Carrie Brownstein on Lena Dunham, 'Girls,' and 'Portlandia'

Riot grrrls meets 'Girls" at the Newmark Theatre on Oct 19, as the Portlandia creator/star and former Sleater-Kinney guitarist talks with the creator/star of HBO’s 'Girls' about her new book.

By Aaron Scott October 13, 2014

Lena Dunham's not just any debut author. For the release of Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned,” the creator/star of HBO’s Girls is going on a book tour where she's being interviewed at most stops by women authors who could fill the venue in their own right: Mary Karr, Zadie Smith, Miranda July.

But her October 19 stop at the Newmark Theatre is particularly perfect. It's Brooklyn meets Portlandia, Girls meets riot grrrls, as she sits down with Portlandia creator/star and former Sleater-Kinney guitarist, Carrie Brownstein.

Not surprisingly, given the popularity of their respective shows, the conversation sold out in minutes. But we got Brownstein to give us a whimsical, quick rundown of what (and who) she loves about Girls, what it has in common with Portlandia, and what she plans to talk about with Dunham.

Carrie Brownstein

What do you like about Girls?
I love that Girls has a strong point-of-view. It has an unflinching specificity that alternates between relatability and repulsion. It's raw, funny and very heartfelt. 

What's your favorite scene and why?
I love the scenes with Adam and Hannah. I loved the episode with Patrick Wilson. I love when Hanna returns home with a garbage bag full of laundry. There are so many favorites. 

Favorite character? 

Favorite storyline?
Laird and Caroline. And Caroline and Adam. Those are both great. 

What character do you most identify with or would you most want to play?
I identify with Hannah the most. Or Ray. I'd like to play a female version of Ray, someone whose insecurity and fears shut her off from the world and who's in the process of digging her way out towards openness. I know a lot of people like Ray—people who are overly critical of others because they can't accept themselves.

Do you see similarities between Portlandia and Girls?
I do think that both shows have a very site-specific quality that end up speaking to broader cultural phenomenons that transcend locality. And I think both shows can sometimes make people feel a little uncomfortable.

Lena Dunham and Carrie Brownstein
Newmark Theatre
Oct 19
Sold Out
Do you have any interesting anecdotes about Girls or Dunham?

Lena and I both attended a birthday dinner for one of our mutual and dear friends. A few of us were tasked with giving toasts or doing a performance of some kind. Lena showed up late on account of work and thus we were well into our meal and the festivities. She gracefully and seamlessly entered the fray and proceeded to read an original poem that she had written for the occasion. Her ability to dismiss the awkwardness of a late arrival and switch from frantic to fluid was very admirable, and very Lena.  

What do you most look forward to talking with Lena about?
Her book! I mean, if I'm doing my job we'll talk mostly about that. But I also want to talk about television, dogs, Instagram, setting and place as it informs performance, and hypochondria. I'm also open to the tangent becoming the center. We'll see!

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