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PICS HITS AND THRILLS

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@day:friday
@mon:january
@date2:28Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight: Ever since creating his original homage to Mark Twain in 1954, veteran actor Hal Holbrook of TV's Evening Shade has become inseparably identified with that beloved American writer. Back then, it took the youthful Holbrook several hours to apply the heavy makeup and shaggy wig required to transform himself into the elderly Twain; now, 40 years and countless performances later, far less artificial aging is required. Holbrook performs his one-man show at 8 p.m. Friday at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $25, $22 and $19, available at Gammage and Dillard's box offices. For reservations and details, call 965-3434 or 678-2222.

@body:Phoenix Roadrunners Hockey: Arizona's International Hockey Leaguers battle the San Diego Gulls at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Both teams will return to vie again on February 8. Tickets are $14, $12, $10 and $8, available at Coliseum and Ticketmaster outlets. For details call 340-0001, 784-4444, 340-0002 or 258-6711; also see Sports listing.

Montanaro Dance Company: Montreal-based choreographer Michael Montanaro has been called the "Spielberg of dance" for his seemingly magical, high-tech productions. The company presents a spectacular, multimedia work titled "Non angli sed angeli (Not angles but angels)" at 8 p.m. Friday at Paul V. Galvin Playhouse at ASU Fine Arts Center, Tenth Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $10 and $5, available at ASU and Dillard's box offices. (The group also offers a lecture/demonstration at noon Thursday, also at the Galvin facility.) For details call 965-6447 or 678-2222.

Blacksmith Union: San Diego's young quartet has served up its brand of 90s pop in opening gigs for Gin Blossoms, Cracker and Blues Traveler. The hardworking Blacksmiths have just released a CD titled Purge on their own label, and will embark on a national tour this spring. The Union takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Roxy, 2110 East Highland. For details call 954-7838.

Willie and the Professor: Heaping helpings of hillbilly humor and bluegrass, Cajun and gospel/camp-meeting songs are in store when this zany bunch of country cutups gets together. Six-time Arizona fiddle champ Dr. Peter Rolland rounds up his rowdy quartet for a performance at 8 p.m. Friday at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $10, available at Kerr, Gammage and Dillard's box offices. More information: 965-KERR (5377), 965-3434 or 678-2222.

Herberger Headliners II: Local celebrities, community leaders and amateur thespians such as Jerry Colangelo, Mark DeMichele, Dan Cracchiolo and Grant Woods join seasoned stage pros Kathy Fitzgerald, Robyn Ferracane, Michael Collins and Bob Sorenson in a comical variety show titled "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." The original work, created by writer/director Michael Barnard, was inspired by actual Arizona headlines. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Tickets are $50 for Friday's show, $175 for Saturday's (includes cocktails and dinner with the cast). For details see Theatre listing; for reservations call 252-TIXS (8497).

Doc Severinsen and Phoenix Symphony Pops: Venerable TV comedy team Bill Skiles and Pete Henderson add some wacky gags and sound effects to this program, titled "Laugh-In With Doc." Flashy trumpet master Severinsen, erstwhile bandleader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Phoenix Symphony's principal pops conductor since 1983, leads performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $36 to $12, available at Dillard's and the symphony box office, 3707 North Seventh Street. More information: 264-6363 or 678-2222.

Homesick James: He was born in 1910, and this veteran Chicago blues slide-guitar legend, a cousin of Elmore James, is still going strong. Also see Screed on page XX. Chico Chism's Chicago Blues Band opens the show at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Cover is $3 at the door. For details call 265-4842.

@day:saturday
@mon:january
@date2:29Parada del Sol: Scottsdale's famous "Parade of the Sun," touted as the world's longest horse-drawn procession, features floats, marching bands and horses galore, but nary a motor vehicle. The 1994 parade (a preliminary to next week's Parada del Sol Rodeo at Rawhide) steps off at 9:15 a.m. Saturday at Scottsdale and Indian School roads, whence it proceeds south to McDowell Road and Los Arcos Mall, where the postparade Trail's End Celebration features dancing, live country music, staged shoot-outs, food booths and more from noon to 4 p.m. All events are free. For details call 990-3179 (parade and rodeo) or 945-6376 (celebration). Also see below.

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Robert X. Planet