Live at The Great American Music Hall
Joe performed two live shows at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Nov. 21 2004.
Because no audio recording from this program has been released, this description has been pieced together from the memory of those who attended. There may be inaccuracies.
The show consisted of Joe Frank sitting alone before a microphone on stage. In addition to an audio engineer, he was accompanied by a flugel horn playing jazz riffs and a solo female dancer who performed between monologue passages.
The program included the following:
- A modified, first-person version of the pan-handler standing on a freeway median and speaking about his wealth monologue from Duplicity.
- A short film to accompany the lost on an elevator, getting off at 39th street in the wrong city, and finding one's father in a phone booth sequence which has appeared in several shows (Untitled Live Program (Oct 9 1978), Live at Market Street, etc.)
- A short film which follows the story of a female hitchhiker who refuses rides and then traps voyeurs in a hotel building from Nausea.
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I was at the evening performance, and it was awesome in the literal sense of the word. I saw the Wadsworth show some years back, and this was even better. Despite all his talk about being uncertain when interacting with people, they guy has a natural stage presence. He even handled a video mishap with grace and kept the audience laughing. If you ever have the opportunity to see Joe live, do it. It's well worth the price of a cross country plane ticket.
The video segments were well crafted, although it's not clear to me they added a whole lot to the audio. Joe's imagery is so precise that pictures aren't really necessary. Still, adding video doesn't hurt anything, and it may well catch the attention of a new audience. When I try to sell my friends on Joe Frank, they almost always say something like, "You mean he's a DJ?" Even to public radio junkies, Joe's work seems to be quite foreign. Compared to the small number of us actively looking for narrative radio, the short-film audience is probably much larger and more mainstream. Anything with the potential to bring more people to Joe's work is a good thing in my book.