Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), who last visited the Walker in 2000 to show video and performance work from her Big Miss Moviola project, returns on July 8 to present her second feature, The Future, which premiered at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. Deftly balancing bathos and pathos, July’s film is a funny and unsettling tale about impending maturity and the responsibility that comes with it. In advance of July’s arrival, we posed a few questions to her.
- What have you been obsessing about lately?
My poison oak. It’s going away more now, but there were a bunch of nights where I’d have fantasies that I could shoot my legs or cut them off and throw them out the window.
- What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have pretty horrible taste in movies. If there’s an ad for a phenomenally bad-looking movie, usually a romantic comedy, I’m like ‘I definitely want to see that.’ I’m disappointed at the end but I have high hopes for them. The marketing completely works on me. I saw 50 First Dates on opening weekend. And a lot a Drew Barrymore movies. And 27 Dresses …
- What was your worst job?
I worked as a car door unlocker when people’d lock their keys in their car. It was a company called Pop-a-Lock and I was on call 24 hours so I’d get called out at like 3 am. Plus I wasn’t really that good at it, and that made it very stressful.
- What’s your favorite passage of poetry?
That William Carlos Williams poem, the one with “sorry I ate all the plums.” My husband says that to me at random, so I associate it with him.
- What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
The Velvet Underground, and all their related spheres—Warhol, even Patti Smith, just reading about that whole era. And then the Pixies, because they were modern, so it was very different.
- What’s your favorite comfort food?
- What’s the most overrated virtue?
Just being good in general. But I’m always trying to be good, so I’m hoping it’s overrated.
- When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
When I was 16, right when I did my first play, which I put on in a punk club in my town. I remember thinking very consciously, “Ok this is it, this is what I’ll do.”
- What three items can always be found in your refrigerator?
My husband has some pickled vegetables made by his mom, who passed away many years ago. He’s not ready to let go of those and they’re definitely not edible. I’m just being with them until it’s time to let them go.
- Which living person do you most admire?
I admire my husband but I know him. People I don’t know? Michael Pollan seems very admirable to me. Usually I admire educators of some sort—Alice Waters is another.
- What artists are you most interested in at the moment?
I brought with me on this trip a Lydia Davis book I’d read a milllion times before, just to remember that life can be good. So Lydia Davis. I’d haven’t seen Attenberg by Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, but its trailer is influencing me, and I’m excited that it exists. And the visual artist Marie Lund. I met her briefly at the Venice Biennale and later looked her up and realized I love her work. Also the website Intelligent Clashing.
- If you could ask one question to every person on Earth, what would it be?
How do you get through the day?
- What have you been listening to lately?
Deer Hunter, Beach House, Lightning Dust.
- What is your least favorite sound?
- What is your favorite euphemism?
This is not a favorite, but that word reminds me of how my parents would say they were going to go take a nap, and my brother and I always took that to be a euphemism for sex, but looking back, I don’t think they had sex that much, and not in the middle of the day while we were right there. But I remember trying to play dumb, or going outside or whatever. I think they really were taking a nap.
- What’s your favorite mode of transport?
- Which artistic trend annoys you the most?
I’ve done this before myself, but when people refer to their “practice” – I can’t help but smile a little bit.
- Do you own a status symbol, and if so, what is it?
Is a 2003 Prius a status symbol?