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BEST BETS: Friday 7/5

July 04, 2002

9pm Pop Music

Will Puffy AmiYumi become Japan's biggest pop export since Kyu Sakamoto hit No. 1 in the U.S. back in 1963 with "Sukiyaki"? Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura have generated a buzz stateside since releasing their first U.S. album, "Spike," last year. Their latest domestic release, "An Illustrated History," compiles songs from three (of seven) Japanese albums and coincides with a tour that includes a stop Friday at Spaceland in addition to the duo's sold-out show Saturday at the Roxy in West Hollywood. And no, there's no evidence to suggest that Sean Combs changed his nickname to P. Diddy in deference to these two.

Puffy AmiYumi, Spaceland, 1717 Silverlake Blvd., L.A. With Irving, the Blokes. 9 p.m. $12. (323) 661-4380. Also Saturday at the Roxy, 9009 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 8 p.m. Sold out. (310) 278-9457.

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all day Movies

Director-provocateur James Toback, who took on race in "Black and White" and sex in "Two Girls and a Guy," goes back to college with "Harvard Man." Toback, an Ivy Leaguer himself, incorporates some of his favorite subjects--sex, drugs and high-stakes gambling--into the story of a basketball-playing undergrad (Adrian Grenier) who digs the philosophy of Heidegger, has an affair with his kinky professor (Joey Lauren Adams) and gets involved with a mobster's cheerleader daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Chaos, alas, ensues.

"Harvard Man," rated R for drug use, language and some strong sexuality, opens Friday in selected theaters.

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8pm Theater

The Mideast conflict comes to life in tales of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances in "Stories Under Occupation." The play was written by the principal players and director Nizar Zubi of the Al-Kasaba Theatre company, formerly of Jerusalem but now of Ramallah in the West Bank. The tales--of an old man moving from one personal disaster to the next, a young couple exchanging tokens of love, a son calling home, a mother losing her child and others--are woven into a narrative. The play will be performed one night only at the La Mirada Theater, in Arabic with English subtitles on a giant screen.

"Stories Under Occupation," La Mirada Theater, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. 8 p.m. $25. (562) 944-9801.

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8pm Comedy

His "inner comedian" sabotaged him on just about every other job he tried. So it was only a matter of time before Richard Jeni would discover the world of stand-up comedy. But when this New Yorker worked his five-minute routine into a class comedy act, there was no stopping the television shows and specials that would follow. This weekend, the streetwise comic takes on terrorism and other topics, at the Ice House in Pasadena.

Richard Jeni, the Ice House, 24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Friday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 and 9 p.m. $19.50. (626) 577-1894.

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8pm Jazz

The man in the slouch hat--singer-songwriter Bobby Caldwell--has released a dozen CDs during the past two decades. His tunes have also been recorded by such artists as Boz Scaggs, Chicago, Amy Grant, Neil Diamond, the Commodores, Vanessa Williams, Al Jarreau, Dave Koz, Brenda Russell, Richard Elliot and others. On Friday in Newport Beach, he'll draw upon his own eclectic range, which runs from smooth jazz to R&B to classic big-band pop standards.

Bobby Caldwell, Hyatt Newporter Outdoor Amphitheater, 1107 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach. Friday, 8 p.m. $40 to $65. (949) 729-1234.

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8:30pm Dance

The culmination of an intensive, monthlong workshop, the Praxis Project showcases choreographers in a program of works in progress titled "Here in the Dark." Participants include Ronald Brown ("Fragile"), Dorcas Roman ("Subtle Fragmentations"), Frit and Frat Fuller ("The Bored Room"), Janice Garrett ("Ostinato" and excerpts from "Hither Thither") and Johnny Tu ("Still Standing"). Founded and directed by Kacy Keys, the project enlists dancers on a volunteer basis and attempts to give the audience insights into the creative process--especially how works originate and evolve toward their ideal shapes. In other words, Praxis makes perfect.

Praxis Project, Watercourt, California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. 8:30 p.m. Also Saturday, 8:30 p.m. Free. (213) 687-2159.

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8pm Dance

Choreographer Kitty McNamee sees contemporary pop culture too clearly to be seduced by its lies. Probing it in a series of eerie, neo-Expressionist dance dramas for her Hysterica Dance Company, she's found layers of alienation, fear and desperate pretense. Her latest full-evening creation, "Sticks and Stones," promises another nonlinear action-painting of a culture in crisis. This time her collaborators include composer Matthew Sims, master of what he calls "technosexual noise," and costume design specialists Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant, and Ryan Heffington and Erin Giraud of Rock 'n Sissy. By no coincidence whatsoever, Heffington is also a leading dancer in "Sticks and Stones" and will model his own clothes in the role of the vulnerable resident Everyman.

Hysterica Dance Company, "Sticks and Stones," John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. 8 p.m. $12 to $20. (323) 461-3673.

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