LOOKING AHEAD The Week of Dec. 20

The Fairfax Choral Society and soprano Barbara DeMaio Caprilli present a "Holiday Music Spectacular" Dec. 21 at Fairfax High School's auditorium. Call 703-757-0220. * The Metropolitan Chorus, members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, guest soloists and conductors perform excerpts of Handel's "Messiah," joined by the audience, on Dec. 23 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Free tickets will be given away starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations. Call 202-467-4600 (TDD: 202-416-8524). * The Washington Auto Show takes place Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 at the Washington Convention Center. Call 202-237-7200.

The Week of Dec. 27

Fabian Barnes's Dance Institute of Washington and guest artists celebrate the "Spirit of Kwanzaa" Dec. 28-29 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Call 202-467-4600 (TDD: 202-416-8524). * These major New Year's Eve celebrations are scheduled: "First Night Annapolis," with more than 200 family performances at indoor and outdoor sites throughout downtown Annapolis and fireworks at midnight; call 410-268-8553. "First Night Alexandria" features family entertainment and other activities throughout Old Town Alexandria and fireworks at midnight; call 703-838-4200, Ext. 210. "First Night Leesburg" will offer indoor and outdoor entertainment and other family activities throughout Leesburg's historic district; call 800-752-6118. Baltimore's "New Year's Eve Spectacular" has free entertainment and family activities in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and fireworks at midnight; call 410-837-4636. Falls Church Watch Night welcomes the new year with music, dance, magicians, puppet shows and other entertainment around Broad and Washington streets; call 703-532-0884.

The Week of Jan. 3

The 19th annual Fishing Expo & Boat Show is Jan. 9-12 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Call 410-838-8687.

Hot Tickets

Tickets for Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin, performing Jan. 4 at DAR Constitution Hall, are on sale now from Ticketmaster. Seats are $45, plus service charges. Call 202-432-7238 * On sale Saturday at 10 from Ticketmaster: George Strait, performing Feb. 6 at MCI Center. Tickets are $53.50 and $63.50.


Stage On stage soon, on sale now: "Miss Saigon," Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 at Baltimore's Lyric Opera House. Tickets are $19 to $68, plus service charges, from Ticketmaster, 202-432-7238. * "The Seven Year Itch," at the American Century Theater Thursday through Jan. 25. Tickets are $17 to $24. Call 703-553-8782.


These exhibitions open next week: "Fantasy Underfoot: The 47th Corcoran Biennial Exhibition," opening Dec. 21 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, features painting, installation, drawing, sculpture, photography and video, and includes work by Bruce Nauman and local art star Susan Smith-Pinelo. Call 202-639-1700. * "The Religious Art of Japan," opening Dec. 22 at the Freer Gallery of Art, begins a series of thematic rotations drawn from the museum's permanent collection of Japanese religious art. Call 202-357-2700 (TDD: 202-357-1729).

Film Opening Wednesday: "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" continues J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tale of ring-bearing Hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and his quest to save Middle-earth from the forces of evil.

* Opening Dec. 20: Frustrated attorney Sandra Bullock becomes client Hugh Grant's unexpected love interest when she tries to quit in the romantic comedy "Two Weeks Notice." * In "About Schmidt," Jack Nicholson plays an insurance executive facing retirement and the marriage of a daughter (Hope Davis) to a man he cannot stand (Dermot Mulroney). * Denzel Washington makes his directorial debut in "Antwone Fisher," a drama about a Navy psychiatrist (Washington) and the troubled young sailor (Derek Luke) who is his patient.

* From filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the long-awaited "Gangs of New York" stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis as representatives of warring immigrant groups in late 19th-century New York. * Based on Nickelodeon's hit animated TV series, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" concerns the efforts of Eliza, a 12-year-old on African safari, and her talking chimpanzee companion to stop a group of poachers. * From "Being John Malkovich" writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze comes "Adaptation," the story of a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) and his struggle to adapt "The Orchid Thief," a nonfiction bestseller by Susan Orlean. Along the way, Kaufman must deal with a rival twin brother (Cage again) and the fact that he is falling in love with Orlean (Meryl Streep). * Pierce Brosnan plays an Irish father who fights the Catholic Church's efforts to put his children in an orphanage when his wife abandons him, in the fact-based "Evelyn." * And Audrey Tautou ("Amelie") plays a fashion model who falls in love with a Jewish veterinarian in "God Is Great, I'm Not." Opening dates subject to change.

CLOSING This is your last weekend to see: "Danny and Sylvia," through Sunday at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown (301-528-2260); "Children of War," through Sunday at the Theater of the First Amendment at George Mason University (703-218-6500); and the Washington Revels' "The Christmas Revels," through Sunday at Lisner Auditorium (202-432-7328). * This is also your last weekend to visit "Invention at Play," through Sunday at the National Museum of American History (202-357-2700; TDD: 202-357-3129).

NEXT FRIDAY IN WEEKEND Meet the winner of Weekend's Holiday Wrapping Paper Contest, and get a free sheet of gift wrap.


To check out Weekend online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/weekend. There you'll find a variety of features, including an archive of Eric Brace's Nightwatch columns, Eve Zibart's Fare Minded columns, guides to some area events and, of course, stories and reviews from the current issue.

Elijah Wood returns as Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."The Washington Revels' "Christmas Revels" has a Victorian theme this year.Yolanda Adams will sing Jan. 4 at DAR Constitution Hall.