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GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : Best Fest Bets : Cultural gatherings abound this weekend. Even avocado aficionados get their day in the sun.


There's plenty to do this weekend, almost too much. But don't panic. There's a simple way to organize your time to make sure you don't miss those events you most want to attend. For easy scheduling, activities can be divided into four categories: music, film, authors and, of course, avocados.

Let's start with the music.

Les McCann, the Cal Tjader Band, the Avant Gardners and the Zydeco Party Band are among the acts participating in the third annual Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival at Leadbetter Beach.

The group Lunch Break will get things going Friday at 5 p.m. with the Spencer Davis Duo wrapping things up beginning at 9:30 p.m. Money Madness will be the opening act on Saturday, at 11:30 a.m., and the music won't stop until the Zydeco Party Band's last set concludes after 9:30 p.m. On Sunday, Pelin will start the day at noon and Poncho Sanchez will close the festival with a performance beginning at 4:15 p.m.

There is no charge to attend any of these shows. For more information call 962-0800.

The festival actually kicks off tonight with a 6:30 p.m. reception at SOho. Afterward the audience can walk about half a block down Victoria Street to the jazz film festival at the Victoria Street Theater. Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and other legends will be featured in this historical look at jazz. SOho is located at 21 W. Victoria St. and the theater is at 33 W. Victoria St. Tickets are $20 for both events or $8.50 for the film festival. Call Burkard Productions at 563-2063 or the Lobero Theatre box office at 963-0761.

If jazz isn't your thing, how about the sound of the pipe organ? The Santa Barbara Theatre Organ Society on Saturday will present Hector Olivera playing classical and popular music on the aforementioned instrument. Show time at the Arlington Theatre is 8 p.m. Tickets are $11. Call the Arlington Ticket Agency at 963-4408. The Arlington is located at 1317 State St.

If neither musical mode strikes the right chord, here's another option: the Tannahill Weavers at the Lobero Theatre, Tuesday at 8 p.m. This Scottish group combines pipe, bouzouki, guitar, flute and violin to perform traditional Celtic melodies in a modern, high-energy style. Tickets are $17 and $15. Call 963-0761. The Lobero is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Now for those films:

UC Santa Barbara's arts and lectures department will open its "Rediscovered, Restored and Re-released" film series tonight with a showing of "Fantasia." The series will continue through October with "Lawrence of Arabia," "Spartacus," "Citizen Kane," a Josephine Baker twin bill--"Zou Zou" and "Princess Tam Tam"--"Tabu" and "L'Atalante." General admission is $5 for each movie or $18 for the series. All films, to be shown in Campbell Hall, will begin at 8 p.m. For more information call 893-3535.

The Victoria Street Theater will present the "The British Animation Invasion," beginning Friday night and running through Oct. 17. This is not the same lineup the theater had for the Spike and Mike Animation Festival a while back, but the Academy Award-winning Claymation piece "Creature Comforts" has returned. The 105-minute presentation will feature 25 shorts. As with the Spike and Mike show, this is not recommended for young children. Daily show times are 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6, $4 and $3; matinees $4 and $3.

On to the authors:

Chaim Potok will be the special guest at the Arlington Theatre on Sunday. His lecture on "Social Responsibility" at 4 p.m. will be followed by a "Coney Island Dinner" at 5:30--kosher hot dogs, pickles and popcorn. The movie "The Chosen," based on Potok's book of the same name, will be shown at 7:30 and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. General admission to each event is $7. The whole package is $20. Tickets are available at the Arlington Ticket Agency. For more information call 566-8933.

Santa Barbara's Earthling Bookstore is relocating and some local authors are expected to come out and help on Saturday. The store (soon to be store-cafe) is moving to the old Woolworth Building, about a block from its present location on State Street. A procession of authors at 2 p.m. will lead the way to the new address. Among the writers expected to attend are Ray Bradbury, Jonathan Winters, Sue Grafton and Barnaby Conrad. The move is expected to be completed by Oct. 15.

OK. Finally. Let's talk avocados--which is pretty much all they'll be talking about in Carpinteria this weekend. After all, the fifth annual California Avocado Festival will envelop Linden Avenue, the city's main thoroughfare, both Saturday and Sunday.

There will be jugglers, mimes, musicians, clowns and children's activities. As for food, let's just say the majority will be green--including avocado ice cream, avocado pie and a gigantic bowl of guacamole. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information call 684-0038.

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