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VALLEY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

August 29, 1996

WEEKEND

And yet this time removed was summer's time . . .

--Shakespeare

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Well, Labor Day weekend is upon us and the summer is coming to a close. It won't be long before the air conditioner won't have to be on 24 hours a day. Baseball season is winding down, school is starting, and your chances to take in various kinds of summer fun are dwindling rapidly.

Something's Going

Big-band jazz veteran Louie Bellson will again close out the Valley Cultural Center's free Summer Concert Series at Warner Park in Woodland Hills. For the third year in a row, Bellson's Big Band Explosion will give the final concert of the summer Sunday.

Bellson, 72, one of the first jazz drummers to use two bass drums in his drum kit, has worked with the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and his late wife, singer Pearl Bailey.

His big-band ensembles have been described as "classic examples of hard-swinging, rich-textured, brass- and percussion-driven, larger-than-life jazz."

Bellson's daughter Dee Dee Bellson will be a featured vocalist in Sunday's concert.

* Louie Bellson's Big Band Explosion at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Warner Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills. Also children's entertainers Bobbo and Kookee at 4 p.m. Free. Parking is $2. Call (818) 704-1587.

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Something's Coming

Burbank Civic Light Opera's annual end-of-the-summer production at the Starlight Bowl is the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical, "West Side Story."

This is a modern musical adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet," Shakespeare's tale of young star-crossed lovers. This time around, the action takes place in New York and involves rival street gangs. The musical originally opened on Broadway in 1956 with Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert in the lead roles. A film version, which was made in 1961 and starred Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, won 10 Academy Awards including those for best picture, direction, cinematography, costumes, editing and scoring.

The score includes the classic songs "Maria," "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty," "America" and "One Hand, One Heart."

* "West Side Story" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Starlight Bowl, 1246 Lockheed View Drive, Burbank. Additional performances Sept. 6-7. Tickets are $18 general, $15 students and seniors, $9 children. Call (818) 380-3444.

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Some Things Stay the Same

1980s vocal duo Air Supply will make their annual visit to the Universal Amphitheatre tonight.

Noted for their soft, romantic sound, the Australian group had a run of seven Top 5 hits between 1980 and '83 that included "All Out of Love," "Every Woman in the World," "The One You Love," "Here I Am" and "Even the Nights Are Better."

Although the popularity of their recordings has declined in recent years, Russell Hitchcock's tenor voice and Graham Russell's ballads are a combination that keeps attracting concertgoers worldwide. The pair has just released a live concert album, "Greatest Hits Live--Now and Forever," recorded on dates from a 1995 Asian tour.

* Air Supply plus special guest Jessica at 8:15 tonight at the Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza. Tickets are $15-$25. Call (213) 480-3232.

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