How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: The Great Event

lcautophoto

Update (2017): Introduction

This is the final post published in response to questions about how l first became involved with Leonard Cohen

Touring & Blogging

After the Feb 19, 2009 Leonard Cohen Beacon Theatre show, I blogged onward.  A review of 1HeckOfAGuy.com1 postings reveals that less than half of these entries spotlighted Leonard Cohen. Other posts included political corruption in Illinois, “Microsoft Software Packaging – Stupid or Malicious or Stupid & Malicious?,” college mascots, A.E. Housman, local snowfalls … .

And, while Leonard Cohen was the site’s most dependably popular topic, the individual posts that garnered the most hits were from other categories. In My Mother’s House Are Many Tchotchkes and 15 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A BDSM Safe Word, for example, had far more viewers than any single Cohen entry.

But all was not well, and by summer 2009, my enthusiasm had waned to the point that I considered giving up the blog altogether. I shared this sentiment with a long-time Cohen fan who was also active online. Shortly thereafter, this fan informed me that a backstage visit with Leonard Cohen at his October 29, 2009 Chicago Rosemont Theatre concert2 had been arranged.

Now, as rare as Leonard Cohen interactions with admirers and reporters were in the two or three years just before his death, they were even less common during the 2008-2010 tours. Stories of celebrities, old acquaintances, and government officials being rebuffed when they requested personal meetings were routine. So, this was what we folks from the Ozarks would term “a big deal.”

And, sure enough, I met Leonard at that concert, and as is my wont, I wrote about it:

The photo atop this post, in fact, was taken by Lorca Cohen at that meeting (the inscription was added later).

It turns out that meeting Leonard Cohen face-to-face is a tremendous incentive to continue blogging about Leonard Cohen.

Quelle surprise, eh?

This was a turning point, impacting not only this critical juncture in 2009 but also similar episodes in the future. Over the ensuing years, I intermittently became discouraged because of real or perceived slights from readers, journalists, Leonard’s management, his record label … only to have these vicissitudes dissipated by praise from or just contact with Leonard himself.

So, here we are.

It’s been a privilege.

  1. 1HeckOfAGuy.com was a predecessor of both Cohencentric.com and AllanShowalter.com []
  2. The scheduled show nearest my home at the time []

3 thoughts on “How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: The Great Event

  1. Marcia

    What a marvelous ride it has been through your labyrinthine tale of so many parts! Thank you, Allan, for continuing to amass, post and manage material on this most fascinating man, even through the times when the dark realities of living brought you to your knees.
    I’m one of the newbies who found your site after LC’s death. When I saw on the news that he had died, I flashed back to my youth, buying the sheet music to ‘Suzanne’. I had stayed aware of his music through the years, but had never delved into his poetry and novels, until November. ‘Cohencentric’ has provided the teaser quotes that lead to articles and reviews and books and such rich material I can hardly remember what I did with my retirement days pre-November.
    And so often, a new post from you will address and resolve an issue I’m slogging through—like the quote from Norman Ravvin of Canadian Jewish News, regarding the dark and sometimes cruel books of the 1970’s, with link that led to that full article. I bought ‘Death of a Lady’s Man’ last month and was having a difficult time getting through the anger and vindictiveness of much of the poetry . . . so it has been very helpful to know it’s not just me feeling this way!
    I kept reading it and finally came to the gem in the book: the short prose piece, ‘I THINK YOU LIKE IT RAW’. My first reading of it was like hitting a brick wall (or like George Elliott Clarke wrote in his incredible “Kaddish for Leonard Cohen”: ‘Light that scalpels eyes open’), so I read it again, and a third time—at which point I was laughing out loud.
    Ain’t it just the way! LC spent much of his life looking for a way/method to connect deeper to G-d, when he had already experienced, like in this short piece, the divine whimsy that can’t ever be summoned and that showed up at rather interesting times throughout his life.
    Maybe it’s just that I’ve read so much of his poetry, a novel, and listened to so much of his music in such a short period of time, that I see in his work that this experience happens again and again throughout his life . . . so why did he continue searching for a method to initiate the connection that comes when it will, not ever when we ‘will’ it to. And in 2 of his later songs, we see that he knew this.

    In ‘Going Home’, he tells himself that he doesn’t have to work at it anymore:
    “I want to make him certain
    That he doesn’t have a burden
    That he doesn’t need a vision.”

    And in ‘You Want It Darker’, in his litany of the wrongs G-d has inflicted on us, is the inescapable fact that G-d simply isn’t bid-able:
    “A million candles burning
    for the help/love that never came.”

    I’m grateful that LC had the time to grow into such a loving and kind elder. And that he kept writing and recording and touring—leaving behind so much of himself for us that, truly, he can never die.
    And thank you, Allan, for your loving archive of all things Cohen—it adds flavor to my life every day with each new posting to my inbox.

  2. Mel joss

    You are absolutely my favorite person that I have never met…hopefully, some day, we will. Thank you, thank you, thank you…for all of your superb posts about ‘our legend’.
    ~with great respect