The Independent Recommends

Film: Liese Spencer

GLOOPY COMING-OF-AGE tales are all too common, but The Slums of Beverly Hills offers a refreshingly unsentimental take on the trials of adolescence. Set in the 1970s, this sharp black comedy follows 15-year-old Vivian Abramowitz (a fantastically natural Natasha Lyonne) as she grows up poor in Los Angeles' richest neighbourhood. Along with a great sing-along vibrator scene, the film is well worth seeing for supporting turns by Kevin Corrigan, as Viv's dope-dealing, Mansun-fanatic neighbour, and the superb Alan Arkin as her feckless single dad.

On limited release

Don't miss the re-release of The Philadelphia Story (above), George Cukor's romantic farce about a society wedding between ice-maiden Katharine Hepburn, divorced from millionaire Cary Grant, and the dull, dependable John Howard. Enter journalists James Stewart and Ruth Hussey, in search of scandal. Sparkling wit and polished performances make the film a delight from start to finish.

On limited release

Theatre: Dominic Cavendish

TONIGHT, THE derelict debating chamber in County Hall will once again resound to animated discussion thanks to an experiment organised by the Brazilian theatre pioneer, Augusto Boal (below). In The Art of Legislation, the man who shook up politics in Rio will be offering the fruit of a week of brainstorming sessions held over here, which dealt with shaping housing, education and transport laws according to instinct. You'll have to take an Internet back seat as tickets have been snapped up by the capital's politicos.

Former GLC Debating Chamber, County Hall, London SE1 (0171-729 7879) 7.30pm /boal.htm

Shang-a-Lang, by Catherine Johnson, is a rambunctious comedy about a trio of long-standing women friends who convene for a Bay City Rollers revival evening in Butlin's. Although, the play follows a predictable curve towards self-help, the coarse dialogue raises copious belly-laughs while showing how bitter the taste of teen dreams can be, years on.

Bush Theatre, London W12 (0181-743 3388) 8pm

Pop: Tim Perry

THE ONLY UK show this year by the The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion promises rock in a sleazy, dirty, gritty vein. The mission of the former Pussy Galore guitarist and his crew is to drag the blues into the 20th century, and, as their current album, Acme, shows, they do it superbly, with layers of hip-hop, punk and early rock'n'roll spilled over the Delta influences. Tickets are at a premium, but it's the event of the of the weekend.

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London W12 (0171-771 2000) tonight 7.30pm

These days, live performances by Bjork (above) seem, unfortunately, to be increasingly rare affairs. Beguiling and unpredictable, her shows always promise surprises, be they in the stage sets, spectacular costume changes or the sheer number of musicians and strings. One thing's for sure: that unique voice will entrance.

Symphony Hall, Birmingham (0121-212 3333) tonight 7.30pm; Palladium, London W1 (0171-494 5030) Sun 7.30pm

Classical: Duncan Hadfield

THE BARBICAN'S exciting "American Pioneers" series is drawing to a close, yet before it does, there is the chance to experience music by one of the most pioneering US voices of them all - that of Harry Partch. Partch, who died in 1974, was such a rule-breaking iconoclast that he even built his own instruments on which to perform his idiosyncratic creations. Never seen in the UK before, those instruments now arrive in London played by Newband, under the leadership of Partch-disciple Dean Drummond.

Barbican Hall, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) 7.30pm

The organist David Briggs will need to keep body and soul together this evening when he launches into the delivery of an intriguing-sounding

75-minute piece on the new organ at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall. The work in question is none other than Mahler's monumental five-movement Fifth Symphony, in Brigg's own transcription. Potential sonorities could be fascinating, but will the magnum opus hang together? There's only one way to find out.

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (0161-907 9000)

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