Upper-middle-class yearning for working-class warmth and vigor is a no-no today. But back in the 1920s, Isabel Bishop (1902-1988) took that yearning and, during a period of more than 60 years, used it to fuel an extraordinary body of work. An excellent selection of this important American artist's drawings and prints, accompanied by several key paintings, is on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her works are by turns charming and monumental, classical and modern. But they all reveal a powerful longing for unrepressed vitality and a carefully preserved distance from it. It's the tension between the two that gives Bishop's art its edge. CLASSICAL
Sergei Eisenstein's classic movie "Alexander Nevsky" will be brought back to Wolf Trap by popular demand Friday night, with the National Symphony Orchestra playing Sergei Prokofiev's soundtrack music as it did last year. On Saturday, the NSO will continue the Prokofiev motif playing excerpts from his soundtrack for Eisenstein's "Ivan the Terrible" withhighlights of the film showing on the screen. On Thursday, also at Wolf Trap, the orchestra's guest soloist will be singer-pianist Michael Feinstein.
Fans of ethnic music will want to hear Nguyen Dinh Nghia and Family playing traditional Vietnamese instruments Tuesday in the Lubber Run Amphitheatre in Arlington, and sitar virtuoso Imrat Khan Saturday in the Baird Auditorium.
Also worth noting: mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao and soprano Chrissellene Petropoulos, today at the Chinese Community Church; French hornist Karen Thornton with pianist Barbara Bradley, Saturday night in the Washington Mormon Temple Visitors' Center. DANCE
The Pola Nirenska Company offers an evening of works by Nirenska, one of Washington's oustanding veteran choreographers, with guest artists Rima Faber and Sharon Wyrrick, at Dance Place this evening. Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet concludes its weeklong visit to Wolf Trap this evening with a final performance of "Giselle," featuring Lyudmilla Semenyaka in the title role, opposite Yuri Posokhov as Albrecht. The Australia Ballet, not seen in this country in 14 years, returns to the Kennedy Center Opera House under the artistic direction of Maina Gielgud for seven performances, Tuesday through Sunday, of two programs: Serge Lifar's "Suite en Blanc" coupled with "Giselle," the first three nights, and Laszlo Seregi's "Spartacus," for the remainder of the run. FILM
Canoeing has never been the same since director John Boorman's "Deliverance." After all, who can paddle down a quiet wilderness stream without humming "Dueling Banjos"? No one, that's who. The gripping tale of four city dandies who meet terror in the woods is one of 11 flicks in the AFI's month-long festival of Boorman's work, including "Having a Wild Weekend," a wacky post-"Hard Day's Night" look at the Dave Clark Five, and "Hope and Glory," an autobiographical account of a young boy growing up in London during World War II. It all starts Saturday -- call 828-4000 for schedule, POP MUSIC
Together again, San Francisco's Flipper revives kinetic punk spirits at the 9:30 club tonight.
WAMA Hall of Famer Emmylou Harris visits the old hearth with a Tuesday Wolf Trap concert.
Quadruple Grammy winner Bonnie Raitt (and who'd have figured that last summer?) was appreciated here from the start of her career 20 years ago. As usual, she has peer company (the Jeff Healy Band) and a master to champion (R & B vet Charles Brown). It's a double dose of Bonnie, as well: Wednesday at Wolf Trap, next Sunday at the Post Pavilion.
God is in the Centre: Eric Clapton, a pretty good guitarist, is at Capital Centre on Friday and Saturday.