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BEST BETS: Thursday 1/31

8pm Theater

January 31, 2002

8pm Theater

Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is the launching point for "The Drama Dept.'s Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," an examination of the epoch of slavery and what came after. Written by Floraine Kay and Randolph Curtis Rand, this West Coast premiere incorporates the words of James Baldwin, e.e. cummings, Frederick Douglass, Oscar Wilde and many others.

"The Drama Dept.'s Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, L.A., Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends Feb. 23. $15, except this Friday's gala, $20. (310) 281-8337.

9:30pm Pop Music

Chuck E.'s in luck. That's right, Chuck E. Weiss--the long-running ringmaster of the city's bluesy bar-band scene, Tom Waits protege, inspiration for Rickie Lee Jones' "Chuck E.'s in Love," mentor to such admired newcomers as Eleni Mandell, and all-around irrepressible character--has released a new album. The singer celebrates "Old Souls & Wolf Tickets" with a show at the Viper Room, which is the same room that was the site of his infamous weekly residencies back when it was the Central.

Chuck E. Weiss & the G-d Damn Liars, Viper Room, 8852 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 9:30 p.m. $10. (310) 358-1880.

7:30pm Leisure

LA Freewaves kicks off "TV or Not TV," its 2002 eight-part series of public panel discussions leading up to its annual arts fest in November, with a free event featuring short screenings, refreshments and--believe it or not--a panel discussion. This one will include Titus Levi of USC's Annenberg School of Communication, KCET director of programming Doug Chang, Larry Namer of E! Entertainment and others talking about the creation of a mass media outlet for the arts.

"TV or Not TV," Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., L.A., 7:30 p.m. Free. (323) 466-5141.

8 & 8:30pm Theater

UCLA Live's eclectic new Solo Festival launches with two tour de force performances. Jeroen Williams of the Dutch theater group Zuidelijk Toneel Hollandia plays multiple characters in "Voices," a razor-edged critique of the excesses of capitalism, set during the messy aftermath of a dinner party. Meanwhile, actress Ellen Lauren, New York-based SITI Company's associate director, presents "Room," a journey through the thoughts of writer Virginia Woolf about the creative spirit's need for room to move, breathe and imagine.

"Voices," Macgowan Hall, UCLA, Wyton Drive and Sunset Boulevard, L.A., today through Sunday, 8:30 p.m. "Room," Freud Playhouse, 405 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, today through Saturday, 8 p.m. $35 each. (310) 825-2101.

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