uncle was a ...

Dirk: ... Senator. Great-great-grand uncle, Everett Dirksen, yes. Also a show business [can't hear]. Yes. Too conservative for my tastes, in some ways. Wrong side of the aisle as far as political parties. But an interesting man, and very bright, both politically and a frustrated actor. That's what he, he had wanted to be an actor. He made a number of recordings, albums, that were, that used his ability as an orator, because he was considered one of the best orators that [the] Senate has seen, and ... the interesting thing with Dirksen was that he probably gave the only legislative victory that President Kennedy had, and that was the atom bomb test ban treaty. And he was very criticized at the time because he was a leader of the Republicans, and he got Kennedy the votes that were needed to pass that piece of legislation. And when he was confronted on having flip-flopped, so to speak, from the conservative view of that day, and the more militaristic view, to one of banning the bomb, at least testing of it, he said, "Well, there are only two kind of people that can't change their minds. They are either in insane asylums or in the cemetery. And I'm not in the one yet, and I don't think I'll end up in the other." Something to that effect. So, he said it makes sense, and that's why ... and that was pretty much near the end of his career, so that's the uncle story.

Frank: I remember that.

Dirk: Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, that was a big big moment in history, of the atomic era. And, I mean, here we are, a replay, with France doing it in the Pacific. I'm involved right now in a, what is called a Rolling Petition, which is employing the modern technology of the web pages and the FAX too and it's in support of what Greenpeace is doing. A gentleman by the name of Robert Manning has proposed this petition. He had a great success during the Persian Gulf War. Before the war started, when they were making, rattling sabers, Robert in three days collected over 55,000 signatures against America entering into a war against Iran, to resolve it peaceful. He stopped the moment that the actual invasion took place because he said, "Well, I am an American and it would be seditious for me to, once that first shot is fired, to give aid and comfort to the enemy. And he stopped the petition. And it was using an 800 number and Faxes. And now he is acting as a consultant to Greenpeace, in an effort to stop testing in the Pacific, because we, all of us concerned with this issue feel that boycotting the French in terms of the products that French citizens are manufacturing ... well, some of those citizens, the polls that have been taken would indicate that 60% of the French population is against the tests. So if we are, if we would boycott their products, we would probably hurt the very people, that the majority of those people are against these tests. It's quite often that it's not the individual. Like when you were sort of half-kiddingly pecking out the word "Nazi". A lot of people in every country, whether it's Japan and Pearl Harbor, whether it's Germany and the concentration camps, whether it's America and racism, or, you name it. There isn't a country that is without its flaws or its sins. But the individual citizen, in many cases, isn't the guilty party. It's the power structure. And it is ignorance on their part. It is fear. It is despair on their parts. It is greed. And most of the vices of man, whether it's greed, anger, lust, whatever, whatever the vices are. They're really all based in ignorance. Because if you are well-educated and hopefully secure in your knowledge, then you're not going to freak out, and you will take the attitude, "O.k., I'm going to try to figure out how to solve whatever problem I'm on." Sometimes I'm amazed that people will spend literally fortunes to go on trips to Africa, to go on Safari, where you have mosquitoes, where you have snakes, where you got insects, scorpions and whatever. Heat, humidity. And they'll go and bust their butts climbing up mountains, facing avalanches, sandstorms. But what is it in search of? Adventure! And yet, if you look at, hey, riding the BART can be an adventure! I mean look at it, couple of days ago somebody tried pushing a woman under the thing. I mean, that's pretty hairy. Of course, I mean urban life is pretty much an adventure to survive in. I think you've made an adventure out of the lot that was handed to you. In terms of the physical problems that your body gave you. It imprisoned you. But you've made an adventure of them. And you've become an inspiration to people. You're definitely an inspiration to me, in terms of whenever I feel badly, I've been lately going to visit an outfit called Recreation Center for the Handicapped, have been working for them for about four years, out in San Francisco, by the zoo. It was founded some forty years ago by a woman who felt that people with disabilities should have the ability to participate in recreation, and to experience the nice things, of seeing the parks instead of being locked up. And Janice founded this place, and to me it has become like a happy drug. I go out there, where a lot of people say, oh it's depressing to be around people that are, that have to be lifted by pallets, or that are in wheelchairs, or that are drooling, or they can't communicate. But boy when you see a human that's trapped in that prison, that is refusing to give up -- that becomes an inspiration. And I think the same thing is, last year we did a satellite link-up from Golden Gate Park, an interactive video link-up, with Sarajevo. And to see ... there were four or five people in a theater that were performers and artists that we had communications with. The U.N. peace-keepers had brought them there because of the snipers were acting up very actively at that point. So they had to be brought in by armored personnel carriers. And we were communicating with them. And they were talking about the ingenuity that it took by the doctors who were working without electricity in the operating rooms, and very little medicine. And they were talking about the performers that had to overcome the lack of electricity, but they were still doing theater. So they make it an adventure.

