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Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Upcoming theater, visual arts and music events:

THEATER

Local haunts. It’s easy to imagine ghosts lurking about the swamps of Louisana or rising from the mists of Cornwall, but the thought of spirits sashaying about the streets of San Diego is somehow a far cry from spooky. Yet Alan Havis, a playwright and theater professor at the University of California, San Diego, proves that ghosts need their vitamin C, too, as he explores the dark side of the city’s sunny neighborhoods in his new play, “Restless Spirits.”

More than 100 interviews inspired Havis’ theatrical interpretation of local lore and ancestral legacies that are alive and well beyond the pages of the family scrapbook. Through his protagonist, a troubled female scholar in the field of ghosts and spirits, Havis incorporates his own scholarly interests in exploring the boundaries between races and cultures alongside the boundaries between spirit and flesh.

“Restless Spirits” plays at 8 p.m. nightly and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Feb. 19, at the Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown. Info: (619) 544-1000 or www.sandiegorep.com.

More theater:

– Tunes by Bob Dylan and moves by Twyla Tharp see to it that “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through March 12, at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. Info: (619) 234-5623 or www.theoldglobe.org.

– Sparks fly when arsonists attack a small German town in “Biedermann and the Firebugs.” (Read Voice‘s review.) Plays at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 12 at Cygnet Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Suite N, College Area. Info: (619) 337-1525 or

– The La Jolla Playhouse’s Student Board of Trustees invites high school students to a special performance of the swinging-’60s take on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive. $18 (includes an after-party with refreshments and dancing). Info: (858) 550-1010. (JH)

MUSIC

Clang clan. In case you haven’t noticed, daringly departurous rock music isn’t really the popular thing these days. Music consumers seem flush with dollars (or at least bandwidth) for the acquisition of plasticky pop icons and bristling bling-bangers – even dancey rock salt like Franz Ferdinand – but let the pasty white guys loosen their verse-chorus straightjackets a bit by making something as tricky as it is fun, and watch interested youth disappear faster than last year’s boy band.

Akron/Family won’t change that reality, but they are among a recent wave of Beatles-esque bands proving that there’s still some serious juice to be squeezed out of the rock fruit, whether teenagers care or not. By taking some basic elements of Americana – acoustic folk, lap-steel guitar, kick-pulse grooves – and cutting them with a sense for (electronic) sonic mischief a la Radiohead (but more spontaneous), Akron/Family take a path between Kentucky barnburners My Morning Jacket and fellow NYC beard bards Animal Collective. You’ll find both perfectly cut, jeweled pop clearings set with five-part harmony and blazing rock crescendos of crashing vocals and dueling guitar solos – and also long, quiet landscapes of beeps, washes, field recordings and assorted acoustic mumbling.

You won’t get their music the first time around, but you didn’t get the “White Album,” either – innovative music transfixes us by restoring the childhood experience of a world not completely explained, and that is precisely the realm of Akron/Family. As long as there’s still music that still forces the listener into wondrous discovery, whether flippant adolescents request it on TRL or not, rock music will still have a vital pulse.

Akron/Family will perform with Silver Sunshine at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30 at the Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletown. $7. Info: (619) 232-HELL or www.casbahmusic.com.

And now for some more straightforward sounds:

– San Diego indie jesters The Jade Shader (featuring Chris Prescott of No Knife) – catch local music do its thing – 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26 at The Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach. $5. Info: (858) 481-8140 or www.bellyup.com.

– The Binational Mambo Orchestra reap the booty-shakin’ fruit of our borderland locale 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 at Dizzy’s San Diego, 344 Seventh Ave., downtown. $12. Info: (858) 270-7467 or

– Veteran bums The Violent Femmes will unleash their classic, scathingly sarcastic wit yet again at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31 at House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave., downtown. $20.50-22.50. Info: (619) 299-BLUE. (ISP)

VISUAL ARTS

They say it’s your birthday. It’s going to be a Mozart marathon this Friday at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. In honor of the composer’s 250th birthday (which lands on Friday, Jan. 27), violinist Victoria Martino and pianist James Lent will perform his works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stay for one song or for all seven hours. We wonder, though, will the musicians be allowed to take a break? The event is free. Info: (858) 454-5872 or www.ljathenaeum.org.

For more Mozart events around town, read Voice’s feature on clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, who will perform an all-Mozart concert this Sunday at North Park’s Birch Theater).

More arts:

– FILM: If you’ve missed out on the Media Arts Center San Diego’s annual Latino Film Festival in the past, this Friday is your chance to catch some of the previous years’ best in Latin American short films. Five films, including narratives and documentaries from Brazil, Peru and Chile, will be screened during MACSD’s “Cortos Latinoamericanos” monthly “Cine Club!” film fest at Palomar College (Auditorium P-32), 1140 West Mission Road, San Marcos. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. The event is free and open to the public. Info: (619) 230-1938 or www.mediaartscenter.org.

– ARTIST LECTURE: Pulitzer Prize-winning artists Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and Art Spiegelman (“Maus”) talk about politics, art and comics 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, Mandeville Auditorium, UCSD campus. $36, UCSD students $18. To purchase tickets, call (858) 534-TIXS or visit www.ticketmaster.com. (CC)

– VOICE STAFF

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