OUR OWN PRIVATE IDOL BOY
On the road and on the Net with the fans who would die for Keanu
by Liz Bakulski
It all started as a bet. My friend bet me that Keanu Reeves was definitely over six feet tall. I shot back that I was sure he was shorter than that. After all, most Hollywood heartthrobs -- Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Brad Pitt -- are under six feet tall. It would seem logical that Keanu would be, too. Confident that I was right, I endeavored to find out.
I figured I could determine Keanu's height rather easily. I subscribe to Prodigy and America Online. Though I had never used them, I had heard that they have a lot of information about celebrities. On both of these services, I found areas devoted to Keanu Reeves.
I began to cruise through the postings, reading the notes from Keanuphiles and the replies to the notes. I could not immediately find Keanu's height. But I found something much more interesting -- his fans. So, an adventurous twentysomething, I began my secret life.
I noticed that, on Prodigy's Keanu bulletin board, there are numerous people who post frequently. Off-line, much of the general public can probably name a few of Keanu's film roles -- Jack Traven in 'Speed'; Scott, the street hustler in 'My Own Private Idaho'; Johnny Utah, the surfer dude/FBI agent in 'Point Break'; Todd in 'Parenthood'. The people who post information about Keanu on-line, on the other hand, know a great deal more. They know Keanu's birthday (9/2/64), birthplace (Beirut, Lebanon), family history (father in jail on drug possession, mom a costume designer, two sisters). Some even know where Keanu is on a day-to-day basis.
I learned what hotel he stays in when he's in LA. What kind of motorcycle he rides. What restaurants he ate in while filming on location in Minnesota -- right down to which table he sat at and what he ate. I began to think that this was a little more information than I needed.
But I couldn't stop reading.
A CASE OF KEANUITIS
I began by "lurking" -- the term for someone who reads the bulletin boards and comes to the on-line chats, but doesn't post anything. I became familiar with the people in Prodigy's virtual community. They seemed friendly, and would inquire about one another's families, jobs, and vacations. They came from all over the country, and seemed to range in age from about 12 to 60. Reading their postings gave me an enormous amount of information about Keanu.
One day, after I had been lurking for a couple of weeks, I came across an on-line note that asked a question about Keanu: "What does 'Keanu' mean?" I knew the answer: a cool breeze over the mountains in Hawaii. I wanted to reply. The trouble is, it's a violation to use an alias on Prodigy. I have an extremely uncommon last name, and I didn't like the idea of posting something with my name on it that anyone could read. The fans on the bulletin boards were strangers to me. Even more, judging from some of their postings, several of them appeared to be less than stable. So I posted under a pseudonym, Allie Davis. (If anyone at Prodigy reads this, I hope my membership isn't terminated.) I was given a warm welcome. Instantly, I became an accepted member of Prodigy's Keanu community.
Next, I tried America Online again. The Keanu folder in AOL is part of a greater intangible: the AOL Keanu Village -- an organization with a mayor, sheriff, chief of protocol, head of tourism, and village physician. These offices are held by Keanu Village regulars who have been elevated to formal positions by fellow members in the Keanu Reeves folder. The mayor states policy, the sheriff issues warnings, the chief of protocol sets etiquette guidelines, the head of tourism provides directions and maps to various Keanu locations in the real world (e.g., a restaurant where he's been sighted), and the village physician diagnoses cases of Keanuitis (yes, the fans have a word for the acute addiction caused by being obsessed with Keanu Reeves). Needless to say, this blew my mind.
The mayor organizes, at least weekly, a private "chat room" on-line, where members can go to talk "live" with one another about Keanu. The conversations, I found, are always lively and informative: what scripts Keanu is reading, when his next movie starts filming. Most seem to see the humor in this. However, some of the villagers (a term I use to refer to Keanu fans on both Prodigy and AOL) are rabidly obsessed with Keanu.
