New York 2003 (moving toward 2004)

Information on other get-togethers before the next big Event
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Joe Way
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New York 2003 (moving toward 2004)

Postby Joe Way » Wed Jul 02, 2003 6:46 am

Aside from the wonderful concert, I was able to check out the venues for the
next BIG EVENT. A little background first: there was me, (Loser), Anne,
(Beautiful) and our offspring, Kate, (B'L'ette). Please remember that
although I'm a generous guy, getting me to take <B!> (Anne) and <B'lette!>
(Kate) to Manhatten and the sundry expenses involved a considerable leap of
faith that they would be reasonable in their shopping requests etc.

We came so far for beauty but we left so much behind-particularly our
camera. When we arrived about 10:30 AM on Thursday, we went to our hotel
which was arranged by a hotel friend. It turned out to be too early to
check in and B'lette! wasn't scheduled to arrive (from the hinterlands of
Indiana) until later that afternoon anyway. B! and I (loser) decided to go
for a walk towards times square. Its always a difficult sign when your
significant other glances at you with hatred as you walk down the street.
Perhaps it had something to do with not feeding her and being choosy about
the types of food that you desire. Typical to this conversation:

B! (Anne) If you don't feed me I'll kill you.

L! (Joe) So you're willing to eat in the first greasy spoon you find.

We finally agreed on BB Kings' restaurant as we figured that the music would
tame us. We both unknowingly ordered seven dollar beers and sandwiches
served on white bread. Glancing around at the empty spaces around us, I
remarked, "looks like New York has not yet discovered this place." We both
agreed it was the worst $40 lunch we'd ever had. (Not to worry though,
everything looked up from here!)

We went back and checked into the Southgate Tower, perhaps the best bargain
luxury hotel in Manhatten. We stopped in to see our friend, Mark, who had
greeted us with a beautiful room overlooking the Hudson River. Mark's son
had attended the University of Wisconsin, and now was looking to attend
Chiropractic school in San Jose. When we stopped to see Mark, we
interrupted him talking typically New York to one of his employees. "So
does it always take you one hour to get a car out of the garage! (aside to
us) "how's things at UW?"-to his employee-"what part of bringing up a car
didn't you understand?"

After exchanging our cordial greetings, we went to Macy's (the world's
friendliest store or the world's largest store-I can't remember which).
Anyway, B! tried to talk me into buying a foxy looking Sopranos tie, but i
was not to be easily sweet talked after the tension of our lunch meeting. I
told B! that when she started using the f word like tony then I would start
using the m word like Carmello. No ties yet.

We decided to move closer to the Southgate towards evening so that when
B'lette! arrived we could properly greet her. Somehow our timing was off
and both B! and L! were sleeping when B'Lette! finally arrived and rang the
bell to our suite.

"My god, you guys look tired!"- B'lette!

"Is it Friday yet?"-L!

"Dad says he's taking us shopping and then to an expensive dinner (we'll
catch him while he's still asleep")-B!

At any rate the good folks at the Southgate recommended a Spanish restaurant
called, "La Sevilla" in Greenwich Village.

The best part of La Sevilla outside of the fact that they spelled Seville
the way that it should be pronounced was that they had great waiters. Every
time you turned around someone was there to take your order which was
especially appreciated when I wanted to practise talking tom waits to
b'lette!

L! (me in tom waits accent) "I'm gonna take you to new york! I'll be
drinking manhattens!"

b'lette-"Dad you've ordered manhattens from the last three waiters you've
seen.

b! (anne) "let it go kate, he's managable now.


We tried walking toward some live music after dinner but b! was not to have
it.

b! "Dad probably wants his 'folk' music.

l! "did you ever hear a horse sing? if folk sing it-its folk
music-leadbelly said that."

b'lette "Go to your room!"

We arose bright and early the next day at about nine o'clock and b! went out
in search of coffee and bagels and returned with the midnight special.

b! "Regular coffee was $1.75 and i got this special egg sandwhich and
coffee for $2.15.

b'lette! "Its not edible."

l! "there's always the in room coffee maker"

On Friday we had decided to take the subway up to Columbia and look at the
housing and gain a sense of the neighborhood. It was perhaps a 20 minute
ride up the 1 or 9 line to 116th Street from our hotel. When we entered the
train, it seemed ungodly hot. Everyone kept leaving the car and we thought
that we were quite fortunate that we had seats. Finally some old guy looked
over at us and said-"Guess we're the only one's who don't care if our car is
air conditioned." As we reached Columbia, the conductor came on and said,
"Anyone stopping at 116th street be aware that we can't stop there-you'll
have to get out at 110th or 123rd. B'lette being quick with math declared
that we wanted to exit now at 110th.

