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LEGENDS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE REUNION CONCERT SEPT. 9 AT BOYS CLUB; TICKETS ON SALE NOW … AUG. 20 — AN EVOCATIVE DAY … POETRY MONDAY WELCOMES ROBERT BROWNING

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, AUG. 20, 1967) — We want to bring your attention to a special event that will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club. The Legends of the Lighthouse reunion concert will play the club from noon to 6 p.m. that day. It will feature bands and musicians who played The Lighthouse in the 1960s and 1970s, during the hay-day of the Pittsfield music scene.

Dave Loehr's fabulous flyer for the LEGENDS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE concert.

Acts will include The Haze, Cornucopia, the Vandels, The Marksmen, The Unitones, The Quarrymen, The Corvairs, The Berkshire Beatles, Shenandoah, Wynd & Rain, The Continentals, The Victors, Eastre Rebellion, Mick Valenti, Antacrtica, Sunny Day People, The Quarry, John Harding, Quick Fox, Potter Mountain Band, The Chasers, and more.

These bands and acts testify to a time when the Berkshires had a thriving local music scene that could support numerous bands with plenty of work. These were the days when musicians actually played their own instruments and “sampling” was known as plagiarism.

MICK VALENTI: Local Legend returning for rare Berkshire appearance at "Legends of the Lighthouse" concert, Sept. 9. Tickets on sale now. The Marksmen, the Haze, the Chaser, Potter Mountain, the Berkshire Beatles, and many many other acts are on the bill.

Bobby Dick of The Sundowners will emcee this show. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 on the day of the show. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch the gold vein of Berkshire musical talent. All proceeds will go to support programs at the Club.

BROTHER PLANET, Mick Valenti, will be making a rare Berkshire appearance, representing himself as well as his bands The Victors, The Quarrymen, The Quarry, and Quick Fox. Mick says he’s looking forward to moving back the hands of time for this one day, gathering with a lot of long-time friends, to play music once again in a venue where he once played countless times.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

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AUG. 20: AN EVOCATIVE DAY 

Last week, we buried Mr. Red Sox, Johnny Pesky. This week, our thoughts wander back 45 years ago, to Fenway Park. On this day, the Boston Red Sox swept the California Angels in a doubheader, 12-2 and 9-8. We were there with our dad. It remains one our great memories from youth.

In the first game, Lee Stange threw a complete game, and Reggie Smith, who two years prior was playing centerfield for the Pittsfield Red Sox, homered from both sides of the plate. In the second game, the Sox overcame an 8-0 deficit to win on Jerry Adair‘s home run in the bottom of the eighth. The wins came during the pulsating Impossible Dream season, the Year of Yaz.

Two Night Earlier, When Tragedy Struck

The gauze of memory, however, moves us back two days earlier. On Aug. 18, Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton hit Tony Conigliaro just below the left eye, in effect ending Conigliaro’s career. Conigliaro, the youngest man in baseball history to reach 100 home runs, had a Hall of Fame career waiting ahead. Then that pitch.

Each Aug. 20, we are taken back to that glorious doubleheader, then moved to that tragic night two days before. We remember the 20th, a steamy, hazy day, with box seats along the short right field line. They cost $5 each. The payroll of the entire Red Sox roster was $875,000.

We rode to and from in our father’s 1965 maroon Pontiac Catalina station wagon, the back seat all to ourselves, so we could stretch out, lie down, and watch the clouds and tree tops zip by in a whir, like the endless-loop background of a cartoon. Baseball had net been ruined by the influx of money, deafening noise, and electronics.

On the 18th, we instinctively knew the extent of Tony C’s injury. He would not play again until 1969, and, through several unsuccessful comeback attempts, finally gave up the game in 1975. The lesson we learned had to do with the fleeting nature of life. On this good earth, in this veil of tears, we are constantly with one foot on a banana peel and the other on the edge of a cliff. It is both a reason to avoid unnecessary recklessness and to pursue everything we do with full awareness, attention, and best effort. Hold nothing back and give no quarter. This way shall not pass by us again.

No more does baseball intersect with life. It takes its tawdry place as just another loud, irrelevant diversion, not worthy of our time and less of our thought — worthy of no inclination whatsoever except loathing.

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POETRY MONDAY: A BREAK FROM THE USUAL MORASS WITH TWO BY BROWNING

One of our favorite poets is Robert Browning, the ace of the tremendous line of British poets during the Victorian age. The lineup included Tennyson, Hopkins, and Arnold. We discovered Browning in Sampson Ullman‘s Victorian Literature class at Union College, in the fall of 1972, and his work has been a lifelong love.  Browning, who tried and failed to write drama for the stage, found his genius in the dramatic monologue. This form features one character, who speaks to another, and in doing do, tells us much more about himself that he would otherwise choose to reveal.

The first poem here, “My Last Duchess,” is among his best. The speaker of the poem, the Duke of Ferrara, is storytelling to a diplomat who has come to him to negotiate marriage between the Duke and another powerful family. In his monologue, the name-dropping Duke unwittingly reveals the cause of the duchess’ death: The Duke did it! This is a brilliant work.

