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BEST BETS: Friday 5/26

9 pm: Acid Jazz

May 25, 2000

"A Brighter Day," British guitarist Ronny Jordan's first album for the Blue Note jazz label, stirs today's hip-hop technology and the bumpin' style of legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery together in a heady groove-and-improvisation-filled cocktail. A pioneer of London's early acid jazz scene, Jordan's music transcends time and category, sitting in two eras at once.

* Ronny Jordan, the Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. 9 p.m. $15.50. (310) 278-9457.

Freebie: Pianist Theo Saunders' quartet appears at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (323) 857-6000.

all day: Movies

The new Paramount Classics film "Passion of Mind" is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is actress Demi Moore's first return to the big screen in a starring role since 1997's "G.I. Jane" (Moore had a smaller role in the Woody Allen ensemble film "Deconstructing Harry" later that year), and second, it marks the English-language debut of Belgian director Alain Berliner, best known in the U.S. for "Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life in Pink"). In the film, Moore plays a woman who is mysteriously living two lives--one in New York, the other in Paris--and is unsure which existence is real and which is a figment of her imagination. Stellan Skarsgard and William Fichtner play Moore's love interests.

* "Passion of Mind," which is rated PG-13 for scenes of sexuality, opens Friday at selected theaters.

8 pm: Pop Music

Salsa's siren song will rope in more than 3,000 dance-happy participants from 24 countries for the second annual Bacardi West Coast Salsa Congress. They'll be shaking it 'til 4 a.m. every day for three days, with workshops, contests, deejay sets and live music from Puerto Rico's Andy Montanez, Japan's Salsa Swingoza and such Los Angeles stalwarts as Son Mayor, Johnny Polanco and Orquestra Costazul.

* Bacardi West Coast Salsa Congress, Hollywood Park Casino, 1050 S. Prairie Ave., Inglewood. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, workshops begin at 10 a.m., performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings, $30; Sunday evening, $25; workshops, $90 each day; complete event, $250. (310) 450-8770.

all day: Movies

The title of the Jon Reiss video documentary--"Better Living Through Circuitry--A Digital Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Culture"--pretty much says it all. The film, which has received consistently good notices on the alternative-film circuit, is not just for aficionados of the underground rave culture. Reiss, who had previously directed music videos for Nine Inch Nails, was a techno-music neophyte himself when he started making the documentary at the behest of Cleopatra Records executive Brian McNelis. The film features performances and interviews with scene stalwarts Moby, Genesis P-Orridge, Kraftwerk's Wolfgang Flur and DJ Spooky, as well as ordinary ravesters who repeatedly describe the importance of the "communal experience."

* "Better Living Through Circuitry" opens Friday exclusively at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 478-6379, and Edwards University, 4245 Campus Drive, Irvine, (949) 854-8811. Call theaters for show times and ticket prices.

8 pm: Theater

Open Fist Theatre's production of Carlo Gozzi's comic fable "The King Stag," set in an enchanted world, uses puppetry and masks to tell the tale of a king's fight to regain his kingdom from a usurper and save his future queen.

* "The King Stag," Open Fist Theatre, 1625 N. La Brea Ave. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends July 1. $15; opening gala, $20. (323) 882-6912.

8 pm: Music

A company of singers ages 12 to 30 has formed an opera producing group called Opera Nova, led by director Gail Gordon. This week, Opera Nova launches itself with three performances of Mozart's "Magic Flute," conducted by Kevin McKeown.

* Opera Nova performs "The Magic Flute" at John Adams Middle School, 2425 16th St., Santa Monica. 8 p.m. Also Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. $15 to $20. (310) 452-2581.

all day: Museum

Among creatures you don't want to come across while swimming: a Xiphactinus audax--a giant fish known for its spike-like teeth, but which swallowed its prey whole. (Fortunately, it roamed through middle America back when Kansas was under water, in the Cretaceous era, some 70 million years ago.) This and other ancient sea creatures are the subject of "Savage Ancient Seas," a new exhibit of marine animals that were the contemporaries of dinosaurs, at the Natural History Museum.

* "Savage Ancient Seas" at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $8, $5.50 students/seniors; $2 ages 5-12; under 5, free. (213) 763-DINO.


Freebie: Pianist Theo Saunders' quartet appears at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (323) 857-6000.

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