We got off the train right on Broadway and 110th and walked up toward
Columbia. all at once, B'lette let out a shout, "it's the Seinfeld
restaurant!" Sure enough there was Tom's Restaurant (or Diner for Suzanne
Vega fans) right before us. Still full from our breakfast of white bun, egg
and meat, we marked its spot and decided to partake later.

(To be continued)
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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dick
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Postby dick » Wed Jul 02, 2003 4:53 pm

Brooklyn Fan Report

As great as the music was – it was also a fantastic treat getting together with Cohen fans for the Brooklyn Tribute weekend. All mentioned here are friends as a result of Cohen/Montreal/Hydra and forums and newsgroups. These wonderful vibrations will surely be repeated in New York at the Next We Take Manhattan 2004 gathering. Really hope that no one misses that next, and probably biggest, opportunity!

Things worked pretty much as hoped – Evelyn Stein, Joe, Anne, and Kate Way, and Linda and I, met Esther Cohen in the lobby of Southgate Towers Hotel around 3:30 pm Saturday afternoon. We walked a block to subway – and even though it was hot in station and train was delayed, and a confusing announcement caused us to change trains – we got there. Arrived at Tonio’s Italian around 4:45 (instead of 4) and Tony had our table ready for us. Bobbie arrived almost exactly the same time (we had to have been on the same train), and a very nice fellow said he had been waiting for us – it turned out he was John Bergeron! Food and wine were excellent, Esther entertaining, and conversation stimulating -- and as the meal continued Marc Rigrodsky and Jim and Janice Rotunda joined us. Judah Kaminski and friend came by and then George Ungar had a quick bite with us before our two-block stroll to the park.

We arrived just as the “Friends” gate was opening. Here Esther made all of the party walking with her a part of her group (she had been registered for herself and one guest :D ) and as a result most got to sit together and had our choice of row one or row two, directly center stage. We were joined by Cohen archivist Robert Bower and his three guests (90 + year old ladies from his apartment building) and by George Ungar with video camera (fingers crossed). Before the show started, Hazel Field, Cohen photographer from Montreal joined us.

After the concert we hung at the tent – got to meet Larry Sloman. (He is Ratso of the Kinky Freidman novels, author of the Cohen bio in The Future tour book, author of Refer Madness and Rolling Thunder (Dylan) and Abbie Hofmann books, and co-author of Howard Stern’s books.) The star power was there – Nick Cave very accessible and friendly, and we talked to Rufus and Martha. Linda Thompson and Laurie Anderson both very sweet (Linda Thompson was thrilled to meet Esther!) – and I got great hugs from Perla and Julie. We took advantage of photo ops with Esther and stars, and we also got to say hello to Lorca. Elizabeth and Sam Hoffman joined conversation at the gate and traveled back with us.

Our fun continued after arrival back in Manhattan with refreshments and chat in a 7th ave bar from about 1:00 am to 3. Unfortunately, Bobbie and Marc were too worn from their brutal work and travel schedules to join Evelyn, the Ways, the Hoffmans, and the Straubs. (Esther caught a ride with Hazel back to Manhattan.)

We started again on Sunday with the Ways joining Linda and I in a walk to the Chelsea Hotel where we had a look at the lobby, and then a fabulous meal at El Quijote (the adjacent restaurant which has been there since before Leonard’s Chelsea stays). Evelyn joined us there. After lunch we watched an hour or so of the highly entertaining Gay Pride parade, had some beer, and then proceeded up to Central Park for the Summerstage concert. Esther again had prime VIP seating and we chatted with her at the fence. We were afraid it would be sun and grass for us, but Kate came and got us to join again with the Ways in a nice shady bleacher location. We enjoyed Daniel Lanois as a new find, and then were wowed as always by a great hour of live Rufus Wainwright. He did four songs from his upcoming album with Martha, Teddy Thompson and Jenny Muldaur doing backup vocals. Kate McGarrigle joined on piano for the encore, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Report is that 6,000 were there – it was quite full at any rate.

Not done quite yet, the Ways and Straubs continued with a drink and moment to freshen up at our Southgate Tower Hotel, and then proceeded downtown for a Greenwich Village tour. Trip was fine and we got into Bottom Line to show Joe the great venue for the June 2004 opening night.

