Introducing Frank Moore. Intellectual hero of Erotica

2074415_100.jpg

Frank Moore is an American performance artist, shaman, poet, essayist, painter, musician and internet/television personality who has experimented in art, performance, ritual, and shamanistic teaching since the late 1960s.

Moore is perhaps most well known as one of the NEA-funded artists targeted by Jesse Helms and the GAO (General Accounting Office) in the early 90s for doing art that was labeled “obscene”.

He is well known for long (5-48 hours) ritualistic performances with audience participation, nudity, and eroticism. But he has also become well known for his influential writings on performance, art, life, and cultural subversion, for his historical influence on the San Francisco Bay Area music and performance scene, and for his 24/7/365 pioneering webstation, LUVeR (Love Underground Visionary Revolution).

Moore has been an underground counter-culture hero and artistic inspiration for decades. He was born with cerebral palsy, can not walk or talk, but has written books, directed plays, directed, acted in and edited films, regularly gives poetry readings, plays piano, sings in ensemble music jams, and continues to lead bands in hard core punk clubs up and down the west coast.

Performance artist Annie Sprinkle considers Moore one of her teachers and Frank has performed with a host of performance and punk figures of the underground since the 1970s like Barbara Smith, Linda Sibio, The Feederz, and Dirk Dirksen – The Pope of Punk.

Frank Moore’s video works are award winning and have shown throughout the U.S. and Canada, and since 2001 Frank Moore has been producing shows for Berkeley’s Public Access Channel, Berkeley Community Media, Channel 28. His shows play weekly, throughout the week.

In 2006, Moore announced his candidacy for the 2008 election for President of the United States. His campaign website can be found at frankmooreforpresident08.com. His platform videos are available on YouTube.

External Links

An essay on Erotica by Frank Moore

200710286168.jpg

I wrote the below manifesto before the internet, before people like Annie Sprinkle reclaimed the word “porn” for life affirming art, before VIMEO.com, really before a lot of things.  There is a ton of what I called below EROART of all kinds on VIMEO.com. Thanks to the repressive, anti sexual, anti pleasure morality, romanticism, and pornography, the traditional area of eroart -- art that uses nudity, physicality, and/or sex to turn people on to life -- has been ripped off by pornography.

