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Muse for the nouveau avant-garde

Jonathan Kiefer | Photo: José Mandojana | June 16, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay

The local indie-art crowd and wired-in DIYers have marked August 5 on their iCals, because that’s the opening date of Miranda July’s second feature film. For anyone not part of the artist’s cultlike following, July had her breakthrough in Berkeley in the early 1990s with a play she wrote, called The Lifers, about her teenage correspondence with a prison-inmate pen pal. “It was the first thing I couldn’t really process just through normal channels,” she recalls. Since then, she’s been processing all sorts of correspondences through all sorts of other-than-normal channels. Her award-ornamented 2005 feature-film debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know, is about the search for connection between a quirky performance artist and a lonesome shoe salesman. And thousands from around the globe got in on her now SFMOMA-managed creative crowdsourcing project “Learning to Love You More,” performing its inventively compassionate assignments—“draw a constellation from someone’s freckles”; “take a picture of your parents kissing”—and posting them online. Subjects under artful scrutiny in The Future, July’s much-Sundance-buzzed sophomore film, include artistic paralysis and the limits of its maker’s own adorableness (it involves a talking cat—who’s lonely). Although July now lives in Los Angeles, she can count on her hometown fans—whom she describes with affection as “smart, interesting, Bay Area weird”—to root for an artist always worth watching and waiting for. Premiering August 5,


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