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BEST BETS Thursday 12/21

December 21, 2000

BREA

8:30pm

Comedy

With four "Tonight Show" appearances under his belt, Willie Barcena has become one of Jay Leno's favorite comedians. The L.A.-born comic, who does a lot of material on Latino culture and dating, went to high school with a classmate who gained fame in her own right: former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

* Willie Barcena, Brea Improv, 945 E. Birch St. 8:30 p.m. Also Friday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. $10 to $12. (714) 529-7878.

IRVINE

8:30pm

Comedy

As a comic, Michael Pace is known for lacing his routine with various character voices, facial expressions and a lot of other silly stuff. He also has no lack of inspiration for discussing how being a father has changed his life.

* Michael Pace, Irvine Improv, 71 Fortune Drive. 8:30 p.m. Also Friday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7, 9 and 11 p.m. $12 to $15. (949) 854-5455.

NEWPORT BEACH

11am

Art

Mexican painter Jorge Flores, who comes from the Mexican muralist tradition, is featured at the Boudreau-Ruiz Gallery. His series of brightly colored acrylic paintings showing images of the sun, sea, plants and animals are partly inspired by pre-Columbian cultures. He uses a mix of materials (such as volcanic sands) sealed and highlighted with lacquers.

* Featured painter Jorge Flores, Boudreau-Ruiz Gallery, 3000 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach. Daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Dec. 31. (949) 675-4766.

COSTA MESA

8pm

Dance

American Ballet Theatre will dance choreographer Ben Stevenson's version of "Cinderella" (music by Prokofiev), alternating a number of principal dancers in the two key roles. Paloma Herrera and Giuseppe Picone will dance tonight and Saturday afternoon. Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes take over Friday afternoon, with Amanda McKerrow and Ethan Stiefel on Friday evening. Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky will dance Saturday evening.

* American Ballet Theatre, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 8 p.m. Also Friday and Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m. $12 to $70. (714) 556-2787.

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