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

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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

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

The Colored Section : The Art of Zsudayka Nzinga & James Terrell RECEPTION

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The Colored Section is the latest work from the creative duo, James Terrell and Zsudayka Nzinga.

About this Event

JAMES STEPHEN TERRELL

James Terrell is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Northeast, Washington, DC. His paintings incorporate ideas of ancestry and identity alongside formal concerns of color and composition. Terrell holds a MFA in painting from Parsons School of Design and a BFA from Howard University. He has exhibited throughout Washington, DC for over 15 years, including at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and the Howard University Gallery of Fine Art. He works as an art teacher in the DC Public Schools.

ZSUDAYKA NZINGA

Zsudayka Nzinga is an acrylic artist from Denver, CO. her career as an artist. Her work is largely composed of messages regarding the experience of the black woman in america. Its aim is to start creating pieces that are definitive around the culture of “black”America as a tribe of new American African people. Zsudayka Nzinga’s work contains a lot of patterns and symbolism. The patterns are inspired by textile fabrics, Ankara and other culture fabric patterns and stained glass. There are often recurring images. She uses stained glass styled line work to communicate things are always in a state of change, coming together or moving apart but all are pieces that tell a story.

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Anacostia

Your Trusted News Legacy! The Washington Informer, Your Community News Source since 1964

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For over a half century The Washington Informer has delivered community journalism that brings perspective and voice to the issues that affect our neighborhoods, businesses, and lives.

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Thank you for your donation and supporting Black press.

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

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Anacostia

Join Kojo Nnamdi to learn about entrepreneurship east of the Anacostia

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I remember when I first moved to DC, it seemed like you couldn’t get in a taxi without hearing the mellifluous tones of Kojo Nnamdi asking important questions about life in our city. Now, you have a chance to watch him in action during a live taping of his show, on location from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesday, July 30 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE, “to talk about the landscape of local businesses, jobs and entrepreneurship in Ward 8.”

Kojo will ask, “what does it take to open a business in a neighborhood that some residents feel has traditionally lacked shops, restaurants, and entertainment? As development ramps up East of the River—a new sports and entertainment arena in Congress Heights, Busboys and Poets in Anacostia, along with smaller local businesses—are longtime business owners, new entrepreneurs, and job seekers able to take advantage of the new growth? What are the businesses that are setting up shop—and will they serve the community surrounding them?

Register to attend here, and heed the organizers’ note that “seating is limited – first-come, first-served. Although registration is strongly recommended, it does not guarantee a seat.”

Don’t forget about our hot event: Join GGWash and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Washington on Thursday, August 8, 6-8 pm at 700 Pennslyvania Avenue SE for a panel discussion about climate change, extreme urban heat, and resilience efforts that are happening in our own backyard. This event is $10 for GGWash Neighbors and $20 for the general public (note that prices increase by $5 after August 4). Neighbors can look for an email with the registration code or contact Jane Green. Not yet a GGWash Neighbor? Join today!

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