Miranda July won’t divulge details about live secret show 

click to enlarge Miranda July’s performance art piece “New Society” is a hot ticket at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival. - COURTESY PAMELA GENTILE
  • Miranda July’s performance art piece “New Society” is a hot ticket at the 58th San Francisco International Film Festival.
Berkeley-bred Miranda July is a film director, screenwriter, novelist, actor, performance artist, digital innovator, app inventor and full-time hipster.

She’s found a perfect place to color outside the lines this week in a “Live & Onstage” presentation sponsored by the San Francisco International Film Festival and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The sold-out show, at Brava Theater, is called “New Society,” and it's a “secret” interactive audience participation performance art project in which the element of surprise is crucial.

A tad apologetic, July won’t discuss the exact nature of the performance. She admits that these ground rules can make for some “slightly awkward interviews.” But better the press perceive her as an art-diva, than mess up the actual shows.

“New Society” is inspired by an invitation she declined four years ago, when the S.F. International Film Festival invited her to do an intimate performance. She was captivated with the idea, but then she did other stuff: wrote a novel (“The First Bad Man”), had a baby (Hopper).

She recalled her “mind kind of swirling” on the possibilities of a creating real intimacy in a performance, a contrast to the aspirations of most filmmakers, who want as many people as possible see their films: the more screens, the better, the more cities, the better.

But what about small?

When she thought of the audience as the starting point, the idea came to her fully formed: “The experience that they would have would be unique to that night, they wouldn’t know what was coming, they wouldn’t talk about it afterwards and it would be just its own — almost like an object, almost like a sculpture, rather than something that's written about and marketed and even if you weren’t there you can kind get a sense of it,” she says.

It will be interesting to see how her live show compares to her better known indie movies and books. Her 2005 film “Me and You and Everyone We Know” was a festival favorite, winning top awards in San Francisco, Cannes and Sundance. Her short story collection, “No One Belongs Here More Than You,” was well-received and her book “It Chooses You,” about her encounters with people selling items in classified ads, is a companion piece to her 2011 film “The Future.”

“I spend most of my life writing books and movies that are incredibly under my thumb. I love creating a world that is completely my vision and having control over everything little aspect,” says July. But I’ve always, from the get-go, also wanted to make things that invite people in. Otherwise I’m just kind of churning out myself forever.”


New Society

Where: Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. April 28-29

Tickets: $35 to $40 (sold out)

Contact: www.sffs.org

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Erika Milvy

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