HE WAS A GALLANT SOLDIER with piercing blue eyes and a shock of white hair. She was a sweet, grandmotherly type, prone to wearing large bonnets and a small smile. They are the first parents of this country, George and Martha Washington, and the subject of an exhibit on view at the National Portrait Gallery. Washington sat for more than a dozen artists during his two terms as president and disliked every minute of it. Martha, on the other hand, did not mind being an artist's model one bit.
At the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and G streets NW. Through Aug. 8. Free. 202-357-2700.
"NEW RELEASES I" is subtitled "Out on a Limb," an apt description of the upcoming concert of emerging choreographers. Luckily these brave folks have an outlet like this program, where their forays into the field can be informally aired. (So many works were selected by adjudicators, in fact, that "New Releases II" has been scheduled for July 31 and Aug. 1.) Newcomers like former Peace Corps volunteer Misti French will perform works alongside such local veterans as Nancy Havlik and Jane Franklin.
At Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Saturday at 8 p.m. and next Sunday at 7 p.m. $5-$12. 202-269-1600.
REX HARRISON'S IMPERIOUS linguistics professor turns Audrey Hepburn's raffish cockney ragamuffin into "My Fair Lady" in George Cukor's Oscar-winning adaptation of the Broadway musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Unfortunately, nobody could do anything about Hepburn's singing voice, which was dubbed by the unsung Marni Nixon.
At the Mary Pickford Theater at the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Friday at 6 p.m. Free but tickets must be reserved; call 202-707-5677.
THREE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHERS are associated with the golden age of jazz--William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard and William Claxton. Claxton now joins the others in having his work shown at Govinda Gallery, in conjunction with the publication of his "Jazz Seen," a coffee-table book that brings together 250 classic black-and-white images from the '50s and '60s that originally appeared in such magazines as Life, Vogue, Playboy and Paris Match, and more permanently as album covers. Among his subjects: the brooding Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, the elegant Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker (in a shot underscoring how that saxophonist's shadow continues to loom over the jazz world) and the once-beautiful trumpet player and vocalist Chet Baker before his fall from grace into the tragedy of heroin addiction. The Govinda show is Claxton's first in Washington and he will attend the opening on Thursday, signing copies of the book.
At Govinda Gallery, 1127 34th St. NW. Thursday through Aug. 7. Free. 202-333-1180.
THE CLAXTON EXHIBIT is part of the Jazz Arts '99 program, which will sponsor three major performances this week. Today, it's the 21st annual Freedom Jazz Fest at Freedom Plaza (13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW) with a powerhouse lineup featuring flutist-saxophonist Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah's Diaspora, trombonist Craig Harris's Nation of Imagination, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer's septet Khmer and Toby Foyeh's Orchestra Africa. The free concert runs from 2 to 10 p.m. On Friday, Marty Ehrlich, Andrew White and others will pay tribute to the late composer and saxophonist Julius Hemphill. That concert, at the Corcoran Galley of Art's Armand Hammer Auditorium (500 17th St. NW), starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $18 at the door. Call 202-639-1770. And Friday and Saturday, Fort Dupont Park will host Outside Acid Jazz, featuring Joe Bowie's Defunkt Jass and the David Bach Consort. The performances, which begin at 8 p.m., are free. For information on all the concerts, call 202-723-7500 or visit www.jazzarts.org
CAPTION: Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady."
CAPTION: Dancers choreographed by Nancy Havlik will perform.
CAPTION: "George Washington Before the Battle of Trenton,"by John Trumbull.
CAPTION: Claxton's art: Chronicling jazz.