You most likely know Miranda July as a director and actress, but according to the synopsis her debut novel is “so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny—so Miranda July—that readers will be blown away.” And that does pretty well describe July’s 2005 film Me You and Everyone We Know, which she wrote and starred in. Now in The First Bad Man: A Novel, we meet Cheryl, a tightly wound, vulnerable woman who is “haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people’s babies.” So, yup. Sounds like a concept only July could pull off and have it somehow not translate as completely insane. Lena Dunham stopped just shy of calling her the voice of a generation, saying “never has a novel spoken so deeply to my sexuality, my spirituality, my secret self.” Don’t miss July at the signing of Bad Man’s paperback release.
“I want to Kill Lena Dunham” takes place in present-day Brooklyn and follows Nora, “a left wing political radical who is morbidly obsessed with Lena Dunham.” Set against a backdrop of live jazz music, Nora narrates her inner thoughts, vocalizing the societal tensions around her.
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Sure, there’s such a thing as too many Lenas — but, come on: what would drive someone to say, “I want to kill Lena Dunham?”
That’s the provocative title of one of the pop-culture-inspired productions at this year’s Fringe Festival. The ominous threat serves as a canary in the coalmine of modern American culture — an attempt at an artistic antidote to the whimsical Williamsburg of Dunham’s Girls.
Next week thousands of theater patrons will once again descend on Lower Manhattan for the 19th annual NYC Fringe Festival. “Fringe theater” usually denotes plays located on the edge of something (the mainstream, the city, a performer’s sanity). With 200 shows on offer, several seem to occupy the fringe between high culture and low, floating somewhere between stage, screen and page. These nine offer you the chance to Kill Dunham, Channel Spock and “Van Gogh Fuck Yourself.”
Almost Famous, except about a girl. And set in the ’90s. And British.
How to Build a Girl, described by the New York Times’ Dwight Garner as “a British version of ‘Almost Famous,’ delivered from a female perspective and set two decades later,” is celebrating its paperback release with a reading by author Caitlin Moran. She’s often compared to Tina Fey and Lena Dunham, “which is fair so far as it goes,” according to Garner, “though I’d add Amy Winehouse and the early Roseanne Barr to the mix.” Watch her read excerpts from her comic novel about a poor teen determined to reinvent herself as a rock critic in 1990s London.
Tuesday, July 7 at 7 p.m. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village).
Here’s the perfect top to sport at your Girls season finale viewing party next weekend (you know, the one where you eat GQ-approved snacks and see how many pals can squeeze into your tub).
Strand sells this very soft “Lena Dunham Birthday Suit Tee,” ($54.95, by Clashist), depicting the multi-talented mogul-under-30 in various states of undress, including the memorable game of ping-pong she played with Patrick Wilson at his character’s Williamsburg manse. This shirt takes up Strand shelf space alongside another tee that that Lena would definitely endorse (“If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t f*ck them.” –John Waters), plus Clashist’s James Franco ankle socks ($19.95). Not to mention Dunham’s memoir.
If you’re still kind of devastated that you weren’t there to see Broad City chat with Sleater Kinney, relax: the whole thing is online plus you’ve got another couple of chances to recoup your riot grrrl cred. First off, in an equally epic meeting of the minds, Lena Dunham is going to be chatting with Miranda July tomorrow, and somehow there are still tickets left (BAM just announced that July will be singing copies of her new novel after the event). And also: the Strand just announced that none other than Kim Gordon is coming to chat about her memoir, out in about a month.
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The performance artist Penny Arcade called us back after getting out of a show that ran late. So, even in the midst of her own show Longing Lasts Longer (Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10 at Joe’s Pub), she’s making time to support the work of other artists. The legendary downtown icon is, wonderfully, still underground and still outraged. The new show and her preoccupations are deeply intertwined, as her work is primarily autobiographical, and our conversation ranged from why New York is now “the Big Cupcake,” to what makes Lena Dunham so special, to the young “creative soul” in the Times paying $3,700 rent.
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So, Happy Ending is set to reopen under new ownership. But for literary types, the place just won’t be the same without the Happy Ending Reading Series that Amanda Stern hosted there starting in 2003.
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Lena Dunham’s new memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, is written with just the sort of unabashed honesty and self-depricating wit you’d expect from the voice of her generation — or at least, “the voice of a generation.” And it also reveals the extent to which her personal experiences — some of them , some of them hilarious — have seeped into her work.
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Now that Adam Driver is spreading his wings (witness his brotastic wingman character in the just-out What If) and now that Hannah is off to grad school, she’s going to need a new gentleman caller on the upcoming season of Girls.
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The Lowline folks are on a roll. Less than a month after a lucrative benefit netted them $30,000 for their ambitious underground park project, they’ve released a save-the-date for their Anti-Gala 2014. The no doubt glitzy October 8 event will be the third such—with this year’s iteration set to be hosted by none other than Spike Jonze and Lena Dunham. Individual tickets are retailing for $1,500, while a table will set you back $25,000.