LINDY ROY FORMALLY JOINED the ranks of emerging architectural talents two years ago. Then 39, the South African-born designer posed for a Vanity Fair portrait of leading architects, including Richard Meier, Michael Graves and this year's Pritzker Prize winner, Zaha Hadid. Like Hadid at a similar age, Roy had more conceptual projects than built works in her portfolio. But the concepts were enough to compel her participation in exhibitions at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York as well as San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art. Tomorrow, Roy will bring her fluid imagery to the National Building Museum. Highlights are sure to include a resort spa in Botswana, where guests could float among crocodiles, a futuristic helicopter ski resort intended for development in Alaska and a summer house in Meier's development of Sagaponac, Long Island. In Roy's stunning contemporary vision, the swimming pool will extend right into the living room.

-- Linda Hales

At the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Tomorrow at 8 p.m. $10-$17. Prepaid registration required. Call 202-272-2448 or visit


IF YOU HAVE YET to see "The Quilts of Gee's Bend," you have only today and tomorrow to get to this touring show before it leaves the Corcoran. The exhibition presents 70 quilts made by the women of Gee's Bend, Ala., a tiny all-black community on the banks of the Alabama River. The town was once ranked as one of the poorest in the nation, but that didn't stop its women from keeping their beds piled high with aesthetic riches. The eccentric quilts made in Gee's Bend over the last 70 years or so are amazingly dynamic, interesting works of abstract art. Like artists everywhere, the quilters of the Bend first came up with an aesthetic language, then made sure to regularly break its rules.

-- Blake Gopnik

At the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and tomorrow. $3-$5; $8 family rate; pay-as-you-wish on Mondays. Call 202-639-1700 or visit


THE APPOINTMENT OF Lorin Maazel as music director of the New York Philharmonic came as something of a surprise in 2001 but, by many accounts, the partnership has been a smashing success. This week we'll have a chance to hear what the ultra-fastidious Maazel, one of the finest technicians in the music world, can do with the National Symphony Orchestra. Maazel will conduct his own orchestral condensation of Wagner's vast, four-opera "Ring" cycle, an evening of music called "The Ring Without Words" -- and yes, there are people out there who definitely prefer their Wagner without words.

-- Tim Page

At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Thursday night at 7, Friday afternoon at 1:30 and Saturday night at 8. $20-$75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD that David Byrne's latest album, "Grown Backwards," finds the former Talking Head tackling the world of opera. But even the aria-phobic will likely enjoy his road show, which these days includes the help of the Tosca Strings, a sextet that Byrne discovered in Austin, playing upper-brow rearrangements of grunge tunes. Expect to hear much of "Backwards" -- including the exquisite "Glass, Concrete and Stone," as beautiful a song as Byrne has ever written -- and get ready to dance. Among the tracks that he's been featuring in recent shows are such Heads classics as "Road to Nowhere," "I Zimbra" and "Life During Wartime."

-- David Segal

At Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. Saturday at 8 p.m. $50. Call 410-268-4545 or visit


A FEW TALENTED dramatists-in-the-making from the District and the surrounding suburbs will get to hear and see their short plays onstage at Arena Stage, as winners of the annual Student Playwrights Project Showcase. Some 450 middle and high school students entered the contest this year, and 10 of their 10-minute plays were selected for staged readings. Among the arresting submissions: "Brand Names: Four Supermarket Scenes," by Katharine Westfall, an 11th-grader at National Cathedral School, and one with the truly disturbing title of "Normal Teenagers," the brainchild of Dannie M. Snyder, a junior at J.E.B. Stuart High School.

-- Peter Marks

At Arena Stage's Old Vat Room, Sixth Street and Maine Avenue SW. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. Free, but reservations required. Call 202-488-3300 or visit