March 17, 2005


I left feeling like I had bees for blood, swarming my heart, and swamping my arteries. Like, last year, when Sasha and Julianne and Crackamanica and I were all acting drunk over dinner, pounding the table about how M.O.P.'s avenue detonator "Ante Up" makes you feeling like you could fuck a brick wall, maybe the same way as Bad Brains "Pay To Cum" - it's all sex, destruction, chaos and creation - blistering creation/petite mort/punching a hole to the center of the universe as one inspiration force jacking the world straight from it's axis... well, Miranda July's body of work is the same, but kick in a little bit of feminist pride and -- something a little less primal and more chewy. Like being nourished by the font of artistic purity. Her films, her gawky-grace, her funny-troo stories all communicating the truth that cannot be spoken any other way, and sweet like a kiss, like a wink, like a note passed. The sap of which is the natural awkwardness of humanity, people's unflappable weirdness -- little movies comprised of the things that they always leave out of films and TV, but you can glimpse if you watch a lot of community cable access, or take the subway. Rather than peeping through the keyhole at "the weirdness" (as a tie-wearing man in the audience put it), it's splayed. Not exploited, not niched and used as titallating bait - but with this joyous acceptance, rather than some Todd Solondz creepy irony, some post 90's nothing shocking schlock. Imbuing adult characters with awkwardness we believe is left in childhood, but it's still there, just suppressed by banality and fear - and she takes it and put's it gentley into the daylight, as if to say "Isn't this great?"

She's got a furiously deep mind, but her work still stays so open, so accessible - despite being fundamentally experimental. She was funny and self-depreciating, and the woman seated behind me mused to her friend "Do you think she is performing, or do you think she is always like this?" Which I thought was such a strange thing to wonder because her art - audio, visual, film, performance and writing - is all branching from this same place, and it's all visceral and natural - the uniformness of it's aesthetic and it's fundamental themes are all clearly coming from within her . That's not the sort of thing people can conjur and calculate. It either exists or it does not, and from Miranda July, it radiates at a trillion watts.

Roger Ebert introduced her, and spoke of how he saw her film on accident at Sundance, and it was his favorite film of the festival. He melted over her work like so much butter, genuflecting at the feet of her work -- I mean, genuinely wowed by it. He even did one of the assignments off Learning to Love You More and held it up at the end of his talk. He was so reverent, and funny and careful in his honoring of her -- it was really moving. It is nice to see someone like Miranda, who came, perhaps sideways, or perif, from Riot Girl, able to translate and genesize that feminism, that love, that Olympia/Portland DIY fever, into this gorgeously funny, deep and invigorating body of multi-media work.

According to Miranda July dot com, her debut feature, which won best experimental at Sundance 05, is going to see national distribution this summer. Meanwhile it screens - furr frrree! - here in Chi-town at the Cultural Center (Michigan & Washington) Saturday afternoon, and then at festivals through the spring.

Posted by Jessica at March 17, 2005 12:21 AM | TrackBack