How Quirky is Berkeley? Frank Moore’s Curtis Street home

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: John Storey
1231 Curtis St. Photo: John Storey

The front yard of 1231 Curtis Street is ultra-Berkeley Quirky — peace signs, bright colors, tie-dye motif, happy words.

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: John Storey
1231 Curtis St. Photo: John Storey

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

As things now stand, the door is in the top three for quirky Berkeley doors.

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: John Storey
1231 Curtis St. Photo: John Storey

The SUV parked outside the house (a “LUVeRmobile) suggests the same quintessentially Berkeley quirky values.

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

Linda Mac and Mikee LaBash live here.


Mikkee LaBash and Linda Mac. Photo: Colleen Neff
Mikee LaBash and Linda Mac. Photo: Colleen Neff

They were longtime collaborators with shaman/performance artist Frank Moore, who lived here until his death in 2013.

Frank Moore as visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991. Photo: Linda Mac
Frank Moore as visiting artist at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991. Photo: Linda Mac

Berkeleyside published an obituary of Moore, detailing his remarkable and prolific journey of performance and writing, despite an inability to walk or talk.

Frank Moore photograph, 1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
Photograph of Frank Moore, 1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

The front yard is the tip of the quirky iceberg. The interior is stunning, reflecting a lifetime of work by the self-described wounded healer, Moore, and his creative, passionate collaborators.

The first thing you see when you come in the door, to the degree that you can focus on any one thing, is an upright piano, decorated, as is the front door, by LaBash.

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

Art abounds, much of which Moore painted using a brush attached to a headband, a quarter of the canvas at a time.


1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

The woman depicted in the center painting is Patti Smith, whom Moore met at Berkeley’s Rather Ripped Records.

LaBash works as a graphic artist.

Mike LaBash. Photo: Colleen Neff
Mike LaBash. Photo: Colleen Neff

His work blends with Moore’s on the walls.

Art by Mikee LaBash, 1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
Art by Mikee LaBash, 1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff
Art by Mikee LaBash, 1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
Art by Mikee LaBash, 1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

Behind the house is a studio where Moore met with visitors and friends.

1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

The interior reflects Moore’s joy and creativity.


Studio interior, 1231 Curtis Street. Photo: Colleen Neff
Studio interior, 1231 Curtis St. Photo: Colleen Neff

Over the years, Moore developed several different boards that enabled him to “speak” by pointing to commonly used words, or spelling out words. Mac was with Moore for 40 years, and her ability to understand his thoughts and speech patterns let her speak for him at almost conversational speed.

Speaking board. Photograph: Colleen Neff
Speaking board. Photograph: Colleen Neff

Mac and LaBash continue to catalog and make available Moore’s work, both online and at the Bancroft Library. The opening web page to Moore’s work:

WAPWarningSign I don’t think that I would have lasted long at a Frank Moore performance — I’m just not wired that way. But I do know that sitting and talking with Mac and LaBash in the home infused with the spirit of the wounded healer was inspiring and energizing and door-opening.

Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,000 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.

For a fuller version of this post, see Quirky Berkeley.

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