Jonathan Borofsky, the New York multimedia artist who ransacks dreams for his content and style, has a fascinating show at the Corcoran Gallery (through Feb. 2), where for $1.50 one can also view Richard Avedon's telling photographs of random westerners.

For something completely different: At the National Geographic Society, Tennessean Howard Tibbals displays his 6,000-square-foot miniature Howard Brothers Circus; it's a Lilliputian world that took Tibbals 30 years to assemble, and is on display in Explorers Hall until June. CLASSICAL MUSIC

Tickets are almost impossible to get -- though it's still worth a try -- for "Christopher Columbus," the Washington Opera's season finale by Jacques Offenbach (with some assistance from posthumous collaborators). It was one of the works that opened the Terrace Theater during the special summer opera season of 1979 and will return to the same stage Saturday night in a new production. Elaine Bonazzi will repeat the role of Queen Isabella, with which she stole the show the last time around.

Two of Washington's traditional New Year's Eve celebrations have special musical interest: the Kennedy Center's "A Night in Old Vienna," with Alexander Schneider presiding, and the Beethoven Society's "Fledermaus" Ball at the Capital Hilton, a party where the guests are entertained with scenes from the Strauss operetta.

Also noteworthy: the 25th-anniversary concert of the D.C. Youth Orchestra, this afternoon at the Kennedy Center; pianist Roy Hamlin Johnson, this afternoon at the Phillips Collection; the Emerson String Quartet, Saturday night and next Sunday at the Renwick Gallery. DANCE

The Virgina Ballet Company gives its final performance of "The Nutcracker" this afternoon at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax. The company, under the artistic direction of Tania Rousseau and Oleg Tupine, has long upheld high standards among the area's community-based troupes -- their "Nutcracker" is a holiday treat. FILM

At the Key Theatre, Percy Adlon's "Sugarbaby," a quirky, tender love story about an obese female morgue attendant and her sugarbaby -- a slender subway conductor. Hmmm. Among current releases, the exhaustive, but ultimately worthwhile, "Shoah." Certainly the film event of the year. POP MUSIC

Looking for the perfect groove? Pick one of many at the Capital Centre tonight, with rappers Kurtis Blow and Doug E. Fresh, go-go masters Chuck Brown and EU, and new funketeers Starpoint and Ready for the World.

Party all the time, or at least into the new year with NRBQ at the Warner; Barance Whitfield and the Savages at the Roxy; the Manhattans, Dells and Chi-Lites at Constitution Hall; and Doctor Scanlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra at the 9:30 club.

Bonnie Raitt, a longtime Washington favorite, comes to the Warner on Thursday, sharing the bill with singer-songwriter Steve Forbert.

Mose Allison, still cool, brings his supple songs to Blues Alley, Thursday through Sunday.

Tom Rush celebrates a quarter century of folk and beyond at the Kennedy Center Saturday with some special guests, including Emmylou Harris, champion fiddler Mark O'Connor and Nanci Griffith, a wonderful singer-songwriter from Texas. THEATER

"The Regard of Flight" (at Arena's Kreeger Theater) is definitely the holiday show we've all been waiting for. It's a delicious spoof of the search for "a new theater" that is also 75 minutes of pure fooling around. It features Bill Irwin -- clown, mime, acrobat and sweet victim of the fates; M.C. O'Connor as his persistent nemesis; and pianist/ventriloquist Doug Skinner. These three are not merely resurrecting vaudeville, they're giving it a shining new look for the 1980s.