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O. C. LIVE | Best Bets

November 07, 1996

Comedy

As a recent addition to the "Saturday Night Live" cast, Jim Breuer couldn't have timed it much better. Some critics are saying last season's shows began to shake off years of neglect and made a run at the glory of yore. For his part, the stand-up comic contributed a host of characters, including Goat Boy, and a dead-on impersonation of Joe Pesci. Before landing the "SNL" job, Breuer toiled in comedy clubs across the country and could also be seen on TV's "Comic Strip Live" and "Friday Night."

* Who: Jim Breuer.

* When: 8:30 tonight and Sunday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

* Where: The Improv, 945 E. Birch St., Brea.

* Whereabouts: Exit the Orange (57) Freeway at Lambert Road; go west. Turn left onto State College Boulevard and right onto Birch Street. The Improv is in the Brea Marketplace, across from the Brea Mall.

* Wherewithal: $10-$12.

* Where to call: (714) 529-7878.

*

Jazz

Johnny Mercer worked with many of America's greatest composers, including Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Billy Strayhorn and Henry Mancini, in writing some of this century's most memorable songs. On Sunday, bassist Jack Prather's Great American Music Company, with vocalists Dewey Erney and Stephanie Haynes, will celebrate what would have been Mercer's 87th birthday by exploring the Georgia-born lyricist-composer's canon, which includes "That Old Black Magic," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Satin Doll" and "Laura." Reservations are recommended.

* Who: The Great American Music Company in a tribute to Johnny Mercer.

* When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: Diva, 600 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: Exit the San Diego (405) Freeway at Bristol Street; go north. Turn right onto Anton Boulevard.

* Wherewithal: $12 cover and two-drink minimum.

* Where to call: (714) 754-0600.

*

Pop

Wilco is one of the best country bands and one of the best rock bands of the '90s, which says a lot about where the creative mother lode of '90s pop actually lies.

Fronted by Chicagoan Jeff Tweedy, Wilco rejects both the slicked Nashville vision of country and the new arena rock sensibility of much so-called "alternative rock." Its sources are old and apparent but ever-reliable. Get last year's fine debut, "A.M." and the even better, wider-ranging new release, "Being There," and you'll hear a band that really understands what was great about Gram Parsons, the Stones, the Replacements and the Beach Boys--and uses those models in its own expressive way.

* Who: Wilco.

* When: 8 p.m. Sunday with the Handsome Family.

* Where: Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.

* Whereabouts: Exit Interstate 5 at Camino Capistrano; go left. The Coach House is in the Esplanade Plaza, on the right.

* Wherewithal: $12.50-$14.50.

* Where to call: (714) 496-8930.

*

Family Affair

Grandfather comes off as pretty surly in most versions of Prokofiev's classic musical tale "Peter and the Wolf," but in an adaptation being staged Saturday by the Pacific Symphony, the old gent finally gets to tell his side of the story.

The first of this season's six Pacific Symphony family concerts, "Peter and the Wolf" features a new narrative performed by professional storyteller "Grandpa Jim" Lewis and dramatized by members of the Mind Stretch dance theater group. The hourlong program, which also includes Strauss' "Thunder and Lightning Polka" and John Williams' "Flying Sequence" from the film "E.T.," is recommended for ages 4 and up.

* What: Pacific Symphony presents "Peter and the Wolf."

* When: 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

* Where: Segerstrom Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Whereabouts: Exit the San Diego (405) Freeway at Bristol Street; go north. Turn right onto Town Center Drive.

* Wherewithal: $9-$11; season subscriptions, $48-$60.

* Where to call: (714) 755-5799 or (714) 740-2000 (Ticketmaster).

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