PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2012) — The mailbag has been full to overflowing, and let’s begin today by letting We The People have their say on issues that are of concern to them. THE PLANET is honored to provide this space for letters, opinions, and views that might otherwise be shut out.

THE PLANET, on the air with at WRRS FM 104.3 (Photo by Bill Sturgeon)

First, let us say how much we enjoyed our inaugural guesting spot on Bill Sturgeon‘s  new show, “Discussion from the Berkshires,” airing from a lovely little studio each morning beginning at 11 a.m. on WRRS FM 104.3. The show broadcasts out of the studio located in the UCP Building on West Street in Pittsfield.

We’re glad to broadcast from a studio space that doesn’t require fumigation before and after use and that has equipment that doesn’t require duct tape, paper clips, and rubber bands to function properly.

THE PLANET is also glad to see Sturgeon on the air again. You may recall how abruptly his last show terminated on WTBR FM, aborted in the final trimester because of “political pressure” still unidentified persons put on TRB manager Larry Kratka.

Kratka has an appearance before the school committee coming up in August, and that will be the time for him to come clean:

(a) Who put the squeeze on you, LK, to drop Sturgeon, and

(b) Why did you cave in to the pressure?

You are a newsman, so-called, who has a responsibility to resist this sort of hooliganism. THE PLANET speaks as someone who has stood up many times to pressure to keep us quiet. We did it recently, entering a hostile courtroom, looking a couple bullies in the face and watching them him wilt from the Big At Bat came.

MEMO TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE: Kratka gets a stipend from city taxpayers to run WTBR. The funds to keep WTBR on the air also come from Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. Please ask Kratka those two questions, (a) and (b).

Back to Sturgeon, THE PLANET looks forward to many more appearances on what is shaping up to be a lively and informative hour of chat. We’re glad to offer this plug to our good friend, “The Fat Man.”



Hiring of Richardson to Restore Vietnam Mural ‘An Insult’

TO THE PLANET: In 2010 Mayor James Ruberto (GOB ) hired Boston/Pittsfield artist David J. Richardson to paint over the murals in Pittsfield….not only an insult to nationally known artist Daniel Galvez of Oakland, Calif., and Berkshire Artist William F. Blake of Gt. Barrington, Mass., Bonnie Bergmann of Mason, Wisc., and myself (the artists who primarily painted Pittsfield’s murals ) but also a total infringement of our copyrights of the murals.

The Boring Broadsheet (BB) totally ignored the theft and rape of these mural images (Harry’s Supermarket Mural and Vietnam Memorial Mural ) by an artist who can’t even paint a portrait….in Harry’s mural he paints sunglasses on subjects in mural because he can’t paint portraits and totally changes the composition of the mural…in the Vietnam Mural the entire design of the mural is changed by the elimination of whole areas of the mural and the elimination of two portraits of soldiers from the Berkshires who died in Vietnam ( Larry Witanek from Cheshire,Mass. and Richard Davis from North Adams, Mass.) again because the artist can’t paint portraits.

Dan this constitutes an outright violation of the visual intellectual rights of the artists who created these murals…a rape of our souls.

I’m sure you wouldn’t stand for it if someone changed the wording of your work…but because Jim Ruberto and the BB have no decency, it happened and the artists are left with only the rights to sue….and because it is visual composition in nature nobody is aware of it even happening.

Not only did Jim Ruberto fire me in 2005 from a position I held in City Government in 2005, he was protected by the BB and he also raped my soul in 2010 again with the full protection of the BB, as they were made aware of it.

Daniel Galvez and the other artists are devastated and want their names removed from the murals (contact Will Blake @ 413-528-6522) but I just want justice for the intellectual crimes of Jim Ruberto and Meghan Whilden. — DAN O’CONNELL (The writer is former Arts Commissioner in Pittsfield).


