Inscrutable person who does things Miranda July announced earlier this summer that she was up to her old tricks, doing a thing yet again. This time the thing was a series of private emails from celebrities’ personal inboxes (grouped by theme), and what she was doing was forwarding them to anyone who wanted to read them every Monday for 20 weeks.
The participants include:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, writer/filmmaker/NBA’s all-time leading scorer
- Lena Dunham, filmmaker/actress
- Kirsten Dunst, actress
- Sheila Heti, writer
- Etgar Keret, writer/filmmaker
- Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte
- Catherine Opie, photographer
- Lee Smolin, physicist
- Danh Vo, artist
As of August 12, we are seven weeks in. And two things have become abundantly clear:
1. This art project is a celebrity contest.
2. Kirsten Dunst is winning it.
Week one: An email about money
Kiki D shot out to an early lead the very first week, blasting past rainmakers like Lena Dunham and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thanks to an enigmatic email about a used car she was selling:
————- Forwarded message —————
From: Kirsten Dunst
Date: April 24, 2013, 3:41:57 PM PDT
Subject: Hi Sandy
My friend Jessica is buying my car for 7,000 I gave her your info for payments. She's going to pay 2,000 up front and then pay the rest as fast as she can. Don't know the paper work involved, but Warren mentioned he had something.
Sent from my iPhone
This is the “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” of breezy iPhone emails.
First, what kind of car is Kirsten Dunst selling for $7000? You know what kinds of used cars retail for $7,000? Cherry red 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivans. Is Kirsten Dunst selling her friend Jessica a 2006 cherry red Chrysler Town & Country minivan? Didn't you always picture Kirsten Dunst tooling around Hollywood in a fancy car? If she is selling Jessica a fancy car for the nominal sum of $7,000, why charge her anything at all? Is it because Jessica is too proud to beg? If Jessica is too proud to beg, why is she willing to pay a pittance for what is almost certainly a nice car? Why is it that Jessica can only scrape together $2,000 at this point in time? Is Jessica OK? Is Jessica caught in a Catch-22, wherein she needs to make money so that she can buy a car to take her to work, but the only way she can work to make money is if she has a car to take her there? Is it this Jessica? If Warren is in charge of the paperwork, why isn’t this email to Warren? Etc.
Week 2: An email that gives advice
Dunst, who had previously not given a fuck about the forfeiture and acquisition of luxury automobiles (I’m selling a car…I don’t know the paper work involved…I’ll get the money whenever…thanks) found a new thing not to give a fuck about: the Miranda July email project.
————— Note —————
Kirsten Dunst was unable to locate an email that gives advice.
Week three: An email that mentions Barack Obama
Lena Dunham provided an email she had sent to Judd Apatow (brag) about how a PSA she did for the Obama campaign was trending worldwide on Twitter (BRAG), and included a screenshot of the current worldwide trending topics, including her PSA (BRAAAAAAAG!!!!), just in case Judd Apatow had forgotten how to use Twitter or didn’t believe her or something.
Kirsten Dunst sent an email that read simply:
> Obama mom.
Week four: A business email
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar submitted an email his manager had written on his behalf, pitching a sketch to Sesame Street in which various Sesame Street characters shill for a new book written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was a hilarious, flaming hot pile of garbage (“They see Big Bird coming towards them and yell out to him to catch as Kareem skyhooks the ball over to Big Bird.”). Kirsten Dunst answered a few questions about Sofia Coppola.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won this round.
Week five: An email about something you want
Kirsten Dunst wanted cat shoes. However, it also looked like she already had the cat shoes, because her email consisted solely of a picture of them.
Was Kirsten Dunst yearning to return to Un-Cat Shoes—the era directly preceding the one in which she purchased the cat shoes—so that she might experience the rush of procuring the cat shoes for the first time, all over again? Or did she just want more cat shoes, and then more, and then more, so that she might turn her home into a palace of cat shoes? When Kirsten Dunst closes her eyes, does she envision herself walking in the door, slipping off her cat shoes, and stepping into another pair of house cat shoes? When the Kirsten Dunst of her mind's eye opens the refrigerator, does a small avalanche of cat shoes blanket the Tuscan tiles of her kitchen? Does this Kirsten Dunst then select a single cat shoe from the inside of the refrigerator door and plop it into a glass: “Just what I wanted!”?
Week six: An email to your mom
Dunst asked her mom if she thought Kirsten’s “Grams” would be interested in attending a 4th of July Josh Groban concert, which was sweet but also sort of a dumb question because OBVIOUSLY. All grandmothers love Josh Groban.
Lena Dunham addressed her mother, Laurie Simmons, as “L” and apologized for being mean to her in India.
Week seven: An email that includes a dream you had
Kirsten Dunst’s most ambitious undertaking in the medium of crazypants to date.
Dunst's forwarded message opens with a lengthy description of a dream in which she purchases an ugly halter top in French Canada (“a warm looking halter top, like a sweater, but a halter”) and includes this sentence, which is everyone's new Twitter bio: “I have very strong Ideas to talk about.”
Here's an excerpt from the dreamscape portion of the email:
I was driving with people to stay at this shitty hotel outside of Montreal that I had stayed in before, and I didn't know why they had put us out there with no good food around and not much else. We stopped before we got to the hotel and got something to eat. I think my brother and some of his friends were there too. Io (my friend) and I went to a vintage store and we had to pack for warmth. She has ease about picking out things, but I had a hard time and picked out a warm looking halter top, like a sweater, but a halter. Then I asked her to pick stuff for me and she picked a nice combo of colors, navy being one of them. We then went to a graduation of high school or college, but I was naked under my robe. I think they were silver robes, but they didn't close all the way. A fight broke out between two guys and they took it outside of the gym and no one stopped them until a teacher close to the door, tried to break it up. He couldn't and we all watched the big guy suffocate the boy in such a quick way. Was not like a normal fight. The victim was on the ground and out pretty fast. The big guy killed him and the teacher was shocked too. We all could see this from the door way.
Lena Dunham dreamt she murdered her mom.
[Image via Getty]
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