All of this started on the old genie bbs .... me talking to friends
... about 12 years ago (1990). When genie tanked, we started emailing one another. I kept
adding people to the conversation. A few years of that, I realized it was a
growing community ... so I named it THE E-SALON.
Run you stupid bastards. Run as fast as you can.
Get out of here. We are a bunch of mixed nuts.
To myself and those I like to surround myself with closely, life is permeated with a spirit of freedom. Not freedom only in the Statue of Liberty/"Give- Me- Freedom- Or- Give- Me- Death"- (or money) sense, but in the spirit of not holding back one's self from the unchartable, incalculable possibilities that a life can hold without too many chains. We like to think we look at the world for what it is, and what it is will always be something just beyond our grasp, what it is will be forever swirling and chaotic, beyond rational thought, too big for the clothes pins to hang it on the line, too wide to fit in your trunk and too salty to put on top of your chocolate ice cream sundae. Yet still it's a world that needs the parallel yet opposite lifestyle of the "work", doing the boring jobs, the needed and unfun tasks. Spend one week doing nothing but drinking cheap bourbon and watching TV, then the next traveling on 6 miles a day hikes in the woods and reading Kahlil Gibran under a full moon by a camp fire. Listening to classical music while boxing. Wearing pink to a funeral. Then go back to your hum-drum 9-5 and do the droll life again for a while. Yin and yang, baby.
I believe we all realize that people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all walks of life are to be accepted as necessary for a successful and functioning society and culture, from the janitors and landscapers to the Wall Street suit & tie guys to the various forms of The Artist. Yet we feel those who make an effort to keep life fresh and exciting while challenging life's boundaries are those that are the most truly living human beings.
From my own personal dabblings in the underground publishing/music/writing/art world for several years, I have a bit of an insight on the world these people live in and I personally know several of the people on Frank's list, including Frank himself with whom I've been corresponding for over two years. The people on my listserv, which they have been calling an "e-salon" as I will from now on also, are for the most part of a very open minded mentality. They speak however they choose on the list, they speak in poems, they rant or whine, they formulate well-rounded theoretically and philosophically stimulating electrobabble. The majority of them create; people on the list spend their paychecks mailing out their small small press magazines with their print runs of 100; they write plays that 50 people ever see: they record tapes of their own in their bedrooms and send it to their friends, many times there is no guitar or bass or drum kits (or synthesized electric music) involved, they make their own or use little known instruments; they organize poetry readings; they sleep with girls or guys, and maybe vegetables if they're lonely, then they draw it or write about it, but it's not pornography.
It's life. It's freedom. We do what we want.
(In fact Frank Moore signs off every e-mail message with the mantra "In Freedom, Frank".)
But I'm willing to bet my invisible millions that none of them live off the art and if any money is made off of what they create it just goes right back into making more art.
They range in age, I don't know the specifics, but I know that the man whose life and art is the main focus of the salon, Frank Moore, is in his mid forties, and I am 21. Dorothy Jesse Beagle was a young child during WWII and I know a girl who's 15 on the list from the Syracuse area, and all are accepted as human - not aged-restricted humans. What the fifteen year old Anna has to say is just as important as the main list godhead Frank.
In a world where probably 50% of the American citizens only ever see the desert, or New York City, on television, or think that being creative is getting a stylized frame for their license plate on their cars that says "My Other Car Is A Crackpipe", I think that people like those involved with this salon are supreme beings... but, I guess I'm being arrogant; I constantly remind myself that our brilliance is just as dependent on their mind's creativity as it is on the guy supporting his family in Guatemala on a buck a day making the computer parts that they do their web pages on. If people want to live that way (the Guatemalan example, or the people in the previous metaphor who live life through TV) they can (they do have a choice, but I'll save my socio-political opinions on that for another time) and I'll bless them. Yet I can't help but think they could be doing more for themselves. Kenyata Sullivan, a musician and goofball networking tycoon from Wilmington, North Carolina, said something that sums this up; he was talking to Frank about his disability (Frank has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair): "...I just think it's amazingly arrogant that people assume that a strength they are naturally born with is more important than one they aren't born with. Frank, you were born with great emotional and intellectual strengths, and you possess abilities that a lot of other people might aspire to, strengths that, no matter how hard they try, they will not achieve; however, there are certain physical limitations that you have, things that people without your gifts can easily attain... they do not have your gifts; you do not have theirs; both are gifts; both are strengths... neither is inherently more valuable than the other; we all just do the best we can..." (Sullivan, 2/11/97 on ye old list) Meditate on this analogy... we need the mechanics and the painters, the politicians and the taxi drivers to make the world go round, yet I still think that people should aspire to grow and experience as much as can be done, and the people who do strive to do as such have a much higher grasp on what the essence of life really is, like the old souls involved on this list.
