Conspiracy, betrayal and revolution will be dramatized in the form of the Ojai Shakespeare Festival's staging of "Julius Caesar," beginning Friday at the Libbey Bowl. Artistic director Paul Becker will lead a cast of professional and amateur actors for the festival's 18th season. Ojai Madrigali, a troupe of costumed renaissance singers, will entertain between shows, and there will also be a youth production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
* "Julius Caesar," Friday-Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays-Sundays, Aug. 3-13, 7:30 p.m.; Libbey Bowl, downtown Ojai; all performances except Saturdays: $15 general; $12 seniors and students; 12 and under free. Saturdays: $18 general, $15 seniors and students; 12 and under free. "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Saturdays-Sundays, July 29-Aug. 13, 4 p.m.; Libbey Park lawn; $8 general, under 5 free. 640-8633. Internet: http://www.ojaishakespeare.org.
Salsa, the condiment
The Oxnard Salsa Festival will take place this weekend at Plaza Park downtown. Amateur salsa makers will put their recipes up against other home-brewed concoctions in the festival's Salsa Challenge contest. Besides all the salsa sampling, the seventh annual event will offer live salsa music, Latin jazz, salsa dance lessons and children's activities.
* Oxnard Salsa Festival, Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Plaza Park, 5th and B streets. Free. 247-0197.
The Rubicon Theatre Company will stage a benefit gala Saturday of its new production "Lies and Legends: The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin." The fund-raiser, benefiting Casa Pacifica Children's Crisis Care Center and Rubicon's Stinky Feet Theater Project, will begin at 4 p.m. with a block party, barbecue and beer tasting, followed by the show at 7. Regular performances of the revue of Chapin songs--directed by George Ball, who starred in the original long-running Los Angeles and Chicago production--will begin Sunday.
* "Lies and Legends: The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin," fund-raiser Saturday, 4 p.m. $100; regular performances begin Sunday. Show times: Wednesday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. Through Aug. 27. Laurel Theatre, 1006 Main St., Ventura. Wednesday-Thursday and matinees, $27.50; Friday-Saturday, $32.50. Discounts for seniors, students and groups of 12 or more. 667-2900.
County Fair Kick-off
The Ventura County Fair at Seaside Park in Ventura will open its gates to the public Wednesday with one caveat: The carnival portion will not be open the first two days. Why? Because the operators will be busy taking down the rides and game booths at the Orange County Fair and setting up shop at the Ventura site. The animals and related exhibits will be waiting for visitors, though. Entertainment headliners: Foreigner (Aug. 5), Little Richard (Aug. 7), Debbie Reynolds (Aug. 8), Rick Springfield (Aug. 8), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Aug. 9).
* Ventura County Fair, starting Wednesday, opens daily 11 a.m.; exhibits close 10 p.m., the midway (carnival starts Friday) 11 p.m.; Seaside Park,10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. General, $7; seniors and under 12, $4; under 5, free. On-site parking $5. 656-1260.