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Eight Things

January 24, 2008

1. REBIRTH OF THE COOL: It might not have the visibility -- or the performance schedule -- of Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. But in terms of soloists, creative arrangements and the sheer ability to swing, the Luckman Jazz Orchestra is second to nobody's ensemble. The always stimulating music of Miles Davis (above) is on the menu for this rare appearance by the orchestra, conducted by the versatile saxophonist Charles Owens. 8 p.m. Sat., Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Dr., L.A. $30 and $35. (323) 434-6600

2. THE NEW HARDEST-WORKING MAN IN SHOW BIZ

Tina Turner never does anything nice and easy; Garth Brooks never does anything small or conventional. So when asked to play a benefit for Southern California wildfire victims during a narrow window of January downtime, rather than signing on for a show or two, the Oklahoma retiree heaped five shows into just two days, swearing he'll deliver full-out sets (proceeds go to the Southern California 2008 Fire Intervention Relief Effort). His three Saturday gigs (at 1, 5 and 9 p.m.) are believed to be the first tripleheader by an arena-level musician. Staples Center. All shows sold out; part of the Friday 6 p.m. concert will be shown at 9 p.m. on CBS

3. BUH-BYE GUY

His snarky zingers ("Hey, Robert Redford, it's called sunscreen. Look into it.") spawned untold legions of office "comedians," but there's only one David Spade. This weekend, workplace funnymen will be inspired anew when the unlikely Romeo (first Heather Locklear, now Jenna Fischer?) presents his stand-up act to the Brea Improv for two shows. 8 p.m. Fri., 7 p.m. Sat., $45. (714) 482-0700

4. A DANCE OF MEMORY AND HOPE

France-based choreographer Ea Sola was forced to flee her native Vietnam during the war, but her latest creation speaks to anyone who has experienced the dehumanizing aftermath of violence. Featuring 12 young dancers from the Vietnam National Opera Ballet and the haunting syncopation of a traditional music ensemble, "Drought and Rain, Vol. 2" is a fierce, kinetic plea to "take consciousness" in a shared world. 8 p.m., Jan. 25-26, $22 to $40, UCLA's Royce Hall, (310) 825-2101

5. EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

When is a tribal mask more than just a tribal mask? In "Tradition as Innovation in African Art" at LACMA, the ancient is avant-garde, and vice versa. The exhibition surveys work by more than 30 boundary-breaking artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sun.-Nov. 2, 2008. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Closed Wednesdays

6. LIVE LARGE AND PROSPER

Inspired by iconic images that span Helmut Newton to Henri Matisse, renaissance man Leonard Nimoy talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Natalie Angier ("Woman: An Intimate Geography") about "The Full Body Project," his boldly staged black-and-white photo studies of the corpulent female form. 7 p.m. Tue., Hammer Museum, Free. www.hammer.ucla.edu

7. WISDOM FOR JUNIOR

A melange of puppetry, indigenous instruments, and myths, The Cloud Gatherer -- a play for young audiences -- allegorically confronts issues like global warming through the tale of children on a perilous journey to discover the reasons for vanishing clouds and dying crops. 7 p.m. Fri. Arena Theatre, Cal State L.A. $8 to $15. (323) 343-4118

8. NICE HAT, DUDE

No decade does motorcycle cool like the '50s and "The Wild One" is the leader of the pack. Observe the birth of Marlon Brando's simmering, pouty-lipped cinematic powers as he terrorizes a town with his big set of wheels. Naturally, he falls in love with the sheriff's daughter, as bad boys were want to do. 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Skirball Cultural Center. (310) 440-4500. Free

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