1. Oh what a night! (with Miranda July and company)
    December 7, 2012 by Walden3

    Miranda July at Walden Three. Photo credit: Timothy Rysdyke


    Miranda July gave a wonderful talk last night before a sold out audience at Benaroya Hall. I’ve been a huge fan for awhile now, but I was still surprised to see the throngs of other artists and fans who packed the building and responded with sheer admiration and love. There was no whispering or texting in the audience, all eyes were pointed straight ahead and the only noise they made was laughter and applause. Pretty remarkable.

    But the real fun came after her talk. Robin Held (executive director at Reel Girls) hosted a smart Q & A, and the polite crowd stayed and stared to the very end. I had talked to Robin earlier in the day and strongly petitioned (begged) her to bring Miranda by Walden Three, just to show her around, or have a drink, or anything at all. Robin said she could make no promises, but it turned out that Miranda was not only excited to visit W3, but had intentionally booked a room at the Four Seasons so she would be close by.

    When Robin and Miranda arrived, it was well after 10:00. We had a closing night party for String Theory but most of the crowd had descended to the Dial for drinks and conversation. I was seated with Ben Beres and Jack Daws, talking about Jack’s upcoming show in March, but with a certain distraction that came from knowing Miranda was on her way (Korby Sears sent me a text giving me a little fair warning).

    “You’ve changed!” I said, in some odd attempt to let her know that I saw her talk, and hadn’t been boozing it up all night. She bobbed her head with wide eyes and an innocent, sheepish smile, “I was really sweaty. My shirt had big circles of sweat under my arms.” There was a moment of awkward silence. “Can I get you anything?” I said. “I’d really like a tequila sunrise. Do they have those here?” And from there, the night was off and running.

    Korby made introductions as I flagged a server down, and we pulled another table up to expand the party. About 10 seconds passed before another couple approached our table – undoubtedly to say hi to Miranda – and we were all introduced to James Mercer (the front man for The Shins) and his wife Marisa Kula. Turns out Marisa was writing a piece on Walden Three for Vanity Fair and James knew Miranda from her time in Portland. They had missed her talk but were also staying at the Four Seasons (on Vanity Fairs dime) and our group moved to the back corner to take on some more space, and as it happened, a few more guests. Miranda spotted Anri Sala talking to some older gentleman I didn’t know (later learned it was Jim Oliver) and quickly pulled him away, and James bumped into Isaac Brock and Slim Moon who were (strangely) slow dancing with each other (or maybe one was holding the other up? Hard to tell, they both seemed to be quite drunk) and also joined our group. As it turned out, Miranda July knew more people in the Dial than I did, and only a few of them had known about her talk. It’s funny how you can know a person’s work, or their name, but couldn’t pick them out of a crowd if your life depended on it. Now I was scanning the room wondering who all these people were, and thought briefly about providing HELLO MY NAME IS… stickers.

    Drinks were drunk, Isaac and Miranda sang ‘Tainted Love’, we dragged two couches into the elevator and rode up and down, checking out Emilio Caliente’s installation and wandering through the NW Surrealist show (James bought a sweet Chris Thompson painting), dropping back down into the Dial anytime we needed more booze. Slim and Jack shot the shit on the roof deck, Anri recorded some video of Ben shotgunning a beer, and Miranda wandered through The Mercer Gallery, intently reading all of the cards that hung throughout the gallery. Oh, and of course Robin and Korby danced the tango to a soundtrack only they could hear.

    Two a.m. snuck up on us all rather quickly and we returned to the Dial to settle our tabs and grab our jackets. I thought the night was over, but Anri’s friend Jim approached us and with an animated smile and raised brow  said, “My suite at the Four Seasons has an impressively well stocked bar.” We all pretended to do the math in our heads. He gave us a little wink and said, “I won’t tell if you don’t tell.”