Alex Winter to Host Screening of His Documentary ZAPPA at Tinker Street Cinema

He’s the man you probably know best from his starring role alongside Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  But these days, Alex Winter is not only a talented actor but an impressive filmmaker, one entrusted by the family of Frank Zappa to create the ultimate documentary charting his iconoclastic life and career, 2020’s ZAPPA

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On Saturday, November 19 at 8 pm, Winter will be coming to Woodstock’s legendary Tinker Street Cinema to host a special screening of this watershed music documentary. 

Winter began work on the film in 2015 by creating a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $1.1 million to restore much of the unseen archival footage in Zappa’s legendary “vault.” He was the first and only filmmaker to be granted unfettered access to this material as well as some of Zappa’s never-before-heard sound recordings. With it, Winter crafted a portrait that showed the artistic triumphs and challenges faced by this one-of-a-kind creative force, an icon whose influence on culture and politics was truly global.  Winter’s documentary delves into Zappa’s upbringing, the many stages of his long career, his campaigns as an advocate for free speech and the newly freed Czech Republic, all the way to his final battle with cancer, which ended his insanely productive life at 52.  Also featured are interviews with Frank’s widow, the late Gail Zappa, and many of his musical collaborators through the years including Ruth and Ian Underwood, Bunk Gardner, Steve Vai, Scott Thunes and Ray White.

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Portrait of Alex Winter. CREDIT: Philip Cheung

Winter’s film received high praise from critics worldwide, including outlets like The Guardian UK, The New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Wall Street Journal, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.  You can find’s own extensive rave review here.

“Our cinema is a celebration of the bold, experimental and surreal, so Alex’s fantastic film on Zappa makes perfect sense for us and our audience,” says Andy Braunstein. “The fact that Alex lived here for a time, right next to the cinema in fact, will make this event a true homecoming.”

The Zappa event is just one example of the Tinker Street Cinema’s dedication to the fusion of film and music.

Like its neighbor, Upstate Films’ Orpheum Theater in Saugerties, the Tinker Street Cinema has produced several notable events where live soundtracks are created to accompany screenings of classic films.  In June 2021, genre-leaping Australian composer JG Thirlwell, best known for his work as Foetus, presented “Silver Mantis,” a live performance set to film by Sten Backman. In August 2021, the theater presented Fritz Lang’s silent era classic, Metropolis, with music by Reel Orchestrette.  And on Halloween weekend,  the Tinker Street Cinema screened the horror classic, Night of the Living Dead, with a live score by Morricone Youth.

In acknowledgment of Woodstock’s history as home to some of the greats of contemporary music, the theater serves up a hefty platter of music-centric films, ones often hosted by local music luminaries.  Earlier this month, the cinema featured a screening of Amadeus (The Director’s Cut) hosted by The Dresden Dolls, the duo of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione.  Other films featured recently included AC/DC: Let There Be RockWoodstock and Poly Styrene: I am A Cliché. The theater will soon be screening  Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road hosted by its producer and writer, Woodstock’s own Jason Fine.

On November 26, the Tinker Street Cinema will present a Jimi Hendrix Birthday tribute. This event will boast various films about the guitarist and live performances by artists including Chogyi Lama, a young Hendrix acolyte who just happens to be the grandson of Woodstock legend Richie Havens.  On December 10, The Tinker Street Cinema will also have an evening dedicated to experimental music with a psychedelic lightshow.  Brock Monroe of the Joshua Lightshow will create a backdrop for performances by edge-pushing musicians including Nepenthae and the trio of Lea Bertucci, Ric Royer and Ben Vida.  The Tinker Street team is also finalizing plans that will bring The Black Lips to the theater, along with a screening of The Roar of Snowmobiles, a documentary dedicated to the racers and collectors of vintage ‘60s models.

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Founded in 1961 in a pre-Civil War church, the Tinker Street Cinema has also been the site of a variety of musical performances through the years, public and private.  The venue was reopened in the summer of 2021 by Ben Rollins and Lily Korolkoff, owners of the nearby Station Bar & Curio, and Andy “Animal” Braunstein, a film aficionado and Woodstock native known for his Meltasia music festivals.

Notably, the theater was also the site where Jimi Hendrix rehearsed and jammed in the days before his history-making performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.   The below video captures some of the sounds and pictures, including a proto version of his iconic take on “The Star Spangler Banner.”

“We’re a very musical town with a long and rich history, so it’s only natural that the marriage of film and music is a centerpiece of our creative mission,” concludes Braunstein.  “We’re passionate, maybe obsessed is a better word, to do everything we can to keep the flame of rock-n-roll burning bright.”

Watch Jimi Hendrix jam at Tinker Street Cinema 

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