‘Airport Runway Deal Stinks’

TO THE PLANET: Thank you for not coming down on my recent rants/comments concerning the Kaminsky Farm and the Pittsfield Airport Runway Project. Nache was Dear Friend whom was denigrated by the city, state, 2nd homeowners, and the Left Winged Parrot (a better name for what used to be the Berkshire Bird, what you call the Boring Broadsheet).

This runway deal stinks as much as PEDA/GE and the GOB/POS/EPA that forged the “consent decree.” THE BASTARDS that insult the Man, Farm, Family, and hurt me.
I will also stand by my statements about the First Lady and the Goobernator, in RICHmond.  Thank you for letting me have my say. This is America, as you defended against the Nilan Clan.  I stated my point, thanks and kudos!



‘The Broken Promises End Now’

TO THE PLANET: Even though more than 23 million Americans are struggling for work, and the unemployment rate has remained above eight percent for a post WWII record 41 straight months, President Obama wants us to believe he has it covered.

He says he spends “every waking hour” working to fix our economy.

Yet, he doesn’t even have time for his own Jobs Council, which hasn’t met in the past six months. That’s probably because the president “has a lot on his plate” – you know – attending political fundraisers and playing golf.

While Obama has found plenty of time to try and save his own job, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. The broken promises end now. — REINCE PRIEBUS (The writer is chairman of the Republican National Committee).


‘Sensible Piece Needed on Gun Violence’

TO THE PLANET: Will you please write a sensible piece on gun violence? The recent rash of anti gun letters to the Eagle is disturbing. One man even claimed that a gun doesn’t have a conscience! Also, Timothy McVeigh killed over a hundred people with stuff you can get at a farm and a hardware store. Take away guns and we’ll all be at the mercy of our government and lunatics like this. Why don’t people get that? — SM

THE PLANET responds: Good idea on the gun piece.


‘Train, Train, 16 Coaches Long’

Ron Kitterman sent this photograph in to THE PLANET without comment under the title “Conrail Bridges.” We’re not sure what the editorial statement is, but we loved the picture, which we now pass along to our readers:


‘FAKE IDs: How did 41 Kids Get Into the GEAA?’

The 41 Fake ID’s were at the GEAA on Crane ave. How did 41 under age kids get in there? Where was the door guy? Did they turned a blind eye to make money? Will this be brought to the licensing board where Carmen “Butch” Massimiano still sits? Will he be able to vote on this?MIRA

The writer sent along a copy of the article on this, as it appeared in the BB. THE PLANET broke the story. As to Mira’s question, we don’t know.


‘The Context is Even Worse’

TO THE PLANET: If every American saw this video, Barack Obama would be out of a job in November.

Watch now:

President Obama claims his “you didn’t build that” quote has been taken out of context, but as you can see in this video — released by his own campaign — the quote in question is insulting and the context is even worse.

Clearly this President’s whole philosophy on the American Dream is upside down. It’s time to make a change.

Mitt Romney understands success is not the result of government, it is the result of hardworking people who take risks, create dreams, and build lives for themselves and their families.

So if you watch only one video during this election, watch this one. And if you share one video on Facebook, Twitter or email during this election, share this one.MATT RHOADES, Campaign Manager, Romney for President


THE PLANET thanks all our writers and contributors. We invite your views on any and all issues. Send to this website or to


MUSIC REVIEW: Guitarist Ginn: A Massive- 90-minute Set 



Greg Ginn & the Royal We, Cinema Cinema, The Uncomfortables Live in Pittsfield July 22nd, 2012, Chameleon’s Nightclub

Rolling Stone’s David Fricke chose Greg Ginn as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and it’s easy to understand why.  Ginn single-handedly created SST Records, one of the early pioneering punk rock record labels in the late 1970s.  SST Records is still releasing music in 2012, which isn’t an easy feat in this age of file stealing and bit torrent downloads.

Ginn also formed the legendary band Black Flag and remained its one constant through their break-up in 1986.  Black Flag broke all the rules that hadn’t even been set in stone by the time their first record was released in 1978 and continue to break rules well beyond their initial demise.  Even in 2012, Black Flag’s influence is still felt around the world and across musical genres.

