“I never try to baffle or mystify [with my songs] although I can understand that with the habit of literal reading that is taught in schools it is sometimes difficult to enjoy the work.” Leonard Cohen

From Have You Heard The One About Lenny In The Sandwich Bar? by Andrew Tyler. Disc: September 2, 1972. Originally posted October 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Photo: Leonard Cohen At Family Wedding – 1956

In 1950, Masha, Leonard’s mother, married Harry Ostrow,a pharmacist, who was described by David Cohen, Leonard’s cousin, as “a very sweet, ineffectual man, a nice guy.”1 The relationship between Leonard and his stepfather was characterized as “pleasant but distant.”2 Shortly after the marriage, Harry Ostrow was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,3 a discovery that seemed to dishearten Masha, who had nursed Nathan, her first husband through his debilitating illnesses. By 1957, Harry and Masha had separated with Harry moving to Florida.

Update: See “He was extremely charismatic with a wonderfully clever and quick sense of humour.” Roz Van Zaig, Leonard Cohen’s Stepsister, Talks About Leonard, Esther, & Masha

The above photo  was taken at the wedding of Roz Ostrow Van Zaig and Eddie Van Zaig,

Back row, from left to right: Harry Ostrow (Leonard’s stepfather), Freda Guttman, Roz Ostrow (Leonard’s stepsister), Eddie Van Zaig, Leonard Cohen, Victor Cohen (brother-in-law). Front row, from left to right: Masha Cohen Ostrow (Leonard’s mother ), Esther Cohen (Leonard’s sister)

Photo found at Various Positions by Ira Nadel. Originally posted Oct 12, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons []
  2. I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons []
  3. Various Positions by Ira Nadel []

Video – Leonard Cohen In The Movies: Mia Kirshner Dances To “Everybody Knows” In Exotica

In Atom Egoyan’s Exotica, Mia Kirshner dances to Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows at a Toronto gentleman’s club inhabited by a group of patrons, dancers, and owners who are connected by previous and ongoing relationships. The film, a prize winner at Cannes and the recipient of French and Canadian honors, is a series of mysteries solved by the revelation of more mysteries – and then presented in a chronologically jumbled manner.

For more on the two films about strippers featuring 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.

“Everybody Knows” from Exotica

Note: Originally posted Oct 19, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Montreal: The Montreal Pool Room

Montreal Pool Room at its post-2010 site, across street from the location Leonard Cohen visited

The Montreal Pool Room is another Montreal establishment regularly named as a Leonard Cohen hangout. The following excerpt is from Montreal Pool Room Is Moving On Wednesday by Andy Riga (Montreal Gazette: March 26, 2010)

From a 2009 Gazette story about the lower Main:

One of the most popular night spots in the 1960s and ’70s was the Montreal Pool Room, at 1200 St. Laurent, where you could score a hot dog steamé and rub shoulders with the likes of a young Leonard Cohen or Michel Tremblay.

“Reeking of patates, steamies and lost innocence, this cheap Red Light institution has hands down the best hot dogs and inhale-the-grease fries,” is how one tourist guidebook writer described the Pool Room.

In spite of the date on the door that claims a Bulgarian immigrant, Filipoff Dakov, opened the Montreal Pool Room in 1912, city archives show Dakov obtained his first licence in 1921.

His was one of three billiards rooms on the block.

The Montreal Pool Room lost much of its legendary underground allure after it was gutted by fire in 1989. When it reopened, things weren’t quite the same.

I’m not sure about that. It still has a je-ne-sais-quoi.

“Seedy goodness,” is how one colleague describes it.

“It is a slice of our nightlife, where the world – rich or poor – meets,” says another.

Hot dog steamé from the Montreal Pool Room

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“There’s nothing like singing for people… [It’s a] wonderful opportunity to explore the song itself” Leonard Cohen


There’s nothing like singing for people. Having that moment before the people, it changes the song, the delivery, and to accommodate the song to the moment is a wonderful opportunity to explore the song itself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Comment made at the Sept 10, 2014 Popular Problems Preview In Los Angeles. From Leonard Cohen on the Inner Workings of His New Album ‘Popular Problems’ by Todd Aaron Jensen. Bio: Dec 1, 2014.

Note: Originally posted at Dec 1, 2014 DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric