So Long, Cohencentric – The Last Dance

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This is the final Cohencentric post. It’s been a privilege to have shared Leonard Cohen’s life and work with so many readers.

 

lcautophoto
Credit Due Department: One last thanks to Dominique BOILE, who contributed this pin, originally offered as memorabilia of the May 27, 1988 Leonard Cohen concert at the Grand Rex in Paris. The dancing couple was the logo of the 1988 Tour and the I’m Your Man album promoted by that Tour.

DrHGuy – Leonard Cohen (And Bruce Springsteen) Bootleg Album Artist

DrHGuy Bootleg Album Art Gallery

DrHGuy can now report that he has been able to supplement his non-compensated blogging with steady employment in the field of non-compensated artwork for bootleg albums.

Atop this post is my own home-brewed graphic created in 2009 for Leonard Cohen Live At Royal Albert Hall 1988, a bootleg available on another site that lacked cover art. It later appeared at Roio – Leonard Cohen – London 1988 with this art.

lclondonfrfThe back cover of the bootleg album, Leonard Cohen – Palais Des Beaux Arts Brussels 4/3/1985 is displayed below.

That background  image featuring  the faces of Anjani and Leonard Cohen is actually a Photoshop creation  DrHGuy put together for the May 18, 2009 1HeckOfAGuy post, Leonard Cohen and Anjani – If It Be Your Will, by combining and altering screen captures from a video of a 1985 Warsaw concert.  The original composite is shown below.

This is, however, only the latest appropriation of DrHGuy’s work to appear on bootlegs.

DrHGuy’s Christmas Gift

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Cohencentric Farewell Tour: The Duchess Q&A – Ask Penny Showalter

This is the last day to submit questions for The DrHGuy Q&A – but that’s not the big news…

The Oct 20, 2018 post, Cohencentric Farewell Tour: The DrHGuy Q&A – Ask DrHGuy, resulted not only in a batch of questions for DrHGuy, but also a couple of queries for The Duchess aka Penny Showalter aka MrsDrHGuy.

So, Cohencentric is adding  a The Duchess section to The DrHGuy Q&A. Wanna ask The Duchess a question about turning down a first date offer to attend the 2010 Leonard Cohen Las Vegas show, being married to a blogger who gets out of bed at 2 AM to post an item as soon as possible after the official embargo lifts, comparing jewelry with a Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-icon…? Send it to [email protected], and I’ll pass it along to her and post her response.

Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen & The Duchess by Kezban Özcan

Cohencentric Farewell Tour: The DrHGuy Q&A – Ask DrHGuy

Over the years, 1HeckOfAGuy/Cohencentric has published interviews with Leonard Cohen band members, biographers, filmmakers, fan site webmasters… Now, it’s finally time for Cohencentric to post The DrHGuy Q&A – especially since no other site wanted to do it.

So, if you have a burning question for DrHGuy (or DrHGuy’s grumpier, less sprightly, more cynical evil twin, Allan Showalter), let ‘er rip. Send in your queries. There are only three rules:

  1. Please send your questions to [email protected] Questions left on Facebook or even in this site’s comments may or may not reach DrHGuy.
  2. Don’t ask dumb questions. The popular aphorism notwithstanding, there are dumb questions. There are, in fact, incredibly, mind-blowingly, astonishingly dumb questions. DrHGuy has no compunctions about ignoring, for example, queries that invite him to insult others, list his favorite illicit substances, expound on the meaning of life (OK, DrHGuy knows the meaning of life, but you would be devastated to hear it)…
  3. Send your questions no later than Oct 23, 2018.

Unexpected Benefits Of Being A Leonard Cohen-1HeckOfAGuy Fan

One of the greatest perks of publishing Cohencentric (and its predecessor, 1HeckOfAGuy.com) has been coming across – and reposting, of course – unsolicited testimonials, such as the one submitted in 2010 by the eminently perspicacious and very kind brightnow (aka Avi Elkoni) to LeonardCohenForum

The Unexpected Benefits Of Being A 1Heckofaguy Fan

(The story is real, took me a little while to actually get to writing it down)

May 29, 2009 was one of the best days of my life. I woke up that morning, the proud owner of a plane ticket to Boston and a fifth-row ticket to Leonard Cohen’s concert at the Wang theater that night. I landed at Logan International without incident and took the T downtown. My room was booked at the Courtyard across the street from the Wang. The rain had stopped and it was a pleasant walk from the Boston Common down to the hotel. One block away from the hotel I stopped to admire the theater’s marquee sporting a portrait of The Man and announcing the two upcoming concerts, I took out my camera and snapped a picture. “That would be a great picture to start the concert report thread with” I thought, and a few minutes later, from the desk in my hotel room, I did just that.

