Author Topic: Miranda July  (Read 3491 times)

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Bethie

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Re: Miranda July
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2007, 02:30:48 AM »
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who likes movies anyway

Pubrick

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Re: Miranda July
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2007, 02:46:44 AM »
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and on the third day, miranda july released a book.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

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Re: Miranda July
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2007, 11:11:40 PM »
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Miranda July, storyteller
The director-writer-star of the film 'Me and You and Everyone We Know' offers quirky takes on relationships in her new book.
Source: Los Angeles Times

A few weeks before the release of her debut story collection, Miranda July played lead typewriter with a friend's band. This came between updates to "Learning to Love You More," an art project with her friend Harrell Fletcher that suggests things like "Re-read your favorite book from fifth grade" and "Make a child's outfit in an adult size." The homemade website for her first book, the story collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You," consists mostly of photos of handwritten messages on her stove, including a shot of oatmeal July had cooked for breakfast.

These self-consciously adorable exploits would seem to place July firmly among the McSweeney camp — those childhood-fetishizing, Dave Eggers-worshipping, mainstream-rejecting writers whose heyday appears to have fizzled. But the lean, accessibly weird stories in July's book, which will be published May 15, tell a different story about the ambitions of the 33-year-old author, performance artist and director (her first film was the offbeat and, yes, self-consciously adorable 2005 indie romance "Me and You and Everyone We Know"). Yes, there are much-too-precious scenarios in some of these stories, such as a heroine who gives swimming lessons in her kitchen (kooky!). But there is also an unlikely emotional resonance to many of them.

Observing the breakfast scene recently in Los Feliz's Figaro Café with wide, frost-blue eyes that suggest she's constantly thinking of something more interesting, July explained that the collection was her attempt to find humor in awkward human interactions.

"After the movie, I was trying to pull myself together creatively, and I was very broke," July said. "I thought, 'Well, if I can finish this book and write a bunch more stories, I bet I can sell it now that I have a little bit of an audience.' I was happy to have something to do, a task at hand."

"Me and You and Everyone We Know" was a film-festival favorite, if a split decision with critics. As the writer, star and public face of "Me and You," she had mixed feelings about the film's lengthy press tours and its accompanying bit of celebrity.

"It really confuses your sense of self when you're talking about yourself constantly," July said. "You become kind of unreal, repeating the same things again and again. It's a mild form of torture at a certain point. There's a relationship between writing and performing to me, but you can't be camera-ready all the time."

In a career arc that would make most MFA students weep into their student-loan bills, July's fiction was accepted first by the Paris Review (before her film's release) and then Zoetrope, Tin House and the New Yorker. The stories stood out for their taut absurdism and comic timing that was, of all things, actually funny. In "Something That Needs Nothing," two young girls learn the unexpected tedium of adult work: "Everything we thought of as The World was actually the result of someone's job. Each line on the sidewalk, each saltine. Everyone had rotting carpet and a door to pay for. Aghast, we quit."

But it was no secret that July's cachet with a young film-and-stage-savvy audience was a factor in getting published. "The bottom line is that it's a business, and everyone saw that there was an audience for this and it wasn't a regular book of stories," July said. "But I'm not surprised, because I feel like I'm working hard."

Her studied, delicate-flower literary persona somehow compels even her detractors to hear her out. Rob Spillman, editor of the journal Tin House, which first published her story "The Moves," asked July to speak at the magazine's literary festival for that very sensibility.

"Everything she does is about performance," Spillman said. "Half the people thought she was grating, twee and shallow. It was fabulous to watch them squirm."

The Berkeley native's life in L.A. may well have been lifted from one of her stories. July writes from the obligatory "little house in Echo Park," and though she loves living on the Eastside and hiking with her boyfriend in the canyons north of Hollywood, she admits that Los Angeles could easily be any other place as far as her creative life is concerned.

"I'm not inspired by place," said July. "I'm concerned with a pretty small world…. There's as much landscape, drama and intrigue here as I could possibly want in terms of my feelings and anxieties, and it feels like that's enough."

One of July's few fiction-writing friends in Los Angeles is Trinie Dalton, the author of "Wide Eyed." "Something that most people don't notice in Miranda's work is that she talks a lot about what it means to be a woman, how it's kind of a secret club," Dalton said. "The moments where men interact with women are awkward, there's a sense that men are outsiders."

July's book actually covers a lot of demographic ground, from an older man having his first homosexual encounter in "The Sister" and a young girl who dabbles in lesbian prostitution in "Something That Means Nothing," which appeared in the New Yorker.

Lesbian stripper fans

DRESSED in impeccable thrift-store chic, July said she was aware of how easily stereotyped she was and hoped that the book would allay that.

"I sent the New Yorker a bunch of stories to pick from, and I don't think there is another story as 'pop' in a way," July said about "Something That Means Nothing." "It's maybe a little more of a cliché of what you think I'd be writing as a young woman. I was waiting for all those people who only want to read about lesbian strippers to read the book and be like: 'There's nothing else in here like that!' I hope that demographic isn't disappointed."

As she works on a few smaller projects, like a "Learning to Love You More" book, July has begun scripting her next film and is playing with the idea of a future novel. She admits to "feeling the pinch" of obligations to more fully commit to one medium after success in each. But as praise and new artistic opportunities seem, right now, to be overflowing, July is still trying to learn how to relate to the people around her.

"I myself feel sort of barely within the bounds of reasonable behavior a lot of times," she said. "I'm one of those people who when you're with me, I'm trying to listen to the conversation of people next to us. I think I'm sometimes pretty remote; I do vacillate between that kind of distance and then go too close. I'll wear the same clothes for seven days, then get dressed up and go out."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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