Here are just a few examples of the fanaticism demonstrated by people I have met on-line (all screen names and off-line names in this story have been changed):
--> During a chat, PatCee revealed that she owns a life-size cardboard cutout of Keanu. She places the cutout at her dinner table while she eats.
--> TieRack records the audio portion of Keanu's movies onto cassette tapes, and then listens to them while driving.
--> Ananci, a 60-year-old grandmother, uses Keanu references constantly. For example, when talking about her son, she refers to him as being "Keanu's age."
--> Windy10, a woman in her mid 20s, traveled to Minnesota when Keanu was there filming on location. She staked out his hotel, found out he was on an executive floor with special access only, and bribed a maid to be allowed on the floor. Her efforts eventually paid off: she was able to say hello to Keanu in the hotel's lobby.
--> Alivia writes intense poetry about Keanu and posts it on AOL. Sample lines: "You are the dream from which I cannot awaken. / Forever in my mind, I cannot explain this fascination. / It is my heart that you have taken, / And I give it to you willingly."
--> Gibaloo taught her dog to bark when she says "Keanu."
--> SilleeMee writes a Keanu newsletter, which has more than 100 subscribers, some from other countries.
--> Mattitod does elaborate astrological tables of Keanu, and is dying to know his exact time of birth.
WAITING FOR HER MAN
When Keanu was in Winnipeg performing in 'Hamlet' last winter, scores of his fans met there to see him. Many of the fans knew one another through the on-line services. One of the Keanu villagers, a woman in her 40s named Candy, went to see Keanu's closing-night performance. She arrived wearing a full Shakespearean costume, which included an elaborate cape, and she sat front row, center. I am told that she didn't wear anything under the costume.
After the show, she stood by the stage door waiting for Keanu to come out, so she could present him with a gift. She stood there until 3 a.m., and never saw him. He had apparently gone off to the cast party, leaving through another door. Candy subsequently became extremely ill. Standing for several hours in the middle of the night during a Winnipeg winter in a Shakespearean costume with nothing underneath can do that to you. She was hospitalized for a week with double pneumonia.
This all seemed so odd to me. I checked out some of the other on-line areas devoted to actors. I lurked in the Christian Slater, Johnny Depp, Val Kilmer, Chris O'Donnell, and Brad Pitt bulletin boards and folders. The people who post there are not at all the same breed as those who post in Keanu areas. The intense admiration for, discussion of, and obsession with Keanu is truly unmatched. I found myself wondering why. But I was too distracted by the frenzy of the villagers to get an answer.
AT ONE WITH THE WORSHIPPERS
One day in late May, I was cruising the bulletin board on Prodigy. There was a posting that a group of fans was getting together in LA for a weekend of Keanu doings.
I realized that I would be in LA that same weekend on business. Should I make the most of this opportunity, and join them? I couldn't resist.
Most of these fans were making reservations at the very hotel where Keanu would be staying. Did I want to stay with them there, they asked. I politely told them that I already had hotel accommodations through my job. After all, they knew me on-line as Allie Davis, and I felt it was too late to tell them that that wasn't my name. I thought it might be a tad difficult to maintain my alias if I bunked with them. But I knew they would be phoning me at my hotel, so when I arrived in LA I checked in under my assumed name.
I felt absolutely silly doing so, but the desk clerk assured me that in LA people do it all the time.
I arrived at the Keanu hotel. The villagers greeted me as if I were an old friend. There were five of them, all females, ranging in age from 23 to 40. They even had gifts for me -- photos of Keanu, a script from one of his movies, and chocolates from Hawaii (as Keanu is half Hawaiian). They told me that they had heard Keanu had already checked in. All of them had met Keanu on previous occasions, and they couldn't wait to see him again.
They were particularly excited that it would be my virgin meeting.
