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Best Bets / October 15-21, 2000

October 15, 2000

Movies

Mimi Leder directs Kevin Spacey, above left, Helen Hunt, right, and Haley Joel Osment in "Pay It Forward," in which Spacey plays a social studies teacher who assigns his students to come up with an idea that might make the world a better place and put it into action. Opens Friday.

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Also: Mark Wahlberg stars in "The Yards" as an ex-con who takes a job in Manhattan's subway yards in hopes of getting his life in order--only to find himself vulnerable to his corrupt uncle (James Caan). With Joaquin Phoenix and Charlize Theron. Opens Friday at selected theaters.

Theater

The much-anticipated run of "The Lion King," Disney's blockbuster theatrical musical with the stunning design, eye-popping puppetry, masks and thrilling African rhythms, officially opens on Thursday at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. The theater, which received a gorgeous make-over for the occasion, is slated to be home to the show through June 30.

Music

Visiting orchestras beckon: Today in Orange County, the American Rico Saccani conducts the Iceland Symphony in music by Jon Leifs, Khachaturian and Sibelius. Friday, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown L.A., Christoph Eschenbach leads the touring NDR Symphony Hamburg. Meanwhile, Antonio Pappano guests at the L.A. Philharmonic, while Joseph Swensen conducts the L.A. Chamber Orchestra.

Dance

Evel Knievel meets Cannonball Joe: In tribute to daredevils past and present, Elizabeth Streb's new "ActionHeroes" borrows ideas from the circus, fairground and movie stunt repertory on Friday and Saturday in the Irvine Barclay Theatre. An abridged family performance ("Kid Action") takes place next Sunday afternoon featuring preteens from Santa Ana's Saint Joseph Ballet.

Pop Music

Few albums have proved as polarizing as Radiohead's new "Kid A," with singer Thom Yorke, below, with fans of the enigmatic English band lining up on the pro side (it's a daring, adventurous experiment that reflects Radiohead's independence) and the con (it's a retreat into the obscure and the abstract). Radiohead's only scheduled North American concert, Friday at the Greek, figures to fuel the fire.

Video

Sequels to hit movies rarely re-create the magic of the original. But Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 2" is every bit as wonderful as the first. Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head and the gang return for computer-animated adventure that finds the toys attempting to free Woody from the clutches of an evil toy collector. As poignant as it is funny, the box-office blockbuster arrives Tuesday on video and DVD.

Art

"Mexico: From Empire to Revolution," the first in a two-part photography exhibition focusing on Mexico's turbulent history, opens Saturday at the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery. Drawn from the Institute's archive of more than 1 million photographs, the survey explores the historical importance photographs portray in depicting history. Above: "Young Soldier," circa 1914.

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