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Van Morrison: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

illustration of Van Morrison

In my alternate journalistic life, much of my time is spent covering film and DVD releases. To that end, I’m writing this in mid-October, having just attended a particularly lavish Beverly Hills party thrown by Warner Bros. to celebrate the launch of The Matrix: Reloaded DVD. Keanu Reeves was briefly there, though less as a party guest and more as Exhibit A. He traveled the red carpet, provided the requisite sound bites to an international cadre of TV crews and, steered by his personal publicist, was escorted directly to a heavily guarded VIP area, visible to all but safely isolated.

Watching the velvet-caged Reeves being watched by a thousand mere mortals, it struck me that this was an ideal example of the ridiculous heights our collective (and strangely duplicitous) obsession with celebrity has reached. All eyes were turned to Keanu; everyone, fan or not, wanted to touch him, talk to him, bask in the presence of the evening’s One. Yet running like electricity through the room was an alternate current of Keanu-charged energy: the gossipy, mean-spirited AC to the worshipful DC. Desperate as the common folk might have been to meet the resident movie star, it didn’t stop them from parroting the same claptrap-speculation about his sexuality, that nonsensical tale about his rumored relationship with media mogul David Geffen, cruel comments about his past failures, stinging jokes about his professional limitations-that has been swirling around him for years. Like a zoo animal that grows skittish around too many peanut-tossing gawkers, Reeves looked understandably eager to crawl into the nearest cave-in his case a waiting limousine strategically placed inches from the back door.

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