PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013) — “Everybody wins here.”

That’s what Ron Lively, Pittsfield High School band director, said about the band’s upcoming fundraiser slated for tomorrow (April 5) at the Boland Theater at Berkshire Community College. “Beatlemania Stage Show,” yet another of the endless steam of Beatles tribute bands trying to make a buck off the Fab Four.

The “BSS’ features a right-handed “Paul” and a “Ringo” who, at least judging from the publicity photos, looks like he’s been dining in the Octopus’ Garden since Lennon cracked “I Want You (He’s So Heavy).” “George” looks as much like George Harrison as LeBron James, and “John”‘s granny glasses look like he pinched them from Irene Ryan.(Who among our readers gets the reference?). Come to think of it, “John” looks a bit like Irene Ryan. Soundwide, this group sounds like a band trying to sound like a band trying to sound like the Beatles. At least the drums are black pearl, but are they Ludwig?

It’s for The Children, That’s Why

Seriously? A right-handed Paul. A Ringo who hasn’t missed a meal since “A Hard Day’s Night?” Beatlemania Stage Show “benefit”: Worth $45 a ticket?

To see this plastic “oh, no!” band will cost you $25 for the cheap seats and $45 up front. The fundraiser, assuming there’s money left over, will go to help defray costs of the PHS band to Quebec City for a musical competition. School officials say it will cost $4,600 simply for bus transportation. This doesn’t include lodging, meals, and incidentals. With this type of expense, one wonders why the most obvious solution to this crazy fund-raising pressure hasn’t been raised: Why go to Quebec in the first place? Why can’t the band give concerts and compete locally? Why not sponsore a double feature of “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”?

“It’s for The Children.” That’s why.

In addition to the band’s fee, the promoter, Paul Lococo, takes his cut. Naturally, he didn’t say how much.

“I go around to area high schools to help raise money for continued music education,” Lococo told the Pittsfield Gazette. He claims he’s “developed a cost-efficient model so that the benefits can generate sufficient funds for the school.” The model includes the taxpayer-supported PHS band and the mayor doing free publicity for Lococo and the band. Hey, it beats hiring an advance man. From the mayor’s perspective, it also beats trying to figure out how to lower Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s taxes.

Assuming that Lococo and his Liverpudlian tribute band are in it for the money, that is, they are for-profit, we wonder: How much do he and the boys take from the top? How much will be left to send the band to QC?

THE PLANET would never suggest this tribute show is anything except as advertised, but we have heard of fundraisers wherein the promoters do great and the schools end up with little. Will this show be one long exercise in “You Never Give Me Your Money?”

“It Won’t be Long” before we know.

We hope that WUPE Radio, the sponsor of the event, provides a full accounting of the financial aspects of the performance. Only then will we sing, this mix musical metaphors, “I’m a Believer.” We already have one probe into missing funds, this one involving toys for children, as we read yesterday. Remember: That was “for The Children,” too.



Mayor Dan Bianchi’s government is screwing you at the local level.

Gov. Deval Patrick‘s government is screwing at the state level.

President Barack Obama‘s government is screwing you at the federal level.

All three of these men are Democrats, which only means that it’s the same type of screwing you’d get from Republicans, except donkeys are more stubborn with less memory than elephants. Take your pick folks, when it comes to national politics, it’s either Francis the Talking Mule or Dumbo the Elephant.  On the state and local level, there’s not even a Dumbo. There are only jackasses.

“Rainy Day’ Fund an Excuse to Keep Picking Your Pocket

THE PLANET doesn’t have to tell you how prohibitively high Pittsfield taxes are right now for businesses and homeowners. Nationally, we also can assume you are all aware of the trillions wasted on two stupid, useless, and fraudulent wars ever conducted. Thus, we bring you this little ditty from the state level.

Some optimistic dreamer in the Massachusetts state house, no doubt on the Republican side, proposed taking $207 million less from the so-called “rainy day fund” to fund a supplemental budget. Think about this. The state passes it’s regular budget, in the tens of billions. That is not enough for the porkers. They pass a supplemental budget to spend more of your money. This year, the state raised more than half a billion dollars more than it needed. That’s your money, right?

Think again. Our legislative heroes on Beacon Hill want to keep this money for themselves, every last dime.

As we said, a hopeless idealist sponsored a bill that said, “Hey, let’s take $207 million less for this needless, supplemental spending.” Five of the sponsor’s colleagues thought it was a great idea. Some 151 House members, though, said, “Are you kidding? This is our money. Pork pork pork.”

Needless to say, the entire Berkshire delegation — Cariddi, Farley-Bouvier, Mark, Pignatelli, and Downing — voted with the bosses.

