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Manu, Mort & Thor

Guess which hand Ronnie James Dio's hiding in. See Monday.

FRIDAY, July 28

Let’s start at the very beginning. High in the Hollywood Hills lies a lonely goat herd, a female deer and a problem named Maria. Once again, it’s time to get nunny with it and head to the Hollywood Bowl for The Sound of Music. Along with huge screens showing the film, actors including Jeffrey Tambor, John Schneider, Marni Nixon and a cast of von Trapps will re-create their movie roles. This is not to be confused with the Sound of Music singalong that happens most summers. However, for those of you who simply have to dress like Rolfe or Liesl — you know, just like you do at home — and belt out “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” you are allowed, but not exactly encouraged, to do so. The Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., July 28-29, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., July 30, 7:30 p.m.; $15-$34 tickets still available at press time. (323) 850-2000.

SATURDAY, July 29

Instead of blessing the cars, couldn’t just one priest say a prayer or something for lower gas prices? Last year we said, “Take your pick: Blessed be thy frame or praise the Ford.” Or something rhyming “hot rod” with “god.” It’s time for the annual Blessing of the Cars. A real priest will add protection to your vehicle — but that still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your turn signal. PEOPLE, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD USE YOUR FREAKIN’ TURN SIGNAL!!!!! Amen. And remember, speed kills. There will be art cars and a competition for custom-made hot rods and, best of all, brassy Candye Kane and band. Hansen Dam Park, Dronfield Ave. off Osbourne St.; Sat., July 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; $7 admission, $20 cars/trucks, $10 motorcycles. (323) 663-1265.

“I found people looked better when they laughed,” comedian Mort Sahl once said. Performing recently, Sahl tackled Bush (the elder), Gary Hart’s presidential bid, Jane Fonda’s marriage to Ted Turner, Howard Dean’s scream, Al Sharpton and Bo Derek, which pretty much tells you the last time he updated his act. But few standups pull the political punches Sahl has mastered, so bring a Republican and watch Sahl make him or her squirm while you laugh. McCabe’s, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; Sat., July 29, 8 p.m.; $22.50. (310) 828-4497.

SUNDAY, July 30

Travel tip: Drive, fly or crawl across the desert for Elton John: The Red Piano at Caesars Palace. In his tux and tails, a beaming Elton — can we just call him Eltonerace now? — performs hit after hit, adding dazzling, virtuosic piano jams while strange, beautiful and disturbing short films by David LaChapelle appear on towering screens. There is not a second of the show that isn’t spectacular — with giant inflatable boobies, a jaw-dropping video pole dance with Pamela Anderson, and more than a surprise or two. We can’t wait for The Red Piano 2, where Eltonerace makes his entrance floating on clouds made from Celine Dion’s discarded cotton balls. Caesars Palace, Colosseum, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; runs thru July 30; then Oct. 10-22; $100-$250. (213) 480-3232.

Another type of spectacle — this one free and a lot closer but sans the boobies — is the 30th Annual Festival of the Chariots. Expect three stages of jangly entertainment by overeager Hare Krishnas (is that redundant?), plus the nastiest free feast you have ever thrown in the trash. Ocean Front Walk Plaza, 1530 Ocean Front Walk, Venice; Sun., July 30, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free. (310) 836-4342.

MONDAY, July 31

Sometimes you just need your rock done warrior-style — especially if you spent your weekend yodeling to The Sound of Music while dressed in lederhosen. Thank the gods that Thor’s in town. The brawny metal maniac’s got a new album, Devastation of Musculation, which he explains thusly: “I recently saw a program about ‘The Man Whose Arm Exploded.’ It was about a guy who wanted to have the biggest biceps in the world. He pumped himself up with so many steroids and oil injections that his arms reached 50 inches and actually exploded! That is Devastation of Musculation!” Thor continues, “Trying to make sense out of these desperate measures is what this new album is about. It is easily the darkest and most powerful album I have ever written.” Thor performs with Metal Skool. God help Metal Skool. The Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; Mon., July 31, 11 p.m.; $8. (310) 274-5800.

TUESDAY, August 1

It’s a rare thing to get a chance to see Manu Chao in concert. The Weekly’s Falling James surely has something more articulate to say about this enigmatic artist (see Music Picks). This will be one of those shows where if you don’t go, he will make you regret it for the rest of your life. And he’s right. Shrine Auditorium Expo Center, 665 W. Jefferson Blvd., L.A.; Tues., Aug. 1, 7 p.m.; $30. (213) 480-3232.

WEDNESDAY, August 2

“AFI’s 100 Years . . . 100 Movies Screening Series” dares you not to scream at the screen during the scene in Dog Day Afternoon where Al Pacino incites the crowd by yelling “Attica! Attica!” Frankly, I don’t give a damn, so go ahead, make my day. You talking to me? La-dee-da, la-dee-da. ArcLight, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Wed., Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; $11. (323) 464-4226.

THURSDAY, August 3

There are only a couple of things we know about the X Games. One is that this is the 12th year of BMX, moto, skateboard and other freestyle death-defying madness. The other thing is that mothers everywhere pray their sons will not aspire to any of it. This year’s big, five-day thrillathon takes place at both Staples Center and the Home Depot Center, so if you care about the difference between “BMX Freestyle Vert” and “BMX Freestyle Big Air,” you’ll need to do some research before you buy your tickets. Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 3-6; $5-$20; packages available. (213) 480-3232; www.expn.com.?

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