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Welcome home, George Clooney!

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A film being made in Cincinnati is in itself big news. Filmmaking is BIG business and a fascinating one at that. Ides of March, which area native George Clooney is not only acting in, but also directing, is creating a lot of stir, and helping to put Cincinnati on the proverbial map.

But this film is being overshadowed by another presence. The excitement and talk I’ve heard has little to do with the film. It’s all about George!

For the past few days all I’ve heard is that George was sighted downtown, George was seen on the campus of Miami University, crowds could get a glimpse of George in Mount Lookout Square, he was spotted in a certain establishment on Third Street…it goes on and on.

Now I know that part of the hub-bub is due to the fact that he grew up in Augusta, Georgia and studied at NKU. Added to this is the fact that his father Nick Clooney and his aunt Rosemary Clooney are not only famous in their own right, but dearly loved by thousands in the Tri-State area. But that doesn’t explain all the fuss.

O.K., it’s true he’s a handsome guy…in the extreme… but face it, he couldn’t get where his is as just another pretty face. No, that’s not it, either.

My own theory to explain his vast popularity is his charisma, which goes beyond charm. The man exudes a quality that keeps us all spellbound: a combination of intelligence, class, magnetism, confidence…but the best part of all, is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Yes, he’s an actor. But to take that a step further, he’s an expert communicator. And I think he would tell you that’s not a skill he was born with. With over seventy films to his credit, George makes it look easy to perform in front of a camera , but make no mistake, he’s got every nuance down to an art form. In a word—perfection. And he doesn’t just emote in front of a camera, he takes charge behind it too, and believe me, it isn’t easy to control a cast and crew on a complicated set.

Off the set, he’s a spokesman and an activist, helping people all over the globe who need it…from New Orleans to Darfur to Haiti and many points between. His philanthropic work includes Cinema For Peace, Bono’s ONE Campaign, Make Poverty History, the World Food Programme, and Realizing the Dream.

Simply put, we’re proud of George. He’s a role model who’s lived on the same streets that we do. And today he moves around Cincinnati with an exuberance, his vast film crew following behind him. No wonder he’s so adored!

Just as an aside, I’m a film enthusiast. I’m delighted to see the huge trucks parked on the street, the first sign that Ides of March is shooting on location, while many may be annoyed that they’re blocking traffic. Most of those trucks, by the way, are called grip trucks,. They carry lighting, rigging, and camera equipment. The crew members who set up the lighting—in all sorts of environments and conditions where films are made—are called grips, who are widely known for their daring sense of adventure. For this reason, grips have also been called “existential cowboys.” But I’m probably already losing you, because you wanted to read about George Clooney.

So I’ll just say, “Welcome to Greater Cincinnati, George. Welcome home!”

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