Twenty some-odd misfits gather around the fountain at Ghirardelli Square. It’s cold. It’s dreary. No one cares. Earlier this week, the call came from Lonelygirl HQ: be at this exact location in San Francisco at 4 p.m. Ever loyal to Bree and her cause, they showed up. From as far away as Los Angeles they came. By the end of the day, they won’t just watch the filming of a new episode of their favorite web show — but they’ll be a part of the series.
For awhile, people mill about. Though most look like they skipped seventh-period English to be here, there are a few fogeys in the bunch. They all have the same look of anticipation in their eyes. “You here for LG?” Heads nod. “Cool.” Video cameras are brandished. Laptops opened. Then like one of those deer from Wild Kingdom who stops drinking when danger approaches, heads turn at the “clop-clop-clop” sound of chunky heels on brick.
Lucy’s here. Game on.
Cameras and cell phones flicker to life. One girl calls into a live Internet LG radio program to provide updates. “She’s walking around the fountain… showing a picture to people.” There’s a bunch of chatter as Lucy approaches different people, asking if they’ve seen Jonas or Daniel (two characters from the show). No one has. Lucy tears up the picture and leaves.
Lots of chatter. “Did you see –?” “What was the picture of?” “Is that all?” A fan sitting on the fountain pieces the picture back together. “She had laser eyes!” Then a phone rings. It was dropped in one of the plants. A cryptic text message “2266379.” The crowd starts buzzing. One girl holding an SAT prep book offers a sheet of paper and pen to help solve the riddle.
“The Cannery!” comes the epiphany. “If look at the keypad, it spells Cannery.” The pack takes off down the street. Wandering around the brick structure for a minute, there’s some confusion. Did they get the clue right?
“They’re over here! Jonas and Daniel are around the corner.” Like a scene out of Cloverfield everyone breaks into a run, not wanting to miss a single clue. Indeed Jonas and Daniel are there. They have some kind of top-secret memo, can the crowd help them figure it out?
Daniel runs a video camera capturing the crowd as they try to decipher the evil memo. “Does the date 10/26 mean anything? How about the number 1026?” People bring up a “mole” referring to ten to the twenty-sixth power or something. “War” is another clue. They come to some agreement and agree to meet up with Jonas and Daniel at Hyde Pier should something happen.
“Watcher! There’s a f–king watcher!” shouts a lookout. Panicked, Jonas and Daniel bolt through a back stairwell. The crowd, hearts racing, is off to the next part of the puzzle.
At Hyde Pier more clues are discussed. “The shot heard ’round the world” being the most popular. After 20 minutes of deliberation in the cold, with no solution, its obvious something is amiss. A drained parking meter calls me back to reality and I must take my leave. I learn later that whomever picked up the cell phone from earlier had accidentally shut it off, so the group was unable to receive the next clue in a timely fashion.
Whatever you think of Lonelygirl, you gotta give them credit. Not only did they host an interactive show, they expect to craft an episode today’s footage and release it this evening. And for a few brief moments, the fans will become the stars.
And here’s a little something extra for those fans. Brief interviews with the characters from Lonelygirl:
Amanda Goodfried (“Lucy”)
Jackson Davis (“Jonas”), Yousef Abu-Taleb (“Daniel”)