A NEW AND WELCOME summer tradition is born in the nation's capital. This afternoon, the Washington Early Music Festival begins a multidisciplinary celebration of "Music for the English Court." Over the next three weekends, the festival will offer many exciting programs for aficionados of early music, dance and other arts. The first concert features Chantry (led by David Taylor) and Modern Musick (led by Risa Browder and John Moran), performing "Music for the Coronation of George II" -- works by such superlative composers as Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tallis and Henry Purcell. Next weekend, participants can join in an all-day dance workshop and early-instrument demonstration and attend performances by Early Music Youth and the colorfully titled Suspicious Cheese Lords. The third weekend will feature concerts by harpsichordist Atsuko Ikeda; organist Keith Reas; Ensemble Gaudior; virginalist Vera Kochanowsky; members of Carmina and the Chesapeake Viol Consort; the Washington Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble; Armonia Nova; and a closing concert by Scott Reiss of Hesperus.
-- Tim Page
At St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 619 10th St. NW. Today at 3 p.m. $20. Call 202-625-2855. For upcoming schedule, ticket and venue information, visit www.earlymusicdc.org.
ARCHITECTURE HAS ONE DRAWBACK as an art form: It doesn't often fit into museums. Museum-goers have to make do instead with photos, maquettes and drawings -- a making-do that, at its best, can be a thrill nevertheless. A show of architectural drawings from the Museum of Modern Art called "Envisioning Architecture," now entering its final weeks at the National Building Museum, has artworks on display that are as good as any finished building. A quick marking-pen sketch by pioneering postmodernist Robert Venturi displays more of his trademark whimsy than most of his built structures do. Frank Lloyd Wright's drawings for mass-produced housing show off his radical side. And stunning 1920s charcoals by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are, for better or worse, perfect predictors of skyscrapers built over the last 20 years.
-- Blake Gopnik
At the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, through June 20. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Call 202-272-2448 or visit www.nbm.org.
A GLAM-PUNK ROCKER in the early and mid-'90s, Jesse Malin earned his leather as lead vocalist of D Generation, a band that teased its locks and thrashed its guitars in the spirit of the New York Dolls back when everyone else was in love with grunge. He has mellowed since then and has just released "The Heat," a sweet and sorrowdrenched album that is his second solo outing. There's some of the mournful posing of Ryan Adams in his sound these days -- Adams helped produce Malin's debut, "The Fine Art of Self-Destruction" -- and like Adams, Malin tosses off great melodies with mystifying ease. In a setting as intimate as Iota, the nerve-jangled ballads and bursting folk-rock of "The Heat" could truly smolder.
-- David Segal
At Iota Club & Cafe, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. $12. Call 703-522-8340 or visit www.iotaclubandcafe.com.