Things then became a comedy of missed plans. A long time friendship couple of Linda’s joined us in the Village and we went looking for jazz. The Village was not exactly the quietest place in Manhattan on the Gay Pride fireworks night – streets were blocked and even pedestrian traffic barriers and detours were everywhere, and our target jazz joint was doing disco - but we ended up having good pizza/pasta/burgers and fun at a 6th Ave bistro. We even got to go by my famous dwelling on West 13th Street! (Lived there from 79-83 and courted Linda then.)

Train was hot and slow again, but we made it back to Southgate around 1:30. Not sure how Joe and Anne made their 9 am departure (Kate was luckily later). We slept till ten, had a great NY breakfast of bagels and meats and eggs and coffee ($8 for 2 of us), checked out at 11:45 and caught a 12:15 train back to New Jersey. It was a wonderful weekend of fun and friendship! We miss everyone already.

Is it June 2004 yet?
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Postby George.Wright » Wed Jul 02, 2003 5:05 pm

Dick, thanks again for your informative report. How i wish i was there. Sounded very exciting and fast moving.
Georges
I am a right bad ass, dankish prince and I love my Violet to bits.
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Joe Way
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Postby Joe Way » Tue Jul 08, 2003 5:26 am

(continued)

Broadway has some great restaurants up there. Our friend, Geoff (he, of
committee chairmanship fame), had declared that there were hundreds of
restaurants in the immediate area). As we looked to the left, (it only
seemed appropriate), we saw a break in the street into a beautiful campus
area. We found Carman Hall immediately and went in to take a look. Some
excellent Columbia students gave us the cook's tour of the dormitories and I
can tell you from a professional's viewpoint that the accomodations are
first class. B! was quite concerned that I would be taking her to a less
than first class place (based, perhaps, on some rather unfortunate
circumstances on a previous trip-not LC related). As we exited the
elevator, it was clear that the A/C was working well on this very hot day,
and each group of rooms has a bath shared only with the immediate group.
So, B-Losers, start organizing yourselves into groups of 2,3, or 4. Your
can share two or three bedrooms amongst you and a bath with double sinks.
Each suite has an outside electronic lock, and each bedroom is separately
locked as well. There is a great lounge in the lower level with a big
screen TV, couches and relaxing furniture that will, I'm sure, serve as a
late night place for B-Losers to gather and sing, converse, and make LC
proud of us.

After getting directions to International House, we decided to walk through
the heart of the Columbia Campus.

(To B! and B'lette): Did you know this was an Ivy League school?

(B'lette): So, where's the ivy?

As we approached the I-House, we passed the Manhatten School of Music and
B'Lette advised us of the relative merits of vocal education vis-a-vis the
other schools versus Indiana.

(L!) Which is better, Berklee, Manhatten, or Indiana?

(B'lette) Indiana.

(L!) Do you have a job yet?

(B'lette) Go to your room!

When we reached I-House, we tried to slip in the back door, but were stopped
by a glass wall and a nice young lady who we spoke with us by telephone from
several feet away.

(L!) We would like to see Davis Hall.

(Young lady) Do you have an appointment? or I can connect you with Mr. D.
who can help you.

It turned out that Mr. D was busy and we didn't want to wait around so we
are relying on our other committee members who have seen the facility. (I
trust them!) And I can add, that it is a very big building and seems like
it will serve us well, and it isn't too far from the Carman Hall dorms where
we will stay.

After leaving I-House, we walked toward the Riverside Church and a great
park along the Hudson River. Right next door is Grant's Tomb and we stopped
in to take a look. Even B'lette agreed that it was interesting and a nice
place to stop off.

As we made our way past the Riverside Church, we trusted that we would have
the opportunity to check it out next summer during the 2004 Event. As it
was, both B! and B'lette had their minds set on a Margarita from a great
Mexican restaurant across from Tom's Diner. They let me taste the wonderful
cactus nectar, and while I settled for a Red Stripe in honor of daughter
number two who is currently sweltering away in the Dominican Republic, I
helped devour the wonderful pile of nachos that we ordered to accompany our
beverages.

On the way home, we stopped in Times Square to purchase tickets for a
Broadway Play. B'lette had strong feelings and had a ranking of plays to
see: "Hairspray," "The Producers," "Mama Mia," "NIne," and "Thoroughly
Modern Millie." As we went toward the half price ticket booths we were
approached by a man selling "The Producers" tickets for a discount.

L!: They may be counterfeit.

B'Lette!: Dad, buy the tickets!

L!: Let's go to the box office.

