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BEST BETS: Saturday 3/31

9 pm: Pop Music

March 29, 2001

For a plunge into the depths of challenging pop esoterica, you won't do better than the three L.A. shows by Ruins, a Japanese duo that bespeaks the rock underground's ability to nurture virtually any obsession. Since the mid-'80s, drummer Tatsuya Yoshida and his bassist partner (currently Hishashi Sasaki) have been forging a unique form of insanely complex post-progressive rock, singing in an improvised private language and occasionally cramming a multitude of famous classical themes and prog-rock standards into condensed bursts.

* Ruins, with Dinosaurs With Horns, Spezza Rotto, Kitten Sparkles, at the Smell, 247 S. Main St., L.A., 9 p.m., $5, (213) 625-4325. Also: Sunday at 7 p.m. with Mia Doi Todd, Spezza Rotto, Controlling Hand, Wounded Head, at the Fold at the AlterKnit Lounge, Knitting Factory Hollywood, 7021 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., $10, (323) 463-0204. Monday at 8 p.m. with Spezza Rotto, 400 Blows, Disrespect for Joy at the Fold, at Silverlake Lounge, 2906 Sunset Blvd., L.A., $6 before 9 p.m., $8 after 9 p.m., [323] 666-2407.

7:30 pm: Music

A program of jazz-inspired French music from the entire 20th century is the offering by the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and its guest soloist, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, in Zipper Hall at the Colburn school of Performing Arts. Represented are composers Gabriel Faure, Jacques Ibert, Darius Milhaud, DeBois, Debussy and Stravinsky.

* Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, Zipper Hall, Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Ave., L.A., 7:30 p.m. Free, but reservations required. (213) 625-0519.

8 pm: Theater

"Beat for Sparrows," a new play by Karen Schuler and Richard Miller, is adapted from the writings of jazz artist and Beat poet Charlie Leeds and his book, "Tillie's Punctured Romance." Leeds, who played bass for leading jazz bands in the 1940s and '50s, will be played by stage and film veteran Joseph Lennon McCord (Old Charlie) and musician Josh Phillips (Young Charlie).

* "Beat for Sparrows," Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 8 p.m. Regular schedule: Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. Ends May 6. $20. (323) 655-TKTS.

all day: Festival

The Old West comes alive during a festive weekend of food, drink, music and poetry at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Santa Clarita. The 2001 Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival will offer the song and verse of such cowboy poet-musicians as Waddie Mitchell, Baxter Black and Don Edwards. Costumed street performers, vendors and exhibits of Old West culture will also bring back the sights and sounds of this bygone era.

* 2001 Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival, Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio. Guests with a general admission or theater ticket can take a shuttle bus to the ranch at a bus site at Arch and 12th streets, Santa Clarita. Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission tickets for each day, $15; individual theater performances, $15 to $35. Festival Roundup featuring three stages of song and verse free with general admission ticket. Call for performance times. (661) 286-4021.

noon: Celebration

The first state holiday commemorating Cesar Chavez's birthday will be celebrated at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in Los Angeles and at the Anaheim Museum. The L.A. celebrations aim to teach children about the life of the late labor and civil rights leader through storytelling and arts and crafts. Career and educational guidance will also be available for high school students. Playwright Luis Valdez will be among those who will speak about the life of Chavez. The Anaheim Museum will mark the occasion with prize drawings, games, pinatas, mariachis, food and entertainment. "An American Leader: Cesar E. Chavez," a collection of photographs documenting the life and times of Chavez, will also be on display at the museum through April 7.

* Cesar Chavez Birthday Celebration, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Olvera Street, L.A., noon-5 p.m. Free admission. (213) 624-3660. Anaheim Museum, 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, noon-6 p.m. Free admission. (714) 778-3301.

8 pm: Theater

Quebec's Les Deux Mondes presents "The Tale of Teeka," Michel Marc Bouchard's deeply affecting and unsettling touring work, a theatrical exploration of the cycle of domestic violence. In the unusual piece, with music and "sound-scape" by Michel Robidoux, a man sees the physically abused child he used to be and remembers his tragic friendship with a tame goose.

* "The Tale of Teeka," Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Cal State Long Beach, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach, 8 p.m. $23. (562) 985-7000. Also: Cal State Northridge, Performing Arts Center (Parking Lot C at Zelzah and Plummer streets), Northridge, April 3-4 at 8 p.m. April 4: sign-language interpreted; post-show discussion on domestic violence. Ends April 4. $17. (818) 677-2488.


FREEBIE: The William Andrews Clark Library, which was founded in 1926 and bequeathed to UCLA in 1934, holds a collection of 100,000 books focusing on English literature from 1640 to 1800. Tours are available Saturday at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow, as well as on April 11. 2520 Cimarron St., West Adams, L.A. Reservations required. (323) 731-8529.

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