The concert was marvelous, that’s to be expected. What I did not expect was the message I received a few days later from Allan Showalter (AKA DrHeck) asking for permission to use my photo on his site 1heckofaguy.com. I’ve been a fan of 1heckofaguy for quite some time as every Leonard Cohen fan should be; it is extremely informative and incredibly funny. Honored, I thanked the good doctor for noticing my work and equipped him with a high-resolution version of the picture. To this day, having contributed to 1heckofaguy .com is something I am very proud of.

Fast forward five months to the morning of November 3rd, when I arrived at the box office of the Durham Performing Arts Center to pick up a pair of front row tickets (!) for what was to be my last Leonard Cohen concert of the year. Not many people pick up tickets at 11:00am so the scene was relaxed and pleasant. The man behind the counter gave me my tickets and asked if I needed anything else. I thanked him and turned to leave, but then a thought crossed my mind: the marquee photo worked so well for me in Boston, why not try to repeat it? the lobby was lined with posters for many upcoming shows so I asked the man behind the counter (who turned out to be the venue’s manager) to point me in the direction of tonight’s show poster. He asked me to wait and went back to ask his staff. A few minutes later he came out of a side door holding the poster. “Here” he said “it turns out that we never put it up, I’m sorry about that. You can have it”. I wasn’t sure what to say, a few seconds of stunned astonishment went by and then I thanked him and took my free poster!

So take note guys: 1heckofaguy .com — it’s the place to go for rare Leonard Cohen recordings, exclusive interviews, hilarious puns and… free posters.

Originally posted Jan 26, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

A Cohencentric Appreciation Of Sylvie Simmons: Music Journalist, Rock Chick, & Leonard Cohen Biographer

The most joyous part of the Cohencentric Farewell Tour (well, at least from my perspective) is the opportunity to acknowledge those folks who contributed to this site’s success.

Sylvie Simmons

In 2009, I received a message from Sylvie Simmons, who had then convinced various publishers that she would complete a biography of Leonard Cohen in the foreseeable future, complimenting my blog and asking my assistance in her preparation of this biography. And, I knew what that meant. Yep, that’s right – it meant

Sylvie Simmons was contacting every living Leonard Cohen fan
to solicit help writing her Leonard Cohen biography

Since then, Sylvie not only published that biography (see Sept 18, 2012: “I’m Your Man” By Sylvie Simmons Becomes The Definitive Leonard Cohen Biography), complete with a fulsome acknowledgement of and a couple of footnotes attributed to yours truly but also became a significant feature on Cohencentric. This post, in fact, will be the 142nd Cohencentric entry in which Sylvie Simmons plays a role.

From that first email, Sylvie treated me respectfully. She credited my efforts – unlike many, many other media, museum, and music professionals who used my sites as an unrecognized information source and me as an unpaid intern to do their research.

Sylvie modeled integrity, ethical journalism and personal honesty; Sylvie always followed through on her promises – even promises she should never have made. She was hard working, skillful, and pretty darn funny.

Best of all, Sylvie’s graciousness rivaled that of Leonard’s. She has been what can only be described as bizarrely openhanded in contributing to Cohencentric.

Now, some of those contributions fell into the realm of nice but not onerous things to do. She sent me, for example, articles about Leonard Cohen I was otherwise unable to access and this photo of the Caesars Palace marquee promoting Leonard’s 2010 Las Vegas show for my Signs Of Leonard Cohen collection.

