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While one can and should make the case for a free press and a forum for opinion, Mr. Melton's column contains some sweeping generalizations and assertions that are inaccurate and make it hard to believe he actually attended any of the events referenced in his column. For example, how could anyone who was present assert the music of Arturo Sandoval, Tito Puente Jr. and Spyro Gyra "seemed interchangeable"? Or that the festival was just for those "over 40" when all ages were present and accounted for?

As a mostly free festival, The Big Gig entertained thousands, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds, ages and interests.

Style Weekly could have printed a thoughtful and constructive review of The Big Gig. The fact that it chose instead to publish Mr. Melton's diatribe is a disappointment and a lost opportunity, not to mention a disservice to the community it purports to serve.

Christina S. Risatti

Executive director,Downtown Presents



Kilgore, Assembly Help Families

I, too, wanted to hurl as I read [Tyler Ballance's] response to the "fluffy blather" printed about Mr. Kilgore [Letters, Aug. 14; Cover Story, Aug. 7]. I am not certain what you think Mr. Kilgore has done "to Virginia's family men and divorced fathers," but I appreciate and applaud him for what he's trying to do for Virginia's family women and mothers!

Women are not chattel. Exchanging marriage vows is not a free license for husbands to force their wills on their wives, including in the marital bed. Rather, behavior that the Commonwealth recognizes as illegal if performed by a stranger is now rightfully being labeled as illegal when performed by one's spouse.

Mr. Ballance, you accused Mr. Kaine, the Democrats and Mr. Kilgore of abandoning their base support in our Virginia families. You have apparently not grasped this fact yet, but here's a news flash, Mr. Ballance: Women are an integral part of Virginia families. These politicians have not abandoned their base support. They're merely savvy enough and compassionate enough to embrace all members of the family. They are wise enough to recognize females as vital components of the family unit. I say "Bravo" to them, and "Boo, hiss" to you!

Charlotte Maria Rebecca Flowers



I beg your pardon — are you saying that it is OK to rape your wife? And that there should be no recourse for a woman in that situation?

Catherine John



Very much unlike Mr. Ballance (who clearly does not represent "most family men and divorced fathers," or his family name), I applaud the actions of the legislature in passing SB 290 during the past General Assembly session that redefined marital rape.

I wonder if Mr. Ballance has any daughters, and if so, what messages did he send her on potential suitors and marriage relationships? And, would he truly want to kick "Jerry Kilgore's tail" or any of the 132 legislators who voted in favor of this measure if it was his daughter who was being raped each night by her husband because it was his "right"? Would he be so quick as to call his own daughter a "gold-digger" or "man-hater" if she left the abusive relationship?

Carmen Kilduff



The Score Stinks;Photo Shines

1. The score on The Score is a minus. What started a rather clever take on current events has devolved beyond redemption. The sophomoric wannabe-repartee in every item insults the intelligence of your readers. Retirement would be decent.

2. Great photo of Charlie Miller ("It's All About Him," Cover Story, Aug. 14). What an inspiration!

Jack Blanton



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