THINGS WE DON’T UNDERSTAND AND DEFINITELY ARE NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT
A tale of heartbreak and obsession that is so familiar you could tell it yourself. In fact, members of audience play lead roles in the performance. Performed at The Steve Allen Theater (Los Angeles), Project Theater Artaud/San Francisco Cinematheque, and The Kitchen (New York, March 2007).
HOW I LEARNED TO DRAW
An ever-changing performance, How I Learned To Draw was the name July gave to all her performances after The Swan Tool and before making her first feature film in 2004. These works were less narrative, more audience interactive, and primarily concerned with drawing attention to the present moment. In one show July integrated footage of her parents talking to her, another show was a collaboration with a local seven year-old piano player, in another performance July intuited which audience members would be good friends, and introduced them. These performances were presented at sites such as The Whitney Museum (New York), The Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
THE SWAN TOOL
The Swan Tool combines video, performance, live music and helium to tell the story of a woman (played by July) who cannot decide whether to live or die. Rather than choose, she digs a hole in her backyard and buries herself. Following the self-burial she attempts to continue living and working, but the thing in the hole will not die and she is unable to forget about it. In this performance July stands on a narrow catwalk between two screens, one behind her top half, and one in front of her bottom half.
Music by Zac Love
Digital production by Mitsu Hadeishi
Co-commissioned by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Performed here and at sites such as The Institute of Contemporary Art (London), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Diverse Works (Houston).
July’s first full-length performance work. The first act revolves around a girl and her mother. The girl is either sick or pretending to be; the mother is either human or pretending to be. The second act tells the story of a woman on an airplane who is circling an entity called “The Titan” – a planet, a monster, a hopelessly sad man who is following her. A chorus of audience members perforate the second act with tales of the illusive, perfect “Love Diamond.” The performance combines slide and video imagery, all controlled by July while she performs. This was July’s first collaboration with composer Zac Love.
Commissioned by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art. Performed here and at sites such as The New York Video Festival, The Kitchen (New York), and Yo-yo a Go-go (Olympia).
Written, directed, and performed by Miranda July
Live score: Zac Love
Video: Vanessa Renwick and Kelly Mc Clean
Video editing: Kelly Mc Clean
Painting: Jamie Isenstein
Technical support: T.C. Smith
Before performing full-length work in more theatrical performance venues, July performed in music clubs, sharing bills with bands like Sleater-Kinney, Chicks on Speed, and Dub Narcotic. Most of this work was recorded and is available on the CDs The Binet-Simon Test (Kill Rock Stars, 1998) and Ten Million Hours A Mile (Kill Rock Stars, 1997). Before this, July was a member of the band The Need; this collaboration can be heard on the 7″ record Margie Ruskie Stops Time (Kill Rock Stars, 1996).
Photography by Bridget Burns