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My aunt worked as a hairstylist while I was growing up, and I have fond memories of hanging out in beauty salons after school. There’s still nothing like lying back in those special chairs to get my hair washed. And I was even more enamored of the men with whom she worked. My father was not around, so I looked-up to them as male role models. It never occurred to me that they were not “normal.” In my post-hippie household, I was sheltered from various forms of prejudices, not the least of which was homophobia. So the sexuality of my aunt’s friends and their spouses never crossed my mind any more than that of say, Bert, and Ernie. Later in life, I began to see how very different my upbringing was. Integrity was the only rule in my household, and everyone I knew was comfortable being “out”—as artists, homosexuals, atheists, vegans. There were no hidden surprises. In college, I met people who grew up in “normal” towns and houses who never experienced the kind of freedom and openness in which I was reared. These people had never known homosexuality until they moved to Washington. Emerald City Productions, through the art of performance, seeks to reach out to this population and help them understand the “otherness” of being black, gay, and male— and become conscious of the similarities in everyone’s life journey. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $20. (202) 269-1600. (Maori Karmael Holmes)