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Famed food filmmaker dropping by Shepherdstown

March 21, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The question is: Will he roast the garlic?

Les Blank, a prize-winning independent filmmaker known for his works about food, music and other topics, will be in Shepherdstown on Wednesday to talk about food and show two of his films.

Blank is known for creating unique backdrops for screenings of his documentaries.

When his film "Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers" is shown, Blank periodically puts garlic into a toaster oven to fill the venue with the appropriate aroma.

Blank will be at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center at 7 p.m. when the movie on garlic is shown.

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But it looks like the garlic roasting will not be part of the presentation, said Mark Madison, the historian for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who worked with Shepherdstown resident Allan Balliett to bring Blank to Shepherdstown.

Madison said he figured it would not be a good idea to do that at the center, where researchers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are trained.

"I don't think we can have the aroma of garlic there all week," Madison said, laughing.

Blank's visit will start at 5 p.m. at the Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant on West German Street.

Blank will speak about food and Creole culture during a dinner that will include culinary delights such as chicken and sausage gumbo, and rhubarb pecan crisp, Madison said.

Tickets for the 5 p.m. dinner at the restaurant are sold out, organizers said.

Besides the film "Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers," Blank's film "Yum, Yum, Yum," will be shown at the National Conservation Training Center on Shepherd Grade Road, organizers said.

Admission to the films is free.

Major retrospectives of Blank's films have been mounted in cities across the U.S., and National Public Radio and CNN have aired specials on him, according to his Web site.

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