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Was that George Clooney jogging down Tryon Street?

By Théoden Janes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. If you happen to hear someone say they saw George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey jogging down Tryon Street, it might have been George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey.

It might also have been two fit, good-looking delegates. Or two fit, good-looking bankers.

Or maybe it was no one. It might have been that the person you heard it from heard it from a co-worker, who heard it from the person who cuts their hair, who heard it from another customer. And the other customer, for all anybody knows, might have made the whole thing up.

This is how it’ll go all week during the DNC, among people who care about such things. Dozens of household-name celebrities are in town or arriving soon for official convention activities, private parties, public forums and other events. Some even bigger names have been rumored, from Clooney (still unconfirmed) to Brad Pitt (he seems likely) to Oprah Winfrey (not so much).

And so, for a week, Tryon Street becomes like a mini-Sunset Boulevard. The EpiCentre and the N.C. Music Factory become quasi-microcosms of Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Stars will be everywhere. And people like me will hope to spot them.

There are some dead giveaways. If you suddenly see a horde of people swarm into one small area and pull out their cellphone cameras, you are probably witnessing a celebrity encounter. But it’s almost impossible to plan for something like this. As with so many other things in life, the keys to success are connections, timing and dumb-stupid luck.

Here’s an example of the fun we’ll have:

Sunday afternoon, the Observer got a call from an anonymous tipster who claimed – you guessed it – they had just seen George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey jogging down Tryon Street.

So naturally, I tweeted this out, grabbed a notebook, and headed for the escalators. (The Observer building is on Tryon Street.) On the way down, I ran into staff photographer Todd Sumlin toting a very long lens.

“Where are you headed?” I asked.

“Well, I heard George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey were seen jogging down Tryon Street,” he replied.

A block away, on the corner in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, one of our editors, Jennifer Rothacker, was on her cellphone and craning her neck to look down the street.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Wanted to see if George Clooney was still out running. No sign of him yet.”

Another block down, I saw not Clooney, but Observer clerk Sherri Bain, who took the call.

“Have you seen him??” she asked.

I said no but assured her I’d poke around for a bit longer, and dedicated my cause to Danny Ocean and “Magic Mike” fans everywhere. But in the end, I saw no George. I saw no Matt. All I had really seen was about half the Observer’s newsroom staff. Oh well, maybe there’s –

Oops, hang on, phone’s ringing. Sorry guys, gotta run. I hear Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were just spotted buying diapers at Wal-Mart. I’ll keep you posted …

Follow Théoden Janes on Twitter for updates about celebrities in town for the DNC: @theodenjanes; https://twitter.com/theodenjanes. If you see a celebrity, email tjanes@charlotteobserver.com.
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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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