I headed down Thursday to Bard for a talk about Blake's quiet years that promised to fill in the missing details. I had been surprised to hear about an event at Bard before the actual day of the event, a rarity. However, when I got there and found the room, I also found a note saying the lecture was delayed. I decided not to wait around and went to Robert's, where he was making a tasty dinner -- much better. If the lecture's any good, it'll be published, right?
The next morning we headed down to the Cloisters to get a little medieval. If you haven't been there, the museum located in the lovely Fort Tryon Park offers a nice little taste of the Middle Ages in Manhattan with artifacts, bits of chapels, tombs and other treasures. After having a good wander around the grounds, we headed over to the New Leaf Café, which Robert informed me was run by Bette Midler, but we didn't see her in the kitchen, but we were able to enjoy a really good lunch while supporting the New York Restoration Project.
We took the A train downtown in order to get to the Morgan. As we passed through the 42nd Street station, Robert helpfully pointed out the tubes that were part of the internet, which as we all know is a system of tubes. Quite knowledgeable my brother. Why the Morgan? Well, they're having a Blake exhibit which more than made up for the missed lecture. It had so much more than I expected, not just pages from his books, but letters, manuscripts and watercolors. Wonderful!
Of course, the main event was seeing Leonard Cohen at Madison Square Garden. The sold out show featured most of his hits which pleased the crowd (full of an awful lot of balding heads we could see from our vantage point up near the top), but the energy and exuberance of Cohen and his band really impressed me. Although 75, he was dancing and skipping on and off stage during the 8pm show which lasted until 11.30. He seemed truly joyful, telling the audience, "I don’t know when we’ll be passing through here again, so I want to tell you that it is our intention to give you everything we’ve got tonight” -- and they did. Fantastic band all around, including his frequent collaborator, Sharon Robinson and an amazing Spanish guitarist. Everyone got a turn in the spotlight, but the crowd was there to see Cohen and he gave them everything, turning songs like "I'm Your Man" from intimate love songs to an offering to the thousands assembled. You can find videos for many of the songs like "So Long, Marianne", "Tower of Song", my fave "Famous Blue Raincoat" and the perennial fave, "Hallelujah" but I am so glad I was actually there. Some nights are just magical -- and this was one.
Of course getting back was less than magical -- not only was there a rail replacement bus for the A train uptown, but it was pouring and we had to drive back to Hudson. But we kept each other awake, listening to Peter Cook until we finally made it back to Robert's about 3.30am. Totally worth it.