Les Blank, 77

From the San Francisco Chronicle lesblank

Les Blank, the poetic documentary filmmaker who gave voice to the obscure and gap-toothed, died Sunday at his home in the Berkeley hills.

. . . .

Over a span of 40 years, Mr. Blank averaged a film a year. He covered topics ranging from Afro-Cuban drummers to Appalachian fiddlers to flower children to a search for the perfect tea leaf in China. One work, 1980’s “Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers,” was screened accompanied by an in-theater roaster, introducing the phenomenon of “Aromaround” to theater audiences.

More here
From his New Orleans documentary, Always for Pleasure:

(top image via Amazon)


2 thoughts on “Les Blank, 77

  1. i saw “garlic…” at the UC theatre in berkeley back in the day, the front of the stage lined up with toaster ovens roasting garlic, les himself walking the garlic up the aisles during the film fanning the aroma into our faces as he passed.

    and also, snuck into a screening of “burden of dreams” with a q&a afterward where he admitted he didn’t know who he was more afraid of, werner herzog or klaus kinski, along with a lot of other good stories about filmmaking.

    he seemed genuinely to be one of those who followed his dreams and whims without a care about being commercial or successful.

    (also, two berkeley people this week — blank and redman. the ground there is strangely fertile…)

    • D – Sorry for the long pause … it’s been a loooong week. More later, but what a great annecdote about the “Garlic” screening and the “Burden of Dreams” quip. Did you see him around Berkeley often just out and about when you were living there?

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