Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Writer’s Blockade 

Wednesday, Nov 9 2011
The inestimable Fran Lebowitz is one of the 20th century’s greatest wits, fitting easily alongside names such as H.L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker, and Woody Allen. One of our favorite (seemingly) off-the-cuff remarks of hers goes, “From the number of children in evidence, it appears that people have them at the drop of a hat — for surely were they to give this matter its due attention, they would act with greater decorum.” But there is a good reason why many people younger than 40 don’t know her name: She’s published hardly a word for more than two decades. Inconceivable? Perhaps, but her beginning was equally unlikely. Lebowitz was expelled from high school, yet before long she was hired to write a column for Andy Warhol’s Interview, and after that, for Mademoiselle. Essay collections in 1978 and 1981 were bestsellers; she was for many years a regular guest on David Letterman’s talk shows. Yet her best-known accomplishment of late has been failing to finish a novel called External Signs of Wealth. The story of Lebowitz’s “writer’s blockade,” as she calls it, is part of what animates Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Public Speaking, on this non-writing writer. Through interviews and footage of Lebowitz’s many speaking engagements at colleges and elsewhere, the film paints a portrait of a genuinely vivacious yet deadpan comic personality whose trenchant wit is as sharp as ever. In a breezy 82 minutes, Scorsese reminds us that a dry, dignified, and eminently fashionable genius still lives among us.
Mon., Nov. 14; Tue., Nov. 15; Nov. 18-24, 2011

About The Author

Casey Burchby

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"