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JUNE 4-12

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Shhh! “You may talk about it with one other person,” says Takoma Park’s Gesel Mason, “but you would not mention it out loud.” What’s she talking about? The subject matter of Strictly Taboo, the follow-up to her 1998 Dance Place production, Taboos & Indiscretions. According to its invitation, Taboo is “an evening of poetry, honesty, inquiry, humor, and dance about sexuality, cultural identity, and family secrets….featuring Gesel Mason, a claw-foot bathtub, and a Blue Jelly dildo….[with] adult toys and apparel provided by Night Dreams of Tysons.” Now in her third year as a company member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Mason says, “I am leaning away from describing [Strictly Taboo] as ‘performance art,’ because those words always make me think about loftiness. But I’m asking the audience to do more than just sit there and listen to the nice poetry.” Mason describes the audience-participation-based performance as an amalgam of styles, influenced by everything from Lerman to MADtv to prop comedian Carrot Top, and complete with a Ron Popeil-esque infomercial for a product you won’t see in stores: the Coochie Cutter. Before you go getting the wrong idea, Mason insists that the show—billed as “for mature audiences only”—focuses on the poetry: “It goes wide and deep; it’s not just about dildos.” At 10 p.m. Friday, June 4, and Saturday, June 5, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10, to Saturday, June 12, at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. $6-$8. (202) 462-

7833. (Amanda Fazzone)