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Dixie Flyers Taking Express Run for Fun : Group's new seven-piece lineup will appear at the Ventura Concert Theatre and in Camarillo this weekend.


Local fans of the Santa Clarita-based group Darlene O'Connell & the Dixie Flyers can expect to see a lot of the band this weekend.

On Saturday, the Dixie Flyers will play for Country Dance Night at the Ventura Concert Theatre, where they have previously opened for Chet Atkins and John Anderson. The theater is a perfect venue to enjoy their stage show and highly danceable music.

And if you haven't seen them recently, check out the new seven-piece lineup: Lead vocalist O'Connell, Tom Ricardo (fiddle, guitar, keyboards, vocals), Gary Rudolf (lead guitar) and Jimmy Waldrop (lead guitar) are the original Flyers. They are joined by Maria Werth on bass, drummer Louie Fudale and singer-guitarist John (Elvis) Styles, who wowed 'em recently at the Crazy Bull with his rendition of "Heartbreak Hotel."

The party starts at 7 p.m. when Dave Graves and Kathy Culley teach "Renegade," a popular couples mixer dance. Then climb aboard the Dixie Flyer express at 9 p.m.

On Sunday bring the kids and kick up your heels at the second annual all-day indoor/outdoor Crazy Bull anniversary barbecue in Camarillo. Last year's party was a ton of fun. And Sunday's event, which will be outside starting at 11 a.m., will include music by Shiloh, the Dixie Flyers, Diane Lynne and the Stars & Stripes band and Caught Red Handed. K-HAY radio dee jay Ray Taylor will give away T-shirts and prizes, and the kids can take cart and pony rides.

Meanwhile indoors, Raywood and the Unseen will provide music for ongoing dance lessons by all the club's instructors--John & Dawn, Lori McGee, Gary Evans, Juan and Rick Henderson. Guests will see the debut of the Crazy Bull Performing Dance Team, coached by Sandi Axelrod. And new members will be recruited for adult and junior teams starting in August.

Axelrod formerly worked with Western Saddles, a junior dance team in Thousand Oaks that recently disbanded. She said there is no cost to join the new Crazy Bull Adult Performing Team, which practices from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Crazy Bull.

But monthly membership in the Adult Competition Team will be $25 per person excluding costume expenses. The fee covers guest choreographers and instructor costs. The competition team will practice at the Bull from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

And the Junior Performing/Competition Team, open to ages 7 to 17, will meet 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. A $25 monthly fee for juniors does not include costume or travel expenses. For details on the new teams, call 482-7664.


CLUB SCENE: First, the good news. Several clubs have recently introduced a Country Dance Night format.

The debut of country night at Alexander's in the Ventura Village Harbor looked good and well-attended. But the management decided to move the time up. So Dave Graves will teach from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Caught Red Handed will play 8 p.m. to midnight.

Wednesday nights at the Crazy Bull are free for women. And the format is mostly couples dancing.

About two months ago, the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel started a country Western night Tuesdays in the lounge. The floor is small but the dark, cozy room is perfect for beginners who shun the spotlight of high-powered clubs. Mark Hicks, an Australian, teaches at 6 p.m. and then he deejays for dancing until 11 p.m.

On Sundays, the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Oxnard offers a family-oriented fun dance evening starting with lessons at 6 p.m. by Jim and Pauls Trisdale. Then they deejay and help beginners until 9 p.m. There is no cover charge.

On the down side, two Camarillo country sites are gone. Zinno's recently closed and the Country Rose Saloon is now a sports bar. And that former dance mecca, the Borderline in Malibu, has "closed temporarily."

Happily, the Thousand Oaks Borderline is going strong although it has phased out the noon to 5 p.m. family dance on Sundays. I recently dropped into the Sunday Swing Jam Night, which starts with a 6 p.m. lesson, and had a ball. Dance fans should also check out the new live-band format at 8 p.m. on Mondays. You'll find a high-energy atmosphere but open dance floor both nights.


Congrats to Country Lover/dance instructor Robin Dick and Tom Finnerty, who tied the knot June 11 in a ceremony held at Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula. And also to not-so-newly weds Jerri and Joe Noone, familiar to dancers at Splash and Crazy Bull for their matching custom-made outfits. At last month's Ventura Theatre Country Dance Night, Jerri won the Women's Western Wear contest by entering with Joe as a fashion accessory.


* WHAT: Dance/Barbecue.

* WHERE: Crazy Bull Steakhouse & Saloon, 4426 Central Ave., Camarillo.

* WHEN: Sunday, from 11 a.m. 'til the cows come home.

* HOW MUCH: Free dance lessons and entertainment by Darlene O'Connell & the Dixie Flyers and Shiloh bands.

* FYI: 988-4209.

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