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When they write the bible on the great trolls of history, the Satanic Temple should be on the cover. Founded in 2013 as a poke in the eye of religious conservatism, the organization has since transitioned into a fully sincere spiritual movement itself, one advocating principles of nonviolence, religious pluralism, scientific inquiry, individual liberty and Dungeons & Dragons garb.

The opioid crisis looms large over Little Woods, a modest but intensely empathetic first film by writer–director Nia DaCosta. But you won't see lurid footage of bewildered tots hovering near the prone bodies of parents immobilized by Oxycontin. Instead, the movie draws its drama from the underground economy in which the prescription drug crisis thrives, and the perpetual state of emergency lived by residents of former boomtowns faded into ghost towns by recession or corporate flight.

The first time I saw David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, I was, like so many others, bewildered. It was a movie that only made sense on a macro level, zoomed out, like an impressionist painting. I went home and found a bonanza of websites trying to decipher the movie's puzzling structure and meaning. I could see how someone would spend hours, days, years trying to parse every scene for clues, an endless quest with nearly no purpose and an even smaller chance of success.

Somewhere between Olympus and humanity there's tragedy.

It endures because it depicts mortals divided against themselves and others while fate looms, inexorable. We're drawn to the boldness of tragic figures, in all their human frailty, as they face down the infinite. They can't look away and, out in the dark, in the audience, neither can we. When it's human will against fate, we know which way it always breaks, though we can't help but admire the resolve.

Vocalist Angélique Kidjo is on another creative streak. As she has throughout her career, Kidjo has left little space between two musically rich releases that showcase her artistic bonafides. 2018's Remain In Light was a track by track re-imagining of the Talking Heads 1980 album of the same name.

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This is FRESH AIR. The heroine of Nell Freudenberger's new novel "Lost And Wanted" is a physicist who finds her rational understanding of the universe challenged by the death of a friend. Here's our book critic Maureen Corrigan's review.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. Spring's here, and baseball's back. It's a comforting tradition for a lot of us, but big-league baseball evolves over time. And our guest, New York Times national baseball writer Tyler Kepner, keeps track of that. He notes, for example, that for the first time ever last year there were more strikeouts than hits in the majors, which he thinks is connected to the widely shared complaint that the game moves too slowly and takes too long.

Updated April 18 at 10:35 a.m. ET

The Writers Guild of America is suing four of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies in a fight over writers' wages — and whether agents are keeping too much of the pie for themselves.

The guild, along with eight writers including The Wire creator David Simon, filed the complaint in California superior court. They are suing William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency and ICM Partners.

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For the writer Yanyi, poetry is everywhere.

YANYI: I've written poetry accidentally while texting my friends, while getting really excited about something. And, you know, you end up going on a rant, or you end up writing a poem.

It's difficult to become a director if you're a woman or a person of color in Hollywood. It's even more difficult to become a director in animation.

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This is FRESH AIR. On the last hole of the Masters Golf Tournament Sunday, Tiger Woods made sports history when he stood over a two-foot putt on the 18th green.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM NANTZ: Many doubted we'd ever see it, but here it is.

(CHEERING)

NANTZ: The return to glory.

(CHEERING)

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Everyone knows at least one dream couple: two charming people with magnetic personalities who complement each other perfectly. Their perfect relationship draws admiration, and not a little envy, from their friends; their joint charisma makes them the envy of every dinner party.

Most job openings — at least in theory — go to the more qualified applicant. That isn't always the case with the presidency of the United States, as scores of presidential losers have discovered.

Given the choice, Americans tend to gravitate toward the fresher, more exciting face. Charisma and change can hold more value than on-the-job training, relationships with world leaders or understanding of congressional dynamics.

Helen Ellis is a hoot. That's Northern Critic Code for "Don't expect serious essays on pressing topics, but prepare yourself for some off-the-wall hilarity."

Southern Lady Code is Ellis's follow-up to American Housewife, her 2016 short story collection, which unleashed a riotous, twisted take on domesticity. This first book of nonfiction expands her riff on Southern manners and the "technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not-so-nice in a nice way."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. If you want to hear some alarming facts about climate change, Bill McKibben has them. He writes in his new book that as the Earth warms, we're now seeing lethal heatwaves in some parts of the world and that the largest physical structures on our planet - the ice caps, coral reefs and rainforests - are disappearing before our eyes.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET

Actress Georgia Engel, whose winning role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show led to a long career on-screen, has died at age 70.

From 1972 to 1977, Engel played sweet, artless Georgette, the girlfriend and then wife of arrogant news anchor Ted Baxter. She explained how the role that cemented her career came to be, in a 2007 interview with the Toronto Star.

"Sometime in the last few years," American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis writes in White, his aggrieved new book about political correctness, he began feeling a near-constant sense of "disgust and frustration that was all due to the foolishness of other people."

The center of Paris is Notre Dame.

This is true both literally and figuratively. The Gothic cathedral is there on Île de la Cité, the island in the Seine in between Paris' Left and Right banks, convenient and inescapable for the estimated 13 million people who visit it every year. Just outside, a Point Zero marker measures the distance to everything else in France. And Notre Dame is there in more than 850 years of French history: in paintings, daguerreotypes, songs, novels, war photos, awed selfies.

Such heaps of praise have piled up for Irish writer Sally Rooney, there's a danger of suffocation from avalanching expectations. At 28, the Trinity College Dublin graduate has published two novels, Conversations with Friends (2017) and Normal People, both to the sort of excitement that more typically greets new hand-held electronic devices.

Our Planet is the kind of nature show where every image could be a screen saver: sweeping, dramatic landscapes are full of colorful animals.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Watch The Throne(s)

Apr 15, 2019

Does it feel like “Game of Thrones” is inescapable these days? The HBO prestige drama seems to be everywhere.

Even President Donald Trump has tweeted about it.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Before Dana Canedy got down to the business of announcing the winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes, the administrator offered an unusual aside.

"I want to break with tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win, but that should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy," Canedy told the journalists assembled at Columbia University in New York City.

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Robert Caro has spent decades researching and chronicling the lives of notable men.

Just in time for spring: three charming romance novels with heroines who find love at any age and in any era — and put a fresh spin on the journey from once upon a time to happily ever after.

Megan Stack, a former foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, gave up a life of covering war and natural disasters when she had her first child in Beijing.

She quickly hired a nanny and soon realized how dependent she was on this woman — something she writes about in her book Women's Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home.

Stack spoke with NPR about the book — and the difficult decision to write about her own family.

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

Welcome back, everyone. It's been two years since last we gathered around the flickering electronic hearth to feast our eyes on this world, and these characters, many of whom – I'm thinking here of the dragons and the ice-zombies mostly – would happily feast on our eyes. Because Winter is Here, and it's shaping up to be a long, cruel one, and Sansa didn't pack away enough provisions for everyone.

#NPRPoetry Month: Lauren Alleyne

Apr 14, 2019

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