Recommended Reading – McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Profound Pessimism And Leonard Cohen Kindness

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The film is unimaginable to me without the Cohen songs, which function as these mournful interstitials that unify the entire movie. What a charitable way to describe McCabe, as “just some Joseph looking for a manger,” or to understand his ambition as “watching for a card so high and wild, he’ll never have to deal another.” Through Cohen’s lyrics—not too direct, not too oblique—we understand McCabe as a man who wants to build something and get himself to a place where he can settle down. In other words, there are restrictions to how much he wants from the town of Presbyterian Church. I’m certain the men who have him killed won’t place similar restrictions on themselves.

Excerpt from McCabe & Mrs. Miller: profound pessimism and Leonard Cohen kindness by Keith Phipps and Scott Tobias. The Dissolve: September 30, 2014. The entire essay is available at the link.

Update: See other posts about Leonard Cohen’s music in McCabe & Mrs. Miller and video clips of Cohen’s music in that film at 

Note: Originally posted October 6, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man Documentary #1 On iTunes Top Concert Films

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The iTunes chart of the top concert films (last updated: Saturday, November 7 2015, 1:23 am) lists Lian Lunson’s documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, in the #1 slot. (Source: PopVotex)

Rounding out the top five concert films are
2. In Ecstasy
3. Adele: Live At the Royal Albert Hall
4. Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour Live
5. Stop Making Sense

Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting For The Miracle” In Natural Born Killers Named One Of Best Opening Songs In Film

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Some of the most erotic grind-dancing to ever accompany a Leonard Cohen song (on film, anyway)quotedown2


When Spinner published their readers’ favorite choices in the category of Best Opening and Closing Songs in Film,1 Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for the Miracle,” the opening music for Natural Born Killers, made the cut:

The opening to Oliver Stone’s 1994 take on a Quentin Tarantino screenplay seems to go through as many ass-kicking songs as Juliette Lewis’s gleeful murderess and her manic man go through discourteous truck stop cafe patrons in one memorably violent scene. The intro also features some of the most erotic grind-dancing to ever accompany a Leonard Cohen song (on film, anyway).

“Waiting For The Miracle”  by Leonard Cohen
From Natural Born Killers

While I heartily concur with this assessment, I would submit that a list of “the most erotic grind-dancing to ever accompany a Leonard Cohen song (on film, anyway)” could also be of interest. I am herewith nominating the two films about strippers with Cohen songs in the soundtracks – Exotica & Dancing At The Blue Iguana – see A Contemplation Of Leonard Cohen’s Music In Soundtracks Of Two Movies About Strip Clubs

Note: Originally posted October 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Best Opening and Closing Songs in Film. Spinner.com: July 19, 2011; Update: No longer online []

Leonard Cohen, Gerard Malanga’s Poem, And The Andy Warhol Scene – Part 2

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Note: See Part 1 of this post at the link.

Leonard Cohen Is One Of The Boys (Of New York)

Do you think you have seen all the films in which Leonard Cohen played a role?

Try this one. In 1967 Cohen appeared in a virtually unknown experimental movie called B.O.N.Y. (Boys Of New York) by Gregg Barrios.

Even the extraordinarily thorough UK-based website http://www.diamondsinthemine.co.uk/ did not list this film until alerted to its presence as a result of research for this post.

The flick also features … Gerard Malanga.

B.V. Olguín in ‘San Antonio Current’ (10/8/2008) concisely provides the facts relevant to the film, Warhol, Malanga, and Leonard Cohen:

Like most film buffs of the era, Barrios eventually made a pilgrimage to Andy Warhol’s notorious Manhattan Factory. Under Warhol’s tutelage, in 1967 Barrios made his own experimental film, titled BONY (Boys of New York). Shot in both black-and-white and color with a 16-millimeter Roloflex Camera, Barrios’s film captures a day in the life of the Warhol “superstars” — the poet Gerard Malanga and Rene Ricard (the poet and art critic who “discovered” Jean Michel Basquiat) — during which they meet Leonard Cohen and Vogue model Ivy Nicholson. BONY is archived at UCLA and is included on Chon Noriega’s list of 100 Best Chicano Films.

