Three Closeup Photos Of The Hands Of Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson – 2013 Manchester Concert

Leonard Cohen’s Hand

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Mandy MacLeod originally forwarded these close-up photos taken at the August 31, 2013 Leonard Cohen Manchester Concert during a period in which I was too ill to post them. Having re-discovered them recently, I am happy to find they fall in the “too good not to post” category and I am delighted to publish them now, however belatedly.

Sharon Robinson’s Unified Heart Signet Ring

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Note: Originally posted Nov 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Howard Bilerman Tells Story Behind Recording Cantor Gideon Zelermyer And Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir For Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

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Howard Bilerman, the producer and recording engineer who runs Montreal’s hotel2tango studio and a Grammy nominated musician who performed with, among others, Arcade Fire, played a role in creating You Want It Darker, the Leonard Cohen album scheduled for release this fall. His account of the experience – from meeting Leonard to working with producer, Adam Cohen, recording a unique set of backup singers for the album, is interesting, entertaining, and enlightening:

Howard, Vic Chesnutt, & Leonard Cohen

The story starts some 10 years ago. I had just finished recording an album with the now departed Vic Chesnutt. It was the first time we had worked together, and we bonded over our love of Leonard Cohen songs. It made Vic’s day when I pointed out where Leonard lived and his favorite spot for breakfast.

A native of Georgia, Vic fell in love with Montreal, largely because it was Leonard’s home. Vic’s album was was released mid-July 2007 to incredibly positive reviews. One, written by Sean Michaels (now a Giller Prize winning author) concluded, “This record, done at the hotel2tango, is Vic’s best record in some many years … Now someone get Leonard Cohen there!” (a reference to an interview I had done some years before about artists I had dreamt of working with).

Within 12 hours of that review going online, an email arrived with the subject line “from Leonard Cohen” which read simply “Can I visit your studio? Leonard.”

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I trust, dear reader, you will excuse me for thinking this was a prank from one Vic Chesnutt. But, you know, stranger things have happened. So, I quizzed this “Leonard Cohen,” asking him the last names of two mutual acquaintances, something only the real Leonard Cohen would know. At 4:56 am the next morning I received an email, and in bold letters read the correct answers to my skill testing questions. There was no doubt about it — this was Leonard Cohen. Plans were made for Leonard to stop by the studio the next day at 4:30 pm.

At 4:30 pm, the studio doorbell rang. Opening the door revealed a handsome, dapper Leonard Cohen dressed in his trademark suit and cap. The first words out of his mouth were “if you’re busy I can come back.”

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How To Win Friends And Impress Strangers With A Little Help From Lorca & Leonard Cohen

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Allan Showalter (AKA DrHGuy) and Leonard Cohen hanging out backstage as they are wont to do whenever The Leonard Cohen World Tour plays the Rosemont Theatre. (Leonard is the one wearing the hat and the apparently wonderful scarf.)

Leonard Cohen invited me to the soundcheck and backstage buffet before the October 29, 2009 Chicago Rosemont Theatre concert and to the Green Room get-together afterward.

Let me tell you more about it.

Note: This material was originally posted Nov 9, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric as the sequel to What Leonard Cohen Told Me Backstage In Chicago

Creating The Illusion Among A Group Of Leonard Cohen Fans That You Are A Person Of Significance In 5 Steps

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1. Attend a Leonard Cohen concert.

2. A few minutes prior to the start of the performance, rush to the crowded merchandise booth to purchase a Unified Heart signet ring (mid-size, silver) for a European fan (whom you know only by email) who was disappointed to find that signet rings were unavailable at the Leonard Cohen concert she attended.

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3. While waiting your turn to purchase concert loot, check your email with at least one person looking over your shoulder to also check your email.1

4. Open the email from Lorca Cohen with this attachment:

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5. Modestly accept the sense of awe instantly created as the email snoop starts a wave of recognition, asking aloud “Is that Leonard Cohen – and you?” Reluctantly admit that, indeed, Lorca Cohen took that photo of the two of you backstage only an hour or so ago – after you attended soundcheck.Go on to humbly acknowledge your close, long-standing, and mutually respectful relationship with Leonard. To suffuse the scene with that sense of authenticity associated with disdain, consider adding, with a well accentuated sniff or two, that no one truly close to the man calls him “Lenny.”

The Mechanics Of The Illusion

Some preparatory work is required for this trick.

Write a blog for two or three years that regularly makes fun of Leonard Cohen. Claim, for example, that “Take This Waltz” was originally an embittered bit of doggerel called “Take This Waltz and Shove It” that Cohen wrote in response to taunts about his difficulty in learning to dance. Suggest that an ideal 75th birthday gift for him would be significant helpings of crack and anal sex. Or how about this – write a post confessing that Leonard Cohen himself is only a hoax you dreamed up as a lark:

I am the first to admit that it never occurred to me that anyone would fall for a story about a Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-icon in his 70s whose concerts all over the world routinely sell out with tickets going for $100-500 (and multiples of that once the scalpers come into play), who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and who has had and continues to have a reputation as a ladies’ man.

Then wait for this blog to inevitably generate an invitation to visit Leonard Cohen backstage.

Once there, respond “Yes” (Also acceptable, it turns out, is “What? Uh, well. Sure, OK.”) when an especially attractive young woman introduces herself with “My name is Lorca” and asks if she can take your picture with Leonard Cohen.

An optional but ultimately moment-enhancing step at this point is first calculating just how many women named “Lorca” one knows personally and then, upon realizing that the result is zero, contemplating why that name nonetheless sounds familiar. When the epiphany of recognition (finally) arrives, the way cool move to make is pointing out to the young woman that she is Lorca Cohen. While she will prove already cognizant of her name, she will be gratifyingly gracious (maybe it’s genetic) and cause you to feel rather astute – until your head clears the next morning.

Leonard Cohen will spontaneously explain that Lorca is his daughter. He will also smile when you respond “Oh, that Lorca Cohen” – just as though your comment were funny.

When Leonard Cohen gracefully moves close to your side for the photo and embraces you by wrapping his arm around your shoulder, you will see how fragile he looks up close (when you see him on stage that night, only slightly farther away from your seats than when you met him backstage, you will be astounded at the powerhouse he has become in the two hours since you stood next to him). You will, in fact, repeatedly remind yourself

For goodness sake, do not turn around and break him,
you huge, clumsy lummox, you.

Lorca, who magically knows your email address, will send the photo to you just in time to pull off the trick.

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Posts About Meeting Leonard Cohen In Chicago

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  1. I have experienced little difficulty finding unsolicited volunteers to assist me in reading my email or performing any other activity on my phone. The trick in this situation is enlisting someone to fulfill this role who is a Leonard Cohen fan but not someone jaded by extensive contact with him. The crowd around the Leonard Cohen merchandise booth is an ideal source for such candidates. It is difficult to imagine a non-fan purchasing Cohen goodies, and one rarely finds, for example, Anjani or Jarkko elbowing other customers aside to snarf up “Leonard Cohen Winter Lady Snow Globes” or a “Leonard Cohen Action Figure” (wind it up and every 15 years, it goes on tour). []