Miranda July (February 15, 1974) is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger, she works under the surname of “July,” which can be traced to a character from a “girlzine” Miranda created with high school friend Johanna Fateman, called “Snarla”. Miranda July was born in Barre, Vermont, the daughter of Lindy Hough and Richard Grossinger. Her parents, who taught at Goddard College at the time, are both writers. In 1974 they founded North Atlantic Books, a publisher of alternative health, martial arts, and spiritual titles. Miranda was encouraged to work on her short fiction by author and friend of a friend, Rick Moody. Miranda grew up in Berkeley, California, where she first began writing plays and staging them at the all-ages club 924 Gilman. She later attended UC Santa Cruz, dropping out in her sophomore year. After leaving college, she moved to Portland, Oregon and took up performance art. Her performances were successful; she has been quoted as saying she has not worked a day job since she was 23 years old.
Her videos, performances, and web-based projects have been presented at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and in two Whitney Biennials. July wrote, directed and starred in her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know(2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, and her collection of stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, (Scribner, 2007) won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. In 2002 July created the participatory website, learningtoloveyoumore, with artist Harrell Fletcher, and a companion book was published in 2007 (Prestel). Eleven Heavy Things, an interactive sculpture garden she designed for the 2009 Venice Biennale, is on view in Union Square in New York for the summer of 2010. Raised in Berkeley, California, she currently lives in Los Angeles where she is making her second feature film, The Future.
At once, upon finding Miranda July’s website, you’re given a forward invitation. ENTER SECRET PASSWORD. For a second, you may be confused, or amused, or both. The subtext reads, “(you know the password, just clear your mind and look within. it will probably be the first word you think of.) (if this doesn’t work, try looking at a candle for a few seconds)”. Soon, you realize any word you type in will work.
This is part of the magic that is Miranda July’s work. Examining human behavior and mannerisms, her work dwells in a melancholic state until it surprises you by instantaneously flashing to either the incredibly awkward or incredibly profound. Often times, she begins by speaking directly to the audience until she becomes lost in her own head. It is there that she takes us and allows us to become lost with her. But her craft is not scattered, she always has a message in mind, and like tripping over nothing, she is able to make you snap back to her attention.