Frank: That is where I get the best.

Dirk: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. In adversity, by taking on adversity as an adventure ...

Frank: And not seeing it as a p-r-i-s-

Dirk: Prison. Yes. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. The, I think in the book "From Here To Eternity," one of the characters who is incarcerated, Pruitt I think is the character's name, he gains his strengths from going into his, into himself, into his own brain or mind, and shutting everything out. Because he was caught in the physical cage, he couldn't. I ... and that's the way that he survives. To a degree, that is like people who, in the face of adversity will fantasize. I try to remain realistic to a degree because if, in my position of trying to put on a play or, like we did, or to run a club or a theater, or to write a book, you have to have deadlines, you have to have discipline, and sometimes you just can't do all of that in your head. You have to physically get around. But the thing is, in your, as I've observed you, you've created relationships with people. You've contributed to them in inspiration, and thereby gotten them, like myself, to support your endeavors. And it becomes a mutually beneficial adventure. And therefore you're using leverage as ... I thoroughly believe in that. That, for instance, with the recreation center out there. We do their videos. We do it pro bono, meaning that all we charge is for the cost of the tape, or the money it takes to drive out there for the gas or whatever. And we've created I think three full-length documentaries that they use in fund raising and securing jobs for people in their supportive employment. I've acted as a consultant, saying, "Boy, how about going to ... this person has a real good idea ..." And the specific thing is, I suggested some couple years back to, since they have a lot of land, to grow vegetables for use in their kitchen, as well as maybe selling it to gourmet restaurants. And, lo and behold, I made the suggestion, and about six months later, Ruth Brinker [sp.], the founder of Open Hand, who's now doing a gardening project for homeless people, was doing the same, was proposing the same thing for use in the city. So, it's those kinds of ideas that I enjoy exploring, of taking the energy of one person and giving it to another. That just because you may not be capable of growing the groceries, if you have the land, somebody else may have the hands to plant and till and pull the weeds, water and all of that. But that person may not have the capabilities, like the speech, if a person has the disability of not being able to speak for, effectively for selling something. But somebody else who may have had their limbs crushed or whatever and is now in a wheelchair, may still have the total capabilities of communicating verbally. But because of the fact that they're confined to a wheelchair, society sort of goes, "Well, we don't think we want to hire this guy." But if those three people ... it's not the blind leading the blind. But if you have a blind man, and one that can see, somebody else that may not be able to speak, but they all get together, and pretty soon you do have a whole human being. And I think the same holds true in the arts. Somebody may be a marvelous painter, but an absolute disaster when it comes to being a business person. They may be a great painter, but not have the vision of how to merchandise it. Or they may be a great painter, and not have sufficient self-esteem to be able to put a value on what their doing. And so if people of good-will come together, and of talent, and of creativity -- and you're certainly an example, with everything that you see in Frank's environment, you have been able to turn around, and it may not be that you did all of it, but you attracted the people, that love you and that have come to respect you, that you interact with. And I think that's a wonderful lesson. That someone who, after all is confined to a wheelchair, like yourself, has been able to give to people. And that is why when you came, those many moons ago ... boy it must be almost twenty years, '95, 18 or 19, how many? Do you remember?

