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VENTURA COUNTY CULTURE

An Evening Under the Stars With Two Splendid Guitars

Guitarist Jim Fox joins the Flying Pisanos at Olivas Adobe concert

July 18, 2002|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If the name Pisano registers only mildly to some, it resonates fairly significantly in the world of jazz guitar. Nimble Los Angeles-based guitarist John Pisano was a frequent collaborator with no less a guitar hero than the late great Joe Pass for many years.

More recently, Pisano was responsible for organizing a concert series at the old Brentwood location of Rocco's.

For many months, every Monday night in that inviting space up by Mulholland Drive, guitar fans could count on hearing champions of the straight-ahead jazz genre, usually in duet with Pisano, a host with plenty of chops.

Pisano also performs in cahoots with his wife, vocalist Jeanne, the context for the guitarist's show Saturday as part of the "Music Under the Stars" series at the Olivas Adobe. Pisano enjoys the company of another guitarist, in this case Jim Fox, for an evening of standards, originals and things Brazilian. Expect musicality, fretboard gymnastics and sweet hot vocals.

* The Flying Pisanos, with Jim Fox, Olivas Adobe, 4200 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. $15, general; $13, senior citizens and children 12 and younger. (805) 658-4726.

*

Plays Are the Thing: Theater-in-progress as a living, evolving entity is the underlying theme of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. Its fifth annual season begins Sunday at the Happy Valley School in Ojai. The school's Zalk Theater will be the headquarters of a weeklong roster of symposiums and readings of new plays.

Open to the public, the readings include Luis Alfaro's "No Holds Barrio," Kelly Stuart's "Mayhem," Arthur L. Kopit's "Discovery of America," Jessica Goldberg's "Katzman and the Mayor" and Jon Robin Baitz's "The Paris Letter."

One feature of the conference is a weeklong workshop called "Why Don't You Just Go Write a Play About It?," presented in association with Ojai's small but mighty Highway 150, a living example of the get-up-and-do-it theater sensibility.

* Ojai Playwrights Conference, Zalk Theater at Happy Valley School, 8585 California 150, Sunday- through July 28. $12 for readings, $50 for conference series and $5 for symposiums. Call for events schedule (805) 640-0400 or visit www.ojaiplaywrightsconf.org.

*

Dog Ploy: A man, a woman and a beloved canine make up A.R. Gurney's "Sylvia," summer fare at the Rubicon Theater. Gurney, who wrote "Love Letters" and "The Dining Room," spins a comic tale about the tensions arising between a midlife-afflicted man and his wife when a fetching dog wins his affection.

The acting talent arrives with Joe Spano of TV's "Hill Street Blues" and "NYPD Blue" and Laurie Walters from "Eight Is Enough," who star as the human couple. The starring pooch is Kristi Lynes, whose resume includes, aptly enough, "Cats" on Broadway. Rubicon Artistic Director James O'Neill directs.

* "Sylvia," Rubicon Theatre Company at the Laurel, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., through Aug. 18; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., through Aug. 17. $28-$43. Discounts for groups, senior citizens, students, military. (805) 667-2900. www.rubicontheatre.com.

*

HoJo Homicide: The Vagabond Players dig into the murderous farce genre with "Murder at the Howard Johnson's," opening Friday. Written by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick, the play deals with concurrent murderous and romantic intentions of a triangle of characters in a HoJo. The trio is played by Roscoe Gaines, Melanie McGuire and Will Shupe (seen recently in the Rubicon reading of "High Button Shoes").

* "Murder at the Howard Johnson's," Backlot Theater, 1408 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, Friday through Aug. 11. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. $14, general; $12, senior citizens and students. (805) 987-6039.

*

Stress-Free Songstress: The vast underground world of singer-songwriters may be just beneath the surface of the usual media and radio sources.

The long list of worthy artists in that world includes Austin, Texas-based Ana Egge, who was involved in the all-female Lilith Fair festival and whose deft, seamless blend of folk, blues, bluegrass and other influences has her own distinct flavor. Egge returns to Ojai for a Saturday night gig at the Center for the Arts.

* Ana Egge, Ojai Center for the Arts, 113 S. Montgomery St., Saturday, 8:30 p.m. $15. (805) 640-8198.

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