Almost everyone is against porn films. Almost everybody in his right mind. But everybody isn't in his right mind, which is why there is porn anyway. But it is fashionable to be against porn. There are many good reasons to be against porn. Fashion is not one of them. The anti sex, anti pleasure, anti nudity morality is not one of the good reasons to be anti porn. This kind of repressive morality is the main reason why during the nineteenth century kinky violent porn caught on. What I am interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is the art of eroplay. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools. Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroplay tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroplay art, which has been called eroart. Most books on eroart miss the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond. This is not true for what is defined as porn. I am trying to define eroart. We are forced to separate it from porn, and rightly so. It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is human to be anti porn because porn is anti human, not only anti female. It is violence between individual people. At times, this violence is graphic. It is personal and intimate violence in a hostile and impersonal form. I hurt you to make me feel turned on because I cannot get turned on in any other way because I cannot feel ... besides, you like being hurt ... if you don't ... who cares. This isn't the symbolic or surreal violence in other kinds of films. Porn is also anti human because it creates a picture of what sex should be that is unreal and boring. It creates pictures of what you should be like ... pictures which are hard to live up to ... and if you do live up to them, you will be a big- dicked jerk or a big titted bimbo. These are the fundamental reasons why to be anti porn. But face it, the main reason that most people are anti porn is because porn is boring and dumb. The people who make porn (I am talking about straight porn now, leaving the kinky, violent porn in the trash can) think that the main reason why people go to see porn is to see tubes going in and out of holes. So they cram in as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible in ninety minutes ... and as close up as possible. This may be true for some people, but for most people, it gets boring once curiosity is satisfied, curiosity about what it looks like, and once the possibility of seeing everything is fulfilled. It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is not fashionable to offer an alternative to porn. It is not fashionable to admit that people like seeing other people nude, seeing other people getting turned on and being turned on. It is not fashionable to admit people are curious to see other people's bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. It is not fashionable to admit people feel cheated whenever the camera moves away, fades away, when people on the screen are getting intimate. It is not fashionable because it would be putting yourself, your body, and your emotions where your ideals and your politics are. To make videos that satisfy that child like need of seeing nude bodies and seeing people playing, making out, and having fun is not as profitable as either what Hollywood does or what the porn makers do. This child like need is the healthy human desire that is perverted in porn. The time is right for an art form that addresses this healthy desire. The women's movement has changed people's standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and of women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes, and now they find the old style porn disgusting ... but more importantly, they are finding porn is not meeting their needs and desires. They want to be turned on in a way that is not sexual; they want to see nudity without stupidity; they want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating ... can show both purely nonsexual eroplay and eroplay as foreplay in sex. Film and video can do this. But the producers of porn haven't the foggiest idea of this, and have a vested interest in the meat approach. In its broadest definition, erovideo could be any kind of film westerns, thrillers, science fiction, etc. -- in which the unwritten rules are not followed. The camera doesn't fade or cut away from erotic scenes before it is logical to do so ... bodies wouldn't be cut off. Cable has made porn so available that it has removed the glamour of the forbidden. As a result, porn has to stand on its lack of merit. As a result, the sales and rentals on adult tapes are going down, and the adult cable systems are going out of business. The desire to see nudity and intimacy and to be turned on is not being satisfied. Hollywood is caught between being ruled by taboos and being in the business of teasing. Andy Warhol once said Hollywood has been doing a forty year striptease, showing a little more each year to get people to come back. The closest Hollywood comes to the erotic/sexual (except for a few maverick directors like Roeg) is the sex exploitation and youth exploitation films. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if it is sexy sexual nude, it has to be dumb. Hollywood does exploitative films because they make money. They make money because they are the closest thing to the erotic/sexual that is offered. But sitting through a dumb movie to see nude bodies of dumb people is not worth it. Hollywood, however, will not take risks. Hollywood will not make such a risky, daring product as a truly erotic film mainly because of the high money stakes involved. The pornographers will not do it either because of their lack of skill, insight, and morality, or because they too are ruled by money, and by criminals. But breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. The breaking of taboos ideally should not be a part of eroplay for everyday life. But it is. Art can slowly take eroplay out of the taboo area. This is one of the functions of art. Here is where art comes in. As I have said, this kind of art creates a kind of bubble in which the forbidden can be done with immunity, releasing the energy of the broken taboo ... energy which then affects society as a whole. Art makes a clear circle of difference between this bubble and everyday reality; it is a kind of safety valve for society ... much as dreams are to the individual. According to the book THE PAINTED BODY, the caves where the first artists did their work where no one could see were such bubbles, as was body painting. Performance art is this kind of consciousness altering art. It creates a special time and place where taboos can be broken, where new ways can be introduced into the society. The other way that art can make it easier for us in everyday life, and at the same time fight against the anti pleasure, anti human morality, against sexism, against pornography, against romanticism, is by showing us eroplay, both with and without sex, and getting us acquainted and comfortable with eroplay. This can be done in all media. Enter erovision. Erotic projects could be made on half inch video tape by individual artists to be sold directly by mail from the artist to the individual viewer. This would avoid the power structures that grow up around big money. Half inch video, home video, is cheap in materials, editing, and post production, and distribution is much, much cheaper than in any other format. The technical quality is acceptable, and free from the comparison with film or professional three quarter inch video. Home video is the workable channel for any product that the establishment will not touch ... or that you don't want the establishment to touch, hence control. Such is erovideo. Whether we as artists do eroart to release magically eroplay into the air (such as through performance art) or to show the non sexual way of relating that is eroplay (such as through video or film) ... whether we choose to use the sex act or not in our eroart ... we must not let our work be defined in relation to pornography. There has been a huge amount of time and energy wasted trying to define and ban pornography. The best way to undermine sexism and pornography is to create an alternative to them. Take back nudity, pleasure, sex, and eroticism from pornography. Show pornography up as being drab, inhuman, unfun by creating a fun, human, happy alternative. Create eroart! This is overstating the case somewhat because you cannot do good eroart if it is in reaction to porn ... only if it comes from some warm and playful place, can it be good eroart. Unless we put ourselves -- our creativity, our minds, and yes, our bodies -- into representing eroart as the humanistic alternative, the pornographer, the sexist, and the moralist will win by default.

