Fran Lebowitz in Conversation
Special Presentation · Roda Theatre
February 2–4, 2018
Running time: approximately 90 minutes, no intermission
In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators. Offering her acerbic views on current events and the media, her essays and interviews are equally forthright, irascible, and unapologetically opinionated.
Purveyor of urban cool, Lebowitz was once named one of the year’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair and has been called “the heir to Dorothy Parker.” She remains a style icon.
Experience three unique off-the-cuff conversations where Fran shares her insights and experiences on literature, politics and money, and nostalgia (art and culture in the ‘70s and ‘80s).
Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. This show has none. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.
February 2 · ON LITERATURE
February 3 · ON POLITICS & MONEY
February 4 · ON NOSTALGIA: WARHOL, NEW YORK, ART & CULTURE
Fran Lebowitz has worked odd jobs, such as taxi driving, belt peddling, and apartment cleaning (“with a small specialty in Venetian blinds”), before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. That was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first book, a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, was a bestseller, as was a second collection, Social Studies. By turns ironic, facetious, deadpan, sarcastic, wry, wisecracking, and waggish, Lebowitz’s prose is wickedly entertaining. Her two books are collected in the Fran Lebowitz Reader, with a new preface by the author. Lebowitz is also the author of the children’s book, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas. Between 2001 to 2007, Lebowitz had a recurring role as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order. She also had a part in the Martin Scorsese-directed film, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). A raconteur if ever there was one, Lebowitz has long been a regular on various talk shows including those hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and Bill Maher. In an interview with the Paris Review, Lebowitz said “I’m not a nervous person. I’m not afraid to be on TV. I’m only afraid when I write. When I’m at my desk I feel like most people would feel if they went on TV.” She can also be seen in various documentary films including the American Experience series on New York City, as well as Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016), Regarding Susan Sontag (2014), and Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990), among others. A documentary about Lebowitz, Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, premiered on HBO in November 2010. Lebowitz was once named one of the year’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair. She remains a style icon. Lebowitz lives in New York City, as she does not believe that she would be allowed to live anywhere else.
Daniel Handler · ON LITERATURE host
Daniel Handler is the author of six novels, including Why We Broke Up, We Are Pirates, and, most recently, All The Dirty Parts. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for numerous books for children, including the 13-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events, the four-volume All The Wrong Questions, and The Composer Is Dead, which was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony and then adapted for Berkeley Rep in 2010. Other collaborations include a series of books with artist Maira Kalman for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and serving as an adjunct accordionist for the Magnetic Fields. His books have sold more than 70 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages, and have been adapted for film, stage, and television. He lives in San Francisco with the illustrator Lisa Brown, to whom he is married and with whom he has collaborated on several books and one son.
Mark Danner · ON POLITICS & MONEY host
Mark Danner is a writer and reporter who for three decades has written on politics and foreign affairs, focusing on war and conflict. He has covered Central America, Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, and the Middle East, among many other stories. Danner is Chancellor’s Professor of English and Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College. Among his books are The Massacre at El Mozote, Torture and Truth, The Secret Way to War, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War, and the recently published Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. Danner was a longtime staff writer at The New Yorker and is frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, Aperture, and many other newspapers and magazines. He has co-written and helped produce two hour-long documentaries for ABC News program Peter Jennings Reporting, and his work has received, among other honors, a National Magazine Award, three Overseas Press Awards, the Carey McWilliams Award, and an Emmy. In 1999 Danner was named a MacArthur Fellow. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Association, and a resident curator at the Telluride Film Festival. He speaks and lectures widely on foreign policy and America’s role in the world.
Lawrence Rinder · ON NOSTALGIA host
Lawrence Rinder is director and chief curator of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), a position he has held since 2008. His curatorial contributions while serving as BAMPFA director include organizing Architecture of Life in 2016; The Possible in 2014 (with David Wilson); the first mid-career survey of Barry McGee in 2012 (with Dena Beard); and In a Different Light (with Nayland Blake). He has held positions at the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he was chief curator of the 2002 Biennial and organized exhibitions including The American Effect: Global Perspectives on the United States, 1990–2003 and Tim Hawkinson. He was the founding director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, where he also served as dean. His writing on art has appeared in nest, Artforum, The Village Voice, Fillip, Atlantica, and Flash Art, among other publications. Art Life, a collection of his essays, was published by Gregory R. Miller in 2005. He has also published poetry, fiction, and a play, co-authored with Kevin Killian.