Pittsburgh History, Pop Culture

Pittsburgh’s Gone Batty!

The Dark Knight RisesI have to admit, I’m not being very productive at work today.  From across the street on the 25th floor, I’ve been preoccupied with watching the Gotham City police cars and SWAT trucks lined up along the East Busway and equipment and various crew members clustered around the old rail road tracks behind the post office in downtown Pittsburgh.

The city has been pretty excited about welcoming Batman to the ‘Burgh this summer, with the cast and crew in town to film parts of The Dark Knight Rises, which comes out in summer 2012.  The cast and crew started filming in Lawrenceville and Oakland at the end of July, before moving to downtown yesterday.

Commutes to and from work have been a little hectic due to street closures but all-in-all I don’t think too many people mind the inconvenience when Batman’s in town.  In fact, the entire city is embracing the invasion.  Various local businesses have stocked up on Batman-themed merchandise and decorated their displays accordingly.  Alluding to the film’s code name Magnus Rex, the Tyrannosaurus Rex statue near the Art Institute is cleverly disguised as the Caped Crusader.  Local vendors with their finger on the pop culture pulse have already created Batburgh-themed t-shirts.  The Batburgh Facebook page has been keeping tabs on the filming.

Although quite a few movies have been shot in Pittsburgh over the years, this is the first major film I’ve experienced and it’s been really neat.  Some of my male coworkers who belong to the health club in our neighboring hotel were thrilled to find out that Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) was staying there.  Last weekend, a stadium full of extras were held hostage and entertained by explosions and Tumblers when crews shot scenes at Heinz Field.   Yesterday, it was 80 degrees and sunny in the city, but Oliver Avenue was covered in snow while a camouflaged Tumbler rolled down the street.  Today, I watched the Gotham City police from my office and later walked past crews preparing to shoot an upcoming scene at Trinity Cathedral by dousing the front facade with water (or maybe just washing off snow?).  Who knows what Batman will be up to tomorrow?


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