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Miss America is waving goodbye to its swimsuit competition, scrapping one of its most iconic elements in an attempt to shift the annual ceremony's emphasis from its longtime focus on contestants' physical beauty.

Here's one advantage to discussing Rachel Cusk's trilogy of conversational novels: Because they're essentially plotless, there's little need to worry about spoiler alerts. The surprises and rewards of reading these books comes not from finding out what happens, but from getting pulled deep into their labyrinthine tête-à-têtes.

There's a new novel out Monday — a political thriller told from the perspective of a U.S. president who's been called to testify as his opponents lay the groundwork to impeach him. The narrator, President Jonathan Duncan, describes the scene toward the beginning of the book:

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Many Americans tell the story of Black-Jewish political relations like this: First, there was the Civil Rights movement, where the two groups got along great.

The White Foam Cafe in Riyadh is a cheery little place with wooden tables and chairs, and a good reputation for its fair-trade coffees and vegan desserts. It's also well-known for something else.

"This is one of the really famous dating places here. I dated my fiancé a lot here," says a 29-year-old woman enjoying a French-press coffee.

The best thing about seeing previously marginalized groups claim their own space in pop culture is it often ends up showing — in the most compelling ways — how alike we all really are.

It was an art historian's chance discovery of a lifetime. Over 40 years ago, a museum director in Florence, Italy, found a hidden room whose walls were covered in drawings believed to be the work of Michelangelo and his disciples.

Although the drawings are not signed by the master, art experts say some of the sketches in charcoal and chalk are almost certain to be Michelangelo originals. They could shed light not only on the Renaissance artist's creative process but also on a mysterious and dangerous period in his life.

Wait Wait Junior is a special edition of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! that was made with our young listeners in mind. We've invited Neil Patrick Harris, who spent his teen years playing boy-genius doctor Doogie Howser, to play a game called "Welcome home, Fido" — three questions about doggie houses.

Harris stars as Count Olaf on A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and he's the host of NBC's Genius Junior. The second installment of his book series The Magic Misfits comes out in September.

An Israeli television series with an Arabic name that shows Israelis and Palestinians plotting against each other — and themselves — has become a fan favorite in 190 countries around the world, including Israel and many Arab states.

Fauda — Arabic for "chaos" — is now streaming its second season on Netflix in the United States. Lior Raz stars as Doron, an Israeli Defense Forces special operative who defies authority, has a messy domestic life and complicates everything by both spying on and falling for a Palestinian doctor who gets married to a Hamas commander.

And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework ... and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.

— Exodus 28: 39-40

As Samuel Dabney told it, the whole thing began with pizza parlors.

Dabney, who generally went by Ted, and Nolan Bushnell had been working together at an electronics company called Ampex back in the mid-1960s, and Bushnell had an idea for a "carnival-type pizza parlor," Dabney recalled in 2012.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Well, if you can't stand to watch the game, HBO's new drama series "Succession" debuts on Sunday. It centers on an 80-something media mogul resisting retirement. Here's NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

On the acknowledgments page of her new short story collection, Florida, Lauren Groff thanks Florida, where she lives and which she calls the "sunniest and strangest of states."

Strange this collection certainly is, but sunny? Not so much. These are Southern Gothic-inflected tales of hurricanes, humidity and sudden sheets of tropical rain that create sinkholes and send snakes, raccoons and palmetto bugs writhing and running into living rooms for shelter.

Ethan Slater, the Tony Award-nominated star of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, didn't know what he was auditioning for at first.

"I was in my friend's dorm room at Vassar College," he told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "and I got a phone call."

On the phone was a casting director who offered Slater an audition for a role temporarily titled "Chipper Chip." "'We can't tell you what it is, technically,'" Slater recalled the casting director saying, "'but we think you might be the right shape for it.'"

Nick Spero has a big secret.

It has to do with where to find one of the most sought-after mushrooms of the fungi world: the morel.

A grand jury in New York indicted Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday on charges of rape and criminal sex. Weinstein once towered over Hollywood, and it is likely he would still be making movies and meeting with young actresses had more than 80 women not come forward against him.

When you watch The Graduate, do you identify with the parents? Do you grow impatient scrolling to your birth year in online drop-down menus? Is a night of continuous, unmedicated sleep one of life's greatest pleasures? If so, Pamela Druckerman says, you might be in your 40s.

Druckerman thought that being in her 40s would be a "delicious secret." But, it turns out, others noticed, too. Salespeople steered her toward anti-aging creams. Her daughter observed: "Mommy, you're not old, but you're definitely not young anymore."

'A Kid Like Jake' Doesn't Have Enough Jake

May 31, 2018

Some movies are meant to be genre-nonconforming, and we'd all be a lot happier if they were able to exist like that. But we live in a genre-binary society, where films need easy loglines. A Kid Like Jake is about wealthy, white New York parents who try to leverage their four-year-old son's gender experimentation in order to land him a scholarship to an elite private preschool. It has the soul of a sharp class satire, and occasionally flirts in that direction. Yet it must present itself as an earnest social issues drama in a bid for wider acceptance.

Stuffed with references to classic crime flicks, American Animals is British writer-director Bart Layton's clever and assured bid to rival Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino. The film is highly self-conscious, but no more so than its real-life antiheroes, a quartet of Kentucky college kids who study The Killing and Reservoir Dogs to plan a heist that turns out to be poorly scripted.

To date, the Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur has made one film about a fisherman who survived in freezing water after his boat capsized off the Ireland coast (The Deep), another about a blizzard that wiped eight climbers off the summit of Mount Everest in 1996 (Everest), and now one more about a hurricane that pummeled a yacht in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, leaving its sailors wounded and badly off-course.

Deep into Rodin, Jacques Doillon's quietly satisfying portrait of the famed French sculptor, a group of stuffy sponsors circles Auguste Rodin's almost completed statue of France's beloved novelist Honore de Balzac. Rodin (Vincent Lindon) has given the writer an enormous gut (he used a pregnant young woman and a draft horse rider as models for the belly), which the artist made capacious enough to house, in his imagination, the teeming characters who peopled the 19th-century writer's stories. And, perhaps, his appetites.

Growing up in his grandmother's home in Durham, N.C., in the era of Jim Crow, former Vogue magazine editor André Leon Talley often felt like a misfit. Bullied for his clothes — which he describes as beautiful, but not overly flashy — he remembers feeling alone.

Then, when he was around 9 or 10, he stumbled onto an issue of Vogue at the public library. Paging through the magazine, he was captivated — it was was like traveling down a "rabbit hole," he says, into "a world of glamour."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Energy, the new book from acclaimed author and journalist Richard Rhodes, starts off not with a scientist or inventor, but with a notable name from a different field: William Shakespeare. The Bard of Avon isn't usually associated with physics or power generation — but he was present when his business partners, Richard and Cuthbert Burbage, ordered the razing of the Theatre in London, with the salvaged wood being used to open the now legendary Globe. (Whether their actions were strictly legal is unclear.)

This post gives away in great detail the events of the series finale of FX's The Americans. If you are reading it and you have not yet watched the finale, you are about to find out everything that happens. Are we clear? OK, then.

Let's dispense with the obvious first: This is not your typical ice hockey pregame show.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

I didn't know how much I needed a laugh until I began reading Stephen McCauley's new novel, My Ex-Life. This is the kind of witty, sparkling, sharp novel for which the verb "chortle" was invented.

I found myself "chortling" out loud at so many scenes, I even took screenshots of certain pages and started texting them to friends. Some of those friends texted back, "Love this!" or, "Send more, quick!" To which I replied, "Support the arts! Buy the book!"

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