Leonard Cohen’s 1972 Concert Tour

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire (1972)“If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”  –  Leonard Cohen

Missing in action since it was first filmed by Tony Palmer in 1972, Bird on a Wire, a documentary account of Leonard Cohen’s European tour, finally surfaced on DVD in 2010 after being painstakenly restored frame by frame by the director who described the long, complicated history on the extra audio features. It’s a shame the film didn’t garner more attention upon its DVD debut but for Cohen fans, the documentary is essential viewing and just as candid, raw and intimate as D.A. Pennebaker’s remarkable Bob Dylan portrait, Don’t Look Back (1967), which covered that singer/songwriter’s tour of England in 1965.   Continue reading

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The Secret Cinema Experiment (Feb. 1980 – Dec. 1981, Athens, Ga.)

Secret Cinema program Oct. 1980Have you ever had a fantasy about running and programming your own repertory cinema? Any self-proclaimed film buff probably has and for me it became a slowly emerging fantasy from the time I was seven or older. Unlike those kids who wanted to be firemen, astronauts, professional athletes or other revered professions, I pictured myself as a movie theater owner who could show what I wanted and print availability or attendance was never a concern. While this fantasy faded over the years as I became aware of the realities and headaches of film distribution and theater management, the love of programming movies always stayed with me and for a brief period (Feb. 1980 – Dec. 1981), I ran an invitation only film series out of my home in Athens, Ga. on Pulaski Street that I called Secret Cinema. Continue reading