Last night I had the fortune of attending the most quotable 90 minutes I have yet to witness — a conversation between author Fran Lebowitz and director Martin Scorsese, held by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Sporting her signature dinner jacket, a bespectacled Lebowitz commanded the room with her riveting, acerbic manner of speaking without even a pause for air. Scorsese, on the contrary, could barely get a word in edgewise as he sat back and chuckled with the audience.
Below I’ve transcribed the intelligible portion of my scrawls that I managed copy down onto my program between laughter and moments of feeling utterly transfixed by such a whip-smart woman.
On getting older: “You already know everything you are capable of learning, so hearing other people talk becomes more annoying with age.”
On staying away from technology: “Other people are mad at me for not using the Internet. They tell me it’s not safe to walk around without a cellphone, but for most of my life there were no cellphones and I’m still alive. It’s never important that anyone reach me. Yes, I suppose it’s important if you’re a doctor.
I am not taking some deliberate stance by not having a computer. I never knew how to use early computers, or word processors as they were called, or even a typewriter for that matter. I never learned to type and I still write using a ballpoint pen.”
On her cameo in Wolf of Wall Street: “I can only play a judge, because I am by nature, judgmental.”
On her uniform: “I went to the Nobel Prize Awards in Sweden with Toni Morrison, and my publisher’s wife was worried about what I would wear. The invite said ‘White Tie Affair or National Dress’ so she called whoever was in charge of the event and said, ‘There is a woman in Ms. Morrison’s party whose ‘National Dress’ is a dinner jacket.’
I arrived at the Nobel Prize ball and a million photographers began snapping away and asking me questions I didn’t understand. It turned out the number one novel in Sweden at the time was called something like ‘The Girl in the Tuxedo Jacket,’ so they thought I was making a comment on that.”
On New York changing: “New York is always changing. It won’t stay like this because it didn’t stay like that.”
Is there a difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn?: “Yes…it’s further away!”