Hip Shot: & Afterwards


Remaining performances:

Tuesday, July 16, 8:45 p.m.

Sunday, July 21, 4:45 p.m.

Thursday, July 25, 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, July 27, 8:30 p.m.

They say: "True stories from a country boy who lands in Dupont Circle in 1993. While working at an iconic café, and with the help of Bosnian refugees, rock stars and gay activists, he transforms from yokel to local."

Caroline's take:

Coming-of-age-in-D.C. stories usually revolve around the federal part of town; they might follow some lowly Hill staffer who finds meaning by contributing to an important campaign or cause. Kevin Boggs' self-discovery stories examine the other part of town, where longtime residents and new arrivals intermingle at neighborhood restaurants. If you're fond of D.C., not Washington, you'll likely identify with his tales from the aisles of Dupont Circle's Kramerbooks & Afterwords.

Boggs didn't immediately know that he wanted to settle down in D.C. Raised in Jonesborough, Tenn., he graduated from college and took a job training servers and managers for a restaurant chain. While setting up a location in Fairfax, a co-worker takes him out to 17th Street NW for the first time and when Boggs, a mild-mannered, slightly closeted gay Southerner, sees men celebrating their lives openly for the first time, he realizes that D.C. is where he wants to be. A few months later, in the fall of 1993, he arrives, submits an application for a waiter job at Afterwords, and begins his journey.

The storytelling method is unsurprising, proceeding chronologically as he works his way up from server to manager to general manager, but Boggs' anecdotes resonate so deeply with the audience that no one really minds a story told from beginning to end. A segment about a waitress who's also a Bosnian refugee leaves Boggs and a few viewers on the verge of tears, while a detailed fight over volume with a soon-to-be-famous folk singer prompts giggles from everyone. For Pete's sake, he even manages to turn a ride on the Dupont Metro escalator into an elegant metaphor for social acceptance. He seems so proud to share these stories that formed him and the audience can't help but beam back at him, recognizing some element of their own D.C. stories in Boggs'.

See it if: You need a reminder of what makes D.C. a great place to live and explore.

Skip it if: You don't want to get in touch with your feelings.