Sunday, September 10, 2006

Leonard Cohen and Church

Err!! I've tried to do this for the tenth time today before my stupid computer overheats and zaps away.

Yesterday my mum and I had a lovely night out (the last night before my brother came back), Indian + movie. We went to a really good east Indian place by the theatre. First we shared a coconut calamari that was realllly good, I was embarrassingly trying to pick up the rest of the sauce with my fork when the waiter came. Then I had coconut curry with prawns for an entree. The sauce was basically the same as the calamari which was really cool with me. We also had a side of garlic naan... mmmm. Anyways, really good meal, not too big which is sometimes a problem I have at some restaurants when the food is in outrageously large quantities. After we walked down the block to the movie at 6:40.

We saw Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man or I'm Your Man: Leonard Cohen or whatever. The movie was a bit of a tribute to Leonard Cohen, with different artists performing his songs, flashbacks to his life and an interview with the Man himself. This film got pretty good reviews, it was kinda trashed by the Globe and Mail, which I thought was a bit unfair. I really enjoyed the performances by the different artists, although I'm a little biased because I was not unfamiliar with the cast. That would be Wainwright/McGarrigle clan, Beth Orton, Antony Hegarty etc... I thought for the most part the performances were really refreshing. I really liked Martha Wainwright's rendition of "The Traitor", Nick Cave's "I'm Your Man", Rufus and "Chelsea Hotel No. 2", Anthony's "If It Be Your Will", Beth Orton and "Sisters Of Mercy", most of the performances actually. Really the most engaging points where when Leonard Cohen talked about his life and his songs, between the performances. He said the performances "brought his songs to life", which is so true because Leonard Cohen song's aren't living, but immortal and spiritual. The only part I kinda hated was when Bono talked. Because he sounded silly with his sunglasses and pretentiousness and stuff... not very Leonard Cohen at all.

Speaking of spiritual, this morning I attended church for the first time since... probably when I was five and went to church once with my granny. We walked to the nice old inner-city United Church, and despite the fact it was an inner-city United Church and the pastor was like 30 and there was a little gay rainbow on the sign I still came in there a little cautious. Turns out it was really interesting, not at all "hell-fire and brimstoney" but very tolerant and cool. The two main subjects I recall were wine and casinos. The reverend talked about visiting the Naramada vineyards this summer (which my parents visited and loved last summer), and specifically the story behind one of the labels "Blasted Church". I won't go into the story because it's 10:00 and I've already typed too much. But he said thought he would really like this to be a "Blasted Church", because of a couple reasons, all very interesting and relevant. Then he talked about how Bishop Henry's (outspoken and very annoying, intolerant Calgary religious leader, in my opinion) thing on banning casinos from fundraising, and how it was the only thing he'd ever agreed with Bishop Henry on. My mum was at a casino for an organization she works with on Friday night. She really hated it, the smoke and the sad people, but it did help the organization. The reverend was talking about how wealthy people will go to a casino to get 50 dollars off for their kids hockey even though their rich and they wear their worst clothes because of the smoke, and make comments about the less-fortunate people at the tables. I agree with him about that being really wasteful, and I think it's stupid that their work is definitely not benefiting the poor people who are gambling. This is a really two-sided issue though, because casinos are something that really helps out schools. Personally I think the government should be helping out Alberta schools more, but that's okay. It was a really interesting service, and I'm glad that there are some sensible, tolerant religious people in the world. It made me change my mind a bit about organized religion.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks for the review of the film. I've been thinking I'd like to see it and now this clinches it. So many great performers too!

I was in a United church this weekend as well, fancy that, but my visit was for a wedding, so. I could probably handle a service at a United church if forced, but not likely any other denomination (not that they would have me...)

Since moving to Alberta I have always had a huge problem with using casinos to finance schools. I just hate the idea of gambling, I think it is counter-productive and wasteful and tacky and the cause of many social problems. I have always refused to work any school casinos - I've been a conscientious objector. That is completely the wrong way to finance schools, of all things.

End rant.

hilary m. said...

You're very welcome, I bet you would like it!

That's the thing, they didn't say anything about trying to convert us at all good ol' United Church. It was very nice, to go to church and not hear about lost sinners and stuff and going to hell. My mum really liked the part about wine too.

I agree with you Barbara, I've heard many a story about the smoke and the sad people... Basically when you're working there it's just encouraging these people to lose more money. At the end of the night, the house always wins. Our schools need money though, and they need to find some way to give it to them, casinos do, although I think someone could find a much better way that isn't wasteful or destructive. Like getting it from the government! I've heard we're pretty rich... and my school was filmed in a Matthew Perry TV movie as a school in the Harlem ghetto. Odd.

Allison said...

I've heard only negative things about that film, I think it had a lot to do with the Bono stuff....but thanks for giving another opinion, I need to find a place where its playing.

I'm probably a little bias, being raised in the United Church, but if you're going to go the organized route, that's the best choice. As you said, I love it because there is never any 'conversion' talk.
My mom was raised a strong Catholic, my dad, Jewish. They decided to raise us United, why, I have no idea. But it allowed us to be so open, and for that I'm thankful. I haven't been to church in about 5 years, and finding my own thing now, but it for sure taught me tolerance.

hilary m. said...

Yeah, I heard a lot of negative criticism too. I think I liked it partly cause I love a lot of the artists in it, and of course Leonard Cohen. So it really depends.

My mum grew up going to the United Church, she's one of the most toleranted, open-minded people I know. The service that I heard really emphasized not judging others, and seeing all sides of an issue. For me, that was really cool.

loring said...

Leonard Cohen rules. Is it is poetry? Is it his ironically beautiful voice? Is it his whole lone-wolf persona? I say nay. Personally, I think it's because he has back-up singers. Seriously though, he's the best.

hilary m. said...

Those back-up singers, they make a difference. =)
Leonard Cohen is definitely the man.