First of a Two-Part Series

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY AUG. 8, 2018) — In Adelson and Company’s recent audit of the Berkshire Mausoleum, you find near the end, buried under a lot of previous numbers and verbiage, the following sentence:

“In 2015, the Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees and leadership staff began a Master Plan process to outline a strategy to address [its various] programmatic, financial, demographic, and competitive challenges.”

Leave it to the paint-drying bores of the bean counters to offer one of the most revealing sentences ever to be penned about the BM since its descent into the maelstrom of selling out to the highest bidder. The Mausoleum trustees revealed the plan, unimaginatively called New Vision, in July 2017. The plan, as it turned out, was nothing more than a planned sale of the institution’s most valuable works of art as a means of salvaging a ten-year run of disastrous management that led to nearly $12 million of debt.

Look closely at the sentence, notably, the “[various] programmatic, financial, demographic, and competitive challenges.” Back in the day, THE PLANET wrote our share of corporate communications, including annual reports. When such a document uses the word “challenge,” it refers to “problem.” In the Mausoleum’s case, the four areas of “challenge” indicate that these problems were self-induced. That is often the case when an organization’s “leadership staff” proves to be as incompetent as the BM’s. Let’s break down these Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

Programmatic Challenges — It means the Mausoleum’s offerings have, in the words of Leonard Pinth Garnell, “really sucked” — a decade of out-of-touch programming that the public largely avoided. In the preceding 10 years, the “leadership staff” denuded the adult and secular nature of the museum’s art and natural history collections in favor of the neon-speed Chuck-E-Cheese approach. It destroyed the once-awe-inspiring first-floor great room, with its curtained gem booth, stuffed rattlesnake, and eagle, and put in its place a giant sandbox, where out-of-control kids could have the run. Do we have to draw you a map?

Financial Challenges — This speaks for itself. The bad programming decisions led to a drop in paid attendance and also shook the confidence of supporters and would-be donors. In true Pittsfield style, however, the “leadership staff” kept up the spending spree, including hitting up city taxpayers for upkeep, debt be damned.

Demographic Challenges — This euphemism attempts to gloss over the gap between what the BM offered and what the museum-going public expected. With its management crisis, the BM lost its identity and its following. It lost sight of its target audience, adults, and went for the least-common-denominator, kids. The theory was: “Get the kids and you get the adults.” In practice, though, this mistake got the museum a lot of non-paying visits from schools, day-cares, and other such hordes. What works for impulse buying at the supermarket checkout doesn’t work for a museum.

Competitive Challenges — The BM was (and is) getting its butt kicked by other venues — Tanglewood, The Rockwell Museum, MCLA, Jacob’s Pillow, and the like. Once the Memorial Day-to-Labor Day rush passed, all it got were the leftovers. The same will happen this September, as well.

When you add it all up, the audit checked the math but ignored the methods. That may be good enough to keep the Trustee skunks able to endure their smell, but for the rest of, the redolent can only be endured with a clothespin clamping the nose.

Next issue: THE PLANET names the names and crunches the numbers.


“Jeweled raindrops moisten my tongue / The drink of kings gets me drunk” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.




  1. dusty
    August 8, 2018 at 12:13 am #

    Perhaps it is the mummy’s curse. It was just a matter of time before that thing took its sweet revenge

    by the way, how in the hell did Pittsfield get hold of an Egyptian mummy? And why does Pittsfield s future look so much like that mummy?

  2. SisterGoldenHair
    August 8, 2018 at 4:30 am #

    So it sounds like management, with the blessing of the trustees, ran the place into the ground , and then cut of their nose to spite their face, by selling the art. Can’t wait to see Dan’s inside the numbers expose. Wonder what the “CEO” got on the way out the door.

    • Doomiedoger
      August 8, 2018 at 6:21 am #

      and to the last part of your comment…was that the plan all along?

  3. Giocometti
    August 8, 2018 at 10:20 am #

    The BM is a PRIVATE non profit and by the looks of things won’t be getting much, if any public funds again. In 2000 they kicked the Berkshire Art Association out of the building,…only to find a home at the Lichtenstein Arts Center….and also the Pittsfield Art League which now exhibits at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

    he BM has really burned a lot of bridges along the way. Now they are starting to loose the support of the Berkshire Community …and for what ?
    a copy of the Springfield Museum ” Cat in the Hat ” children’s museum.It doesn’t look good for the arts at the Berkshire Museum.
    This community should be happy it had the good fortune to find
    Kitty Lichtenstein and Dan O’Connell to provide a true arts center in Berkshire County….and all at accessible costs.

  4. h
    August 8, 2018 at 10:21 am #

    What about that medical Bennie? How many N Y retreads, and out of state get the medical benefits, huge benefits to these big wigs.

