In a radically revised and trimmed version of Puccini’s classic, Heartbeat Opera tries to address the Asian stereotypes the work helped perpetuate. Read more at The New York Times.
In the 69 years since the Korean peninsula was divided following World War II, North Korean defectors have been a source for firsthand accounts of the Kim regime, but for an author to reach an international audience while still functioning within the DPRK system is an historic milestone. Read the full story at VICE.
President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days has deeply complicated plans already in motion involving sectors of the U.S. music industry that work with those countries. Not only has the ban — which includes Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan — restricted the movement of those traveling into or out of the United States, but American labels and managers are scrambling to protect artists vulnerable to Trump’s policy. Read more at Billboard.
The new book, Finks, reveals how great writers such as Baldwin, Márquez, and Hemingway became soldiers in America’s cultural Cold War. Read more at VICE.
When Boubacar Traoré first achieved fame in the 1960s, it was tethered to a social responsibility. Hits like Mali Twist were immediately swept into the narrative of a joyous nation emerging from colonialism, but even the most frivolous-sounding dance beats were anchored in lyrics that called on Malians to transform their homeland. Read more at Warscapes.
A review of Conference of the Birds, directed by Naila Al-Atrash. Read more on Warscapes.
There’s nothing like the powdered wig era to remind us that any set of gender norms is temporary. Louisa Proske, Heartbeat Opera’s co-Artistic Director, tells us why we shouldn’t be sleeping on opera, especially when it’s in drag. Read the full story.
How do we decide which of our idols get to be forgiven? On the 40th anniversary of Imagine, how should we remember John Lennon? Read the full article at Uproxx.
Since Mashrou’ Leila formed in 2008, the band has been a lightning rod for backlash from a conservative-controlled media, but also an important voice for gender equality in the region. Read more at Brooklyn Magazine.