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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

November 28, 1996

SATURDAY: Reel Big Show

High-powered ska masters Reel Big Fish will have the finheads, skateheads and other follicle-challenged dance fans sweating profusely at Nicholby's in Ventura. They have a new album, "Turn the Radio Off," and it's a keeper.

Besides rocking with a horn section as good as any, Reel Big Fish writes hilarious songs. "She Has a Girlfriend Now" and "All I Want Is More" are deluxe end-of-relationship tunes, but the lyrics can't be quoted in a family newspaper. And "Nothin' " and "Everything Sucks" should rank high on the angst scale, but the beat is so infectious, few will have the inclination to frown.

Things kick off around 9:30 p.m. Nicholby's is upstairs at 404 E. Main St. in Ventura. Call them at 653-2320 to find out more about this $6 show.

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Holiday Concerts

A three-part concert series billed as the "Songs of the Season," put on by Ojai Festivals Community Outreach & Education, features vocal and instrumental holiday performances.

Held on consecutive Saturdays at the Ojai Valley Museum, the series will commence this weekend with the Ojai Brass Quintet under the direction of Bill Wagner. The a capella ensemble Channelaire Chorus will share the billing.

The Ojai Community Chorus, directed by Theodore Plute, will perform the second installment on Dec. 7. The Dec. 14 concert will include the Measure for Measure madrigal singers and Class Act Quintet, a vocal group with piano and drum accompaniment.

The concerts are free and will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The museum is at 130 W. Ojai Ave. For more information, call 646-2094.

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SUNDAY: Puppet Masters

The Hudson Vagabond Puppets of New York will transform the stage at the Civic Arts Plaza Auditorium into an icy fantasy world when it presents "The Snow Queen" at 3 p.m.

A talking reindeer, a fierce snow monster and a witch with a green thumb are but a few of the large-scale creatures inhabiting the frozen realm of the Snow Queen in this adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a boy whose heart turns to ice.

The eight-member troupe--consisting of professional actors and dancers--borrows from the traditional Japanese Bunraku style of puppetry, sweeping across the stage clad in black while manipulating the sizable figures.

The venue is at 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $16, $12 for children. Balcony seats are $11, $7 for children. To order tickets by phone, call 650-9688 or 583-8700 (Ticketmaster). For more information, call 646-6997.

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UP THE COAST

The Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera will open "The Wizard Oz" tonight at the Granada Theatre, 1216 State St.

The production, complete with pyrotechnics, will be performed through Dec. 22. Show times: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15-$38. For more information, call 966-2324.

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GLANCE AHEAD

The Channel Islands Ballet Company, directed by Clarissa Boeriu, returns with that holiday staple "The Nutcracker" for four performances beginning Dec. 6 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.

Galina Mezentseva, the prima ballerina of the Kirov Ballet, will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Paul Polivnick returns to conduct the 44-piece Channel Islands Symphony.

Show times: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7; 3 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets: $11, $17, $23, $28. The arts center is at 800 Hobson Way. For more information, call 658-8091.

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