GIVEN THAT YOU'RE READING this rather than watching TV, I'll assume that you're someone with a certain patience for the written word. Why not take your text-centricity to the next level? An exhibition at the tiny alternative space Transformer, just off Logan Circle, is presenting takes on text by several artists who happen to come from San Antonio. Chuck Ramirez presents two "still lifes," printed with traditional craft on the finest paper. Except that the subjects of his works -- Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Hamburger Helper -- are represented only by a printed list of their ingredients. A sequence of words, it turns out, can give a more complete, telling account of our common comestibles than any classic painting could. His colleague Jesse Amado takes an English-language version of the great Luis Bunuel film "Un Chien Andalou" and edits it down to just the frames with subtitles. It's a speeded-up version of the film-school classic that explores how much depends on what is said -- and how much words alone leave out.

-- Blake Gopnik

At Transformer, 1404 P St. NW, through Oct. 16. Open Thursday and Friday, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, 1-6 p.m.; and by appointment. Call 202-483-1102 or visit


FINNISH DESIGNERS ARE KNOWN for achieving extraordinary grace with simple materials and natural light. Nowhere is the impact more emotionally powerful than in a chapel, the subject of "Sacral Space: Modern Finnish Churches" at the Finnish Embassy.

In Finland, 200-plus postwar churches were designed mostly by architectural competition. A dozen presented here include one by Alvar Aalto, the father of Finnish design. None is more dramatic than Matti Sanaksenaho's 1995 St. Henry's Ecumenical Chapel. A peaked, copper-clad structure resembles an abstraction of a fish. Serenity appears to be achieved inside through an ultra-minimalist progression of triangles infused with light from a source mysteriously just out of sight.

-- Linda Hales

At the Embassy of Finland, 3301 Massachusetts Ave. NW, through Oct. 31. Open daily. To confirm hours, call 202-298-5886. For more information call 202-298-5800 or visit


THIS YEAR MIGHT be remembered as a bonanza for political documentaries, but it also wasn't bad for rock-and-roll, between "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster," "End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones" and "Festival Express." Filmgoers who have more jams they need to kick out will want to see "Never Say Die," an engaging nonfiction account of Sabbra Cadabra, the hardest-working, longest- gigging Black Sabbath cover band in . . . let's just say the history of the world. Filmmakers Katie McQuerrey and David Gray followed the group over several years, through lineup changes, fights, rehearsals, hair checks and a fateful trip to Puerto Rico. The filmmakers wound up finding rock's heart and soul where you'd least expect them to: in four out-of-shape posers -- with surprising chops! -- from New Jersey. "Never Say Die" will be shown at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center on Tuesday as part of AFI's monthly Mid-Atlantic Regional Showcase. The filmmakers will be on hand to chat a half-hour before the show and will answer questions after the screening.

-- Ann Hornaday

At the AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. $5. Call 301-495-6700 or visit


CHOREOGRAPHER KATHY HARTY GRAY has three brothers who are New York City firefighters, and their stories from Sept. 11, 2001, inspired her to create "Grant Us Courage . . . Grant Us Peace" two years ago. Gray's company will perform the work tomorrow at a benefit for the Pentagon Memorial Fund. Gray has expanded the piece to include a tribute to the 184 victims of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

-- Sarah Kaufman

At the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. Tomorrow at 8:15 p.m., preceded by a reception at 7 p.m. $65-$100. Call 703-413-3811 or visit


THEY SHOULD HAVE called it Wedded Hiss. Or Wounded Bride. Or Groomsday Scenario. WEDrock, a star-stuffed concert benefiting pro-gay-marriage group Freedom to Marry, sounds far too whimsical (Flintstonian, even) for this sure-to-be-raucous event. Caustic comic Sandra Bernhard, punk-pop deity Bob Mould and straight-shootin' host Henry Rollins will fight and foam for "marriage equality" along with "Hedwig" hero John Cameron Mitchell, techno brats Avenue D and "gay alt-country" band Purty Mouth. Bring your earplugs, your ire and your honeymoon dreams.

-- Sean Daly

At the 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. Tuesday at 7 p.m. $40-$100. Call 202-393-0930 or visit