LOOKING AHEAD

The Week of Sept. 17

The Washington National Opera sings "Billy Budd," Benjamin Britten's adaptation of the Herman Melville classic in which justice and duty clash, from Sept. 18 through Oct. 3 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets cost $45 to $290; call 202-295-2400 or 202-467-4600. {diam} The 12th annual Arts on Foot arts festival brings music, films, art exhibits and other entertainment to the Pennsylvania Quarter neighborhood on Sept. 18. Call 202-482-7271.{diam} The Washington Performing Arts Society begins its 2004-05 season with a recital by star soprano Kathleen Battle, singing folk songs, spirituals, Latin American jazz and other traditional music, Sept. 20 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets cost $35 to $90; call 202-467-4600.

{diam} The Smithsonian's newest institution, the National Museum of the American Indian, opens with a ceremony Sept. 21 at noon. Call 202-633-1000.

{diam}The Big Apple Circus pitches its little big top at Dulles Town Center from Sept. 23 through Oct. 11 for "Picturesque," its 27th season show. Tickets cost $15 to $44 from Ticketmaster. Call 202-397-7328 or 800-922-3772.

The Week of Sept. 24

Hundreds of vendors of remodeling, redecorating, and landscaping goods and services appear at the Capital Home Show Sept. 24-26 at Dulles Expo Center. Call 703-378-0910. {diam} The Washington National Cathedral hosts its annual Open House Sept. 25, with guided tours, tower climbs and entertainment. Call 202-537-3129. {diam} Entertainment, ranger-guided walks and other activities commemorate Rock Creek Park's 114th birthday at Rock Creek Park Day Sept. 25 at Rock Creek Park Nature Center. Call 202-282-0927 or 202-619-7222. {diam} James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll star in a new production of "On Golden Pond," in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater from Sept. 28 through Oct. 17. Tickets are $25 to $78. Call 202-467-4600.

The Week of Oct. 1

More than 50 restaurants offer their specialties and entertainers perform on four stages during the 15th annual Taste of Bethesda Oct. 2 in the Woodmont Triangle area of downtown Bethesda. Call 301-215-6660. {diam} Entertainment on two stages, exhibits, children's rides and a food court are all part of the 12th annual Fall for Fairfax outdoor festival Oct. 2 at Fairfax County Government Center. Call 703-324-3247. {diam} Explore a 13,000-square-foot French-style residence in Potomac redecorated by dozens of local designers at the 2004 NSO Decorators' Show House, an annual benefit for the National Symphony Orchestra, Oct. 3-31. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door; call 202-416-8149.

HOT TICKETS

Tickets go on sale this weekend from Ticketmaster for these upcoming shows: starting Friday at 10, Maysa, Gary Taylor and the Unwrapped Allstars, appearing Oct. 8 at DAR Constitution Hall ($50.75); starting Friday at 11, Whoopi Goldberg, Oct. 9 at DAR Constitution Hall ($55 and $75); starting Friday at noon, Slayer, Killswitch Engage and Mastodon, Nov. 23 at Nation ($35). Call 202-397-7328 (service charges added).

OPENING SOON

Exhibit

These exhibitions open next week: "Asia in America -- Views of Chinese Art From the Indianapolis Museum of Art," opening Sept. 18 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, is part of a series of exhibitions showcasing work from the nation's top museum collections of Asian art. Call 202-357-2700 (TDD: 202-357-1729). {diam} "A Living Tradition: Pueblo Pottery From the Permanent Collection," opening Sept. 20 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and "Native History, American History: Objects Out of Storage," opening Sept. 21 at the National Museum of American History, complement the Smithsonian's new National Museum of the American Indian, which opens to the public Sept. 21. Call 202-783-5000 for information on the National Museum of Women in the Arts or 202-357-2700 (TDD: 202-357-1729) for information on Smithsonian museums.

Film

Opening Sept. 17: "Ramones: End of the Century" charts the emotional ups and downs of the influential band. {diam} "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence," an anime film, is about a cyborg detective who investigates the case of a murderous female robot. {diam} In "Mr. 3000," Bernie Mac is a retired ballplayer who learns he never reached his official 3,000 hits and tries to make a comeback to put the record right. {diam} "National Lampoon's Gold Diggers" is about two losers (Will Friedle and Chris Owen) who find themselves saved from jail by the older women they tried to rob. But the women have their own crooked agenda. {diam} In "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," Jude Law is the titular aviator who must save the world, and Gwyneth Paltrow plays intrepid reporter Polly Perkins. Angelina Jolie also stars. {diam} "Silver City," a John Sayles film, is about political intrigue and environmental nefariousness in Colorado. The all-star cast includes Daryl Hannah, Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Roth and Chris Cooper. {diam} "Wimbledon" stars Kirsten Dunst as an up-and-coming tennis player who helps a pro (Paul Bettany) find his old game.

CLOSING

Closing on stage this weekend: "Betrayal," by Fountainhead Theatre at Theatre on the Run. Call 703-920-5923. {diam} This weekend is your last chance to visit "Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes," at the Library of Congress (202-707-4604); "Nordic Cool: Hot Women Designers," at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (202-783-5000); and "Women Air Service Pilots: Remembering Their Service," at the College Park Aviation Museum (301-864-6029).

NEXT FRIDAY IN WEEKEND

The long-awaited National Museum of the American Indian opens its doors Sept. 21. Getting inside during the first week won't be easy, thanks to overwhelming interest, but the Smithsonian's First Americans Festival on the Mall will provide visitors with six days of Native music, dance, storytelling, craft demonstrations, food and more.

WEEKEND ONLINE

To check out Weekend online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/weekend.

Soprano Kathleen Battle will perform spirituals, jazz and other traditional music Sept. 20 at the Kennedy Center."A Living Tradition: Pueblo Pottery From the Permanent Collection" opens Sept. 20 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.Kris Kristofferson, left, and Chris Cooper lead an all-star cast in "Silver City."