I’ve written a couple of times about what happens when your heroes and heroines become friends. For me, it brings about a feeling of connection to the ever-expanding universe; all things are possible.  A girl from the countryside in Alabama can dine with royalty (in all its meanings).  The picture above is proof. When I look at this picture, I laughingly think of The Death of Roy Batty in Blade Runner: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain….” However, those moments will not be lost. Knowing and dining with Les Blank gives me a connection to the stories and tiny details of human nature that make me a bigger, and better, person. His contribution to the genre of documentary film is exceptional; his contribution to my life is priceless.  His clear vision of humanity (like that of The Kitchen Sisters)  helped mold the designer, story lover, and human being I am today. I am so sad to write that my friend, and hero, is very ill with a protracted cancer.  The City of Berkeley, California declared January 22nd the official Les Blank Day and wrote this: “With a soft spoken demeanor, an eye for beauty, an insightful mind and great enthusiasm, Les Blank has captured the essence of aspects of American culture,” and “through his respectful, quiet presence, and non-didactic style created films that allow his subjects to reveal their true selves in a unique way.” Well deserved.  The world is a better place because of Les Blank, visionary wayfarer. P.S.: Photo above with Les and Alice Waters from April 2008 at The Edible Schoolyard (where Les first filmed and then cleaned everyone’s plate).

1 comment on “LES BLANK (A LOVE LETTER)

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  1. Nicole (Nicky) Thomas

    Dear Natalie,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I had the wonderful opportunity to work for Les the summer before I started working at the Edible Schoolyard. He would take these lovely cat naps, and let me ditch work to accompany him to screenings that were so delicious and subversive on weekday afternoons. The day of the 1st retreat at ESY was truly magical, and seeing you, Alice and Les together was an experiential trifecta. My worlds colliding in the best way. In another special collision Cynthia Connolly and I went to dinner with Les at Chez Panisse and wouldn’t you know that with a photographer, a documentary filmmaker and me – Jill of all trades, master of none- we failed take a photo. I got to eat there quite a bit while working at ESY and that was my favorite night of all. He was such a lovely man who will, no doubt, live on through us all.
    I am so sorry that I will be out of town when you are in Berkeley, but do know that I still stitch often and think of you, your stories and your lovely work even more.
    Love to you, Butch, and your circle,