November 27, 2020–February 15, 2021
With unrestricted access to the Zappa archives, Alex Winter has crafted a definitive portrait of the great twentieth-century composer, rock star, entrepreneur, social critic, and political activist Frank Zappa. For the most part, Winter allows the visionary artist to speak for himself via numerous interviews given over the course of his career. Generously illustrated with freshly digitized home movies, photographs, audio, and video recordings, the documentary encompasses the whole of Zappa’s life and career and succeeds at being as intimate as it is comprehensive. Including revealing interviews with Frank Zappa’s closest collaborators—including his wife, Gail; musicians Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, David Harrington, and Ruth Underwood; and animator Bruce Bickford—Winter’s documentary provides a welcome opportunity to revisit, or to discover, Zappa’s brilliant music. Distilling influences as varied as pop, rock, R&B, doo-wop, jazz, and twentieth-century composers like Edgar Varese, Igor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern, and serving up the result with a side of humorous, irreverent, critical lyrics, Zappa continues to open ears and minds decades after his death.