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CRITICS' CALLS

FILM / Hal Lipper NAKED LUNCH _ They said William S. Burroughs' surrealistic literary classic couldn't be adapted for the screen. Writer-director David Cronenberg (Scanners, Dead Ringers, The Fly) proves 'em wrong with this twisted tale of a pest exterminator (Peter Weller) whose wife is addicted to the stuff he spreads and who travels to a place called Interzone at the behest of a football-sized cockroach. Naked Lunch opens today with an exclusive screening at the Movies at Mission Bell in Tampa. Review, page 5

POISON _ Todd Haynes can thank the right-wing American Family Association for promoting his homoerotic Poison. If it hadn't raised such a stink about the allegedly pornographic nature of Haynes' bold cinematic triptych, Poison would never have achieved its notoriety. This intriguing low-budget work, opens today at the Beach Theater in St. Petersburg Beach. Poison is not pornographic. Nor, alas, does it fulfill its artistic intentions.

ANTONIA AND JANE _ Antonia McGill and Jane Hartman are lifelong friends who love and loathe one another. They meet over lunch just once a year, and each is convinced the other is leading a much more fulfilling life. This briskly paced, insightful comedy _ exploring the roots of Antonia and Jane's friendship and the reasons for its enduring nature _ opens today at the Movies at Largo.

BARTON FINK _ The Coen brothers' stylishly twisted, brooding comedy about the creative process and how it's subverted in Hollywood plays the Tampa Theater this Sunday through Feb. 20. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, this sedentary tale revolves around a pompous Clifford Odets-like playwright struggling to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture for a studio boss inspired by Louis B. Mayer. The picture, like the Coens' Blood Simple, Raising Arizona and Miller's Crossing, attempts to explore new territory, although a degree of their genius goes up in smoke with Barton Fink's fiery resolution.

DANCE / John Fleming VALENTINE'S DAY _ Dance Theater of Florida performs Romeo and Juliet, a ballet about the feuding Montagues and Capulets with a score by Prokofiev. Choreographed by artistic director Sean Musselman, the two-act ballet features Musselman and Robin Dugan in the title roles. Performances are tonight and Saturday at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 2 at Bayfront Center's Mahaffey Theater; tickets are $10-$12, with children half price; call 892-5767 in St. Petersburg, or Ticketmaster.

BALANCHINE'S DAY _ The Miami City Ballet dances Stars and Stripes and other Balanchine works at 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota; tickets are $23.50-$27.50; call 953-3368 in Sarasota.

THEATER / John Fleming GAY COMEDY _ Straight father, gay son _ a prescription for trauma, right? Not in David Stevens' The Sum of Us, which is set in Australia. The play, directed by John Berglund, opens at 8 tonight and runs through March 14 at American Stage; tickets are $16-$20; call 822-8814 in St. Petersburg.

MUSIC / John Fleming LUDWIG _ Beethoven spoke of Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 as his "little" symphony, and it is not a grand work, but the final movement is the composer in an animated, joyous mood. Guest conductor Otto-Werner Mueller directs the Florida Orchestra in the Eighth Symphony, as well as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor), with pianist Claude Frank, Saturday night at 8; tickets are $15-$26; call 447-4210 in Pinellas, 286-2403 in Hillsborough.

BICENTENNIAL _ February is the anniversary of Rossini's birth in 1792, and the Sarasota Opera stages his comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville. Conducted by Will Crutchfield, the opera opens at 8 p.m. Saturday for an eight-performance run through March 15; tickets are $15-$35; call 953-7030 in Sarasota.

TV / Janis D. Froelich MONKEY WARS _ Think chimps are cute? There exists a violent society of monkeys in India, and the National Geographic Explorer series is all set to expose the dangerous shenanigans of this breed. The special airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on TBS.

POP MUSIC / Eric Snider SCATTERBRAIN _ Funk meets rap meets punk meets metal, all wrapped up in irreverence and humor. That's Scatterbrain, a band that might perform an encore in drag or have leader Tommy Christ don a chicken suit. Ugly Kid Joe, another wise-guy, hard-rock band, opens at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Rock-It Club. Tickets are $5 in advance, available through the club or Ticketmaster, $8 at the door.

DINOSAUR JR. _ With slop-rockers Nirvana at the top of the album charts, more attention is being thrown on a group like Dinosaur Jr., which puts a premium on raw energy over precision, but still dishes out songs that grab. Dinosaur Jr. will play Jannus Landing on Thursday. Likeminded bands My Bloody Valentine and Babes in Toyland also will appear, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 (plus service charge) in advance, available through Ticketmaster; $13 at the door.

WYNTON _ If it weren't for the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, some goings-on at USF and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis' regular visits, the bay area might not be treated to any acoustic jazz whatsoever. In recent efforts, Marsalis has downplayed his masterful technique in favor of a more soulfulbent. The show is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Tampa Theater. Tickets are $21.50 (plus service charge), available through Ticketmaster or the theater box office.

MEL & MAUREEN _ Torme and McGovern, that is. The two vocal masters team up for a double bill of jazz and sophisticated pop at Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 tonight. Tickets are $23 and $27, available through the box office.

ART / Mary Ann Marger SARASOTA OPENINGS _ Opening receptions tonight for new shows at Sarasota galleries include: "Humor in Art," the Galleries of Frank J. Oehlschlaeger, St. Armands Key, 5:30-8:30 p.m. (through March 10); Virginia Hoffman and Vicky Randall, Anita L. Pickren Gallery, 33 S. Palm Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m. (through March 15); and Julio de Diego, Corbino Galleries, 1472 Main St., 6-8 p.m. (through Feb. 26). All are free and open to the public.

MIND'S EYE _ Mind's Eye Gallery, one of St. Petersburg's newest showplaces, opens its second show with a reception5:30-9:30 tonight. On display are works by Charles M. Gerardi, Raymond Baruth, N. Howcroft-Therrien and Albert C. Adabody. The show runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday through March 7 or by appointment. A few blocks away, the Arts Center opens a members' show with a reception, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through March 13. Mind's Eye is at 239 Second Ave. S; The Arts Center is at 100 Seventh St. S, St. Petersburg.

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