Careful readers of Heck Of A Guy may have correctly deduced from the occasional clue hidden in last week’s posts (such as the graphic from New York Tonight – Leonard Cohen & DrHGuy Appearing Together For The First Time) that I attended the February 19, 2009 Leonard Cohen concert at the Beacon Theater in New York.
And, as I noted in Leonard Cohen New York Concert Exquisite, I found the Leonard Cohen New York Concert exquisite.
In the post itself, I expanded my evaluation of the performance to “exquisite with a dash of spectacular.”
That I limited my concert comments to these two superlatives has, predictably, raised concerns among ongoing viewers of this blog. The following email is characteristic:
How is it that you write two huge posts on broomcorn,1 but when it comes to a Leonard Cohen concert you only write a handful of 1-2 sentence paragraphs summarized as “So, let’s leave it at ‘exquisite’ with a dash of ‘spectacular?’”
While I would adjure readers not to underestimate the complexity of the historic role of broomcorn in this country and the subsequent quantity of discourse required for a valid overview of that topic, it is true that my review of the Beacon Theatre performance was atypically terse, especially given that I was in the audience at that show.
The explanation is disappointingly straightforward (an unfortunate fact that, despite my best obfuscatory efforts, shines through unobscured). The New York stop on the 2009 Leonard Cohen World Tour has been the topic of beaucoup blogs, a raft of reviews, and copious commentary, not all of it alliterative.2
One result of this media tsunami is that I find little original to add to either of the two major genres that together account for 99.31% of all material published on the New York Cohen concert:
- Reviews and analyses of the concert’s content
- Individual testimonials sometimes generically expounding on the excellence of Cohen’s performance but more often attesting to its personal transformational, redemptive, or transcendent qualities
Although a reader of the cynical sort might, with some justification, note that lack of original content has not proved an absolute barrier to the publication of Heck Of A Guy posts, I am not given to infatuation with the intellectual version of the free market in which, for example, reviews written by the music critics from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Paste Magazine, the hordes of music blogs, and any one with similar aspirations and a $4.74 a month GoDaddy web site hosting account battle each other to attract readers and approval.
Nope. While I am, as Cohen describes himself, “not the sort of chap who keeps the truth to himself,” I do prefer to broadcast the truths that are – well, let’s call them “less accessible to the general public.”
I am, it turns out, fascinated with and eager to share the DrHGuy Leonard Cohen New York Beacon Theatre Concert Experience, a topic which, as far as I can determine, has been suspiciously absent from the news and blog coverage of the event thus far.
While most of DrHGuy Leonard Cohen New York Beacon Theater Concert Experience deals with issues directly connected to that concert, the remainder of today’s post will focus on one topic only tangentially related to the Thursday night music extravaganza (the reviews) and one even farther afield, but not, I think, totally irrelevant (more about the relevance in a future post).
For the first of these perspectives, I’m going meta on you with an observation about those other concert reviews.
First, We Take The Manhattan Title Entitlement
In Holiday Hope – Hallelujah Headline Hiatus, I lamented and lambasted the Exclamatory Hallelujah Heading Plague pandemic thusly,
No, the cause of my frustration was that “Hallelujah – 20 facts about Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah” was the 33,754th article about Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to appear in the past three weeks using what I call the exclamatory Hallelujah heading.
In the case of “Hallelujah – 20 facts about Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah,” the first “Hallelujah” is the exclamatory Hallelujah. The “Hallelujah” following “Leonard Cohen’s,” on the other hand, is an identifier, referring directly to the name of the song.
A fundamental distinction exists between the the identifier Hallelujah and the exclamatory Hallelujah: While referring to “Hallelujah” (the name of the song) could be pertinent and perhaps essential in the title of an article about that song.