Here I'm interviewing this guy ... and remember folks, if you're seeing this tape, Frank has no license to do it. He's stolen it again and ripped me off again. My good naive intentions coming out here.

Frank: '76.

Dirk: So 19 years. Yeah. Yeah. Boy, you certainly survived. Did you ever think you were gonna be this old?

Frank: No. I did not want to get, when I was 25.

Dirk: 25, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you learn. And you gotta keep surviving to be in the game, so that's the main thing.

Frank: One time I was talking to Bill Graham. I said I was doing a show at the M-a

Dirk: Mabuhay? What did he say?

Frank: He said, "Shit." (Dirk laughs.)

Dirk: Well, he had colorful language. Command of the language.

Frank: And I said, "Well, it is the only place that would book me."

Dirk: Yeah, book me. Yeah.

Frank: "Will you?" (screams)

Dirk: Did it shut him up?

Frank: (screams)

Dirk: Well, in many ways he was a great guy. And in some ways he was myopic in his view. He once told me that you either expanded or you contracted. And if you contracted, you eventually ... this was in response to saying, "Why do you keep, you know, why do you have to keep going bigger and bigger?" And he said, "Well if you don't expand, you contract and then you die." This was in a discussion that we had about ... I felt that at a certain point, that if you made a venue too large, it defeated the purpose of setting up the show in the first place.

Frank: I have worked hard not to get big.

Dirk: Well, everything except your head. You've always had a big head, right? Yeah. No, no. You've done good shows, and you can't do what you do if there isn't the personal contact. 'Cause that's what it's all about, in your kind of theater. The only thing that, in my comment to ... and maybe this is where I'm touchy when people say, "Well, you were the only guy that would book us." Well, good for me. It wasn't just that I was desperate to book anything, because I turned down a certain ... I mean, I turned down some acts. So what was my criteria? Well, my criteria was that you had to have something that was basically original. I wasn't interested at, per se, cover bands. And ours was obviously, a heavy percentage of the theater that we presented was based in music. A lot of the rock 'n roll theater, let's call it that, or humor, was based in music.

Frank: But you had things like The J-a-p-

Dirk: Japanese dancer. Yes. Have you followed Koichi Tamano ? I just did a show with him at the Anthropology Museum up here at UC two weeks ago for Hiroshima day. He's still going strong, and as a matter of fact I'm gonna go and do some video with him. And remember folks, if Frank is selling you this video, it's an unauthorized version! He SAID he was only going to use it for the audio for this article he's writing on me. I don't think I'll ever see this article in writing, but anyway ...

Frank: And maybe is on TV.

Dirk: This tape? (Frank screams) No way, Frankie! No way. No, no. No, no. You haven't got a release. Folks, if you see this tape in public, he's breaking his word. And Frank never breaks his word. So I got him.

Frank: I did not ...

Dirk: Nope, silence is consent. Silence is consent.

Frank: When (laughing) have I ever s-i-l-

Dirk: Boy, you got me. Try it again. Start fresh.

Frank: S-i-l- ...

Dirk: Try another word. That one I don't get.

Frank: I am always noisy.

Dirk: Nosy or noisy? (laughs)

Frank: And I did not give you my word.

Dirk: Heh, heh. Well, Frank, I won't give you any more words! So we're at an impasse. This is an interview, folks. If he uses this video, this guy, Frank Moore, is conniving me. Anyway, keep going.

Frank: How did you get the idea for the ...

Dirk: ... Mabuhay? That was the ...

Linda: Wait, hold that thought.

