The Week of Sept. 23

Authors read their books and sign them, and bookstores and publishers display their wares, at the Baltimore Book Festival Sept. 23-25 outdoors at Mount Vernon Place, in the 600 block of North Charles Street. Call 877-225-8466. {diam} Plan your next home improvement project with tips from hundreds of vendors of remodeling, redecorating and landscaping goods and services at the Capital Home & Remodeling Show Sept. 23-25 at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. Call 703-378-0910. {diam} The Library of Congress presents talks and other events by 80 authors at the National Book Festival Sept. 24 outdoors on the Mall. Call 888-714-4696. {diam} The National Geographic Society celebrates works by minority-culture filmmakers and photographs from around the world at the All Roads Film Festival, screening four evenings of short films and full-length features Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Call 202-857-7660 or visit

The Week of Sept. 30

The huge, month-long Festival of China at the Kennedy Center, a showcase for dozens of music and dance performances by more than 800 of China's greatest artists, kicks off with a fireworks show over the Potomac Oct. 1 and a kite festival Oct. 2. Opening week continues with a concert by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and pianist Lang Lang Oct. 2; tickets cost $10 to $45. That concert will be followed by the National Ballet of China, dancing a mixed repertory program Oct. 4-5 and the full-length classic "Raise the Red Lantern" Oct. 7-8 in the Opera House. Tickets cost $21 to $50. Call 202-467-4600 or visit {diam} The annual Fall for Fairfax fair hosts family entertainment, exhibits, children's activities and food vendors Oct. 1 at Fairfax County Government Center. Call 703-324-3247. {diam} The annual Taste of Bethesda features samples from area restaurants, entertainment on multiple stages and other activities Oct. 1 in downtown Bethesda. Call 301-215-6660. {diam} Comcast Family Toon Day features family-oriented performances, strolling cartoon characters, rides and other activities Oct. 2 outdoors at Strathmore in North Bethesda. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call 301-581-5100 or visit {diam} The National Symphony Orchestra 2005 Decorators' Show House, Hidden Brook Manor in McLean, will be open Oct. 2-31. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 202-416-8149.

The Week of Oct. 7

Taste wines from Virginia vineyards, learn more about George Washington's winemaking efforts and enjoy live music at the Mount Vernon Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour Oct. 7-9 at the first president's estate. Tickets cost $25; advance purchase is recommended. Call 703-780-2000. {diam} The 62nd annual Waterford Fair on the streets of this 1733 village features music, a crafts fair, crafts demonstrations and tours of Colonial homes Oct. 7-9 in Waterford, Va. Admission is $13 in advance, $15 at the gate; call 540-882-3018 or 540-882-3085. {diam} The Kennedy Center's Festival of China continues with three modern dance troupes, the Beijing Modern Dance Company, City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong) and Guangdong Modern Dance Company, performing together Oct. 7-9 in the Terrace Theater ($30); and the full-length "Female Generals of the Yang Family" by the Chinese National Peking Opera Company, visiting Washington for the first time in 25 years, Oct. 13-15 in the Eisenhower Theater ($48 to $70). Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Tickets go on sale from Ticketmaster Saturday at 10 for a concert by Rascal Flatts, with Blake Shelton and Blaine Larson, Oct. 15 at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena. They cost $41 plus service charges. Call 202-397-7328. {diam} Tickets are on sale now from for a show by Tom Jones, Nov. 8 at the 9:30 club. They cost $75; call 703-218-6500 (service charges added).


On Stage

On stage soon, on sale now: John Astin and Charlotte Rae star in Ken Ludwig's "Leading Ladies," in which two unemployed Shakespearean actors pretend to be a rich woman's heirs, at Ford's Theatre from Sept. 23 through Oct. 23. Tickets cost $25 to $52 from Ticketmaster. Call 202-397-7328 or 202-347-4833. {diam} Rep Stage in Columbia opens its season with "T Bone n Weasel," a comedy in which two ex-cons hustle the characters they meet in rural North Carolina, from Sept. 23 through Oct. 9. Tickets cost $17 to $24. Call 410-772-4900.

On Screen

Opening Sept. 23: "A History of Violence" is director David Cronenberg's latest thriller starring Viggo Mortensen. {diam} A department store worker accidentally kills a rival salesman in the Spanish black comedy "El Crimen Perfecto." {diam} "Everything Is Illuminated" stars Elijah Wood as a man trying to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II. {diam} Jodie Foster stars in the Hitchcockian thriller "Flightplan." {diam} Director Peter Riegert stars in "King of the Corner," a comedy about a marketing executive staring down his midlife crisis.

{diam} The Antwerp police send a top agent to investigate a murder in "The Memory of a Killer." {diam} The adaptation of Broadway's "Proof" reaches the big screen and stars Gwyneth Paltrow. {diam} "Proud" tells the story of the USS Macon, the only African-American-manned ship to sail into combat. {diam} Rapper Bow Wow stars in "Roll Bounce," a coming-of-age tale set in the 1970s' roller-skating scene. {diam} Paul Reiser stars opposite Peter Falk in "The Thing About My Folks," which Reiser wrote. {diam} Director Tim Burton revisits scary-fairy-tale turf in the stop-motion film "Corpse Bride." {diam} The documentary "A Sidewalk Astronomer" looks at the life of John Dobson, an inventor with a goal of making stargazing accessible to the public. Opening dates may change.

On Exhibit

These exhibitions open next week: "Warhol Legacy: Selections From the Andy Warhol Museum," opening Sept. 24 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, features more than 150 works spanning Warhol's career. Call 202-639-1700. {diam} On Sept. 25, two exhibitions open at the National Gallery of Art: "Audubon's Dream Realized: Selections From 'The Birds of America' " (West Building) features several of the artist and ornithologist's hand-colored etchings of birds, along with a recently acquired oil painting, while "Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination From the J. Paul Getty Museum" (East Building) highlights six regional centers of Italian manuscript painting. Call 202-737-4215. {diam} "Shifting Gears: A National Juried Exhibit for Young Artists With Disabilities, Ages 16-25," opening Sept. 27 in the Concourse Gallery of the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center, showcases the art of young Americans with disabilities. Call 202-633-1000.


Closing on stage this weekend: "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde," by the Theatre Alliance at H Street Playhouse (800-494-8497). {diam} This is your last chance to visit "Filigree Spaces: Textile Installations by Piper Shepard," at the Baltimore Museum of Art (410-396-7100); and "Textiles for This World and Beyond: Treasures From Insular Southeast Asia," at the Textile Museum (202-667-0441).


If your only acquaintance with opera is that tired adage about the fat lady singing, you don't know what you're missing. Weekend gets an exclusive peek behind the scenes as the enormous logistical challenge that is Washington National Opera's "Trilogy" -- an evening of fully staged acts from three great operas -- makes the journey from rehearsal studio to opera house to one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the season.


To check out Weekend on the Web, go to

Victor Van Dort and Bonejangles are characters in the animated scary fairy tale "Corpse Bride," opening Sept. 23. "Audubon's Dream Realized: Selections From 'The Birds of America' " opens Sept. 25 at the National Gallery of Art.

John Irving will speak at the National Book Festival.