Metro Weekly

Intersectional: Atlas Intersections offers two weeks of performing arts

The Atlas Intersections Festival fosters performing art designed to stimulate the mind

Intersections FAMILY — The In Series — Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood

“The Atlas,” Doug Yeuell says, “was created to help spur the economic growth and development [as well as] the enrichment of the overall community on H Street.”

Twelve years later, the renovated Art Deco performing arts complex has had a visible impact on the H Street Corridor, presenting “art that informs, educates, enlightens and inspires,” says Yeuell, who took the reigns in 2014. And that is precisely the goal of the annual arts festival, Intersections — to showcase art that makes “a difference in our society, culture and world.”

Although most activities fall under the rubric of the performing arts, attractions include a culinary arts series, Cafe Takeovers, in which Airedale, Nando’s Peri Peri, Mythology and other restaurants take turns offering food beyond basic snacks and drinks.

Here are a few performance highlights from Intersections:

SPITBALL THEATRE: NORMAL/MAGIC

A local theater troupe devoted to “capturing the oddball spirit of queer folks” through upbeat yet thought-provoking plays, Spitball revives a production from last year’s Fringe Festival. A double-bill of Sam Mauceri’s Normal Sea and Natalie Piegari’s Magic for Beginners, the two 30-minute works about bizarre transformations are collectively referred to as “the queer-lady sea-lion fruit-bat play.” Friday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2:30 p.m., in the Lab Theater. Tickets are $15.

HELANIUS WILKINS: A BON COEUR

Celebrated gay African-American choreographer previews a new evening-length, mixed-media solo piece named after a Cajun term that means to do something wholeheartedly. Billed as a celebration of heritage, heart and soul, A Bon Coeur draws on Wilkins’s Creole roots and experiences growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana. Sunday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m., in the Sprenger Theater. Tickets are $20.

ANDRE VELOZ AND HER CABARET BACHATA

The New York-based Veloz is the rare female singer in the male-dominated world of bachata music, which derives just as she does from the Dominican Republic. “I want to sing bachata from the point of an independent woman, sure of herself, who is not always getting her heart broken,” Veloz told the New York Daily News. Saturday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m., in the Sprenger. Tickets are $25.

NOT WHAT YOU THINK

What was started as an a cappella ensemble of the former Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, Not What You Think continues as its own entity, pursuing equality and social justice through song and humor. The 13-member group is part of the free “Cafe Concerts” series sponsored by the Washington Post. Saturday, Feb. 25, from 7:15 to 9 p.m., in the Atlas Lobby.

DISSONANCE DANCE: MAHOGANY STRINGS

The local contemporary ballet company presents a mixed-repertory concert featuring works by Dissonance founder Shawn Short as well as a ballet mixing African and Brazilian movement by Rafael Gomes, the company’s New Voices of Dance program selectee. The works are set to music by classical, jazz and urban-infused classical composers — and include performances by the duo Black Violin and local rapper Tru Ghost. Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., in the Lang Theater. Tickets are $30.

THE INSERIES: DUKE ELLINGTON’S NEIGHBORHOOD

A live jazz trio comprised of Krislynn Perry, Brian Thorne and Wes Felton pays tribute to the homegrown jazz pioneer. The cabaret is billed as a family friendly interactive journey through Ellington’s Washington, from U Street and the Howard Theatre to Anacostia. Saturday, March 4, at 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., in the Lab Theater. Tickets are $15.

Atlas Intersections begins Thursday, Feb. 23, with a party from 7 to 9 p.m., and runs weekends to March 5, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Ticket prices and passes vary. For a full schedule, visit atlasarts.org/intersections or call 202-399-7993.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.