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Read Bjork's2001 interview with Juergen Teller from the index archives.

Kathleen Hanna discusses writing and making music in this interview from 2000 with Laurie Weeks.

Isabella Rossellini spoke with Peter Halley in this 1999 interview.

Check out our interview with Crispin Glover by Richard Kern from 2000.
Alexander McQueen's 2003 interview with Bjork.

Miranda July, 2005


Miranda July's career in performance, video, and film has taken her from her childhood in Berkeley, to Portland's mid-'90s punk scene, to acclaim in two Whitney Biennials. Now she's on the road promoting her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, which won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at this year's Sundance Festival. Carrie Brownstein of alt-punk band Sleater-Kinney and Miranda July have been friends and collaborators since they first met in 1995.  

CARRIE: You've written radio plays, short stories, short films, and now, a feature film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, in which you also play a leading role.
MIRANDA: Performing evokes a vulnerability that can only be imitated on the page. My love of being on stage is the flipside of a genuine shyness. I want to explore the uncomfortable territory you enter when you really put yourself out there — that world of fear and wild hope.
CARRIE: You've also asked people to perform for you on your interactive website, Learning to Love You More.
MIRANDA: The website is like a message in a bottle — I'm sending ideas out into the world to see what comes back. My collaborator Harrell Fletcher and I write instructions on the website like "take a picture of your parents kissing," or "make a paper replica of your bed." Then we ask people to email us documentation of their responses. We're taking a risk by asking strangers to contact us, and it takes bravery for people to respond. I want to encourage people to live honestly — both by working that way myself, and by literally daring them to do so.
CARRIE: The vignettes you write look at the complexities of human relationships.
MIRANDA: When people ask me where I get my ideas, I usually say, "From you — the way you're looking at me right now, the sweater that you're wearing, the ambiguity of your relationship with the person sitting next to you." I want people to look at their lives from a new perspective when they walk away from my work — the piece itself is irrelevant.
CARRIE: But your work is not without a sense of humor.
MIRANDA: Laughter is often our reaction to uncomfortable situations. I think humor is a good way of moving through tough ideas — if people are laughing, they're more open.
CARRIE: Your first short film Atlanta was a mock documentary about a 12-year-old Olympic swimmer and her pushy mom. You made that a year after we met, so that must have been 1996.
MIRANDA: Yeah, I borrowed a home video camera from a friend, played both parts myself, and shot it in my bedroom in a day. I didn't even know what I was going to do until I turned on the camera. The whole process was very spontaneous.
CARRIE: At that point in your career you were focusing on live performance pieces.
MIRANDA: Making movies was a long time coming for me. I went to UC Santa Cruz thinking I was going to study film, but I took one film class and hated it. After a year and a half, I dropped out of college altogether and moved to Portland, Oregon in 1995. When I made Atlanta a year later, I thought to myself, "Well, this is what you want to do — so do it."
CARRIE: That's what I love about the Northwest scene — when someone has an idea, they actually make it happen.
MIRANDA:I grew up in a creative, do-it-yourself environment. My parents are both writers who started an independent publishing house. They taught me to believe in what I have to say. In a very fundamental way, do-it-yourself means that if you don't realize an idea on your own terms from conception to completion, you'll end up telling someone else's story. I'd never worked with an entire cast and crew before making Me and You and Everyone We Know — it was great to have that support. But when we were shooting, I had to take a step back and make sure I was staying true to my original intention.
CARRIE: In 2003 you took part in the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. What was that like for someone who usually works independently?
MIRANDA: I was really nervous, but it turned out to be a very intimate and generous atmosphere. Perhaps one reason I left school was because I wasn't a very good student — I prefer to figure things out myself. But at the Lab, I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed being taught. It also made me realize that I'd been on the right track. I came out of there with a real hardcore determination — I wrote and rewrote the screenplay for Me and You and Everyone We Know over the course of the next two years. By the time I finished it, I realized that the film was much more about my own childhood than I had initially realized.
CARRIE: You grew up during the '80s, in Berkeley.
MIRANDA: I was so embarrassed by the whole hippie thing! As a kid, I read Anne of Green Gables and novels from the '50s. Those books made me think we weren't convincing as a family, and that my town wasn't convincing as a town. I was horrified that our bed sheets didn't match the wallpaper. But pretty soon I realized that I could do anything I wanted without a struggle in Berkeley. I didn't have to break any laws to be a freak.

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