Dr Frank Superstar

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 4.24.2020

Frank Portman
6 min readApr 24, 2020


photo by Stefano Bevilaqua

Whyyyyyy must I die? I mean, not right now, just one day, it’ll happen eventually is what I mean. And of course I know why. Ecclesiastes 3 and all that. I’ll just leave worrying about that to future Dr Frank and direct present day Dr Frank to make an annotated, illustrated, expanded collation of the week’s Dr Frank web like he does every week. So let it be written; so let it be done.

And it shall be called the Weakly Reader. And it shall be read by very few, but shall perhaps come in handy later one if anyone wants to search for any of the items contained therein.

And so my friends, on the weak that was..


— MTX live, Lower Sproul, UC Berkeley, 1991 (just a photo):

I don’t remember anything at all about the set, but I do remember being mildly reprimanded for getting back to work a bit late afterwards. It’s a long way to the lower upper middle if you want to rock and roll…

— Timing is everything: Leslie drove past the Gilman Street building just as “At Gilman Street” from Big Black Bugs came on the car stereo. Spooky, but bound to happen eventually.

— All My Tapes: six years ago I got all my tapes, sixteen bins worth, with no idea where to put them or what to do with them. Therein lies a tale, and the rest is history in the making and a triumph of the human spirit.

— Man or Astroman, MTX, Hi-Fives: Tony on Instagram dug up an old, quite cool poster for this show at San Jose’s old FX venue. And coincidentally, I happened on a photo of the FX marquee that night. Also spooky, yet maybe also bound to happen eventually. (Also there was one of me in the London flat with Alcatraz-era sweatshirt.)

— Queers, Cub, MTX, Smugglers. Great lineup obviously, but that show, as I remember it, was wall-to-wall squalor, iniquity, and ill will. Don’t know what it is about Connecticut, it’s got such a great name.

— Virtual scrapbooking: the Flipside review of Love Is Dead is very generous and surprisingly accurate.

Ciao Italia! It occurs to me that the main, perhaps the only, reason we have so many Italian fans and friends is because we happened to tour there with Green Day in 1996. A subset of the young kids who were at those massive shows developed their own little MTX “subculture” and have kept it alive to this day. If that tour hadn’t been cut short this phenomenon could well have happened in other European countries as well, who knows? But it didn’t, and because it didn’t Italy is our safe European home (if “safe European home” is the term I want.) Ciao!

— …and your Friday morning “Told You Once” — and I’m so sorry. I find this stuff on the internet, which giveth and which taketh away, but sometimes when it giveth it giveth it good and hard.

Originally thus. Covers playlist here.


The Yes Album and the Weirdness of Ideology and Not Knowing Your Own Mind: just a thing I wrote on the subject, one of my most-read posts on Medium.

— Any hat in a storm: in deepest darkest Norfolk, in another life (inset at left).

— Dept. of bons mots:

accidentally like a larder, the beans get spilt and the spam gets smarter

I’ve realized I have a different idea of “art” than a lot of people. I don’t want to see a plan for the reform of society. I just want to see an off kilter reaction to a riot of randomness, vaguely hoping it’ll be sort of interesting.

— Unfortunate debunkings: of Einhorn / Earth Day, Duvel, Budweiser, and Tim Curry’s putative Zoroastrianism, in one convenient post.

— All My Hitlers, for 4.20… the original (Mtx forever version) plus Hitlers from Lauren, Dr Frank and the Bye Bye Blackbirds; Me, Kepi, and AR-7 at Jess’s birthday party… and then there’s this:

— Dr Frank — “I Want to Hold Your Ear”: me doing Jeffrey A. Moss’s great Sesame Street song for Song for Odin:

As a fan of Moss, Sesame Street, Bert, and just great songwriting, this song is very personally meaningful to me. “Minor secrets” write-up is here. Songs for Odin playlist is here. For those who care, if such there be, this is the 131st entry, covering 109 songs, in the Songs for Odin “series.”


— The Secret Oil Patch Roots of “Summer Breeze”: If you’re like me (highly unlikely but go with it) you’ll come out of this Texas Monthly article with a whole new appreciation of Seals & Crofts and “Summer Breeze”.


— Philip Roth on writing as “performance”, as astute an observation as I’ve seen, still something I think about a lot, from one of the best writers that ever was…


— Roman Calendar: Blake’s risen Christ, for Easter Saturday; quasi modo; St Agnes of Montepulciano by Domenico Beccafumi; St Anselm, illuminated Meditations; Lorenzo Monaco’s Martyrdom of Pope Caius; St George and the dragon, by Luca Signorelli; Fidelis of Sigmaringen

— Sensual: callipygian; feline; Vader-ine; negligine

— Nonsensual: Peter Sellers with Britt Ekland; Time-Space by J. Frederick Smith; hey, have you tried cheese?; Spock with GTO, evidently real; “he’s more myself than I am” (a brief dip into Wuthering Heights); Jim Henson with Bert (see “I Want to Hold Your Ear” post above); turn left for Hicksville

…and not forgetting Ginger, America’s typical teen-age girl on the history teachers, which our man Klode, bless him, has rendered thus:

— … and finally:


— Remember the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Wars? Hard to believe what trivial nonsense we were all trying to destroy each over just a couple of months ago. Bari Weiss has more on this in a terrific essay. The optimist in me hopes and maybe even expects that we’ll learn the inadvertent lesson this virus has taught us, that there are more important things in this world than… everything twitter used to be all mad about all the time, and that we’ll emerge from this pandemic with a better, more constructive, more adult outlook on our fellow man and our world; the pessimist in me suspects otherwise. We’ll see who’s right.


And that’ll wrap her up, as it’s all I got. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s a naked gal in a straw hat playing a white acoustic guitar:

See you next week.