    Gaetani news Hour tonight. It will be no holds barred and calls as usual. Channel 1301 6 p m

  5. Cos
    August 8, 2018 at 10:31 am #

    It’s pretty clear after reading the Planet what goes on. Trustees and so called dignitaries,like former Mayors and alike,hire these assclowns, tell them what to do,and send them out to pasture after the damage has been done, very clever. Look at Rivers? A fluke, her Law degree doesn’t make her over qualified as she has run a bead businessabout this Van and now has a no show, well paying gig,which some poor slob who hustled through college and loans to do the job is left out into the cold because they didn’t sell out.

    h, thanx for putting the spot up on G MAN’s Show tonight, it’s catching on,maybe he’ll talk about this Van Man?

    • Mr. Fritz
      August 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

      Geez Gaetani, you sure use a lot of aliases to promote yourself.

      • h
        August 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

        Can me on hellor, g nose how to spell. COncentrate on orange lard.

  6. Bill Q
    August 8, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    Exactly! Lately, there is blatant nepotism with hirings and appointments. At least five that could be named.

    • Doomiedoger
      August 8, 2018 at 11:39 am #

      Don’t be shy, drop those names. I am sure city hall is proud of their new hires.

      Or are they?

  7. Umwanted Carl
    August 8, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    Dan, who is paying the Eagle to run the Art Advertisements?

  8. Jonathan Melle
    August 8, 2018 at 11:37 am #

    I read the Boston Magazine’s summer travel review of the Berkshires, where Nora Caplan-Bricker said, “[Berkshire County’s] central and northern regions are home to two of Massachusetts’ most depressed cities, North Adams and Pittsfield….”

    Then, I read Amanda Drane’s column wrote “[Mayor Linda] Tyer plans to stand with other Berkshire leaders, including North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard, in arguing the story — “Down and Out in the Berkshires,” where there’s “nothing but luxury,” and “that’s the problem” — offered only a narrow perspective of what’s happening in Berkshire County.”

    The solution has always been the same in Pittsfield and North Adams! They are poor and economically unequal communities that serve the old vested interests (such as the Good Old Boys and Big 3 public unions) instead of investing in the people who live there. The problem is that a majority of people don’t vote in so-called state and local “elections”, while the G.O.B. runs the shakedown show!

    • Doomiedoger
      August 8, 2018 at 11:42 am #

      Did the mayor say that Boston Magazine was lying? Or disreputable? Did she say they did not have their facts straight? Were they biased in their opinion, unlike the mayor?

      • Roberto Del Halitoso
        August 9, 2018 at 8:10 am #

        All is well. We are still vibrant and dynamic and we colaborate.

        • Sojourner Truthl
          August 9, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

          “Collaboration is a vibrant and dynamic economic engine.”

  9. Doomiedoger
    August 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

    Interesting article in iBerkshires regarding false burglar alarms in the city. Apparently over 1600 last year where police had to check out wasting their time and taxpayer money. Suggests that there are certain business s that are constant problems but guess what? No one dares to offend the campaign donor class business community by naming who they are. It is kind of like “personnel issues” which cannot be named. How utterly convenient…utterly indeed I say.

  10. h
    August 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

    The alarms might have been made up to give reason for hiring the useless assclowns to do the statistics to begin with. If an alarm goes off, address it and stop whining. Do we really need cops going to more important things like shooting someone for being drunk and helpless? The taxpayer doen’t need excuses just better productivity.

  11. mi
    August 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

    I have to laugh at the Gaetani statement that theAdvisory committee be made up by drawing names? That has as much chance of happening as Amanda will win a Pulitzer..The establishment doesn’t want it,Igor!

  12. amandaWell
    August 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm #

    U can’t take tat bitch Ivanka seriously. Dime a dozen.

  13. The school committee
    August 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

    35% of educators live out of town.

    • CobsiesLadies
      August 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

      At least.

  14. Pat
    August 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    Here’s the link to “Down and Out In the Berkshires” that Jonathan was referring to from Boston Magazine. Very interesting reading.

  15. H
    August 8, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

    Gobsigs rule and the rich direct.The tax paying poor get the crumbs. Dans Museum piece is just a nibble.

  16. The school committee
    August 8, 2018 at 5:07 pm #

    Moon,Kroll,Yon,Caccamo,White,Rivers,Marchetti,,Taylor……These Pittsfield leaders support 400 children going to school on Allendales chemical swamp……They can not plead ignorant in a lawsuit….they choose to let it continue

  17. May Hemm
    August 8, 2018 at 5:07 pm #

    Muraca, former Tes favorite and indicted felon, (today) was found guilty in a Manhattan court room of defrauding investors and lying to federal agents. The lying charge, the lesser of the two, carries a five year and 250g fine, he’ll do about 9 to 15.

    I believe Dan was the first to out this clown. He was also a favorite of the Stooge, along with Mike Case and Paul Babeu, who stooge has had on his show, and has called all three friends and aquaintances.

