GUESS WHO’S NOT COMING TO DINNER: FRAN LEBOWITZ
GUESS WHO’S NOT COMING TO DINNER: FRAN LEBOWITZ ~ By Diane Feen
Fran Lebowitz is an icon, but most people are not sure exactly what type of icon she is.
She wrote a book of humorous musings about New York called Metropolitan Diary and had a recurring role in Law & Order.
The low-key funny lady showed off her humorous chops last year as Martin Scorsese’s sidekick in a documentary series on Netflix called, Pretend It's a City.
That is why so many people flocked to the Festival of the Arts Boca to see her. The outdoor Mizner Park Amphitheater was filled with an eclectic crowd of admirers and curious intellectuals.
It was also International Women’s Day today, which might explain the outpouring of feminine energy flickering across the lawn. “Having a women’s conference in Dubai is like having an NAACP conference in Alabama. These countries are oppressive to women.”
But in South Florida and New York City the vibes are clearly female centric, which is why Lebowitz feels so comfortable in those locales.
It is New York City that Lebowitz is clearly smitten with the most. She was not shy about her animosity for the current New York City mayor (who she blames for rats and other atrocities in the city) and was equally verbal about her dislike of Andy Warhol.
“Andy Warhol did not like me, and there were fewer than one writer for Interview Magazine,” she said. Lebowitz did write for Interview Magazine, but made it clear that Warhol’s star shone brightest after he died.
“I did not take a salary at Interview. I was paid in artwork. Unfortunately, two weeks before he died I sold them to pay for lawyers and my mortgage. Warhol’s work was no good. It didn’t sell until he died. If he knew they would be so valuable he would have died sooner.”
Yes, Lebowitz is acerbic as they come. Saccharin-speak is not in her lexicon. “People didn’t like Hillary Clinton, but I did not understand why. It’s not like she was going to call you every other day and ask you to to dinner. You don’t have to like your president or your doctor, but you want them to be good.”
Lebowitz is clearly a Democratic feminist. But the conservative winds that blow toward Mizner Park Amphitheater were quiet. There was loud clapping after she talked about global warming being a threat. She also talked about all the white men on the Supreme Court. Lebowitzconstantly urged young people to run for office of anything. “Just run for something,” she said many times.
She also extolled the world of journalism and its inherent perfection.
“Being a writer is the greatest thing to do. Books are close to my heart as a human being. I feel like calling 911 when I see a book being thrown away. A book is not a mirror, it is a doorway.”
You make your world bigger by reading not smaller, she said. “To me reading is an escape from the smallness of being one person to becoming the world.”
Lebowitz humor is under the radar and off the cuff, which might explain why she wears men’s style dress shirts. Her likes, dislikes and irreverence are clearly on display the way a cheesecake would be in a diner. Her uniform of choice is always a navy blazer, white shirt and jeans.
And her predilection for honesty, equal rights and women’s rights are part of her public armor. We salute Fran Leibowitz for her clever and humorous take on everything from climate change to feminine transformation.
Her humor leans toward fatalism (and realism) that is often thought about, but rarely spoken out loud. “I would have been a spectacular heiress. I am fantastic at not working. I don’t think people should feel guilty for taking a nap.”
Neither do I.