Whatever we end up calling them—the Aughts, or the Aughties, or even worse, the Naughties—it seemed like we’d never make it through the first decade of this century, didn’t it? Two stock market crashes, two recessions, two wars, Y2K, 9/11, countless scandals and effronteries to what’s left of our sense of taste (Steroids in baseball! Britney’s breakdown! Tom DeLay on Dancing with the Stars!)—it was enough to make any sane American want to move to Canada. But let’s not throw in the towel just yet. We’ve got a fresh new decade facing us. Instead of shaking off a national hangover, we should all be working toward a cosmic do-over. Time to straighten up and fly right, America. Get our houses (what’s left of them) in order. Clean up our acts, buckle down, and get to work.
Sorry, I think I was channeling Lou Dobbs there for a second. But the fact remains that a new year, and especially a new decade, brings with it the chance for renewal. As it turns out, this is precisely what the Cincinnati Arts Association is attempting to do with Music Hall. As Polk Laffoon IV delineates in this issue—with great attention to the delicacy and diplomacy of such matters—it is not easy to refurbish a cultural and architectural icon. But it’s something that absolutely must be done if the city wants to not just keep the orchestra and the opera alive, but to re-energize each organization and set Music Hall on a more exciting course for the 21st century.
Chip Chinery may know nothing about where we (or he) is going in this new century, but he certainly knows something about renewal—mainly because, as a comic actor making a living in Hollywood, he is always on the hunt for his next gig. Born and raised in Cincinnati, where he first stepped up to a mic and attempted the humbling task of making a room full of people laugh, Chinery has worked incredibly hard and endured his share of humiliations on his way to, well…not stardom, certainly, but consistent, gainful employment over the last 20 years. We asked him (about three years ago, actually) if he could tell his tale of a comedic dream deferred and he happily did. It may seem trivial, but really, can you think of anyone who better exemplifies pluck and determination in these trying times than the guy who’s eked out a living playing the Capital One Elf?
Finally, this month we include the newest installment of our Top Doctors list. This is the third time in the last five years that we’ve completed the survey ourselves. It is a long, painstaking process—as our ever-capable Deputy Editor Amanda Boyd Walters understands all too well, having started working on it last May—and one that we fine tune a little more each time we do it. But it is probably the most useful and valuable service piece we compile in this magazine. Not to mention reliably awe-inspiring. As Jesse Taylor, our cover doc, says about the experience of successfully engineering and growing a new bone in order to rebuild a 14-year-old boy’s face, “In all of our lives, we probably get the chance to do that only once or twice. So it was pretty cool.” Hope for the future indeed.