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What if, one night a year, all crime, including murder, was legal? That's the premise of an incredibly successful horror movie franchise set in the not-so-distant dystopian future. The idea of The Purge is: Let people blow off steam, and crime rates will go down. The fourth Purge installment — The First Purge — opens July 4.

The Purge films have, on average, made almost 2,000 percent of their budget at the worldwide box office. What is it about these stories of society-run-amok that keeps audiences coming back?

Editor's note: This story includes language that some may find offensive.

It was 1968. But playwright Mart Crowley felt he had to write what he knew.

"Nobody wanted the play," Crowley says. "Not even agents wanted to look at this play. They just thought it was pornographic and it was outrageous."

What he wrote in The Boys in the Band was a thinly veiled slice of autobiographical fiction. A group of gay friends gather for a raucous birthday party; by the end of the evening, secrets are spilled, tears are shed.

It's easy to be skeptical of a documentary about Fred Rogers, who hosted Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on public television for decades. Rogers has achieved, as the film acknowledges, an almost saint-like status, and the mission of Won't You Be My Neighbor? is not to uncover some secret dark side of the man — as far as you'll know walking out, there wasn't one.

The worst kind of horror plays for shock — for extremes of blood and gore and screaming nonsense. It is instantly recognizable for existing in a universe too far gone from our own to truly haunt anyone still tethered to the everyday.

The best kind of horror is soft. Quiet. Almost gentle in its handling of fear. It is rooted firmly in the real. It could happen tomorrow, to any of us.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Deborah Levy opens her new memoir, The Cost of Living, by telling us one of those small stories whose size, like an ant or a virus, stands in inverse proportion to its power.

As Levy recalls, one night, she was sitting alone in a bar in the Caribbean. Near her, a muscled middle-aged guy whose silver hair was gathered into a manbun started chatting up a young woman. Levy comes to refer to him as "Big Silver."

For the Hall family, the country house called Hamdean was supposed to be a retreat, a suite of well-appointed rooms where they could escape their busy London lives. Buying the front part of the manor in southeast England was the idea of Michael, who works in real estate, although his wife, Catherine, was wary of her husband's "folie de grandeur." Her skepticism, sadly, proves to be right — although not in a way either of them could have predicted.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The charges against Harvey Weinstein in New York have expanded.

The former Hollywood mogul is already facing first-degree rape and other charges involving incidents with two women, in 2004 and 2013. Now, a grand jury in New York has charged Weinstein with allegedly committing a forcible sexual act against a third woman.

It's fine.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015's feather-light and perfectly forgettable Ant-Man, is just fine.

In Woman Walks Ahead, a New York City activist and artist named Catherine Weldon (played by Jessica Chastain) travels across the United States to paint the great Native American chief Sitting Bull. The role of Sitting Bull is portrayed with humor and complexity by Michael Greyeyes, who is Plains Cree and hails from Muskeg Lakes First Nation in Canada.

'Darkest Time Of Night' Will Keep You Turning Pages

Jul 1, 2018

What keeps us reading is a varied and curious thing. For one book, it's plot, for another, it's pacing, for still another, relevance — and so forth. (When you find a book that has it all? Call the Pulitzer hotline ...)

Nothing says "gentrification" quite like the opening of a Whole Foods.

That's the message, at least, of a new musical about the idea that a location of the largely organic, high-priced grocery chain could one day open in Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia neighborhood.

Anacostia lies east of the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C., in a part of the city that's historically been more impoverished and more heavily African-American than other areas.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Photographer George Rodriguez chronicled Los Angeles for nearly six decades from Hollywood to the Chicano movement to hip-hop and beyond. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, his work is now being celebrated in a new book and his first gallery retrospective.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Fourth of July is next week, a day to reflect on what it means to be an American. We wanted to hear from you, specifically people who recently became citizens, to find out what it's like to be a new American on America's Independence Day.

Bobby Shafran got an unexpectedly warm welcome on his first day at college in 1980.

"Immediately everyone greeted him like he'd been there for years," says filmmaker Tim Wardle. "Guys coming up to him, slapping him on the back, girls are kissing him. He's never been there before — he doesn't know what they're talking about."

