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BEST BETS: Friday 3/16

8 pm: Pop Music

March 15, 2001

Channeling her Portuguese heritage and eclectic musical interests into an infectious, urban-cum-ethnic sound, Canadian singer Nelly Furtado has made a strong arrival with her debut album, "Whoa, Nelly!"

* Nelly Furtado, El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Sold out. (323) 936-6400.

6:30 pm: Pop Music

Weezer ruled at least a corner of the pop world in the mid-'90s when "The Sweater Song" and "Buddy Holly" cracked the grunge gloom with infectious hooks and sunny vibes. When the L.A. band returned from a long break with some surprise shows last year, the fan response picked up where it left off, and Weezer is now wrapping up its first album in five years.

* Weezer, with the Get Up Kids and Ozma, the Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 6:30 p.m. Sold out. (323) 962-7600.

7:30 pm: Family

"The Small but Mighty Plays," six short plays written and directed by such theater professionals as Geoffrey Rivas, Robert Fieldsteel and Heather Dundas, will be presented by the Virginia Avenue Project. It's the culmination of a program pairing two young actors, ages 6 to 18, with a professional writer and director in the creation and performance of an original play.

* "The Small but Mighty Plays," 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A. Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 3 p.m. Free, but reservations required. (310) 330-8860.

7:45 pm: Theater

In Martin McDonagh's Irish comedy "The Lonesome West," making its West Coast premiere, conniving brothers struggle with mutual hatred in the home of their just-buried father, and the fact that one of them--maybe accidentally, maybe not--killed Dad with a shotgun blast.

* "The Lonesome West," South Coast Repertory, Second Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Tuesdays-Sundays, 7:45 p.m.; Saturdays-Sundays, 2 p.m. Ends April 15. $18-$47; except pay what you can this Saturday at 2 p.m. (714) 708-5555.

7 pm: Movies

The man who parted the Red Sea as Moses will be feted by the American Cinematheque with the series "Larger Than Life: A Tribute to Charlton Heston," the first Los Angeles retrospective of his career. A dozen of Heston's films will unspool in the next two weeks, including "The Ten Commandments," "Will Penny," "El Cid" and "The Greatest Show on Earth." Heston will be on hand for several of the screenings, including tonight's opening film, Orson Welles' 1958 noir classic "Touch of Evil."

* American Cinematheque presents "Larger Than Life: A Tribute to Charlton Heston," "Touch of Evil," Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 7 p.m.; series continues through March 28. $6 to $8. (323) 466-FILM.

8 pm: Theater

A sales rep for a bell device for coffins--just in case the burial was a bit premature--finds use for one herself when her route takes her to a famine-plagued town called Brood, in "The Wooden Breeks," Glen Berger's darkly comic fairy tale about love and death in 19th century Great Britain.

* "The Wooden Breeks," Open Fist Theatre, 1625 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Ends April 21. $15. (323) 882-6912.

8 pm: Dance

Whether you love or hate his choreography (and there seems to be no middle ground), Boris Eifman has attracted the most exciting male dancers in all of Russia to his Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg. In its debut at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the 44-member company is dancing "Russian Hamlet: The Son of Catherine the Great," a full-evening epic, created for the Bolshoi, that uses music by Beethoven and Mahler to portray one of the most complex and tragic figures in Russian history. Three different casts are scheduled during the engagement, and anyone who sees Igor Markov, Albert Galichanin or Yuri Ananyan will find Eifman's style incarnated at its most blazingly intense.

* Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. $20-$60. (714) 740-7878.

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FREEBIES: Handmade quilts and crafts made by the Amish, Mennonites and other craftspeople of Lancaster County, Pa., will be for sale at the Amish Craft Show, Orange County Fairgrounds, Building 14, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (717) 687-9270.

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John Frankenheimer's 1962 film, "The Manchurian Candidate," starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury, screens as part of Chapman University's Cold War Film Series, free. 7 p.m., Argyros Forum, Room 208, One University Drive, Orange, (714) 744-7694.

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