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WEEKEND: Louie Anderson, Irvine Improv : Imagination Free at O.C. Arts Playground

May 03, 1996

MOVIES: "Mulholland Falls" is all crude energy, a neo-noir about tough cop Nick Nolte investigating the death of a young woman in 1950s Los Angeles. It owes a lot to the classic, more persuasive "Chinatown," but is an example of brutal, effective filmmaking. And Jean-Claude Van Damme scores on both sides of the camera with "The Quest" as star and director of this rousing martial arts adventure-odyssey that culminates in an awesome martial arts tournament held in the "Lost City" of Tibet in 1925. Roger Moore, in fine form, co-stars as "the last of the buccaneers." See the Orange County Movie Guide, F29, for screens and times . . . "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie" (at Edwards University, Irvine) brings to the screen the award-winning TV show featuring three kibitzers cracking wise about less-than-perfect films and takes on 1955's "This Island Earth." While the live-action skits are forgettable, the jibes at the feature are on target.

* FAMILY: The 1996 Imagination Celebration concludes this weekend with the Imaginarium, a two-day "arts playground" including performances, workshops and the Meggopolis--a huge and unusual structure of PVC designed by British artist Alan Parkinson to let kids (and adults) explore inside out. It all takes place in Costa Mesa, adjacent the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

* POP: On Saturday, Frank Black and Jonny Polonsky play garage-y alternative rock at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano while the Tony Rich Project offers Prince-influenced R&B at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana . . . The Righteous Brothers, the Kingsmen and the Turtles play rock oldies at a benefit concert Sunday at Planet Hollywood in Santa Ana . . . The House of Blues in Hollywood offers salsa from the perspective of two generations, with pioneer Willie Colon headlining tonight and young upstart Marc Anthony on Saturday . . . Christian rock's hottest band, DC Talk, headlines Saturday at the Universal Amphitheatre.

* MUSIC: MUSIC: Seven hundred performers will amass at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove for tonight's performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony, including the William Hall Master Chorale, several other choral groups, children's choruses, an orchestra, a brass choir, eight vocal soloists and an organist. Hall will conduct . . . The Los Angeles debut of Lionheart, a six-member early-music group, takes place Sunday at 4 p.m. at St. James Church on Wilshire Boulevard, midtown Los Angeles, on the Chamber Music in Historic Sites series. Besides music by Josquin des Prez and Pierre de la Rue, Lionheart will perform its reconstruction of the 1507 memorial service for Philip the Fair, King of Castile.

* JAZZ: Pianist Karen Hammack, a very good accompanist, will back Julie Christensen Sunday at the Renaissance Dana Point cafe . . . Pianist Cecilia Coleman's quintet returns to Steamers in Fullerton on Saturday . . . the Beach Palace in Long Beach, known to jazz fans as the former site of Birdland West, brings music back this weekend when Ernie Andrews comes in Saturday to sing blues and ballads.

* COMEDY: Louie Anderson, the corpulent comic who suggests that it doesn't hurt to slip the cop a cruller with your driver's license when you're pulled over for speeding, performs at the Improv in Irvine through Saturday . . . the Improv in Brea is featuring Pablo Francisco and Carlos Alazraqui through Sunday in an early Cinco de Mayo celebration.

* DANCE: The Festival Ballet Theatre's production of "Sleeping Beauty" Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa will feature Joffrey Ballet principal dancers Lorena Feijoo and Steve Beirens in the lead roles. They'll appear alongside 80 "pre-professional" dancers, including children from the Southland Ballet Academy. Story, F28.

* THEATER: For top-flight classic storytelling, don't miss A Noise Within's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," adapted by Barbara Field and performed by a wonderfully Dickensian ensemble in Glendale . . . With elegant simplicity, Velina Hasu Houston's drama "Kokoro (True Heart)," at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A., relates a timeless parable of mother love and a woman wronged.

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