Anjani Thomas Talks About Leonard Cohen Cooking For Her

Does Leonard cook for you?

He made me breakfast every morning until he tried to bring me this funny green protein drink, which he drinks. Now he only makes me the eggs in the morning. I like that very much about him.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts: The October 30, 1988 Wiltern Theatre Show

The 1988 Wiltern Theatre Cohen Concert Program

And, no, the image atop this post is not the program for the Cohen concert at the Budapest Wiltern or the Paris Wiltern or the Munich Wiltern or …

It’s the program for the Cohen concert at the Los Angeles Wiltern Theatre – which, in 1988, was located in the USA.

We know this is the program for the 1988 Wiltern show because Valerie Shertzman, who contributed the program, was there on October 30, 1988. In addition to the program, Valerie, who was attending her first Leonard Cohen concert, offers these memories:

The main thing I remember was John Bilezikjian playing the oud with a feather, I had never seen anything like it, and that drew my attention every time it was played. Julie and Perla singing “Who by Fire?” was a show stopper.

I had “Songs” and “Recent Songs” so most of the playlist was new to me, though there was plenty that was familiar to me. I was impressed when he sang “I was born with the gift of a golden voice” dripping with enough irony to let the audience in on the joke. It was greeted with a great deal of laughter. There was some banter with some in the front rows, it was friendly and started by him.

Leonard Cohen – Who By Fire
San Sebastian: 1988

The only other reference to this show I find on the internet (other than a listing of the 1988 Tour venues) are these brief lines from Ali, writing at Blueprint Blue:

… October 30, 1988. My friend and roommate John and I had gone to see one of our idols – Leonard Cohen – perform at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. I still consider it one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

1988 Wiltern Theatre Cohen Concert Poster

While the signage for this concert, shown below, has been previously posted, comparing its block lettered, generic simplicity to the poster for the previous night’s concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco, is instructive.

Poster for Oct 30, 1988 Leonard Cohen Wiltern Concert – Los Angeles

Poster for Oct 29, 1988 Leonard Cohen Fillmore Concert – San Francisco

The Wiltern Theatre

For that matter, the bland poster is also in marked contrast to the brilliantly ornate venue itself.

Caring For & About The Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts: This is the first official entry in the Orphan Cohen Concerts classification. As a Lenny-come-lately who began following Leonard Cohen’s career only a few years before his 2008-2010 World Tour, I’ve been accustomed to the internet-powered flow of information about the Canadian singer-songwriter’s concerts that renders time and geographical barriers irrelevant.

During the recent World Tour, for example, (predecessor to Cohencentric) routinely composed, on a laptop located in Durham, North Carolina, posts about Cohen’s shows concluded only hours earlier in Belfast, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Bucharest, Glace Bay, Auckland, Philadelphia, etc. that featured high quality photos and videos of the performance and first hand reports by concert-goers. In addition, articles about the shows published in foreign newspapers and magazines are available online and can easily, if not always elegantly, be translated by Google and other internet services.

It was, in fact, not uncommon to post information during concerts of special interest, such as the post, Leonard Cohen Tel Aviv Concert In Progress, which published the following immediately after the statement was uttered:

After “Ain’t No Cure” and “Bird On The Wire,” Leonard Cohen addressed the audience in Hebrew, saying, “It is an honor to play here for you here in Israel (…) We are going to give you everything tonight, for peace, for you and us…

Moreover, the immediacy and ease of communication afforded by the internet encourages those attending concerts to upload more videos to YouTube, enter more concert reports in blogs and forums, and post more photos.

Consequently, cognitive dissonance results upon discovering that many Cohen concerts, unless a reporter or critic happened to be in the crowd, escaped notice except by those actually in attendance. Heck, we are still discovering concerts given by Leonard Cohen that have not been accurately memorialized as even a line on a list.

Cohencentric has already published descriptions of little remembered Cohen Concerts. Many of the posts, for example, focus on concerts about which only scattered bits of information were available. Researching those shows, in fact, turned up at least two previously unlisted concerts.

The Orphan Leonard Cohen Concerts is now an official Cohencentric project. We’re going to show a little love for these stealth performances, posting whatever can be found about the otherwise forgotten concerts – even if that’s no more than a single memory lovingly preserved in the mind of an audience member.

