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June 30-July 6, 2002

Best Bets

June 30, 2002

Movies

A diabolical plot by an evil Kylothian disguised as a lingerie model (Lara Flynn Boyle) propels Agent Jay (Will Smith) to extract Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) from his new life as a drone in the U.S. Postal Service and save the galaxy in "Men in Black II." Rip Torn co-stars. Opens Friday. Above: Jones, left, and Smith.

Also: A mysterious pair of sneakers with the initials "MJ" allows rapper Lil' Bow Wow (who's still billed that way even though he recently dropped the Lil') to play "Like Mike" in a basketball comedy co-starring Morris Chestnut and a slew of NBA stars. Opens Friday.

Dance

Hip-hop culture takes over Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica from Thursday to next Sunday when the youth group JUiCE (Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy) presents "Break It Down." This full-evening work uses hip-hop words, music, graphics and dance to tell four interrelated stories, enlisting members of the JUiCE community center in L.A. to show how their art defines their lives. After the performance, stick around to meet Stuntman, Felix, Rawbzilla, Lotuz and the others.

Music

The spirit of Independence Day moves Southern California orchestras this week. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under John Williams, celebrates Tuesday through Thursday, with guest singer James Taylor and, of course, the Fireworks Spectacular. The Pacific Symphony, led by principal pops conductor Richard Kaufman, takes over Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine on Thursday night. Also Thursday, Gisele Ben-Dor leads the Santa Barbara Symphony in the outdoor Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and the San Diego Symphony, with the Sweet Adelines Chorus, the Sun Harbor Chorus and the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band, plays at Navy Pier.

Pop Music

One way to keep your cult-hero credentials valid is to release your albums at 30-year intervals. That's the pace maintained by the Flatlanders, the singer- songwriter supergroup made up of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. The Texans' new collection, "Now Again," is the springboard for a tour that includes dates at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Tuesday and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday. Gilmore, Ely and Hancock, far right.

Theater

Shakespeare Festival L.A. has staged "Julius Caesar" on the steps of downtown L.A.'s City Hall and set "Much Ado About Nothing" in an ocean-side country club. Now it transports "Romeo and Juliet" and the warring Capulets and Montagues to a modern metropolis, placing the romantic tragedy in a world of rival record labels and the competitive music industry. Free from Friday through July 20, outdoors in Pershing Square Park; the play's July 25-Aug. 4 run at South Coast Botanic Garden in the Palos Verdes Peninsula will charge admission. Above, Maulik Pancholy, left, David Nevell and Careena Melia rehearse.

Video

In the clever "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius," it's up to Jimmy (voiced by Debi Derryberry) and the other kids to save the day. The box office hit arrives Tuesday on VHS and DVD.

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