Leonard Cohen, Ventures, Madonna Compete In Pre-Induction Orienteering
Last night, almost two weeks after I posted my Notes On The 2008 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, I received a scurrilous email challenging a specific portion of my report generated from the television broadcast of the event. The contention references these incidents covered in this excerpt from my original post:
Bonus: Unsolicited Advice To VH1-C Production Crew & Waldorf Event Planners
Here’s a wacky idea – what if, when the honorees leave the waiting area (AKA the Waldorf Hotel kitchen) to mount the stage, the direction to their mark on the stage were made clear? Now, no one enjoys slapstick antics, not unlike that practiced by the Keystone Cops in their heyday, more than me. Watching the Ventures mill about before someone standing idly by pointed them toward the stage was a hoot. Even watching my man, Leonard, walk through the door into the bright lights only to realize that he was face to face with the live and TV audience with no means of determining the correct route to the stage gave me a tiny jolt of Schadenfreude-infused delight. And, when I saw John Mellencamp nearly sprint the wrong way, toward the backstage area, … well, let’s just say, a knee was slapped and mirth prevailed. Heck, I’ll even admit to being a little disappointed when someone literally took Madonna’s arm to guide her to the stage.
Still, you might want to consider adding a navigational aid to assure that the show runs smoothly. I don’t see a need to pop for a GPS, but maybe you could – and I’m just blue-skying here – plant a big sign outside that door with an arrow pointing to the stage or instruct a flunky to stand outside the door through which the inductees enter and imitate a sign pointing unambiguously toward the stage.
My intrepid correspondent, who apparently used a fake return address for the email, declared that he or she had watched that same VH1-Classic broadcast but had seen nothing that resembled the scenes I described.
Well, DrHGuy is at an awkward age where the possibilities of flashbacks from the 1960s and early onset dementia overlap, so a review of the TiVo recording of the ceremony was indicated. Upon discovering the anticipated answer – i.e., I was right,1 I decided that nothing would do but to document this finding (i.e., that I was, in a word, correct) with cutting edge technology: I took photos of the recorded telecast of the induction ceremony with my pocket digital camera. I’ll apologize now for the poor quality of the images, but the content is clear enough for our purposes, which is, again, to prove that I was right.
Setting The Stage
As far as I could determine, only the inductees entered the stage through the door from the waiting area (which was also in use as the hotel kitchen). Presenters, performers, and the others who appeared on stage arrived via other routes or, for all I know, were beamed up.
That door is marked in the two graphics that follow.
Upon being introduced, the Ventures walked through the door – and realized they had no idea where the stage was located or where they were.
They first turned to a long hallway on their left. The dark figures in the hallway, also shown in the expanded portion of the graphic, were not, appearances notwithstanding, caught in media res during a murder by stabbing. The woman nearest the Ventures is intently gazing at the material in her hand (stage directions? show biz news? Cosmo?) and appears oblivious to the plight of the Surf Rock group while the figure behind her comes to the rescue, pointing the Ventures toward the stage.
The photo sequence reveals Leonard Cohen’s circuitous route to the stage of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Ever the independent spirit, Leonard breaks the pattern by first turning right (the wrong way) instead of the more common rotation left (also the wrong way).
The photo on the reader’s far right of that sequence is worth a closer, albeit blurry look because this may be the only instance I’ve seen of the unflappable Leonard Cohen2 approximating a WTF look – and even then, he infuses the momentary bafflement with a tonic dose of wry.
The captions below are, obviously, only my guesses about the thought process that went on following Leonard Cohen’s initial realization that he was adrift in the Waldorf’s own Bermuda Triangle.
From left to right: 1. “Why did entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seem like a good idea?” 2. “If the stage isn’t to the right, it must be to the left” 3. “Well, if that’s the stage, I’m kinda disappointed in the turnout.”
In the far right photo above, a shadowy figure is barely visible. Blowing up a view of that hallway and lighting up the area via software reveals two shadowy figures, a gentleman of significant stature standing behind a woman. It is the woman who helpfully points the way to the stage. While such assistance isn’t in the “Sisters of Mercy” category, I suggest it does qualify, as does the help received by the Ventures, for the Blanche DuBois Merit Badge bestowed for “the kindness of strangers.”
Given this cue, Leonard Cohen continues on to the stage with no further problems.
The Material Girl encountered no navigational glitches. These were precluded by the galoot who was attached to her elbow from the time she left the waiting area until she was on the stairway leading to the stage.
I contend that the examples of the Ventures and Leonard Cohen provide adequate proof of my original assertion that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees faced one final hurdle to claiming their reward – finding where the reward was hidden.
Nonetheless, I hope, if time permits, to also post the dogleg itinerary “Smokin’ John Mellencamp” took to the stage. Its didactic and entertainment value justify the effort.3
- I know, how could I have doubted me? [↩]
- Re unflappability, consider Cohen’s response to being threatened at gunpoint by Phil Spector as recounted in The Spector Tapes:
Cohen would later recall how on one occasion in the studio Spector approached him with a bottle of Manischewitz (Jewish ceremonial wine) in one hand and a pistol in the other, placed his arm around Cohen’s shoulder, shoved the gun in his neck and said: ”Leonard, I love you.” Cohen, with admirable aplomb, moved the barrel away, saying: ”I hope you do, Phil.”
- The portion of the recording that shows the final inductees, The Dave Clark Five, is unusable because of technical troubles. In any case, my recall is that they had no problem finding the stage. Perhaps they are navigational savants – or by the end of the show someone finally figured out out that, literally, “stage directions,” were required and consequently the DC5 were given a map. [↩]