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Updated: 1 hour 30 min ago

Atop Ancient Ruins, A Rock Opera About Emperor Nero Leaves Some Romans Unimpressed

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 4:05am

A new musical seeks to present a different side of the emperor, known best for fiddling while Rome burned. But some historians object to what they see as the commercialization of Roman heritage.

(Image credit: Stefano Montesi/Corbis via Getty Images)

What Churchill And Orwell Had In Common: Both Could Say, 'My Side Is Wrong'

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 4:05am

In his new book, journalist Tom Ricks explains how the conservative British politician and the leftist author of 1984 challenged their respective political parties.

(Image credit: AP)

WATCH: What Makes Japan No. 1 In Toilet Technology

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 4:05am

In NPR's Elise Tries series, correspondent Elise Hu tries out new experiences in East Asia. In this episode, Japanese toilets: so automated and comfortable, you might never want to leave the bathroom.

(Image credit: Illustration by CJ Riculan/NPR)

'Cars 3' Comes Roaring Back With A Swapped-Out (Story) Engine

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 4:00pm

A franchise many worried was running on fumes finds more fuel in the tank thanks to a new director, dazzling set-pieces and a fresh take on themes of aging and mentorship.

(Image credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

A Head-To-Head Clash Of Political Wills — And Acting Styles — In Northern Ireland

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 4:00pm

The pleasures of this imagined conversation between two real-life Northern Ireland political enemies, set in the run-up to 2006 St. Andrews Agreement, are more political/philosophical than dramatic.

(Image credit: Aidan Monaghan/IFC Films)

'Rough Night' Is Shamelessly Derivative — And Shamelessly Funny

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 4:00pm

This raunch-fest comedy about a wild (and lethal) bachelorette party stumbles out of the gate, but once Kate McKinnon's Aussie-for-no-particular-reason character shows up, so do the laughs.

(Image credit: Macall Polay/Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)

'Bachelor In Paradise' Suspends Filming After Sexual Assault Allegations

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 3:29pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with writer and television critic Andy Dehnart about the reality show Bachelor in Paradise, which has shut down production for this season due to accusations of sexual assault.

Two Families Cruise Toward Catastrophe In 'Do Not Become Alarmed'

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 2:19pm

Maile Meloy's novel centers on two families whose children go missing during an international vacation. Maureen Corrigan read it in two nights and says it's a "very smart work of literary fiction."

(Image credit: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

'Supersizing Urban America': How U.S. Policies Encouraged Fast Food To Spread

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 7:00am

A new book examines how federal government policies made it easier for minorities to open fast-food franchises than grocery stores. Today the landscape of urban America reflects this history.

(Image credit: Chris Kindred for NPR)

In 'The Chalk Artist,' A Plea For Real-World Connection

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 6:00am

While the love story in Allegra Goodman's latest novel can seem formulaic, she captures the allure of video gaming and the tension between real-world art and literature and the fantasy worlds online.

(Image credit: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

Podcasts And Audiobooks Reach Out To A New Audience: Children

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 4:13am

There are so many entertainment offerings for children and their parents, it can be hard to choose. We look at podcasts and audiobooks for children.

Confronting The Possibility Of Monsters In 'The Essex Serpent'

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 3:35pm

The clash between science and religious belief lies at the heart of Sarah Perry's new novel, set in a marshy, windswept English town menaced by a serpentine monster that may or may not truly exist.

(Image credit: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

For Our 30th Anniversary, Fresh Air Tapes Live With Seth Meyers Of 'Late Night'

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:57pm

The SNL veteran used to ruminate over shows that didn't quite hit the mark; now the he resists the urge to look back: "It's nice to be in this place where you can be very forward focused," he says.

(Image credit: Paul Loftland/Paul Loftland Photography)

Summer TV Starts Strong With These June Premieres

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:00pm

Critic Eric Deggans has a preview of all the good TV coming out in June, from a returning British cop drama (Broadchurch) to a show about the sports world's weirdest televised product (GLOW).

(Image credit: Erica Parise/Netflix)

'Mormama' Is A House Built On Quicksand

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 12:00pm

Kit Reed's would-be Southern Gothic chiller starts strong, with an amnesiac man stumbling into a house haunted by family secrets — but is ultimately undone by issues of plot, pacing and voice work.

(Image credit: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

Tracy K. Smith Named U.S. Poet Laureate

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 4:11am

The Library of Congress has named Tracy K. Smith as the the country's new poet laureate. She's the author of three collections of poetry and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012.

Why Hasn't Online Dating Made It Onscreen?

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 3:38am

The technology around us has made its way into all kinds of movies — sci-fi, thrillers, horror. But there's one movie genre it hasn't been able to infiltrate — the romantic comedy.

(Image credit: Lightcome/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Tracy K. Smith, New U.S. Poet Laureate, Calls Poems Her 'Anchor'

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:00pm

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet says she plans to use her new role to meet people who don't read poetry ... yet, anyway. She believes poetry can be a resource for people in fraught or isolating times.

(Image credit: Shawn Miller/Library of Congress)

What Makes A Good Whodunit? 'Magpie Murders' Author Spells It Out

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 3:31pm

Anthony Horowitz's latest novel is a whodunit about whodunits. He says, "I wanted it to be ... a sort of a treatise on the whole genre of murder mystery writing."

(Image credit: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

PHOTOS: 'Chicano Eats' Food Blog Dishes Up Bicultural Flavors

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 3:23pm

On his bilingual food blog, Esteban Castillo shares traditional and fusion Mexican recipes. The blog has a stunning, minimalist aesthetic meant to challenge the way people see Mexican food.

(Image credit: Esteban Castillo)

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