Sylvie Simmons' marvelous biography I'm Your Man: the Life of Leonard Cohen is written like a love letter, not with the servile fawning of a young devotee but the worldly temper of one who knows what is at stake. The British-born San Franciscan teases Cohen out of seclusion with her subtle, somber wit, slowly tracing his deeply religious upbringing (grandfather was a Talmudic scholar) and his deeply impactful love affairs (even a brief gambol with Joni Mitchell reaped long lasting results within the lines of her songs). Through intimate conversations we plumb the depth and breadth of the poet's life — the Chelsea Hotel, military stations in the Sinai Desert, Zen monkhood at Mt. Baldy — to discover the meaning behind his verse. While Cohen has said, "all of my writing has guitars behind it, even the novels," the Leonard Cohen Love Fest finds Simmons joined by Conspiracy of Beards, S.F.'s beloved 30-man a cappella homage. Surely even Cohen would confess the brilliance of five-part harmonies woven with such adroit devotion.
Wed., April 30, 7 p.m., 2014