(side B)

Dirk: That was a concept to give me the ability to document emerging performers, to document them at the time that the seminal moment occurs, when somebody is first trying their act, or their piece. And I wanted to document it. I had had this concept of documenting it through the use of Super-8 film. And I had sold that concept, or had pitched that concept to CBS, and it just didn't work in terms of ... I had thought that because people were using Super-8, that they would have used the medium to record some interesting things. But it was really all poor quality, the stuff that I got after asking for submissions. The formula now, of course, is very successful with video of, you know, funniest home video. The material that we got, and this was like mid-60s, was just really, people couldn't relate to it. And the structure of television sort of requires thirteen weeks, or ninety days of programming times four, so that you got a whole year of programming. And after about a year, all that I could come up with was less than for two hours, or two and a quarter. So that would have been less than five episodes, instead of thirteen. And all of that was, much of that seemed inferior, so I went back to the proverbial drawing board to try figuring out how could I get that? And I figured, well, if I had a theater in which I could set up the mechanisms or the systems of documenting, either through audio recordings, film ... this was pre- the small video cams. They were black and white, and they were very poor quality. So we really didn't think that video would be the right documentation medium. But that film would be. And that's why, and I felt that I needed a theater to do it in. And so we went looking for theaters ...

Frank: Who we?

Dirk: Who we, who we ... oh when you say we? I use the word "we" interchangeable with "I" or "me". I guess it's the imperative "we" or "he". Because of the fact that I always had people that worked with me. The same way you have Linda and your friends that helped you with the Outrageous Beauty Pageant. Some of these friends have been with me for literally twenty years, twenty-five years. And some, a great number of my friends are deceased because of either as a result of murder, plane crashes, AIDS, drug-overdosing, car accidents. Unfortunately like in the last probably six years or seven years, I think that I've buried some 67 or 68 people that at one time or another were involved with me or employed. So the thing is the "we" has always been sort of a loosely knit group of people that have worked with me ... some of whom have held positions of being called partners in business arrangements, and who still are.

Frank: How did that get started?

Dirk: I moved up here from Los Angeles where I was working as a TV producer and writer and producer of concerts and things, and said, "Well, I like San Francisco because it's a very tolerant city. I like San Francisco because it's beautifully, geographically beautiful. Because in Los Angeles at that time, the smog was at its worst in years. And it was just depressing getting up and seeing brown sky.

So I basically finished what business relationship I had in L.A., came up here and sort of, not bummed around, but slept on floors of friends of mine for about a year. Got the layout. I had come up here, the first time that I came up, I mean when I started to come up, I had gotten myself a booking for a friend of mine at the Playboy club. And that brought me to the North Beach area. Because I wanted to get, I wanted to have a project that would lead me into the various media contacts and such. And I booked him at the Playboy club. And when that first day, while he was doing the show at the Playboy club, went up and had dinner up on Broadway, and ran into the Mabuhay. Had checked out, I had primarily gone to check out the On-Broadway, which was the second floor, above the Mabuhay, but had found out from the guys up there that they had just signed a renewal of their lease, and that they had a play in there, so it wouldn't be available. And they said, "Well, why don't you go downstairs and check out the Mab. They look like they may need a hand," in terms of that they had just started, weren't doing too well. So that's when I met Ness. And after a few months, found out that his Monday nights were, Monday and Tuesday nights he was closed, and talked him into giving me the Monday nights, and that we would, or that I would guarantee him a hundred and I think seventy-five a day at the bar. And in very short order, we put in a group of, a female comedy troupe, feminist comedy troupe called Le Nicolettes, which were sort of a guerrilla comedy troupe. And they did the Monday nights and Tuesday nights. We'd schlep in the stage Sunday night. And they would perform, and we'd schlep in the backdrops and the whole thing and then schlep it out Tuesday night, store it next door in a warehouse behind an art gallery on the other side of the alley. And that went on for about a year and a half. Or a year. And in that time, we would have bigger successes on Monday and Tuesday night than Ness would for the weekend nights, the Fridays and Saturdays, in his ... what he was running was a Filipino piano bar and supper club, using acts from the Phillipines. One of them was an Elvis impersonator, [can't hear name], and another was a very popular performer in the Phillipines a few years before, who had, I think, left the Phillipines because of disagreements with the Marcos government, and was living in San Francisco. And she was a very talented singer. And her husband had asked if I'd be interested in doing a television show because she had a Filipino sort of community show on channel 20, which was "Kimo [sp.] TV". So I created a show for her which employed a lot of comedy, slapstick sort of blackouts and a few songs. And I said, the couple of requirements before I would undertake the show, 1) would be she should lose 20 lbs.. The other was that she shouldn't sing every song in the show because I felt that that would take away from her being the headliner. And that I would choose, that I would have the say-so on what dresses she would wear, in terms of the wardrobe. She would submit the wardrobe and I would select what she would wear for the songs. And that I had, in essence, artistic control on the program. We did 27 episodes, and some of those were run 20 and 30 times on that station, with great results. And in the interim, the things at the Mabuhay, the Filipino audience kept getting sparser and sparser, and my sort of avant-garde rock theater became more and more the in-thing. And because of the policy that we had sort of set up, which was - you send us a cassette with at least three of your songs. They all have to be original. A picture, an 8 X 10 black and white. And the name and ages of your band or your group. The reason for that was so that if we wrote a press release that we could say, "... and so and so is the bassist, and she or he is 26 years old, or they're" ... whatever. It wasn't a question of trying to control any particular age bracket. But because of the fact that there was a liquor license there, they had to be over 21, and that's what we were trying to find out. So that if the person said, we had to believe them, if they said they were over 21. So that there would be no prior restraint, that we would know what kind of music, so that the genre ... because people sometimes would mis-explain what their genre was, but if you hear it, you have a rough idea. And that would give us the idea of the sound problem because we had a theater above us. And the theater was in, they would perform up until 10:45, 11 o' clock, so we couldn't start before 11:00. So that was the reason we gave you the early time slot, because you didn't have any really live music. Yours was mainly recorded music or very acoustic music. Every once in a while when you guys would turn your amps up too much, the people from the theater would come down because we would trespass on their sound space. So it was the early after-hours show in essence, because we started when most places were closing down. Around 11:30, 12 o' clock, most performance places in those days were closed.

