On Friday night at the New York Public Library, Miranda July read from her new book No One Belongs Here More Than You, Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark sang wholesome songs while dressed like a member of a religious folk act, David Byrne tried to figure out what July’s deal was, and we evaluated them all on a scale of cute to awkward.
Miranda July: So cute. Between stories, she reminisced about feeling like a 12-year-old pervert in seventh grade, when she invited a fifth-grader to a school dance, not realizing that her classmates would find the age difference weird. She was so embarrassed, she never spoke to her date again — until the reading. “It’s weird to see you here tonight,” she said, singling out a man in the crowd.
Audience: Visually, very adorable. (The female contingent was largely decked out in vintage summer dresses.) During the evening’s second half, however, July admitted that although the school-dance story had been real, the man she singled out wasn’t the actual fifth-grader. Maybe that's why he sneaked out during intermission.
The short stories: Both adorable and awkward. “This Person” celebrates all the love in the world that is felt for one ordinary individual, while “Majesty” follows a middle-aged woman who, inspired by an erotic dream, tries to meet Prince William.
David Byrne: Cutely awkward. We love him even more after watching him giggle at July’s jokes. During his interview with her, he played clips from her movie, You and Me and Everyone We Know and pointed out its themes of Utopia and cause-and-effect. Still, his lack of actual questions made for some strange, semi-uncomfortable moments. It sounded like he had just started working on a great Miranda July thesis. Or as July put it, “All your questions are like, ‘What up?’”
Becky Stark: Too awkward. The Lavender Diamond front woman stuck to classic July themes, singing folk songs about love and emptiness. But her spacey banter, wispy soprano, and repeated song dedication to “all you human people” made us cringe. —Lindsey Thomas
Sincerely, Miranda July [NYM]