Blank attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where he received a B.A. in English literature and an M.F.A. in theater. Following his university education he founded his own production company, Flower Films, and all of his films since that time have been independently produced, often with the assistance of grants from cultural agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.
Most of his films focus on American traditional music forms including (among others) blues, Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, polka, tamburica, and Hawaiian musics. Many of these films are the only filmed documents of musicians who are now deceased.
Blank's films focusing on musical subjects often spend much of their running time focusing not on the music itself but on the music's cultural context, lending richness to the portrayals of the surroundings from which these American roots musics come.
Other notable films on non-musical subjects include a film about garlic and another about gap-toothed women. His most recent project, White Feathers, Black Bones, begun in 1997 and as yet unreleased, is a profile of the Berkeley, California-based tea importer and adventurer David Lee Hoffman.
Blank lives in California.
Les Blank Facts
|Birthday||November 27, 1935 (81)|
|Birthplace||Tampa, Florida, USA|
|Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams|
|Les Blank: Always for Pleasure|
|A Poem Is a Naked Person|
|Burden of Dreams|
|All In This Tea|
|J'Ai Ete au Bal|
|World Class Documentaries|