Here’s the thing. If you live in Los Angeles, New York, Miami or anywhere the “Real World” touches down, you’re used to seeing your city on TV. But if, like me, you live in, say, Cincinnati (or, as my colleagues in New York like to call it, Cleveland), not so much.
Which is why watching the debut episode of the Nick Lachey-produced “Taking the Stage” on Thursday night was so exciting. See, for years, I’ve been trying to convince the folks here at MTV that Cin-city is the kind of cultural magnet where major things happen all the time.
And not just because I live here. I didn’t go to the School for Creative & Performing Arts, which is featured in the show, but plenty of my good friends did, and I spent quite a bit of time there hanging out with them, in awe of their talents. I was back there in 2005 when former student and 98 Degrees member Justin Jeffre announced his (ultimately failed) bid for mayor of Cincinnati, with, of course, Lachey by his side.
And watching the first episode was exciting not just because I know the halls of the 99-year-old building by heart, or because a multimillion dollar new building is currently being constructed down the street and this might be a last longing look at the old one. It was thrilling to see shots of the Roebling Bridge spanning the Ohio River, the Reds’ Great American Ballpark downtown, the inside of Baba Budan’s Espresso Bar — where one of the show’s stars plays a gig, and which I’ve passed a million times — and the historic, colorful 19th-century architecture that surrounds the school in the perpetually on–the-cusp-of-being-revitalized Over-the-Rhine neighborhood where SCPA is located.