Do you know D.C.?

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


Ntozake Shange—a playwright, novelist, performance poet, and musician—is the quintessential ’90s renaissance woman. Although the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf remains Shange’s best-known work, she’s found her way into the spotlight this year with a children’s book, i live in music, which is illustrated with the jazz-influenced collages of the late Romare Bearden, and the novel Liliane: The Resurrection of the Daughter. The latter, a sensual, complex blend of prose and poetry, is at heart a shrewd contemplation of race. Liliane, a visual artist, has spent her life assimilating into various cultures by learning their languages and customs; through dialogues between Liliane and her shrink, as well as first-person accounts from Liliane’s lover and childhood friends, readers learn that the character’s uneasiness stems from a black heritage and an immersion in white society. Shange reads at 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 429-9272. (Nathalie op de Beeck)