It was certainly a treat to have Ginn perform right here in Pittsfield with his latest project, Greg Ginn & the Royal We.

Unlike his other post-Black Flag projects, which were traditional bands more or less, the Royal We is more industrial in nature.   The use of repetitive backing beats and effects are complimented by a Theremin and Ginn’s signature guitar sounds.   He incorporates wild video imagery and tonight the house stage lights added a new dimension to this unique and interesting set.

One might be tempted to make it up as they went along, but Ginn’s massive 90-minute set had him performing many of the songs note for note that can be found on Youtube and other sources on the Internet.  There was no introduction, no soundcheck, just the Ginn doing what he does best for the small but enthusiastic crowd.

While Greg Ginn & the Royal We will get far less attention than that of Black Flag or even Gone, Ginn maintains a punk rock persona doing whatever he wants and if you want to come to the party, that’s fine by him.

One of SST Records’ newest signings, Cinema Cinema, took to the stage immediately following Ginn.  Cinema Cinema recently recorded with legendary Washington DC producer Don Zientara and their sound is familiar yet unique at the same time.  There are obvious nods to bands such as Fugazi, Rocket From the Crypt, Sonic Youth, early punk rockers, and even fellow New York City ruckus makers, The Giraffes.  Cinema Cinema makes a lot of good and entertaining noise for being a just a two-piece comprised of drums and guitar.  Cinema Cinema provided a perfect compliment to their tour mate  Ginn.

Pioneer Valley’s The Untouchables closed out the night, and they rocked it from start to finish performing songs from their recent double album release “Across the Shields Vol. 1 and Vol. 2”.  They also threw in a special treat, the song “Fight” from second guitarist Vis Helland’s other band, The Outpatients.  The Uncomfortables carry on the legacy of the Scott and Jay BloodJ’s previous outfit, the Pajama Slave Dancers (as well as Vis’ The Outpatients) and modernize it just a bit.  The put their blood, sweat and beers into this set even as the crowd thinned out late on a Sunday night.  One day this band will be huge and until then, you had best catch them now in a small club while you still can.

Greg Ginn & the Royal We, Cinema Cinema, and The Uncomfortables provided a nearly perfect night of underground music and rock n’ roll on this beautiful summer night.  Until next time…



  1. baby baby
    July 31, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Some people have their “soul” raped.

    Many children are actually raped by adults, who should know better.

    Ask yourself, which is worse?

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      They are both odious, BABY.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    wondering – does anybody else here listen to sturgeon – i couldn’t find what time he was on ’til i read this –

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Granting your point, which is a legitimate one, it’s a difficult thing to do to launch a new show, from nothing, without a lot of marketing. Over time, the show — if it stays on the air, has fresh content, and becomes a habit — will grow by word of mouth. It will also help to actually say something, which is industry talk for: Be opinionated, stir it up, be a catalyst for discussion. I think Bill’s show has the potential for this, but, yes, it will take some time to get it going on all cylinders.

  3. tito
    July 31, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Good luck to Bill. Donna Todd continues to impress and is a natural. Need to balance more to the political spectrum, she’ll be fine!

    • Dave
      July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

      I wonder if the carousel project will stick to their pledge to do it on their own and not look for money from the city. Just because we can’t help ourselves by trying to give it away they don’t have to accept it. This “grant” has the usual dog and pony show performance criteria that will not matter if it is met or not after the money is given. I feel that if there was as much support for this project as suggested, there would be no need to bail it out.
      Who knew we had an extra $250,000 just lying around anyway?

      • dusty
        July 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

        I would strongly urge the carousel people not to deal with the city of Pittsfield. Things might go alright while Bianchi is in office but sooner or later the GOB will be back in power and will want protection money or vendor money from the project. They control the whole permitting process and could revoke them if they are not made happy. They will destroy it one way or another. I certainly would feel more safe bringing my child to the mall.