That night, we took off on a Keanu extravaganza. We drove by his agent's office, numerous places where there had been Keanu sightings -- restaurants, a bar, and one of his favorite hangouts, a pool hall -- and the site of an awards show that he was rumored to be attending. We even went to Universal Studios to see a display of the shirt he wore in Speed. To cap the evening off, we went to see Keanu's latest movie, 'Johnny Mnemonic'. I hadn't seen it. The others had seen it anywhere from four to seven times each.
All during the evening, the fans took turns telling about their Keanu experiences. Carolyn, a pretty 30-year-old divorced mother of two, talked about what a profound effect Keanu has had on her life. "Since becoming a fan," she said, "Everything I have wanted, or tried to go for, I have gotten."
Vicky, who is about 40, and married, was previously infatuated with Tom Cruise. When I asked her what her husband thinks of her obsession with Keanu she replied, "He just calls him 'Keanu-boy' and walks out of the room."
Vicky and her friend Tracy met Keanu last year on the set of 'A Walk in the Clouds' and spoke with him for about 20 minutes and took photos of the entire meeting and conversation. At dinner during our evening together, Vicky and Tracy pulled out what they call a "picture book," and ordered me to turn the pages of it at certain points as they told their story. Honest to God, it was a frame-by-frame photo essay of their meeting with Keanu. They took turns recounting the incident; they were almost hypnotic as they described every detail.
I admit that I, too, was mesmerized.
The next day, we went on a picture-buying frenzy. Hollywood is filled with celebrity-photo shops. My new friends each dropped at least $100 on Keanu photos alone. I'm not a big collector of anything, but, to keep my cover, I bought a few. I managed to answer to "Allie," even though I was sorry I had to continue lying about my name. When we parted ways that day, we promised to stay in touch. I had had a really fun time with those women -- though I hadn't yet had my "virgin meeting" with Keanu.
More important, I started to wonder: was I an impartial observer of these obsessed women, motivated by curiosity alone, or was I becoming a Keanu fan?
OF BLACKOUTS AND BEER BOTTLES
While in Los Angeles, the villagers discovered that Keanu's unsigned band, Dogstar, in which he plays bass, would be touring the US this summer. Everyone was ecstatic. This would be the chance all of his fans had been waiting for, the opportunity to see Keanu perform live.
Two weeks after I returned to Boston, I received a call from one of the women I had met in LA. She had tickets to four Dogstar shows in California, and could book me a room in Keanu's hotel. Would I please join her and the rest of the group there? Since I had had such a great time with them before, I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea. Besides, the premise was so amusing. How could I refuse?
I found myself chatting on-line about my experiences in LA. The fact that I had actually been to Keanu's hotel impressed many people in the Keanu Village. I also had the breaking news on the Dogstar tour. Suddenly, I was revered, placed in a position of high regard in the Keanu community. On-line discussions now began to center on the Dogstar performances; everyone in the village, it seemed, was planning to see at least one show. I was receiving at least 10 e-mails a day from villagers, asking me to meet them in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. We would all get to meet one another -- and, best of all, see Keanu.
Some of the women I chatted with on-line were lying to husbands, boyfriends, and co-workers about where they were going. There was discussion of a secret sign by which villagers would identify themselves at the Dogstar concerts. The suggestions ranged from wearing blue ribbons to using code words. I suggested, half-seriously, that we douse ourselves with Calvin Klein's Obsession cologne.
I soon realized that the excitement I was witnessing on-line -- the head of tourism busily distributing maps, the wild e-mail exchanges about hotels and tickets -- was a unique experience, a cyberspace version of Beatlemania. I didn't want to miss any of it.
So I hatched a plan that would enable me to attend 11 of the 25 Dogstar shows, between July 25 and August 18, in Washington, DC; New York City; Sea Bright, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Boston; New Haven, Connecticut; and then five shows in California -- San Francisco, Ventura, San Juan Capistrano, Solana Beach, and Los Angeles.
