White Moon

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White Moon[1]
Somewhere Out There
Original Broadcast Date
April 13, 1996
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 54 minutes
Preceded by: Justine
Followed by: Red Sea

There was a time when I looked in the mirror, and I could see nothing.

White Moon is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Somewhere Out There. It was originally broadcast on April 13, 1996.


Joe, a bank teller, turns invisible, dresses in white gauze and gloves. The bank fires him. He stops speaking, becomes incapable of understanding speech. He ends up at a Buddhist monastery in Idaho. A monk thinks his koans should solve Joe's problem, but do nothing for him.

9:50: Joe talks to god about their failing relationship.

13:20: Joe counts the tables, people, waitresses, and maître'd at a café, wants to count the flagstones, imagines the discomfiture of the other patrons.

14:10: Joe's trembling, imagines how nice it would be to have a seizure.

15:10: 'When they landed on the moon, I was in a firefight in a Buddhist cemetery north of Hue. Men were walking on the moon, a very white, bright moon shining down that night, while all hell was breaking loose around us. And I was lying there thinking. "We're doing what men have done since they first stood upright." The war didn't stop that night.'

16:40: Joe recalls playing doctor as a child, operating on birds, small animals, road kill. He worked at a pharmacy, then as a sushi chef. With the help of an uncle who was a security guard at a hospital he became a surgeon without bothering with medical school.

19:50: He gets hired by a hospital on the East Coast. He describes the hospital in detail, its facilities, the artwork in the hallways, the gift store, the coffins for sale. Because the hospital is so crowded they operate in the cafeteria; food gets into the patients.

26:10: Joe was so talented that he excelled in operations of all kinds. His performances in the operating theatre got standing ovations. He performed plays while operating. He became a star.

28:30: 'Teeth are chattering. God, it would be nice to have a seizure, to be buffeted by spasms and convulsions until, having discharged all this feeling, I crumpled peacefully to the floor, arms and legs twisted like a smashed doll. Very white bright moon shining down that night, while all hell was breaking loose around us. And I was lying there thinking, "We're doing what men have done since they first stood upright." War didn't stop that night.'

29:20: Joe describes the cemetery surrounding the hospital. He lived in a mausoleum, luxuriously appointed. He rode around in a chauffeured hearse, lying in a coffin. He lost respect for his patients.

33:20: He took up necrophilia with corpses of beautiful young women, began to revive them. Protesters protested that he didn't use his gift on other patients.

38:40: He couldn't stand it. He drove to Idyllwild, then a Buddhist monastery, tried to get an audience with Leonard Cohen[1] Then he went to Key West, then to Osaka's zen stone garden.

40:30: He consulted a psychotherapist who specialized in his problem, conducted therapy in a railroad car. Joe found the motion of the car and the passing scenery therapeutic. The therapy worked. Then he found out that the car didn't move, that 2 assistants cranked a scroll with the images, a tape recorder provided the sound, motors moved the car up and down. The opposite side of the scroll was a Torah, being studied by rabbinical students.

44:10: Joe counts things at the club (similar to 13:20).

44:40: Joe's teeth are chattering; he imagines having a seizure (similar to 14:10)

45:20: (same as at 15:10)

47:40: Joe talks about diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, etc., how they destroy their host, thus themselves. He commends the lesson we can learn from this, concludes, 'we would be able to see the hidden meanings, and implications, and draw inferences, and make from the single notes given to us one at a time, harmonious chords that would make a symphony of meaning, and would permit us through the mediation of its harmonies, to understand more deeply and elementally, the forces at play, the underlying truths, the hidden, and I would say, coded messages. Because time is the most tragic thing we live with, and time is what carries us downstream, toward the river of forgetfulness.'

Legacy Synopsis

Joe is an invisible bank teller, discussing the end of a relationship with god, counting the cobblestones in a restaurant, looking at the moon from a cemetery in war, teeth chattering and seizure fantasy in the first person. Joe becomes a self-trained rock-star-like doctor, coffins in the hospital gift shop, operating in a kitchen, description of a cemetery, raising the dead with sex, a psychiatrist's office in a fake railroad car beside scenery painted on the back of a Torah, diseases destroying their hosts and meditation on time.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with David Rapkin. Recorded, edited, and mixed by Theo Mondle. Music looping by Bob Carlson. The music loops were from Rejuvination and La Funk Mob[2] on the Quango label, with thanks to Bruno Guez, Jason Bentley, and Gaby Ory. Special thanks to Jennifer Ferro, Carly Eiseman, and Esmé Gregson."

External links


  1. who often visited the Buddhist monastery on Mount Baldy.
  2. but The Mighty Bop has sole credit for 'Infrarouge'