I Like Looking. An Essay by Frank Moore 2011

201303022986.JPG

I like looking into pussies whatever color of trim, or shaved hairs from your skirts.  But that does not define what my companion is, or my life and spirituality and why this powerful screw beat loudly.  I am not definitely not surrounded by people based upon folds of skin, colors of the bodies, or whatever else painted by nobody.   But I screen people to see if they want to get booked up with my whole body, if they are available, practical, willing to jump into possibilities and fully play together within intimacy…  Playing adventures, dancing nude, sliding warm juicy sweaty rubbing aroused, smiling outside of themselves, loving life, willing to risk all kinds of ridiculous poems for me, willing to stay together within experimental play together.  I don’t have a tape measure for tits, cocks, noses and all other body parts!  If you see someone with such a policy of tape measuring, run!  We all came from Africa!  Yes my companion is willing to melt into possibilities and fully sexual experience with my cock.  Well among various other things! 

Can I look up your pussy?  I don’t really know why we cannot talk that directly.  I’ll promise you I will.  I don’t really know why the naked female nipples are so dangerous that they need to be covered at all times or reality crumble!  All the hill of milky white, sunburn golden brown, Shining black beauty, or whatever comfortable colors of the Nursing infant…  Hills of warm juicy flesh pleasure hot can be uncovered bosom of Emma.  But the reddish brown tip nipple with the orange yellow surrounding circle of desire of magical orchids have to be covered /hidden under the command of taboo or else everything will go wacky into chaos of the likes of Emma!  But this death ray can be squelched by the sheerest of fabric.  Of course some dangerous imagination magnified of desire will leak out of sheer spirits.  I can travel the thread that has the birth /pleasure hole, the hard satisfaction wand and the grunt outlet all taboo, hidden vices passages…  If I squint and get tipsy and twisted perverted blues emotional problems with eating by mouth of my philosophy.  After all shitty form of frustration, and sewage pissed flowing green, and crimson blackish patches spread on white underwear and all dirty fun smelly and sewage fish terrified beyond imagination, magnified everything else painted upon folds of skin.  I can travel that perverted blues emotional problems with certain faculties of noise of thunder farts.  Even if I love a good shit of all colors and shapes comprised between teenybopper and heckle and consistency.  But the beautiful warm juicy nipple, the source of the mammal milk of life!  What sort of dangerous imagination ray comes from the source of food and comfort?  Zones of passion hidden behind taboo, hidden behind vices passages fester twisted perverted blues emotional problems with breathing IMPAIRMENT fatigue, obnoxious flakes of ice separated us from ourselves into conflict with certain destruction, massacred of passion.  This is why I look straight up taboo, down blouses, up skirts.  Underwear and bras are dams storing up this puss of the mammal unknown freedom, hidden parts of our life including being dirty.  They block breathing of hidden parts.  Dark depths of hidden bodies melting into juicy nipple are locked up.  And nobody asks WHY.  Dark magic of fragmentation is why…  For isolating explosion of pent-up frustration, smolders in a strange hissing noise of the process of transferring. 