Update June 10, 2014: I received an email from Gregg Barrios, who had come across the mention of his film in the 2010 post. It turns out that BONY (Boys of New York) has been remastered and will soon be available for purchase. Gregg was good enough to include the poster shown above promoting his film which includes Leonard Cohen in the cast.

Leonard Cohen And The Andy Warhol Factory Folks

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Leonard Cohen, Gerard Malanga’s Poem, And The Andy Warhol Scene – Part 1

10 Poems For 10 Poets

10 Poems For 10 Poets by Gerard Malanga

From 10 Poems For 10 Poets. Photo by

Guy Minnebach On Gerard Malanga’s Poem To Leonard Cohen

Guy Minnebach

I recently received an intriguing email from Guy Minnebach, an Antwerp newspaper editor currently on sabbatical who has followed  Leonard Cohen’s career since the mid-1970s and who retains a vivid memory of  Cohen crooning “Iodine” in a 1979 concert.

In his email, Guy wrote

In an old magazine I recently found this poem by Gerard Malanga addressed to & about Leonard Cohen. The magazine is an underground magazine called ‘New York Scenes’, issue from September 1969.

As you probably know, Malanga was one of the most important figures in Andy Warhol’s Factory scene. It is also known that Cohen while in New York in the 60s frequented the café /concert hall Max’s Kansas City, where  the Warhol crowd also hung out…

It’s a long poem and rather funny, in which Malanga contemplates his poetic writing skills and love life, and wonders (or doubts) if Leonard’s way of doing things is the right one…

Guy went on to ask if I might be interested in the poem.

As it turns out, I’m very interested.

Leonard Cohen’s Oft Mentioned, Rarely Explained Association with Andy Warhol et al

lc-awYou see, I repeatedly come across references to Leonard Cohen’s connections with Andy Warhol and Warhol’s crowd.   The problem is that these references are typically anecdotes or fragments of anecdotes that exist in isolation and are presented as little more than asides. Consequently, characterizing Leonard Cohen’s interactions with the Andy Warhol gang is difficult.

Most references, like these examples, serve primarily as filler for biographical summaries and simply allude to an ambiguous association:

In the mid 1960’s he [Leonard Cohen] left for New York and met the renowned artist Andy Warhol.1

Cohen became a cult figure during the 1960s, and was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol’s “Factory” crowd.2

Others imply a more significant connection:

Drawling crooner Leonard Cohen is a renaissance man in every sense. Ladies’ man, poet, monk, bankrupt, bohemian consort to Andy Warhol and drunken troubadour to a generation of angst-ridden teenagers, … .3

After falling in with Andy Warhol and the “Factory” crowd, Cohen’s debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, failed to make a huge impact.4

So, according to these accounts, Andy and Leonard only met or Leonard Cohen was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol’s “Factory” crowd or Cohen was a bohemian consort (whatever that is) to Warhol or Leonard Cohen not only fell in with Andy Warhol and the “Factory” but said falling in apparently had something to do with the the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album failing to make an impact.

Got that?

Jimmy_Carter_with_Andy_Warhol_during_a_reception_for_inaugural_portfolio_artists.,_06-14-1977_-_NARA_-_175147_(cropped)

Andy Warhol

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  1. Leonard Cohen in Belgrade by N. Dzodan. Blic Online, 5/5/2009. []
  2. Leonard Cohen Portland Tickets []
  3. Profile: Leonard Cohen, The Scotsman, 21 December 2008 []
  4. Happy birthday, Leonard Cohen by Christopher Glotfelty, Eat Drink Sleep Music, 09/21/2009 []

Watchmen Sex Scene Videos: Compare Leonard Cohen & Allison Crowe Versions Of Hallelujah As Soundtracks

sexsceneReaders who have followed the preceding posts about the use of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in Watchmen may recall that the original idea was to use Allison Crowe’s version of Hallelujah for the sex scene. Zack Snyder, the Director of Watchmen, addresses that choice in an interview with James Parker that appeared in the Boston Phoenix:

James Parker: The sex scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II is pretty great — the boots, the zips. And you’ve got Leonard Cohen doing “Hallelujah” over it.