B'Lette!: I'm glad you're paying.

At the appointed time, B!, L! and B'Lette made our way to the Marquis
theatre for "Thoroughly Modern Millie." The music was great, the costuming
extravagant, the actor playing the "Boss" was exceptional (he played Gaston
in 'Beauty and the Beast') and we felt that we had laughed our way through
the evening.

Afterward, we found a great restaurant on restaurant row called, "Becco."
They plied us immediated with a bread basket with thousands of expertly
seasoned bread sticks.

L!: Wow, these breadsticks are great!

B!: I wonder how many I can get in my purse.

B'Lette: Go to your room!

The next day dawned late for us, and we made plans to check out a flea
market on 6th Avenue. B! had been threatening to buy furniture in NYC and
see how I would deal with it.

B!: B'Lette, can't you see your dad carrying a chair on the subway?

L!: Go to your room!

As it turned out, the flea market was not what we wanted (thank G-d!), and
we got hungry walking the streets. I suggested that it was time to get a
slice of Ray's famous New York pizza and convinced B'Lette that she was
hungry too. We split a couple of slices of cheese which I immediately
spilled on my pants and made us go back to our hotel.

B'Lette: Mom, we can't take Dad anywhere.

However, soon it was time to meet our friends, Dick and Linda, Evelyn and
our new friend, Esther and make our way out to Brooklyn for the Big Concert!

When we arrived back at the hotel, Dick and Linda were waiting in the lobby
because their room wasn't ready yet. I had tried to put a request in for
them for an early check-in, but being a Saturday, it was difficult to honor.

Dick, having many more interpersonal and negotiating skills, took care of
the situation and we made plans to meet to leave for Brooklyn.

At 3:30, all of us met in the lobby for the subway trip on the "F" line to
Brooklyn.

(To be continued)
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:24 am

Hi Joe ~

I'm sure enjoying your account[s] of your time in New York. B'lette with her beer turns out to be older than I'd imagined her to be. I'm trusting you remembered to pack her portable room, as she seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time in it, for someone simply trying to enjoy being in New York :wink: . I have a feeling there's more up-close and personal description about to unfold regarding the concert itself. I just don't know if I can take anymore! I'm really liking reading your description of the accommodations and surroundings awaiting us. Continue, please :D .........


Hi Dick ~

I almost missed your most recent one! I hope 2004 hurries up and gets here! If it's anywhere near the pleasure that I'm reading now, it'll be exquisite! I hope there won't be others like me who miss it, the same as I've just missed this one!
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dick
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Postby dick » Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:24 pm

Thanks for kind words regarding the reports George and lizzytysh --

I can't wait to find out what will happen next in Joe's report---- and I was there! :)

Bottom Line and Columbia are surely where its at next June!

BD
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Joe Way
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New York, 2003 (continued)

Postby Joe Way » Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:14 am

(continued)

What a great group to travel with! Dick got us out the right door to the
closest subway stop and Esther had great advice on which part of the train
to ride on, and Evelyn contributed her great New York knowledge to the
experience. We were all so polite as far as seats were concerned. We gave
away so many..."On no, you take it, no, no, no, after you!" One might have
thought we were in the mid-west!

Dick had scoped out the trip and knew that when the train went above ground,
it would be time to look for our next stop. The conductor threw us for a
loop by saying something about not stopping at the next stop and we all
jumped off the train in a panic. But, nevermind, we got on the next train
within several minutes and rode to the next stop...Prospect Park and
Tonio's.

Tonio's is a classic Italian restaurant and Tonio who introduced himself as
Tony, immediately seated us and told us that they would make sure that we
received our meals in plenty of time to make the concert.

B'losers (John Bergeron) greeted us and others kept arriving (Bobbie Chalou
and Marc R., Jim Rontonda and Janice), (Judah Kaminetsky and friend), and
last minute arrival, George Ungar. As Dick has already reported the
conversation was lively and I should note that dear Esther, who is
graciousness personified, made a point of conversing with B'lette and
discovered that they have a mutual interest in New Zealand (B'lette just
arrived home from there and Esther has traveled there and recently saw the
movie "Whale Rider"). No one should be surprised who has attended an LC
event that warmth was radiating from our midst.

B! and B'lette! were quite proud that I didn't spill any ravioli on my pants
and agreed that they would attempt to take me other places again (on a trial
basis). Tony suggests that we spend an evening with him next summer during
the 2004 Event and promises that he will make all B'losers happy and full.

Soon it was time to leave for Prospect Park, John Bergeron's wife called and
alerted us that the lines were forming and looking quite formidible.