… Reporters and bloggers who protest that a headline with an exclamatory Hallelujah is altogether appropriate to the content of a given article miss this key point:
Readers deserve better than clichés, whether or not
the clichés are are on point, factually correct, suitable, …
Well, the Hallelujah hawkers look like creative geniuses compared to those who take the Take The Manhattan Title Entitlement, i.e., change Leonard Cohen’s title, “First We Take Manhattan” to something like “Leonard Cohen Takes Manhattan,” optionally add or change a word or two, and offer this quickie reference to the town where the concert takes place as the alternative to an interesting, enticing, or informative headline.
Is that the best Variety, Rolling Stone, The Daily Press (Ontario), The National Post,3 Paste Magazine, and The Edmonton Sun can come up with in the way of creative titles?
After all, it’s not like the days of fixed typefaces when the titles of articles had to not only reflect the content but also be the right size for the alloted restricted space measured in picas, points, and ems so a phrase that fit the content and the space might be reused many times.
On the other hand, maybe those headline writers are just cagey manipulators hoping to attract New York readers. If the concert audience is representative, New Yorkers are no less given over to the same home town boosterism one associates with small Midwestern towns. Listen to the crowd after Cohen sings the line, “First we take Manhattan, … ” at the 1 minute mark.
And again, check the response after the line, “And that was New York,” (at about 35 seconds) in Chelsea Hotel #2.
And That Was New York – We Were Running For The Money …
This was the first trip to New York this kid from the Ozarks had made in 12 years. Something that had not changed was the involuntary flinch that erupted whenever I opened the mini-bar price list in my hotel room.
Most painful among the many recession-deniers set before me was the cost of that most essential of elixirs, Diet Coke, which was available for a robust $6. It was hardly alone, however. A pack of almonds went for $10. Putting those 4th grade arithmetic skills to work, I soon calculated that each of those precious almonds carried a per item price tag of $0.56.
These prices were not without certain advantages.
The best investment I’ve made in the past six months, for example, was arbitraging 12 units of Diet Coke liquid assets purchased at a less spectacularly overpriced total cost of $4.68 (including tax) at a grocery store three blocks away and consumed within the constraints of the hotel, a market which values the same asset at $6 each for a profit of $67.32 on an investment of $4.68.
I’m chagrined, however, that I did not realize how to optimally monetarize the potential offered by the price differential until I was on the plane home.
There is a limit to how much Diet Coke one can enjoy drinking, which is also a limit to how much one can profit by buying cheaper soft drinks elsewhere; purchasing more would not earn more profits but would turn into a loss more Diet Cokes are purchased than can be consumed by the end of ones stay. The optimal solution lies, again, within an understanding of the market itself. By publishing the price list, the hotel, much like the US Government, has endorsed the mini-bar items as currency. The hotel, for example, values Diet Cokes such that the exchange rate is 1DC (Diet Coke) = 6 USD.
What better way to pay tips?
Great shoeshine. Here’s five extra almonds for your trouble.
So that’s how a toilet flushes in a hot shot New York hotel. And there’s a window, too! Gosh, thanks. Oh, I need to give you a tip. Just take a Diet Coke from that six pack by the door – um, that may not work. Heck, take two of those suckers, my man. Just don’t count on that much every time.
Next – The Women of the DrHGuy Leonard Cohen New York Beacon Theatre Concert Experience
The next segment of the DrHGuy Leonard Cohen New York Beacon Theater Concert Experience will include the stories of the previously mentioned Girl With The Leonard Cohen Tattoo, my very own Half-Sister Of Mercy, and possibly one or two others.
- The reader is perhaps referring to A Brooms, Broomcorn, & Broom Dusting Farrago and A Second Broomcorn Harvest [↩]
- I have, in fact, listed links to four of the best of the batch under the heading, “Best Of Leonard Cohen New York Beacon Theater Concert,” at the Best Of Leonard Cohen World Tour 2008-2009 page of LeonardCohenSearch. [↩]
- The National Post story was also republished with the same title, “Leonard Cohen Takes Manhattan, Again” in other sources such as USA Today and Yahoo News [↩]