Miranda July

10 Great Off-Kilter Love Stories in Literature

If you’re anything like us, you like a little quirk with your romance. Or, um, make that a lot of quirk. This week saw the release of Joe Meno’s newest novel, Office Girl, an off-kilter love story between two meandering artist-types trying to make it in Chicago on little more than fumes, awkward sex, and half-baked schemes — until they find each other, of course. After reading the short novel, we had a hankering for some more weird tales of love, so we put together this list of some of our favorite off-kilter romances in literature, from the dark and strange to the relentlessly whimsical. Click through to check out our picks, and as always, be sure to let us know your own favorite book in this vein in the comments. … Read More

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Crazy and Compelling Things Directors Have Done in Their Everyday Lives

Special effects wizard and blockbuster director James Cameron was busy getting in touch with his oceanographer side this weekend. The Avatar and Titanic filmmaker completed a record-breaking Mariana Trench dive — a place National Geographic describes as “Earth’s deepest, and perhaps most alien, realm.”

He’s the first person to take a solo dive into the ocean’s cavernous recesses — a section of Pacific waters known as “Challenger Deep” that extends 35,768 feet deep. In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and the late Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard made the journey with few instruments at their disposal and were unable to see much beyond the clouds of mud stirred up from the ocean floor when they made touchdown. Cameron, however, spent three hours in his Deepsea Challenger armed with multiple 3D cameras, a robotic claw, “slurp gun,” and an eight-foot LED tower for illuminating the murky depths — technology similar to the kind hinted at in his most popular films like Terminator and Avatar. Scientists will be reporting some of their findings from Cameron’s samples later today. National Geographic magazine will feature a story about the event, and a 3D feature film centered on the historic dive is also in the works. In total, Cameron has taken 70 deep submersible dives — even visiting the real-life Titanic shipwreck 33 different times.

Clearly Cameron’s passion for diving is as strong as his love of filmmaking. We felt inspired by his deep sea adventures to explore some of the other crazy and compelling things filmmakers have done in their everyday lives. Read on for more, and leave your votes below. … Read More

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The 10 Best Portlandia Guest Stars

Tonight, Portlandia comes to an end after its second too-short season. The past nine episodes have brought us a “cool wedding,” the dream of the 1890s, a band with a cat in it, and a campaign against the Olympics — which were really never in danger of coming to Portland, anyway. We learned that durian fruits are actually aliens (which made a lot of sense) and that there are entire companies dedicated to sourcing bad art for coffee shops. And, of course, we enjoyed guest appearances from all kinds of celebrities, from indie rockers to filmmakers to A-list comedians. To celebrate another successful series of hipster-mocking sketches and yuppie-lampooning gags, we’re counting down Portlandia’s ten best guest stars — so far. … Read More

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A Selection of Sexy Artists for You to Crush On

Quick, think of someone you physically admire, not just because they’re pretty or handsome, but also because what they do is sexy. Admit it, artists are very sexy, especially those whose art reveals their smarts, humor, mischievousness, and perversions. Inspired by Hyperallergic’s Top 10 Art World Figures I’d Like to F*ck, we’ve rounded up some not necessarily provocative, but sexy, nice-looking artists for you to drool over. Or rather, I, your art editor did that, so all comments and complaints shall thereby be addressed to me. Without further ado, presenting: Artist Crushes. Let the gushing begin! … Read More

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A Survey of Terrible Parents in Art History

We know that some kids just aren’t alright, but this time, we’re focusing on their folks. From ghastly, painterly scenes of classic filicide to controversial contemporary photographers who use their children as muses, here are a few examples of questionable, problematic and plain terrible parenting through the ages. Are we being too harsh? Did we miss someone? Feel free to tsk-tsk in the comment section. … Read More

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2011’s Most Underrated Films and Performances

As the year winds to a close, you’ve seen plenty of “best of 2011″ lists — and we’ve certainly contributed a few of our own to the mix. Wading through them can lead to a sense of fatigue; yes, we liked The Artist and Hugo and The Descendants and The Tree of Life just fine too, but it feels like we’re reading praise for all the same movies and performances, everywhere we look. So, late in the “best of” season, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight a few films and actors who, we feel, are getting overlooked in the year-end shuffle. Our picks are after the jump; yours (we hope) will join in the comments. … Read More

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Your Holiday Guide to Secret Santa Gifts That Don’t Suck

Holiday-party season is upon us, which means you’ve probably encountered at least one round of Secret Santa, whether it’s at work or among friends. Of course, this also means you’re faced with the conundrum of finding something cool without spending too much. Because we all know that the two things most important with Secret Santa gifts are that 1) they shouldn’t actually set you back financially, and 2) they need to demonstrate your thoughtfulness, creativity, and utter coolness, impressing the pants off the recipient and everyone involved. We already took inspiration from the release of Madden NFL 12 from our friends at EA Sports to give you ideas on how to enjoy the holidays at home; now we’re using it as the jumping-off point to help you find some top-notch gifts that will leave you feeling smugger than Mr. Claus himself. Whether your recipient is a football fanatic, a culture vulture, or a sartorial junkie, here’s a plethora of thrifty gifts that will make you wish your own Secret Santa had this list. … Read More

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Stereotyping You by Your Favorite Book of 2011

It’s the end of the year, which means every media outlet and talkative friend has been regaling you with a fascinating list of their own personal favorite books of 2011. Now, we love lists as much as the next guy, but we also like to think a little bit about what these highly subjective choices might say about the listmaker. After all, you wouldn’t take reading advice from just anybody, now would you? Or even if you would, you should at least know what essential qualities their picks point to. Click through to read our (decidedly tongue-in-cheek) breakdown of what your favorite book of the year says about you, and in case you were wondering, our pick is on here too, and hey, we can cop to it. … Read More

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Visit Miranda July’s Craigslist-Reselling Store

We’ve heard of films and television shows, and even video games and operas being based off of books, but a store? That is a whole new kind of adaptation. The 6th Floor tells us that Miranda July, twee author and ever inventive artist has opened a new store, at Partner’s & Spade in SoHo, based on her new book, It Chooses You. The store, which bears the same name as July’s book, contains items that July bought off Craigslist, repackaged and is offering for sale at the same price. Though everything is sold out by now, we still think the idea is pretty wild. Click through to see a few photos of the items gleaned from Craigslist, and let us know what you think of the whole project in the comments. … Read More

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10 Twee Authors to Scrapbook and Swoon Over

Yesterday marked the release of Miranda July’s newest book, It Chooses You, a quirky piece loosely tied to her newest film, The Future, which will be released on DVD November 29th. July’s style and persona has been the subject of much debate — people usually either love or hate the precious, semi-ironic, self-aware sweetness that we have come to call “twee,” and of which July is one of the most prominent contemporary examples. The reemergence of the pixie princess of literature inspired us to consider a few other authors whose work can veer into the impossibly twee. Now, don’t get us wrong — we’re not saying that twee-ness is an inherently bad thing. In fact, several of the authors on this list number among our all-time favorites in any genre, and we happen to be on team July, at least most of the time. Click through to check out our list of twee authors, or at least authors who write twee books sometimes, in between setting up tea parties for their kittens, who are all wearing argyle socks, and let us know which of them tickle your fancy in the comments. … Read More

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