50 Up-and-Coming New York Culture Makers to Watch in 2013

Michelle Orange

We’ve been following Michelle Orange’s writing — essays, fiction, criticism, and those nebulous in-betweeners — in places like McSweeney’s, Vir­ginia Quar­terly Review, The New York Times, The Vil­lage Voice, and The Rumpus for a while now, so we couldn’t be more excited for her upcoming collection of essays, This Is Running For Your Life, which hits stands in February. In the book, Orange dissects pop culture, family, and — if you’ll forgive our grand language — the state of humanity with a deft, incisive hand, cementing her place among the ranks of our city’s most important cultural commentators. — ET

What are your plans for the holidays?

I’m heading home to Canada (Toronto and London, Ontario) for a visit with family and friends, then back in New York by New Year’s. I put up my first Christmas tree for a recent party and it quickly became the center of not just my living room but my life, so now I’m looking for a tree-sitter to dispatch its daily tall pour of warm water while I’m gone. If the diva survives I’ll gather a few friends around it on the 31st to get drunk and pool our resolve.

Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?

Just to start: Norman Mailer, Spike Lee, Andy Warhol, Bob Fosse, Billie Holiday, Pauline Kael, Tina Fey, Susan Sontag, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elia Kazan, Truman Capote, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, and the ultrasound technician who examined me this summer at the Lennox Hill radiology outpost in Brooklyn. I still think of her, she lit up my life and my boob.

What’s coming up for you in 2013?

I am currently suffering from a form of psychosis that prevents me from imagining much past mid-February. But good things, I hope?