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A Dance Tribute to Marley and Taj Mahal

The musicians will be the subjects of a show by the Lula Washington troupe in Thousand Oaks as part of the 'Pieces of the World' series.


This Saturday night in the big cultural caldron of the Civic Arts Plaza, the subjects will be the respective legends of the late reggae hero Bob Marley, folk-blues hero Taj Mahal and an acclaimed dance company from the extended neighborhood.

Performing a "Tribute to Bob Marley and Taj Mahal," the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, founded in Los Angeles in 1980, shows up in Thousand Oaks as part of the "Pieces of the World" series presented by the locally based Performances to Grow On cultural organization.

What's this, choreography about Marley and Mahal? Why not? Both musicians extended boundaries in their own art, and this company is known for blending elements of jazz, hip-hop, ballet and modern dance.

* Lula Washington Dance Theatre, "Tribute to Bob Marley and Taj Mahal," Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $20. (805) 449-2787 or 583-8700. More information:


Art Party: Never mind that the current exhibition at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center is your standard hodgepodge affair. Try to ignore the mess and the fact that it's a gathering of art with no great interest in expressing any particular ideas or artistic directions. Consider it a holiday party, and a deserved self-administered toast to the gallery itself. Welcome to "Momentum," the second annual juried members show in one of Ventura County's most inspiring spaces to view art. The center's growth over the last few years has been impressive.

This gallery and studio complex grew out of a vacuum, in a wing of the decommissioned Camarillo State Hospital. As a result, the property, soon to open as the new California State University Channel Islands campus, has had at least one corner of its empty space put to fine use. The current selection of art, fittingly, was curated by Jack Reilly, who will be heading the art department at the new CSUCI. Art spilleth over here, in the main gallery in front as well as the more recently opened adjacent gallery and the hallway leading back to artists' studios. Julia Pinkham's eye-tickling painting "Fairytale" has a sly title, open to interpretation. It's partly abstract, in the Gorky-esque sense, and partly candied up with a vivid palette that might put us in mind of a hallucinatory wonderland. In other heightened color news, the color orange virtually engulfs us--in a warm, radiant way--in Susan Clark's "Toscana."

There are some pieces of topical and local interest. With "Afghanistan 2001," Carlisle Cooper shows one of his signature, optically charged and layered portraits, this one of an Afghan soldier against a mosaic of fire. Cindy Medlyn's "Chumash Mysteries," a miniature painted cave scene with pictographs, is a tableau described as a sculptural landscape, but it also has an archeological alter ego.

Roxie Ray continues to create empathetic portraits of local farm workers, of which the brightly colored "Strawberry Picker" is a good example.

Art about art-making is behind the cleareyed painting "Young Artists With an Unfinished Painting," by Ventura College art teacher Hiroko Yoshimoto.

For pure evocative powers, in a tiny package, there may be nothing so moving in this show as Elisse Pogofsky-Harris' monotypes. Smaller than postcards, suggesting landscapes without explicitly describing them, these small wonders lurk gracefully in the periphery of a busy show.

* "Momentum," Studio Channel Islands Art Center, Cal State Channel Islands, Camarillo. Ends Jan. 19. Gallery hours: Thursdays to Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. (805) 383-1368.


Comings and Goings: One of the shows in the planning stages at Studio Channel Islands Art Center is a tribute to Art City II. This art gallery and center, long a fixture in town, is losing its present space, with a last hurrah of a show up through January. With this change, assuming that it doesn't immediately move to another space, Ventura's art scene will have lost an important venue.

This Saturday night, there will be a send-off of sorts, involving figures who have been part of the Art City story for years. Jeff Kaiser, on trumpet and electronics, will lead an improvisational group that includes Los Angeles-based musicians Scott Ray, on trombone and electronics, G.E. Stinson on guitar and electronics, and Steuart Liebig on bass guitar and electronics.

Note the prevalence of electronics on the list: It's an event with both plugged and unplugged components. Poets Phil Taggart, Jackson Wheeler, Marsha de la O and David Oliveira will also read.

* "A Farewell to Art City II," 31 Peking St., Ventura. Saturday, 6 p.m. $5. For more information: www.

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