Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench

bench2As many Cohenites know, the proposed Leonard Cohen Hydra bench project, undertaken in commemoration of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday, has been placed on hold due to objections from a local homeowner. Now, however, Russian Intelligence (in the person of Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner) reports from Hydra that recently arrived Dutch and Irish agents have surreptitiously deployed this stealth bench, constructed of exotic materials and embedded with sophisticated cloaking technology to create the illusion to the naked eye and in photographs that the massive facility is little more than a board and a couple of stones.

Update: See Leonard Cohen Hydra Stealth Bench – Report #2

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The Making Of The Leonard Cohen Closing Time Video: Outrageous Vamping, Go-Go Dancing, Erotic Gazing

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quoteup2  That was fun

Leonard Cohen

Rebecca De Mornay’s Offstage Mock Striptease

The roles played in the making of the official Closing Time video, winner of the 1993 Juno Best Video, by backup singers, Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, and by Cohen’s paramour at that time, Rebecca De Mornay, are so delicious as to demand describing. This excerpt is from “Growing Old Disgracefully” by Ian Pearson (Saturday Night, March, 1993):

At the video shoot of “Closing Time,” the joy was starting to flow around 10 p.m., eight hours after the star’s arrival. Cohen and his band were on stage, lip-synching the song while the camera pored over their faces. The band was getting giddy. Cohen planted himself as solidly as a tree in centre stage, clenching his fists, mouthing the lyrics, and staring resolutely into the mid-distance. The back-up singers — Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen — were vamping outrageously beside Cohen, dancing provocatively and shooting delicious come-hither looks at him every time he glanced their way.

“Oh we’re drinking and we’re dancing / and there’s nothing really happening / the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night,” Cohen sang, and Rebecca De Mornay trapped his stare as she danced seductively behind the camera. He continued: “And my very close companion / gets me fumbling gets me laughing / she’s a hundred but she’s wearing something tight.” De Mornay, who was in her early thirties and wearing a tight green sweater and a snug linen skirt, suggestively started toying with her fingers at the edge of her lips. As his very close companion continued to swoon and gyrate, Cohen broke up on stage. “You guys were really beautiful,” Cohen said in a lounge-singer homily at the end of the take. Unlike a lounge singer, he really meant it.

The director, Curtis Wehrfritz, was pleased, but he wanted a close-up of Cohen putting a bit more emotion into the song. De Mornay had a plan. She asked for a pair of wooden crates to be placed in front of the stage beside the camera. The camera started rolling and the tape began playing. Cohen started a deadpan delivery of the song, more in his prophet than in his playboy mode. De Mornay and Perla Batalla kicked off their shoes, climbed onto the crates, and started gyrating like go-go dancers. A metre or so away from his face, De Mornay fixed her blue eyes on Cohen and pumped her hips. “The women tear their blouses off / the men they dance on the polka dots…/ it’s closing time,” sang Cohen, and De Mornay took the words as cue for a mock striptease. She pulled out the front of her sweater from under her skirt and then tantalizingly gestured with her hands in front of her chest.

The singer responded with an intensely erotic gaze. He sang every word to De Mornay, and came up with a true performance under the most artificial of circumstances. The song ended, and De Mornay turned to Wehrfritz and laughed, “We really put a sparkle in his eye.”

Cohen climbed off the stage. Ever the gentlemen with Old World manners, he bent down to put on De Mornay’s shoes for her. The gloomy-poet-turned-bard-of-the-bedsits looked up at his friends and the crew and pronounced, “That was fun.”

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
Official Video: 1992

Note: Originally posted Feb 20, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Witty, Touching 1991 Canadian Music Hall of Fame Induction Speech

junovidUpdate: Video: Watch Complete 1991 Induction Of Leonard Cohen Into Canadian Music Hall of Fame including the introduction by Moses Znaimer, the tribute performances by Jennifer Warnes (Joan of Arc), Suzanne Vega (Who By Fire), and Aaron Neville (Bird on the Wire) and, of course, Leonard’s acceptance speech.

Leonard Cohen’s acceptance speech includes numerous moments of graciousness and gratitude, sparkling wit, and exquisite phrasing.  A couple of examples follow:

After saluting a bevy of Hall Of Fame members, including Hank Snow, Glenn Gould, The Diamonds, The Four Lads, Neil Young, The Band, Paul Anka, and Gordon Lightfoot, Cohen ends the list with Joni Mitchell and Maureen Forrester, going on to remark,

Two women of genius among all that exuberant, masculine prominence … It’s going to be hard to get a date in the Hall of Fame.

Commenting on the timing of this honor Cohen explains

If I had been given this attention when I was 26, it would have turned my head. At 36 it might have confirmed my flight on a rather morbid spiritual path. At 46 it would have rubbed my nose in my failing powers and have prompted a plotting of a getaway and an alibi. But at 56 — hell, I’m just hitting my stride and it doesn’t hurt at all.

Leonard Cohen Inducted Into The Canadian Music Hall of Fame
JUNO TV’s Vintage Vids

After Winning 2015 Juno Album Of The Year, Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems Sees 200% Sale Increase

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Source: Alanis Morissette, Leonard Cohen enjoy big boost after Junos by Nick Patch. CTV News: March 31, 2015.

And Cohen, meanwhile, saw a 200 per cent sale increase for his album of the year winner “Popular Problems” — even though the 80-year-old couldn’t make it to accept in person.

Baby, I’ve Been Here Before – Leonard Cohen At The Junos

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Leonard Cohen at 1993 Juno Awards

The 2015 Album Of The Year for Popular Problems wasn’t Leonard Cohen’s first Juno award. A list of his Juno wins follows:1

1991: Juno/Canadian Music Hall of Fame
1993: Male Vocalist Of The Year2
1993: Best Video3
1994: Songwriter of the Year
2013: Artist of the Year
2013: Songwriter Of The Year4
2015: Album Of The Year5

Credit Due Department: Photo by George Kraychyk

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  1. Leonard Cohen has also received numerous Juno nominations. []
  2. Male & Female Vocalists Of The Year are now subsumed under the title Artist Of The Year []
  3. For Closing Time, directed by Curtis Wehrfritz []
  4. For the songs “Amen”, “Going Home” and “Show Me the Place” []
  5. For Popular Problems []