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Cynthia Heimel writes about shimmy skirts, heartless boyfriends, and warm puppies. She also writes about the manipulative culture of self-help, lethal racism, and the collapse of progressivism. Her Playboy and Village Voice columns use mental kitsch—that running dialogue of insecurity and conceit we all have in our head—to challenge the invisible cultural notions that rule our lives. In her long-nailed hands, the conventions of adolescence—cattiness, a neurotic pursuit of acceptance, and loathing of authority—become elegant tools of analysis. Heimel reads from If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s, 1200 F St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-3686. (David Carr)