Help Buy Leonard Cohen A New Bench For His 80th Birthday

Fans of Leonard Cohen are banding together to fund a bench on Hydra, Greece to commemorate Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday, which takes place Sept 21, 2014.

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An appropriate site has been selected and architectural plans drawn up. Now, the fundraising has begun.

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The means by which to make a contribution as well as a description of the project, photos and videos of the site, a rundown on the costs, and an explanation of the significance of Hydra to Leonard Cohen can be found at

Credit Due Department: The iconic photo atop this post was taken by Dominique Issermann.

Video: Robert Altman Tracks Down Leonard Cohen Songs For McCabe & Mrs. Miller

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It has become difficult to find a movie critic who doesn’t acknowledge the impact of Leonard Cohen’s songs on Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller. A representative observation follows:

Watching Altman’s film, it becomes obvious that Cohen’s songs preternaturally fit each film they slide into, as if the words were meant for each scene (even if that same song is used over and over again in different worlds, scenarios, and films).1

For more information about Cohen’s music in this and other films, see Leonard Cohen At The Movies

Robert Altman and Leonard Cohen

In this video, Altman, who died in 2006,  is interviewed ahead of the release of Gosford Park  sometime in the late 1990s on Elvis Mitchell‘s Independent Focus program.

Along with comments about censorship, recruiting Cher to play in Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, why he was fed up with Hollywood, and more, Altman tells how he came to realize, after filming was completed, that he wanted music from Songs Of Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack of  McCabe & Mrs. Miller, how he tracked down the Canadian singer-songwriter, and why Cohen’s enthusiastic response was key.

Note: The video should begin automatically at the pertinent portion of the program (about 12:14). The material about Leonard Cohen lasts 4-5 minutes. The entire Altman interview, however, is worth watching.

Independent Focus with Robert Altman

  1. Your Guide to the Cinematic Life of Musician Leonard Cohen  by Monika Bartyzel. Posted 27 June 2012 at  Movies.com []

Session With Poet Cohen: Rollicking 1966 Interview With Leonard Cohen Now Online

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In researching a post about next year’s 50th anniversary commemoration of Leonard Cohen’s 1966 visit to the University of Alberta – Edmonton,1 I discovered that A Session With Poet Cohen,2 a lively and entertaining interview with Cohen by reporters from The Gateway, the University’s student newspaper, can be accessed online.

This 1966 conversation between four University of Alberta students and the 32 year old Montreal native they describe as “probably the best and certainly the most spectacular Canadian poet of his generation” covers such topics as life & death, religion & ritual, the relationship of art to reality, the significance of poetry, differences between and similarities of songs and poems, LSD, and more. Read Cohen’s answer to the question, “Has anyone ever approached you about doing a record?” Consider his claim that he “created [Bob] Dylan.” Savor Cohen’s quotes, including

  • Q: “Would you rather make love or make poems? Or is it the same thing?” Leonard Cohen: “That depends on the girl.”
  • “I think we’re probably entering a great Egyptian period, where there are going to be very well-defined castes–priests, warriors, scribes.”
  • “I think we’re probably in one of the greatest periods for lyrics since Elizabethan times. Take that ballad Bobby Darin sings, If I Were A Carpenter–that’s as good a ballad as any Scottish border ballad. It really is right up there.”
  • “Every man is a prophet.”
  • “Anything that has a life and death sound to it is a song.”
  • “I don’t know if I’ll be anybody’s Moses—I might be their Leonard.”

All this and more can be found in A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte, Patricia Hughes, Terry Donnelly, and John Thompson. The Gateway, December 2, 1966.

Links to the two (newspaper) page article follow:

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  1. See Early Look At 50th Anniversary Commemoration Of Leonard Cohen’s 1966 U of Alberta – Edmonton Visit []
  2. A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte, Patricia Hughes, Terry Donnelly, and John Thompson. The Gateway, December 2, 1966 []

Fans Celebrating Leonard Cohen’s 80th Birthday – Pledges For Bench On Hydra

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Fans are organizing an effort through the Leonard Cohen Forum to fund a bench on Hydra to commemorate Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday. An appropriate site has been found and architectural plans submitted. The essential step now is assuring that the cost of the project can be met by collecting pledges for contributions.

Pledges can be made at The Hydra Bench: Call for Pledges. Note: Pledges will be accepted for the next week only; at that time a decision to pursue or drop the project must be made.

A bench on the island where Leonard Cohen and Marianne lived for several years would be an excellent way to celebrate the 80th birthday of this musical icon. (The only negative I can come up with is that I wasn’t the one who thought of the idea.) The Duchess & I will be making a pledge and I urge viewers to consider contributing.

A video (by Wijbe) of the projected location of the bench can be viewed at http://www.icantforget.nl/Bench.html

The discussion about the commemorative bench, including its cost and alternatives considered, is at How to celebrate Leonard’s 80th birthday

The Leonard Cohen Mic Drop

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The Classic Mic Drop

The mic drop, intentionally dropping or throwing the microphone on the floor after an especially impressive (by the entertainer’s own assessment) performance, has been the preferred stage exit for rappers and comedians since the 1980s and has now become a cultural meme employed by – well, just about anyone who somehow finds himself or herself in front of an audience. Heck, President Obama dropped the mic in an comedy bit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last year.

In this animated gif, Kanye West demonstrates the classic mic drop at the completion of his performance at the 2012 BET Awards.

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The Leonard Cohen Mic Drop

Leonard Cohen, of course, has developed his own signature mic drop.

Leonard Cohen – Save The Last Dance For Me
Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by Wirebirds

Credit Due Department: Image atop this post found at Simply Sio!. The Kayne West animation was found at Giphy

Leonard Cohen – All Smiles: The Video

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 And here’s a man still working with his smile

His reputation as the Godfather of Gloom1 notwithstanding, Leonard Cohen possesses a repertoire of quite effective smiles. In support of this premise, I recently published Leonard Cohen – All Smiles: 21 Photos, a post comprising – well, 21 photos of Leonard Cohen smiling. The enthusiasm with which this collection was received has led to the production of Leonard Cohen – All Smiles: The Video, featuring – well, four minutes of Leonard Cohen smiling, the viewing of which turns out to be a delightfully restorative experience.

Leonard Cohen – All Smiles
Video by Allan Showalter

  1. Also High Priest Of Pathos, Prophet of Despair, Poet Laureate Of Pessimism, Troubadour Of Travail, and many similar titles. See Leonard Cohen, AKA … – The Nicknames []