Leonard Cohen's Poetry Inspires Glass Portals, Featuring Tim Fain -- West Coast Premiere Los Angeles, Oct 9, 2011

From Oct 12, 2011  leonardcohenforum

My afternoon delight in Santa Monica (Los Angeles) Oct 9, 2011

When I put my ticket in my handbag, I noticed for the first time that the ticket bore the shortened name of "Portals." I thought at first this might be a printing limitation. However, the printed theatre program confirmed this was indeed the title. The original press release and early promos listed this event as "Glass Portals". Hence the title of this post.

When I arrived at the wonderful, intimate Broad Theater, I was able to park my car very close to the Stage Door. I had brought with a paper copy of the Book Of Longing Poster (original is framed) from the Philip Glass/Leonard Cohen collaboration in which Tim Fain played violin and was inspired by LC. I asked the Stage Door man if I could leave it there for an autograph. He agreed. So, the afternoon was off to a good start.

I met Rike for the first time in person after lots of correspondence and we hugged as planned. Rike introduced me to her lovely husband.

Judy Scott (jazz4111) was also at the concert and it was great seeing her again, an original stalwart of our SoCal gatherings.

The first thing I did was check the program to see if Leonard Cohen was given sufficient credit. Some of the early ad promos and videos mentioned LC in passing or not at all. To my delight, the name Leonard Cohen was very prominent in the program. (red highlight mine)

The concert piece was made up of several good parts, superb violinist, great music, interesting choreography and split frame film photography.

But the sum of all the parts just did not work for me.

Tim Fain is indeed superb. As previously reported, he is a hunk to look at and what an exceptionally talented young man. He deserves all the accolades he receives as an acclaimed violinist and rising star

I enjoyed the music very much. However, I was disappointed with the audience. They applauded between movements and sometimes started to applaud in the wrong place. I found that distracting. Tim Fain handled this very well. I have seen other artists get annoyed when this happened. He just smiled sweetly and carried on.

This performance had been promoted with descriptions such as "interwoven" and "multi-media". But, for me it felt like "multi-tasking", work.

I couldn't make sense of the film sequences and the connection with the music or the spoken text. It was not a piece I could just let float over me and absorb.

Now for the best part: the spoken words of Leonard Cohen.

The piece opened with a prologue and it was spoken text by Leonard Cohen. Now, how good is that!

The Los Angeles Times review here describes the text reader very well.
[Fred] Childs reads Cohen’s characterful lines like the genial radio host he is, grit-free. Cohen is not that man. And Fain, as violinist, amplified (expertly) and attached to the prerecorded business behind him, becomes like bird on an interpretive wire. 
It was a 90 minute concert (no intermission) and spoken words of Leonard Cohen interspersed during the production totaled 13 minutes.


These 13 minutes (four segments) can be heard here. (The audio is satisfactory given the "circumstances")

After the concert, when everyone was dashing to the parking lot, Judy and I bumped into Robert Kory+fedora and his wife Phyllis. They were both very gracious, stopped for a moment to say hello and agreed to have a photo taken. (Yes, I am wearing my 'I love Leonard Cohen' button.

Then, the Stage Door man appeared in the theatre lobby and handed me my autographed poster copy. Such a kind man to do that. And so very kind of Tim Fain to autograph it for me.

As I said at the top, it was an afternoon delight.

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