The other unique thing that we did is we did three acts, three full bands, in a matter of three hours, from eleven to two. And that required a really adroit, high energy stage crew that would get them in and out, because there weren't any big gaps in between. So by this compression of cramming three bands, sometimes a couple of comedians or other acts, fire-eaters, you name it, jugglers, in between, it was a constant non-stop of entertainment. So, in a sense we delivered a three-ring circus between these hours of 11:00 and 1:45, when we'd have to collect all the drinks, and start getting them out. This lead to a number of sort of things where I became the host, or the ring-master. And the only way to deal with the age bracket of the audience, the audience of this age-bracket, was ... you couldn't say, [goofy voice] "Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to go!" So I began insulting them and berating them, used a police whistle, a little plastic bat and an assortment of everything with helmets with lights flashing on ...

Frank: Remind me of wrestling.

Dirk: Yes, yes. Oh yeah. I mean, it was absolutely, we tried to push the envelope in terms of physical, slap-stick, music, you name it, it was all sort of ... Everything from industrial ...

Frank: And c-a-r-

Dirk: Crazy, crazy. No ...

Frank: ... carnival.

Dirk: Carnival type of thing? Carny? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no that's why your Outrageous Beauty Pageant fit well into that. There's an interesting ... you know who Flea is, of the group ... you know?

