The documentary filmmaker Les Blank, who died in 2013, left behind a body of work celebrating American roots culture, food and music.
Many of Tulane alumnus's best-loved works train the lens on south Louisiana — such as "Hot Pepper," a 1973 portrait of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, and "Dry Wood," from the same year, which explores rural Cajun country to the soundtrack of Bois Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot.
Court 13 Arts, a nonprofit arts incubator founded by the New Orleans-based collective that made the Oscar-nominated 2012 film "Beasts of the Southern Wild," adopted the name of Blank’s 1978 film "Always for Pleasure," a dizzy, joyful romp through New Orleans' Carnival, second-line parades and music, for its new annual festival — as well as its charming, eccentric spirit.
The third iteration of the Always For Pleasure Festival, which includes film screenings, music, theater, storytelling, art installations and karaoke, kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 16.
The minifest closes out on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Orpheum Theater, as Court 13 member Viktor Jakolevski presents the New Orleans premiere of "Brimstone & Glory," a documentary about a small Mexican town where the dominant industry (and the inspiration for an annual pyrotechnics festival) is the manufacturing of fireworks. "Brimstone & Glory" is followed by Jonas Carpigniano’s "A Ciambra," a look at the edges of the European refugee crisis in southern Italy via a teenage Romani boy named Pio. "A Ciambra," executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, is the Italian Oscar nominee in the foreign films category this year.
Other events take place at 2801 Franklin Ave., Court 13 Arts’ new headquarters, and comprise an esoteric program that includes a show from the Slow Rollas Brass Band; a program of six original one-act plays; a night of live tales hosted by the local storytelling group Bring Your Own; and an opening-night art exhibition followed by a series of early short films by Court 13 members including Zeitlin, Carpigniano, and partners Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia.
Saturday night also brings a karaoke parade — which organizers claim, probably correctly, is the only such parade there is — followed by a late-night dance party and more karaoke.
Tickets are $10 each for Thursday's and Friday’s events, and $20 for Saturday ($35 for a three-night pass, available at alwaysforpleasure.org). Screenings at the Orpheum are $15, and tickets are available through Ticketmaster.