“[Hal Willner] was … preparing a memorial for Leonard Cohen in Montreal in November.” New York Times

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The heading of this post is from the penultimate paragraph of Hal Willner’s Vanishing, Weird New York by John Leland (New York Times: Sept. 8, 2017),1 a piece about Hal Willner, whose long list of accomplishments includes a series of  Leonard Cohen tribute concerts, beginning with Came So Far For Beauty – An Evening of Leonard Cohen Songs commissioned in 2003 by the Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival. The 2005 show at the Sydney Opera House was featured in the I’m Your Man documentary, Came So Far For Beauty, Dublin in 2006 featured, among others, Lou Reed, Anjani, Antony, Laurie Anderson, Perla Batalla, Nick Cave, Julie Christensen, Jarvis Cocker, David Coulter, The Handsome Family, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Beth Orton, and Teddy Thompson.

In 1992, Willner featured Leonard reading a Mingus poem on the Weird Nightmare album. And he was responsible for the Leonard Cohen & Sonny Rollins “collaboration-collision” (his felicitous phrase to describe this matchup of musical giants), backed by Perla Batalla, Julie Christensen, and Was (Not Was), performing Who By Fire on Feb 13, 1989 episode of Night Music.

Willner also organized the tribute at New York’s Lincoln Center and the four-hour listening party outside on downtown Los Angeles’s Music Center Plaza following Leonard’s death.

Also see Montreal’s Leonard Cohen Week Begins Nov 5, 2017 – Major Musical Event Scheduled Nov 6, 2017


  1. The full sentence follows: “He  was finishing the T. Rex album, preparing a memorial for Leonard Cohen in Montreal in November []