In Freedom,
Frank Moore


http://www.eroplay.com
http://www.facebook.com/godfrank
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117921371580943&ref=ts
http://vimeo.com/channels/frankmoore
http://vimeo.com/groups/eroart

Cultural Subversion by Frank Moore 1991

200712086372.jpg

     This will be personal. But the personal level is the key to understanding the cultural, artistic, and political movement which is taking back technology into the personal control of anyone who has something to say, something to create. It is personal technology, anarchistic technology. It is not like cable T.V. which we were told ten years ago would liberate the person by giving him intimate and direct information and communication channels...but which today is simply more channels for the money types who have always controlled the communication flowing through mass media...just more monopolized channels for passive entertainment, selling, and manipulation of information and of reality. The only exception to this is the local access channels which are kept in the closet and are always in danger of being axed by the cable company. These access channels are a part of the personal technology.

     Personal technology is basically a slip up of what I have called elsewhere "the combine plot". I took the term "combine" from the Ken Kesey novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The combine plot is a hidden dynamic system of power, control, and interest that keeps the tools of creation and of effective change out of the hands of the common people. This keeps the people powerless, keeping the power within an elite. The tools of effective change have been kept out of the hands of the common people by false rituals of education, money, and bulky expensive equipment which took a cult knowledge to operate.

Added to this maze of creative blocks was the false myths about talent and the acceptable quality levels needed to reach people, acceptable quality levels below which people are trained to not watch or listen. All of this is too abstract and philosophical. In this article, I will try to pull these issues down into the real world by using my own artistic experiences as a context. But it is important to realize at the beginning that personal technology, anarchistic technology is still technology. All technology has hidden, built-in links to the established order of isolation and fragmentation.

These links can frustrate attempts to use technology to subvert the established reality. Only by being always aware of these links to isolation and fragmentation inherent in all technology, can technology be safely used as a tool of cultural subversion. This fact again banged me over the head when I was talking to a successful musician who didn't understand why all performers do not stop touring, considering the pollution caused by traveling...and do what he does, which is do everything through telecommunications. I just said you can not touch through phones, computers, videos...and even through writing. To restore humanity to our culture by using technology, we must know and admit the limitations of that technology.

     All technology is a double-edged sword. This includes the very first communication technology...writing/reading. We usually think of the invention of writing as extremely liberating. And in so many ways it was. But in so many other ways it confined humanity. For one thing, it placed a fixed linear frame of thinking within the human brain much more than spoken language had done. Moreover, writing/reading created a very exclusive elite for most of the known human history. Before writing, everyone knew the tribal language...everyone knew how to paint, sing, dance. Information flowed both between people and within time to the future through this tribal accessible language both of spoken word and of art. If information did not flow through this tribal channel, that information was lost. All of this changed when writing was invented. Now there was a channel that was not accessible to everyone, a channel that did not easily lose information. Those who could access this channel had power. Because of this, for most of recorded history, the skill of reading/writing was monopolized by the ruling elite to maintain its power. This was true even after a larger minority gained limited access to the flowing channel of writing. One of the ways the elite maintained its control was by withdrawing the important ideas...dangerous ideas...both sacred and profane, away from the common people, withdrawing the dangerous ideas into a dead language such as Latin or Greek. Only the members of the elite who went through the rituals of education of the established order (be it religious, political, and/or class) could read or speak this dead language of power. There was another channel of flowing information which was folk art, folk music, and folk words, be it written or spoken. This folk channel was accessible to everyone. It was a dynamic, interactive channel of communication. But the full force of this folk channel was always kept in check by the elite channel with the myth that anything which comes through the folk channel was not worthy or important because it did not come from the hidden knowledge.

     This control by the elite did not start to break down until the printing press became cost-accessible to the members of the common people. This opened to the common people a communication channel which was not rooted in physical time...that is, you write something and someone within another time, another place reads exactly what you thought. This is the real force which was unlocked by the printing press, and not the ability to reach mass amounts of people. Without the printing press being to a large degree accessible to the forces of change, the American and French Revolutions may not have happened.

