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‘Turn Me Loose’ pays homage to Dick Gregory | Champagne and Reception, Friday, October 12

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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The heckling is raw in “Turn Me Loose,” and you can get in on it if you dare. Edwin Lee Gibson plays comedian Dick Gregory in this biographical drama of the comedian/activist, who died last year at the age of 84, and true to Gregory’s form, the joking gets serious. You want to call him something? He invites the audience to stand up in the light and do it.

It’s a stark moment, and reflective of the combative tone that saturates Gretchen Law’s 90-minute drama at Arena Stage. Gregory’s life and career were indelibly shaped by the civil rights era; he knew the breakthroughs of getting attention on late-night talk shows (and playing hardball to land the gig on dignified terms), and he lived through the setbacks of murders and assassinations. The show draws plenty of laughs with jokes that still sting: a long story about moving into a white neighborhood, cutting his lawn and being mistaken for “help” that culminates in a racy punchline too explosively funny to spoil here.

But Dick Gregory knew, and Law underlines, that at some point it’s just not funny anymore.

“Do you want to be funny?” Gregory is asked at one point during an interview. The answer comes slow, and it drives the point home.

Bio-dramas can be hero worship, and Law’s script — fully titled “A Play About Comic Genius Dick Gregory” — does not break the mold. (The play premiered when Gregory was alive, and the extensive producing credits for this show include John Legend.) Director John Gould Rubin sticks close to the comedy-club environment of Christopher Barreca’s showbizzy set as the stream-of-consciousness scenes hit the high points of Gregory’s life.

There’s Gregory in the early 1960s, a hip-looking young man cracking savvy jokes, cradling a cocktail and a cigarette, getting a gig in front of Southerners at the Playboy Club. There’s Gregory in later years, an aged sage wagging his finger at us about the conspiracies we just won’t get wise to, from food (he evangelized for a strict vegetarian diet) to undying American racism.

View feature by By Nelson Pressley @ The Washington Post HERE

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Turn Me Loose September 6 – October 14

Get tickets  for the Friday, October 12 show and champagne reception @ http://bit.ly/tml-payment

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Anacostia News

Lynette Voss, Owner of Anacostia’s Vintage & Charm

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Side note: this is literally one of my favorite places to shop. I love everything they have to offer. I’m a true fan and customer! I highly recommend! This write up is from The Anacostia Art Gallery e-newsletter. “Like” them here.

DC native Lynette Loss was raised in Historic Anacostia. She became interested in vintage clothing at a very young age. Despite her passion for art and fashion, she studied Accounting Business Administration and received a B.A. Degree from the University of the District of Columbia.Lynette wore only vintage suits at work, she received so many compliments that she decided to start a wardrobing business and named it “Lynnie’s Fashions!”

While working full-time and operating her own business, Lynette took a part-time Sales Associate position at Nordstrom. She quickly worked her way up to Assistant Manager after becoming a top seller in the Women’s Active, Handbags and Fashion Jewelry Department.Lynette managed several clothing stores, owned and operated kiosks in local malls.

She hosted several fashion shows, displaying all of her fabulous finds. Finally she decided to open a boutique of her very own. That’s when Vintage & Charmed was born!Lynette takes great pleasure searching and finding all of the one-of-a-kind fashions that reside in her boutique.

Vintage & Charmed is located in the Anacostia Arts Center. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

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Anacostia News

#RethinkSchool: Bringing Hopes and Dreams to Those Most in Need

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Like moths to a light, people from all over the country gravitate to Washington, D.C. – longing to make a difference, witness history and understand the complexities of the political process. I am like many young transplants that moved to D.C. for work and began to understand the social justice issues that threaten those who are native to our nation’s capital.

However I, unlike many other young transplants, had to quickly navigate the complexities of the education system. From my own experience, I know the difference a quality education and support system can make on students growing up in poverty.

So, when I moved to D.C. as the sole caregiver for my teenage sister, I knew exactly what she needed to be able to thrive. She needed a quality education, healthy community and individuals who could serve as mentors. As I researched areas to live and send my sister to school, I discovered Anacostia is home to some of D.C.’s poorest and most violent neighborhoods. From food insecurity to lack of affordable housing, the residents in this community are confronted with daily obstacles.

When I got word that a new charter school, Digital Pioneers Academy (DPA), was opening in Anacostia, I was curious. I wondered if the founder received the same information about the area that I had. I wanted to know her hopes for the school and dreams for the poverty stricken community. Most of all, how they were going to Rethink School.

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Anacostia Homes

ICYMI: The Horizon Opens in Ward 7

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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On Tuesday, October 9, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on The Horizon, the short-term family housing program in Ward 7, marking another step forward in delivering on her promise to close and replace DC General Family Shelter with dignified, service-enriched programs across all eight wards. The Horizon is the second of three short-term family housing programs opening this fall, following the opening of The Kennedy in Ward 4.

At The Horizon, families will have access to service-enriched programming that will help them stabilize and exit homelessness. The site includes 35 family units, computer labs for residents, administrative space for staff and providers, outdoor playground and recreational space, age-appropriate indoor recreation space, a homework and study lounge, and other amenities.

Learn more about The Horizon and the Mayor’s plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring HERE.

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