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July 23
His nickname is "Captain Fingers," and if that sounds a little cheesy, consider when he got it. Pop and jazz-fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour earned the title in the mid-'70s. In his early twenties at the time, the classically trained Ritenour was logging many studio hours as one of the most sought-after session players in Los Angeles. He played on albums for everyone from Barbra Streisand to Pink Floyd, and, since his sideman days, he's released 26 solo albums, the latest of which, This Is Love, shows off his diversity. The album's songs move from breezy jazz-pop to blues-based jams to reggae-flavored pop. Also included is the contemporary jazz sound Ritenour established as a member of the group Fourplay. He'll no doubt delve into those tracks when he plays with a nine-member ensemble tonight at Toni Bishop's Restaurant and Jazz Club, 1313 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. He'll play sets at 7:30 and 10 p.m., and tickets cost $60 per show. Call 954-761-8664.

July 24
Plenty of kids over the years have traveled through the magical land of Narnia while reading C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. They've followed Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan -- four children who stumble into Narnia through a closet. The kids help Aslan the lion regain his rule of Narnia from the White Witch, who has cast a spell of perpetual winter over the land. Lewis wrote the book, the first of seven in The Narnia Chronicles, in 1950. In 1987 Ted Drachman and Thomas Tierney collaborated on the lyrics and music for the children's musical Narnia, which opens tonight at Broward Community College's Fine Arts Theatre, 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie. The show runs through August 2, with performances every Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $2 and $4. Call 954-475-6840.

July 25
Graduation Ball is a fitting ballet for the Boca Ballet Theatre Summer Repertory Concert. The one-act ballet, performed to music by Johann Strauss, is set in a girls' finishing school in the late 1800s and revolves around the annual ball, to which cadets from a nearby military academy are invited. And the performance is something of a graduation -- the culmination of six weeks of training and production workshops for Boca Ballet dancers. Some of the guest faculty members will also dance for the concert, presented at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday. Among the faculty are Rome Saladino of San Francisco Ballet and Ken Brasso of Louisville Ballet. Additional concert selections include Paquita and the premiere of Four Studies For Orchestra, choreographed by Christopher Fleming, a former soloist with New York City Ballet. Ticket prices range from $15 to $21. The concerts are at Olympic Heights Performing Arts Theatre, 20101 Lyons Rd., Boca Raton. Call 561-995-0709.

How many blues bands can there be in South Florida? Well, more than 50 -- hailing from West Palm Beach to Key West -- have come out of the woodwork to compete in the MARS Battle of the Blues Bands. The winner will secure a slot at the 12th Annual Sound Advice Blues Festival, to be held in Fort Lauderdale in November. The real winners, though, are the 25 at-risk, middle-school students who will get the chance to play the blues during a series of music and history lessons taught through the Blues in the Schools program, which is funded with proceeds from the contest's food and beverage sales. The battle rages today from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. in the parking lot of MARS, 5300 N. Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Call 954-489-3256.

July 26
A spicy bowl of steaming chili may not be the best way to beat the midsummer heat. But, since you're sweating anyway, why not just jump in? Poor timing aside, the 3rd Annual Chili Cookoff was put together for a great cause. Proceeds from the entry fees go to Hospice Care of Broward County, which helps terminally ill patients and their families. Teams of chili chefs paid $35 each to enter their scorching concoctions, but patrons get into the cook-off for free beginning at noon today. Festivities include entertainment, raffles, drinks -- and plenty of chili. The event will be held at Big Dog Saloon, 2283 Manor Dr., Wilton Manors. Call 954-561-4304.

July 27
A more apt title for Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll would have been Conflicts and Meditations on My State of Mind in America in 1990, according to playwright Eric Bogosian. But no one would have gone to see it. Too dour. Too serious. So he gave the piece a provocative title and lured audiences in to witness his own performance of the show, which was an off-Broadway hit. In a production of the play at the Caldwell Theatre Company, actor Jerry Seeger offers a searing view of city life, delivering the disturbing, often funny monologues of 11 characters. As a British rocker druggie, a panhandling ex-con, a self-proclaimed stud, and others share their lives with the audience, the play's underlying theme becomes clear: These people, though whacked, are simply part of a culture that indulges in the excesses of the show's title. Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll will be performed today and August 3. The theater is located at 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Showtime is 8 p.m., and ticket prices range from $5 to $15. Call 561-241-7432 or toll-free 930-6400.

July 28
The life of Frances Fox sounds like something from The X-Files. She claims she began to develop psychic abilities at the age of two when her dad, a U.S. Air Force officer, enrolled her in a military mind-expansion program. The details, of course, are classified, Fox says, and, besides, she doesn't remember much about the experience (although she was in the program for several years). She does know that, as an adult, she used her powers to do intelligence work for the military. But she needed to branch out, so she founded Information Acquisition, a self-help and business-consultation outfit in Coral Gables. Fox will conduct a workshop at 7 p.m. tonight in Unicorn Village Holistic Lifestyle Center (3575 207th St., Aventura). The subject: "intention." Fox says that your subconscious desires are often at odds with the conscious ones, and until you come to grips with what you really want, true intentions will be thwarted. Even unwilling participants will have to give in, Fox says, because -- well -- she reads minds. Cost is $75. Call 305-935-6726.

July 29
Feel sorry for those lobsters in the tanks at restaurants and grocery stores? You might not after doing battle with one. During the recreational lobster miniseason today and tomorrow, divers and snorkelers go head-to-head with lobsters while trying to entice them out of their holes. Lobsters, explains Lt. Lee Palfrey of the Florida Marine Patrol, like to hang out on ledges and in holes near flowing water, because, at night, the current helps them move around easily. But by day the critters camp out in their holes, exposing just whiskers and claws, which lobster hunters are careful not to grab. Instead, they use a curved "tickle stick" to tap a lobster on its back, which tricks it into thinking something is approaching from the rear. When the lobster moves forward, it's plucked and bagged. State parks and the Biscayne Lobster Sanctuary are off-limits, but otherwise it's a wide-open lobster hunt. All you need is a valid fishing license with a $2 lobster stamp -- and the wit to outsmart a wily lobster. The Florida Marine Patrol can be reached at 800-342-5367.

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John Ferri

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