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Playwright Tracy Letts says that by the time the 2016 election happened, he was almost finished writing The Minutes.

"It was a job of work to keep the blinders on and not make the play about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or — actually, to escape into the world of the play during that political moment was great, was solace," he says.

The artistic director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Anna Shapiro, says The Minutes was solace for her too. Letts sent her the play just a few weeks after the election.

When NBC News correspondent Katy Tur was a little girl, her parents pioneered aerial journalism. Flying over Los Angeles in a helicopter, they captured car chases, fires and shootouts – events which often horrified a public who hoped for the best but dared not look away. Maybe that's why Katy's bosses thought she'd be the perfect person to assign to cover the campaign of Donald Trump. Her new book Unbelievable chronicles her time on that beat.

Reading The Game: This War Of Mine

11 hours ago

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

This begins on the night that Marko murdered two men.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Given that I work in a newsroom, maybe I shouldn't be surprised by how many office romances take place there in the movies: say, Broadcast News from 1987, or His Girl Friday from 1940.

A real-life copy editor might have had these films in mind when she started a new job about 10 years ago.

"I got to the paper and I noticed this really cute boy who was a senior editor," says Carolyn Huckabay. "That was Brian."

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Mystery Guest

Dec 15, 2017

Mystery guest Mary McKenzie runs an unusual business. Can you guess her secret before Ophira and Jonathan do?

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

Writer and academic Roxane Gay resisted the world of competitive Scrabble as long as she could. A brilliant wordsmith, Gay thought she was "too cool" for the intensity of the tournament circuit. "Slowly but surely," though, her competitive side took over.

"I have my own portable board and it has a special case with straps so you can wear it," she told host Ophira Eisenberg at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida. "Kind of like a Ninja Turtle."

F-L-A To Win

Dec 15, 2017

Finally, an Ask Me Another quiz made for Flava Flav fans: We crowned our big Orlando winner with a final round in which every answer contains the consecutive letters F-L-A.

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

Hard Times

Dec 15, 2017

Did you know that Neil Diamond is a ten on the Mohs Scale of Hardness? In honor of our venue, Orlando's Hard Rock Live, we rewrote famous rock 'n roll songs to be about things that are hard.

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

This, That, Or The Other

Dec 15, 2017

Our contestants give it their all—blood, sweat and tears, win, lose or draw. Can you guess whether each phrase is a Pitbull lyric, a nursery rhyme or a Mark Twain quote?

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

What's So Funny?

Dec 15, 2017

Can you tell a Fran Drescher from a Seth Rogen? In this quiz, contestants have to identify famous people from their distinctive laughs.

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

Rhymes With Orange

Dec 15, 2017

Contestants are challenged to a quiz about obscure words that rhyme with famously unrhymable words.

Heard on Roxane Gay: The Facts And The Furious: Orlando Drift.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Going Undercover

About Jamie Bartlett's TED Talk

When journalist Jamie Bartlett dove into the secret, hidden part of the Internet known as the Dark Web, he was surprised by what he found lurking there.

About Theo E.J. Wilson

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Going Undercover

About Mubin Shaikh's TED Talk

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Going Undercover

About Shabana Basij-Rasikh's TED Talk

When Shabana Basij-Rasikh was six years old, the Taliban forbade girls from getting an education. Rather than giving in to their threats, she dressed up as a boy and went to a secret school for girls in Kabul.

About Shabana Basij-Rasikh

The Last Jedi — the newest chapter in the Star Wars saga — marks the return of actors Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and the late Carrie Fisher to their Force Awakens characters. The space opera was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who's also set to work on the next Star Wars trilogy.

Johnson has been a Star Wars fan since he was a little boy in Denver, playing with his action figures.

For a simple children's story about a pacifist bull in Spain who would rather smell the flowers than charge a matador, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand generated tremendous controversy, owing to its worldwide popularity and its date of publication, 1936, which found it caught in political crosswinds. It was banned in Franco's Spain. Hitler ordered it burned as "degenerate democratic propaganda" in Nazi Germany, though it was republished and distributed for free in the same country once the war was over, to teach children a message of peace. Gandhi was a fan. So was H.G. Wells.

Jared Moshe, the writer and director of The Ballad of Lefty Brown, is a fan of classic Westerns and he's made a movie that should please fellow aficionados. He offers one twist on the formula, but the plot, setting, and widescreen images are all as standard-issue as a Colt 45.

What is known for sure about American military scientist Frank Olson is that on November 28, 1953, the bacteriologist and father of three plunged to his death from the 13th floor of the Statler hotel in New York City, not long after he was secretly drugged with LSD on the orders of his CIA superior. Whether Olson was pushed, or jumped, or was nudged into committing suicide remains unclear.

Just how dark is Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, a trippy animated folktale from Spain about a bunch of talking animal adolescents searching for a better life?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Now we are going to remember the filmmaker who first showed us what it is like to set off in search of the perfect wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE ENDLESS SUMMER")

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Allegations of sexual misconduct by high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, such as The Chew's Mario Batali, are revealing the wild and sometimes illegal behaviors that thrive in the pressure-cooker environments of some top American restaurants.

Director Spike Lee was just 29 years old in 1986 when he released his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It. The movie told the story of a young black artist named Nola Darling who loves sex but isn't interested in a committed relationship with any of the three men she is dating.

Lee, now 60, says he made She's Gotta Have It because he wanted to show a woman "living her life, and not really caring about what people feel."

Have you ever walked out of a movie theater and said to your companion, "Wow, the science in that film was awesome?"

In Tiffany Haddish's new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, she writes "I know that a lot of these stories will seem unbelievable. I look back over my life and I'm like, 'For real, that happened?'"

You could just look at Tiffany Haddish's career this year and ask that question. She was the breakout star of this summer's raucous hit movie, Girl's Trip, and last month, Haddish became the first African-American woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.

Updated at 9:48 a.m. ET

PBS will no longer distribute Tavis Smiley following what a spokeswoman called "multiple, credible" allegations of sexual misconduct uncovered by a recent investigation into the late-night show host's behavior.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You are suspended in an endless dark chamber as thousands of red, green, yellow and blue lights flicker across the air like tiny diamonds in the sky.

Or at least that's how it appears in the selfie you just posted on Instagram. Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrors" – mirror-lined rooms that seem to go on forever – is part of the latest art craze to take over social media. Immersive exhibits are driving people to museums in search of the perfect snapshot.

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