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Picks for the week of June 4 - 11, 2008

Sunday June 8
Thiermann Gardens
2888 Sandy Lane
Santa Cruz

New Music Works

FOR its season-ending celebration, Santa Cruz's New Music Works presents its annual Avant Garden Party, an outdoor salute to contemporary composers. The day will be dedicated to Lou Harrison (1917–2003), with performances of his Flute Concerto, A Joyous Procession, Mass for St. Cecilia and other works. Other composers to be highlighted are Jon Scoville, Steve Reich and NMW founder Philip Collins. As always, the day of delights is rounded out with gourmet nibbles by Jozseph Schultz and David Jackman.

Steel Pulse
Saturday June 7
Little Fox
2209 Broadway
Redwood City

Big Bang Beat

I'M NOT SURE if the label of "professional party entertainment" is the greatest marketing strategy for a band to assume, but when it comes to booking gigs, Big Bang Beat sure knows how to find work. In fact, the 12-piece group has been a Bay Area institution for longer than anyone seems to remember, rocking and rolling through hundreds, even thousands of dance parties. So what's the big secret to success? It could be the fact that the band plays everything from modern rock to Motown to disco, or it could be the four "knockout female singers" the band proudly describes on its website. My theory? Brilliant advertising in the form of supercatchy phrases like "Ultimate Party Machine" and "think of the Big Bang Beat as party insurance!" Wow, genius.

Sunday June 8
Redwood Amphitheatre
Paramount's Great America
Santa Clara
Free with admission

La Parranda

THIS seventh annual event is hosted by La Raza 93.3 and is free with entry into Great America. It's an afternoon of live music and family fun in the Redwood Amphitheatre. Performers include Palomo, Alegres De La Sierra, Tono y Freddy and many more. Spanish crooners, cowboy hats and lots of tight denim will be par for the course.

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