“Cohen made the hall a sacred space” From Here It Is – Letters To Leonard Cohen: An Evening with Leonard Cohen in Austin


Introduction:

“Here It Is – Letters To Leonard Cohen,” a book presented to the Canadian singer-songwriter in celebration of his 80th birthday, comprises stories and essays by fans that put their experience of Cohen’s music into words. Kim Gorsuch, who has long admired Cohen, came up with the idea and organized the project, gathering the pieces and photos online for printing into a hardbound volume. Because the stories are too significant and too moving not to be shared, Cohencentric.com is posting a few selections. Today’s offering is Kim Gorsuch’s own contribution: An Evening with Leonard Cohen in Austin.

An Evening with Leonard Cohen in Austin

Until this particular evening, I thought I was Leonard’s biggest secret fan. Until I looked around in wonder at the packed Long Center, full of thousands of fans of all ages and all walks of life. All of us enraptured by Cohen.

Sitting in this concert, way up in the sky seats, you could feel and almost touch the emotion in the room. Cohen made the hall a sacred space, and we sat enthralled by the man who sang for us for hours, as if we were his first and last audience ever; as if we were his best, most intimate friends. He kept thanking us for being there, when all we wanted to do was offer up our own thanks for his gift of greatness. Not just for the wonder of his lyrics, but the power they have to open us up to ourselves, to throw a light into dark and lonely corners, to show us a glimpse of our best selves… and our worst. Continue Reading →

“Just as is he – beautiful, both inside and out” Esther Park Meets Leonard Cohen: Oakland – March 3, 2013

Esther Park writes,

Since Leonard started touring in 2008, this is the third time that he has come to Oakland’s beautiful Paramount Theatre, and this was my third time seeing him there.  With each return, it seems like Leonard and his band are enjoying themselves even more, if that is possible, and it’s contagious!  The show on Sunday night was the best ever – the most passionate, the longest, and most FUN.  During Closing Time, people started dancing in the aisles and Leonard and the band seemed to love it – like it was contagious for them as well.  They came back for 3 encores, playing until just before midnight.

As for meeting Leonard, I feel so fortunate – and meeting this extraordinary man truly is an “experience.”  It’s hard to put into words.  The man is so gracious and kind and my extreme nervousness evaporated with his calming presence.  I was so grateful to have the opportunity to thank him in person for everything – the music, the poetry, the tours.

He was so humble – and thanked me too.  Then he was kind enough to sign my denim jacket – while still on my back.  Imagine – a Sharpie-massage from Leonard Cohen – an experience I could have gladly “tolerated” for several more hours. 😉  He took notice and seemed to really enjoy that I had a patch from the 2009 tour on the back of my jacket, and then took his time to do a beautiful job of signing his name above.  [DrHGuy Note: Readers first saw that jacket in 2009: Esther Park’s DIY Leonard Cohen Tour Jacket]

I gave him a hug and his angel of an assistant, Kezban, took a photo of us. After we said goodbye, I watched the two of them leave and walk down the street.  This is the image I keep remembering and love the most – Leonard Cohen walking down a Berkeley street through the rush of students and homeless people.  Strolling along in his long black trench coat which is beautiful up close.  Just as is he – beautiful, both inside and out.

The photo atop this post was taken by Kezban Özcan. The shots of the Oakland Paramount Theatre marquee and of Leonard Cohen walking away with his assistant, Kezban Özcan, were taken by Esther Park.

Note: Originally posted Mar 9, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“A good song exists in very modest terms and also in Himalayan terms” Leonard Cohen

In “Everybody Knows,” there is a line that I found deeply moving, “Old Black Joe’s still picking cotton, for our buttons and our bows,” which seems to be a fairly heavy indictment of capitalism.

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Whatever grip capitalism has on its constituents, it seems to be a more benign grip than any of the other systems that people have thought out. So I would resist, although not with a tremendous amount of interest in the matter, having it serve an anti-capitalist program. I think that a good song exists in very modest terms and also in Himalayan terms. I mean, it’s a thing to get you through the dishes. It provides a sound-track for your courting and for your solitude. That’s the modest element. Then there is an element in song which provides deep comfort and deep solace and stimulation for the imagination and courage. You can’t use it for something as deliberate as a program. It could be, but it falls away. A good song slips away from its dogma.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen:  Several Lifetimes Already by Cindy Bisaillon (Shambhala Sun, Jan, 1994). Originally posted Dec 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Warning Sign #30: You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If –

On vacation, you realize that the obvious sequelae to the Leonard Cohen Montreal murals are Kaanapali-appropriate Leonard Cohen Maui murals.

Since the publication of the official criteria for the prototypical Leonard Cohen Fan Diagnosis, 301.LC Cohenphilic Personality Disorder, the Cohencentric Leonard Cohen Fan Disorders Asylum and Sanitarium has received numerous messages asking if one or another behavior is a symptom characteristic of a Leonard Cohen fan. Consequently, Cohencentric is publishing, as a public service, signs which indicate that one is at high risk of being a full-fledged Leonard Cohen fan.

All published You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If … entries can be found at the You May Be A Leonard Cohen Fan If … Page