Suffering, suffering, and how would you like a slice of abjection on the side? When it comes to books by writers of color, sometimes it seems like we're only allowed to write serious, painful tomes. Reading lists of our most noteworthy books can feel like one After School Special after another — or, as librarian Ammie E. Harrison put it to me, a "trauma buffet."

Goodbye To Harlan Ellison, 'America's Weird Uncle'

Jun 29, 2018

Editor's note: This piece uses some strong language; we think Harlan Ellison would have approved.

Harlan Ellison is dead. He was 375 years old. He died fighting alien space bears.

Harlan is dead. He exploded in his living room, in his favorite chair, apoplectic over the absolute garbage fire this world has become. He's dead, gone missing under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind many suspects. He went down arguing over the law of gravity with a small plane in which he was flying. Harlan took the contrary position. He won.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Legendary gambling destination Atlantic City, N.J. is trying to re-make itself into a place where you can do more: attend a convention, see a show, visit a spa, hang out at the beach and get a nice meal.

The goal is to attract more tourists — and their dollars. The city also wants to provide jobs for the thousands left unemployed after five casinos closed in the last four years.

The biggest sign of this re-make strategy is two casinos that have re-opened under new owners.

François Clemmons is as big of a Fred Rogers fan as anyone — maybe bigger. In the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, Clemmons, who spent 25 years portraying Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is featured as someone who was close to Rogers, and a trailblazer in his own right.

Empathy, tolerance and acceptance: More and more, educators are focusing on the importance of schools' paying attention to stuff other than academics.

And for the past two months, an exhibit at the U.S. Department of Education's headquarters in Washington, D.C., has gathered the work of student artists expressing themselves — through their work — about these issues.

The exhibit is called "Total Tolerance," and it highlights themes of racism, sexism and diversity.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden Potential

About Jeff Smith's TED Talk

After serving a year in prison, Jeff Smith realized his fellow inmates were just as business savvy as many on the outside. He now works to help inmates harness those skills when they leave prison.

About Jeff Smith

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden Potential

About Pearl Arredondo's TED Talk

Pearl Arredondo grew up in East Los Angeles, the daughter of gang members. Education was her ticket out. She says young people need mentors to push them not to be victims of their own circumstances.

About Pearl Arredondo

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden Potential

About Victor Rios TED Talk

Victor Rios had dropped out of high school. But one teacher helped him turn his life around. Today, he's a sociologist who studies youth and the factors that nurture their potential.

About Victor Rios

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Hidden Potential

About Regina Hartley TED Talk

Regina Hartley grew up a self-described scrapper, with far fewer opportunities than her peers. Now the VP of Human Resources at UPS, she says she knows the value of candidates who faced adversity.

About Regina Hartley

"Are you ... my little bunny?"

It is impossible to convey, in paltry written English, the astonishing breadth of dark, rich, velvety plumminess with which Hugh Grant delivers that line in Amazon's gloriously fun 3-episode mini-series, A Very English Scandal.

It is plummier than an Argentinian Malbec. Plummier than the Williams family's icebox at midnight.

Put it this way: When you order moo shu pork, it comes on the side. Is how plummy.

Science fiction writer and provocateur Harlan Ellison, who wrote stories including "Jeffty Is Five," "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," died in his sleep at home in Los Angeles at age 84. Like many who write short stories and novellas in genres like speculative fiction, the sweep of his career is evident in his collection of awards: Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards, Edgar Awards and many others.

In 'The Cakemaker,' Grieving Is Baked In

Jun 28, 2018

At first, we barely get to know the baby-faced, blue-eyed gentleman from Berlin, except for his recipes: golden cinnamon cookies, a lush and creamy Black Forest cake. This seems to be the way Thomas (Tim Kalkhof) likes it. He works at a traditional German bakery and largely keeps to himself, an oddity in a city with some of the wildest nightlife in the world. He even loves quietly, so much so that we can't read on his face when someone truly special enters his life. But his hero's journey will take him to a place where making his sweets breaks religious law.

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