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THE VALLEY BEST BETS

Skating Stars

November 23, 2000

Former world skating champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner will perform Friday morning at the opening of Southern California's only in-ground outdoor ice-skating rink at Universal CityWalk. The custom-designed 50-by-80-foot ice arena, along with its artificial "snowfalls," will be open through Jan. 7. "Whovillians" from Universal Pictures' "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will be on hand to meet and greet visitors at an elaborate "Whoville" photo backdrop. CityWalk's other seasonal touches will include thousands of holiday lights, Christmas trees, gospel choirs and other holiday entertainment.

* Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, Friday, 10 a.m., ice rink at the Fountain Court area of Universal CityWalk, Lankershim Boulevard and Hollywood Freeway. Skating, $6.50 per hour; $2.50 skate rental. Rink hours vary. (818) 622-4455.

Jazz Singer

Jazz singer Jelsa Palao performs Friday evening at Coffee Junction in Tarzana. Times jazz critic Don Heckman has described her voice as a "resonant, chesty contralto . . . sparkling with the soaring melismas of a Sarah Vaughan and the crisp precision of a Carmen McRae."

* Jazz singer Jelsa Palao, Friday, 8-11 p.m., Coffee Junction, 19221 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. No cover. (818) 342-3405.

Holiday Theater

Glendale Center Theatre's 36th annual holiday production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" opens Friday and runs through Dec. 23. For a new twist, this year's version is a musical adaptation of the Christmas classic. Also, the Canyon Theatre Guild's production of "Scrooge, the Stingiest Man in Town" opens Friday at the guild's new venue in downtown Newhall. This variation on Dickens' story will run through Christmas.

* "A Christmas Carol," opens Friday, 8 p.m., Glendale Center Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Regular schedule: Tuesday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday matinee, 3 and 8 p.m. Ends Dec. 23. $12.50-$21. (818) 244-8481. "Scrooge, the Stingiest Man in Town," opens Friday, 8 p.m., Canyon Theatre Guild, 24242 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Regular schedule: Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. $8-$15. Additional performances possible. (661) 298-0058.

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