Selected Shorts: It Chooses You—An Evening with Miranda July

This program is based on a special evening at Symphony Space derived from writer, filmmaker, and visual and performance artist Miranda July’s book It Chooses You


As the artist explains in her remarks from the stage, she found herself “terribly stuck” while working on the screenplay of her film “The Future.”  Her chosen form of procrastination was to obsessively read the supermarket “PennySaver,” where local people listed household items for sale.   July began to see these ads as invitations into the lives of the advertisers, and arranged to interview a number of them about their possessions. 

SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti says “Miranda July has a talent for making ordinary things seem extraordinary. With It Chooses You, she does this by focusing on individual objects. Each of the people she interviews is selling something you might find in a yard sale—a worn out hair dryer, or old stuffed animals. But after we meet the sellers, their objects suddenly seem more valuable, because we know the stories behind them.”

In the program that follows, July herself re-enacts her interviews with a number of the book’s subjects, and actors Tom Nellis, Olga Merediz, Adrian Martinez, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Tom Bloom play the parts of Ron, Matilda and Domingo, Dina, and Joe.  In addition, listen here for an additional segment, featuring Mia Dillon as Pam:

July says these interviews became a kind of vision quest, in the course of which she discovered things about herself and the world she had not previously realized, and something about what, precisely constitutes the value of a life.

Selections from It Chooses You by Miranda July, performed by July and Mia Dillon, Tom Nellis, Olga Merediz, Adrian Martinez, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Tom Bloom.

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at

Announcing the 2012 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  This year's theme is “objects of desire.”  The judge is the author Maile Meloy and the deadline is March 2, 2012.