Last night, Tuesday, July 9th, The Les Blank Tribute/film festival showed "Sworn to the Drum" and "A Well-Spent Life". There was good attendance, including a few faces from the Saint Petersburg contingent who dared cross the Bay. It was great to see Ed, Elena and John Capouya, UT professor, NYT journalist, and writer extraordinaire. At these screenings in the Grown Man Studios, the audience, which is packed with creatives, is as interesting as the movie!
A Well-Spent Life is a portrait/character study of Mance Lipscomb, one of the greatest blues guitarists ever, filmed in his town and around his property/house. The Les Blank touch of transparency behind the camera is evident, which gives viewers a sense of intimacy that seems unmediated. Lipscomb, like so many of Blank's subjects, turns out to not only be a master guitarist, but an intensely humane, community-minded person and keen observer of the social structure he lives in and human nature in general. Blank does not succumb to the lure of the spectacular. Instead, he reminds us of what it means to be human.
In Sworn to the Drum, Master Afro-Cuban percussionist Francisco Aguabella is featured. A man steeped in tradition, like other Blank subjects, part of a rich socio-historical fabric that goes back for centuries to Matanzas, Cuba, then to Africa. We see Aguabella as the outcome of this thread, keeper of the flame, and teacher who is passing the baton to generations to come. This drumming harkens back to a time and place where religion and art were one, and we are given a taste of the ceremonial/sacred aspects.
Tonight, Wednesday, July 10th, is Innocents Abroad, 1991. It is about a tour of American tourists in Europe. Only $5.00 Doors open at 7:00 PM, all at Grown Man Studios, 6412 Central Ave, Tampa.