LOOKING AHEAD

The Week of Oct. 1

Visit the quaint little town of Waterford, Va., for the 61st annual Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Exhibit Oct. 1-3. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the gate; call 540-882-3018.

{diam} 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} Music on three stages, displays by 150 artisans and activities for children are all part of the Takoma Park Street Festival Oct. 3 in Old Town Takoma Park. Call 301-570-8220. {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.

The Week of Oct. 8

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation hosts Alexandria Seaport Day Oct. 9 from 10 to 4 at Waterfront Park, with maritime exhibits, children's activities and a rowboat-building competition. Call 703-549-7078. {diam} The Library of Congress celebrates the printed word in its fourth annual National Book Festival, with appearances by more than 70 writers, Oct. 9 on the Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. Call 202-707-5000. {diam} Enjoy live performances, hands-on art activities, costumed characters and other entertainment at Family Toon Day Oct. 10 at Strathmore Arts Center in Bethesda. Call 301-530-0540.

The Week of Oct. 15

National and local bands will perform during the D.C. Chili Cookoff, an annual benefit for the National Kidney Foundation, Oct. 16 at 12th Street and Independence Avenue NW. Tickets in advance cost $25 from Ticketmaster ($35 at the gate); call 202-397-7328.

{diam} The Washington Ballet opens its 2004-05 season with its first full-length production of "Giselle" Oct. 20-24 in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets cost $29 to $80; call 202-467-4600.

HOT TICKETS

Tickets go on sale this weekend from Ticketmaster for these upcoming shows: starting Friday at 10, Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight, appearing Oct. 24 at DAR Constitution Hall ($66); starting Friday at noon, Patty Loveless, appearing Oct. 27 at the Birchmere ($39.50); starting Saturday at 10, Tears for Fears, Oct. 26 at Lisner Auditorium ($45); also starting Saturday at 10, Dolly Parton and the Grascals, Nov. 14 at George Mason University's Patriot Center ($36, $45 and $55); starting Saturday at noon, Vanessa Carlton, Nov. 1 at the Birchmere ($17.50). Call 202-397-7328 (service charges added). {diam}These Birchmere shows are on sale now from Ticketmaster: Mavis Staples, Nov. 5 ($25 in advance, $30 at door); Minnie Driver, Nov. 26 ($16.50); George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Dec. 5 ($35). {diam}Tickets are on sale now from Tickets.com for a show by Super Diamond, appearing Oct. 30 at the 9:30 club. Tickets are $20. Call 703-218-6500 (service charges added).

OPENING SOON

Stage

The Olney Theatre Center opens its production of Noel Coward's supernatural comedy "Blithe Spirit," in which a man's first wife returns from "the other side" after a seance goes awry, with a "pay-what-you-can" preview Oct. 5 at 7:30. The run continues through Nov. 7. Regular prices are $26 to $36. Call 301-924-3400.

Exhibit

These exhibitions open next week. Opening Oct. 1: "A Garden of Shawls: The Buta and Its Seeds," at the Textile Museum, traces the development of the shawl design motif known as the paisley in the West. Call 202-667-0441. {diam}Opening Oct. 2: "Holy H2O: Fluid Universe," at the American Visionary Art Museum, takes water as its overarching theme (410-244-1900); "Frank Gehry, Architect: Designs for Museums," at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, spotlights eight of his museum projects (202-639-1700); "In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits," at the National Museum of Natural History, is a retrospective of the well-known magazine's portrait photography (202-633-1000, TDD: 202-357-1729). {diam} Opening Oct. 3: "Dan Flavin: A Retrospective," at the National Gallery of Art, is the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the career of the contemporary sculptor known for his fluorescent-light installations (202-737-4215, TDD: 202-842-6176); the Walters Art Museum opens "The Road to Impressionism: Landscapes From Corot to Monet," a look at the French artists of the Barbizon school of plein-air painting; "Popular Prints From the French Revolution," featuring 30 never-before-exhibited prints from the museum's collection; and the museum's 19th-Century Collection, returning to public view after touring the country for a year (410-547-9000).

{diam} Opening Oct. 5: "Our Next President! Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorabilia From the Anthony W. Atkiss Collection Illustrating the 1912 and 1916 Presidential Campaigns," at the Woodrow Wilson House, examines forms of campaign publicity in an age before bumper stickers and TV ads (202-387-4062).

{diam} Opening Oct. 6: "Passages: Photography in Africa of Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher," at the National Geographic Society, features photography of African rites of passage ceremonies, along with selected artifacts from those ceremonies (202-857-7588). {diam} Opening Oct. 7: "Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers," at the National Museum of American History, tracks the changing role of sports -- and sportsmen and women -- in American society. Call 202-633-1000 (TDD: 202-357-1729). {diam} Opening Oct. 9: "Washington: Symbol and City," at the National Building Museum, is an updated, re-curated version of an exhibition on the growth of the District that first opened in 1991 (202-272-2448).

Film

Opening Oct. 1: "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry," George Butler's documentary about John Kerry, shows him in his Vietnam war days as a boat commander and antiwar activist.

{diam} "Ju-on" is a Japanese horror film about a house haunted by the spirits of its former owners. {diam} "Ladder 49" stars John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix as firefighters in Baltimore. {diam} "The Motorcycle Diaries," an adaptation of Che Guevara's 1952 journals about his travels through South America, stars Gael Garcia Bernal in the title role. {diam} In "Reconstruction," a photographer's life disintegrates after he cheats on his girlfriend with a married woman. {diam} "Shark Tale," DreamWorks' CGI animation film about fishies under the sea, stars the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger and Martin Scorsese. {diam} "Tying the Knot" is a documentary about the problems of bereaved gay people when their partners die. {diam} "Woman Thou Art Loosed," starring Kimberly Elise, is about a woman's struggle to come to terms with her legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty. {diam} "The Yes Men," a documentary, follows activist-pranksters Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno who impersonate World Trade Organization officials on TV and at conferences around the world. Opening dates may change.

CLOSING

Closing on stage this weekend: "Tambourines to Glory," at the Lincoln Theatre (202-397-7328 or 202-328-6000); "Venus," at the Olney Theatre Center (301-924-3400); and "Lenny & Lou," by Woolly Mammoth Theatre at the D.C. Jewish Community Center (800-494-8497 or 202-393-3939). {diam}This weekend is your last chance to visit "Hudson River School Visions: The Landscapes of Sanford R. Gifford," at the National Gallery of Art (202-737-4215, TDD: 202-842-6176); and "Perspectives: Do-Ho Suh," at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (202-633-1000, TDD: 202-357-1729).

NEXT FRIDAY IN WEEKEND

The Marine Corps Marathon draws thousands of runners to Washington every fall. But did you know the Marines also have a shorter race for youngsters? The Healthy Kids' Fun Run was started three years ago to promote running and fitness, and organizers have become leaders in the campaign against childhood obesity.

WEEKEND ONLINE

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

Better Midler sings at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena Oct. 11.Rodrigo de la Serna, left, and Gael Garcia Bernal, as Che Guevara, in "The Motorcycle Diaries." "The Road to Impressionism: Landscapes From Corot to Monet" opens Oct. 3 at the Walters Museum.