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Best Bets

Movies

It’s bugs vs. rugs in the battle for a corner on the kid’s market. Disney/Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life” opens in an exclusive engagement Friday at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood (with plans to explode on screens all over town next Wednesday). Meanwhile, “The Rugrats Movie,” right, brings the top-rated cable show to the big screen as the most popular babies on TV are led into adventures by the intrepid and insatiably curious Tommy Pickles. From Klasky Csupo animation, it opens in general release Friday.

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“Dancing at Lughnasa” stars Meryl Streep as the dominant figure among five sisters whose tightly knit Irish-Catholic family starts unraveling as a long-absent brother (Michael Gambon) returns. The film opens Friday at selected theaters.

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Theater

The love affair that affected the fate of a kingdom, between Edward VIII, heir to England’s throne in the ‘30s, and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, inspired Judith Shubow Steir’s romantic musical “Only a Kingdom.” It makes its West Coast premiere today at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Art

Tickets go on sale today for “Van Gogh’s Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam” which opens at the L.A. County Museum of Art on Jan. 17. Tickets may be bough through Ticketmaster ([213] 462-2787) or at the LACMA box office after Jan. 10.

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Like inspired Thomas Brothers guides, Ed Ruscha’s street map paintings deliver both fact and fiction in an exhibition of new work opening Friday at Gagosian Gallery. Charting the various routes and neighborhoods of L.A., Ruscha’s paintings demonstrate the artist’s long fascination with urban landscape.

Music

Valery Gergiev, above, brings his celebrated, St. Petersburg-based Kirov Orchestra to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center tonight for a virtuoso program of Wagner (“Parsifal” excerpts), Scriabin (“Prometheus: The Poem of Fire”) and Stravinsky (“Sacre du Printemps” ). Soloist in “Prometheus” is pianist Alexander Toradze, a memorable maker of conflagrations.

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The sometimes maligned viola, deeper and darker than its celebrity cousin, has a champion in Yuri Bashmet. This week at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Bashmet and the L.A. Philharmonic will make the instrument’s case with Schnittke’s Viola Concerto, written for Bashmet in 1985.

Pop Music

The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),” a caustic and catchy look at the relentless pursuit of cool, has been rocking radio dials nationwide. The Orange County punk band marks the release of its new album, “Americana,” with a Tuesday-through-Thursday stand at the Palace and a performance Saturday at the Glass House in Pomona.

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Jazz

From his days with the Three Sounds in the 1960s up until the present time as leader of his own combo, pianist Gene Harris has infused straightahead jazz with gospel, blues, swing and joy. The very accessible Harris will be at Catalina’s with his quartet for six nights starting next Tuesday.


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