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While g.life is creating a concept that’s – to borrow a line from the Doobie Brothers – ”takin’ it to the streets,” Guenther applied the same philosophy to recruiting at least one of g.life’s scheduled performers.
”I met a woman playing a trumpet on the street,” he explains. ”She was cute, right at the top of the Archives-Navy Memorial Metro escalators. I said, ‘Hey, would you want to perform at g.life?”’
Although Guenther likely had to spend a good few minutes explaining the g.life concept, Sonrisa Lewis accepted his proposal. And she’s by no means alone – even if not all the entertainment was recruited in the same fashion. Instead, it took a more traditional tack, thanks to Eboné Bell, managing editor of Tagg Magazine, a local entertainer in her own right, and a CAGLCC board member.
”We wanted to give it a ‘street performer’ feel,” says Bell, promising essentially nonstop entertainment of some sort from 11 a.m. till the ”city” sleeps at 5 p.m. ”We needed performers who could come ‘as is,’ people who could pull out a guitar, throw the case on the ground, say, ‘Tip me,’ and start playing. We were looking for real street-life performers, that’s what we wanted to recreate. I think we’ve done a really good job with the diversity of entertainment we’ll have throughout the day.
”Some might perform a couple times during the day, but there will be something different going on every single hour. Maybe when you walk in it will be light with a couple guitar players. As the day picks up, you might hear a trumpet. The Gay Men’s Chorus has a really cool surprise for people toward the end of the day – I can only leave you with that.”
While Bell can’t give up all her stage secrets, she does share that she’d partially filled the bill with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s Potomac Fever a cappella ensemble, comedy cabaret from Ann Michaels, and some guitar and vocals from lesbian duo Franky & Betty.
When it comes to one particular streetscape staple, however, Bell’s bad luck might be another’s blessing.
”There will be no mimes – even though I did try to look for a mime,” Bell admits. ”I was not successful. There will be no mimes and no clowns.”
Even though Bell has graced many D.C. stages as her drag king alter ego, E-Clef, there won’t be any drag kings, either. That sort of performance is too dependent on audio tech for what Bell is serving up, keeping it street simple. Instead, Bell will make the g.life rounds purely as herself.
”There’s something for everyone,” she says of what’s being prepared for this pop-up experience. ”This isn’t just about people who have a business and want to network – it’s so much more than that. What I’m looking forward to is meeting new people, meeting new friends. Yeah, I want to get my business name out there, but the priority is meeting new people and learning more about what’s going on in the community.”