Note: Originally posted Apr 15, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Mary Martin On Managing Leonard Cohen & Recording Him In Her Bathtub

In 1966, Martin began managing Leonard Cohen, a successful poet in Canada who wanted make records. She helped Cohen create a demo tape by having him sing in the empty bathtub of her home, making use of the natural acoustics, with a tape recorder in the room with him. Martin helped Cohen sign with Columbia Records, and also introduced him to Judy Collins, the first singer to have success recording with Cohen’s tunes. As an example of how fiercely protective Martin could be of Cohen’s songs, she recalled a story about hearing that Joan Baez had been performing “Suzanne,” a song first recorded by Collins. Only Baez changed some of the lyrics when she performed the song. Martin sent her a terse letter demanding she stop changing the song, explaining, “I don’t think you would take another brush to Andrew Wyeth and his paintings. Therefore, do not alter Leonard Cohen’s poetry.”  [See Leonard Cohen “Couldn’t Care Less” That Joan Baez “Brutally Violated” His Song Suzanne]

From Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum: Mary Martin by Michael McCall ( Country Music Hall of Fame: November 17, 2009)

Martin’s career is impressive, as noted in Country’s Comeback Player of the Year by Robert Hilburn (Los Angeles Times: Feb 26, 2002):

Besides helping singer-songwriter Cohen get his first record contract and then introducing Bob Dylan to the Band in the ’60s, she managed Morrison briefly and signed Emmylou Harris to Warner Bros. Records in the ’70s. She also worked closely with Clint Black and Lorrie Morgan at RCA Nashville in the late ’80s. Other acts she’s managed or worked with along the way range from Vince Gill to cult favorite Rodney Crowell.

Mary Martin Speaks About Leonard Cohen

Credit Due Department: Video courtesy of The Country Music Hall Of Fame’s program “The Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum, November 17th, 2009.” I was alerted to this video by Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner. Originally posted Nov 7, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Photos, Review Of 2009 Leonard Cohen León Concert


July 31, 2009 Leonard Cohen León Concert Review

The following text is a Google translation of the opening paragraph of Leonard Cohen tiñe León con la amargura de sus plegarias poéticas by Cristina Fanjul, published in Diario de León on August 1, 2009.  Although the computer translation is, as is often the case, almost comic at points, the language approaches poetry, leaving those of us ignorant of Portugese wondering how lovely this newspaper review of a Cohen concert must be in its native idiom.

leon2Leonard Cohen Dyes Leon With The Bitterness Of His Poetic Prayers

As a contemporary Lord Byron, the beautiful loser with a burning violin, Leonard Cohen led thousands in León to recover the beauty of songs which after years of silence. Wearing his hat as master of ceremonies, the Canadian poet deployed the magic of Dance Me To The End Of Love, The Future,  Ain’t No Cure For Love and Everybody Knows. Leonard Cohen yesterday became one of the most important cultural events of the city and Leon Arena was capital for almost three hours of epic music that shapes a poet to transcend the mud, singing and continues to look for individuality that he considers unattainable.


Credit Due Department: These gorgeous photos from the July 31, 2009 Leonard Cohen concert in León were taken by Indiana Caba.

Note: Originally posted Aug 2, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Attends First Live Gig: Josh White – Ruby Foo’s Montreal 1949


Leonard Cohen Recalls Seeing Josh White

[Question:] What was the first gig you went to?

[Leonard Cohen:] Josh White in Ruby Foo’s, a Chinese restaurant in Montreal, 1949. Josh White was a black blues singer, once associated with the leftist folk song movement in New York City but allegedly turned federal witness in the investigation of communistic folk singers and lost a lot of credibility. Still played a great guitar. He knew how to bend a string.1

Josh White

Leonard Cohen was certainly correct about Josh White knowing “how to bend a string.” His playing style influenced many guitarists, including Pete Seeger, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt, Elvis Presley, The Kingston Trio, Merle Travis, Dave Van Ronk, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Mike Bloomfield, David Crosby, Richie Havens, Don McLean, Ry Cooder, John Fogerty, Eva Cassidy and Jack White.2

And Leonard Cohen’s summary of White’s political conflicts was similarly accurate. As Wikipedia notes,

White also became the closest African-American friend and confidant to president Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, White’s anti-segregationist and international human rights political stance presented in many of his recordings and in his speeches at rallies resulted in the right-wing McCarthyites assuming him a Communist. Accordingly, from 1947 through the mid 1960s, White became caught up in the anti-Communist Red Scare, and combined with the resulting attempt to clear his name, his career was damaged.

Josh White was also – before he was blacklisted – in demand as an actor on radio, Broadway, and film.

Josh White on Video

Ruby Foo’s – Montreal

Continue Reading →

  1. Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen, Q Magazine, September 1994. []
  2. Wikipedia []

Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Lines Written Under “The Tyranny Of Rhyme,” Politics, Love As An Ailment, Anjani, Recycling His Art & More – 2006


This Feb. 7, 2006 interview offers an impressive range and depth of material (albeit organized in a somewhat random manner).

From CBC description:

Leonard Cohen has reasons to celebrate. Five of his songs are being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. As heard in this in-depth radio interview, the usually reserved artist reflects back on his life. He talks openly about his days at a Buddhist monastery, his love of wine, his failure at love and what this latest honour means for the 71-year-old artist.

The five songs by Leonard Cohen inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 were

  • Ain’t No Cure For Love
  • Bird on the Wire
  • Everybody Knows (co-written with Sharon Robinson)
  • Suzanne
  • Hallelujah

Program: Sounds Like Canada
Broadcast Date: Feb. 7, 2006
Guest: Leonard Cohen
Host: Shelagh Rogers
Duration: 21:02