At the first show, in Washington, DC, the heat and humidity were oppressive. Some of the villagers had already seen Dogstar perform in California, and knew that Keanu always plays stage-left, so people were lining up for hours in advance in order to be the first to reach that spot. When the doors opened, the mad rush was unbelievable, and, when the band took the stage, absolute chaos ensued. The crowd lurched forward in the unbearable heat, 800 panting females jammed together vying for the best view of Keanu. I had to leave.
I wandered outside and met a girl who had passed out and then been pulled up onstage and sent outside to recover. I asked her what happened. She replied that she saw Keanu and couldn't stop screaming, and then everything went black.
A villager named Cleopatra made it her personal mission to collect Keanu's beer bottles at each of the six shows she attended. Her husband, a villager named MAnthony, is very supportive of her obsession. MAnthony printed up T-shirts for himself and Cleopatra to wear to the shows, with their screen names on them. He waited in line with Cleopatra, helped her get a good viewing position in the crowd, and ferried refreshments to her. In New Jersey, he tried to block an unruly fan who was annoying Cleopatra. A security guard noticed what was happening and bounced MAnthony out of the club. MAnthony later posted the entire story in the AOL Keanu folder. His postings receive accolades from women who can't get their significant others to understand their Keanu obsession.
When I met Cleopatra in person in New Jersey, she had retrieved Keanu's bottles in Baltimore, Washington, and New York. The bottle from Washington still had some beer in it. Cleopatra went into extreme detail about how she licked the bottle and drank some of the leftover beer from it.
AT LAST, THE VIRGIN MEETING
The mayor of the Keanu Village is a woman named Ladybird. She wasn't elected to the office. She sort of took the position. You could view her as a dictator, but she is the one willing to get things done -- welcoming new people to the village, announcing chats, organizing Dogstar road trips. I met her in person before the tour began, and we became good friends. She was the only villager who knew my real name.
We planned to meet at the Dogstar show in New York. Ladybird had interviewed the band's manager for an article, and was game for trying to get backstage at the New York show -- after all, as mayor, she had an obligation to her constituents. We got permission to go to the band's dressing room before the show.
When Keanu entered the dressing room, it was like a weather front had moved in. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the place changed. Some people began vying for Keanu's attention. Others were simply angling for a good viewing position. I sat back in a corner, watching the scene. This was my first opportunity to see Keanu as "regular person" -- that is, not performing. He sat on a couch and practiced his fingering on his bass.
About 90 percent of the people backstage were female, many of them with exposed midriffs and overly styled hair. It was interesting to watch the techniques that these women and young girls used to get backstage. They sweet-talked the security guards and the roadies. One particularly creative fan told the band's manager she was writing her thesis on Keanu, and needed to talk to him to finish her paper.
A young girl, who looked to be about 14 but said she was 25, pleaded with the security guard at the backstage door. "Just give me five minutes with him!" she begged. "If I could just have five minutes with him, he would be able to see that I was born for him." She showed up again at Dogstar's Philadelphia performance, and talked about Keanu to anyone who would listen. She said she was a virgin, and wouldn't let anyone touch her but Keanu. She was saving herself for Keanu.
Eventually, Keanu ended up walking right past her. The fact that he didn't stop dead in his tracks when he saw her was unfathomable to her. She was sure that just one look at her would convince him he had found the woman of his dreams.
All the rules of conduct break down once people actually get near Keanu. They walk right up to him, touch him, ask him for things, act as though they were his friends. Amazingly, I saw people who seemed incapable of separating him from his movie characters. Watching the fans harass him was often upsetting to me.
While backstage at the New York show, I met the guy who's working on a Dogstar documentary. I mentioned to him that I had been using my camcorder to film some of the fans outside, and he invited me to help him with his project. I was amazed and happy. This would give me more access to the behind-the-scenes aspects of the tour, as well as to the band and the fans.
