“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 →

“Sitting there among the turtles, drinking Welch’s grape juice, eating a licorice cigar, Leonard Cohen says, ‘I don’t know, everybody has become kind of loony.’” 1966

DrHGuy Note: They weren’t live turtles – they were inflated vinyl turtles

From Is the World (or Anybody) Ready for Leonard Cohen? by Jon Ruddy. Maclean’s: October 1, 1966. Originally posted Dec 4, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“Montreal had always been deeply conflicted at multiple levels of race and ethnicity” Leonard Cohen In Context

Both Leonard and I were more or less typical products of the Jewish Diaspora. The streets of Montreal, where we were both born, were not quite paved with gold, but, for newcomers, the city was a North American destination of choice. Part of the explanation was its volatile blend of French and Scottish settlers, a chemistry that helped to shape Canada’s most culturally diverse, creative and exciting community. Sadly, it was also Canada’s most belligerent and adversarial community. Montreal had always been deeply conflicted at multiple levels of race and ethnicity, with consequences for those whose antecedents had escaped the singular ordeals of European life. That something of that particular history awaited our immigrant families in the “bright and shining new world” was inconceivable to them. And yet it did.

Westmount’s Jews were a close-knit and socially prominent minority in a wealthy English Protestant neighbourhood. The latter was itself a minority, albeit a powerful one, in a city and province overwhelmingly Catholic French: themselves a minority in Canada. “Everybody felt like some kind of outsider”, Leonard lamented. “Everybody felt like they belonged to something important. It was a romantic, conspiratorial, mental environment, a place of blood, soil, and destiny.”

So long, Montreal: Leonard Cohen’s classmate on McGill and the musician by Kenneth Asch (Times Higher Education: November 30, 2017) is a well written discussion of the cultural and ethnic environment of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal (and  Quebec) and his reaction to it. The full article is available at the link.

Photo by Paul Lowry – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia Commons

“He was a poet – he enchanted us for so many years” Isabelle Huppert Talks About Leonard Cohen

Music: I was thinking about Leonard Cohen’s last songs recently, his last record. He was a poet – he enchanted us for so many years. He’s absolutely wonderful, and I have always been a fan of his music. What I liked about the album is the same as what I always liked about him: it’s his poetry, and there’s something so soft about his voice. I never saw him perform, but I saw him once, briefly, in a restaurant. He was very solitary.

From On my radar: Isabelle Huppert’s cultural highlights by Kathryn Bromwich (The Guardian: 26 November 2017). Photo by nicolas genin from Paris, France – 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra), CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikipedia Commons

Leonard Cohen Gives $50,000 To Cambodian Pagoda After Cancellation Of 2010 Phom Penh Show

Leonard Cohen Donates $50,000 To Cambodian Pagoda For The Construction Of A School And Sports Courts

According to the  media release from The Mekong Sessions:

Leonard Cohen donates US$50,000 to Cambodian Pagoda for the construction of a school and sports courts.

Media Release: Phnom Penh, Wednesday 9 February 2011

Leonard Cohen donates US$50,000 to Cambodian Pagoda for the construction of a school and sports courts.

Leonard Cohen and his manager Robert Kory announced today their intention to donate US$50,000 to be used to support a Cambodian Buddhist Pagoda in provincial Cambodia. The substantial donation generously provided following the postponement of Cohen’s 2010 Phnom Penh is to be coordinated by the CNVLD and the Global Giving project.

The $50,000 donation will be utilized to benefit:

Prek Ksay Pagoda, Neak Leaung District, Svay Rieng Province including:

1. Construction of a state of the art environmentally friendly primary school to provide education for local children and monks which will be named after ‘Pich Om’ the Matriach of the Prek Ksay Pagoda, the CNVLD and of Phnom Penh-based band Krom;

2. The provision of educational material and equipment to the Prek Ksay Pagoda school;

3. Construction of a Sports court at Prek Ksay Pagoda for the establishment of a CNVLD disability sports program in Neak Leung in line with the CNVLD stated aim of achieving full localisation and a presence in every Cambodian province within 5 years;

4. The establishment of sister school relationships between the Prek Ksay Pagoda school and schools in Australia, Canada and the USA.

The Mekong Sessions and the CNVLD wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to Leonard Cohen and Robert Kory for their generous donation and their continued support for the aspirations of disadvantaged Cambodians.

Note: Originally posted Feb 11, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric