The O-town Scene

February 09, 2012

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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102 Chestnut St., P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820 Vol. 2, No. 14 Scene the O-Town Vol. 2, No. 15 FOUNDING EDITOR/DESIGNER Cassandra Miller, (607) 432-1000, ext. 255 COMING EVENTS/CALENDAR/COPY EDITOR Adrienne Wise, (607) 432-1000, ext. 206 CONTRIBUTORS Amy Alkon, Mark Boshnack, John Champlin, Ashok Malhotra, Robin Nussbaum, Raul O'Toole, Benjamin Patton, Jeffrey Pegram and Heidi Tanner-Brantley Amy Alkon, Mark Boshnack, John Champlin, Emily Ernsberger, Ashok Malhotra, Robin Nussbaum, Monica O'Leary, Raul O'Toole and Benjamin Patton ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Sean Lewis, (607) 432-100, ext. 235 EDITOR'S NOTE |by Cassandra Miller It's the experiences that make the job EDITOR'S NOTE Frolicking Through February Each issue of the Scene feels like a fun school project (yes, I was one of those kids who loved school projects). I spend hours hunched over a notebook brainstorming and planning, and then I spend hours losing a bit of my eye sight every day working at the computer, and more time out and about talking to people for features. It's a lot of work, but it never feels like work. Sometimes I don't even believe myself when I say I have to go taste-test a cocktail and chat with a bartender or check out an art exhibit "for work." The Oneonta area knows how to put fun into February. Some of the most highly anticipated events happen during this thick-of-the-winter month, notably the Beard- off, the Polar Bear Jump and the Cooperstown Winter Carnival. For this month's cover story, plumber/singer turned barber Randy Miritello let me hang out at his barber shop, where some men came in for shaves and trims, some to play chess at the formica table at the back of the shop, and others brought guitars for an after-shave music session. The Crystal Palace Barber Shop in Oneonta is a manly place. It's also a musical place. Randy's Americana band, the Horsheshoe Lounge Playboys, rehearses at the shop, where there's a drum set and microphone stands set up on old rugs in front of large paintings by Randy's artist friends. It feels like a hip friend's living room, except there's also a row of retro barber chairs. Read more on Pages 16-17. The Beardoff, of which the O-Town Scene is a sponsor, is one of my all-time favorite annual events. Men with facial hair, music and thoughtful judging of men with facial hair? A fantastic night out! It's a quirky, fun idea, and it's for a good cause. This year, the event is Feb. 10, and proceeds will benefit the anti-fracking campaign of Otsego County Conservation Association. Its first two years, funds went to recipients of the Polar Bear Jump, a fundraiser for area young people with illnesses. For this fun February event, people raise money for at-need recipients and then jump in the usually frozen Goodyear Lake. For a lot of participants, it is a day of partying. Partying (and jumping in a frozen lake) for a good cause. Last year, a friend and I got stuck on an icy pond after taking a wrong turn down a lake access road, and missed the jump. I called my brother for his advice and/or assistance, but he was on a party bus by the actual jump site. We might have saved ourselves frostbite as the 2011 jump was on a brutally cold and windy day. Kudos to any- one who did it last year. This year's event, Feb. 18, looks like it might be closer to a dip in a non-heated pool than a plunge through tundra-like conditions. But, fun for a good cause all the same. The Cooperstown Winter Carnival is Feb. 10-12, and is a well-oiled machine run with a committee that plans the annual event almost a year in advance. There is always a variety of events for both adults and families _ this year's Brazilian Carnivale themed weekend features the "Calypso Clash" Carnival Cooler and Drink Contest, the SSPCA Dog Show, the Carnival Lip Sync Show and a jambalaya eating contest. Down state Route 28, another Randy sets a friendly atmosphere at his place of work. Randy Beers bartends at Cooperstown's Alex and Ika Restaurant, a charm- ing and stylish eatery owned by Swedes who have decorated the walls with vintage mirrors and serve creative, delicious dishes and cocktails. Randy served me the Lukas Monster Margarita, a tequila and fresh-squeezed juice concoction named for owners Alex and Ika's children, who were toddlers when the drink was conceptual- ized. That recipe is on Page 7. PUBLISHER Armand Nardi, (607) 432-1000, ext. 214 EDITOR OF THE DAILY STAR Sam Pollak (607) 432-1000, ext. 208 The O-Town Scene is published the second Thursday of each month by The Daily Star Inc. Free copies are distributed throughout Oneonta, as well as parts of Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties. Member of The Associated Press and CNHI News Service 2 O-Town Scene Feb. 9, 2012 2 O-Town Scene Jan. 12, 2012 sue, including the Roxbury Arts Group, which opens an exhibit of the late Michael Fauerbach's paintings and three-dimensional works Jan. 14. Fauerbach's wife, Ellen, has worked closely with RAG, and the nonprofit's representatives were adamant about mentioning what a great friend she has been to the group in press releases and in person when I was in Roxbury taking photos of the exhibit. The show is hung throughout one of RAG's galleries and its large hall, and is worth a trip to Roxbury. My favorites were Fauerbach's three-dimensional pieces where he painted a city scene on a large canvas, and then attached a cut-out painting of a person or two that he then extended in front of the city scene, casting actual shadows on the acrylic streets. More information is on Page 11, and Casual Chit Chat with RAG's lovely new director, Jenny Rosenzweig, is on Page 10. It also includes the Dessert Lovers' Contest, into which I am entering my Hidden Treasure cookies. Not buried treasure like pirates, but hidden treasure like Heaven on Earth. I googled the phrase and found our that the parable of the Hidden Treasure is a well-known parable of Jesus. And seeing as it is almost Lent, when some Christian-folk give up something they enjoy, why not indulge in butter and sugar a little before that starts? The cookies will be presented in a treasure chest if I can find one (which I am aware mixes the pirate and Jesus types of treasures), and individually wrapped in purple plastic wrap _ like jewels. They look like regular chocolate chip cookies, but when you bite into one, the "treasure" is an Oreo, which is baked surrounded by cookie dough. The little things excite me. Like plan- ning themed cookie entries to baking contests. And shameless self-promotion. This is my job. When I start getting down about the material aspect of what I do, I feel better thinking of the memory-making and enriching experiences I've had through reporting, writing and editing for The Daily Star and the O-Town Scene. It has been a good three years in terms of life experience. "Five myths of the Ameri- can Dream" on Page 14 of this week's issue says success is based on do- ing something you love and surrounding yourself with positive people. In those terms, I'm living the dream. I hope you are, too. Speaking of which, even though my mom loves seeing my byline after a lot of articles here, a publication written primarily by one person is a little boring. So, we're adding an option for reader-submitted reviews and stories on our website, When it comes to representing writers, the more the mer- rier, and better. We're also looking for writers who are interested in taking assign- ments so they can bulk up their clip collection and resume. Email me at editor@ for more information. February is exciting. We've compiled as many events happen- ing in the next month as we could find. Enjoy this warm winter! And feel free to stop by the Dessert Lovers' Contest on Feb. 11. Cassandra Miller is the founding editor and designer of the O-Town Scene. She can be reached at Cassandra Miller is the founding editor and designer of the O- Town Scene. She can be reached at There was a theme of family and friends at every place I visited for this month's is-

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