VERNE'S VISION: "Madness!" howled the naysayers in 1872 when our hero Phileas Fogg proclaimed he could travel around the world in a mindboggling 80 days. In those days, travelers still moved at Marco Polo velocity.

Today, of course, thanks to modern space-age technology, we can get around the world in just a few short weeks by traveling at the speed of light, but back then? Madness, we tell you.

Jules Verne's 1872 romp, "Around the World in 80 Days" tells the whole madcap story, and this evening the International City Theater throws its opening night stage production of the saga, featuring a cast of five actors playing 39 characters traveling across seven continents on the Center Theater stage at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Tickets for tonight's opening are $50. Otherwise, it's $45 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances and $38 for Thursday night shows. Thursday-Saturday curtains are at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. It runs through Feb. 17. For tickets and info, call 562-438-4361, or go to www.internationalcitytheatre.org.

AQUABILITY: The Aquarium of the Pacific becomes ultra handi-capable with the 10th edition of its annual Festival of Human Abilities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

You get wheelchair dancers, signing choirs, accessible scuba diving demonstrations, service dog demonstrations, the ARC Handbell Choir, blind and autistic musician Kodi Lee and a lot more.


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Sign language interpreters will be at the regular aquarium shows, audio tours are available for the blind and assistance dog relief areas will be open.

It's all included in the general admission, which is $25.95; $14.95 for kids 3-11. Other pricing packages are available. Check www.aquariumofpacific.org.

OPEN DOG HOUSE: OK, and, we suppose, cats too, although if we called it Open Cat House people would get all disappointed when they find out what we're talking about is an Open House at Long Beach's Animal Care Services Bureau. We remember when it used to be called the Dog Pound. You'd want a dog, and Pop would say, "Let's just pick one up at the pound." Nowadays it's called "rescuing" a pet, which sounds all heroic and SWAT/SEALS-like.

Anyway, you can check out what's offered by the animal care shelter at the open house from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at 7700 E. Spring St.

Visitors will be provided with a report card on the past year as well as an overview of new programs and technologies available to residents in 2013.

Refreshments, tours and comments from residents will be included.

Information on animal adoption, licensing, spay and neuter programs, and other animal care information will be also be available.

GET RID OF EVERYTHING YOU OWN: Seriously, you have too much stuff. Really?

You're holding on to that VCR? The one that doesn't even fast-forward anymore? And that refrigerator in the garage that you just keep Diet Tab and Gatorade in? And the 64K computer that is still perfectly good for writing letters with and you might generously donate to a school someday and take a thousand-dollar tax write-off?

What you do is you get you a truck and haul it all off to the Second District eWaste & Recycling Drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the parking lot at 335 E. Broadway.

They'll take a lot more than your basic electronic gizmos at this drive.

You can also bring "white waste" which includes things that are usually white and bulky and hard to dump: refrigerators, stoves, freezers, dishwashers. In fact, they'll even take regular bulky items that you used to dump behind the grocery store: sofas, mattresses, chairs.

This is a great way to get your spring cleaning done early and embark on your new life of simpler living.

FRIDAY PLAYLIST: We're writing this on Thursday morning with nothing going on except it's raining outside and we have a somewhat unnatural fire blazing in the fireplace.

Platinum Club readers who follow us or, rather "friend" us, on Facebook, already know we are/were reduced on Thursday to using a Duraflame log, because we ran out of real firewood, so, yeah, morning's a little marred by that. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Here are some songs about fire and rain for you.

1. "Fire and Rain," James Taylor

2. "Rain," the Beatles

3. "Fire," Arthur Brown

4. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" John Fogerty

5. "Fire," Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

6. "Box of Rain," Grateful Dead

7. "Fire," Jimi Hendrix

8. "The Rain Song," Led Zeppelin

9. "Play With Fire," Rolling Stones

10. "Set Fire to the Rain," Adele

tgrobaty@yahoo.com, 562-714-2116, twitter.com/grobaty