The short walk barely gave me a chance to speak with Jim and Janice and soon
we were confronted with an enormous crowd outside the gates to the
Bandshell. Now, Esther had a certain VIP status that none of the rest of us
could claim and none of us suspected that we would receive, but she
absolutely moved heaven and earth to gain us seats that (speaking strictly
for myself) we didn't deserve.

In fact, when we crossed through the VIP line, a young lady asked me my name
to check me off the VIP list. I, of course, stammered and stuttered, at
which time Esther took my arm and said, "He's with me." B'lette noted this
encounter.

B'lette: "Dad, they knew you were a fake, they could see it in your eyes."

L!: "They were right."

Now, the concert...you have received Dick and Thelma's wonderful reviews,
great pictures from Linda and I don't want to spend a lot of time on another
song by song anaylsis. I do want to say a few words, though.

The highlights started early and it was amazing to see the musical direction
that Steve Bernstein provided to the musicians during all the songs.
Outside of of being a great musician himself, he has a great sense of
performance. B'lette kept leaning toward me and asking who is that? and I
was proud to be able to give her most of the answers.

From the first song "There is a War" we were smiling and nodding that this
was, indeed, a special night. This grew to encompass a range of emotions
that I have rarely experienced at any event.

When Linda Thompson, performed "A Thousand Kisses Deep," it was clear to me
that what we were approaching was much closer to the real, the
presentational moments that music has the capacity to evoke. No longer
relying on digital reproductions and recorded sounds, we were transported to
a place where I could truly gaze next to me at my beloved and my beloved
daughter and feel that what was happening, these present moments, deserved
the gratitude that all life deserves and we too little acknowledge. It is
clear that Leonard's gifts go much beyond recorded music and give the
musician a platform to make the song new each time it is performed.

B'lette was taken with Nick Cave, (it didn't hurt that many of her friends
were fans, and I'm sure she was relishing being able to tell them about the
performances). However, as a vocal performance major and a music educator,
B'lette is also quite qualified to note special traits and she much
appreciated Nick's showmanship and energy especially in "Diamonds in the
Mine."

Julie and Perla's voices have grown bigger since their days of singing
background with Leonard. They may have always had the capacity, but freed
from supporting roles, they soared. When Perla sang, "Bird on The Wire," I
looked at B'lette and whispered that although I've heard this song as many
times as any, her version was so special that half the audience jumped to
their feet for a standing ovation afterward-and it was clear that this was a
last minute addition.

"Anthem" brought non-stop chills to my spine. The songs' words and melodies
are so timeless and to be performed so spectacularly, left the audience
breathless.

When recounting the concert to a friend, I mentioned Marc Ribot, and
received the biggest reaction from a very sophisticated and knowlegable fan.
He told me that he heard one of Marc's album's in a music store and upon
inquiry as to who it was, purchased the album. He says that Marc is to
Cuban music what Carlos Santana is to Mexican music. I noted that when Marc
was introduced that the performers seemed to turn toward him to acknowledge
his great gifts in the extraordinary guitar performance.

It seems that I am leaving out much but I could give high praise to every
performer. No one was out of place; no one had anything but intense,
respectful covers of a great poet, musician, singer and performer.

Afterward, basking in the glow of the concert, even B'lette thought that
even I didn't look out of place in the tent with the performers.

We were called to the side of the gated area by Elizabeth Hoffman and Sam
who had made it down from New England. The security person would not admit
them to the area and we spoke across the fence with them. B'lette noted
this and approached the security guard:

B'lette: Hi, I'm Katie (shaking hands).

Security guard: Hi, Katie

B'lette: These people are our friends and if you let them in-we'll get out
of your way.

Elizabeth and Sam entered; isn't it amazing how reason sometimes prevails.

(To be continued-but probably not for another week).
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Thu Jul 10, 2003 8:10 am

Immensely enjoyable reading these, Joe. I feel weak with wanting to have been there. The beauty of the singing with the songs we all know and so love......I Came So Far For Beauty :cry: [some of us did, anyway :( ]. Esther amazingly accommodating :D . Your daughter amazingly innovative :lol: . "We'll get out of your way....." ~ he had to have been charmed by that :wink: . Tonio's sounds like a plan :D .

