The O-town Scene

December 15, 2011

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Living Long and Prospering |by Sam Spokony Music brings light to cold, dark days I don't know if you've noticed, but it starts to get dark real early around this time of year. It's damn depress- ing. And I think it's worse here in London; I woke up at 2 p.m. today after a night of friend's-birthday- related heavy drinking, and I swear it was dark an hour later. It can really suck the life out of you if you're not careful. My problem is that I always forget it's going to happen, like I forget it's going to be summer again in six months or that my birthday's coming up soon. It can be tough to notice that things around you are changing — right? Some- times the first indication you get is the fact that they've started playing the Christmas tunes in Starbucks, and all the cardboard cups now have creepy little snowpeople on them. Then you realize it's dark outside. All this may, of course, have been going on for weeks before you've fully grasped it. I heard holiday muzak and saw some glitter flash around the rim of one of the baristas' Santa hats. I panicked, and jammed my headphones in. Sometimes jokes can go too far As many of you know, I work for a restau- rant that is far from respectable. I admit, I thought they couldn't shock me anymore. But they went ahead and outdid themselves. My coworkers, my managers and, admit- tedly, myself, are often found saying and doing things to one another that could easily be considered sexual harassment at its finest. And yes, I do realize that even mere jokes are supposed to be considered inappropri- ate. But in an environment where they are excusable, I find myself curious when these same jokes go too far over the line. I don't care who you are, you are aware of that lovely little wives' tale saying females comfortable enough in their sexuality to show off a little too much skin or talk too openly about sex are teases. In this society, a lot of people think these teases deserve what is coming to them; and yes, sometimes this can be nothing more than sexual harass- ment, and sometimes it can go as far as rape. But again, no one deserves to be put Sitting here this afternoon, in my semi-personal coffee shop alcove with laptop charger and free WiFi, I heard holiday mu- zak and saw some glitter flash around the rim of one of the baristas' Santa hats. I panicked, and jammed my headphones in. I happened to land on "California Here I Come," an album recorded by pianist (and one of my eternally overblown artistic heroes) Bill Evans and a short-lived trio — Eddie Gomez on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums — during a two-night stint at the Village Vanguard in New York in 1967. It's only called "Cali- fornia Here I Come" because that was the first tune they played. Now, Evans and Gomez would be bound at the hip for the next 10 years, so hearing those two together is nothing new. But Philly Joe is a strange presence; he'd recorded with my hero in 1958 on "Everybody Digs Bill Evans" (with Sam Jones on bass), and that was about it. They hadn't played together since then, and never would again. So as I'm sitting here thinking about how it gets cold and dark every year, wondering what it would've been like Working Girl |by Jennifer Tighe in a position where they are sexually pres- sured, forced or uncomfortable. A cook recently went so far as to forcibly put his hands on a fellow server at work. When I spoke to my manager about this bothering me, his response was quite liter- ally, "Girls like you, teases, deserve to be treated like that. You deserve to be raped." I have never lost so much respect for some- one in such a short amount of time. I think that is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. The sad part is, he's my manager. Well, manager, jerks like you and cooks like that deserve to be fired. Have fun dealing with corporate, because I reported you. And mind you, this is someone I trusted and respected telling me that I deserve to have something that horrific done to me because I like to joke around. And after I spent 20 minutes shouting retaliations, he proceeded to tell me it was all a joke. Is rape funny? Because I missed the memo on that one. Jennifer Tighe is a recent SUNY Oneonta graduate. Dec. 15, 2011 O-Town Scene 3 to dig this particular trio on the only eves of its existence. Like witnessing a supernova or something. Or the subsequent black hole, even, with gravitational pull so strong that it could have ripped one free from the bounds of space and time and put a stop to the seasonal cycle for good. You've got Bill Evans there, doing that thing where he gets lost in his own lyricism and bends way, way over the keyboard, bends deep from the hips like a yogi with horn-rimmed glasses. Eddie Gomez is 22 years old, which is weird to even think about, just because it's always weird to realize someone can be that good at something at that age. He's looking stoic, with a skinny mustache and a middle-distance gaze. Philly Joe is kind of over-playing back there, to be honest. Just a bit. He's a heavy hitter, even with brushes, and the Evans trios always favored the airy, swishy-type guys for whom color was king. But that added swinging drive makes the tunes seem a little different. They're playing "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," and I'm finish- ing my coffee. Extra shot. My classes here are done now, and, after a few more weeks of hanging around Lon- don and such, I'll be headed back to New York, graduating in May, and then trying to find more people to pay me to do stuff like this. And I wonder if at any point I'll actually begin to notice when the seasons change rather than always feeling like the last person to show up to the strangest party ever. Probably not. But I notice how awesome it is when Bill Evans and Philly Joe are trading solos at their set 45 years ago, so things do seem all right for now. Sam Spokony is a senior at SUNY Oneonta. He is spending the fall se- mester studying abroad in London.

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