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BEST BETS: Friday 6/28

June 27, 2002

8pm Music

Grand Performances at the California Plaza Watercourt opens its summer season at the lunch hour Friday, with the sizzling sounds of Johnny Polanco y Conjunto Amistad, a 12-piece salsa band. The adjoining terrace will be filled with crafts booths representing cultures from around the world. At nightfall, Bamboleo, a 14-piece fusion of Cuban son, R&B, rap and jazz, delivers the perfect recipe for an evening of rhythm and sound. And on Saturday, the hilarious comedy troupe that whipped up "A Bowl of Beings" and dished out "Nuyorican Stories" cooks up its own special brand of party--the Culture Clash Comedy Fiesta. Clashers Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza, along with the hip-hop band Maya, perform under the stars.

Grand Performances, California Plaza Watercourt, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Conjunto Amistad, Friday, noon; Bamboleo, Friday, 8 p.m.; Culture Clash, Saturday, 8 p.m. Free. (213) 687-2159.

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all day Leisure

At the first Sawdust Art Festival in 1966, the organizers put sawdust on the ground of the vacant lot to keep everything from being covered with dust, hence the name. This year's festival, which opens Friday, will feature more than 175 artists offering ceramics, glass, watercolor and oil paintings, jewelry, leather, sculpture and more, plus workshops, demonstrations, live entertainment, three cafes and a saloon. And more than 50 tons of sawdust.

Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Sept. 1. $2 to $6.50; free for children 5 and younger. (949) 494-3030.

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all day Movies

Filmmaker Majid Majidi's "Baran," which had a one-week Oscar-qualifying run last December, makes a welcome return beginning Friday. Majidi, one of Iran's most acclaimed directors for such films as "The Children of Heaven" and "The Color of Paradise," tells a romantic tale of a group of Afghan refugees working illegally at a Tehran construction site, the young Iranian boy who serves as the site's caretaker and an Afghan girl with whom he falls in love. The Times' Kevin Thomas wrote that "the darkly glowing 'Baran' brings an irresistible blend of warmth and humor and a consistent embracing humanity in the face of life's harshness" and named it as one his top 10 films of 2001.

"Baran," rated PG for language and brief violence, opens Friday exclusively at the Laemmle's Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 274-6869 and Laemmle's Town Center, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino, (818) 981-9811.

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7pm Music

Pianist John Tenney opens a two-night John Cage celebration beginning a third season of experimental works at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. The opening program offers Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48) for prepared piano. Saturday, the performers include Tenney, violinist Mark Menzies, CalArts faculty and students and dancers-choreographers Deborah Cohen and Simone Forti.

John Cage Festival, Schindler House at the MAK Center, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, 7 p.m. $9-$15. (323) 651-1510.

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8:30pm Theater

The fledgling Furious Theatre Company's inaugural season continues with a second offering, English playwright Alex Jones' drama "Noise." The audacious Pasadena-based group of twentysomethings scored with critics in May with its first production, the U.S. premiere of Paul Slabolepszy's savage apartheid-era drama, "Saturday Night at the Palace." "Noise," another U.S. premiere, is about teenage newlyweds and parents-to-be in an economically depressed area in England and the loss of innocence in a violent world.

"Noise," Furious Theatre Company at Armory Northwest, 965 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, Fridays-Sundays, 8:30 p.m. Ends July 21. $15; two for $20. (818) 679-8854.

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8:30pm Music

For the third annual Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame gala, opera singer Kathleen Battle, Broadway singer-actress Bernadette Peters and singer-songwriter Randy Newman will be inducted, presented by Janet Jackson, Joel Grey and John Lasseter, respectively. In addition, there will be a posthumous tribute to George Harrison by Eric Idle and Billy Preston. The entire gala, which kicks off the Bowl's 81st season, will benefit Music Matters, the music education programs of the L.A. Philharmonic Assn.

Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame Gala, Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, 8:30 p.m. $20-$95. (323) 850-2000.

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7:30pm Pop Music

The list of Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards 2002 winners and Spin magazine's first "Bad---Grrls Hall of Fame" roster have just one name in common. That'd be Pink, of course, whose first major headlining tour winds down this weekend with shows Friday and Saturday at the Wiltern and Sunday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. After that, Her Royal Pinkness joins Lenny Kravitz for his summer tour.

Pink, Wiltern Theatre, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $25 to $45. (213) 380-5005. Also Sunday, Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 7:30 p.m. $33.50. (858) 793-5555.

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