Insiders knew it was coming, but Monday morning’s announcement that a Los Angeles auction house intends to sell off the personal possessions of American composer, Frank Zappa, hit hard all the same. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, items that will be sold to the highest bidder on November 4 include the purple turtleneck sweater worn by Zappa in the 1971 movie, 200 Motels, various hotel keys collected by Frank and Gail Zappa during their travels, and Frank’s posthumous Grammy award.
Frank Zappa’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award is scheduled for the auction block, as are gold records that were awarded to The Mothers of Invention and Zappa’s other bands. According to Julien’s Auctions, Zappa household items to be auctioned include a metal chandelier from Venice, an ornately carved wooden bookcase, and an Italian baroque coffee table that graced the Zappa family home. This writer’s request for information regarding any guitars that may be auctioned remains unanswered by Julien’s Auctions.
Dilettantes and investors are undoubtedly drooling over the prospect of purchasing the personal possessions of the late Frank Zappa. Persons with a beautiful heart, such as Frank’s eldest daughter, are appalled by the idea. In June, Moon Zappa published a lengthy Facebook post in which she described her vision for the Laurel Canyon home where she grew up. Moon’s vision, of course, included the family treasures that are to be sold off in November.
“I wanted to turn our childhood home into a bed and breakfast/museum/retreat center where fans could pilgrimage and artists could record on sacred soil. I wanted to cook meals for you in the real Dangerous Kitchen and teach you yoga in my childhood living room. I wanted Dweezil to give you a master class on music in the home studio playing the guitars he inherited. I wanted Ahmet to give you a tour of his old bedroom and let you slide down his fire pole, and I hoped you’d watch Bruce Willis movies with Diva in her old bedroom with the glitter floors while she kept steady hands diligently continuing to knit her mile long scarf.”
Please note that Moon Zappa’s dream of turning the family into a bed and breakfast and allowing musicians to record in Frank’s renowned Utility Muffin Research Kitchen includes all Zappa siblings. If only Ahmet and Diva were so generous. Alas, that is not the case at all.
As reported by the Inquisitr back in April, Frank’s widow, Gail Sloatman Zappa, ignored her dying husband’s wish that she sell his master tapes and get out of the music business completely. Instead, she went on to wield ham-fisted control over everyone and everything connected with the Zappa name. Upon her own demise in October of last year, Gail Zappa handed control of the Zappa Family Trust to her two youngest children, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa and Diva Muffin Zappa. As Moon Zappa notes in her June Facebook post, she and Dweezil Zappa are beneficiaries of the ZFT but are not involved in its administration. Moon added that she and Dweezil have, so far, received zilch from the Zappa Family Trust which is now some $20 million in debt due to Gail’s mismanagement and the continuing bad business practices of baby brother, Ahmet.
“GZ managed to make 20 million dollars disappear with the team she had in place, the team the ZFT has lovingly kept in place. Does NO-ONE think this is INSANE?”
Moon is not the only Zappa family member to be dismayed by the upcoming auction. Earlier today, Bob Zappa described his feelings about Julien’s auctioning off his brother’s personal possessions.
“The Julien’s auction of Frank Zappa’s belongings, like his music awards, articles of clothing and other personal items is an offense to his memory. It is also a pathetic excuse to generate money to pay debts amassed from incredibly stupid business dealings after his death.”
The nine-bedroom, five-bathroom Zappa family home at 7885 Woodrow Wilson Drive in the Hollywood Hills is not being sold by Julien’s Auctions, but it’s on the market, as well. The public listing describes the secluded estate as “8,000 square feet of rock star paradise, complete with a rooftop tennis court, guest cottage, and a swimming pool.” Several months ago, documentary filmmaker and erstwhile child actor, Alex Winter, attempted to glean $9 million on Kickstarter to buy the house but did not raise enough funds to complete the purchase. Variety magazine states that the current asking price for the Zappa family home is $5,495,000. The home has been emptied of personal possessions and is currently staged for sale with generic furnishings. Here’s how it looked prior to for-sale staging.
The November 4 auction will not be the first time that Julien’s has brought down the gavel on the personal property of Frank Zappa. In recent years, the auction house turned a tidy profit on more than 900 Zappa childhood photos and hand-notated musical compositions by the esteemed 20th century composer.
Entitled “The Property from the Estate of Frank and Gail Zappa,” the upcoming auction will take place at Julien’s Auction Gallery at 741 North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles on November 4, 2016. The morning session will start at 10 a.m. sharp, and the second auction session is set to begin at 2 p.m. A free public exhibition of the Zappa memorabilia to be auctioned will occur at the same location from October 31 through November 3. For $100.00, prospective bidders can pre-order the complete printed Zappa auction catalog which is expected to ship in October.
[Photo by Kurt Strumpf/AP Images]