OUR PICKS

Film

Nicolas Cage plays the title character in Gore Verbinski's "The Weather Man," an emotionally compelling tale that shines the light on a special kind of

heroism -- the guts to face up to yourself and make changes. See review on Page 43.

-- Desson Thomson

Music

Magpie, Bob Zentz and a half-dozen other folk artists celebrate the release of "Songs for the Earth -- A Tribute to Rachel Carson" Friday at Bethesda's River Road Unitarian Church. The 17-track album, honoring the author of "Silent Spring" and icon of the modern-day environmental movement, also features Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Tish Hinojosa, Gordon Bok and Josh White Jr. Call 301-593-7507.

-- Richard Harrington

Theater

Based loosely on the true story of a group of Japanese women that traveled to the United States in 1955 seeking plastic surgery for disfiguring wounds suffered in the atomic blasts, "Hiroshima Maiden" has been hailed for its power, beauty and -- especially -- its effective use of bunraku puppetry. The piece, which plays this weekend at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, is the brainchild of performance artist Dan Hurlin. Call 301-405-2787.

-- Scott Vogel

Exhibition

The female subjects of painter Alice

Neel's blunt and occasionally awkward (yet always compelling) portraits get the spotlight in "Alice Neel's Women,"

an exhibition of about 80 paintings and drawings at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Call 202-783-5000.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

About 80 paintings and drawings are in "Alice Neel's Women" at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.