You're welcome, Dick. We're now both/all looking forward to Joe's next entry.
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Henning
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Postby Henning » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:52 pm

I read all these reports about the Brooklyn event and I am dying. I do understand their enthusiasm but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Thu Jul 10, 2003 4:20 pm

Boy, Henning, can I relate to that! Wish those lines had come to me when I posted, but I'm finding myself immobilized with catatonia when I read these. I think it's called "denial" ~ e.g. "You didn't really miss this.....you just think you did! :cry: "
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Andrew (Darby)
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Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sat Jul 12, 2003 5:22 pm

Joe

I've thoroughly enjoyed your serialised report - you have not only provided us with an engrossing account of a very significant travel experience and (of course) the Brooklyn concert, but also shared with us the humorous (or otherwise) interactions of your delightful family! :) Good on you for reminding us of the beauty to be found in such simple, yet intimate and meaningful, experiences. :D

However, I would also agree totally with Henning's and Lizzytysh's sentiments about how it feels to have missed out! :wink:

Cheers
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Joe Way
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Postby Joe Way » Thu Jul 24, 2003 5:38 am

(continued)

In the dim light of the performers' tent, we glowed with satisfaction.
Content to observe, we watched as performers and friends, admirers and
officials came together to acknowledge the glory that had occurred.

On the train back to Manhatten, I had the opportunity to reflect on the
performances. Earlier in the tent, Esther, who has seen a large number of
Leonard's concerts, mentioned that Leonard was, of course, a world class
poet, but also was a matchless performer who anyone who has had the
privilege of hearing him live or even listening to live recordings could
acknowledge. Now, as time becomes more precious to him, he has devoted
himself to the creative process. "He is a poet, after all," she said.

Those of you who know me, realize how deeply I admire "Ten New Songs." To
hear live versions of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" and "Alexandra Leaving" made
me feel that the digitalized word had, indeed, become flesh. This
opportunity now for performers old and new to put their own magical spin to
the well-crafted music and verses of Leonard is the hallelujah to our
musical age. Those who attended the LC Events in both Montreal and Hydra
can attest to the vitality and imagination that open mike performers brought
to their presentations. New York 2004, promises to bring this as well.

We then reached our Manhatten destination. Elizabeth and Sam, Evelyn, Dick,
Linda, B!, B'lette! and I found a 7th Avenue dive that would have done W. H.
Auden proud. But instead of heralding a "low dishonest decade", we
celebrated what school children know-that the voice of music continues to
unfold the lies. (Note: many other B'losers desired to be there but were
prevented by reality).

But part of the truth was that after a couple of drinks and much talk,
staying up until (it's 4 in the morning, the end of da,da,da, June) the
alarm clocks on Clinton street rang out like birds at the break of day.

L!: Did we really promise to meet them at 11:30?

B!: I think you suggested earlier for Bloody Marys!

B'lette: (snoring sounds)

However good sense and midwestern constitutions prevailed and we gathered
for the trip to see the Chelsea Hotel.

The Chelsea is actually a short walk down 7th Avenue from the Southgate to
23rd Street. On a Sunday morning (well, maybe noonish) the streets were not
as crowded as usual and we were able to get a good sense of the area.
Outside the Chelsea there are a number of quotations from famous former
residents. My favorite was from Irish poet, Brendan Behan: "Anyone who
hates Americans, hates mankind."

As a hotelier, I brought a certain eye to the Chelsea that the casual
observer might not note.

L!: I wonder what kind of property management system they use?

B!: Only you would give a sh!t about that!

Dick and I noted the famous elevator where a certain Kris Kristofferson
imposter met a certain Bridget Bardot imposter. I think that if one
inspected the corners, one might find a bit of fringe or feathers left over
from that historic time. The Chelsea retains a certain shabbiness of which
Leonard would still approve.

Right next door, in fact, we think there may be a connection, is a wonderful
Spanish restaurant that Leonard reportedly frequented called "Quixote."
Dick and Linda had wondered about a brunch, but instead we were treated to a
marvelous selection of Spanish seafood dishes, great waiters, and the proper
milieau for a Cohen Event. They have a separate room that will seat perhaps
100 banquet style and Dick and I speculated on the possibility that we may
include a group meal here along with our Chelsea Hotel tours. As I write
this my mouth is beginning to water from the rememberance of that delightful
meal. The company of Evelyn, Dick and Linda, the Bloody's and Mimosas,
B'lette's Sangria, of course, all contributed to the memorable experience.
Of course, that's the nature of Leonard Cohen Events.

