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BEST BETS: Friday 5/5

3 pm: Festival

May 04, 2000

Friday is Cinco de Mayo, but the Mexican holiday will be celebrated today through Monday at Jesse Owens Park in Los Angeles. Carnival rides, arts and crafts booths for children, and various vendors will contribute to the festivities. Live entertainment will include ballet folklorico, and mariachi, norteno, banda and grupero bands.

* Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Jesse Owens Park, 9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles. Today, Friday and Monday, 3 to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to midnight. Free admission. (626) 856-2141.

7:30 pm: Pop Music

Master eclectician Beck has done his bit for multiculturalism in pop, from donning a mariachi outfit in his own show to sitting in at various functions with such performers as L.A.'s Ozomatli and Brazil's Caetano Veloso. On his current U.S. tour, Beck exposes his audience to one of the most highly regarded bands in the rock en espanol movement, Cafe Tacuba.

* Beck, with Cafe Tacuba, Greek Theatre, 2700 Vermont Canyon Road, L.A. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $31. (213) 480-3232.

all day: Movies

In the new epic adventure "Gladiator," Russell Crowe stars as Maximus, a heroic Roman general who escapes a death sentence mandated by the insecure young emperor of Rome, only to be captured, forced into slavery and used as a gladiator. The film is directed by Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Blade Runner," "Thelma & Louise" ), and co-stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Emperor Commodus, Richard Harris, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, Connie Nielsen and Oliver Reed.

* "Gladiator," rated R for intense graphic combat, opens Friday in general release.

8 pm: Jazz

Keyboardist Joe Zawinul has been at the cutting edge of the jazz-fusion movement from the beginning, writing the R&B-inspired hit "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" for Cannonball Adderley, figuring prominently in Miles Davis' groundbreaking "Bitches Brew" sessions and leading, with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, the seminal electric band Weather Report. The keyboardist's current ensemble, the Zawinul Syndicate, mixes jazz, world-beat and groove music into a very personal vision.

* The Zawinul Syndicate, Royce Hall, UCLA. 8 p.m. $20 to $35; UCLA students, $11. (310) 825-2101.

all day: Movies

"Luminarias" is a low-budget comedy-drama about four modern Latinas who live and work in Los Angeles. The film is the brainchild of actress Evelina Fernandez ("American Me" and TV's "Judging Amy"), who based the screenplay on a play she wrote in 1996. "Luminarias" is directed by Fernandez's husband, Jose Luis Valenzuela, and stars Dyana Ortelli, Angela Moya, Marta DuBois, Scott Bakula, Robert Beltran and Fernandez. Look for Cheech Marin in a cameo. The film is being distributed by fledgling New Latin Pictures.

* "Luminarias," which is rated R for language and sexuality, opens Friday at selected theaters.

8 pm: Cabaret

Broadway diva and "Cats" Tony-winner Betty Buckley performs at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Friday and Saturday, Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora on Sunday afternoon and Smothers Theater in Malibu Monday. She'll be backed by an instrumental quartet in Cerritos and Glendora, and by a pianist in Malibu.

* Betty Buckley, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; $55 to $75; (800) 300-4345 or (562) 916-8500. Haugh Performing Arts Center, Citrus College, Glendora, Sunday, 2 p.m.; (626) 963-9411; $30. Smothers Theater, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, Monday, 8 p.m.; (310) 456-4522; $40.

8 pm: Theater

What if Germany's new chancellor, to atone for the Holocaust, invited 6 million Jews from around the world to "come home"? Israel Horovitz addresses this question in the West Coast premiere of his surrealistic fable "Lebensraum," at the Fountain Theatre, which has specialized in Horovitz's work in recent years.

* "Lebensraum," Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; May 14, June 11, 3 p.m. Ends June 25. $18 to $22. (323) 663-1525.

*

FREEBIES: "Eugenio Zanetti: Film Dreams and Haunting Visions," an exhibition of paintings, architectural plans, set pieces and props by the noted production designer, opens Friday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. (310) 247-3600.

*

Trumpeters Clay Jenkins and Dave Scott lead the Two Trumpet Quartet at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (323) 857-6000.

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