A champion of life at the margins and other oddities, Les Blank died on Monday, April 8, 2013. Besides his films on garlic, beer and gap-toothed women, Blank made films about south Louisiana folklife. His film Dry Wood is available online. Blank attended Tulane University in New Orleans, perhaps where he learned about Cajun and Creole music. In his later years he resided in California. I spoke to him at the library convention booth where he was selling his films. When I said I enjoyed his films, he asked “Which ones?”
Dry Wood (1973) is about Creole music and includes Alphonse “Bois Sec” (“Dry Wood”) Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. J’ai Été Au Bal / I Went to the Dance (1989) covers the history of Cajun, Creole and zydeco music. (Soundtrack CDs volume 1 and volume 2 with listening online!) With involvement by Chris Strachwitz, founder of Arhoolie Records. Marc and Ann Savoy are the subjects of Marc & Ann (1991). Cajuns in general are the subject of Spend It All (1971) with Nathan Abshire and the Balfa Brothers. Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990) is about cooking.