We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


It’s summer and time for camp. And what could be more camp than the Village People? It was the end of the ’70s when Jacques Morali, the successful French producer of the Ritchie Family, spotted Felipe Rose dancing in full Native American regalia in Greenwich Village. Morali saw the possibilities and created a sort of gay Monkees, joining the Indian with a Cowboy, a Biker, a Cop, a Construction Worker, and a G.I. (don’t ask, don’t tell). After making several club favorites, the People cruised into the mainstream with “Macho Man,” the first of a chain of hit songs, including the Top 10 “Y.M.C.A.” and “In the Navy.” All featured tongue-in-cheek double entendres that could be taken as novelty or bent to other interpretations. Some got it: The Y considered suing. Some didn’t: The U.S. Navy wanted to use “its” song for recruitment ads, at least until it was set straight. This is the very same Navy that removed Paul Cadmus’ The Fleet’s In! from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1934—long before Robert Mapplethorpe was even born—because it depicted sailors on leave soliciting sexual favors from members of both sexes. While it was kept in the closet for several decades, the painting can be now be seen at the Navy Art Gallery at the Washington Navy Yard. And the Village People are still plugging away, so get yourself off the ground to see them at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Nation, 1015 Half St. SE. $25. (202) 554-1500. (Mark W. Sullivan)