Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Leonard Cohen Reluctantly Returns to the U.S.

By Evan Rytlewski
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The bus television news ticker on my snowy commute to the office today clued me into this sad little news item: Leonard Cohen will play his first U.S. concert in over 15 years next month, apparently in an effort to replenish the retirement savings his manager squandered. 

The sadness is two-fold: Not only does it conjure the image of a man in his 70s forced from retirement—an increasingly common scenario in today's crap economy—but also of a celebrated artist forced to compromise his principals. Cohen's avoidance of America has almost certainly been a deliberate one. Like Woody Allen, he's long met with stronger critical and commercial success overseas, and in 1992's "Democracy" Cohen even sang of his distaste for American culture: "I love the country but I can't stand the scene."

I suppose it could be worse, though. At least he didn't have to support himself working at a Wal-Mart.

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