Last night at a ceremony attended by the mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, the mural of Leonard Cohen lit up Montréal. The charitable organization MU, with support from the Ville-Marie borough and Tourisme Montréal, provided permanent lighting for the 21-storey mural of Leonard on Crescent Street in downtown Montréal. "From now on, the memory of Leonard Cohen will shine in the heart of downtown Montréal in both the literal and figurative sense," said the Mayor. Read about the ceremony here: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/leonard-cohen-lights-up-montreal-s-nights-875626790.html. GIF by Olivier Bousquet, showing a before/after the illumination. Additional photos here: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOHMWBoTX6A8U90WJwgfdxWj9LIrjMD267OZy-gqekP-Qn38NhdZFHuNCejj7OKmg?key=WjF4YVl6ZkRWZ3htQlZUZ3NzVjhXbUhpMDVianJB
As May turned to June eleven years ago, Leonard and his band were finishing up their eastern Canada tour of small venues and preparing to begin what would turn out to be a world tour lasting five years. At that moment, Leonard made an exception to his “no interview” rule to speak with Brian D. Johnson of Maclean’s backstage in Hamilton, Ontario. Listen as Leonard tells us about being a postcard sent from place to place.
Ten years ago today Leonard and his band performed at Boston's Citi Performing Arts Center. The Boston Herald proclaimed: “one of the finest songwriters of the 20th century beautifully proved that he still has the music… Cohen possessed a majestic grace that could put mere pop stars to shame… Part celestial, part sensual, Leonard Cohen brought a whole life onstage.” Photographer Arthur Pollock of the Herald captured Leonard in song that night.
On this date in 1967 Leonard performed at Toronto's first Love-In in Queen’s Park in Yorkville Village. The Toronto Daily Star reported: “Toronto’s first Love-In drew 4,000 to 5,000 people... And it was all very loving and uneventful. The only casualties---half a bed of hippie-picked yellow tulips.” Wolf Sullivan added: “Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Rabble and Toronto's The Isabella Blues Band performed great music for free… Leonard Cohen, dressed in a brown suede jacket and turtleneck sweater, said he loved everybody and ‘Spring called me here’ before singing "Suzanne," "So Long, Marianne," and other songs with flowers behind his ear. He also recited some of his poetry.” (Photo by Bill Dampier and credited to York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections)
“Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything," continues its run at the New York Jewish Museum through September 8. (https://thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/leonard-cohen-a-crack-in-everything) The New York Post reviewed the exhibit and raved: "Depressing? Hardly. This is the rare museum show you’ll leave singing. Hallelujah!" Below are more articles describing how the exhibit tells the story of Leonard's life and the transformational responses to his work. New York Post "Exhibit explores how Leonard Cohen embraced Buddhism, Judaism and wit" https://nypost.com/2019/05/08/exhibit-explores-how-leonard-cohen-embraced-buddhism-judaism-and-wit/ Forward "The Astronomical Force And Zen Cool Of Leonard Cohen" https://forward.com/culture/music/423894/jewish-museums-leonard-cohen-show-exhibits-zen-cool/ NYC The Official Guide "What to See at Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything" https://www.nycgo.com/articles/what-to-see-at-leonard-cohen-a-crack-in-everything-jewish-museum-nyc The Brooklyn Rail "Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything" https://brooklynrail.org/2019/05/artseen/Leonard-Cohen-A-Crack-in-Everything The Guardian "'It's him, but through the eyes of others': behind the Leonard Cohen exhibition" https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/apr/30/its-him-but-through-the-eyes-of-others-behind-the-leonard-cohen-exhibition 4 Columns "Leonard Cohen" http://4columns.org/ft/leonard-cohen Financial Times "Leonard Cohen at the New York Jewish Museum is an engrossing but often vexing hagiography" https://www.ft.com/content/2002c71c-61da-11e9-9300-0becfc937c37 The New York Jewish Week "Searching For That Secret Chord" https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/searching-for-that-secret-chord/ Jazziz "5 Reasons to Visit ‘Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything’ at the Jewish Museum in NYC" https://www.jazziz.com/5-reasons-to-visit-leonard-cohen-a-crack-in-everything-at-the-jewish-museum-in-nyc/
Seven years ago today at a gala concert in Toronto, Leonard received his award as the Ninth Laureate of The Glenn Gould Prize. (Photo by Carlos Osorio for the Toronto Star.) In his acceptance speech, Leonard told the story of his first meeting with the eccentric piano virtuoso around 1960 when Cohen was in his twenties. Leonard sought an interview with Gould for a feature in Holiday magazine. Gould granted the emerging writer ten minutes or so. A nervous Leonard ventured to the pianist's apartment. "This was before the days of tape recorders," said Cohen. "I was so engrossed by what he was saying, I stopped taking notes. Those words were burned into my soul." The ten-minute interview turned into a chat lasting several hours. "Then I got back to my little room on Mountain St. in Montreal, ready to write the story, and I couldn't remember a thing. I couldn't remember a word that he said," confessed Cohen. Leonard admitted to spending days hiding from his editors and ducking questions about the progress of the interview story. "I stopped answering the phone," he deadpanned. "I finally joined the witness protection (program)."
Thirteen years ago today Book of Longing hit book store shelves. Leonard stopped by the PBS NewsHour to discuss his new collection of poems. He shared his thoughts on how poetry differs from songwriting and the "inescapable lousiness of growing old." Best of all, we hear that riveting voice recite some of the best poetry.
Kildare-born novelist, playwright, and essayist John MacKenna made two feature programmes for RTÉ with Leonard in 1988. The two-part audio recording, entitled “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns,” offers a remarkable insight into Cohen's life and work. Years later MacKenna, with input from Leonard, created a requiem Mass for theatre using only Leonard's words and music, entitled “Between Your Love and Mine.” Part 1 of “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” is below. Part 2 can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/user-625744182/how-the-heart-approaches-what-it-yearns-part-2-leonard-cohen-and-john-mackenna
Ten years ago Leonard took to the stage at the outdoor festival of music known as Coachella. Spinner, the Los Angeles Times, NME, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, LA Weekly, and Spin magazine all raved about his performance. Paste Magazine wrote: "In what soon coalesced into the finest performance of the day, legendary singer Leonard Cohen began his marathon set with "Dance Me to the End of Love," a track filled with layered, cascading waves of lovely background vocals and gypsy folk, his weathered baritone providing a solemn soundtrack as the sun-bloodied sky behind him dramatically slipped into a darkness... By the time his age-ravaged voice led all through a floodlit singalong of the cold and broken "Hallelujah," Cohen had single-handedly guided his audience through what may have been the most emotionally cathartic performance of the entire weekend." Listen to Leonard and his band perform "Hallelujah" at Coachella from Songs from the Road.