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: Well, Flea, one day was telling me ... I'm trying to remember the name of his group. Chili Peppers! Red Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea first saw your act when he was in a group called Lee Ving Fear, Lee Ving's Fear group. He was the bass player in Lee's, in Fear. And he had come up here, I think ... he was like fourteen years old. The bass was bigger than he. And he came in early in the evening, did his, or the afternoon, did his sound check, and then you guys came in and set up. And in those days, the Filipino restaurant was still there, the Filipino kitchen was still available. So we used to feed all of the performers that were either too poor or didn't have money or wanted, we'd give 'em either a spaghetti dinner or some of the Filipino dishes. And there was chicken assad- whatever. And so he got, he was sitting there, and you guys came on and you did the Sympathy for the Devil routine where, for those of you that didn't see Frank's show, Frank would come out, or would be wheeled out painted up as the devil in his wheelchair. And the music would come on, and he would lip-synch the music, and sing it also, right? And they had a couple of pregnant women in the chorus, is that correct? Yes. And ... no, no, the pregnant women were, I'm sorry, all of these people were in semi-nude stage, with all sorts of trippy costumes and Frank singing away, with dry-ice on the floor, fog, dry-ice fog and strobe lights, you name it, very good theatrical effects. And the people would come in and, this was the early-dinner show ... so there would be these tourists with some Filipinos ... (Frank screams) ... in between, and me running up and down the stairs saying, Oh yes, I'm sorry, theater owners. We'll keep the noise down. And we'd be turning down Frank's amps. And the music would be getting into it, The Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil. And, all of a sudden, two of the women that were dressed sort of like banshees from hell, would run into the audience, kidnap these two pregnant tourists, who of course were shills, some of Frank's crew. And these women would be protesting, saying, "No, no, no. I don't wanna sing. No, I don't wanna get involved." And instead, the cast members would kill them and tear out two baby plastic dolls out of their stomach wrapped in various cow entrails and others, as if these poor women were being slaughtered for their fetuses. Which, at that point, many of the audience who had come to get the dinner, would be throwing up and running out. Well, Flea just loved it. He said it inspired him to become (FRANK SCREAMS) the performer that he is today, Hot Chili Peppers. So anyway, there you are. Now ...

Frank: My cast gave me s-h- ...

Dirk: Ahh, some poo-poo. Yes, they well should have, Frank. You were just a disgusting pervert. You always have been. And the only way, the only reason you get away with it is because you're in the wheelchair and then you claim that people are discriminating ...

Frank: They thought it was too v-i- ...

Dirk: ... o-l-e-n-t. Violent? Well, it was more disgusting than violent. It was just pure shock theater.

Frank: It was like Dawn ...

Dirk: ... of the Dead. See, I can just finish your thoughts for you, you don't even need your Ouija board. Yeah, it was. Yeah. It was terrible. Yeah. But it was definitely cutting edge, and it gave you the ability to pursue your ... your demons. (laughs) And you did a great job.

Frank: My cast saw the Mab as a d- ...

Dirk: Dive. I think that was short-sighted of people. Because it had a great amount of freedom. And sometimes the chaos ...

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: Yeah, yeah, yeah ...

Frank: Most a-r-t ...

Dirk: ... art is ...

Frank: ... -i- ...

Dirk: ... is?

Frank: ... t ...

Dirk: ... his. No. Start again.

Frank: Most artists ...

Dirk: Most artists! O.k., most artists ...

Frank: ... would kill ...

Dirk: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Frank: ... to have a theater for three years.

Dirk: Like you did. Yeah, absolutely. (Frank screams) Yeah.

Frank: To do anything ...

Dirk: Yeah. ... they wanted to pursue. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Agreed, agreed.

Frank: But they would not listen.

Dirk: Yeah, yeah, yeah ... No, I agree. That was a unique situation. I don't take credit as the sole influencing ... I mean, as the ... I put a certain energy into it, created the peripheries, which was the concept of giving artists, create the peripheries, act as the steward of the door, which brought in the money for the advertising, and the pit-tance of the bands getting, sometimes at the most, five bucks or ten bucks. And on some weekends, some acts would get eight, nine hundred. Probably, the most that an act probably ever made up there was like 3000 bucks for a single performance. So it was a system of where 65% of the door came to the show from, and 35% went back to the club for the expenses ... 65 went to the acts, was split up amongst the acts. And 35 was for the advertising, the door security, and the equipment, the lighting and sound staffing. O.k., now, you were gonna say something here.

Frank: But even when Zappa came and loved it, they did not believe him.

Dirk: Believed him, uh huh.

Frank: They did not b-e-l-i ...

Dirk: Believed or beloved by ...

Frank: ... e-v-e that he really liked it.

