THE HISTORICIZING ARCHITECT Richard Morris Hunt (1828-95) today is best remembered for his gigantic Newport "cottages," elaborate concoctions that housed Vanderbilts and Astors in immense faux-French chateaux. Hunt did as much as anyone to make the New World buildings reflect those of the Old. In 1853 Hunt and four young pals of his hired a dahaheah, and 13 Egyptian crewmen, and sailed up the Nile, a river the young architect found pretty much a bore. Sketches that he made while on his river journey (as well as photographs produced by his younger brother, Leavitt) are now on view in "A Voyage of Discovery: The Nile Journal of Richard Morris Hunt" at the Octagon, and they're pretty boring, too. The actual Egyptians Hunt deigned to portray are seldom individuals. They're merely costumed types. The mighty monuments he saw there along the Nile also moved him little. Hunt's haughtiness is palpable. The Old World he was seeking--which, of course, he failed to find--was a place of bright white temples, cleaned-up and de-paganized, like the one his Beaux-Arts followers would later construct on the Mall.
At the Octagon Museum, 1799 New York Ave. NW. Free. Through Jan. 2. 202-638-3221.
"T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS," a trip through the millennia in 3-D IMAX, promises to resurrect dinosaurs with "unparalleled realism, awesome size and thrilling detail." With its 80-foot-high images, the 40-minute movie makes "Jurassic Park" look like a convention of Beanie Babies.
At the Museum of Natural History's S.C. Johnson Theater, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Saturday at 7:50 p.m. $12. 202-357-3030.
THE NATIONAL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, which is running a summer institute for young string players this week, presents a performance tomorrow that promises more than passing musical interest. The respected young violinist Juliette Kang joins forces with cellist Thomas Kraines to explore the limited but fascinating repertoire of duo violin and cello music. Included is Kodaly's Duo, a mainstay of the repertoire, and Ernst Toch's Divertimento, a lesser-known work by the Eastern European composer and pedagogue who came to this country during the Great Migration.
At the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmonston Dr., Rockville. Monday at 7:30 p.m. $12. 301-762-8580.
TEMPEST IS A FRACTIOUS MELD of modern rock instrumentation and traditional Celtic folk roots in a band that features a lead singer from Norway and a percussionist from Cuba. Call it surreal rock 'n' reel, fueled by band leader and mandolinist Lief Sorbye, who in the late '70s fell under the sway of British folk-rock stalwarts like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. While you can still hear traces of traditional Scandinavian music in Tempest, the focus is Celt rock built on Sorbye's electric mandolin, Dave Parnall's electric guitar and Michael Mullen's spirited fiddling.
At Nanny O'Brien's, 3319 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tuesday at 8 p.m. $10. 202-686-9189.
TODAY'S GUINNESS OUTDOOR CARI-FEST has transformed into a tribute to the late Dennis Brown, the "lovers' rock" star known as the crown prince of reggae. Brown, reportedly Bob Marley's favorite singer, was a riveting vocalist whose specialty was soulful, sensual balladry, and his old friends Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor and Ken Boothe will surely conjure that aspect of the music. Also on the bill: dancehall deejays Lady Saw, Tanya Stephens and Spragga Benz, soca superstar Machel Montano and Xtatic along with Carl Malcolm and Positive Vibration, DKGB and the Kremlin Crew and Ira Williams.
At the Crossroads Nightclub and Restaurant, 4103 Baltimore Ave., Bladensburg. Today from 2 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 (children under 12 free) at Ticketmaster locations, the Crossroads box office and Caribbean ticket outlets. For information, call 301-927-1056.