A "member" of the salon who signs off as Distant Eagle calls these two parallels the "wakan" and the "washte" (Native American lingo, I believe). "...the wakan must not be made into just more washte. The washte is what is familiar, ordered. The wakan is what is unusual," he said to the list on Feb. 18th. He follows this with: "You know what they say, 'Variety is the spice of life.' If variety is all the time, it's variety no longer. It you put so much salt on your food all the time, after awhile you don't taste the salt any longer. If you use swear words all the time, or say 'I love you' all the time, they eventually just become meaningless sounds. Variety should remain the spice, used occasionally for powerful effect, to retain the wakan." He was talking to Frank about how after one of his interactive plays Mr. Moore felt that this is just what the plays were becoming, wakan turned to washte. What was once exciting to the main players in the inner circle of the performance was turning into a commonplace ritual. My point in bringing this up is that it is human nature to slide into what is comfortable and easy, and even these people who are doing immensely immeasurable work with these plays to open up the minds and third eyes of so many, people who are redefining the whole paradigm of life to a point, could slip into a subconscious doze with what they were doing. All that needs to be done to fix such a situation is take a break from what they were doing, or use a bit of a shift in its focus while not focusing on anything different, and I'm sure that they would find that they were back on virginal ground with what they were working towards. And I'm sure that they are already onto this.
We are people who push the buttons that pisses off the fearful holders of the taboos that duct tape us into safe cozy corners of existence where all is predictable and as hum drum as can be. The reasons people accept the reality of hum-drummy-dummyness is a story that could take volumes, but I'll just say that we aren't interested in being that way. Everything is questioned and thus everything can be kept exciting even the idea of what is the definition and possible goodness that can come out of a sense of boredom. For example, when some unnamed video connoisseurs remarked to salon "member" Richard T. Marcy that one of Frank's video presentations was a "little long" but "Very important", Richard says "I debated the length by offering notions of what 'boredom' is, and how I think it is used in [Frank's] piece, and we came to the conclusion that it's better if screened where there will be no distractions, like a theatre, rather than a coffee house. I feel the length helps to bring things (expectations) down, so that when the punch comes, it's even more powerful. But with too many distractions it's hard to get away with that." People should try to even judge the worth of their own perceptions of what little details of life mean to them, such as the use and meaning of "boredom". To do this will enhance the whole outlook one could have on, for example, a menial task, or a boring movie.
To sum it all up, the mindset - of Frank, Myself, and many others on this list - is to create conflict that leads to change which leads in turn to a more well rounded and pure human existence that is comfortable in chaos and hates being stagnant in a universe of possible wild randomness where the changing of reality, or more accurately, helping reality change itself, while helping people realize the possibilities, is name the game. Yet realize that one still has to do the dirty work to achieve this goal. In one of the messages (which I can't seem to find now, of course!) Frank talks of the ritual of the "Performance", which begins with the initial idea that is brainstormed then organized into an event, then goes to stage, then ends with the clean-up and dismantling of the set. He talked of how each point of the ritual is equally as important, one can't function without the other happening also. If you insert "person in a society" for "point of the ritual" in that sentence, you will have the truth that I am trying to explain with this article.
I'll close with a quote from Frank's Web site, where he is talking about his use of nudity and sexuality in his art. "What I am doing is taking nudity and acts that are usually considered sexual and giving them a new, non-sexual context. That creates a tension, a conflict, an examining, a leap into something new. That is what I am after. This leap into newness is why people who are normally comfortable with casual nudity and casual sex sometimes get very uncomfortable with the nudity and eroplay in my work. By taking "sexual" acts and sincerely putting them in to a different context, it creates another reality, another way of relating. It also creates conflict with the normal reality -- and that conflict may change, in an underground sort of way, the normal reality. I think art -- or at least this kind of art -- should create conflict and change. "
GREGG ADOLF RODRIGUEZ YETI
I see this E-Salon as one of the ways which we all have an ability to create a impactful and positive change in our own lives, those involved in our projects and the lives of others. Frank had taken the theory created in the earlier part of this century by the members of The Algonquin Roundtable and provided a home for us in cyber space to share our artistic abilities and networking resources in a positive and affirming forum. I am thrilled and excited daily to be a part of this modern day community of underground movers and shakers. Through the Internet we are provide a daily dose of some of the art worlds most fascinating minds...
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