OUR PICKS

Exhibition

Painter Sam Gilliam's first museum exhibition was in 1969 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Opening there Saturday, "Sam Gilliam: A Retrospective" brings the Washington-based artist's career -- and colorful, yet deceptively complex work -- full circle. Call 202-639-1700.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

Film

Director Luis Mandoki finds a satisfying blend of sentimentality and hard-core realism in "Innocent Voices," the tale of a young boy (Carlos Padilla) in 1980s El Salvador facing the prospect of fighting in his country's civil war. See review on Page 42.

-- Desson Thomson

Music

Old soul, new soul: On her debut album, "A Change Is Gonna Come," Leela James announces herself as a dynamic newcomer with deep roots in rhythm & blues, funk and gospel (like the best singers in classic soul, James got her start in church). Billboard called her "Tina Turner meets James Brown." Meet James at the Black Cat on Thursday. Call 202-667-7960.

-- Richard Harrington

Theater

Whatever the shortcomings of the material in which she finds herself, an evening with actress Jennifer Mendenhall is never a wasted one. And Theater Alliance's production of Daniel MacIvor's "You Are Here" (through Nov. 13) sounds promising indeed, with Mendenhall playing the lead, a woman whose life story continually slips from her grasp. Call

800-494-8497.

-- Scott Vogel

Leela James sings at the Black Cat.