An Evening of Leonard Cohen
The Gershman Y
Thursday, May 18
7:00 PM • $45
One of the world’s most beloved and acclaimed musical artists, Cohen created work that was deeply rooted in Jewish life and thought. Until his death, he remained closely connected to his home synagogue in Quebec, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the oldest traditional Ashkenazi synagogue in Canada. Beginning his career as a poet and later expanding as a singer-songwriter, Cohen collected millions of fans throughout decades of creation. Tonight’s program, a fundraiser for the Gershman Y, will be a multi-sensory and multi-faceted event that will weave Cohen’s artistic narrative into a cohesive tribute.
The evening will begin with a Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival screening of the 45-minute film LADIES AND GENTLEMEN… MR. LEONARD COHEN, which captures the spirit of his mid-1960s rise to fame as a lauded Canadian poet. Co-directed by Don Owen and Donald Brittain, the film was produced for the National Film Board of Canada As end credits roll, we’ll pause with a brief intermission and open up doors to a light reception with food and drink.
This program will then continue with poems read by Philadelphia’s top spoken-word artists. The Philly Pigeon co-founder Jacob Winterstein will read Cohen poems that have inspired him. Back in 2010, Winterstein and Alyesha Wise (“Ms. Wise”) co-founded The Philly Pigeon and the slam organization hosts monthly slams that are packed with eager poetry fans, usually at PhilaMOCA at N. 12th and Spring Garden streets. Sarah Bloom, a poet earlier in her career, is an artist and photographer who has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine and The Huffington Post. Named Best Visual Artist in Philly Mag’s Best of Philly (2015) issue, she was included in HuffPo’s “28 Badass Women to Follow on Instagram,” is President of the Philadelphia Chapter Women’s Caucus, and proudly cites membership in Da Vinci Art Alliance, InLiquid, and The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. And Nathalie Anderson is a thrilling additional poet – she is a Professor of English Literature at Swarthmore College and directs their Creative Writing Program. Her work has appeared in countless esteemed journals and reviews, such as the Paris Review and The New Yorker. Anderson was a 1993 Pew Fellow and served as the Rosenbach Museum and Library’s Poet in Residence. The poetry readings will celebrate Cohen’s rich poetry catalogue after the film screening and in between musical performances from local Philadelphia-area musicians, all eager to pay tribute to Leonard.
Dick Rubin, the lead singer for up-and-coming area band MINKA, is classically trained on the piano and he’ll take to the grand piano with songs like “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “So Long Marianne.” He’ll perform at the Y then off for a more raucous and rock ‘n roll show at the Barbary in Fishtown on the same night – everyone is invited to this “after-party”! Delaware-based Sharon Sable, who will perform with her musical partner and husband E. Shawn Qaissaunee, will bring her collection of Cohen covers that she carries in her heart. The breathy, beautiful singer gigs around wows audiences with her interpretations of “Hallelujah” and “Bird on the Wire.” Finally, we’ll close out the night with a rollicking finale care of TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb. Led by singer and songwriter Dan Bruskewicz, TJ Kong has performed at just about every venue and festival in town, including World Café Live, Ardmore Music Hall, and Fishtown’s RiverCity Festival. The four-piece ensemble will bring the evening to an energized conclusion.
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