Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Information on other get-togethers before the next big Event
dce
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Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby dce » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:42 pm

The night of Saturday, 21 January marked the inaugural Adelaide Leonard Cohen event – a small but spirited gathering of fans of varying levels of Cohen obsession, coming together on a warm summer’s evening to celebrate Leonard’s words and music.

The event was organised by AlanM (of bootleg video fame), who also had kindly agreed to host it at his home in a leafy Southern suburb of Adelaide.

I first met Alan at the Adelaide concert of Leonard’s 2010 Down Under tour, and have kept in touch with him on-and-off since then. His commitment to spreading the word about Cohen to friends, neighbours, and whoever else will listen is unparalleled in anyone I have met. So when I heard he was trying to get together a group of like-minded fans for an evening in celebration of Cohen’s music I was more than a little intrigued.

Preparations

In the weeks leading up to the January 21 event participants were asked to nominate one song from Leonard’s back-catalogue that they would be willing to speak briefly about, as a short introduction to the screening of a live rendition of the song. As one of the goals of the evening was to “educate” new fans, Alan’s basic idea was to screen videos from his collection of TV performances and audience-shot clips, rather than to show performances from the “Live in London” or “Songs from the Road” DVDs (both of which everyone is familiar with).

In a frantic stream of emails throughout January, plans were laid and songs were chosen. For most people the criteria for song choice was just to pick something that appealed to them. Alan and I (as “elder statesmen of LC fandom” – a relative term, as neither of us have anywhere near the encyclopaedic knowledge of some here on this forum) picked less common songs, just to demonstrate some of the less-featured sides of Leonard.

Introductions

The night kicked off at 6:15, and festivities were already well underway by the time I arrived around 6:30. Although I had never been to Alan’s house, it was easy to pick from the enticing sound of Cohen rarities that could be heard wafting from his back yard. It had been a hot day (mid 30s centigrade) and the sun was still blazing down on the grassy open air courtyard where Alan had set up a TV / Media player set up nestled neatly between his lush array of potted plants and tasteful garden statuary. Amazingly, most folks had arrived before me – clearly everyone was eager – so almost immediately on arrival, my partner Cathy (from Adelaide) and I were right in the thick of a long and complex series of introductions. Fortunately I had previously met several of the attendees (at the 2010 Adelaide concert, where they had been dragged along as recent converts by Alan), otherwise there is no way I would have had any chance of remembering so many new names.

As we were introduced, the assembled fans were treated to selections of oddities and unusual live audio recordings – “Chelsea Hotel #1”, “Red River Valley”, the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody”, and even Cohen’s recitation of “Sounds of Silence”. For most folks these were curiosities rather than revelations (with the possible exception of “Sounds of Silence” which stopped all conversation in a similar way to “A Thousand Kisses Deep” at World Tour concerts). But the wine was flowing, including some from my personal stash of (hand-labelled) 2009 “LC Day on the Green” wines, and the food started to materialise. So all was good. I had the particular good fortune to be sitting close to the bowl of home-made roasted nuts (still warm from the oven), so the biggest challenge for me was carrying on a conversation without choking …

New Songs

As people ate, Alan kicked the video presentations into gear, most notably screening a collection of recent videos, mostly fan-produced. Starting with the Sony 3D TV commercial featuring Leonard’s gravelly recitation, things proceeded rapidly to the classy (and surprisingly long) extended “Thousand Kisses Deep” recitation video produced as an international collaboration between several folks on this forum, including Alan. Other items which received rapt attention were three videos featuring the “teaser” songs that have been released online ahead of the Old Ideas album, with scrolling lyrics and assorted still images. For many in attendance this was the first time they had encountered these tunes – while the more complex and meditative songs (Going Home and Show Me The Place) were met with nodding acceptance, a much more enthusiastic response greeted The Darkness.

What Leonard Means To Me

After the preparatory videos were screened – and more than a little good-hearted conversation about them had just begun to dwindle, the main part of the evening’s festivities kicked into gear: the screening of videos chosen by attendees.

In all, there were ten songs chosen, and while we alternated between hearing impassioned spoken introductions by the assembled fans, watching old videos of Leonard playing live, and discussing many points, the sun slowly sank leaving us in darkness. As twilight fell, several different groups of native Australian birds augmented the soundtrack with their pleasant if occasionally raucous twilight calls, as they milled around the trees overhanging Alan’s back yard. In a strange kind of way this added rather than detracted from proceedings and reminded me greatly of the experience of seeing Leonard perform live at outdoor events such as the winery shows in 2009 or Hanging Rock in 2010.

Different people approached the task of choosing a song, and introducing it, in many different ways and the evening definitely benefited from that variety. Some people spoke for just a few moments, expressing their undying love for the violin work of Raffi Hakopian or something similarly brief. Others spoke for some time, describing their (sometimes long and convoluted) journey from discovering Leonard’s music many decades ago, losing it , and finding it again in recent years. About the only thing that all introductions had in common was that they focussed exclusively on the personal impression the song had made on them – “What this means to me”. This personal and heart-felt, rather than dissecting and academic, approach made everything very accessible to both new fans as well as old hands.

