LATIN MUSIC IS HOT, HOT, HOT right now, so much so that even the Kennedy Center wants in on the action. On Thursday it will host "The Americanos Concert," and while Ricky Martin won't be there--his "Vida Loca" tour doesn't start until fall--the lineup is quite impressive, from Gloria Estefan, Sheila E and Marc Anthony (whom many expect to be the next Latin supernova) and jazz musicians such as Paquito D'Rivera and Israel "Cachao" Lopez, to Latin pop vet Jose Feliciano. Hosted by actor Edward James Olmos, the concert will trace the evolution of Latin music and is part of a major multimedia project that includes the recent "Americanos" series on PBS and its accompanying soundtrack on Atlantic. Thursday's concert will be taped by WETA for a 90-minute TV special airing Sept. 29 as part of "The Kennedy Center Presents" series.

--Richard Harrington

At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Thursday at 8:30 p.m. $35-$100. 202-467-4600.


TONIGHT STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY who are participating in the National Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute Orchestra will perform works by Brahms, Copland and Schumann. It's a chance to hear some of the country's up-and-coming musicians for free.

--Nicole Lewis

At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tonight at 7. Free. 202-467-4600.


ROUND HOUSE THEATRE MEMBERS JERRY WHIDDON AND KATHRYN KELLEY will do a reading of the play "Love Letters" Tuesday at the Corcoran Gallery. A.R. Gurney's two-character drama tracks the course of a lifelong not-quite-romance through the characters' letters to each other.

--Lloyd Rose

At the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Members $10, nonmembers $15. 202-639-1704.


DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT IT'S RAINING KUBRICK. That includes the big media gear-up for the release on Friday of the late filmmaker's long-anticipated erotic lollipop, "Eyes Wide Shut," with endless pictures of Nicole and Tom licking each other. But the American Film Institute is neatly providing a context for the many what-does-it-all-mean? pieces by offering a series titled "The Films of Stanley Kubrick," which opens Friday with a three-day run for Stan the Man's 1964 "Dr. Strangelove" in a restored version. Also being shown are the 1960 "Spartacus," "The Killing" (1956), "Paths of Glory" (1957) and his rarely seen first feature, "Killer's Kiss," from 1955.

--Stephen Hunter

At the AFI Theater, Kennedy Center. "Dr. Strangelove," Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2, next Sunday at 9:30; "Spartacus," Friday at 8:15 p.m., next Sunday at 1; "Paths of Glory," Saturday at 3:45 and 8:45 p.m., next Sunday at 7:45; "The Killing," Saturday at 5:30 p.m., next Sunday at 6:15; "Killer's Kiss," July 24 at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. $6.50. 202-785-4600.


CHOREOGRAPHER DOUG HAMBY likes to tango with technology--last year he made a dance for a six-legged robot, and he often collaborates with video artists and filmmakers. His upcoming program continues to mine this vein. "Lakenheath" places a single dancer yearning for flight against video images of clouds from World War II paratrooper training films. Audiences will see "Calamus," named for a series of Walt Whitman poems, projected on a screen, though its three dancers will be performing just behind it. Two cameramen will be simultaneously filming and editing the moves. But in case this distancing of the dancing sounds awkward, rest assured that there are also some pure-dance pieces on the program.

--Sarah Kaufman

At Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Saturday at 8 p.m., next Sunday at 7. $10-$15. 202-269-1600.


LIVE MUSIC ALWAYS HELPS FLESH OUT AN ARTIST'S PORTRAIT, as the National Portrait Gallery has shown during past exhibits devoted to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. July has been given over to another American icon, Elvis Presley, the inspiration behind a free concert series, "The Age of Elvis: The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll." Each Thursday through July, these concerts take place in the Portrait Gallery's courtyard. This Thursday, Eldred Hill of Little El and the Rockets digs up "Those Rockabilly Roots," looking at such Presley influences as Hank Williams and Bill Haley, and peers such as Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly. On July 22, the Orioles and the Jewels, both longtime Washington institutions, and newcomers Commitment focus on "Doo Wop and Soul." The series closes July 29 with "A Ray of Elvis," featuring Ray Guillemette Jr., who has won numerous Elvis tribute competitions around the world.

--Richard Harrington

At the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and G streets NW. Thursdays through July , July 22 and July 29 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free. Special exhibitions on the gallery's first floor (including "Picturing Hemingway: A Writer in His Time" and "Edward Sorel: Unauthorized Portraits") will remain open until 8 p.m. on concert nights. For information call 202-357-2920, Ext. 2, visit www.npg.si.edu/inf/index.htmor write by e-mail to concerts@npg.si.edu.

CAPTION: Aaron Copland, one of the composers honored in concert.

CAPTION: Gloria Estefan, performing in "The Americanos Concert."

CAPTION: Peter Sellers stars in Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove."

CAPTION: Brian Bagley, who dances under the direction of Doug Hamby.

CAPTION: Elvis, recording in 1956 in Los Angeles.