While I agree that a lot of the bands at Ozzfest would be of the "one dimensional" cookie-cutter variety, your reviewer did a disservice to people who may have been considering attending attend the show (July 18).

First, does an over-rated critical darling like Mastodon really need any more ink? With all due respect to the Rochester roots of two members, there is much over-blown press praising their supposed talents. Apparently these fools forgot the "metal" part of heavy metal. Their sludgy style was already beaten to death in two proceeding bands --- Big Hair and Lethargy. Both of those outfits came across as stoner-rock wanna-bes compared to good, modern heaviness like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, and Orange Goblin., Or the latest release by Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Lommi.

As for Ozzy, he might be the variable in the Sabbath equation, but his role always required more of a ham-fisted than a virtuosic approach. Bumbling TV dad or not, his job as front man does not require any particular feats of endurance --- especially when Sabbath's set is probably just one hour or so.

Then there's Ozzy's sometime sideman and guitarist Zakk Wylde. I'm still puzzled as to why your reviewer left his band Black Label Society out. In fact, this may be the most versatile act on the Ozzfest tour --- able to switch from sweet, Neil Young-style acoustic rock to thundering Sabbath-Alice In Chains style heaviness in a heartbeat. In the same vein, the ex-GNR/STP super-group Velvet Revolver has been getting rave reviews for their debut CD and live shows. Hey, it's not as groundbreaking as Appetite For Destruction, but VR is hardly the "mash-up" as ignorantly stated by your reviewer. It's Slash, for Pete's sake!

Worst of all, to lump Iron Maiden in with Sabbath with no explanation was truly pathetic. Their last two studio CDs continue the cerebral brand of Euro-metal they invented 25 years ago, showing that their songwriting skills and drive haven't diminished a bit. If anything, the band has grown moreeclectic after the years they spent apart. Better yet, 2002's live release Rock In Rio proves that the fire hasn't gone out of their concerts. And how many bands (beside Lynyrd Skynyrd) can make such deft use of three lead guitarists these days? Heck, most current bands are hard-pressed to have one guitarist who can solo. Iron Maiden would be worth the price of admission alone. To see them with Sabbath, Velvet Revolver, and Black Label Society is a bargain.

As a true metal fan, I naturally have Live At Last, but that doesn't mean that Black Sabbath is finished. Sure, their best years are behind them, but let's not wheel them into the nursing home just because there's a guy named Geezer in their ranks.

I'm not going to buy into elephantine hype. There were four great reasons to go see Ozzfest, and Mastodon had nothing to do with any of them.

Matthew S. Langworthy, Irondequoit


With growing excitement, I read Alex Miokovic's and Heidi Nickisher's review of the Finger Lakes Exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery. Here at last were people willing to stand up and be counted. The use of the word "grievous" to describe some of the juror selections was inspiring.

And then, like a bucket of cold water, came their primary selection from the Salon des Refuses, spotlighting the work of Lynne Feldman --- a work, in my estimation, more of process than proficiency. So City, my favorite newspaper, has yet to find an art critic. Surely, despite MAG, something can be done so that the bright and deserving people of Rochester are exposed to "fine art," or at least know that there is sincere debate about what our leading art gallery calls ART.

Rose Mary Hooper, Mechanic Street, Naples


Recent claims that the gay rights movement insults the history of other civil rights movements is in itself insulting.

Gays have lost jobs, homes, and finances because of discrimination. Throughout history, we have been beaten, hung, raped, castrated, sterilized, burned alive, tortured and murdered. We were left to die, alone, in alleys, ditches, hospitals, and even concentration camps of World War II.

In the 1980's, the Christian Republicans ignored the AIDS pandemic, claiming it was a curse on us. The blood industries, and their Republican friends in government, were more worried about profits than about a "filthy and disgusting" minority.

The Bible has been used to oppress women, the poor, and minorities in this nation and around the world. The constitution --- written by rich white men, who were the only ones allowed to vote and enact new law --- was amended to end these discriminations.

All we are asking for, in this nation and worldwide, is what everyone else has: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

S. Michael Serviss, Rochester


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