(to be continued)
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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lizzytysh
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Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Jul 25, 2003 3:30 am

Keep that gentle, weaving-amidst-the-details humour coming, Joe.....I'm so enjoying the trip! Property management system :lol: ~ gotta go with your wife on that one :lol: .
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Joe Way
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2002 5:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

New York-finale

Postby Joe Way » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:18 am

(continued)

Our group had looked at the parade route for the Gay Pride March and decided
that we were in close proximity to a good viewing point. B'lette, excited
as always by these issues, had declared that we all needed rainbow flag
ribbons, but none were readily available. Parades in NY are amazing. With
the traffic and narrow access problems, I think that it takes engineering
graduates to figure out how it will all work. What one notices first is
that the stream of action takes place slowly so that one can partake in the
spectacle or get through it in a relatively short timeframe. However, it is
one of the few places that I've seen that have one way pedestrian signs.
Once you are going in a certain direction, to get back takes some doing.
Fortunately, we were headed in a direction that we felt was fortuitous and
came upon an excellent viewpoint around 5th Avenue.

We watched together in silence for a time, or perhaps, the festivities
didn't allow us opportunity to comment. Finally getting B'lette's
attention, I observed:

"Looks like parades in Wisconsin-lots of cowboys on horses and stuff"

B'lette: "Dad, in Wisconsin, the cowboys are wearing more than just chaps."

After a sufficient time to appreciate this cultural point of diversity, we
decided that it was to move north toward the Central Park, Rufus Wainwright
concert. We stopped at an Irish Pub on the way for some sustenance and bid
our fond farewell to Evelyn who decided that her three or four hours of
sleep was not enough to continue this amazing adventure (Ah-the pitfalls of
having a homebase-let this be a lesson to all the New York area B'losers-the
comforts of home could take you back to sanity at any time, but, but, but:
you may miss out on something extraordinary as well!).

Dick and Linda, B! B'lette! and I all got on the underground for the trip to
Central Park. When we exited, Dick and Linda shared interesting
observations about the relative merits of West and East Central Park (Just a
clue-Woody Allen is East Central Park and Mia Farrow is West Central Park-no
wonder their marriage didn't work!) Dick asked what was missing and we
noticed that there were no services available (dry cleaners, food shops,
liquor stores) as everything is delivered-real estate is too valuable for
these kind of businesses and the residents can afford to have them
delivered.

We stopped off at the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon and saw the
entrance to the Dakota where Yoko still lives.

We made our way to the concert area and went through the security
checkpoint. I looked at Dick and said:

"Much tighter here than Brooklyn."

Dick: "oh, yeah!"

The concert area is quite nice with a good bandshell and as we were later in
the day-a lot of people. Dick noticed the VIP area and we walked toward it
hoping to see Esther. We spotted each other right away and exchanged
greetings-it was so good to be able to thank her again for all the
kindnesses that she had extended the night before. I have to say that she
admired my Hydra Leonard Cohen Event Tee shirt which I wore for the
occasion-but enough of vanity! I think she may have thought that we
expected her to get us into the VIP tent (which we didn't) but she observed
that the security was much tougher here than Brooklyn as well.

She was particularly concerned with the fact that I was not wearing a hat
and, being quite fair skinned on a sunny day would suffer the consequences.
In her own terrific and thoughtful style, she offered me her New York Times
magazine to use as a hat! What a great lady!

B'lette found us seats on some bleachers in the rear and we enjoyed Daniel
Lanois who none of us knew but want to get to know better (why is it that
the unknowns at a concert often turn out to be so memorable?). Rufus put on
a wonderful show doing a number of my favorite songs like "Cigarettes and
Chocolate Milk," and other great ones. Then he followed up, with an encore
with Kate McGarrigle on piano, an inspired version of "Somewhere Over the
Rainbow."


After this very full day we stopped back at the Southgate to catch our
breath (and refreshments) before venturing out to Greenwich Village for some
more entertainment.


Dick and Linda have friends (Johnny and Stella) living in Brooklyn who they
haven't been able to connect with for a time and this proved to be a
wonderful opportunity to greet them. The plan was to meet them in Greenwich
Village and have a drink together or plan for the evening and since they are
natives and frequent the village we looked to them for advice. Johnny has a
great personality and charmed B'lette! immediately. Dick thought that,
perhaps we could peek at The Bottom Line (Our Friday night, June 11th Cohen
Event venue) and we walked in. There was a chained gate across the entrance
(it was dark that night) and I rattled it trying to get a look inside. This
woke up, and startled, the poor person inside who immediately rushed to
confront us. Dick, with his usual, sedate, reasonable style, immediately
reassured the gentleman that we were looking as future clients and he
allowed us to come inside. B'losers! this is going to be great! Leonard
played here at least three times and the configuration of tables and stage
makes it obvious why this is such a desired performance location. I was
tempted to put a reserved sign out, but all of the tables have great views
and while the charm of the church in Hydra was compelling-this will truly be
a performance venue. We'll all have to take their word for the light
buffet-but I suspect that they are pretty professional and will do a good
job for us. It will be a great night!

