Ben Katchor: The Dairy Restaurant (with Fran Lebowitz)
Thursday March 12: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.
From the award-winning author of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer and The Jew of New York: a unique history of a beloved New York culinary institution that emerged in the late 19th century and had all but disappeared by the end of the 20th.
For The Dairy Restaurant, Ben Katchor retells the history of where we choose to eat—a history that starts with the first man allowed to enter a walled garden and encouraged by the garden's owner to enjoy it's fruits. In this brilliant, sui generis book, Ben Katchor illuminates the unique historical confluence of events and ideas that led to the proliferation of the dairy restaurant in New York City. In words and his inimitable drawings, he begins with Adam, entering Eden and eating the fruits therein. He examines ancient protocols for offerings to the gods and the kosher milk-meat taboo. He describes the first vegetarian practice, the development of inns offering food to travelers, the invention of the restaurant, the rise of various food fads, and the intersection between culinary practice and radical politics. Here, too, is an encyclopedic directory of dairy restaurants that once thrived in New York City and its environs, evoked by Katchor's illustrations of classified advertisements, matchbooks, menus, and phone directory listings. And he ends on an elegiac note as he recollects his own experiences in many of these unique restaurants just before they disappeared--as have almost all the dairy restaurants in the New York metropolitan area.
Join us in the Rare Book Room for a discussion about The Dairy Restaurant with Ben Katchor!
Ben Katchor is the author of The Cardboard Valise, The Jew of New York; Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District; and several works of musical theater with the composer Mark Mulcahy. He teaches at Parsons The New School for Design and has contributed to The New Yorker, The Forward, and Metropolis. The first cartoonist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, he is the subject of the documentary The Pleasures of Urban Decay. He lives in New York.
Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of our most insightful social commentators. Her essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current events and the media – as well as pet peeves including tourists, baggage-claim areas, after-shave lotion, adults who roller skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. The New York Times Book Review calls Lebowitz an "important humorist in the classic tradition." Purveyor of urban cool, Lebowitz is a cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker. Her first book, a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, was a bestseller, as was a second collection, Social Studies. 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. 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.