THE LOBBY INCIDENT AND TRAFFIC JAMS
One of the greatest moments in the history of Keanu Village occurred while Dogstar were in Sea Bright, New Jersey. Several villagers were staying in the same hotel as the band. Generally, Keanu didn't roam around the hotels. He seemed to stay in his room, and, when the rest of the band went out after shows, Keanu rarely joined them. But in New Jersey, he changed his policy.
I was in the lobby with some fans and several members of the band at about 2 a.m. one night, sitting around and talking. Suddenly, at the other side of the lobby, I noticed Keanu, who appeared to be chatting with a few of the villagers. After a little while, he came over to the part of the lobby where we were sitting. For the next four hours, he hung out with us, talking and playing games. He arm- wrestled with a roadie, leg-wrestled with one of the hotel's security staff, and challenged the guitarist to 100 pushups. This was big -- hanging with Keanu. Soon afterward, an on-line chat was announced in the Keanu Village. The main topic of conversation was "the New Jersey lobby incident." The villagers are still talking about it.
At nearly every show I attended, the same core group of villagers would be at the head of the line: Katie, Josie, Patricia, and Laura. When I arrived at the shows at about 5:30 p.m., I would ask what time they had gotten there. The answer was usually 11 a.m., but sometimes as early as 9 a.m. The doors never opened earlier than 7:30 p.m. for any Dogstar show. The villagers would work in shifts so that some of them could leave for food or bathroom breaks. This, despite very hot and humid weather, with the average temperature hovering around 90 degrees. But their hard work always paid off. At every show, there they were, right at the front of the audience.
At 26, I was about in the middle of the village age-range. Younger villagers couldn't travel to shows, so many of the villagers I met were either my age or older. And a good portion of them were middle-aged and divorced. Some of these women were giving up all their vacation time to follow Keanu across the country. Several of them told me that they were depleting their savings and running up credit-card debt for their trips.
Warsavia is a fortysomething fan, who posted a story about giving Keanu a ride to his hotel while he was in Texas. (The ride was offered with the help of Delilah, a villager who is a groupie familiar to the band.) Keanu got in the front seat, with Warsavia, and two of the other band members got in the back. In her posted story, she wrote about how nervous she was, the conversation she had with him, what he was wearing, and everything he said. It was obviously the most thrilling experience of her life. Other members of the village praised her for her "coolness" and posted notes about how envious they were.
Judging from what I've read of Warsavia's postings, I might have advised Keanu against getting in the car with her. Here is a quote from one of her postings, titled "The Danger Is All in His Head":
He maintains his loneliness while she stands beside him and longs to fathom his remote and silent luminescence. Those eyes that even blind men visualize, dark pools of aching sad and weary moodiness...
After each show, the bus would head to the hotel where the band members would be staying. As the bus pulled away, a herd of cars would suddenly appear, jockeying for position behind the bus. The cars would break all traffic regulations to keep up. Once the die-hard fans had tracked the bus to the hotel, they would roam the halls all night, hoping for a glimpse of Keanu. At one hotel, I had a room directly across from the vending-machine alcove. Whenever I came in or out of the room, a gaggle of girls would spring out of the alcove, hoping I was Keanu. I began to enter and exit my room far more often than necessary, simply to watch them react.
ALLERGIES AND A BOMB SCARE
One of my favorite on-line fan stories involves a woman named Jeanne, who worships Keanu. Last March, she flew to California to see Dogstar perform. Before the show, she went to the beach and jumped into the Pacific Ocean. She told everyone that this was to "cleanse and purify" herself so she'd have the "correct vibrations" to save Keanu. Save him from what, exactly, remains a mystery. At the show, she got onstage and chased after Keanu, asking him a bizarre question about an obscure detail from one of his early films. He apparently turned away from her and ran in the opposite direction. Jeanne now claims that, ever since that incident, she will not go near Keanu because he is, unfortunately, allergic to her.
