Metro Weekly

8 More Must-See Atlas Intersections Highlights

The 2023 Atlas Intersections Festival continues through the end of March. Here are our picks of remaining highlights.

Atlas Presents: Akua Allrich: A Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba Tribute
Atlas Presents: Akua Allrich: A Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba Tribute

When not working overtime as a U.S. immigration lawyer, Blanca can usually be found in drag down at the local dive bar, consoling patrons who’ve been separated from loved ones and family members swept up in chaotic raids by La Migra.

That’s the premise of M. Cristina Garcia‘s Tacones (Rhymes with Cojones), a play that was a hit at last year’s Capital Fringe Festival.

This weekend, Garcia’s queer immigrant story will be granted a reprise with a performance as part of this year’s Atlas Intersections Festival. (3/12)

A showcase of innovative, typically genre-straddling, and mostly local performing artists, the festival “presents work that impacts our society, culture, and world by informing, inspiring, educating, and entertaining,” to quote the official description. The 2023 Intersections kicked off in mid-February and will effectively wrap up in late March. (The festival’s true last production comes a full month later with a performance by Rae Grey Dance Collective.)

The programming falls into three principal categories, labeled as Movement or dance-oriented, Sound or music-based, and Story, a mix of theater, spoken word, and film.

Intersections will reach its peak this weekend, with 12 different shows on tap. Programmed opposite Tacones this Sunday afternoon, March 12, is another highlight, Flying Car: How Great Was the Future?

A true multimedia experience, the performance includes recorded imagery drawn from “Sparklers,” the daily video series that Andrew Earle Simpson created during pandemic lockdown in 2020, which will screen accompanied by music — a mix of live and recorded, vocal and instrumental, and in styles from pop to folk to jazz to electronic to world — and in tandem with dance pieces from Lucy Bowen McCauley and Dancers created to be in dialogue with the film, story, and song. (3/12)

After this weekend, the festival will be down to its final seven productions. One highlight next weekend is the launch of The Celestial Splang-A-Lang, an 18-piece jazz orchestra led by baritone saxophonist Leigh Pilzer that will perform original compositions by Pilzer as well as pianist Amy K. Bormet and presented as a special feature of this year’s 13th Annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival, founded and directed by Bormet. (3/17)

Atlas Performing Arts: Washington Women in Jazz
Atlas Performing Arts: Washington Women in Jazz

Also, next weekend marks the return engagement of D.C. native and Howard University alum Akua Allrich and her signature program, billed as a “soul-stirring tribute” to two civil rights-era powerhouse artists/activists who were also two of her greatest influences.

A Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba Tribute offers the contemporary vocalist’s renditions of beloved songs by the Black American jazz iconoclast and the South African Afropop/jazz legend nicknamed “Mama Africa.” (3/18)

A week later brings what is touted as a unique immersive multimedia experience from The Eternal Art Collective. Members of the collective will perform a mix of aerial and dance solos connected by projected images and sound and presented together as the program SEEN, which investigates the human condition and what it means to be visible and hidden from one person to another. (3/24)

The next day, two world dance organizations join forces for Global Oasis, a powerful and moving exploration of the global rise in migration as refugees flee war and conflict as well as searing heat and extreme weather events caused by climate change. Members of Nomad Dancers and Raqs el Hob will alternate performing individual dance pieces, all portraying travelers in desert areas across the Middle East and Central Asia seeking survival in safe havens, or oases, worldwide. (3/25)

The Intersections Festival 2023 takes place at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Ticket prices vary. For a full schedule of remaining performances, visit or call 202-399-7993.

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