Advertisement
Music by VICE

Bittersweet Animation Tells the Tale of Leonard Cohen's "Two Went to Sleep"

Here's a hint: it involved two women and a bed.

by Beckett Mufson
Nov 15 2016, 3:10pm

Screencap via

A short story from the life of Leonard Cohen offers a moment of respite from mourning the late Canadian legend, thanks in no small part to the clever animation in the latest Blank on Blank from PBS Digital Studios. The series pairs archival interviews with masterful thinkers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Bukowski with modern animation—in this case Patrick Smith's sepia surrealism—to give their ideas a new vision.

Leonard Cohen on Moonlight marries a rare reading of "Two Went to Sleep," originally aired on WBAI FM in New York City, and preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives. The poem is fraught with juxtoposition and misunderstanding, but Cohen's calming, zen-toned baritone radiates acceptance of the circumstances. He apparently carried that sentiment as his health waned, telling The New Yorker, “I am ready to die,” in one of his final interviews.

In the video below, Cohen tells the bohemian story behind the poem. It's a moment of creative inspiration preserved in amber, and tastes refreshingly of normalcy. Take a break from the day and watch below.

Get more Blank on Blank here, and check out Patrick Smith's other work here.

Related:

Frank Lloyd Wright Interview Gets New, Animated Life

Illustrated Temple Grandin Interview Reveals Why She's Thankful for Her Autism

Gutter Poet Charles Bukowski, Animated and Uncensored