A couple of villagers love to recount the story of "The Screamer." Last year, when the band were playing in San Diego, a woman stood in the audience waving a videocassette of 'Speed' over her head. She waved it throughout the entire show while she screamed, howled, and shouted "Keanu" at the top of her lungs.
A story circulates in the village about a villager named Alexa. She was eating, one night last winter, at the same restaurant as Keanu. She went into the coat room, found his jacket, and rubbed her face all over the inside of it. Next, she pulled a hair out of her head and stuck it in his sleeve, happily thinking of how a piece of her would be with him. She now occasionally refers to the time she "smelled" Keanu; this was it.
Alexa also wrote a soap opera about herself and Keanu, and posted it in several segments. Here is an excerpt:
Alexa heads for the kitchen, Keanu following closely behind her ...
she reaches the refrigerator ...
he leans into her ...
and kisses her neck from behind, his hands wandering, obviously wanting to skip the food ... needing to stall for time ...
Alexa musters all the self-discipline she can....
This serial has been very popular with members of the village. Many claim it sends them running to take cold showers.
The most dramatic fan incident occurred at the San Francisco show on August 13. The tour bus was parked next to the club, behind a chain-link fence that ran along the sidewalk. Fans had gathered along the fence, hoping for a glimpse of you-know-who. Several of them bore gifts. A few of them asked one of the crew members to take their gifts to Keanu. He obliged, and headed onto the bus with the items.
One of the gifts was a globe, decorated with numerous knickknacks. It appeared to have a Christmas ornament or two attached to it, as well as some other strange items. Because of 'Speed', in which Keanu's character tries to save all the people aboard a city bus wired with a bomb, there had been numerous occasions throughout this tour when members of the band or crew joked about a bomb being on the bus (which was, in fact, a luxury bus formerly leased by the band Pearl Jam).
A member of the band happened to yell, "There's a bomb on the bus" at the same time the crew member with the globe was in the vicinity of the tour bus's door. The two situations had nothing to do with each other, but they overlapped. I don't think the crew member heard the band member yell about the bomb, and I don't think the band member saw the globe. But, sure enough, someone in the crowd must have witnessed the incident and called the San Francisco Police.
Within minutes, the place was crawling with police and the bomb squad. Police tape was strung up everywhere, and the bomb squad took the little globe and blew it up. After all the excitement, a wild fan begged a policeman to let her keep the yellow POLICE LINE DON'T CROSS tape. He did, and she promptly wrapped herself in it.
At Dogstar's appearance in Boston, I saw a girl go backstage and have her picture taken with Keanu. She was ecstatic. The next day, however, when she was at the hotel talking to some of the band members and crew, she became visibly upset, saying that she had "blown it with Keanu." She worked herself into such a frenzy that the band's manager tried to console her. Eventually, she calmed down enough to be able to drive home.
TROUBLE IN THE VILLAGE
My last Dogstar show of the summer was in Los Angeles on August 18. This was a big event, with many villager making pilgrimages for just this show alone. Many celebrities were in attendance. But among the villagers, this show was significant because of the major village scandal that it set off, a scandal caused mainly by confusion over on-line and off-line personas.
During the show, I was sitting at a table with Ladybird, but also with a man who is known on-line as JTee, a bisexual junior executive at a Hollywood studio. He had identified himself to me, but not to any of the other villagers, including Ladybird. Also present that night was LucyLove, a woman who claims -- truthfully, from what I can tell -- to have slept with Keanu. She had made her first on-line appearance with a posting that read, "Seen him, done him, so what." The villagers had long wondered who LucyLove might be. JTee knew who LucyLove was, and as we were sitting there he told me she was in the audience that night.
