Les Blank is Even Cooler In Person

(Dinner at Hoffmans: Jack Kamesar regales, Les Blank listens, Bee Hoffman chops olives

It is said among the Irish that the great writers are merely Failed Talkers.

Les Blank is not the gabby type at first…but the stories will come if you just ease the cork out of the bottle…and wait.

Who is Les Blank?” you ask.

Ah…only the premier roots music -cajun gourmet- documentary maker in the USA, of the most scrupuloously non-commercial sort. A self-described Failed Writer (I’m not buying it), he got his start in industrial film making.
You have to click on his name to see the huge array of films he’s made in these past 40 years.
I saw his work in high school, thanks to an enthusiastic film teacher (THANK YOU MR. JAY!!).

Now all you readers know I’m a tea nut (see WOMBATS). Les’ latest film, All In This Tea was begun in the last century… after a twelve years the film has been wrapped (and is currently touring film festivals worldwide), starring David Lee Hoffman, a global wanderer/accidental businessman who grew a tea company (Silk Road) “in spite of trying to keep it small and manageable”.

Hoffman’s dessert first attitude (“life is short”) shines throughout the film, where you see him tangle horns with Chinese business officials and blissfully snort huge bags of superior tea. He prevails (sort of) and nowadays there are tea-markets for precisely the fine teas that were (and still are) disappearing under the wheels of agribusiness-as-usual. Like we do it here, eh?

Well, the footage lay around–actually it was digital so maybe it ‘hovered’ in bit-space–from that ‘last century” until Gina Leibrecht, a young filmmaker unafraid of tackiing huge daunting projects, took hold of it and shaped it into a feature length film….while learning grant-writing, and all the other things that bring flower projects to fruition.
Now, I’m getting ahead of myself. I just wanted to say:
Somehow a cascading sequence of visits, articles and emails led to my interviewing him on KWMR (maybe it’s retrievable–it’s LONG, an hour) and we returned to David Hoffman’s lair to find out Les had spun some stories no one had ever heard.
This means…either I need a job as a minor interviewer, or Les needs to star in his OWN documentary. Hmmm . How to make it happen?
Check out all the fllms he’s made…Flower films…flower power…nascent art, ‘fleurishing culture”, beauty partout…
Cheers to you,Les!

~ by jacquiephelan on March 6, 2008.

3 Responses to “Les Blank is Even Cooler In Person”

  1. Hey, when this comes out on DVD, let me know. I seriously doubt the film will come close to where I live(middle of nowhere).

  2. I think both should happen. I’ll put in a letter to NPR promoting you for you for their next new radio show, and then you can promote Les’s documentary to a national audience. Perfect!

  3. my e-mails to you are bouncing

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