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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

February 22, 1996

TODAY: BLUES

Viable Entertainment Alternative Department: Chicago blues legend Billy Boy Arnold at 8 p.m. at Joe Daddy's in Ventura.

Arnold joined Bo Diddley's band in 1954 and later had a number of hits on his own, such as "I Ain't Got You," and has long been a mainstay of the international blues scene. Most of Arnold's songs are about his dealings with Ms. Wrong--which he survived to tell about with wit and humor, not to mention some terrific harmonica playing. The latest release by Arnold, at 60 one of the oldest living "boys," is "El Dorado Cadillac."

Opening will be local blues legends Randy Rich & the Ravens, featuring guitar work by Rich. The venue is at 211 E. Santa Clara St. Tickets are $12. For more information, call 643-3264.

SATURDAY: HUMOR

Satirizing beltway denizens: Political humorist Mark Russell will bring his droll one-liners and bouncy tunes to the Civic Arts Plaza Auditorium for an 8 p.m. performance. Never short on material, thanks to a rich and endless source of political faux pas and dramas, you can rest assured the veteran satirist will arrive with a fresh batch of material to reflect the most current of events inside Washington. Priding himself on going after all sides in political life with equal gusto, the irreverent Russell shows no bias to the donkeys or the elephants, as shown in his many PBS specials.

The venue is at 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Tickets: $40, $29, $18. For more information, call 449-ARTS.

SUNDAY: GERSHWIN CENTENNIAL

Singing Gershwin's praises: Pianist Lincoln Mayorga will make one of his periodic visits to Ventura County, to pay tribute to George Gershwin on the occasion of his centennial. Americana is the order of the day. Mayorga's recital, at the First United Methodist Church in Ventura, will feature, yes, music of Gershwin, but also his contemporaries and predecessors--including Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton.

The much-traveled Mayorga, a former Camarillo resident, will lace the 3 p.m. concert with informative commentary, which will serve as a kind of historic jaunt down America's early 20th century Tin Pan Alley. The church is at 1338 E. Santa Clara St. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 652-0566.

HOT TICKET

Singer-songwriter John Prine, a talented--and popular--purveyor of folk-rock music, will hit the Ventura Theatre on March 5. Interested in attending? Let his last appearance in Ventura County a few years back serve as notice: It was a sellout. Label mate Heather Eatman will open the proceedings.

* WHAT: John Prine, Heater Eatman.

* WHERE: Ventura Theatre, 26 Chestnut St.

* WHEN: 8 p.m. March 5.

* HOW MUCH: $25.

* CALL: 648-1888.

UP THE COAST

* Acclaimed race relations specialist Cornel West, author of the best-selling book "Race Matters," will lecture at 8 p.m. today at UC Santa Barbara's Campbell Hall. Tickets: $8, $3 students. Information: 893-3535.

* Pianist Laszlo Lak, a renowned Bartok interpreter, will perform a benefit recital at 8 p.m. Friday at UC Santa Barbara's Karl Geiringer Hall. The program will include Bartok's "Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs," "Allegro Barbaro" and others. Proceeds will benefit the UCSB Music Department. Tickets: $10. Information: 893-3261.

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