On July 1, 2011 Detroit suffered a serious loss with the death of David Blair, the renowned poet, musician and teacher. The cause of death is of reported natural causes, potentially heat stroke.
It was actually through DETROIT LIVES! that I met Blair to begin with. We had finished up the â€œFarmer and the Philosopherâ€ in 2009 and I wanted to do another short doc similar in style. I saw Blair perform as part of the first TEDxDetroit at Lawrence Tech and decided he was the guyâ€“ â€œthe poet.â€ A few months later, we met and did an interview on the DIA steps and he performed his poem â€œDetroit (While I was Away).â€ It was as breathtaking as usual, even despite the freezing cold outside. That morning, it was really early and I canâ€™t remember why, but we had such a good time. David and I sang Hall and Oates songs in between takes of the interview complete with crude dance moves and waving hands. That morning and singing those songs are easily my fondest memory of the guy.
So, we never finished the film of Blair. There were plans to do an animation sequence on top of the footage of him reciting the poem similar in fashion to the work done by MK12 for the intro to the film â€œStranger than Fictionâ€ (see that sequence here). We ran in to some hurdles with the animation, and have been sitting with the raw footage for a few months now trying to assemble some firepower to push the film to completion.
Thanks to the work of Steven Oliver and some cramming yesterday and today, we took the footage that we had and edited a sequence of him delivering the poem â€œDetroit (While I was Away)â€ and giving his interview sans the MK12â€²esque animation. The goal of getting the film out today is to give folks another way to celebrate the life of such an incredible human being, performer and part of Detroitâ€™s community.
Rest easy David Blair.