Crossroads @ SECCA Celebrates Filmmaker Les Blank with Four-Day Retrospective & Special Concert with Leon Russell

By Staff

les blank
les blank

November will bring Winston-Salem one of the best artistic gifts we have recieved in a long time. The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art has announced Crossroads @ SECCA #013, a four-day retrospective of filmmaker Les Blank and concert with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Leon Russell.

“Les Blank is an American treasure whose contributions to documentary film and cinematography are enormous,” said Andy Tennille, curator of Crossroads @ SECCA. “Over the four days, we’ll be screening films from throughout his storied career with contributions from Alice Gerrard, his collaborator on Sprout Wings and Fly, and his son, filmmaker Harrod Blank. It all culminates on Tuesday, November 17, with a screening of A Poem Is A Naked Person and performance by the great Leon Russell. Leon has never performed alongside a screening of A Poem Is A Naked Person, so it promises to be a special night of film and music. Get your tickets early!”

Les Blank was an internationally renowned, independent filmmaker, whose poetic work offers intimate, idiosyncratic glimpses into the lives, culture, and music of the passionate people at the periphery of American society.

The ultimate rock & roll session man and one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Leon Russell’s long and storied career includes collaborations with a virtual who’s-who of music icons spanning from Jerry Lee Lewis to Phil Spector to the Rolling Stones. For perspective on the man and his music it is valuable to note that while shooting the legendary film “Pat Garret & Billy the Kid” in Mexico, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, and Harry Dena Stanton rented a car and drove to New Orleans in order to see Russell live. Dylan has even been known to adjust his schedule in order to make a live Leon Russell show.

The festivities for Crossroads @ SECCA #013 will kick off on Saturday, November 14, at SECCA with screenings of “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins” and “Sprout Wings and Fly” and a special Q&A and performance with folk singer Alice Gerrard, a co-director with Blank on “Sprout Wings and Fly”.

Food is the theme on Sunday, November 15, with screenings of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers and Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking along with a cooking demonstration by Harrison Littell of Five Loaves Catering.

leon russell
leon russell

On Monday, November 16, Harrod Blank, the filmmaker’s son and president of Les Blank Films, will screen “How To Smell A Rose”, an unreleased Les Blank film and a film of his own, “Les Blank on Photography”, while discussing his father’s career as a filmmaker. Harrod will also meet with regional film students during his stay to discuss documentary filmmaking and his father’s career.

The series will culminate on Tuesday, November 17, with a screening of “A Poem Is a Naked Person” followed by a special performance by Russell. Doors will open at 5pm, and the film will start at 7:00pm Russell will perform immediately after the film’s conclusion.

Tickets for all film screenings and the concert go on sale Thursday, September 24 at 11:00am HERE. Doors for each night will be 5:00pm and 1:00pm on Sunday. Food trucks will be on hand each night, and beer from Foothills Brewing will be available for purchase.