The Anjani Chronicles: Escape From New York Meets To Live & Die In LA Meets Back To The Future + The Robert Kory Story

Introduction To The Anjani Chronicles
Anjani is the exquisite, exotically featured singer and keyboardist best known for her Blue Alert CD, a collection of elegantly performed songs suffused with evocative lyrics, and her professional and romantic relationships with Leonard Cohen, an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right. My own connection to Anjani began in July 2006 when I posted Music Recommendation That Will Make You Want To Kiss Me, a review of Blue Alert that reflected my captivation with the music. An online flirtation and email relationship between us ensued.

The Anjani Chronicles – Episode IV: Escape From New York Meets To Live and Die In L.A. Meets Back To The Future

Now, Where Were We?

We last left our intrepid adventurer at John Lissauer’s New York loft, where she had just met Leonard Cohen. The post describing that encounter, Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, and Finds Romance – But Not In That Order, ends with

That meeting led to Anjani performing background vocals on Cohen’s original recording of “Hallelujah,” joining the Various Positions tour as a keyboardist and vocalist, singing on subsequent Leonard Cohen albums, the Blue Alert album, and an intimate relationship between Anjani and Leonard Cohen.

The path to those end points from that first meeting, however, is not a straight line nor is the journey one completed quickly.

But, those are matters for another post.

Welcome to that “another post.”

To this point, we’ve watched Anjani grow up in Hawaii as a talented, music-obsessed youngster lugging a 150-plus pound Fender Rhodes Stage 88 to gigs throughout islands, followed her to Canada for her first full-time professional tour while still a teenager, tracked her to and from Honolulu several times, traveled along with her to Boston for her year and a half of advanced musical studies at Berklee, and sat in the audience as she became a regular in hotel lounge bands in Hawaii. When she was swept off her feet by a New Yorker she met while performing in one of those Waikiki clubs and decided to move to the town so nice they named it twice to be with him, we got on that Honolulu to New York flight with her – and were there a year later when the dissipated romantic liaison was replaced by an arrangement for her to temporarily share the apartment of a musician she had known in Hawaii. Throw in the five years she spent as temporary roommate, the batch of jobs she held during that time playing solo or as backup in clubs, all of which proved more educational than lucrative or career-advancing, the too many jingles she sang to pay the rent, the early stages of her relationships with John Lissauer and, through him, Leonard Cohen, and we find ourselves, along with our songstress, who is still a year or two shy of her 30th birthday, in the latter half of the 1980s.

Now, however, Anjani’s life becomes hectic.

So, buckle up and stay alert. The route is rocky and there are some sudden turns. Those of you prone to motion sickness might want to apply a anti-nausea patch before proceeding.

Going To The Chapel – And L.A.

Guess who got married? That’s right. In 1987, Anjani fell in love with and married Robert Kory, leaving New York to start their married life together in Los Angeles, where he was based.

See what I mean about staying alert? You relax for a moment and within two lines of text, Anjani has moved across the continent and acquired a husband.

Eighteen months (and one sentence) later, the marriage is over.

But the story of Anjani and Robert Kory is somewhat longer and considerably more convoluted.

The Robert Kory Story

Photo by Gwen Langford

Note: It’s useful to recall that this material was originally composed in 2008 (except the above photo of Leonard Cohen & Robert Kory, which was added at a later date), when Mr Kory was far less known to Cohen fans.

If it didn’t occlude the rhyme, the title of this section would be “The Robert Kory Stories” in keeping with the different portrayals one finds when attempting to figure out the kind of guy capable of bringing Anjani to the wedding alter.

A Google search reveals well, not much. Lawyers.com carries this outline of his professional qualifications:

Robert B. Kory (Member) born Nashville, Tennessee, May 23, 1950; admitted to bar, 1983, California. Education: Yale University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1973); University of Chicago (J.D., 1983). Member: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County and American Bar Associations. Practice Areas: Corporate Law; Entertainment and the Arts; Finance; Licensing.

Otherwise, Kory is referenced in a few Google hits, most of which are listings of the TM and self-improvement books he has authored. An article at Engadget.com, for example, lists him as a major figure behind Deep Light, a venture to produce TVs that display true High Definition 3D without requiring the viewer to wear special glasses. There are other bits and pieces here and there on the Internet, but that’s about it, except for those dealing with – well, we’ll come to that in a moment.

“It’s so cool when life comes full circle like that”1

So, here’s the situation: Anjani, a woman who extends herself to avoid even trivial conflicts, who focuses on her music and her spiritual core, and who has chosen a career featuring emotionally evocative public performances, marries an entertainment attorney, a profession almost synonymous with intense confrontations, who is secretive to the point of being considered mysterious. This interesting coupling struck me as one that might be revealing, were one to be, say, writing a series of posts about Anjani.

My repeated efforts to explore this issue were, however, politely deflected by Anjani with remarks about her former husband that were universally and unequivocally positive but ambiguous. Finally, in preparing this post, I emailed the following query:

Re the ex-husband – what was it about him that made you think he might be Mr. Right? I ask because, although he has been in the TM movement and was involved in entertainment law so I assume he was familiar with your field, most of what I read about him makes him sound very different from you. It seems likely that I’m missing something about him that you saw.

