A Slims Chance

The ball's in your court this weekend at Washington's Virginia Slims tennis classic at George Washington University. The finals aren't until Monday, but you can catch some of the finest women tennis players around in the preliminary action. The tournament's first seven seeds rank among the world's top ten players, including Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Zina Garrison. The quarterfinals take place Friday at 10 and 6:30, and Saturday at 7:30. The semifinals are Sunday at 1 and 7. The action takes place at George Washington University's Smith Center, 22nd and G streets NW. Tickets range from $6.50 to $16.50 and are available at the Smith Center box office, Ticketplace outlets or by calling 429-0690. Out of Africa

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation of the Folger Shakespeare Library presents South African fiction writer Nadine Gordimer this Friday at 8 at the National Press Club. Gordimer -- who has published nine novels and more than a hundred short stories and is considered one of South Africa's major authors -- will read selections from her published work. A reception follows. Tickets are $10 and available at the ballroom (13th floor) of the Press Club at 529 14th Street NW. For more information, call 544-7077. Spellbinding Stories

Enchantment tends to be more visual than audio these days, but it wasn't always so. The National Portrait Gallery remembers, and that's why it's sponsoring a five-week run of performances by veteran storyteller Jon Spelman beginning this weekend. Fridays at 7:30, you can hear "Talkin' Tales," a show based on oral histories, legends and traditional folktales. Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30, he spins tales for the entire family, including ghost stories and tales from vintage radio programs. The more humorous, bawdy and biting stories get told Saturdays at 7:30 in "Grease Heat: Tales from the American Landscape." The National Portrait Gallery is at Eighth and F streets NW, right at the Gallery Place Metro station, on both the Red and Yellow lines. The program is free, but reservations are necessary. Call 357-2729. High Browsing

You don't need to spend $265,000 on a piece of furniture to receive an antiques education. This weekend a five-spot can get you into the 31st Annual Washington Antiques Show at the Shoreham Hotel. Forty-four of the nation's top dealers will be on hand to answer questions and show off high-style American antiques, the most expensive going for that $265 thou we mentioned above. They'll even appraise your own pieces for $5 each, on Saturday from 10 to noon. The show itself runs Friday and Saturday from noon to 9:30, and Sunday from noon to 6. The Washington Shoreham Hotel is at 2500 Calvert Street NW. For more information, call 234-0700, ext. 6784. Tug 'n' Mash

The fastest-growing motor sport in the country makes your daily commute on the Beltway look like a Sunday drive in the country. You can find out why this weekend at the U.S. Hot Rod Association Truck and Tractor Pull 1986 Championships and Battle of the Monster Trucks at the Capital Centre. The competition works like this: trucks and tractors try to pull a 50,000-pound weight 200 feet along the Cap Centre floor. Other competition involves gigantic jacked-up trucks that flatten jalopies by running over them. You can also see funny cars pop wheelies. So there you have it. Last year, this spectacle sold out, so you'd better call first. The competition takes place Friday at 8 and Saturday at 1:30 and 8. Tickets are $12 and $14; kids 12 and under, $8. For ticket information, call 432-0200. Short and Sweet

Local stage talent surfaces this weekend with one-act festivals in Maryland and Virginia.

Silver Spring Stage will offer four one-act plays, including the Washington premieres of "There Is No John Garfield," by Ernest Joselovitz, and Rick Maurer's "Bunker." Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8, Sunday at 7:30. Silver Spring Stage is at 10145 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $6 for Friday or Sunday, $7 on Saturday; for reservations, call 564-4466.

Over in Reston, the Northern Virginia Theater Alliance offers 16 one-acts ranging from the science fiction of Isaac Asimov to Edward Albee's "Zoo Story," Friday and Saturday at 8. Tickets are $4 per day; $12 for a festival pass good for all performances. The Reston Community Center Theater is at 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston. For play schedules and more information, call 476- 4500. Both festivals will continue next weekend. Rest of the Best

IN MARYLAND Sunday at 8, violinist Joseph Bykov and pianist Ruth Balis will perform sonatas by Mozart, Grieg and Prokofiev at the Strathmore Hall Arts Center at 10701 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Tickets are $8 at the door. For more information call 530- 0540.

IN VIRGINIA Bluegrass master Doc Watson picks and grins this Friday, and Jesse Winchester performs this Saturday at the Barns at Wolf Trap. Both shows start at 8 and cost $10. For reservations, call 432-0200 . . . Sunday morning from 11 to 3, you can chow down and then burn off the calories dancing to a 17-piece band at the Radisson Mark Plaza Hotel. Tickets for these "Sunday Big Band Brunches," which take place every Sunday, are $19.75. The hotel is at 5000 Seminary Road (just off the Shirley Highway) in Alexandria. For reservations, call 845-1010.