Leon Russell visits Tulsa for premiere of documentary at Circle Cinema

TULSA - He’s just a local boy who became a superstar.

Leon Russell returned to Tulsa this week for the opening of the documentary “A Poem is a Naked Person.”

Now playing at Circle Cinema, the film gives fans, or “Leon Lifers”, insight to Leon Russell’s life in the early 1970s.

“[They] kind of had somebody following him around with a camera and I’m imagining that this is what I’m going to see,” said David Teegarden.

Leon Russell’s friend, and fan, David Teegarden was among those at the premiere Thursday night. A Grammy winning musician himself, Teegarden met Leon in the 60s before the film was made.

“[I] gave him my phone number and about a week or so later he called and said ‘Come on out.’”

Teegarden wound up living at Leon’s Hollywood home playing music and recording another legendary Tulsa songwriter: J.J. Cale.

“He'd leave in the mornings to go do sessions. J.J. Cale would ride up on his moped bringing donuts.”

The stay offered the same kind of raw “behind the scenes” look at Leon’s life that the film now gives viewers. Initially the movie wasn’t going to be made public, because the star wasn’t a fan, at first. So, for many decades, it was shelved.

Recently the filmmaker became sick and his son, Harrod Blank, decided to reach out to Leon.

“He had responded for the first time in 40 years and my father was tickled pink by that. And then that kind of opened the door for me to keep talking to Leon and trying to work this out,” he said.

Leon’s concert at The Joint is sold out, but Circle Cinema will be running “A Poem is a Naked Person.”
until August 28.

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