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Uncle Meat, a 1987 film directed by Frank Zappa, encapsulates the musician’s showmanship, eccentricities, and brilliance in 100 minutes—perhaps clarifying his mission for the faint-of-heart folks who don’t see the genius in classics such as “Fuck Your Self” or “Valley Girls.” Shot over 19 years—the delays were mostly due to budget constraints—Uncle Meat chronicles the exploits of Zappa’s werewolf-like keyboard player, Don Preston, whose attempts at writing the perfect song are interrupted by his penchant for inter-species transmogrification. Weirdness defines the entire enterprise: Old-timey silent-film footage is paired with boogie-woogie music; fully dressed men hump each other wildly; psychedelic concert footage is mashed with home-movie footage and interspersed with fictional narratives. Due to the fervor with which the Zappa estate protects its founder’s legacy, opportunities to see Uncle Meat on the big screen are rare; catch it while you can.
UNCLE MEAT SHOWS AT 7 P.M. AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS’ MARY PICKFORD THEATER, 101 INDEPENDENCE AVE. SE. FREE (RSVP REQUIRED). (202) 707-5677.