After the show, I told Ladybird that LucyLove had been there, and Ladybird was furious that I hadn't told her earlier. She pulled several clues together and figured out that JTee had been sitting at the table with us, and she also figured out who LucyLove was. She told another of the villagers about this, and that person confronted JTee on-line. JTee was mad that his identity had been revealed; he was afraid that his bisexuality, which he had been honest about with some people on-line, could be held against him in the off-line world. An on-line and off-line tiff then erupted between LucyLove and Ladybird because LucyLove was afraid Ladybird would reveal her identity to more people.
After many angry exchanges via telephone and modem, things cooled down. But JTee felt forced to leave the village. The village was in an uproar, with many of us saying things we had been holding back. I had to keep reminding myself that none of this was real. I was in a cyberconflict with cyberfriends. The only trouble was that I had met the people involved face-to-face. The whole experience still has me wondering what happened.
All during the tour, I was in a slightly hazardous situation. The band knew me by my real name, as did Ladybird. But the fans, especially the on-line ones, knew me as Allie Davis. I was waiting for my worlds to collide.
EXILE FROM KEANULAND
Now that I'm back from my summer with the Keanu villagers, I'm thinking about retiring from cyberspace. Over the past five months, I gave up much of my normal existence. I stayed up late at night "chatting," and came into work totally exhausted. My friends were worried about me, unable to believe that I would pass up a party in favor of chatting on-line about Keanu. I also took a fair amount of ribbing from my co-workers. But they were always fascinated to hear my stories.
I have to admit that I feel ambivalent about the whole Keanu-fan escapade. My quest is over, and I'm a bit sad. Keanu and the fervor of his fans were a big mystery to me, but I got as close as I could to them.
The entire thing became a game to see how far I could get. Now the game is over. What else is there to do? If the on-line fans don't know my true identity already, they will now.
I've tried to understand who the fans are. But even though I've walked more than a mile in their shoes, I can't say for sure.
For many, Keanu Village is an escape. It's a big support system with one unifying icon -- Keanu. What is it about Keanu that attracts this type of interest? Certainly his looks account for some of his appeal, but that can't be all of it. I hung around with him, but I can't say that I really met him. We shook hands a couple of times. He was very respectful toward me, and listened to what I had to say. And he always responded. He was so polite that I caught myself wanting to say, "Hey, quit the formalities."
His enigmatic persona seems to perpetuate the fanaticism. People can pin definitions on other actors: Johnny Depp trashes hotel rooms, Christian Slater got caught carrying a gun, Brad Pitt dates Gwyneth Paltrow. Keanu doesn't permit that kind of summarizing. His comportment denies you the opportunity.
In his career, Keanu has played some gay characters, and there has been much speculation about his sexual orientation. But he refuses to answer any questions on the topic when he's quizzed in interviews. (His publicist has issued a statement insisting that he's straight.) The village, which includes at least one lesbian, has taken a commendable position on this issue. As one villager said, "Unless you are going to sleep with him, what does it matter?"
After all I have witnessed, I can conclude the following: the gay men wish Keanu were gay; the older women want him as their son; the young women hope he's straight. Each fan adores Keanu for his or her own reasons, and that's probably all that counts.
Oh, yes. I did find out how tall Keanu is: 6-1. I lost the bet.
And a sidebar:
ODE TO KEANUMANIACS
From a poem posted on-line September 8 by Judy Gerber, a member of Keanu Village.
They all came together for that guy, Keanu...
A man who can dazzle and plain fascinate,
A man whose fans for twelve hours will wait
In ridiculous heat, freezing cold, pouring rain,
Ignoring the people who call them insane,
To catch just one glimpse of his shining dark head
(Though that hairstyle screams loudly "designed by my bed"!)
From the young teenybops to the ones forty-plus,
They followed the man in the big Dogstar bus,
From Texas to Georgia to old NYC,
To Jersey and Boston and also CT,
And out to Chicago, and off to LA
(And some of them were a real pain-in-the-A!)
But he took it in stride, did the man with the Face
With good humor and patience, and a great deal of grace.
He put up with those fans who would love him so well
Thereby making sure they stayed under his spell.