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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

July 18, 1996

SATURDAY: It's Epic--and Local

You've heard this one before: Simi Valley is the city with a million bands and no places for them to play. Well imagine this: The MVP Sports Bar will hold an epic celebration of local bands featuring, among others, Budget, Tree of Love, Connect 4, Oversoul, Magic Pagoda, Conscious Dream, Amber's Will, Arabis and Wooden Circus.

These festivities begin at 1 p.m. and last until 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $7 for those 21 and over, $12 for those 18 to 21. Those under 18, once again, will get to hear about it all secondhand. The MVP Sports Bar, with about a zillion TVs and a pool, is located at 1030 E. Los Angeles Ave. Call them at 520-6015 to find out more.

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SUNDAY: In Concert

In the five years since Hal Ketchum burst on the country music scene with his highly successful album, "Past the Point of Rescue," the Texas singer-songwriter has generated a string of chart-topping songs that you are likely to hear at his Ventura Theatre concert. Ketchum's current CD, "Hal Ketchum The Hits," features the lush ballads "Sure Love," "Stay Forever" and "I Know Where Love Lives," along with up-tempo tunes "Small Town Saturday Night" and "Mama Knows the Highway." A product of the Austin school of songwriting (Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Guy Clark), Ketchum believes the lyric should stand out, not the performer. And his eclectic style and penchant for acoustic sets has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a balladeer and storyteller of what he calls "American music." Ketchum in concert is equally skilled at spinning a delicate vocal mood with his baritone voice or bringing the house down with a high-energy electric set of rockin' R & B. The local band Silver Moon will open the show at 8 p.m. Tickets: $19.50. Call 648-1888.

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Tributes to Otis, Elvis

Flamboyant big-band leader Joe Vento will lead the musical charge, with special guests in tow, in concert from 2 to 5 p.m. at Our Saviour Lutheran Church Hall, 4191 Cochran Street in Simi Valley. The concert, a benefit for the transportation fund of the Disabled American Veterans, features the Coasters, an Otis Redding tribute by Al Wilson and a tribute to Elvis Presley by Rick le Fever. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for veterans, senior citizens and children under 12. For more information call 583-0450.

UP THE COAST

* Tracy Chapman and her deep-voiced, solemn vignettes of class struggle and relationships will fill the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sunday. Returning to the national spotlight after her late-'80s success, Chapman remains firmly grounded, shunning the superficiality of pop stardom. Be sure to get to the gig on time to hear opening act the Charlie Hunter Quartet. Hunter, 28, is making a big splash in jazz circles with his improvisational work on an eight-stringed electric guitar. Show time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $21.50-$30.50. Call 568-2695.

A GLANCE AHEAD

* The Taste of Camarillo fund-raiser will return July 28 for its ninth annual offering of wine and gourmet samplings at the Adolfo Camarillo House, 3771 Mission Oaks Blvd. From 1 to 4 p.m., 35 restaurants, caterers and specialty shops will serve up an array of culinary delights, with sips from 50 wineries. Festivities include the Estrada Brothers band and silent and live auctions. Advance tickets, $35; at the door, $40. The event, benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo, has sold out in advance the last two years. Call 482-8113.

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