Ever since Ed Gately floated the word in our interview this month, I’ve been thinking of the notion of “permanence.”
In a city that has often disregarded our own history in favor of something new (Union Station arches, anyone?), it’s a difficult concept to pin down.
Divergent opinions of the capital city’s process—some lament we’re still too far behind the coasts, while others fear the slipping of our sleepy Midwest secret—make that even more difficult.
I remember someone a few years ago, when beloved Surly Girl Saloon announced its closing: “WHAT HAPPENED? I mean, that was there for a decade!?”
Yeah, I responded, think about how long that is in Columbus years.
I imagine the truth about Columbus’s evolution lies more in the median. Somewhere between a faux fondness for a Short North you never lived in, and Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which, depending on people’s feelings toward mixed use condos, could be either drama or documentary.
It’s everywhere we look in our headlines: Amazon! (Brings jobs, traffic, gentrification); Hyperloop! (You can get to a Cubs game in 27 minutes (no parking), but have your city turned into a suburb of the Windy City).
This month, we take a look at the film industry (page 46)—and Columbus’s heated courtship of it—as an examination of that dichotomy. It’s fascinating that during a time of rapid change in the urban core, with downtown’s culture creeping more and more outside the outerbelt, that we could become a new test market city. While locals exalt a growing social docket and a creatively expanded food and drink community, Hollywood outsiders are starting to take notice, but instead seeing this as a quaint canvass, a nondescript landscape perfect for shooting barbershop brawls and city hall press conferences.
So, what is permanence? Even if more of our city becomes immortalized on film, it doesn’t mean it’s preserving a true vision of Columbus.
I suppose that’s part of where the mission of (614) comes in, trying our best to document Columbus for what it looks like now. I still marvel at old issues of the magazine—and the old Columbus it represented—and feel a certain cognitive dissonance. Okay, that was Columbus. But for how long? When did it change? When did that shop close, or that brewery open up?
Permanence and change can become bedfellows, too. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to realize that the new Veritas downtown was going into an old building, a rarity in this era. Same goes with this month’s Barrel and Boar (page 72), now in its own right a local chain, but one that breathes new life into the old Westerville theater. Or Juniper (60), not only providing brand-new view of Columbus—but doing it without displacing something else.
Let’s call it permanence—for now. A celebration of something new taking up old space. An old-timey photo studio that likely used to store machinery (page 40). A co-working space for black women (page 80). A park that used to be called Schiller (page 82), and then wasn’t, and then was again.
Go out and embrace the now. You never know how long it’ll last.
Travis Hoewischer, Editor-in-Chief