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"The director of The Exorcist witnesses a real exorcism." It's a hook too devilish to resist, so in 2016 Vanity Fair sent filmmaker William Friedkin to Italy to file a story about Father Gabriele Amorth. Rome's leading exorcist was then 91 and, though he didn't yet know it, only a few months from death. He plowed ahead with his work, performing a ritual on a woman he believed to be possessed by Satan, and invited Friedkin to document it, in a rare sit-in.

As he announced with The Artist, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius makes movies about movies. So it was nearly inevitable that he would someday burlesque the work of Jean-Luc Godard, the Franco-Swiss director who virtually invented the meta-film. The result, Godard Mon Amour, is fascinating but not as much fun as the movies its title character made between 1959 and 1966.

Novelist Richard Powers lives in a house perched on a hillside, just on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "It's very much a tree house," he says with a laugh. "That's why I live here."

His latest book, The Overstory, brought him to the old growth forests of Tennessee. The novel follows the lives of nine different people, all determined to save ancient trees from destruction. Their lives become entwined as they fight to save virgin forests, with unforeseen consequences.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

An attorney for Carver County, Minn., announced today that no charges will be brought in connection with Prince's death and that the musician likely had no idea the vicodin pills he overdosed on were laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"There is no evidence that any person associated with Prince knew that Prince possessed counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl," attorney Mark Metz said during a news conference. "Prince likely had no idea he was taking fentanyl pills that could kill him.

Wyatt Cenac knows his aesthetic, and his aesthetic seems to be "PBS in the 1970s."

The logo of his new HBO series Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas looks precisely like the public television of a couple decades ago, with its friendly-looking sans serif lowercase letters in earthy colors. The set is the same way, looking much like one that a host might have wandered around to talk about the beginnings of the world or the ways of the penguin.

If you grew up in Texas, chances are you've heard the old joke about the man teaching his son about good manners. "Never ask a man if he's from Texas," the father said. "If he is, he'll tell you. And if he's not, there's no use in embarrassing him."

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Many years ago, at a party where I was very drunk, I asked a much-desired woman of my friendly acquaintance what it was like to be pretty.

Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods wanted to start a podcast about life in prison. It would be for inmates, by inmates, to be played on the closed-circuit station in San Quentin State Prison in California — "for the inside," as Woods says.

Woods is serving a 31-years-to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Poor is a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin.

Allan Monga had never given much thought to poetry before last summer, when he arrived in Maine as an asylum-seeker from Zambia.

At the time, he was almost completely alone, living at a teen shelter in Portland and nervous about speaking with anyone in his new country.

"It was really hard for me," says Monga, 19. "I didn't really know anyone. It was hard to trust anyone."

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's not about the numbering.

You'll be hearing a lot this week about the publishing milestone DC Comics' Action Comics has achieved, with the publication of issue #1000, on shelves (physical and digital) today. And I don't mean to dismiss that achievement, believe me. It's 2018, and periodical publishing is a lot like the Man of Steel in the penultimate panel of 1992's "Death of Superman" storyline: Beaten to a bloody pulp and hovering at death's door.

Two-thirds of the way through Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, I abandoned my sharpened reviewer's pencil in favor of luxuriating in the words. Chee's writing has a mesmerizing quality; his sentences are rife with profound truths without lapsing into the didactic.

Netflix blew past Wall Street expectations this week and added 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March — giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide. Its popularity is leaving rivals Amazon and Hulu in the dust as it continues to add new content.

But can the service that made binge watching popular keep it up as a big rival gears up to take it on?

One of my greatest lessons in the power of representation on TV came from watching an episode of Scandal.

In fall 2013, I spent an evening with a group of black and brown women watching an installment from the show's third season. We were gathered in a comfortable, tastefully decorated town house in Washington, D.C. Spirits were high — everyone was ready to watch political fixer supreme Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) tackle the latest bizarro crisis invented by series creator Shonda Rhimes.

Every weekday for more than three decades, his baritone steadied our mornings. Even in moments of chaos and crisis, Carl Kasell brought unflappable authority to the news. But behind that hid a lively sense of humor, revealed to listeners late in his career, when he became the beloved judge and official scorekeeper for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! NPR's news quiz show.

Kasell died Tuesday from complications from Alzheimer's disease in Potomac, Md. He was 84.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

New York City has removed a statue of J. Marion Sims, a 19th-century gynecologist who experimented on enslaved women, from a pedestal in Central Park.

The statue will be moved to a cemetery in Brooklyn where Sims, sometimes called the "father of gynecology," is buried. A new informational plaque will be added both to the empty pedestal and the relocated statue, and the city is commissioning new artwork to reflect the issues raised by Sims' legacy.

It's been almost a year since since James Comey first learned that President Trump had fired him. The former FBI director was in Los Angeles visiting the field office for a diversity event when a ticker announcing his ouster scrolled across the bottom of a TV screen.

"I thought it was a scam," Comey says. "I went back to talking to the people who were gathered in front of me."

In a year that hasn't exactly been full of joyful tidings, Julian Barnes' latest novel struck me as one of the saddest books I've read in some time. Beautifully done, but heartrending. It isn't about belligerent politicians, refugees fleeing for their lives, or schoolchildren being gunned down, but it's a tragedy nonetheless — albeit on a much smaller scale. The Only Story concerns the pained recollections of an aging Englishman's life-changing only love.

Rufus Hale was just 11 years old when artist David Hockney painted his portrait. Rufus' mother was making a movie about the prolific, octogenarian artist, and brought her son with her to work one day. He was sketching in the corner of the studio when Hockney asked, "Why don't I paint you?"

Now Rufus' portrait is among 82 currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in an exhibit titled "82 Portraits and 1 Still-life."

Nearly a year after President Trump fired James Comey, the former FBI director is out with a new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, And Leadership. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep and NPR Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson talked to Comey about his book, his role in shaping the outcome of the 2016 election and where the FBI's credibility stands. Here's the full transcript of their conversation.

When it's closing time at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, co-owner Michael Gustafson runs through a checklist that, for the most part, is pretty routine. First, make sure all the customers have gone, lock the doors and take out the garbage and the recycling. Shelve any stray books, adjust the tables, turn off the music.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Out of more than 2,400 submissions, distinguished projects in just 21 categories earned gold Monday as winners of the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes.

Billy Mitchell has broken his silence.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Call them the Mighty Marvel Movie MacGuffins. They're the glittery objects that drove the plots of several individual Marvel movies and that collectively shaped the direction the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe has been heading (almost) since its inception.

They are the Infinity Stones — immensely powerful gems that contain and channel elemental forces of the universe. They're what the villains crave and what the heroes protect. They can be used to destroy or create.

Mmmmmostly that first thing.

The new Netflix movie Come Sunday stars the English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as an American leader of an evangelical megachurch who experiences a theological crisis — one that costs him his ministry.

In an interview, he said that his approach to adapting the real-life tale of Bishop Carlton Pearson came from "this idea of how one organizes one's thoughts in terms of a belief structure."

About 15 years ago, Carlton Pearson had what you might call a revelation.

It occurred to him that ideas that had informed his entire adult life — about heaven and hell, and what it takes to avoid one and enter the other — were just not true. What was a big deal for his personal faith became a much bigger one in his professional life, because Carlton Pearson presided over one of the country's biggest Pentecostal congregations in Tulsa, Okla., and his rejection of that theology for what he calls the "gospel of inclusion" would cost him just about everything he had.

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