Re: “Kill ‘Em All” [July 13–19]. Greg Burk virtually nailed the apocalyptic vibe of this year’s Ozzfest, yet failed to mention the overall disturbing presence of backwoods-Deliverance-gearhead-white-fucking-trash that dominated the crowd. Back in the early 1990s, metalheads were your basic long-haired, non-fashionable youth in Slayer shirts. The patrons at this year’s Ozzfest ranged from disturbingly inbred youths covered in poorly inked tattoos, to full-on White Power clans with chests and backs plastered with white-pride rhetoric, to a group of teenage boys trying to encourage one of their sisters to show her tits to the crowd, to two guys with no front teeth trying to snort a line of a synthetic drug off a half-burnt plastic cup. This was not a gathering of metal fans. It was like a commercial abortion skull-fucking the “Hot Topic” shopping-mall retail culture and ejaculating infected sperm in the form of “heavy” music all over us music fans’ faces. I refused to swallow the load. No more Ozzfests!

—Justin Grams Los Angeles



This year’s Ozzfest was a joke. Any true metal fan knows that the only real metal band on this year’s bill was Black Sabbath. All the other bands were a bunch of rap-rock, pop-metal, makeup-and-mask-wearing pussies. Is Ozzy letting his daughter pick the lineup? What’s it gonna be next year, ’N Sync? This year’s show was a waste of money, and a lot of people vowed not to return next year, even myself.

—Mike Lohrey Spartanburg, South Carolina



As a member of the heavy metal community, I found your story on the current state of heavy metal in concurrence with my own views and experience. Kudos to the writer who used the words empyrean and proles. I’m going to look them up when I’m finished here.

—Steve Highway Boston, Massachusetts




Marc Haefele’s views of the first day of the new City Council [City Limits, July 13–19], when Alex Padilla beat out Ruth Galanter for the council presidency, couldn’t be further from the reality of the scene. While Haefele saw only lobbyists (and there were lobbyists, as there always are in council chambers), there was also a large segment of the audience who were members of the public, wanting to celebrate five new council members’ first real day on the job and to see if this new mix of leadership (due to term limits) would at all portend meaningful citizen input. Also present were members of the public who felt they had a stake in the council president’s election — like several environmental leaders there to witness whether or not our lobbying efforts to seek a more public-friendly atmosphere in council chambers had a chance of prevailing.

When Joel Wachs, Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine cast the final votes for Alex Padilla that put him over the top for the coveted post, we indeed applauded and cheered for minutes. And yes, when the public spoke at this first meeting, we were treated with respect and good manners — two elements missing from the reigns of both Ruth Galanter and John Ferraro.

—Marcia Hanscom Wetlands Action Network Malibu




Contrary to what Dean Kuipers wrote in “The Seeds of Wrath” [July 13–19], Starbucks has no partnerships with Monsanto or any other companies related to developing genetically modified coffee and is not engaged in any activities supporting the development of such coffees. Starbucks has clearly established that our core products, coffee and tea, are completely free of GMOs and are not derived from genetically modified sources.

—Sue Mecklenburg Vice President, Business Practices Starbucks Coffee Company



I attended the San Diego BioJustice protest, as well as the Democratic Convention protests last year. Dean Kuipers implies that police were somehow responsible for the smaller-than-expected attendance of 1,000 protesters at the San Diego rally and march. However, he doesn’t provide any proof — the harassing tactics he mentions mostly occurred during or after the march. What is true is that the police presence and anticipatory scare tactics in both cities discouraged curious but uncommitted citizens from checking out the protests, rallies and teach-ins. (L.A. residents may remember the Sunday-afternoon-like dead zone around the Pershing Square events last summer.) Protest events are intended to educate the uncommitted public as well as attract media attention. Unfortunately, because of the police’s (self-serving) warnings of violence, the uncommitted citizens stayed away, and nearly everyone except committed activists ended up learning about the protests only from the mass media.

—Danila Oder Los Angeles



Celeste Fremon’s interview with Barbara Ehrenreich [“Labor’s Pain,” July 13–19] struck a real chord for me. The memories of slaving at any of many retail jobs while trying to find the time to study for college exams, and later while trying to find a “real” job, are still close at hand. After finding one of those “real” jobs, I realized the only real reason for the pay differential: One class of job makes rich people richer; the other simply supplies them with goods. The general assumption that people are compensated for their intelligence, skill or diligence is incorrect.

—Josh Solberg Los Angeles



The interview with Barbara Ehrenreich made me want to throw up. Where has she been all her life? Obviously, up to this point she never even saw the people who were waiting on her hand and foot. And now she’s an expert on poverty? She should live so long.

—John Peterson Houston, Texas



I’m happy to see that someone in this world has decided to let us “less fortunate” know we’re . . . well, less fortunate. Barbara Ehrenreich does her one-month stint in her own community-service hell and proclaims she understands. Well, I have news for her: You don’t know shit, lady. Try working 20 years without health insurance, or surviving getting hit by a car, then living off dog-food-level disability insurance.

While I appreciate Ehrenreich’s book and hope that people in the “right places” will read it, I feel that her narrow look at the less fortunate will make people think it’s not too bad out there. I also feel that the less fortunate will be the only ones shelling out $23 for the book.

—Peter Lawrence Los Angeles



. . . to this year’s Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award winners: Nancy Rommelmann, first place in the features category, for “Jena at 15”; Dana Collins, first place in the illustrations category; Brendan Bernhard, second place in the arts-feature category, for “Boss Cupid’s Poet”; Harold Meyerson, third place for columns/political commentary; and Bill Smith, third place for editorial layout.



In our Outfest coverage (July 13–19), Chuck Wilson, in his review of the documentary Swimming Upstream, wrote that its subjects, a lesbian couple having a child, had an “alarmingly new” relationship, when in fact they had been together two to three years. He also stated that the women had “no visible jobs” when both are, in fact, shown at their places of employment.

The location for the Eric Alexander jazz concert scheduled for Thursday, August 2, 5–8 p.m., was listed incorrectly in last week’s Concerts section. The free event takes place at the MOCA at the California Plaza, 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown, not at the MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo. For further information, call (213) 626-6222 or 633-5334, or log on at www.moca.org.

Finally, due to a fact-checking error in last week’s issue, the film One 11 and 103 was listed as two separate titles in Holly Willis’ Filmforum preview.

Apologies to all concerned.

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