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Honored Thy Father

Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Bell Centre
November 6

hey, that IS a way to say goodbye #LeonardCohen

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My birthday was once soiled by the public announcement that Magic Johnson has AIDS.  I’ve always wanted that stain on my birthday replaced by another more significant event, and while I wish Leonard Cohen had lived forever, he left this world on my birthday last year, and I’ll take that over MJ’s admittance as the ‘thing’ that happened on my day of birth  

Leonard is still gone, but he will never NEVER ever be forgotten, especially in his hometown of Montreal, where 364 days later, his son Adam put together a tribute concert to beautifully honor thy father

So with Leonard as an excuse, the wife, my parents and I descended upon Leonard’s hometown, to say goodbye to my 30s, and to Leonard Cohen, with a cast of WOWsands.  Big names like Sting, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang and Lana Del Rey commanded much attention and awesomeness, but it was the lesser known (to me), fellow Canadians who really shined on their takes of Leonard’s finest works.  Standouts include Ron Sexsmith (who is no stranger to Cohen covers), FeistPatrick Watson and the haunting (Irish, not Canuck) Damien Rice 

It’s really hard to screw up a Leonard Cohen song, and while I didn’t really take to Sharon Robinson nor Betty LaVette’s contributions, they at least weren’t sacrilege… which is exactly what Courtney Love’s rendition of my personal favorite LC song ‘Everybody Knows’ (thanks to Pump Up The Volume) was.  An ear-sore and a blasphemous disaster, Love brought hate out of me on a night of pure… love.  I mean, not even Seth Rogen bothered me on this noche, and he always bothers me!  Take that Courtney!!  But why Courtney anyway?  Couldn’t she be replaced by someone more deserving and probably more loving, and actually talented, like dual US-Canadian citizen and LC fanatic Rufus Wainwright???  And while we’re here, Sting and Elvis C are lovely and all, but Leonard wasn’t beloved enough by the likes of McCartney, Dylan, Paul Simon or Neil Young to drag any of them out to this event?  Were they even asked?  

Whatever, dumb gripes aside, the event was perfect (aside from Cunt-ny Love) – it made my mom tear up often, and I did too, but mainly cause I was with loved ones and just so overjoyed.  And a big thanks and hug has got to go out to Leonard’s son Adam, who stirringly dueted on 4 of his father’s songs.  Dad would be proud.  The rest of us certainly were.  Son should go on tour and play pop’s music on the road – keep the legend alive, even though the legend will live on if son does or not.  Leonard’s still our man.  Not even death can change that

First SetSting – ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’ / Feist – ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ / Patrick Watson – ‘Who by Fire’ / Sharon Robinson – ‘I’m Your Man’ / Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites from The Lumineers – ‘Democracy’ / Ron Sexsmith – ‘Suzanne’ / Elvis Costello – ‘The Future’ / Damien Rice – ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ / Adam Cohen and The Webb Sisters – ‘So Long, Marianne’ / k.d. lang – ‘Hallelujah’

Second SetShaar Hashomayim Choir – ‘Tower of Song’ / Sting – ‘Sisters of Mercy’ / Adam Cohen and Lana Del Ray – ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ / Betty LaVette – ‘In My Secret Life’ / Courtney Love – ‘Everybody Knows’ / Seth Rogen – ‘Field Commander Cohen’ / BØRNS and The Webb Sisters – ‘If It Be Your Will’ / Adam Cohen, Coeur de pirate and Damien Rice – ‘The Partisan’ / Elvis Costello – ‘Bird on the Wire’ / Sting – ‘Anthem’ / Shaar Hashomayim Choir – ‘You Want It Darker’ / Adam Cohen and Basia Bulat – ‘Coming Back to You’ / Basia Bulat – ‘Closing Time’

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Panel Discussion

ever see Robert Altman‘s 1979 post-apocalyptic borefest Quintet [trailer] starring Paul Newman?  you know, the flick about some ice age survivors playing an incompressible board game to the death?????  didn’t think so. and although it was a critical and of course commercial failure for Altman, we hactually found it to have more merit than stinkin badges than most of his other movies!

anywho, the coolest thing about it all is that it was filmed on the empty and unused grounds of the 67 Expo in Montreal!  Mont5reals!!!!  Cause nothing sez decayed future like a 60s vision of the future left to rot for 10 years!!!  anywho, in Altman’s own words…

About ten years ago I was shooting the interiors of my film Quintet in Montreal, in the remains of Expo ’67, and there were these forty-four glass panels – photomurals – eighteen feet tall on top of the seven-story structure that was one of the theme pavilions.

The thing was about to be razed, so I quickly made an arrangement with the government that I could salvage those panels.  I took them down, at no small expense I must say, and shipped them to California, where I had a film studio called Lion’s Gate.  I put them up in a projection room there and in the lobby.  And when I sold that company in 1981, I sold the building and everything in it, except those panels – I had a great affection for them.  I shipped them to New York, and I stored them in a warehouse there until I could find an apartment good enough for them and with a high enough ceiling to accommodate them.

guess what?  HE DID!!! a 2 bedroom duplex on Manhattan’s Upper West Side!!  HAMMMMAZINGNESS!!!!!!

read the entire article + mo pics: Architectural Digest, March 1990 [pdf] via IMDb

what’s the story with the panels today?  no clue, since Altman has passed on, but we would assume they’re still at the same apartment, no?  maybe that’s a PANEL DISCUSSION for another time!

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