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Food, fun, ooh la la: Paris chef Philippe Renard of the Hotel Lutetia is coming to L.A. for A Taste of France. Actually, he heads the list of visiting chefs preparing food for the Saturday fest, annually sponsored by the Lycee International de Los Angeles (LILA).

The event, being held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lycee's Los Feliz campus, 4155 Russell Ave., Los Angeles, brings in several chefs from the French Chefs' Association of Southern California to prepare samples of their wares.

The chefs include Alain Cuny of the Wine Bistro in Studio City, Pascal Olhats of Pascal in Newport Beach, Akira Hirose of the Tower restaurant in downtown Los Angeles and Josette LeBlond of Normandie Pate.

French products, clothes and travel agencies will be on hand. Children's games, a petting zoo, and a hour of free day care are available. A silent auction will include vacation packages, couture gift certificates and dinners at French restaurants.

Admission is free.

LILA is a French-American school with an enrollment of more than 600 children on five Los Angeles-area campuses. For more information, call (213) 665-4526.

- Larry Lipson


`Legends of Jazz': The scene: Detroit in the 1940s, when the Motor City was the booming arsenal of democracy. Factories were churning out cars and tanks, blue-collar workers were flush with cash, and the city's nascent black middle class was helping jazz joints and blues bars to mushroom throughout town.

That was when Bob Douglas started taking photographs - first as a hobby, then as something more ambitious. His passion for music led Douglas to clubs where he'd create lasting portraits of Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughn and Milt Jackson.

``Back in those days we had easier access to photographing,'' said Douglas, an exhibition of whose work recently opened under the auspices of CSUN's Center for Photojournalism and the Watts Community Action Committee.

``You'd go up and say, `Is it OK if I shoot?' and they'd say, `OK, as long as you don't get in the way of the performers.' ''

Eventually Douglas' photos turned up in such publications as the Pittsburgh Courier, Michigan Chronicle, Los Angeles Sentinel, Ebony, Jet and Sepia magazines. They're currently on display in ``Legends of Jazz'' at the Center Gallery, 10950 S. Central Ave. in Los Angeles. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call the center at (213) 563-5600.

- Reed Johnson


Room for rent: In the richly textured language of 1940s Harlem, an ``old settler'' was the term for a woman of a certain age and few prospects. That's an apt description of Elizabeth Borny, who shares an apartment with her sister Quilly, also in her 50s and unmarried.

John Henry Redwood's ``The Old Settler'' tells what happens when these loving but sometimes quarrelsome siblings take in a young male boarder from South Carolina. If you're guessing that the stranger throws the sisters' lives into a tizzy, well, that's only the start of the unusual developments in this four-character drama. A New York Times writer described the play as ``so richly peopled, so panoramic in its reflection of Harlem in the early 1940s that the sounds of the Savoy Ballroom, Jimmy's Chicken Shack and the Down Home Restaurant permeate the stage.'' See for yourself in director Sheldon Epps' production, running through June 21 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 5 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, call (800) 233-3123.

- Reed Johnson


Watching ourselves: ``The Truman Show'' stands as the most subversive mainstream movie in quite some time, deftly amusing us while indicting our ever-increasing desire for the homogenized mother's milk of mind-numbing entertainment. The film whispers this commentary so softly that many will undoubtedly miss it, which is fine since ``The Truman Show'' works so well on so many different levels. Even those expecting to see Jim Carrey talk out of his butt will take some glimmer of inspiration home with them.

As you probably already know, Carrey stars as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who begins to suspect that everything and everyone around him in the eerily perfect, Norman Rockwell town of Seahaven is not as it seems. We soon learn that Truman's suspicions have merit as the film gradually reveals that Seahaven is nothing more than a giant soundstage and its citizens - including Truman's wife and parents - are really just actors filming his every move.

Director Peter Weir brilliantly builds on this ``Twilight Zone'' concept, showing how the lines between reality and unreality have become hopelessly tangled and blurred. Then he does the unthinkable. He implies that we're all to blame for this mess. Just check out his reaction shots of the slack-jawed goofuses who spend most of their waking hours watching Truman. They're mesmerized - just as we are watching this perfect film. Now if we could just walk out the theater, rub the sleep from our eyes and actively engage life.

- Glenn Whipp


Humor with heart: Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg are back to entertain us with stand-up comedy, ensemble sketches and musical segments in ``Comic Relief 8'' (8 p.m. Sunday on HBO), their annual benefit for the homeless in America. This time the show airs from New York City's Radio City Music Hall, and, if past performances are any indication, there should be some hilarious moments interspersed among their pleas for money to aid the homeless. Among performers scheduled to appear are Chris Rock, Dennis Miller, Conan O'Brien, Rosie Perez, Paula Poundstone, Paul Rodriguez, Ray Romano, Robert Wuhl, Dave Chappelle, Liam Neeson and Kathy Griffith.

- Daily News


Country's dance man: The story goes that Texas singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker was visiting the New Orleans drunk tank in July 1965 when he met Bojangles, an itinerant street dancer who would go from bar to bar down South making a few bucks for drinks by dancing for patrons.

Walker's ``Mr. Bojangles'' is, of course, a pop standard, covered by a host of artists including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which had a top 10 hit with it in 1971.

Walker has penned a ton of songs since and recently issued his 28th album, ``Cowboy Boots & Bathin' Suits'' (Tried & True Music), recorded in the Central American country of Belize.

Walker, who appears Saturday at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, says the new record is ``country music from another country.''

Back home in Austin, Walker's birthday each March is an excuse for a weekend celebration that draws fans from all over the globe.

The House of Blues is at 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Show time is 10 p.m. and tickets are $22.50. Information: (213) 848-5100.

- Fred Shuster


3 Photos

Photo: (1) Every aspect of Truman Burbank's existence - from his love life to the weather he encounters - is manipulated for viewing purposes in ``The Truman Show,'' starring Jim Carrey.

(2) CCH Pounder and Christopher B. Duncan star in John Henry Redwood's ``The Old Settler,'' through June 21 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

(3) Jerry Jeff Walker, whose newest album is titled ``Cowboy Boots & Bathin' Suits,'' plays Saturday at the House of Blues.
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Title Annotation:Review; L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 12, 1998

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