For the record, here are the ten songs that were played as fan-chosen videos:

1. Anthem
2. Tonight Will Be Fine
3. The Night Comes On (Dean)
4. The Window
5. Joan of Arc (Alan)
6. Ain’t No Cure For Love
7. Dance Me To The End Of Love
8. Take This Waltz (complete with live Waltzing!)
9. Hallelujah
10. Closing Time

A minor note of unexpected comedy was delivered part way through the proceedings by Alan’s cat and his dog Roscoe. As folks were silently enjoying a video, the cat wandered right beneath the TV, tail waving in the air … and with Roscoe trailing directly behind with nose firmly planted beneath the cat’s tail. This weird cross-species convoy paraded across the whole back yard, much to the general amusement of all. Of course Alan leapt to the defence of his animals claiming it was perfectly natural, but personally I’m not convinced. I only hope that the *real* Roscoe is better behaved :-)

Show and Tell

After the video screenings were done, things slipped into a more casual gear, with people breaking into a number of small conversations about Leonard, the Universe and everything (I guess). Lots of questions were asked, information – biographical and otherwise – imparted, theories proposed, and general ruminations indulged. Coffee and tea were served, although the true believers stuck firmly to the vintage port that Alan produced from some hiding place.

While we chatted, the evening was fuelled on by a playlist of 23 "Gentle Songs" that Alan had prepared -- basically, songs from the LC back-catalogue *not* played on the recent tours but suitable to half-listening to while balancing a plate of food in one hand, a glass of port in the other. So, nothing at the "Dress Rehearsal Rag" end of the spectrum, but plenty leaning towards Alexandra Leaving (and Winter Lady, particularly apropos since earlier mention had been made of McCabe & Mrs Miller).

One item that attracted more interest than I expected was my collection of CD packaging from the Australian & New Zealand 2010 concerts. This was the first time I had dragged these twelve packs out from the little workroom where I designed and constructed them over a 3 month period last year. I figured that folks might look upon this project as some kind of strange obsessive-compulsive folly, but if people thought that they were at least polite about it. There was particular interest in the recording of the Adelaide concert and its associated packaging, particularly from those who were there on the night!

Going Home

Things wound up around 11:30, although conversation about Leonard and his decades of music were still going strong even as folks were descending Alan’s driveway back onto the street as the glittering lights of Adelaide twinkled in the distance.

So … how would I summarise this small gathering of Leonard Cohen fans, old and new? Was it a reverential affair? Most definitely not. An academic dissection of Cohen’s lyrics and music? No way. A heart-felt exchange of personal impressions of how the music of the Canadian bard had touched each and every participant in its own unique way … well, yes, it was most definitely that.

And that, after all, is what a Leonard Cohen event *should* be.


Dean (from Adelaide)
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
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Andrew (Darby)
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:52 pm

Hey Dean, that would have been an amazing night! :D It sounds like it was so well thought out and planned - I loved the participative strengths of it and the meaningfulness of the activities. 8)

I'm very envious of you all. If I had known about it, I would have been very tempted to drive across for it as well - what's 730 kilometres between fans??? ;-)

Cheers,
Andrew :)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
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bridger15
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby bridger15 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:12 pm

Thank you Dean, for your outstanding report. I enjoyed it very much

The Leonard Cohen Adelaide get-together sounds absolutely superb.

Kudos to you and Alan Mawhinney for your passion, enthusiasm and hard work to explore and share the love of LC's genius

---Arlene
2009-San Diego|Los Ang|Nashville|St Louis|Kansas City|LVegas|San Jose
2010-Gothenburg|Berlin|Ghentx2|Oaklandx2|Portland|LVegasx2
2012-Austinx2|Denver|Los Ang|Seattle|Portland

Arlene's Leonard Cohen Scrapbook http://onboogiestreet.blogspot.com
dce
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby dce » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:13 pm

Andrew (Darby) wrote:Hey Dean, that would have been an amazing night! :D It sounds like it was so well thought out and planned - I loved the participative strengths of it and the meaningfulness of the activities. 8)

I'm very envious of you all. If I had known about it, I would have been very tempted to drive across for it as well - what's 730 kilometres between fans??? ;-)
Yeah, sorry Andrew ... I did mean to get in touch with you and few of the other folks "within a very powerful stone's throw", but by the time I got organised enough it wouldn't have been enough notice for anyone to practically make it. A lesson for next time.

Maybe we could get something organised for Melbourne in September?


Dean (from Adelaide)
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
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Andrew (Darby)
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:23 am

Okay Dean, let's keep it in mind - I would certainly be keen to make the trip over to Adelaide.

I'm just not sure how that style of gathering would work in Melbourne, as I haven't found a circle of Cohenites here who might form a suitable core for that sort of evening, although there are a couple of people I can think of who might be interested (and my son may be persuaded as well). Moreover, I'm sure we would get Ania on board for such an event and 'blonde madonna' isn't too far away either. I guess I need to be a bit more proactive! ;-)

Anyhow, let's talk more as the year unfolds.