She was also, however, incredibly generous with her time, efforts, and storehouse of contacts and information. She put me in touch with and provided character references to photographers, journalists, and musicians I couldn’t  otherwise reach. She quickly responded to a bevy of questions I asked.1

Sylvie also submitted to the first Cohencentric Q&A: Sylvie Simmons On Her Leonard Cohen Biography, The Uke, & All Sorts Of Good Stuff. This interview, a dandy read on its own, was, in addition, the leverage for the many subsequent Q&A’s published on this site (“Dear ________, I am writing to request a Q&A with you. Cohencentric has previously published Q&A’s with other notables, such as Leonard Cohen biographer, Sylvie Simmons.”)

Best of all – and, a little unbelievably in retrospect – Sylvie was game for just about anything Cohenesque.

When I wrote her about Leonard Cohen’s 1968 appearance in Seventeen Magazine, she pitched in, as per this excerpt:

Acutely aware of my lamentable scholarly deficiencies in the area of periodicals targeted to adolescent females, I consulted with distinguished music journalist, revered rock chick, and  Leonard Cohen biographer, Sylvie Simmons, whose pertinent credentials in this case include once being a teenage girl and, albeit briefly, a girls’ teenzine writer renowned for  asking  deep, soul-penetrating questions of, among other, David Cassidy (while sitting in Mr Cassidy’s lap),  the Jackson 5, the Bay City Rollers, and David Bowie. Her critique follows:

As a former (very briefly) writer for a teen magazine, I can state without any fear of contradiction that this is the worst teen mag piece I’ve ever read.

‘State of grace’. Puh-lease! Where are the hobbies, most embarrassing moment, collar-and-inside-leg-size and taste in girls questions. Though the pic makes him look like the kind of old man any self-respecting 17 year old girl in the sixties would have been warned not to talk to.

And, she agreed to write the liner notes for Another Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen Album, Cohencentric’s freebie bootleg album, gratis (keep in mind that Sylvie earns her living selling what she writes). As I noted at the time,

Because of that pesky pending litigation, DrHGuy cannot comment upon rumors that blackmail, threats, or kidnapping were involved in garnering the participation of Sylvie Simmons in the Another Other Songs Of Leonard Cohen Album project. Besides, now the notes are done so nobody got hurt – and isn’t that the important thing? Actually, DrHGuy, lacking the sufficient resources to have emulated Don Vito Corleone in making “an offer [s]he can’t refuse,” opted to make Sylvie an offer she couldn’t refute, i.e., participation in this project would result in no imaginable benefits to her.

The first lines of Sylvie’s notes follow:

There was something on the radio about Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance essayist. From the day he was born, he heard nothing but Latin – an experiment conducted by his dad. Montaigne grew up as fluent in Latin as his schoolfriends were in French. He also suffered depression. The famous Essays he wrote were a form of self-therapy, it said. Which wouldn’t have made him popular with Dr Heck, the shrink, Leonard Cohenite and philanthropist who, along with messalina79, compiled this free album and then signed me up to write free liner notes. Leonard, famously, spent his life avoiding psychiatrists; Leonard, as we all know, was uncommonly smart.

Even that, however, pales in comparison to Sylvie’s performance of “Ballad Of Len,” a tune featuring lyrics by DrHGuy and set to music not unlike that of the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, at the 2012 Madison Leonard Cohen Event.

From the original post:

The latest in the long line of musical tributes to Leonard Cohen, a group that includes songs by such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Sting, Pixies, Nick Cave, R.E.M., and many, many others, is now online. “The Ballad Of Len,” featuring lyrics by DrHGuy and set to music not unlike that of the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, was performed August 4, 2012 by Sylvie Simmons, the renowned music journalist whose Leonard Cohen biography, “I’m Your Man,” is due to hit the bookstores, both virtual and brick and mortar, this fall, and Heidi Clare, widely acknowledged as the best, most powerful old-time fiddler performing today, at the Madison Leonard Cohen Event held in Madison, Wisconsin. No, I have no idea what Ms Simmons and Ms Clare were thinking – or smoking – when they agreed to this. But, if you’ve always craved hearing a parody of “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett” commemorating the 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour sung in a British accent accompanied by ukelele and exquisite fiddling well, friend, this is your big chance.

Sylvie Simmons & Heidi Clare – The Ballad Of Len
Video by Maarten Massa

There’s more, but you get the idea – Sylvie Simmons is a star.