Zack Snyder: Well, I originally had a different version of “Hallelujah” on that scene — it was the version by Allison Crowe, and it was really beautiful. Too beautiful, as it turned out, because when I showed it to my buddies, they were like, “Wow, you really mean this, this love scene.” So I was like, okay, that didn’t work. But with the Leonard Cohen, in that moment, it’s a little sadder of a song, it’s a little bit more twisted, it’s a little more broken, which expresses to me what’s going on in that scene, between those two characters.

Adrian du Plessis, Allison Crowe’s Personable Manager, has alerted me that videos of both versions are available for viewing. The first video below is the Watchmen sex scene with the Leonard Cohen version of Hallelujah. The second is the same video except the song, Hallelujah, is performed by Allison Crowe.

Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Watchmen Scene

Allison Crowe: Hallelujah Watchmen Scene

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah As Watchmen Sex Scene Soundtrack – Debate Continues

Same Song, Same Sex Scene, More Opinions

First, a refresher on the issue at hand1  and a word about why I am re-visiting it.

In the just released  film version of the classic comic, Watchmen, two of the superheroes, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II, are shown in a – um, let’s call it a vigorous sex scene2 set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Zack Snyder, the Director of Watchmen, addresses that choice in an interview with James Parker that appeared in the Boston Phoenix:

James Parker: The sex scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II is pretty great — the boots, the zips. And you’ve got Leonard Cohen doing “Hallelujah” over it.

Zack Snyder: Well, I originally had a different version of “Hallelujah” on that scene — it was the version by Allison Crowe, and it was really beautiful. Too beautiful, as it turned out, because when I showed it to my buddies, they were like, “Wow, you really mean this, this love scene.” So I was like, okay, that didn’t work. But with the Leonard Cohen, in that moment, it’s a little sadder of a song, it’s a little bit more twisted, it’s a little more broken, which expresses to me what’s going on in that scene, between those two characters.

Vehement responses to and downright nasty debates about the use of Leonard Cohen’s own version of “Hallelujah” in Watchmen’s sex scene continue to resound across the Internet. The two previous Cohencentric posts on this issue, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – Mood Music For Watchmen SuperHeroic Sex Scene and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah In Zack Snyder’s Watchmen – Bizarre, Sublime, Nuked The Fridge?, have received more than five times the typical number of daily page views since they went online, a number that is especially striking because almost all hits have been the result of individuals finding those posts via search engines rather than a social bookmarking service such as Digg or Stumbleupon.

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  1. The explanation that follows is lifted from my previous post, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – Mood Music For Watchmen SuperHeroic Sex Scene []
  2. To keep matters in perspective, the movie is rated “R” rather than “X.” Still, the sex scene is routinely reported as graphic. []

T Bone Burnett On Leonard Cohen’s Nevermind ‘True Detective’ Opening: “The song of the century, so far”

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“To me, ‘Nevermind’ is the song of the century so far, coming from one of the wisest men in our culture,” Burnett said. “I look at it as an extraordinary gift to the audience. It feels very much like Los Angeles right now: beautiful, dark, brooding, dangerous, covert. The reason the lyrics change is just because there are a lot of important lyrics in the song that all apply, and we’re doing our best to play the whole song for people.”

Excerpted from T Bone Burnett Explains Leonard Cohen ‘True Detective’ Opening by Richard Bienstock (Rolling Stone: August 14, 2015)

Also see The Final Nevermind Variations: Versions Of True Detective’s Theme Song By Leonard Cohen, Episodes 1-8