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TUESDAY

Man gets fired. Man invites friends to move into a ramshackle row house to save money and create an artistic community where they can all pursue creative endeavors. Man’s friends include a young novelist trying to shake her starter husband, a couple of expats avoiding a gathering storm in their homeland, and a “no talent broad” and sometime midway attraction at the New York World’s Fair. The man was George Davis, a recently departed Harper’s Bazaar editor, and his friends were already among the most famous artists in the world: Twenty-three-year-old Carson McCullers had had a sensation with her debut, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and, during her year in the group house, she worked on what would become The Member of the Wedding. Composer Benjamin Britten and poet W.H. Auden were frantic about a Nazi invasion of Britain, which seemed to be imminent in the fall of 1940, and the house had neither heat nor hot water until Gypsy Rose Lee moved in and advanced the money for repairs. Lee was slumming, because George Davis was coaching her through her first novel, The G-String Murders. Sherill Tippins’ February House (the nickname coined by Anaïs Nin) tells the story of the artistic boiler room that might never have succeeded if Auden hadn’t taken a firm hand early on and established the house rules for work hours, play hours, and drinking hours. Ask Tippins about what must have been the most awesome chore wheel ever when she speaks at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, at Olsson’s Penn Quarter, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610. (Janet Hopf)