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Summer Splash

Kids, Culture or Coolness?

Pop culture: Nostalgia Cruise missiles all around.

May 19, 1996|David Kronke | David Kronke is a regular contributor to Calendar

Face it: If you have anything resembling a job and a personal life, it's hard keeping up with the pulse of popular culture. So we've thoughtfully done some advance work for you. Some of the following events are cutting-edge entertainment, others may have been at one time, and still others are so monolithically mainstream that you have no choice but to succumb.

This week: If it has Tom Cruise in it, and it's based on an iconographic '60s TV series, then of course it makes this list. Which describes director Brian De Palma's take on "Mission: Impossible" perfectly. Here, Cruise and his globe-hopping colleagues try to discover which top government operative betrayed them, and struggle to survive so they can appear in the sequel.

May 26-June 1: As much as anyone on this list, Richard Pryor is a legend. And a survivor. He hasn't just survived the biz but is beating back disease, as well. He takes the stage at the Comedy Store every Wednesday and Friday, indefinitely. For more genteel ears, Rosemary Clooney and Michael Feinstein belt out some oldies and show tunes June 1 at the Greek Theatre.

June 2-8: Something old, something new: On June 2, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Doobie Brothers creak onto the Greek Theatre stage, and whoever is calling themselves Jefferson Starship these days play at the House of Blues. Meanwhile, newcomer Joan Osborne considers the theological implications of a deity with mediocre grooming habits when she sings "One of Us" June 6 and 7 at the Wiltern Theatre.

June 9-15: Throw on your swankiest bathrobe, grab your most distinguished-looking pipe and head for the Playboy Jazz Festival June 15 and 16 at the Hollywood Bowl. Day One headliners include Tony Bennett and the McCoy Tyner Trio with Michael Brecker; Day Two features Wayne Shorter, Hugh Masekela, Stanley Clarke and Bill Cosby's "Coz of Jazz." Oh, and there's this movie opening June 14 with this guy Jim Carrey whom you might have heard about, "The Cable Guy."

June 16-22: Decisions, decisions: Where do you want to be June 20? At the quadrillionth reunion of what's left of the Monkees at Universal Amphitheatre, where the audience of post-psychedelic former Teen Beat fans trying to relive their youth will probably be as interesting as anything on stage? Or at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, site of one of a half-dozen area appearances by rock's spikiest newcomer, Grammy fave Alanis Morissette? And, since every new Disney animated spectacular is an event, start queuing up now for the June 21 opening of its warm-fuzzy take on Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

June 23-29: June 28 offers an embarrassment of riches in the world of blues and soul: Bobby (Blue) Bland headlines at the House of Blues, while Al Green proves few pipes can compare to his at the Universal Amphitheatre.

June 30-July 6: Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, take note: Audiences flat-out cheer when the White House is blown up in the trailers for "Independence Day." Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum head the traditional cast of hundreds in this extraterrestrial disaster extravaganza that opens July 3 and likewise promises to dazzle us with the wholesale destruction of Los Angeles.

July 7-13: In Las Vegas, Caesars Palace will commemorate Julius Caesar's 2,096th birthday on July 12 in that ultra-tasteful way that only Vegas can pull off, no doubt. Closer to home, the oddball formerly known as Prince inspired an evening of squirming and writhing under the guise of modern dance--"Billboards" will be presented by the Joffrey Ballet July 11-14 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

July 14-20: The Beat era's Renaissance man and unfortunate firearm enthusiast William S. Burroughs is the focal point of the L.A. County Museum of Art's exhibition "Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts." Running through Oct. 6, it features art influenced by Burroughs. And since nothing screams pop culture more loudly or insistently than "The Brady Bunch," the inevitable "A Very Brady Sequel," opening July 19 and spoofing the series' infamous trip-to-Hawaii episodes, weasels its way onto this list. We hear Burroughs has a cameo in the movie--well, we can dream, can't we?

July 21-27: What's a more all-American pastime than pestering celebrities? Robert De Niro offers a primer on the joys of invading the privacy of the rich and famous, much to Wesley Snipes' dismay, in "The Fan," opening July 26.

July 28 to Aug. 3: There are few things more entertaining in this life than a couple of wiseacres maiming small, animal-like objects and spilling their own blood all over the place and calling it "magic." Penn & Teller do just that Aug. 1-7 at Bally's in Las Vegas.

Aug. 4-10: The trashing of L.A.--begun in high style in "Independence Day"--continues onAug. 9 with "John Carpenter's Escape From L.A.," more post-apocalyptic fun with Kurt Russell reprising his "Escape From New York" role by running wild in some of our nicer quake-leveledneighborhoods.

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