Best Bets / JUNE 17-23, 2001


Eddie Murphy, far right, again cracks wise with animals in "Dr. Dolittle 2," which turns into a major human versus nature showdown in the midst of the animal kingdom's first labor strike. With Kevin Pollak, Jeffrey Jones and Kristen Wilson. Opens Friday.

Also: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker star in the action adventure "The Fast and the Furious," a look at rival gangs who use street racing as a means of establishing power. With Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Rick Yune. Opens Friday.


"The Collected Works of Billy the Kid," by Michael Ondaatje (the author of the bestseller "The English Patient"), explodes one of the myths of the Wild West as the infamous outlaw confronts his past on the night of his final showdown with Pat Garrett. Opens today at the La Jolla Playhouse, with Shawn Hatosy in the title role and Gary Cole as Garrett.

Also: "California Scenarios," a collaborative work by Latino writers; Horton Foote's new comedy; and the Hispanic Playwrights Project are part of South Coast Repertory's fourth annual Pacific Playwrights' Festival, a 10-play, two-weekend event with workshop productions, staged readings and Amy Freed's new main-stage comedy, "The Beard of Avon." Opens Friday in Costa Mesa.


Not unlike the 20 June celebrations that came before, the 21st annual Corona del Mar Baroque Festival covers two Sunday-matinee concerts and other chamber music events. Today, founder-conductor Burton Karson leads music by Vivaldi and Poulenc at St. Michael & All Angels Church; next Sunday, Bach, Carissimi and Lully. Monday, organist Andrew Arthur performs in recital.

Pop Music

Two Southern California summer traditions edge toward adolescence in their 2001 incarnations. Mariachi USA, featuring Mariachi Imperial de Mexico, below, marks its 12th year on Saturday and next Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. Meanwhile, the ninth annual KROQ Weenie Roast returns to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine on Saturday with a lineup that includes Staind, Blink-182, Coldplay and Jane's Addiction.


David Mamet wrote and directed the comedy "State and Main." Reminiscent of the films of legendary directors Preston Sturges and Frank Capra, "State and Main" focuses on what happens to a quiet Vermont town when a big film production shoots there. The cast includes Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sarah Jessica Parker. It arrives Tuesday on VHS and DVD.


The Wayne Shorter Quartet, Stefon Harris, left, and his quartet, David Sanborn, Isaac Hayes and Ozomatli are among artists who will close out this year's Playboy Jazz Festival today at the Hollywood Bowl. The weekend festival will again present a wide array of musical styles including bop, crossover jazz, world music and soul.

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