We Have the Exclusive Pics From the Second Annual Fran Con
Finally, an event for fans of Fran Lebowitz and their friends.
“Fran Con started as joke,” says Jane August.
When Netflix’s Pretend It’s a City came out during the pandemic, August’s book club decided to read The Fran Lebowitz Reader. “We were talking about her fashion and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it funny if there was a Santa Con but for Fran Lebowitz?’”
But what started as a joke quickly became reality. When August promoted the event on Instagram and TikTok, she received more than 100 RSVPs to the first ever Fran Con, which happened on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.
While the second annual Fran Con, at Blinky’s Bar in Brooklyn on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, had a smaller showing, it was no less spirited.
Fran Con’s timing is purposeful, says August: “It’s an easy costume, and it’s Halloween week.” The event is also on Lebowitz’s birthday, “so that she definitely won’t come.”
It sounds counterintuitive, but the reasoning, says August, is “1. Don’t meet your heroes, and 2. She’d absolutely hate this.” As Lebowitz is famously weirded out by young people’s idolization, “The fact that we’re doing this is ironic and anti-ironic.”
Besides, Lebowitz is not on social media. “She’d only find out if someone tells Marty Scorsese and he tells her,” says August.
August most admires Lebowitz’s “unconventional lifestyle.” — “Yeah, I wake up at 1 p.m., I ignore my phone calls, I sit and don’t write anything, and then I go drink with my friends. We’d all be better if we lived our life like that,” says August.
“She’s such a big culture maker, even though she is just another white woman in New York City,” August continues. “But if we’re going to worship any white woman, let it be her.”
Whereas Santa Con is “annoying douchy bros,” Fran Con is “annoying intellectual lesbians,” August says. “If you’re going to be around annoying people, that’s the demographic you want.”
In terms of Fran Con’s future, “I want to expand it to be bigger,” says August. “If we could get it at one of the lesbian bars, that would be cool.”
“I’ve had this blazer since eighth grade,” says Marcus Drew, who is August’s co-worker.
Would he wear this normally? “I went to Catholic school, so yes. The only difference is the jeans and no tie.”
Is Fran Lebowitz hot? “If I were a lesbian, absolutely,” says Drew. “Just ask Toni Morrison”
Friends Jennifer Bayer and Nina Rodriguez have both lived in New York City for six years.
“Last year, I ate four packs of candy cigarettes,” says Bayer, who knows August from roller derby training. “So, I’m trying not to do that again.”
“She’s my future me,” says Rodriguez of Lebowitz. “I would like to be single forever.”
While Rodriguez doesn’t plan on dressing like Lebowitz more regularly after this, “It has made me realize I need to leave my house more often.”
Rodriguez is holding out hope that Lebowitz might one day grace Fran Con. “I hope she’d come! I don’t think she’d like it, but maybe she’d secretly be touched,” says Rodriguez.
But is Fran Lebowitz hot? “I wouldn’t call her hot,” says Rodriguez. “I’d call her respectable and distinguished.” “I want to be her best friend,” says Bayer.
While most at Fran Con wore the signature Lebowitz look — cuffed jeans, navy blazer, white button-down, cowboy boots, tortoiseshell glasses — others sported tuxedos or sweaters.
Alexa Spiegel, who wore a turtleneck last year, opted this year for a classic blazer.
When Lais deSouza attended last year, “I felt so powerful.” This year’s outfit consists of thrifted Wrangler jeans, an H&M shirt, and layered coats.
“I dig that she’s a complainer,” says deSouza, who read Metropolitan Life during the pandemic. “She’s been able to make a career from complaining.”
Grace Heicmann, Kelsi Parsons, Carliene Thompson, and Emily Marinoff heard about Fran Con from Brock Colyar’s New York Magazine newsletter, “are u coming?” Their coordinated blazers created a rainbow of neutral colors.
Arthur Nelson didn’t dress up for the event. “I don’t have the right Fran attire,” he explained. But Nelson made up for it with the prominent Fran Lebowitz tattoo on his bicep.
“I learned about Fran Lebowitz as a college freshman in 2003,” says Nelson, who was surprised by Lebowitz’s pandemic resurgence. “I don’t think it’s quite hit me. I haven’t seen the Netflix show.”
Why do people love Lebowitz so much? “She just says such weird polarizing things. And her sardonic sense of humor”
Nelson has only disagreed with one thing Lebowitz has ever said, which was that adults who skateboard need to grow up. “Then, I twisted my ankle. Now I agree with her.”
“My favorite quote,” says Nelson, “is ‘I’d rather see someone walking towards me with a hand grenade than see a grown man in shorts.’”
Micaela Fagan identifies as Lebowitz’s “number one Fran.”
Carrying around a 1984 issue of Playboy, bought on Ebay, Fagan read aloud some favorite quotes from the Lebowitz interview: “A woman’s quest in life is to find the perfect apartment.”
Fagan, who follows #franlebowitz, found out about last year’s Fran Con from social media. “I thought it was a joke. Turns out, it was real. I was ecstatic.”
“She’s a type of woman that you grow up not knowing exists,” says Fagan. “She has a satisfaction with her life that is attractive. This idea that you don’t have to do any of that.”
“She was expelled from high school for usurping the dean’s power,” continues Fagan. “And that’s hot.”
“There’s no one like her,” says Fagan. Behind her, a group of bespeckled Frans sip on Negronis at the bar.