An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism, A Poem Is a Naked Person presents the beloved singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell as filmed by documentarian Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. Blank’s camera lets us into the world of Russell and his friends and fellow artists in and around his recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, capturing intimate, off-the-cuff moments and combining them with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status. Now, after more than forty years, it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty.
Running December through January, the American Quirk Film Series is presented in conjunction with Wonder, Wild, Whimsy: Folk Art in America, on view through February 28. Like this stupendously fun and surprising presentation of American folk art created between 1800 and 1925, the American Quirk Film Series explores creative expression and examines cultural identity through the works of American documentary filmmakers Les Blank, Albert and David Maysles, and Errol Morris.
Director: Les Blank | USA | 1974, 2015 | 93 minutes
Tickets are available online until 2:30 pm the day of the screening or 2:30 pm on Friday for weekend matinees. Tickets are also available at Visitor Services, or by calling 901.544.6208 during regular business hours. Unsold tickets are also available in the rotunda immediately preceding a screening.