Los Angeles Times - - THE ENVELOPE - By Glenn Whipp

Brownstein’s new vis­tas

She stars on “Port­landia,” writes and cre­ates the show. Her band, Sleater- Kin­ney, got back to­gether, recorded a new al­bum and went on tour. You may have seen her on “Trans­par­ent” too. She has a memoir be­ing pub­lished in the fall and a small role in the com­ing Todd Haynes movie, “Carol.”

Car­rie Brownstein hasn’t made much time for a va­ca­tion this year, but she did make time to chat with The En­ve­lope re­cently.

Here’s a por­tion of that con­ver­sa­tion.

So you’re writ­ing “Port­landia” Sea­son 6 right now?


Sea­son 5 saw longer episodes. Was that the chal­lenge, to do some­thing dif­fer­ent?

Ex­actly. I think we were re­ally drawn to char­ac­ter — we’ve done the other thing. And there’s a lot of amaz­ing sketch shows out there right now. We’ve al­ways wanted to feel like the form is elas­tic. That you can kind of do what­ever you want. I mean, the word “va­ri­ety,” the word “sketch,” those are sort of mu­ta­ble terms — and they can be very broad in their def­i­ni­tion. So we just de­cided to make these 22minute sto­ries that fol­lowed the same char­ac­ters. And Sea­son 6 will be sort of 2.0 of that.

[ Co- cre­ator Fred Ar­misen] said maybe fo­cus a lit­tle bit more on the Fred and Car­rie char­ac­ters?

Yeah. Last year, we did a lot of full episodes about the fem­i­nist book­store own­ers, Tony and Can­dace. About Anita and Lance. And I think, yeah, who we left out a lit­tle bit were “Car­rie and Fred.” So there’s a lot of Car­rie and Fred this year.

Tony and Can­dace, we got to see some dance moves from them, didn’t we?

Yes, we did. Thanks for call­ing that danc­ing.

And then “Trans­par­ent,” you said you’re go­ing back and shoot­ing that?

Be­cause of the dis­par­ity in terms of, you know, sub­ject mat­ter and tone, char­ac­ter, ev­ery­thing is pretty much dif­fer­ent. I’m able to vac­il­late be­tween the two and, well, I hope I am. I did it last year. And I’m very ex­cited to go back and delve fur­ther into the char­ac­ter Syd and her re­la­tion­ship with Ally. And I love Jill Soloway so much, and I’m very proud of my work on “Trans­par­ent” and very happy to be part of a show that just seems very in­cen­di­ary.

And you knew Jill?

We’d kind of been cir­cling around each other. We were mu­tual fans of each other’s work, and we met in Sil­ver Lake and just talked about how she wanted to find a way to in­clude me in the show. And she ended up writ­ing the char­ac­ter of Syd with me in mind, which is very f lat­ter­ing and just an honor that she would trust a part of me that re­ally hadn’t been on dis­play in terms of per­for­mance and char­ac­ter. It was a re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence.

That’s what’s been kind of ex­cit­ing about fol­low­ing a few years of your ca­reer: You get these op­por­tu­ni­ties that are so dif­fer­ent from any­thing you’ve done be­fore.

Yeah. They all feel like part of who I am. And there’s not a sense of it be­ing too dis­parate or too schiz­o­phrenic. I’ve al- ways had the urge to per­form. I’ve al­ways been an ob­server — and used per­for­mance and writ­ing as a way of con­nect­ing with other peo­ple. And I feel the com­mon­al­ity be­tween all the things I’ve been lucky enough to do is that peo­ple feel a sense of own­er­ship over them. They feel a sense that they’re be­ing seen. They feel like they’re just kind of in the con­ver­sa­tion. Cer­tainly with “Port­landia,” with SleaterKin­ney, even “Trans­par­ent” is a show like that, where it just feels like it’s a col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. And I think that that’s a re­ally great way to be in the world.

glenn. whipp@ latimes. com

Ri­cardo DeAratanha Los An­ge­les Times

“I ’ VE AL­WAYS had the urge to per­form. I’ve al­ways been an ob­server,” says Car­rie Brownstein.

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