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Recalling the good, the bad and the former music venues

I agree with Mr. Roberts as far as I can, as I have not been to all of the venues mentioned ["Top 30 Places for Pop," May 24]. I am sure you are receiving many letters about someone's favorite venue. I would like to mention McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. It's the best small venue in town.

I have been going there since about 1973. My first time I saw the amazing John Fahey, with the then-unknown Tom Waits opening the show. As recently as May 16 I saw Dirk Hamilton put on another great show. He has been consistently one of the best singer-songwriters for almost 40 years, and he's still a well-kept secret.

McCabe's has low prices, easy free parking, great sound, wonderful artists, respect for the performer as well as for the audience, and has held on to these standards for more than half a century.

Mike Smith

Culver City

The Staples Center is the worst. Terrible acoustics, lousy sight lines. No self-respecting musician should ever play there out of courtesy for their fans.

Kelly M. Bray

Long Beach

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The Universal Amphitheatre was L.A.'s best venue ... until Harry Potter came along. (OK, maybe the Hollywood Bowl, but Universal, later the Gibson, was second.)

Brian Haueter

Ventura

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The Tower Theater, although it has a limited schedule, is a marvel with great sound. It's a shame it didn't make this list.

Matt Downes

Santa Monica

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Your guide was a great idea and much appreciated. However, it is not as helpful as it should have been because you neglected to print each venue's street address. Now I have to Google each listing to find out if I even want to make the drive. Please be more thorough next time.

Michael Jortner

West Hollywood

Good point; the addresses were included in the online version of this article, which can be found here.

'Mad Max' was sensory overkill

"Mad Max" forced me to choose between filmicide or egress up, up and away before the credits rolled. Even the smoggy air in ye golden marshmallow was a far better choice than the fetid aura of this film, which makes nihilism look like a sunny day at the beach. The director-writer, George Miller, must have studied mechanical engineering in hell as he not only assaults us sans interim, he has found a diabolical way of exceeding excess. It matters not that we lack understanding of plot or dialogue, the obvious intention is to inveigle the senses to such a degree that the viewer's cortex is numbed, the brain vacated while sensory overload deconstructs human frames of reference beyond recognition. Alas, if this is a sign of our times, I resign.

Rick Edelstein

Los Angeles

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