Random thoughts on Batman

There is a very serious condition in Pittsburgh right now.  It’s an infection called Batman-mania, and it’s spreading all around the city like Arizona wild fires.   
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt a little like a war correspondent here: there are fights going on everywhere, and some of them are even with the Caped Crusader.  Entire sections of town are being closed off for the day, while trucks, star gazers and actors run around and pretend that it’s all real.  It kind of reminds me of a Three Stooges movie or even Washington, D.C.
 One of the reasons that Pittsburgh was selected for this epic final episode of the Batman series is because of PPG Place.  Its neo-gothic towers of glittering, gleaming glass and 231 spires were enough to convince any film company to come here.  Every time I drive by that place, it makes me wonder what would have happened if someone had decided to build that same building in Somerset or Salix?  Tourism magnet!
 For at least the male movie watchers,  just seeing Anne Hathaway on that fat-tire Catwoman motorcycle dressed in a black leather form-fitting costume is enough to fire up any man’s Harley.
The good news is that the only exposure that most people have to any of this activity is on TV or through the computer monitor, and that’s mainly because it’s too hard to get close to the action.
 My son called me the other night to tell me that his high school best friend’s sister is married to the guy who owns the company that does all of the special effects for movies, and she is here from Hollywood for Batman.  This kid was from Davidsville!  Who could ever have guessed that the FX guru would have come from there?  That would be like PPG in Salix.  As a result of this long- time connection, my kid is getting to see some of the FX magic before Christian Bale even does.  Awesome, dude.
 Over the years, movie companies have chosen the Cork Factory as a residence during their filmmaking
adventures, hence it’s fun reputation.  That’s why Jake Gyllenhaal when interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel’s show says things like, “The best sandwich in the entire world is made at Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh.”  It’s within walking distance of this converted cork factory loft/apartment building in the Strip District. (Oh, and they are good, too.)
For some unknown reason, Pittsburgh has had more films shot in town than many bigger cities.  
Last year nine movies were made here, and this year there will be about 12 of them.   It’s really not a new thing.  It started in the 1890s with one of my all time favorite movies,  “Running Through Gallitzin Tunnel,” (not really) and next year Tom Cruise will do his movie, “One Shot.” Maybe it’s about a Scientologist bartender from outer space.
 So, next time you’re in town and you run into Holly HunterVal Kilmer, Katherine Heigl or John Leguizamo just remember what my grandfather used to say about the Pope.
“Nicky, the Pope puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you and me.” 
Truthfully, that used to really confuse me because the Pope always wore an ankle-length white cassock, but I’d just smile and say, “Yep, Grandpa.”
Nick Jacobs, international director for SunStone Consulting, LLC is author of the humor book, “You Hold Em. I’ll Bite Em.” and the blog Healinghospitals.com.
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