     But the elite quickly developed strategies to limit access for the common people to this printing channel. The elite spread the myth that to be really effective, a writer had to go through the rituals of the educational system, and then be blessed by being recognized by the publishing factory, which became increasingly massive and impersonal.

Self-publishing was labeled "vanity press". The presses that offered this service were seen as cons, as scams. Writers who used this service were thought of as untalented fools who got conned. The individual who believed in this myth of the power of the corporate media system to bestow access to communications, and to bestow validity through acceptance, was frozen out of any real position for subversive change.

     All of this is an historical background on which I can talk about the issues of personal technology, anarchistic technology in the context of cultural subversion.

     I started out in the late 60's writing for underground papers as a political columnist...sneaking into the mimeograph room at school to run off a hundred copies under the protection of a friendly teacher. Of course, the teacher always, as well as us, got into hot water...and the access to the mimeograph machine was closed. No access, no underground paper. There was not any question about our buying our own mimeograph machine...no money.

     But it took only a year or so for the underground press to move from the mimeograph stage into being run off at offset print shops. The underground press had its roots going back through the radical press of the 20's and 30's and in the poetry press. The kind of person who put out these papers poured all their personal money into it, then hoped by selling ads, selling papers, by magic, the paper would stay afloat. There was rarely any question of making money on it. But when your nest egg, your dead aunt's money, ads, sales, or whatever wassupporting your rag ran out, that paper of visions died. But there was always a new paper being born to fill the empty space.

     There was a rejection of the old standards of quality of both form and content which had kept the common people from creating. As a result of this rejection, a new way of looking at art, politics, and life was thus created. The underground press became so effective that by the early 70's there were over 700 of these papers and an underground press network. It became so effective that the F.B.I. targeted the underground press for destruction by a covert war. By using the fact that the underground papers rarely had direct access to a printing press, and by using the organization which developed around the underground press, the F.B.I. and the rest of the combine could bring the underground press into control, into the fold.

     Around this time, I rejected politics as a means for effective subversive change, and began looking towards art and magic for an effective channel. I took a film-making course, learning the technical rituals of 16mm. 16mm was then the home movie technology. But when I did the technological rituals of lighting, shooting, splicing, etc., they took me away from the actual magic of doing. Hidden within these technological rituals are deadening roadblocks to direct personal creative communications. 

Roadblocks can be gotten around. But why bother when there are direct alternative routes?

     After the film course, I still had no money to make films. One road would have been to put my time and energy into getting money or a position to make films. But I always have mistrusted the myth of changing the system from within. It never works. Once you compromised, modified, changed, distorted both yourself and your message to get the media channel, why bother sending the message? The system myth is a major vacuum that sucks creative power away from people by putting vast amounts of time between the person and the act of creation.

Whether the myth is of waiting to get enough money, education, or power before you create, the effect is the same...waiting for Godot. For these reasons, I created a no/low tech form of live performance which did not need money, theater space, sets, stage lighting, approval, or a particular audience size. This no/low tech form is vital to work which is culturally subversive by expanding the concept of sexuality and reality beyond the frame of taboos.

     For me as a no/low tech artist, the personal technology, anarchistic technology is a very important dimension. I first realized this when I was trying to get established in N.Y.C. in the early 70's. I could not find out about art events until after the fact when I read about them in THE VILLAGE VOICE. So I couldn't go to them. So I couldn't meet people with whom I could have gotten something going. One reason for this was there was very little flyering. In N.Y.C., organized crime has a monopoly on putting up posters. I did not realize how much no flyering isolated people until I moved to Berkeley where on every telephone pole, there were 10, 20, 30 flyers. Anyone who has an event, a group, a cause, something to say, can go to a xerox place, run off hundreds, or even thousands of flyers and staple them up all over town. This direct two-way form of the press plugged me immediately into the community where I could do my work.