Dirk: Oh yeah, it was tough. People, because they got too hung up in the fact that the place didn't have plush seats, it wasn't a traditional theater. But in order to take the opportunity of spontaneity, you know, pursuing, exploring, it couldn't be set up like a traditional theater. Somebody, a filmmaker, once did an interview -- let me just share this thought and then I'll go back to your question there. A filmmaker was saying it was interesting for him to see that people would get up, move the chairs, the table, wherever they wanted them to be, or they'd put 'em up on stage, all of a sudden interact by sitting on stage. And even in your Outrageous Beauty Pageant you sort of promoted that kind of attitude for the people in the audience to get involved in the Outrageous Beauty Pageant.

Frank: To break the stage ...

Dirk: Yeah, yeah, yeah ... Absolutely. It was a constant challenge of seeing somebody get, start what looked like that they were destroying something. And, you know, did you ...? We'd have to make the judgment, or I'd have to make the judgment. This individual is gonna do some damage ... or they're just, you know, pursuing an idea. But it was definitely a very interesting thing to see because it was pandemonium, it was crazy, it was anarchy.

Frank: It is on the edge.

Dirk: Yes, it was on the edge. Absolutely. I agree. Ahh, Frank, it is now 7:30. How much longer do you want to go tonight on this? I can give you another time, because I sort of gotta be back by 8:00, 'cause I got an appointment. I know I'm running late. You tell me what you wanna do.

Frank: We can do it again.

Dirk: Next week?

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: O.k., so I'm gonna call ... or I'll work it out with your schedule with Linda, and then we'll do another session like this. Do you figure that that'll do it for you, for the article, that you got enough material?

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: Good going. Did we, did the interview go the way you wanted it? O.k.?

Frank: Yes.

Dirk: Good. All right. Should we holler for ...? (goes to the door) I QUIT! I'M NOT GOING TO DO ANYMORE! BECAUSE HE'S JUST NOT BEING NICE!

Frank: (screams)

Dirk: Ah, the reason I, I was pointing to Frank that I sort of gotta be back by eight, 'cause I had figured I would be here earlier.

Linda: Yeah.

Dirk: So, he would like to do it again. He says we did all right. So ...

Linda: (laughs) I heard a lot of screaming.

Dirk: Well it's getting too dark. My picture won't turn out.

Frank: Flea ...

Dirk: Oh, Flea story. Is that what you want me to tell? (Frank - yes)

Linda: Yeah, yeah.

Dirk: Oh, it's Flea of Chili Peppers, Hot Chili Peppers, one time told me of the impact that, when he came when he was fourteen, he was in the group Fear with Lee Ving. And they had sound check, and then you guys came in and we were feeding him dinner. And that's when you guys did the Sympathy to the Devil number, you know, with the girls, I mean the pregnant women being dragged out of the audience. And he just thought that was the greatest theater because, I think he said, "Oh, I was on acid, and I just thought it was wild ... this Filipino piano bar and supper club ..." Because, you know, if you walk through it, of, you do a sound-check, there's a stage, there's the rattan furniture and all of that, you see piano bar, Filipino supper club ... the guy says, "Oh, let me feed you dinner." He's eating dinner, he sees some tourists around him. You guys come on ... (Frank and Linda laughing) ... the dry-ice fog, they rip the women up. He said that made such an impact on him that that's why that theater, the influence of why he put so much theater ... so ...

Linda: Whoa! (laughs) (Frank wails)

Dirk: This was like, ten years ago, or when he was, when it wasn't Chili Peppers yet, when it was still Lee Ving. He was up in the dressing room telling me the impact this thing had had ... the Outrageous Beauty Pageant. So there you are! (Frank screams) So, this is a publication that a friend of mine runs up in Mendocino. Just sort of get acquainted with it because I think we might be able to explore something up there. O.k.? A show, or something. Because they do a lot of interesting art ... o.k.? All right! Well, I'm gonna ...

Linda: So are we setting up another time?

Dirk: Yes, I had said ... I think I ought to do it when I have my book, at the house. O.k.?

Linda: O.k., so we'll call you.

Dirk: Yeah. We'll do a, again another evening, just like this. O.k.? A little bit earlier. All right? Yes.

Linda: Yeah. Yeah.

Dirk: Good. O.k. One cookie up here. O.k. You be good. All right. O.k.? (hugs) Okey doke.