A Cohencentric Sampler Of Sylvie Simmons Posts

Credit Due Department: The photo of Sylvie Simmons atop this post was taken at Golden Gate Park in Summer 2009 by Henry Wimmer’s iPhone and may or may not be included in the forthcoming “The Many Moods of Sylvie – Portraits Of A Diva.”

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  1. OK, I may have used her as an unpaid, albeit not unacknowledged, intern at times. []

Help Choose “Greatest Hits” For The Cohencentric Farewell Tour

As part of The Cohencentric Farewell Tour, we’re running – one last time – this site’s Greatest Hits. While it’s simple enough to calculate which posts garnered the most views, limiting Cohencentric’s Greatest Hits.to the most generically popular posts would result in a collection egregiously devoid of those entries holding special significance to specific viewers, for example:

  • A performance video from a well-remembered concert
  • A Leonard Cohen quotation that somehow helped during a difficult time
  • An instance of Leonard’s stage banter that was especially insightful, funny, or provocative
  • A photo of Leonard that resonated
  • An animation that moved you
  • An interview or essay that lent new awareness into Leonard’s life and work
  • A photoshopped graphic, sophisticated witticism, or goofy wisecrack that produced a chortle or two

There’s more, but you get the idea – if a Cohencentric post is a Greatest Hit for you, then it’s a Greatest Hit.

Send the links to the posts, lists, tags, categories, etc. you nominate for Cohencentric’s Greatest Hits to the email address listed below along with an explanation of why that post is important to you. Also, let me know how you prefer to be identified (e.g., real name, alias, anonymous …) if your recommendation is published.

Cohencentric Farewell Tour: Thank You & FAQ

Thank You

First and most importantly, I am profoundly touched by the response to my announcement that Cohencentric is entering its final months. The many, many thoughtful comments, emails, and messages have been heartening and genuinely moving.

FAQ

Several folks have asked the same questions, the answers to some of which follow:

  • How important is the cost? The point I was trying to make in writing “why pay $2000 a year to be abused” (which was a parenthetical, by the way) wasn’t so much to complain about the money I’ve spent over the last ten years (although the amount, as the researchers say, is not trivial) as to emphasize that Cohencentric and its predecessors have been the result of a voluntary effort on my part. Other than a few advance copies of books about Leonard Cohen, tickets Leonard comped me for a couple of concerts, and a handful of collectibles from Leonard and fans, the only compensation I have received for my work on these sites is the appreciation of readers. Even were I to receive, say, a Canada Council for the Arts grant, it wouldn’t magically solve the problem – well, unless it was lucrative enough to allow me to blog from Hydra. Regardless, “why pay $2000 a year to be abused” is best translated as “why should I compete for abuse.”1
  • Why not raise money by selling subscriptions to or running ads on Cohencentric? Many photographers, collectors, and writers have given permission to post their work on Cohencentric with the implicit understanding that it was a not-for-profit site. Charging for subscriptions or inserting ads might not be technically illegal, but it would be, in my view, an ethical violation.
  • Could the Leonard Cohen estate organization contribute to Cohencentric? There is no evidence that the Leonard Cohen estate organization has any interest in supporting Cohencentric.
  • How about Sony? Substitute “Sony” for “the Leonard Cohen estate organization” in the above item.
  • Is there someone else who could take over the site? I have actively searched for someone to take over my role without a glimmer of success.
  • How about offering a version of Cohencentric that would require less time and effort? A trait I shared with Leonard is the unwillingness to produce work that is less than my best.
  • What do you mean by abuse (as in “why pay $2000 a year to be abused”)? Nothing special; just the usual kind of stuff bloggers face: nasty comments by wannabe trolls (I especially admire those who excuse their noxious remarks by employing “That’s just my opinion” like it’s a Get Out Of Jail Free card), folks reposting my original content without attribution, those who vehemently defend their personal, idiosyncratic visions of Leonard Cohen against the perceived indignity of photos, videos, jokes, quotes … appearing on this site – none of which ever caused Leonard himself to complain.

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  1. It wouldn’t be the first time. A buddy described the medical school environment as a batch of underlings raising their hands and shouting to the demigods, “Me, me. Don’t crap on him. Crap on me. []