     We have to start seeing flyering, be it on telephone poles or on computer bulletin boards, as a form of personal press, and as such is protected under the freedom of press. Big Brother comes in many forms from the mafia to government (down to the anti-flyer laws as part of a city's "beautification" campaign) to corporations such as A.T.&T. and Blockbuster Videos.

     Just recently I saw the power of this direct personal press. For years I have not been able to be booked in the "alternative" performance galleries in the Bay Area for various reasons...so I put 500 "too controversial for the Bay Area" flyers up asking for leads to spaces in which to perform. From the very first flyer we put up came three good leads into the true alternative art scene. Moreover, the flyer directly exposed the true condition of the established "alternative" art world.

     This direct exposing is one of the strengths of the personal technology, anarchistic technology in the context of cultural subversion. Be it a camcorder capturing police brutality or a xerox zine publishing radical heretofore unpublishable material, the effect is to decentralize power, putting it into the personal level. I noticed this again last year when Senator Jesse Helms targeted me for investigation for my art. With only one exception, no one from the regular press contacted me to get my reaction or story. Some of the art magazines printed my open letter to Helms and my article on censorship. But I reached a wide national audience when THE SPIRITUAL REVOLUTIONARY (TSR), a newsletter zine by S/R PRESS, printed both. While TSR has a small readership, other zines reprinted my two pieces from TSR, without my permission but without editing. Then still other zines reprinted the material from those zines. The effect of this anarchistic grapevine of xerox zines is I had exposure to a wide national audience which was made up of small subcultures.

     The combine recognizes the uncontrollable force represented by the direct personal communications through the anarchistic technology. The combine is trying to put this genie back in the bottle. The easiest, and the most obvious way to do this is to censor the physical channels...be it phone lines, the mail, or T.V./radio waves.

     But there are hidden means by which the combine can thwart the direct personal use of technology. One of these is making equipment such as computers, obsolete every six months, not for any real functional improvement, but for progress. The effect of habitual upgrading is not only that we keep having to buy new soft/hardware, but it also creates a false mystery around the computer very much like the dead language of Latin did in the Dark Ages.

     But the best way for the combine to curb the use of personal technology is by the standards of "professional quality".

     When I xerox-published by first two books, I did not run into this wall of "professional quality". This is because I sold them directly, personally at my performances, as well as by the mail through a review in BOX OF WATER.

     But when S/R PRESS xerox-published by book, CHEROTIC MAGIC, we took it, along with my zine THE CHEROTIC rEVOLUTIONARY, around to bookstores. The reason why a lot of the bookstores gave for not carrying the book was not the written or the visual contents of the book, but that it had a spiral binding, rather than a regular binding. Having a regular binding would boost the cost out of the realm of personal level and into the traditional publishing with its concerns of mass sales. Kyle Griffith is fond of saying that if the book's format is too revolutionary for a bookstore, then the content is also...so it would serve no purpose for us to try to package it differently. I must quickly add that there are quite a few bookstores that are not locked into buying solely from a distributor, that will carry personal xerox-published books and zines. Moreover, there are bookstores devoted to personal xerox publications...for example, METROPOPHOBOBIA in, of all places, Phoenix! These outlets for personal publications will multiply in the coming years.

     I have dealt with the barriers of format and technology to personal direct human involvement in every medium I have tried. A lot of people have assumed this was because I was poor, did not know how to get grants, did not know how to use technology, or did not know how to use the system. In reality, even if I had tons of money, I would still use the same no/low tech, because that is the best way to take back the creative force from the combine...back into the hands of anyone with a creative urge...or, for that matter, a destructive urge.

     Since we are communicating on the personal level, you can send feedback, inquiries, or whatever to me at:

Frank Moore

P.O. Box 11445

Berkeley, CA 94712

e-mail: fmoore@eroplay.com

In Freedom,

Frank Moore