A FEW YEARS AGO the Portuguese artist Juliao Sarmento became the darling of the Venice Biennale after he showed his rough black-and-white drawings of mostly headless and footless women. The intriguing and ambiguous titles of his works offer little clue to their meaning. For example, "An Involved Story" shows a woman floating (or hanging) at the top of the canvas, her fists clenched in anger (or strength) while a membrane-like form dangles below her. A selection of his images is on display at the Hirshhorn Museum in "Directions: Juliao Sarmento: Fundamental Accuracy." The Hirshhorn recently purchased one of the items, a sculpture called "Licking the Milk off Her Finger."

-- Nicole Lewis

At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Through June 20. Free. 202-357-2700.


THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SALUTES Bob Hope in a three-day retrospective beginning with the comic western "Son of Paleface." Hope is no match for the wily villain (Douglass Dumbrille), but is aided by Jane Russell's game dame and Roy Rogers's government agent. The mini-festival continues with "Star Spangled Revue," a 90-minute variety hour broadcast April 9, 1950, and "The Road to Rio," the fifth in a series of road movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

-- Rita Kempley

At the Library of Congress, Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave SE. "Son of Paleface" plays on Tuesday, "Star Spangled Revue" plays Thursday, and "The Road to Rio" plays Friday. All films are at 7 p.m. Free. 202-707-5677.


JAZZ IS OFTEN CALLED America's classical music, but seldom makes as direct a connection as the offerings found in three upcoming programs at the Kennedy Center featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Marin Alsop and such guest artists as pianist Dick Hyman, trumpeter Jon Faddis, clarinetist Eddie Daniels and flutist Frank Wess, as well as the Billy Taylor Trio and the David Amram Quintet. Taylor is director of the Kennedy Center's ambitious jazz programs, so it's fitting that each concert includes one of his works. Taylor's "A Matter of Pride" will be performed at Thursday's "It All Started With the Spiritual" concert, along with works by Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, Leonard Bernstein and William Banfield. Taylor's Suite for Jazz Piano and Orchestra is on the program for Friday's "Paradigms and Power Players" concert, along with works by Johnson, James Tillis and Edgar Smith. Saturday's "Golden Tones of a Golden Age" program will include works by Taylor, Duke Ellington and David Baker, as well as two movements from Amram's Triple Concerto for Woodwinds, Brass and Jazz Quintet. The latter is a homecoming of sorts: The Pulitzer-winning composer began his career in Washington as a horn player with the NSO.

-- Richard Harrington

At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. $13-$65 (with a 10 percent discount for ordering all three concerts). 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324.

A SELECTION OF "OBSCURE WORKS" by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn will be explored in Saturday's concert by the David Murray Big Band. The program includes "Chelsea Bridge," "Money Jungle" and "Blood Count." Murray has pulled together some 40 musicians, including vocalist Carmen Bradford, flutist James Newton and saxophonists Hamiet Bluiett, James Spaulding and John Purcell, for a centennial celebration that will also include such extended works as the "Far East Suite" and "Such Sweet Thunder," Ellington's imaginative tribute to William Shakespeare.

-- Richard Harrington

At Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. Saturday at 8 p.m. $20, $15 for Smithsonian Resident Associates members, $13.50 for senior members, $10 for full-time students. 202-357-3030.

CAPTION: Sarmento's "Licking the Milk Off Her Finger."

CAPTION: Bob Hope (with fruit basket) in "The Road to Rio" of 1947.

CAPTION: Dick Hyman, above, Marin Alsop, left, and David Amram, performing with the NSO.