Dr. Know: Hipster Cities, Scattered Organs, and Breaking News

I saw a news item saying that Cincinnati has been ranked as the Number Three “hipster city” in America! Where did this ridiculous study, or survey, or something, come from? I mean, I love Cincinnati and am proud of our recent positive changes, but “hipster?” What is the source of this folly? —HIP REPLACEMENT

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Dear Replacement:
The Doctor shares your outrage. Our city his worked far too hard for more than 200 years establishing ourselves as the Ultimate Standard of Regularness. Cincinnati, a hipster city? The city that invented the World’s Largest Chicken Dance? Did all of those countless Cincinnatians climb all of those Immaculata steps for nothing?

This absurd ranking comes from MoveHub, a British website for people who are relocating. The site created a “U.S. Hipster Index,” apparently not noticing that the word “hipster” dates from the 1940s. Using data that tabulates the density of things like microbreweries, vegan outlets, rent demand, tattoo parlors, and thrift stores (you know, the important stuff), Cincinnati was ranked third after Vancouver and Salt Lake City. Yes, Donny Osmond is hipper than Nick Lachey.

Cincinnati didn’t even make the Top Ten in most categories, but because we absolutely killed in “Tattoo parlors per 100,000 people,” we were ranked No. 3 overall. Dude, we’re hipster now?

Whatever happened to the glorious pipe organ that was at the Springdale Music Palace? I used to beg my parents to take me there when I was a kid. Many old organs get rescued and restored, like one from the Albee Theater that’s now at Music Hall. Please tell me Springdale’s organ survives somewhere. —ORGAN HARVEST

Dear Harvest:
Think back to the you-were-never-born sequence of It’s a Wonderful Life, where George Bailey asks the angel Clarence what’s become of his beloved Mary, and Clarence answers, “You’re not going to like it, George.” Similarly, the Doctor hopes you are sitting down.

Once there was a magnificent 2,284-pipe Wurlitzer built in Philadelphia to accompany silent movies in a magnificent theater. Unfortunately, this was in 1929, just as the talkies were killing off the silents. Soon the Depression killed off everything, and the Wurlitzer sat unused for decades. Then, it was restored in 1982 as the entertainment centerpiece for a new restaurant, the Springdale Music Palace—sort of a Tchaikovsky-E Cheese’s.

A fire in 1992 came close to destroying the organ, but after some heavy RoboCop-type restoration, it reawakened in 1998 at a new Music Palace in Sharonville. Same magnificent organ, same acceptable pizza! Whether the organ survives today depends on what you mean by “survives.” Since Music Palace closed about 10 years ago, the organ’s numerous pipes and parts have scattered; some are in use, some in storage. It’s sad, but as another old movie says, “We’ll always have Albee’s.”

The morning after the recent Bengals–Steelers night game my Cincinnati Enquirer didn’t show the final score. I know that “breaking news” isn’t what newspapers do anymore, but it made me wonder: What’s the deadline nowadays for getting news into the morning paper? —THIS JUST IN

Dear Just:
Stop the presses! Get me rewrite! Where’s my fedora with “Press” in the headband?! The days when you couldn’t know the overnight news until your dog brought in the morning paper are long gone. “Print is no longer a deadline medium,” says the Enquirer’s Senior News Director, Michael Kilian. Readers now get fresh news online, so the print edition—still miraculously able to find your driveway’s deepest puddle—has shifted its mission to “insight, analysis, and a look ahead.”

Reporters and editors now transmit their various Enquirer articles to Louisville, where owner Gannett has a regional hub that does page design for several of its papers. The Enquirer is then printed in Columbus, trucked to Cincinnati, and ultimately delivered directly to your puddle. This requires that stories be submitted to Louisville by mid-evening.

It was not always so. Back when everything was homegrown, typical deadlines were more like 10:30 p.m., with methods for later insertions of sports scores. If sudden major news forced a “put to bed” edition to wake up, the dreaded MMO (Must Make Over) would be invoked. Some heart-stopping events today might trigger an MMO, but a Bengals loss to the Steelers is not among them. 

Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, weekday afternoon deejay on 92.5 FM The Fox. Submit your questions about the city’s peculiarities at drknow@cincinnatimagazine.com.

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