Two fascinating video sessions occurred in November, 2021. We have obtained these recording for your viewing pleasure.
Gregory Bezat, San Francisco producer/director of a film in production, M.F.K. Fisher:The Art of Eating, was on a terrific panel on Food Luminary Documentaries such as Julia Child and James Beard.
Allen Michaan told tales of saving and operating the Grand Lake Theatre movie palace in Oakland in a wide-ranging conversation about the joys of saving a place that has meant so much for nearly a of century of moviegoers..
Both can be watched below.
The Impact and Value of Food Luminary Documentaries
Watch here (ignore the instructions intended for the livestream about Zoom, chat, permissions, etc and start at 1:30)
With the recent or anticipated theatrical release of new documentary films about Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher, and Anthony Bourdain, documentaries about food world luminaries are coming at us fast and furiously. Once the clear domain of PBS stations, these newer chef/cook stories are now popping up in theaters and on Netflix, Amazon and the like. It was bound to happen, the American interest in chefs, food, restaurants and everything that goes with them has become a near obsession, rivaling the French devotion to food, but with a decidedly American array of quirks, quacks, and quarterbacks. Now that we have films about James Beard and Julia Child, it’s time to dig into many more. Join our panel as we explore the Impact and Value of Food Luminary Documentaries, as part of our Critical Topics in Food series at the Bobst Library in the Zoom section of the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection at the Fales Rare Books and Collections at NYU.
Gregory Bezat, Documentary Filmmaker, Producer/Director of M.F.K. Fisher:The Art of Eating (2022).
Marion Nestle, Author & Paulette Goddard Professor Emerita of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health.
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University.
Kathleen Squires, Food and Travel Writer, producer of the film The Incredible Life of James Beard.
Krishnendu Ray, Author & Chair, Steinhardt Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.
Moderated by Clark Wolf, Author & Consultant.
The Critical Topics in Food event series is a partnership between NYU Special Collections, NYU Steinhardt Department of Nutrition & Food Studies, and Clark Wolf.
Presented by NYU Libraries
Image above: M.F.K. Fisher at her typewriter. Photograph courtesy of Literary Trust u/w/o M.F.K. Fisher.
Official M.F.K. Fisher website with lists of books by and about her.
The film’s website
About the event at Foreign Cinema
Ruth Reichl on M.F.K. Fisher’s Lifetime of Joyous Eating
“To Mary Frances food was a metaphor for living.”
M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf shows us how to take joy in the hardest of times like the pandemic according to Constance Grady.
Eater’s Anne Wallentine agrees.
Allen Michaan: Tales of the Grand Lake Theatre
The Oakland Heritage Alliance interviewed Allen Michaan, operator of the Grand Lake Theatre for over 40 years. Michaan moved to Berkeley in 1970 and supported himself by showing classic films in rented auditoriums. He built the Rialto Theater in Berkeley out of salvaged items that were rescued from other theaters. In the late 70s, he acquired the ground lease for the Grand Lake and has been operating and restoring it ever since. He purchased the theater in 2018 and also founded the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire and Michaan’s Auctions.
Allen has many tales to tell about his adventures in the movie theater business including saving and restoring historic movie palaces, fighting the large circuits, and being a community driven theater showing a wide range of films while keeping his admission and concession prices well under the multiplexes. His special marquee messages combining politics, humor and local commentary result in much conversation.
Many filmmakers tell stories about getting their start seeing movies at the Grand Lake. And their films, like Fruitvale Station, Blindspotting, East Side Sushi, Black Panther, Jurassic World and Sorry To Bother You set records. Directors and animators from Pixar are regulars where sitting with audiences seeing their movies on the giant screen with fantastic sound confirms why going to the movies is a special treat.
Check out the animated roof sign with nearly 3000 bulbs.