It is hard to know what is real these days.
Over the last month, the city and advocates for people experiencing homelessness fought a pitched battle over a tent city that originated under Fort Washington Way near Third Street and moved several times as the city sought to remove it. Earlier this week, the last readily-visible vestige of that struggle — a camp home to about 15 people on private property in Over-the-Rhine — packed up and left under threat of arrest after an order by Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman banned the camps county-wide.
Then yesterday, someone noticed a new camp close to Third Street near where the original camp was set up and called Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who has worked to enforce Ruehlman's order. Deters called Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports, and Cranley called the police.
But in a twist worthy of Don DeLillo's seminal post-modern novel White Noise, that camp turned out to be a movie set. Crews have been in town for the past few weeks filming a remake of the 2010 French film Point Blank, and the camp, replete with actors, makeshift shelters and tents, is part of the movie.
CPD checked out the tent city, determined film crews had permits to be there, and left.
It's la bizarre coda to the month-long saga around the camps. While as many as 50 of those staying in those camps were able to secure housing or shelter space during the ordeal, many are still without shelter. That could lead to legal trouble for those still out on the streets: One former tent city inhabitant recently showed a CityBeat reporter a warning citation she received from a CPD officer for sleeping on a bench downtown that happened to be a block or so from one of the filming locations.