Cheers,
Andrew :)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
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bridger15
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby bridger15 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Image
Alan Mawhinney with "Roscoe" & Dean (from Adelaide) Engelhardt

Report From Australia, "A Successful Gathering - Twice As Long As A Leonard Cohen Concert."

Alan Mawhinney and I have been exchanging emails since the Adelaide concert in 2010. One thing about Alan that was evident from the start, he is so passionate about the genius of Leonard Cohen he wants everybody in his life and beyond to enjoy and admire LC as much as he does.

As dce, Dean (from Adelaide) reported above, Alan and his wife Karin hosted a Leonard Cohen fans get together at their home in Adelaide on January 21, 2012 .

Alan kindly sent me emails and photos to let me know how the evening went. Thank you to Dean for inviting me to join in on Skype, but I am not on Skype...yet.

I reprinted Alan's emails (in part) describing the planning and the meet-up in his own words including a photo of the happy participants in Arlene's Leonard Cohen Scrapbook http://onboogiestreet.blogspot.com/2012 ... ssful.html .

And yes, pup Roscoe, now 15 months old, was named after...you guessed it...our much admired Roscoe Beck.

---Arlene
2009-San Diego|Los Ang|Nashville|St Louis|Kansas City|LVegas|San Jose
2010-Gothenburg|Berlin|Ghentx2|Oaklandx2|Portland|LVegasx2
2012-Austinx2|Denver|Los Ang|Seattle|Portland

Arlene's Leonard Cohen Scrapbook http://onboogiestreet.blogspot.com
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lizzytysh
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:17 pm

A minor note of unexpected comedy was delivered part way through the proceedings by Alan’s cat and his dog Roscoe. As folks were silently enjoying a video, the cat wandered right beneath the TV, tail waving in the air … and with Roscoe trailing directly behind with nose firmly planted beneath the cat’s tail. This weird cross-species convoy paraded across the whole back yard, much to the general amusement of all. Of course Alan leapt to the defence of his animals claiming it was perfectly natural, but personally I’m not convinced. I only hope that the *real* Roscoe is better behaved :-)
I love this anecdote... and, again, as I said on Arlene's blog... I love how you did the personally chosen songs with people expressing their reasons for loving them.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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AlanM
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby AlanM » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:10 am

One item that attracted more interest than I expected was my collection of CD packaging from the Australian & New Zealand 2010 concerts. This was the first time I had dragged these twelve packs out from the little workroom where I designed and constructed them over a 3 month period last year. I figured that folks might look upon this project as some kind of strange obsessive-compulsive folly, but if people thought that they were at least polite about it. There was particular interest in the recording of the Adelaide concert and its associated packaging, particularly from those who were there on the night!
Dean's artwork certainly is a magnum opus and was admired by all. An amazing amount of time and artistic talent went into producing them and they have a really professional style to them.
Attachments
Cathy, Julie, Dean, Chris admiring.jpg
Dean's CDs are upright around the inner part of the table, Alan's DVDs are around the outside and the afore-mentioned vintage port is in the middle. Behind the decanter is my Unified Heart mug - for show purposes only!
Too much Leonard Cohen is never enough.
London 1972, Adelaide 1980, 1985, 2009
Sydney 2010; Adelaide 2010
Sydney 2013 X2; Melbourne 2013; Adelaide 2013
st theresa1
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby st theresa1 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:01 am

Thanks for sharing this event here- A well written and entertaining description of the evening that made me feel as though I had attended!
I have heard the birds in Australia when the sun sets, so that helped. Congratulations on having such a great first time event.
Just as a side note--I met my husband, of some 30 years now, at a Jack Kerouac event, way back when. I wonder how many current couples first met at one of these great LC events, if any?
MaryB
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby MaryB » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:58 am

Dean,

As always, a thoroughly enjoyable read of your take of this well put together event. You and Alan did a great job on covering all the bases!

Arlene,

Thank you for your link re: your correspondence with Alan. I added so much to my pleasure in reading about how this came together.

Dean,

Any possibility of adding a few words about how the chosen 10 songs did impact the persons ("What this means to me") on these songs? Would love to hear this when you get a chance. Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
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B4real
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Re: Report: Adelaide Leonard Cohen Event (21 January 2012)

Postby B4real » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:05 am

Hi to everyone involved in contributing towards what sounds like a well celebrated gathering.

So glad to see Australia flying the flag for Leonard!!

Ah Dean, how I miss your descriptive words. They remind me of all the Australian concerts with special memories to the Brisbane one.
Seems So Long Ago........ :( ......but never mind one never knows what tomorrow will bring. :)

EDIT: 12.30PM 31st Jan
:shock: Little did I know when I wrote that last sentence above how prophetic it could be. Seems one didn't even have to wait until tomorrow!
I hope I'm not getting toooo excited over nothing.

See here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31323&p=295680#p295680
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal

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