        • Joe Blow
          July 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

          Bianchi is a huge disappointment. I voted for him expecting change and all I see is more of the same. I should have known better,he is a liberal democrat just like Roberto.

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      We will know DTR has arrived as a talk show host when she invites THE PLANET in for an hour or two.

  4. danvalenti
    July 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Great points, and THE PLANET will present our analysis of this tomorrow. Love the last observation: Isn’t if amazing how taxpayers can’t get relief but the city can out of think air produce a quarter million like it’s peanuts. Carousel horses, by the way, don’t like peanuts.

  5. Jim Gleason
    July 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I haven’t listened to the show on WRRS (Rip Roarin’ Sturgeon) and have no plan to do so.I listen to Donna occasionally and like her show when it’s not artsy fartsy. Dan, most of the money WTBR operates on is raised by fundraisers put on by Mike Pezzo and the kids at the station. The school committee only gives Larry and the station a miniscule stipend for operation.

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      The school department gives Kratka a $1,000 stipend and $6,000 to run the station.

      • Jim Gleason
        August 1, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        As I said, miniscule amounts.

    • Andy
      August 1, 2012 at 4:54 am #

      Other adult jocks have done successful fundraisers for WTBR, they have not all been done by one person, however some fundraisers get more on air mention than others. Some adult and student volunteers show up to these events, many do not, this is true.

      • danvalenti
        August 1, 2012 at 6:44 am #

        Good points, Andy.

  6. Jim Gleason
    July 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    P.S.- I’ve never seen John Krol at even one of the TBR fundraisers.

  7. tito
    July 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    No restraining orders Planet you should be good to go. Was on Valentine road last Thursday, WRIP didn’t even come in.

    • Jim Gleason
      August 1, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      If you’re referring to TBR, I’ve been in New Lebanon recently and it came in fine there. You must have a crappy sound system.

  8. Browning
    July 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Valenti with the Downtown Diva. DTR, we are on watch now. Get Dan on!

  9. tito
    July 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Diva beats Sturge interviewing Meg Wilhelm.

    • danvalenti
      July 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Yes, but how many times can Meg Whilden be a guest on local talk radio? Shallow pool, we realize, but getting “fished out” shouldn’t happen.

    • Dave
      July 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      Does “Best of the Berkshires” have a category for Talk show host. It could get nasty this year. I get a kick out of how ridiculous businesses and banks get around voting time handing out their cut up newspapers to their customers in hopes of winning the coveted title. The most ridiculous example of this was when DTR kept imploring people on her show to vote her store BB and Beyond “Best Kid’s Venue”. I mean no disrespect and admire her owning her own business, but I can’t ever imagine me saying “Pack the car kids and hop in, we’re going to BB and Beyond today”.

      • danvalenti
        August 1, 2012 at 6:44 am #

        That kind of action does not serve her business well or her position as a talk show host.

  10. tito
    August 1, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Every living day of my life, I say self? Will I go to bath, bees and beyond, will today be the day?

  11. Rivetor
    August 1, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Biscuits, Bath, Beads, and Beyond, DTR could be good as talk show host but she comes off too much as a self-promoter. She has a business downtown on N Street. That’s her agenda, to promote that and make herself “important.” Agree with others when they say her show is too artsy-touchy-feely, too light weight. It comes off like a “women’s show” no offense meant.

    • danvalenti
      August 1, 2012 at 6:43 am #

      Donna, the Downtown Diva, has to decide what she wants her show to be. Right now, it’s trying to be everything to everyone. That’s a formula for mediocrity. I agree when you say DTR has the ability. THE PLANET served as coach and mentor when she first broke into radio. WE have tried to get her to pursue the edge. We remain hopeful.

  12. rick
    August 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    i cant believe priebus wrote to the planet….after romneys debacle in england, poland and not coming forward with his tax records i figured priebus would be out looking for another presidential opponent to go against obama… romneys turning out to be a bigger ass than the republican party…. and thats a lot of ass.