There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When a murder takes place, the resulting public rage exposes the commonest thread between the criminal and the righteous. It’s the dark spot in all of us, buried under the layers of humanity and self-control that time and our mamas have learned us. When the murderer is a juvenile, those layers are fewer; when that juvenile is orphaned, neglected, and unloved, they’re paper-thin. And yet there are always folks who equate heinous crime with adult-sized capacity. It’s a theme that resonates today, but it isn’t new: Historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg offers Kansas Charley: The Story of a 19th-Century Boy Murderer, about Charley Miller, an orphan tramp who killed two people in 1890 when he was 15 and was hanged in Wyoming less than two years later. After enduring bed-wetting “cures” at the orphanage (beatings, circumcision at age 12) and being separated from his three siblings, Charley—like many young people—honed his survival skills to fit only the smaller picture. Brumberg speaks following the Horizons Theatre’s 7 p.m. performance of Unspoken Prayers (see City List for more information) at the George Washington University’s Hand Chapel, Mount Vernon Campus, 2100 Foxhall Road NW. $25 (price includes admission to the play). (703) 578-1100. (Anne Marson)