 My Last Duchess

 

THAT’S my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will ‘t please you to sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to my self they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ‘t was not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat:” such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart–how shall I say?–too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed: she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ‘t was all one! My favor at her breast,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace–all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,–good! but thanked
Somehow,–I know not how–as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech–(which I have not)–to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark”–and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
–E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will ‘t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

 Robert Browning

Here’s another poem, more traditional, that captures the excitement of a lover as he traverses a journey at night to meet with his beloved. He moves along a beach, several fields, and then he arrives at the farmhouse, where she waits.

 Meeting at night

THE gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
Robert Browning

We hope you enjoy this bit of Browning and relief from the typical morass that THE PLANET each day tries to sort out for our growing readership.

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STAY TUNED TOMORROW, WHEN WE BRING YOU SOME SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE BORING BROADSHEET, WORDS OF THE SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE 4th DISTRICT STATE REP’s RACE BETWEEN SCOTT LAUGENOUR AND SMITTY PIGNATELLI, AND THE SEARCH FOR THE REAL PAUL RYAN. THAT AND MORE, TOMORROW. IN THE MEANTIME …

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.

LOVE TO ALL.

 

15 Responses to “LEGENDS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE REUNION CONCERT SEPT. 9 AT BOYS CLUB; TICKETS ON SALE NOW … AUG. 20 — AN EVOCATIVE DAY … POETRY MONDAY WELCOMES ROBERT BROWNING”

  1. taxmano
    August 20, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Does Mick play better than David Grover?

  2. K-Man
    August 20, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I’ve heard Mick and I’ve heard GRover. Both are great guitarists, different styles. Mick is in the class of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. Grover is more acoustic finger-picken Doc Watson stuff. The two best guitarists in the region.

  3. The professor (and Mary Ann
    August 20, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    We have been rehearsing with two of the acts and following many.Please accept our report;This is not your PBS Golden Oldies cheese fest! We have been floored by the energy,talent and level of performance.Also,there is no truth to the rumor that Boone’s Farm will be on tap!Don’t miss this one.

    • danvalenti
      August 20, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Agree. There will be a lot of rockin’ out by talented musicians who, you knwo, actually know how to play instruments without computers or lip synching.

  4. ric
    August 20, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    thanxs for helping us get the word out!
    you can visit the legends of the lighthouse web site for pictures and ticket information!
    http://www.berkshiretv.com/lighthouse.htm
    and again..thanxs dan!

    • danvalenti
      August 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      RIC
      We will be doing at least one more story on this (maybe two) before Sept. 9.

  5. Charlie
    August 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Dan,
    Thanks for the post on the Legends of the Lighthouse Reunion. No matter what age you are, you WILL be entertained. It’s going to be a first rate show..

  6. Dead to Rights
    August 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    DV when I saw Mick on the list to perform that’s when we got our tickets. One of our alltime favorites. This is going to be so cool, I love the flyer. I remember Dave Loehr and Rock Enterprises. What a great idea.

  7. Bill Sturgeon
    August 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    The Lighthouse reunion will bring many of us down memory lane. Of course I remember the Armory.

    You and Mrs. Planet should see The Black Suits – Great ROCK music – Barrington Stage II the old VFW.

    I posted this today on FB. As my colleague Dan Valenti has proven the “VOICE” of Social Media cannot be silenced.

    • danvalenti
      August 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks, Bill. It cannot be silenced as long as people are willing to fight for their right to be heard. On Wednesday, by the way, we shall present an item concerning you, indirectly. Larry Kratka, you remember him, will be on the hot seat before the Pittsfield School committee. It is imperative that Kratka come clean about who, if anyone, put the pressure on him to the extent that he folded like Al Nolli’s accordion and shamelessly canceled your show on wTBR. You landed in a good spot, but this situation needs to be put to rest once and for all.

    • ric
      August 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      bill.a number of these bands started at the armory..The armory was the original boys club dance..bet you remember the corvairs?

  8. Bill Sturgeon
    August 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I do remember the Corvair’s. You are correct the Armory was the father of the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse had so much more atmosphere than the Armory. There was just something about the smell of gun oil and perfume that didn’t mix. Thank goodness that Boys Club picked up the slack after the Armory was gone.

  9. Amanda Blake
    August 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Enjoyed this post. I wasn’t aware of the concert since I don’t have a facebook page. I will definitely go.

  10. Giacometti
    August 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    From what I understand due to the modernization of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in the past several years the Lighthouse Reunion WILL NOT take place in the space that was where the Lighthouse existed back in the day…that space was recently transformed into multi-use meeting rooms and a cafe/restaurant. The main floor gym will be where the reunion dance/concert will take place.

    Tours of the entire building and the former lighthouse space will be available as well as an historic photo exhibition of images from the old lighthouse space and a few surprises for all who attend.

  11. Carol Hoyda (Travers)
    August 21, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Great reading all this stuff. I’d almost forgotten the Armory. I remember dances at the Girls’ Club, the Lighthouse, and now, yes, the Armory. Looking forward to being there on Sept. 9! Just did our PHS Class ’66 45th reunion last October – hoping I’ll see some old friends and faces that didn’t turn up at the reunion!