THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD: Brand new rewards from THE Bruce Bickford!
Happy Frank Friday, Freaks!
Yes, it’s #FrankFriday, which means I have an exclusive new clip to share... and if your ideal Friday evening would be spent exploring Frank’s office with Vaultmeister Joe, you're in for a good time!
But first, I've got some exciting news to share with you!
We spend a lot of these updates talking about Frank. Which I love, obviously, but there are a lot of incredible people who worked with Frank — musicians, animators, designers, and more — and it's been such an awesome experience hearing from some of those guys about how excited they are about this campaign, and about how they can help!
Today, we’ve got a great one to tell you about: a long-time creative collaborator who is responsible for crafting some of Frank's trippiest visual sequences: Bruce Bickford.
A personal story.
When Baby Snakes was released in 1979, I was a kid, living in New York City and acting on Broadway in Peter Pan. I have a very strong memory of leaving the theater alone one night in Times Square — and this is when it still was "Taxi Driver" Times Square, not today's cleaned up "Disney" Times Square.
It's a windy and cold NYC night and I'm a kid alone on those mean streets, which seemed creepier than normal. I'm on my way home, when I suddenly hear this super weird cacophonous noise and someone in a scary voice squealing "Baaabbbyyyy Ssssnaaaakkkkeesss…"
I just about jumped out of my skin and turned to see... Bickford's far-out animation! It was the trailer for the new Zappa movie, playing on a monitor outside the dingy theater:
For a few minutes, I stood there watching, dazed, instantly transfixed by Bickford's ferocious claymation. Then, once I had seen it a few times, I snapped to and ran my ass home to safety.
And that, friends, was my intro to the truly amazing Bruce Bickford, whose art has been burned onto my retina for decades.
Meet The Amazing Mr. Bickford.
So, who is Bruce Bickford? He's an award-winning animator — in fact, a claymation pioneer — who worked with Frank Zappa throughout the ‘70s. Wish you could’ve been a fly on the wall for those conversations? ME TOO, but watching them have this chat about what exactly happens to Billy the Mountain is as close I’ve come:
Bruce was still a teenager when he made his first claymation film on 8mm. A few years later, in 1973, he traveled down to L.A. from home in the Pacific Northwest specifically to work with an artist he seriously admired: You guessed it — Frank.
And FZ admired him back!
Frank knew talent when he saw it, and he loved Bickford’s dizzying, twisted, vivid, unpredictable, and constantly flowing claymation style. The pair began a collaboration that lasted six and a half years, including work on the films A Token Of His Extreme (Dub Room Special) and, of course, Baby Snakes. In fact, Frank didn’t just admire Bruce — he found him amazing. So amazing, in fact, that in 1987 he created an entire cinematic ode to Bickford’s career: a video called The Amazing Mr. Bickford.
Fast-forward to about a week ago: You guys can only imagine how fucking psyched I was when Bruce got in touch with me to voice his support for this whole project. And even cooler, he not only gets (and loves) what we're doing, he actually wants to do even more. So, he's offered to create something truly amazing to help the Kickstarter...
3 NEW REWARDS from BRUCE BICKFORD
That's right: Bruce Bickford has offered to create a series of new original artwork, and he's donating the work as special Kickstarter rewards we can use to help #SaveTheVault and tell Frank's story.
More specifically, Bruce has agreed to create five original, hand-made claymation sculptures of Frank, focused on different moments in his career, and an original illustration in homage to Frank.
Think about that: The genius who spent years creating insane art with Frank has agreed to create new, original artwork featuring Frank… and a few of you will get to keep it!
If you're as excited about this as I am, you'll want to check out the three new rewards we just added:
- TRACK 5555: MR. BICKFORD - MAGIC FINGERS
- Get an original Bruce Bickford claymation sculpture of Frank. Only five are available, total, and each of them depicts Frank at a different moment in his career. Plus, you'll get a signed Certificate of Authenticity and all of the rewards listed in TRACK 1000, including VIP tickets to our Premiere and Afterparty.
- TRACK 11111: MR. BICKFORD - CREATIONISM
- Own the original Bruce Bickford illustration -- one-of-a-kind -- that he's creating just for this campaign. We're guessing this will be in colored pencil, but that's up to Bruce himself... but whatever it is, we'll send it to you, signed and framed, along with a Certificate of Authenticity. Plus, we'll make you an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER on the movie, with all of the rewards and perks included in TRACK 6000.
- TRACK 22222: THE AMAZING MR. BICKFORD
- This is the really big one: Bruce will create three original claymation sculptures of Frank at different moments in his career, just for you, and can tell you all about them on a private phone call. Plus, we'll make you an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER on the movie, with all of the rewards and perks included in TRACK 10,000.
Remember, this Kickstarter will be your only chance to get any of these new works from Bruce, so now's a great time to start (or expand) your original artwork collection and help #SaveTheVault.
If you want to get in on this but can't afford to grab one of the originals, we're also offering a very limited run of BICKFORD/ZAPPA ART PRINTS, signed and unsigned, featuring Bruce's new illustration. I personally cannot wait to see these.
Oh, and they're only available as Add-On Rewards on zappamovie.com.
Yes: What the fuck is an Add-On Reward?
If you're new to this campaign, or missed out when we first announced Add-On Rewards, listen up: In addition to our reward packages here on Kickstarter, you can also pick and choose from other "Add-On Rewards" at our website, including:
- Limited edition FZ GUITAR STRAPS & GUITAR PICKS
- Reissues of RARE ZAPPA SONGBOOKS
- Classic FZ albums on VINYL and CASSETTE
So, whether you've pledged on Kickstarter or not, Add-On Rewards are another great way to help us raise the funds we need to #SaveTheVault and tell Frank's story — and everything you contribute for Add-Ons does count toward our stretch goals!
(For more details, check out our Add-On Reward FAQ!)
And finally, because it’s #FrankFriday, let's check in with Joe Travers to see a little more of Frank’s house. There’s a LOT more good stuff to come, everyone. Can’t wait to share more of it with you.
WANT TO HELP SAVE MORE OF THE VAULT?
JUST COPY-AND-POST ONE OF THESE MESSAGES ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO HELP US REACH MORE ZAPPA FANS:
Zappa fans everywhere are throwing down to #SaveTheVault. Check out who just got involved, & learn how YOU can too: zappamovie.com/updates
Big news! The Amazing Mr. Bickford himself has just joined in to help #SaveTheVault! Learn more at zappamovie.com/update11