20

TUESDAY

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” said Freud. But surely Stanford White saw the Washington Monument as a big ol’ phallus. The infamous and celebrated Gilded Age architect had a sexual compulsion that rivaled, in size, his grandest designs, such as the Washington Square Arch in Greewich Village. On June 25, 1906, during a performance of Mamzelle Champagne in the rooftop theater of the original Madison Square Garden, Harry K. Thaw redecorated the architect’s body with bullets because White had seduced his wife. The prosecution of Thaw was the first “trial of the century,” and as time wore on the whole event became enshrouded in romance and mythology. White’s great-granddaughter, Suzannah Lessard, unravels her family’s dark and convoluted history in The Architect of Desire. Lessard, a Washington Monthly contributing editor, reads from the newly released paperback at 7 p.m. tonight at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919; and 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW. FREE. (202) 331-7282. (CP)