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Three-day forecast

September 11, 2003

THEATER

Big top fantasy world

"Varekai," Cirque du Soleil's newest theatrical extravaganza, with an Icarus theme, begins when a young man falls from the sky into a magical forest world filled with fantasy creatures and new possibilities. The show is presented outdoors under the "Grand Chapiteau" -- the company's signature blue-and-yellow big top.

Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Parking Lot No. 2, L.A. Opens Friday. Runs Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays-Saturdays, 4 and 8 p.m.; Sundays, 1 and 5 p.m.; ends Oct. 5. $60-$80. (800) 678-5440.

JAZZ

Rare form of artistry

Jazz saxman Joshua Redman is one of those rare artists who has achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success. He first came to national prominence when he won the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition and has been a major jazz figure since. Currently, Redman and his band -- pianist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade -- have been on the road since the release of his album "Elastic" in September 2002. This week they're doing a Hollywood turn at Catalina's.

Joshua Redman Elastic Band, Catalina Bar & Grill, 1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thursday to Saturday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $20-$35. (323) 466-2210.

POP MUSIC

Punk reunion

Black Flag's musical assault was impossibly ferocious when the band emerged from its South Bay scene in the late '70s, so it might be surprising to find that their unexpected,

one-time-only reunion is being held as a benefit for a cause as heartwarming as pet rescue organizations. But don't expect Greg Ginn, Dez Cadena, Robo and C'el to play like pussycats -- this group had an intensity that took punk-rock to a new level.

Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m. $27.50. (323) 962-7600.

BOOKS

On stories' short list

His 2002 novel, "Never So Green," earned wide praise, and now 41-year-old Tim Johnston is one of 20

writers to win a 2003 O. Henry Prize for short-story writing. His winner, "Irish Girl," and other stories will be featured at this month's New Short Fiction Series. The guest cast includes Rod Maxwell, David Sean Robinson and Michael Spellman.

The New Short Fiction Series, Beverly Hills Public Library, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. Friday, 8 p.m. $10. (310) 288-2220.

POP MUSIC

A nightclub reborn

A new day is dawning for L.A. night life, at least in the core of Hollywood. On Monday the venerable Palace nightclub steps out in its remodeled finery and with a new name, the Avalon Hollywood. The Welsh band the Stereophonics does the opening-night honors, kicking off an inaugural week that continues with Liz Phair, Spearhead, Hot Hot Heat, David Crowder and Cake.

The Stereophonics, the Avalon Hollywood, 1735 N. Vine St., Hollywood, 8 p.m. $22.50. (323) 467-4571.

MOVIES

Sisterhood and kicks

Computer magnates with a deadly sibling rivalry, a pair of high-tech assassin sisters and a female cop with an exceptional mind combine to provide high-flying martial arts action with a sexy undercurrent for director Corey Yuen in the film, "So Close." Shu Qi, Karen Mok and Zhao Wei star.

"So Close," unrated, opens Friday exclusively at the Landmark Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. (310) 281-8223.

FESTIVAL

Revering Mexico

Thirty-six years and counting, the Ojai Valley Mexican Fiesta returns to the oak-tree canopied Libbey Bowl to continue its reign as one of the area's oldest heritage celebrations of its kind. Each year featuring a slate of mariachi and ballet folklorico troupes, the fiesta pursues a dual purpose: celebrating Mexico's Independence Day, which falls on Tuesday, and raising college scholarship funds for Ojai Valley students of Mexican descent. Performers this year include Mariachi Camarillo, Conjuncto Los Tecknicos and Ballet Folklorico Mestizo de Oxnard College. Traditional foods and arts will be featured.

Ojai Valley Mexican Fiesta, Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Libbey Bowl, Signal Street and Ojai Avenue, Ojai. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. $4, general; $3, people 65 and older; $1, students; free for children 5 and younger. (805) 649-1129.

MUSIC

Sorrow tribute

Shostakovich's Trio No. 3 is a complex memorial to a young friend who had died of a heart attack. Its mix of styles startled some of the first listeners, but later audiences have come to appreciate the work's range and depth. The Ronald Leonard Trio plays the work on the opening concert of the 41st season of the South Bay Chamber Music Society. The program also will include Haydn's "Gypsy" Trio and Dvorak's Trio No. 3.

Harbor College, 1111 Figueroa Place, Wilmington. Friday, 8 p.m. Also, Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes. Sunday, 3 p.m. Free at both venues. (310) 545-1747.

THEATER

Laramie revival

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