From Solange to the Sunday Times, everyone is talking about Miranda July; you can’t take an aimless scroll through Twitter without stumbling on a laudatory tweet about the artist/writer/director/Lena Dunham pal. It’s easy to see why:
1. She’s a legit multi-hyphenate. In a time when the term usually refers to a pop star with a perfume line and collection of designer dog collars, July is an acclaimed short-story writer, performance artist, musician, filmmaker and, now, novelist. Her work has appeared at the Guggenheim and Whitney Museum, at Sundance and Cannes, and in publications including Vogue, The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Interview.
2. Her debut novel is already a best-of-2015—and it’s only January. The New York Times Sunday Book Review heralded The First Bad Man as “painfully alive,” and Michiko Kakutani called it “a moving portrait of motherhood and what it means to take care of a child.” With blurbs by Lena Dunham and Dave Eggers, it has some serious jacket appeal, too. (We recommended it and five other binge-worthy books and TV shows in our Winter Survival Guide.)
3. She has a famous fan club. The cool kids love Miranda. Fans and admirers include Solange, who left a “Let’s be friends” note on July’s door when they were neighbours, and Ellen Page, who plugged July’s book via paparazzi, as well as Lorde and Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein. Even The Hollywood Reporter, which typically devotes its culture coverage to topics like Jared Leto’s real estate acquisitions, covered her L.A. book event.
4. She’s a real woman in a digital world. Her app, Somebody, boldly goes where few apps have gone before: face to face. Part performance art, part telegram delivery, part social commentary, it allows you to send a verbal message to someone by finding an app user near the recipient to deliver it. Not the most practical, maybe, but we applaud July for exploring the effect of technology on communication—and look forward to Somebody 2.0.
5. She made this amazing bag. July teamed up with L.A.-based Welcome Companions to create a limited-edition handbag-slash-artwork, the Miranda bag. It’s not so much a carry-all as it is a carry-essentials—i.e., Miranda July’s essentials: it has special compartments for sleep aids, bobby pins, a mini security blanket and a single almond. Like performance art with a strap.