And be clear about one thing: When we speak of the bosses in this so-called “democracy,” it’s not We the People.

The “supplemental” spending will eat $550 million.


“Into the same river no man steps twice / When fire dies air dies . No one remains, nor is, one” — Charles Olson




  1. GMHeller
    April 4, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Mr. Valenti:
    The BB carries an AP report today which states: “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has said it needs more than $100 million in new state funding to avoid another round of fare hikes or service cuts later this year.”

    No mention of course whether MBTA will be cutting back in the least on the whopping six-figure salaries, pension plans and perks it pays its lengthy list of guberatorial appointees, directors, and deputy directors.

    According to Wikipedia:

    MBTA Key people
    MBTA Board of Directors
    John R. Jenkins, Chair of the Board of Directors
    Professor Andrew Whittle
    Janice Loux
    Elizabeth Levin
    Ferdinand Alvaro
    (The same five appointees also serve as the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.)

    Other key MBTA people
    MBTA General Manager—Beverly Scott
    MBTA Chief Financial Officer-Jonathan R. Davis
    MBTA Chief Operating Officer-John C. Lewis
    MBCR General Manager—Hugh J. Kiley, Jr.[100]
    MBTA Blue Line Deputy Director—Carolyne Daniels
    MBTA Green Line Deputy Director-Ted Timmons
    MBTA Orange Line Deputy Director—Tina Beasley
    MBTA Red Line Deputy Director—William McClellan
    MBTA Silver Line Deputy Director—Karen Burns
    Manager of Fixed Route Disability/Senior Services—Kathy Cox
    Customer Service Director—Carla Howze
    Director of Community Relations-Stephanie Neal-Johnson
    Director of Communications and Coordination-Darrin M. McAuliffe


  2. tito
    April 4, 2013 at 7:42 am #


    • danvalenti
      April 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Hard Day’s Night!

  3. FPR
    April 4, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Hey Dan,

    Interesting read. Wow $45.00 to see the fake Beatles. Does that include dinner at Mazzeo’s with drinks? Is that for front seats at the Colonial Theater?

    Do you remember the Music Inn in Lenox? That place was awesome. Tickets used to be $10.00. They’d let you in with a cooler full of beer, lawn chairs and a blanket to sit on to mark your territory. Real bands like, Climax blues band, Poco, Arlo Guthrie, Mahavishnu, Charlie Daniels, The Kinks, The Allman Brothers……..etc.

    That place blew Tanglewood out of the water. Closing it was a sad day in Berkshire history.

    • bobbyd
      April 4, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Sounds like the victim of a bad business model.

      • FPR
        April 4, 2013 at 8:40 am #

        Truth be told, I think it overtaxed the Lenox Police Department especially on nights there was also a concert at Tanglewood.

        Not to mention Tanglewood’s GOB’s influence not to have competition in the same town.

    • GMHeller
      April 4, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      FPR, there’s a big difference in Tanglewood’s business model versus that of Music Inn.
      First and foremost, Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and most everything under BSO’s corporate umbrella is tax-exempt, enjoying 501c3 ‘not-for’profit’ status.
      Music Inn was a for-profit business entity.
      How else would tax-exempt BSO be able to afford to pay its CEO Mark Volpe over $550,000 annually?

      • skier1
        April 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

        Volpe made $526,429 in reportable income, $61,085 in other compensation. BSO’s income was $80,659,639 and no payment in lieu of taxes to Lenox!!!!! Paying for police for traffic control is NOT in lieu of tax payment. I wonder if their insurance company makes them do that. Years ago they DID make in lieu of tax payments. With that income maybe they should do it again.

    • In the know
      April 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      For. Nobody said you had to go

  4. Ron Kitterman
    April 4, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Dan I couldn’t stop laughing at the Octopus’ Garden and Ludwig lines, I’ll have to regain my composure later to read the rest of the story…

    • danvalenti
      April 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Yeah, We was hot when we wrote this column. Glad it brought a laugh.

  5. dusty
    April 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Any reason this gig is not being held at the Colonial? The taxpayers are already subsidizing it. Can we do something to benefit the people paying for the damn place for once?

    And my guess is that at that price the show will flop. They could charge half that and get three times as many asses in the seats. They could charge $8 for popcorn like the Beacon and make a few more bucks.

    • In the know
      April 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Dusty. You sad sad man. Why bitch when we know you would never ever change

  6. tito
    April 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Planet? who dat, Ron Jeremy on the drums?

    • danvalenti
      April 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      I think in this band, the drummer is the Walrus!

