Opening its 18th season, the small but authentic Baroque Music Festival offers the first of five programs in its weeklong celebration. Led by founder Burton Karson, and playing period instruments, the specialist players essay music by Bach, Handel, Marcello, Vivaldi and--from the 20th century--Robert Linn. The festival continues through June 28.
* The Baroque Music Festival at Corona del Mar opens at 4 p.m. at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 3233 Pacific Drive. $25. (949) 760-7887.
Three blocks of Rodeo Drive between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in Beverly Hills will be carpeted and closed to traffic for the Concours on Rodeo. Seventy-five vintage and classic automobiles will be displayed, including a Duesenberg, a racing Ferrari owned by fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and a Penske-designed Porsche, property of German fashion company Hugo Boss. Proceeds from a silent auction of merchandise from Rodeo Drive retailers will benefit Beverly Hills United Charities and the Blind Children's Center of Los Angeles.
* Concours on Rodeo, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Rodeo Drive between Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, Beverly Hills. Free. (310) 858-6100.
8pm: Country Music
Is it her looks, hooks or true artistry? Shania Twain has become one of the biggest acts in country music--her current album "Come On Over" has sold more than 3 million--but detractors say the credit goes to her glamorous appearance and her records' pop-leaning production. Finally hitting the road for the first time, the Canadian singer will make her case where it counts--on the concert stage.
* Shania Twain at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, 2695 E. Katella Ave. $25-$45. (714) 704-2500.
James "Cool Papa" Bell, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro League, was rumored to be so fast that he could turn out the light and jump into bed before the room gets dark. This is just one of the tall tales surrounding baseball greats of the Negro League that storyteller Leslie Perry will relate in "Out of the Park," a free program at the California African-American Museum.
* "Out of the Park," California African-American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park. Free. (213) 744-7432.
With its caustic wit and biting satire skewering the conventions of "the American way of life," Mad magazine--established in 1952--helped pave the way for the cultural revolution of the '60s and '70s, according to cartoon historian and collector Mark C. Cohen of Santa Rosa, who owns nearly 600 original pieces of Mad art. More than 130 of Cohen's favorite pieces are included in "Humor in a Jugular Vein: The Art, Artists and Artifacts of Mad Magazine," opening this weekend at the Fullerton Museum Center.
* "Humor in a Jugular Vein: The Art, Artists and Artifacts of Mad Magazine," Saturday-Aug. 23. Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton. Hours: noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, 6-8 p.m. on Thursdays. Adults, $3; students, $2; children under 12, free. Admission is $1 for all visitors on Thursday evenings. (714) 738-6545.
The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center will open its new educational, cultural and social center, the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, with a street fair, entertainment and more. Writer Bruce Vilanch and Kim Coles of Fox's "Living Single" will host the celebration, which also features performances by Nell Carter, Lainie Kazan, Men Out Loud and Very B. Careful. The street fair will feature food and merchandise vendors, as well as information booths from gay and lesbian organizations. Also, Outfest '98 will screen a collection of film trailers from gay- and lesbian-related movies from the last decade.
* The Village Opening Celebration, 1-8 p.m. 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Free. (213) 860-7357.
FREEBIE: Miguel del Aguila's opera "Composer Missing" premieres, L.A. County Museum of Art, 4 p.m., (213) 485-6873.