Arts & Entertainment

4-hour listening party to honor Leonard Cohen at downtown LA's Music Center

Portrait of singer Leonard Cohen, early 1970s.
Portrait of singer Leonard Cohen, early 1970s.
Jack Robinson/Getty Images

Influential singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is being remembered this Thursday in a free, four-hour listening party outside on downtown Los Angeles's Music Center Plaza. Attendees will hear a playlist curated by Hal Willner, a music producer of the concert film "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man."

"I think that his intention is ... for people to gather, to listen to the music, to be together," Music Center program manager Mark Seldis told KPCC. "And I'm sure there will be conversations, and people who have stories about having seen the music or how the music affected them will share those stories with other people."

The event will include chairs set out and a bar where people can buy hot or cold drinks while listening to the curated playlist, Seldis said.

"I think [Willner] took into account obviously his own feelings about Leonard's music, and also what sort of songs people would want to hear to really get a real beautiful overview of his career," Seldis said.

Leonard Cohen Hallelujah

The event will feature no speeches or special invited guests, but Willner will be in attendance, Seldis said, as it's something close to the producer's heart. Willner approached the Music Center with the idea for the event, which Seldis said is for everyone.

"Obviously, Leonard Cohen fans will have a different level of appreciation, a different level of familiarity with the music — and may stay longer — but just the ability to bathe in this amazing music and take it in is something anybody could enjoy," Seldis said.

Seldis said that Cohen's music had a big impact on him and others across L.A., a place that the Canadian singer would come to call home.

"I'm a native Angeleno, and I know the impact of his work on not just the artists in this community — because certainly, all the singer/songwriters that I grew up with in the '70s who were the California sound were all heavily influenced by his songwriting, and his skill, and his passion. And just for me, I know that the work has spoke to me over different decades of my life in different ways. That's the enduring legacy of Leonard Cohen's music, is it's always relevant, it's always connecting," Seldis said.

The free listening party is this Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. outside the Music Center. They'll also have food and outdoor heaters to keep you warm during your listening session.

Watch the trailer from concert film "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man":

Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man trailer