    • Wilson
      August 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm #

      defrauding taxpayers of course never a crime, since that’s the whole point of taxation

  18. Gobsig
    August 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    So what’s going on with Bouvier ? The rumor is that in return for dropping out of the DA race Bouvier promised her the 1st assistant DA’s job. I don’t think Bouvier knows the law. But then again maybe she does and just doesn’t care.

    • Gobsig
      August 8, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

      Bouvier promised Judy Knight a job in return for dropping out of the DA race and endorsing Harrington. Very crooked .

      • tom
        August 9, 2018 at 9:15 am #

        IT’S THE TRUTH

  19. dusty
    August 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm #

    Bouvier is and has been a loyal soldier and stooge for the state machine which is tied in with the city machine. Trump would love to have her on his staff.

    • 12 Gauge
      August 9, 2018 at 3:23 am #

      She is the dream of every republican

  20. giocometti
    August 9, 2018 at 4:51 am #


    Zenus Crane was a prime supporter of the Admir. Perry North Pole
    Exploration Party and therefore Zenus Crane got one of Admiral
    Perry’s North Pole snow sleds who then donated it to the Berkshire

    • U
      August 9, 2018 at 5:29 am #

      ….and it’s been down hill ever since.

    • dusty
      August 9, 2018 at 9:58 am #

      Kool…was the mummy frozen in the North Pole and came with the sled? Maybe it is not Egyptian after all.

      My mother told the story that her 1934 PHS class made the damn thing for a Halloween float and then gave it to the museum who pasted dried banana peels all over it and now they pass it off as an Egyptian mummy

      My own personal carbon dating suggests that my mother was telling the truth

  21. The school committee
    August 9, 2018 at 7:38 am #

    If your a parent of Allendale School there is not one person in this city interested that your child will breath and live on a chemical swamp for 7 years.Not one.Moon does not care.Tyer does not care….this blog does not care…But 15 years ago every pediatrician in town did.A city in denial.

    • dusty
      August 9, 2018 at 10:03 am #

      Those kids and their kids will be hardier than all of us. It is all part of the evolutionary process. Plus recent studies have shown that PCBs, rather than causing cancer, protect a body from cancer. In some hospitals they are dosing people with PCBs and tossing out the radiation machines

      Oh yeah…it’s all true if you believe in alternative facts like our president. And he da man.

      • U
        August 9, 2018 at 10:25 am #

        Dusty you seem to know what-your talking about. Is coffee good for you? Or Me?

        • dusty
          August 9, 2018 at 12:50 pm #

          So glad you asked that very topical question. Studies being done as we speak, involving great apes in the Congo, suggest that coffee enemas reduce IBS episodes by 73%.
          The Chock-ful-of-Nuts laboratories hope to have an FDA approved product on the market by the year 2020.

          The downside is that if you do not personally own a great ape, and are not a super ugly person, you cannot buy the force injected enema without a medical card issued by your doctor.

          I know…it’s not fair, but the good news is that a coffee suppository will be sold over the counter at participating Country Buffet restaurants.

          • 12 Gauge
            August 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

            I told you before that you spend too much time contemplating Uranus

  22. h
    August 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

    What the heck is Moon talking about at O amd R? Anyone translate gobbly goop?

  23. The school committee
    August 9, 2018 at 1:55 pm #

    Baseball rules the news in Pittsfield as our Deming park American league all stars are 1 win away from a trip to the Williamsport Little Leage World Series.Pittsfield does baseball better than everyone else and I hope the Mayor and City Councilors will be in Bristol on Saturday…..Yon,Taylor will certainly go as these kids are their students and its less than 70 miles away

  24. mi
    August 9, 2018 at 1:58 pm #

    To get elected skinny legs (Jimmy) had to have someone from
    W H E N , guess who they were?

  25. I Amarginuleyesd
    August 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm #

    What is the difference between Judy Knight and D T R ? Knight is actually a Lawyer.

  26. giocometti
    August 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

    Women Helping and Empowering Neighborhoods
    leaders in WHEN
    Pam Malumphy
    Tricia Farley Bovier
    Linda Tyer

    all just ended empowering themselves
    The Great Greek God called them ” WAS ”

    All were put into power by the Ruberto Political Machine to make
    sure they carried his water long after he left the Mayor’s Office

    I real con job on the citizens of pittsfield
    Jim Ruberto really is still calling the shots
    by controlling Bovier and Tyer,,he dumped
    Jody Phillips because she would’t play along.

    Now he and Jeff Cook are controlling the Berkshire Museum

  27. u
    August 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm #

    Well, it is clear they were involved in the skinny legs machine. So, that being said, if they supported Skinny legs, then they support people like Angelo, Beacon,Museum Art Sale ( one of the most blantant examples of graft) and on and on.. The Fish always rots from the head.

    • Doomiedoger
      August 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

      Awww, I don’t think anybody is out there checking every fish.

  28. The school committee
    August 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

    I want the 400k from the Berkshire Museum tha River to gave them for new enviromental controls for better exhibits.You got 65 million going your way,so give it back to our City.Is not our museum.