      • bobbyd
        April 5, 2013 at 4:53 am #

        There is a great quote attributed —perhaps erroneously—to Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

        • Evian
          April 5, 2013 at 7:43 am #

          and tiny minds quote famous people

          • danvalenti
            April 5, 2013 at 7:49 am #


          • bobbyd
            April 5, 2013 at 9:14 am #

            Perhaps. But if even my tiny intellect can comprehend the quote, surely yours can, also.

          • danvalenti
            April 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

            You are both too modest, intellect-wise.

  7. The Professor and Mary Ann
    April 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    Good luck with the show.On the plus side,the drummer is exceptionally accurate to Ringos’ style and that is a Ludwig kit with the Rogers Tom Tom adapter just like you know who used.Ironically,the group acknowledged as the finest Beatles tribute band,composed of great players from the Late night shows- Conan,Letterman- is playing the Calvin theater in Northampton.The Fab Faux does not wear the costumes but they are as close to the real thing as you can get.A lot of live Beatles music is available this weekend!Things could be worse!

  8. The Professor and Mary Ann
    April 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Dan, Since nobody bit on the Irene Dunn reference,we will.Ms. Dunn is the beloved “Grannie Clampett” from the Beverly Hillbillies.Good call.

    • danvalenti
      April 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Bravo, THE PROFESSOR ETC. You are a cultural-reference idiot-savant.

    • Downtown Dweller
      April 5, 2013 at 6:44 am #

      I believe you mean Irene Ryan is Grannie Clampett. Irene Dunn was in such movies as “I Remember Mama” and “My Favorite Wife”.

      • danvalenti
        April 5, 2013 at 7:56 am #

        Irene Ryan is correct. THE PLANET owes you and THE PROFESSOR coffee, on us!

  9. Sergeant Pepper
    April 5, 2013 at 6:45 am #


    Why are you going after a high school group who are raising their own funds to travel to Quebec City? Not having seen it, I can’t attest to the musician ship of the faux Fab Four (neither can you, I daresay), but you should withhold your comments on the efficacy of the fundraising until it is over and you have facts, not speculations! From my understanding, the PHS Band takes half of the gate, a not-insubstantial-amount, if the program sells as well as it should despite your carpings and poor community spirit.

    But what galls me equally as much is your myopic, Pittsfield-centric vision. Don’t you recognize the worth in travel, in allowing students to experience different environs and cultures beyond the Berkshires, where cabin fever has doubtless deranged your mood and though-processes.

    • danvalenti
      April 5, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      SGT P
      Thanks for the criticism. The point is not about the efficacy of the fund raising, or its problems for that matter. The point is to raise questions and stimulate thinking about a show that is put forward uncritically. The fund raiser seems to fall into a pattern in life today where everything has to be extreme, overboard, and outlandish. And how much of the environs and culture do you think the students will experienced on a highly regimented, deeply proscribed trip chaperoned by adults, who, in all truth, are probably the ones who want to escape their own environs for the day? You are incorrect about your last statement, since we have traveled a great deal this winter.

  10. teecha teecha
    April 5, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    off topic, so I apologize. Has anyone heard or can confirm that Aaron Dean is the new Principal at Stearns Elementary School?

    used to work with this joker in Adams, MA.

    • danvalenti
      April 5, 2013 at 7:50 am #

      Perhaps someone out there can drop a dime.

  11. tito
    April 5, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Teach, what his last name?

  12. teecha teecha
    April 5, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Name is Aaron Dean. He was a music teacher at C.T. Plunkett and got his masters in administration at MCLA under the tutelage of wait for it… Kristen Gordon.

    From my sources in the PPS he was granted a music teaching job at reid (?) for one year with the promise of an administrative position after a years time.

    It was on facebook last night that he accepted. Anyone who worked with him knew he was a joke as a teacher, we referred to him as Lenny (Of Mice and Men)

    good guy personally, fantastic musician. Administrator material… laughable.

  13. tito
    April 5, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    The budget has already increased with his (M Cees) new contract. Lead the way!

  14. Student
    April 6, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    I am a student at PHS. I participated in the Beatle Mania show last night. It was a huge success, and it was extremely beneficial to our ultimate goal of heading to Quebec at the end of the month. I am not sure yet exactly how much money was made, but I am positive we reached are goal and will be able to go and compete in Canada.
    What I don’t understand is what makes you think that this entire situation is any of your business. Ronald Lively is entirely capable of managing his students and any fundraising that needs to be done. We recognize that the ticket prices were a bit high, but it was for a good cause and it was truly a great show. Thankfully, this blog post didn’t seem to stop the momentum that the show had been gaining, as it was completely sold out.
    Attacking a marching band from the local high school seems petty and downright mean, and I am sincerely sorry you could find nothing better to critique.

    • danvalenti
      April 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Thank you for your report. THE PLANET is gratified the event did well.