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BEST BETS Thursday 1/10

7:30pm Music

January 10, 2002

With this program, the American String Quartet wraps up its six-year performance cycle of Mozart's quintets and all of Bartok's quartets in Founders Hall at the Performing Arts Center. Guest violist Brian Dembow will join violinists Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney, violist Daniel Avshalomov and cellist David Geber in Mozart's Quintet in B-flat, K. 174. The Americans will also play Bartok's Quartet No. 2 and Dvorak's Quartet in E-flat, Opus 51.

American String Quartet, Founders Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 7:30 p.m. $40. (714) 556-2787.

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8pm

Theater

"Fool for Love," first seen in 1983, is one of Sam Shepard's most frequently produced plays. It certainly is getting its due in Orange County, where the Hunger Artists opened 2001 with a taut and explosive production; now the Vanguard Theatre Ensemble is having a go at it to start 2002. Like Shepard's "True West," it concerns a combustible pair who duke it out against a desert backdrop, with a haunting father figure--only talked about in "True West" but a ghostly onstage presence in "Fool for Love"--to drive the conflict. Eddie, a drifting cowboy, and May, his on-again-off-again lover, convene in a dingy motel room like two thunderclouds clashing. Shepard himself played Eddie opposite Kim Basinger's May in the 1985 film version directed by Robert Altman.

"Fool for Love," Vanguard Theatre Ensemble, 699A State College Blvd., Fullerton. Preview tonight, regular performances begin Friday. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. $7 preview; $13 to $15 regular shows. $17 opening night. Ends Feb. 9. (714) 526-8007.

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8pm

Pop Music

For a case study in how to shepherd your art from one era into another, and from fiery punk-rock youth into still-searing middle age, check in with Graham Parker. Now a Woodstock resident, the Englishman who once rivaled Elvis Costello in the venom-and-

wit department plays with his band the Figgs and co-headlines with another old-school enfant terrible, Frank Black, once the mysterious Black Francis of the Pixies.

Graham Parker, with Frank Black; also Los Dos Amigos, Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. 8 p.m. $19.50. (949) 496-8930. Friday at the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. 8 p.m. $16.50. (310) 276-6168.

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8:30pm

Theater

Don't look for a feel-good evening of theater when Neil Labute is the playwright. As the screenwriter and director of the films "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends and Neighbors," Labute relentlessly has held up a mirror to some damaged and damaging behavior. More of the same is in the offing in his 1999-vintage play, "Bash," subtitled "Latterday Plays" in reference to Labute's Mormon faith and the milieu of the piece. The evening consists of three one-act plays dominated by monologues. Hunger Artists bills "Bash" as "a voyage through a nightmare landscape inhabited by commonplace people capable of nearly unspeakable acts."

"Bash," Hunger Artists Theatre Company, 204 E. 4th St., Suite I, Santa Ana. Preview tonight, regular performances begin Friday. Fridays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Also Monday, Jan. 28, 8:30 p.m. Preview, $5. Regular performances, $12 to $15. Ends Feb. 3. (714) 547-9100.

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8pm

Music

The Pacific Symphony starts the year with a program of music by Russian composers. Featured will be the Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor," Serge Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto (with soloist Lilya Zilberstein) and Nicholai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade." Roberto Minczuk, co-artistic director of the Sao Paulo Symphony, will be the guest conductor.

Pacific Symphony, Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 8 p.m. $21 to $56. (714) 556-2787.

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