The Zion Resistance / Mainframe (US), August / September 2000
For all you K-lovers: Chicago Adventures w. Da Man
So, I put this together in a fancylooking little package and went coolbreeze hunting (tm uT. First thing, scanning local newspapers and other news sources, and such. Wrygrass put a short list of places on the board where Keanu had been hanging out previously - this list was very helpful! Thanks, wry! One of the names on wry's list was a small restaurant, called Tempo. As it turned out, not a late-night spot but a luncheon, and after a little careful prying, yes, the waitress had seen Keanu around. Now, there is only so much time that you can spend sitting in a fancy luncheon on merely ordering a cup of coffee, so after a while I started walking around in the neigbourhood. Tempo is just one block away from the hotel where Keanu was staying (a hotel that was quite impossible to get into - believe me, I tried ), so I figured I might get lucky and catch him walking there… So, feeling at first a little bit awkward, but as time went on more and more ridiculous, I walked back and forth from the restaurant to the hotel, to the restaurant, to the hotel, to the restaurant… But just about when I was getting convinced I was really only wasting my time, I was proven wrong!
I was kind of dreaming away, thinking of what else I could think of that could result in finding Ke. Tired of walking back and forth, I passed the hotelentrance and proceeded to walk to the corner of the next street. When I got to that corner, no more than four feet away from me, a slim, tall figure wearing shades and a doggone ugly orange jacket rounded the corner and nearly bumped into me! GASP FLUTTER SIGH!!! Yep. It was Keanu. He had short hair and hadn't shaven for quite a while - you know, that state of facial hair where it's gonna be a beard in a coupe more days, but isn't quite yet. He was obviously trying to be inconspicuous, looking a little shabby: a faded orange tweed jacket and dark t-shirt (I think brown, but I'm not sure), and erm… either dark jeans or darkbrown slacks.
As I was trying not to have a fatal heartattack on the spot, he passed me by, and two girls approached him to ask for autographs. He politely obliged, and asked the girls who he should make the signatures out to. They fire all kinds of questions at him, what's he doing here, he answers that he's doing research for a new movie. I believe he said something along the lines of "it's a kids' movie." After a little while, he handed their notebooks back with a little nod. He started to walk on towards the hotelentrance, when I grasped the opportunity and started talking to him. I surely can't remember exactly what I must've said, or even what he said or did, but it's gotta have been something like this:
"Keanu…? Hi, how are you?" - Stupid grin from me.
His head tilted slightly towards me, he answers briskly, with a little nod of his head. "Hi."
"I, euh… I actually just wanted to give you this…" Showing him the package, "actually, I should explain a little bit of what this is all about… you see, erm, this week in Chicago, there's a gathering of people from all over the world who are just extremely crazy about The Matrix…"
As I start talking, he shifts his legs and crosses him arms in front of him, taking on a pose that sorta says 'okay, I'm listening…' He doesn't look directly at me, although he's wearing dark sunglasses so it's really not always possible to tell. But he looks down to the floor at first, until I say "The Matrix". At that very moment, he looks up at me, and he starts grinning. Man! That was an extremely nice moment.
"…so, we're gonna get together here in Chicago and talk about the movie for four days…"
His grin gets bigger, and with that nice slightly hoarse quality in his voice, he says: "Really? Now, why would you wanna do that…?
Feeling taken aback a bit by that question, and thinking something along the lines of 'okay, so he thinks we're a bunch of total weirdos now…', I'm trying to think of what to say, so I start: "Well…"
…as he continues: "…because it's fun, right?" He puts a lot of emphasis on "fun", underscoring it with a little nod of his head.
"Yeah! Yeah, it is, and also… it's inspiring… you know." (I'm not sure if I said "inspiring" or "inspirational")
He bops his head up and down once, as if he's thinking about that, and then he simply says: "Cool."
"So, erm… we're all gonna get together, and we're also, on Saturday we're gonna have a party," Keanu's grin gets even bigger at the mentioning of the word "party" ,
"…and ofcourse, if you wanna come to our party, you're invited." (I can't remember here if he gave any reaction to being invited, which probably means he didn't - either that, or I was too nervous to pay attention.)
"so, erm… this package should give you a little bit of an impression of what we do…" I hand him the package, "…I hope you enjoy it."
He takes the package, which is made of transparant plastic so he can clearly see the front of uT's program inside it. He unfolds his arms, takes the package in two hands and looks at it intently.
I'm sure I keep talking for a little while more but I can't remember what else I said I do remember he said "Yeah!" to something I said, but I can't remember what it is I said!! Sheesh… I probably mentioned something about the internet too, I'm sure I did, but it's all a bit blurry… In any case, I eventually say: "Well, euh… I hope you enjoy your stay here… have a nice day." I suppose he must have given me the impression that he wanted to get back to the hotel… in any case, he answers. "Yes… thank you." And gesturing to the package I gave him, "Thank you, Ma'am."
"You're welcome." (not absolutely positive I actually said that, but I think I did.)
At this point - not sure when exactly she showed up, a little girl is standing practically on Keanu's toes with a little notebook, bouncing up and down as if she will surely explode if she's not gonna get an autograph right now! He takes her notebook, places it on top of the package and signs his name. He hands the notebook back to her, says "You're welcome," and goes into the hotel. I try to walk past the entrance as inconspicuous as possible (Yeah, right! ), and see him walking towards the reception with a man who looks like he works for the hotel (blue suit type.) He's still holding the package I gave him, which is good cause that meant he hadn't thrown it away right away!
One last thing, about Keanu's smile - or actually, his grin. Afterwards, I was thinking about where I had seen him grin exactly like that before, and I know where that is. Remember the making of the Matrix special, when they show how the lobby scene was shot. Keanu's doing the handstand with the gun, and talking with some of the crew afterwards. At one point there, he looks just aside the camera, gives a big grin, and says: "Be here now…" followed by a big grin. Welll, that is exactly the same grin he gave me! Not bad, huh?
This little episode took place on wednesday august 16, around 2:30 pm, and the sun was shining brightly.