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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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ZAPPA mines the totality of Frank, watch the viewing party, Nov. 27

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Before reviewing ZAPPA, which is available to view now from Magnolia Pictures, the question is whether only a musician is qualified to speak with authority on the influential totality of Frank Zappa. Then you realize anyone who is part of his fandom has felt Zappa’s musical influence. That being his sonic fearlessness, and in a way, personal pain expressed through notes and lyrics. Meaning the real Zappa music is classically infused, often deliciously frivolous, maybe angry, definitely inventive, and ultimately culture-shaping. On Nov. 27, director Alex Winter will host a Twitter watch party with an invite included here. Delicious details of this documentary include Jimi Hendrix on the cover of one album, Frank's obsessive life-long catalog of his entire life's work, and the breathtakingly forgiveness of Gail Zappa, who understood just what made her husband tick.

MothersBeatlesZappa2020

Frank Zappa died in 1993. He was only 52, and already described as a “musical iconoclast” in the many obituaries that covered his shock death. Like Steve Jobs, he succumbed to prostate cancer. Also like Jobs, Zappa grew up as a self-taught explorer of things that are often viewed as the purview of experts.

In these explorations, Frank Zappa created a new way to interpret not only music, but the cross-platform use of media long before the term existed. Alex Winter directed this exhaustive documentary. Exhaustive is the best word to describe this masterwork because it will leave you floored at the depth and breadth of the creative output made by Frank Zappa. 

ZAPPA includes most of his musical associates, but also Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmed, and his power-behind-the-scenes wife Gail Zappa. FrankGailZappa2020His songs were a family affair, with his greatest commercial hit chalked up to Moon, who created a cultural sensation with “Valley Girl.”

Steve Vai has a few poignant words about his former band leader. This is the kind of subtext musicians will love.

There is a laundry list of awards, breakthroughs, but his relationship with musical outliers like Captain Beefheart touches on the ‘no commercial potential’ edge of extreme sonic innovation that reveals Zappa as a true Revolutionary.

Watch for the Zappa You Think You Knew

Catch the official blurb - With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, ZAPPA explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others. Available everywhere Thanksgiving Week Directed by Alex Winter

Follow along on the @MagnoliaPics Twitter page this Friday, November 27th at 5pm PT / 8pm PT for a Live Watch Party with Alex Winter, Glen Zipper, Mike Nichols, Diva Zappa & more using #ZappaParty!

https://twitter.com/zappamovie https://www.instagram.com/zappamovie/ https://www.facebook.com/ZappaMovie/ #ZAPPAMovie # # #

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

LA Correspondent for filmfestivals.com


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