Cartoonist Ben Katchor is probably best known for his comic strip Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, a comic about small businessman who roams the city capturing pictures of a fading ideal of New York. His newest work is called The Dairy Restaurant. It's an illustrated history of the Jewish restaurants that served as a kind of meatless counterpart to the delicatessen. Ben joins us to talk about the dairy restaurants of his youth, what he calls our "pastoral impulse" to find good food, and the first place he's going once he can break quarantine.
The great cartoonist Ben Katchor rejoins the show to talk about his brand-new book, The Dairy Restaurant (Schocken), a 500-page illustrated history of, um, dairy restaurants! We get into what drew him to the milekhdike personality, the remnants of Eastern European Jewish culture that call to him, why this book had to be prose-with-pictures rather than comics, the decades of research and interviews he conducted, and why these restaurants came to represent the history of how Jews moved away from their parents' professions. We also discuss just what went wrong with the world, why his favorite books are old Chicago Yellow Pages directories, why just studying Jewish history can constitute a sort of Judaism, his fascination with interwar Warsaw, his plea for a controlled economy, and why The Dairy Restaurant had to begin in the Garden of Eden. • More info at our site (And check out our past conversations from 2013 and 2016!) • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal
Ben Katchor rejoins the show to talk about the 25th anniversary edition of Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay (Drawn & Quarterly)! We talk about those aforementioned pleasures, the boredom of the modern flaneur, his evolution from genre fandom to "literary comics" (my awful term, not his), the danger in comics becoming over-academic, and the challenges of writing a world history. More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal