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Arts and culture

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Fast cars, attractive people, a stone face, monotone Vin Diesel - must be the new "Fast And Furious" movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS")

VIN DIESEL: (As Dom) I think I found my team.

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Trip Revisor

Apr 14, 2017

It's time to slip into some cozy robes and order up some room service because it's hotel trivia time! Contestants guess the names of these fictional hotels from the fake reviews we've created for them.

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

A Patriotic Finale

Apr 14, 2017

Philadelphia is where America's Founding Fathers wrote The Constitution, and to celebrate that, we made a final round where every answer contains either the word RED, WHITE or BLUE. For example, if we said, "Fairy tale character who just wanted to visit her grandma," you'd answer, "Little Red Riding Hood."

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

What The Bell?

Apr 14, 2017

To honor Philadelphia's iconic symbol of freedom that doesn't ring anymore, the Liberty Bell, contestants hear audio clues about people and things that have "bell" in the name and ring in to guess what--or who--they're about!

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

The Final Drow

Apr 14, 2017

Rev up your reverse word repository! In this game, contestants hear clues to a well-known phrase with the last word reversed, and try to guess what that word is. For example, if we said, "My roommate is a VILLAIN, but we get along because our motto is LIVE AND LET BLANK," you'd answer, "evil..." which is the word "live" backwards.

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

Apr 14, 2017

Comedian Amy Sedaris isn't sure if her cult Comedy Central show Strangers With Candy, which she co-created with Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Mitch Rouse, could be made today. "You just can't make fun of anything anymore," she told host Ophira Eisenberg at the Keswick Theatre outside Philadelphia. "That's what we did in Strangers-- we hit everybody, we made fun of everybody, maybe that's one reason we got away with it back then."

Bald Eagles

Apr 14, 2017

For this week's episode recorded outside Philadelphia, Ask Me Another is in Eagles country! So in this game, Jonathan Coulton parodies songs by the Eagles, to be about people who are currently, or were at some point, bald. Contestants identify the bald person he's singing about.

Amy Sedaris: Etsy Or Smithsonian?

Our team is just back from a wonderful live show in Chicago — thank you all for coming! — with W. Kamau Bell as our special guest and Sam Sanders in our fourth chair. (Both were wonderful.) We'll have audio from that show in your feeds later, but this week, we've got a special edition.

First up, we bring you a segment Glen Weldon did with our buddy Gene Demby of Code Switch about diversity in comics. It originally aired on the Code Switch podcast, but we thought we'd bring it to you here as well.

A few years ago, the American screenwriter John Ridley was working in Britain. He learned a bit of history that felt at once new and familiar — of a time in the 1970s when Britain struggled with that American-sounding question: Who are we?

It involved "issues of immigration, and who was really British and who belonged in this country," Ridley says. "All of those things that were embedded, things that I was completely unaware of."

Has any movie franchise ever swole up more unrecognizably than The Fast & the Furi-ad? Its opening heat, back in 2001, was just a humble Point Break knockoff. Fourteen years later, Furious 7 overcame the death of its second banana, Paul Walker, during production to gross a billion-and-a-half dollars. By then, the series had reinvented itself as an globetrotting heist/spy/wrestling franchise, one as reliant on digital animation and unbound by verisimilitude as any superhero epic. Why just rip off Point Break when you can rip off ... everything?

Tucked deep into the Bolivian jungle — through swarms of disease-carrying mosquitoes, a river flush with voracious piranha, and hidden gauntlets of hostile natives — the elusive civilization in The Lost City of Z sounds like El Dorado or The Fountain of Youth, one of those mythical paradises that conquistadors slaughtered many to seek.

You are not going to find a better title for a movie this year than My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea. But the new indie animated film from comics artist Dash Shaw, based on an earlier story by him, is more than its name, or perhaps it's more accurate to say it's exactly as fun as its name. The film is a snarky back-of-the-class doodle about a high school collapsing on the foundation of its own stupidity, with a voice cast hailing exclusively from the cool kids table (Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph).

"A sheltered life can be daring too," the Southern writer Eudora Welty wrote in her 1984 memoir, One Writer's Beginnings. Writing about what and whom she saw around her, Welty enjoyed robust literary fame without ever marrying or moving out of her parents' house in Jackson, Mississippi.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved American novel The Great Gatsby is about the messiness of chasing the American dream. But author Stephanie Powell Watts says something about the book left her unsatisfied.

"I loved it when I was a kid and read it for the first time. ... But subsequent readings, I felt like I'm seeing other things. I'm seeing all of these black characters — never thought about them before. I'm seeing the women and the tiny, tiny roles that they have in the book, and I want them to speak. I want to hear what they have to say."

Many people are drawn to Emily Dickinson because of her mysterious life — the brilliant poet rarely left her family home in Amherst, Mass., and her work wasn't recognized until after her death.

But British film director Terence Davies says it was her poetry, more than her personal life, that drew him in. Davies discovered Dickinson on television. An actress was reading one of her poems and afterwards Davies immediately ran out to buy one of her collections.

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Next, we remember comedian and actor Charlie Murphy. He died yesterday. Murphy grew up in Brooklyn, and after a short jail sentence as a young man, he joined the Navy, where he served for six years.

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Sasheer Zamata clearly remembers the feeling she got when she did stand-up for the first time: "I went to an open mic by myself, didn't tell anybody," Zamata says. "I came offstage and ... was like, 'This is my life forever! I can do this forever now!' "

In Sarah Gerard's debut, the 2015 novel Binary Star, her unnamed protagonist undergoes a metamorphosis of metaphorical proportions. A road trip with her boyfriend takes them to the darkest regions of inner space, and Gerard's body and psyche undergo startling transitions. In the book, she also tackles topics close to heart and experiences, including eating disorders, which she's struggled with in her own life.

If you do a Google search for "card catalog" it will likely return Pinterest-worthy images of antique furniture for sale — boxy, wooden cabinets with tiny drawers, great for storing knick-knacks, jewelry or art supplies.

But before these cabinets held household objects, they held countless index cards — which, at the time, were the pathways to knowledge and information. A new book from the Library of Congress celebrates these catalogs as the analog ancestor of the search engine.

So far in her young life, New York City's Fearless Girl has drawn countless tourists, a metric ton of media coverage and its fair share of praise as a symbol of the fight for gender equity — so much, in fact, that the statue staring down the financial district's famous Charging Bull recently got a new lease on life, at least through 2018.

For at least one person, though, the Girl has offered less than welcome company.

Midway through Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, the title character sketches a diagram of his intersecting business, political, and charitable connections. Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) is at the center of the web, and yet he's barely there at all.

There's a role reversal underway in political publishing. For years, conservative publishers have thrived as their readers flocked to buy books aimed directly at taking down the party in power. Now, with Republicans in control, they have to rethink their strategy. Left leaning publishers meanwhile are hoping to take advantage of the new political landscape.

Regnery books — which marks its 70th anniversary this year — is the grand old dame of conservative publishing. Dinesh d'Souza, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham have all published with Regnery.

John Leguizamo isn't new to the screen or the stage. He's best known for his 30-plus-year movie career in which he played a range of roles, from the killer Benny Blanco in Carlito's Way to a sloth named Sid in the animated movie Ice Age. But theater is Leguizamo's first love (rivaled only by his children). Now, at 52, he's wrapping up his sixth one-man show, called Latin History for Morons.

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Max Winter's powerful but bleak debut novel is about missing people: people who are missing, and the sons, brothers, friends, lovers, and classmates who feel their absence and miss them. Exes is propelled by the efforts of its troubled principal narrator, Clay Blackall, to piece together the last ten years of his younger brother Eli's life — which he missed because they were estranged.

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