After the Bottom Line, we walked through an amazingly alive Greenwich
Village (for a Sunday night). Johnny wanted to get us a deal at a venue and
The Bitter End wasn't biting. He suggested another club but it entailed a
taxi ride for some of us (he had his car) and we all agreed to meet there.
I think that we were waiting at the corner of Bleeker and MacDougal Street
for the cab that he said he'd hail for us. Suddenly, a street hustler with
a hand puppet walked toward us singing an old rock and roll song. Never
blinking, Johnny sidled up next to him and sang perfect harmony to the song.
The hustler held out his cup. Johnny responded, "You should pay me!" At
which time the hustler empted his cup into Johnny's hand (all the while
Stella fumbling for something (more coin) to make him go away (the
hustler-not Johnny!). The hustler wanted to know what we wanted (a taxi) and
Johnny scoffed at his ability to help us.

Hustler: "You don't think a homeless, black man with a hand puppet can get
a taxi? Why any taxi would stop on a dime to avoid hitting me."

At any rate, Stella made him go away and we were again on our own to find a
taxi. What next ensued is probably best described by reading a Kafka novel.
Happily though, we all met up and though the venue was closed, we had the
opportunity to tour Dick's old neighborhood. We ended the evening in a
Turkish, New York, Greenwich restaurant for hamburgers, pizza and just plain
fun.

We had all remarked on the number of people out and about-there were
fireworks over the Hudson in honor of the Gay Pride day. Johnny mentioned
how gladdening it was to see people again on the streets of New
York-neighborhood gatherings have been rather subdued since 9-11.

During dinner, Stella had the opportunity to tell us of her tale of
September 11th and how she like so many Manhatten workers, walked home that
day all the way to Brooklyn. Listening to her and the kindnesses extended,
the closeness and the breaking down of natural barriers, brought personal
face to our experience of that awful day-earlier in our trip we had made our
own pilgrimage to that emotional site. Most New Yorkers avoid it and no
visitor can resist seeing it. It is truly an enigma-sacred, tragic and in
transition-just like our lives.

The rest of the evening was goodbyes and hugs as we needed to leave early on
Monday. One more night of luxury at the Southgate and then early departure
from the airport. B'lette was flying back to Indiana and and we were on a
different flight to Wisconsin so we had our own family parting as well.

All I can think of now, is Keats' observation:

"Was it a vision or a waking dream?
Fled is that music-
Do I wake or sleep?"

And then, Leonard's answer:

"Do not say the moment was imagined-
Do not stoop to strategies like this."

I hope that I haven't bored, offended or upset anyone by this account, but I
truly experienced a momentous time in my life not just personally but for
family as well. I've heard it said that few people make friends after their
teens and I can count now many new friends who I've been priviliged to meet
just in the past several years through this passion for Leonard's work. To
all of you who I met on Hydra and who have been able to stay in touch
through newsgroups, forums and these precious personal visits, thank you for
your kindness and passion.

To all of you whom I had the honor of accompanying to these events, I can't
wait to see you again.

To those of you who have lived a bit vicariously through this tale-find a
way to make it to New York next year-you won't regret it.

With Leonard's admonition firmly in mind that the devil laughs when you make
plans:

To Andrew-Anne and I will make it to Toowomba in the next couple of years.
Eve and Kim-we'll also go to Edmonton someday. Vern and Sue-we're looking
forward to the first Sault Ste. Marie event! Henning, I heard it's Berlin
in '06!. Jim, are the Yankee's in town next June? Bobbie, Marc, John,
Elizabeth and Sam-we've got lots of catching up to do. Dick and Linda,
Evelyn-you are the absolute greatest tour guides and friends of all
time-pass on our abiding love to Esther.

Next year in New York!

Joe

(The End)
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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Andrew (Darby)
Posts: 1011
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2002 5:46 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:19 pm

Joe

Your excellent account has been digested with both enjoyment and envy! :D :mrgreen:

I will now look forward to your and Anne's visit to Toowoomba - I can't wait! (I also haven't given up yet on getting to New York! :wink: )

Cheers
Andrew (Darby)

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