‘The Dictator’s Wife,’ A New Opera That May Or May Not Be About Melania Trump (Or Mrs. Putin, Or Evita, Or Imelda)

The composer, Mohammed Fairouz, wanted to bring out every Trump similarity possible. The (in effect) executive producer, Francesca Zambello, insists, “It is not about the president-elect or his wife.” The librettist originally had in mind the late Pakistani dictator Zia ul-Haq. And director Ethan McSweeny said, “We were all joking among ourselves that if that guy Trump got elected, this would be the most politically prescient piece of opera ever produced in America. Well, that happened.”

Testing The Detroit Institute Of Arts’ New Augmented Reality App

“At a media preview on January 9,” writes Sarah Rose Sharp, “the Detroit Institute of Arts introduced Lumin, a new interpretive guide developed in partnership with Google and an augmented reality (AR) platform creator called GuidiGO. Subsequently, a tempest of conflicting emotions was triggered in the soul of this arts writer.”

The Strangest Things Librarians Have Found In Returned Books

“Inspired by [Claire Fuller’s] Swimming Lessons, we went to the experts in unexpected ephemera and well-loved books – librarians – and asked them to tell us the most interesting thing they’d found in a library book. Their answers delighted, disgusted, and exceeded our wildest expectations. It was hard to pick our favorites, but here they are.”

Should Performers Just Swallow Their Qualms And Perform At The Trump Inauguration For The Sake Of Healing A Divided Nation?

The president of a historically black college whose marching band will be there says, “We feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.” Alyssa Rosenberg takes apart the premises behind that position.

This Year’s Sundance Film Festival Takes An Emphatic Political Stance

Sundance finds itself navigating some unusually slippery terrain this year. Mr. Redford, who recuses himself from programming decisions, bristles when his festival is seen as having an agenda. “We don’t take a position,” he insisted. At the same time, his top programmers, John Cooper and Trevor Groth, say they are taking a specific stance, one that is political by nature: For the first time in the festival’s history, there will be a spotlight on one theme — global warming and the environment. Their goal?

When Artists Ran Upstart Galleries In The East Village (It Didn’t Last Long)

“It was a diverse scene that held out a hint of utopian promise at a time when Abstract Expressionism was waning and new categories had not yet hardened: It included many more women than the uptown art world; it was not completely white; abstraction and figuration jostled side by side (if not always comfortably), along with genre-bending sculpture; and the gloriously messy birth of modern performance art took place in the midst of it all.”