In Brief:

Smithsonian plans Marlene Dietrich exhibition

Marlene Dietrich dressed to project an independent image.
Marlene Dietrich dressed to project an independent image.
Photo by Paul Cwojdzinski, 1933, via the Smithsonian.
If she hadn’t been a movie star, Marlene Dietrich could have been a time traveler – a woman well ahead of her time with a smart, tough persona.

    Now, some 25 years after her death, the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery will host the first major U.S. exhibition on the star -- “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image.”
    The exhibition tells Dietrich’s story with correspondence, film clips and photographs. Its title was taken from one of Dietrich’s quotes: “I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.”
    With hooded eyes and a husky voice, Dietrich (1901-1992) portrayed complicated characters in a career that spanned several decades. In The Blue Angel (1930), she seduced a morally upright school teacher. In Witness for the Prosecution (1957), she was a suspected German spy married to an Englishman accused of murder. In the language of storytellers, she was the trickster or, on occasion, the witch. But always, she was riveting.
    Born in Germany, Dietrich became an American citizen and was adamantly opposed to Nazism. She was among the actors to entertain troops near the front lines during World War II, according to the museum.  The exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets Northwest in Washington, June 16 through April 15, 2018.

MORE THAN A PICTURE: A photo exhibition, “More Than a Picture: Selections From the Photography Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” opens May 5 at the museum.
      Alongside portraits of luminaries are images from history and the civil rights movement, as well as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and more recent events that followed the deaths of African-American men confronted by police.
       A part of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington – specifically, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, between Madison Drive and Constitution Avenue and between 14th and 15th streets. For more information about the museum, visit the website or call Smithsonian information at 202-633-1000.

FROM THE HOME FRONT:  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I, and the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is marking the occasion with an exhibit, “My Fellow Soldiers, Letters from World War I.”  
    The exhibition takes its name from a letter written by Gen. John Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, who thanked the troops with a letter that began, “My fellow soldiers.”
    Democracy had been tested, he wrote, “and the forces of autocracy have been defeated. To the glory of the citizen-soldier, our troops have faithfully fulfilled their trust, and in a succession of brilliant offensives have overcome the menace to our civilization.”
     Besides showcasing letters, the exhibit features artifacts and objects from the museum’s collection, along with material on loan. The museum is at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE in Washington (not far from Union Station). The letters can also be seen online.


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