Anjani’s response follows:

He was Mr. Right, at the time. Robert is a very groovy guy, graduated summa cum laude from Yale… sweet, brilliant, ethical, and such a hard worker. So hard in fact, that i didn’t see much of him at all after we got married. So i got bored and returned to life as a gallivanting musician. And eventually he married a wonderful woman and they have two terrific kids. Now Robert is our attorney and business manager; it’s so cool when life comes full circle like that.

Hmmm. My guess is that those readers who did not already know that Anjani’s ex-spouse manages the legal and financial affairs for her and Leonard Cohen may now be suffering literary whiplash.

But, on consideration, one may realize that perhaps an entertainment lawyer handling the big bucks but otherwise routine affairs of a couple of romantically involved singers, one of whom was formerly his wife, may be statistically atypical but is not necessarily dramatic.

No, it isn’t dramatic – unless one is also aware of the near catastrophic financial straits in which Leonard Cohen found himself and which led to Kory’s involvement in his and Anjani’s life.

So, how’s that motion sickness patch holding up?

You’re sure? Because we’re going to be slammed through a time warp in a moment to cover Anjani’s “full circle” reference.

Lorca Cohen and Anjani Play Matchmaker For Leonard Cohen and Robert Kory

As most fans probably know, Leonard Cohen experienced a financial disaster that was some years in the making but which he discovered only in 2004. An admirably concise summary can be found in the May 21, 2006 Guardian article, Leonard Cohen: A troubadour at Charles’s court by Neil Spencer:

Leonard is broke, or to put it more properly, he’s been robbed. You may have followed this in the press, but the drift is, the songwriter was bilked out of millions due him by his former manager, Kelley Lynch. A true femme fatale, even though Cohen successfully sued Lynch (for $9 mil), she has ignored the suit.

It was during this fray that Robert Kory was hired, replacing Cohen’s former team of attorneys. As far as I can determine, the sequence of events that led to Kory representing Cohen has never been published – until now [at time of original posting].

It didn’t take long until the legal complications of his financial losses depleted Leonard Cohen’s funds and, because his lawyers were expensive, he would soon be unable to pay the professionals charged with protecting his interests.

In the midst of these problems, Leonard Cohen, Anjani, and Lorca Cohen, Leonard’s daughter, are discussing this looming and increasingly tempestuous financial maelstrom arising from the ongoing legal expenses.

It is at this point that Lorca undergoes an epiphany expressed as an innocuous question addressed to Anjani: Wasn’t your ex-husband a lawyer?

Anjani responds that yes, her ex was indeed a member of the legal profession – which is how Anjani came to be phoning the man she divorced 15 years earlier to ask for his professional help.2

Consequent to that telephone conversation, Cohen and Kory meet and agree to work together. The ensuing legal battles are brutal, ferociously antagonistic affairs, replete with suits, countersuits, threats, demands, and accusations of blackmail, conspiracy, and worse. As noted in the earlier quote from the Guardian, Leonard Cohen, represented by Robert Kory, prevailed in court although collection of the judgment remains a largely theoretical concept.

Nonetheless, winning a legal victory, even without the attendant spoils of war, beats the heck out suffering a legal defeat.

That win, Robert Kory’s ongoing role in the management of Cohen’s and Anjani’s business interests, and the fact that Anjani continues to speak well of her former husband would seem to fully justify Anjani’s observation that, indeed, “it’s so cool when life comes full circle like that.”

Back To The Past

Pressing reset on the Way Back Machine, we find ourselves, along with Anjani, back in L.A. at the end of the 1980s.

She has divorced and has once again taken up her quest to make it as a professional singer.

As Anjani explained to the interviewer in Anjani: Songs of love and Leonard (The Independent Friday, 20 April 2007),

Thereafter, now settled in Los Angeles, she tried to establish herself as a solo jazz singer. “But nobody wanted to know.” … Sometimes she’d make money playing LA’s jazz circuit, often making not much more than $30 a session.

And this is where we’ll leave Anjani for the nonce. But just in case anyone believes that the tempests are now past for our heroine, I offer this preview – the events that open the next episode of The Anjani Chronicles are the 1994 L.A. earthquake and Anjani’s decision “to live like a normal person.”

I know – it’s one of those weird but true things.

Credit Due Department: LA photo by Vicente A..

Preceding Anjani Chronicles Post: Anjani Goes To New York, Meets Leonard Cohen, and Finds Romance – But Not In That Order

Next Anjani Chronicles Post: Anjani In 9 to 5 Land

Links To All Previous Anjani Chronicles Posts: The Anjani Chronicles – Posts Published

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 May 16, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

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  1. Yes, of course this is a quote from Anjani. Does something that optimistic sound like anything I would say? []
  2. The gravity of the situation notwithstanding, I admit to a voyeuristic curiosity about that call. How, for example, did Anjani open the conversation – “Bob, long time no see?” Now, admittedly, I could have just asked Anjani that question but I’m still enjoying the potential variations that occur to me too much. []

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