Leonard Cohen (yes, that Leonard Cohen – the poet, singer, songwriter, icon guy) invited me to the soundcheck and backstage buffet before the October 29, 2009 Chicago Rosemont Theatre concert and to the Green Room get-together afterward
Let me tell you about it1
Creating The Illusion Among A Group Of Cohenites That One Is A Person Of Significance – In 5 Easy Steps
Note: This is a followup to What Leonard Cohen – The Most Passionately Gracious Person On The Planet – Told Me Backstage In Chicago: 2009.
1. Attend a Leonard Cohen concert.
2. A few minutes prior to the start of the performance, rush to the crowded merchandise booth to purchase a mid-size, silver Unified Heart signet ring on the behalf of a European fan who knows you know only from your blog and who was disappointed to find that signet rings were unavailable at the Leonard Cohen concert she attended.
3. While waiting your turn to purchase concert loot, check your email with at least one person looking over your shoulder to also check your email.2
4. Open the email from Lorca Cohen to display this attachment
5. Modestly accept the sense of awe instantly created as the email snoop starts a wave of recognition by asking aloud “Is that Leonard Cohen – and you?” Ignoring the questioning intonation, pseudo-reluctantly admit that, indeed, Lorca Cohen took that photo of her dad and you backstage only an hour ago – after you attended soundcheck, chatted with Leonard, had something to eat along with the Unified Heart Touring Company… Go on to humbly acknowledge your close, long-standing, and mutually respectful relationship with Leonard. To suffuse the scene with that sense of authenticity lent by disdain, consider adding, with a well accentuated sniff or two, that no one truly close to the man calls him “Lenny.”
The Mechanics Of The Illusion
OK, this trick does require some preparation.
First, publish a blog that regularly makes fun of Leonard Cohen. Claim, for example, that “Take This Waltz” was originally an embittered bit of doggerel called “Take This Waltz and Shove It” Leonard wrote in response to taunts about his difficulty in learning to dance. Suggest that an ideal 75th birthday gift for him would be significant allocations of crack and anal sex. Or how about this – write a post confessing that Leonard Cohen himself is only a hoax you dreamed up as a lark:
I am the first to admit that it never occurred to me that anyone would fall for a story about a Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist-icon in his 70s whose concerts all over the world routinely sell out with tickets going for $100-500 (and multiples of that once scalpers come into play), who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and who has had and continues to have a reputation as a ladies’ man.
Next, wait for this effort to generate, as it inevitably must, an invitation to visit Leonard Cohen backstage at a time when musical stars and world leaders are routinely denied access.
If, once you are together with Leonard, an especially attractive young woman introduces herself with “my name is Lorca” and asks if she can take your picture with Leonard Cohen, respond “Yes.” (Also acceptable, it turns out, is “What? Uh, well. Sure, OK. Thanks.”)
An optional but ultimately moment-enhancing step at this point is first calculating just how many women named “Lorca” one knows personally and then, upon realizing that the result is zero, contemplating why that name nonetheless sounds familiar. When the epiphany of recognition (finally) arrives, the way cool move to make is pointing out to the young woman that she is Lorca Cohen. While she will prove already cognizant of her name, she will be gratifyingly gracious (maybe it’s genetic) and cause you to feel rather astute – until your head clears the next morning.
Leonard Cohen will spontaneously explain that Lorca is his daughter. He will also smile when you respond “Oh, that Lorca Cohen” – just as though your comment were funny.
When Leonard Cohen gracefully moves close to your side for the photo and embraces you by wrapping his arm around your shoulder, you will see how fragile he looks up close (when you see him on stage that night, only slightly farther away from your seats than when you met him backstage, you will be astounded at the powerhouse he has become in the two hours since you stood next to him). You will, in fact, repeatedly remind yourself
For goodness sake, do not turn around and break him,
you huge, clumsy lummox, you.
Lorca, who magically knows your email address, will send the photo to you just in time to pull off the trick.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Nov 9, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
- Actually, it would be difficult to stop me from telling you about it. I have proven incapable of participating in any conversation lasting more than four minutes, regardless of the original purpose of the discussion, including being questioned by an officer of the Indiana State Police about my predilection for traveling at a velocity considerably in excess of the posted speed limit, without launching into anecdotes about this event. [↩]
- I have experienced little difficulty finding unsolicited volunteers to assist me in reading my email or performing any other activity on my phone. The trick in this situation is enlisting someone to fulfill this role who is a Leonard Cohen fan but not someone jaded by extensive contact with him. The crowd around the Leonard Cohen merchandise booth is an ideal source for such candidates. It is difficult to imagine a non-fan purchasing Cohen goodies, and one rarely finds, for example, Anjani or Dominique Issermann elbowing other customers aside to snarf up “Leonard Cohen Winter Lady Snow Globes” or a “Leonard Cohen Action Figure” (wind it up and every 15 years, it goes on tour). [↩]