))<>((? Well, it's from her movie.

Author/artist/director/performer/etc Miranda July came by Modern Times Bookstore in The Mission last night to read from her new collection of short stories, and the arty-coiffed standing-room-only crowd of fans spilled out the door onto the sidewalk.

Ms. July's artistic forte is in observing things which we take for granted in the everyday and peering at them from guileless angles until some surprise or (dis)comfort or wonder is revealed. An open sappy-less question of "sure, what-if?" asked seemingly without artifice or a second-thought. And what is found? Sometimes awe, sometimes regret, but always a bright gleam of humanity.

The stories in July's new book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, were written just before and just after she made her heart-warming/rending 2005 film Me And You And Everyone We Know.

Flattered by the packed house, July scaled a ladder (while wearing heels, to her mother's chagrin, she imagined) to the top of Modern Times' sideroom so as to provide better vantage rather than the floor-level lectern. More pictures after the jump.

* What's