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Thursday, September 18, 2003

Miranda July on Tuesday night 

During her performance, Miranda July threw lightly colored pillows and pink paper streamers onto the blackish gray stage (of which she had previously cited as a bit stressful in its nature--marked with a million out-of-context directional masking tape lines). She jumped from spot on the stage to spot on the stage, and as soon as the pink streamers were positioned, new boundaries were marked--Miranda July created a new stage for herself and the audience's viewing/reacting/participating. She turned it into everyone's home for the evening performance, then engaged us in an inner dialogue (vis-a-vis a closed-caption type projection on the stage called "Nothing"). Throughout the performance, she also projected her to-do list/performance outline onto a screen so that she would not leave anything out, but perhaps also to give us a sense of anticipation and accomplishment as she performed--bringing us into the performance in a similar way as how we watched her re-create the stage. We are apart of the act because we are witnessing it, we are witnessing an entire performance--we feel apart of something bigger than "audience." I think that questions of ownership and authorship are constantly being brought up in Miranda July's work. The audience always laughs a lot during her performances because she says the things that go through everyone’s minds and doesn't hold back. She has audience members read lines, act out scenarios, and stand on chairs in order to examine roles and duties, who does what, and how we meet one another in social settings (such as at a performance). Miranda July engages us in conversation with her and one another, sometimes providing our answers and then darting out at certain moments for us to answer her questions--the most pivotal moments.

Miranda July read a story that she wrote about a man on the stairs and a woman who anticipates his arrival that I can't wait to hear/read again...about a woman who is so afraid of meeting this man/so afraid in general that she tightly grabs air. It reminded me a bit of Joyce Carol Oates short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." It was completely amazing.

--Muffie White

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