The Week of Oct. 15

The Virginia Opera stages Puccini's "Turandot," the story of a cold-hearted Mandarin princess in ancient China, at George Mason University's Center for the Arts Oct. 15 and 17. Tickets cost $44 to $84; call 703-218-6500 or 703-993-8888. {diam}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 SW. Tickets in advance cost $25 from Ticketmaster ($35 at the gate); call 202-397-7328 (service charges added). {diam} The 67th annual International Gold Cup steeplechase will be run Oct. 16 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. Tickets start at $50 per vehicle; call 540-347-1215. {diam} Add your voice to the stars at "Sing-a-Long Sound of Music," at which the movie classic will be projected with subtitles (costumes are encouraged), Oct. 16-17 at Lisner Auditorium. Tickets cost $15 from Ticketmaster; call 202-397-7328 (service charges added). {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. {diam} Disney on Ice brings "Finding Nemo" to George Mason University's Patriot Center Oct. 20-31. Tickets cost $15 to $60 from Ticketmaster; call 202-397-7328 (service charges added).

The Week of Oct. 22

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves stars as the vengeful gypsy Azucena in the Washington National Opera's production of "Il Trovatore," Verdi's tragic tale of a kidnapped baby, political archenemies and long-lost brothers, in the Kennedy Center Opera House from Oct. 23 through Nov. 13. Tickets cost $45 to $290; call 202-295-2400 or 202-467-4600.

{diam} The Cathedral Choral Society opens its season with Verdi's "Requiem" Oct. 24 at Washington National Cathedral. Tickets cost $20 to $55; call 202-537-5527.

{diam} Dan Aykroyd, Candice Bergen, Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Christopher Walken, senators Christopher Dodd and John McCain, and other familiar names are scheduled to pay tribute to veteran comedy writer and producer Lorne Michaels, creator of "Saturday Night Live," as he receives the Mark Twain Prize at the seventh annual Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor Oct. 25 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets cost $25 to $75; call 202-467-4600. {diam} The 46th annual Washington International Horse Show gallops into MCI Center Oct. 26-31. Tickets cost $15 to $60 plus service charges from Ticketmaster; call 202-397-7328.

The Week of Oct. 29

Sharp-tongued comedian Wanda Sykes shares her view of the world Oct. 29 at Lisner Auditorium. Tickets cost $35.50 plus service charges from Ticketmaster; call 202-397-7328.


Tickets for these shows go on sale this weekend from Ticketmaster: starting Friday at noon, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, appearing Nov. 24 at the Birchmere ($30); starting Saturday at 10, Alan Jackson and Martina McBride, Nov. 19 at MCI Center ($54.50 and $64.50); also starting Saturday at 10, Chayanne, Nov. 20 at Patriot Center ($45, $65 and $85). Call 202-397-7328 (service charges added). {diam} Tickets are on sale now from Tickets.com for these 9:30 club shows: John Fogerty, Nov. 12 ($55); and Matthew Sweet, Nov. 13 ($20). Call 703-218-6500 (service charges added).



Rorschach Theatre continues its Dario Fo festival with "Accidental Death of an Anarchist," the Nobel laureate's satire on political corruption, opening with "pay-what-you-can" previews Oct. 19-21. Shows continue through Nov. 21; those tickets cost $18. Call 800-494-8497 or 202-452-5538. {diam} "Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman" is back, but without Rob Becker. Chris Sullivan takes on the role of the befuddled modern everyman from Oct. 19 through Nov. 14 at the Rosslyn Spectrum. Tickets cost $35 to $39.50 from Ticketmaster; call 202-397-7328 (service charges added).


Opening Oct. 15 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, "Claude Raguet Hirst: Transforming the American Still Life" features highly detailed, trompe l'oeil paintings, mainly in watercolor, and "Transitory Patterns: Florida Women Artists" highlights the work of contemporary artists from the Sunshine State. Call 202-783-5000. {diam} "Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas," opening Oct. 16 at the Freer Gallery of Art, is a long-term exhibition showcasing the museum's collection of South Asian and Himalayan art. Call 202-633-1000 (TDD: 202-357-1729). {diam} "In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny," opening Oct. 17 at the Baltimore Museum of Art, includes examples of work by an American painter instrumental in introducing French impressionism to this country, along with paintings by his friend and mentor, Claude Monet. Call 410-396-7100. {diam} "All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852-1860," opening Oct. 17 at the National Gallery of Art, inaugurates renovated galleries devoted to photography with a show of Victorian photography. Call 202-737-4215 (TDD: 202-842-6176). {diam} "Romance, Murder and Revenge: Kabuki Prints by Konishi Hirosada (ca. 1810-64)," opening Oct. 20 at the Walters Art Museum, records the 1850 and 1851 theater seasons in the Japanese city of Osaka. Call 410-547-9000.


Opening Oct. 15: From the creators of "South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut" comes "Team America: World Police," an all-marionette satire of, well, probably just about everything. {diam}Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez star in "Shall We Dance?," based on the 1996 Japanese film of the same name about the relationship between a bored businessman and his beautiful dance instructor. {diam}Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, "Primer" is a sci-fi thriller about the unexpected capabilities of a secret invention. {diam}The uncovering of family secrets is the subject of "Around the Bend," a drama starring Michael Caine and Christopher Walken. {diam}Set in the 17th-century, "Stage Beauty" is the story of an actor (Billy Crudup) who has made a name for himself playing women's parts. {diam}A group of Allied soldiers trapped behind enemy lines struggles to deliver vital intelligence in the World War II adventure "Saints and Soldiers." {diam}Robin Williams plays a man who edits memories recorded by chips implanted in people's heads in the sci-fi thriller "The Final Cut." {diam} "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed" is a documentary look at Ronald Reagan's fight against communism. {diam}The spirits of a killer and his murdered family haunt everyone who sets foot in the crime scene in the Japanese ghost story "Ju-on." {diam} An Italian-dubbed, blond-haired Marlon Brando is an agent provocateur in Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo's 1969 political drama "Queimada! (Burn!)," seen for the first time here in its original version.


Closing on stage this weekend: "Living Out," at Round House Theatre in Bethesda (240-644-1100); "The Seagull," by Rep Stage at Howard Community College (410-772-4900); "A Lesson Before Dying," by African Continuum Theatre Company at H Street Playhouse (800-494-8497 or 202-529-5763); "The Time of Your Life," by American Century Theater at Gunston Arts Center (703-553-8782); and "Picturesque," this year's production by the Big Apple Circus at Dulles Town Center (202-397-7328). {diam} This weekend is your last chance to visit "Tornado: Twist of Fate," at the National Geographic Society (202-857-7588).


Fall is here, and basketball leagues are gearing up for play. These county and city recreation department-sponsored leagues give a wide range of players exercise, camaraderie and a fun, competitive outlet.


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

"By the Brook" is part of "In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny," opening Oct. 17 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Christopher Walken plays both father and son in the multi-generational family drama "Around the Bend."

Denyce Graves stars in the Washington National Opera's "Il Trovatore."