KRWG

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

High fashion, makeup, vogueing competitions. In the 1980s, New York City's drag balls were cultural events for the LGBTQ community, most of them black and Latino. But balls have largely been hidden from mainstream America.

Now, a new show on FX is putting them front and center. It's called Pose, and according to FX, it has largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles.

For the first time since the group was established in 1792, the New York Stock Exchange will be headed by a woman.

While Stacey Cunningham realizes she's shattering a 226-year-old ceiling, she says she didn't consider her gender as a huge factor when it came to pursuing opportunities that led her to break into the top ranks of the male-dominated finance industry.

What does it take to become an American? In 2015, This American Life told the story of a Somali refugee who was finally issued a visa to come and live in the United States. "This big smile was on my face. I've never had such a big smile," Abdi Nor Iftin said at the time.

The list of accolades is long for Rita Moreno. The 86-year-old is the only Latina — and one of just 12 artists overall — to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony for her work. This weekend, she received a different kind of award — for her advocacy. The Ellis Island Honors Society is giving her a medal of honor for her work with immigrant communities.

Many consider the running back Jim Brown the greatest American football player ever. But he's known as much more than an athlete — he's an activist, an actor, a thinker and a man with an alleged history of violence against women.

Here's how he's described in the opening paragraph of Dave Zirin's new biography, Jim Brown: Last Man Standing.

The first time Rumaan Alam appeared on NPR, Linda Wertheimer asked him how he developed "a nearly flawless ear for the way women talk." His debut novel Rich And Pretty followed two young women, best friends who grow up and, necessarily, apart.

How do we find a real connection in a digital world?

In Mary H.K. Choi's debut novel, Emergency Contact, Penny and Sam strike up a text-based romance, and soon become take-your-phone-to-the-bathroom inseparable. But for different reasons, they have trouble making it real.

Charlize Theron is 42 and says she has more to bring to the table now than she ever did in her 20s. In Hollywood and in society overall, she says, "It's so sad that we don't value women in their later years and celebrate their stories."

Her new film, Tully, focuses on one woman's midlife journey. She plays Marlo, a mother pregnant with her third child. "She really has to say goodbye to her past her in order to make room for this next chapter of her life," Theron explains.

Last week, a van plowed into a busy Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people in what appeared to be a deliberate act.

The suspect in the attack, Alek Minassian, was quickly linked to an online community of trolls and violent misogynists who call themselves "incels" — a term that stands for "involuntarily celibate."

Last year, when neo-Nazis and members of the so called alt-right demonstrated in Charlottesville, Va., many Americans evinced shock that such a thing could happen: A demonstration of the white power movement, in 2017. But it's only the latest in a history of social activism that goes back decades — and, as Kathleen Belew argues in her new book, Bring the War Home, we ignore that history at our peril.

Juliana Hatfield was a darling of the '90s indie music scene. She played with Blake Babies and The Lemonheads and had a hit with the edgy pop song, "My Sister." Hatfield released a string of alternative albums since those days, full of distorted guitars and strong vocals.

Zoologist Lucy Cooke says humans have got it all wrong about sloths. "People think that because the animal is slow that it's somehow useless and redundant," she says. But in fact, "they are incredibly successful creatures."

Cooke is the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society and the author of a new book called The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife. The book aims to set the record straight on some long-held misconceptions about the animal world.

When The Exorcist, based on the novel by William Blatty, came to theaters in 1973, it captured the public imagination. Or more accurately, the public's nightmares.

Exorcisms aren't just the stuff of horror movies — hundreds of thousands of Italian Catholics reportedly request them each year. But when William Friedkin directed the movie, he'd never actually seen an exorcism. It would be four more decades before he actually witnessed one.

Bailey Davis was a Saintsation — a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. That is, until she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece lace bodysuit on her private Instagram account.

The romance genre is a juggernaut that continues unabated.

It's a billion-dollar industry that outperforms all other book genres, and it's remarkably innovative, with a strong tradition of independent and self-publishing.

Marriage ... is what brings us together today. So naturally, we're talking to a divorce lawyer!

"We're raised to look at marriage as this milestone and we keep signing up for it," says James Sexton. "There are very few behaviors that end so badly so frequently that we would just sign up for it with such reckless abandon!"

Love, Simon is your typical teenage romantic comedy: a boy, a mystery love interest, misunderstandings, treachery and annoying teachers. The title character Simon is, in fact, deliberately typical.

"I'm just like you," Simon says in his opening voiceover. "I have a totally, perfectly normal life. Except I have one huge-ass secret."

Simon's big reveal is revealed right away: He tells us that he's gay. All that is intentional, according to director Greg Berlanti, who spoke to us in an interview.

When Von Diaz was growing up, her mother sent her away from her home outside Atlanta to spend summers in Puerto Rico. Diaz was born on the island in Rio Piedras, but she found the trips back disorienting. She didn't speak Spanish well. She lay awake at night, pestered by mosquitoes and wilting heat. In her grandmother's kitchen, she found relief in grilled cheese loaded with ground beef picadillo, aromatic olive oil infused with garlic and oregano, and fried cinnamon donuts.

Less than two years after Donald Trump won a western Pennsylvania congressional district by double digits, a special election race between a young Democrat and a deeply conservative Republican is now closer than either side had expected. The congressional race is being run in Pennsylvania's 18th district, but the March 13 election is expected to offer clues about how voters will turn out in the November midterms.

Since this frightened mom crossed the border with her son in early 2017, fleeing gang violence in El Salvador, she has felt bewildered by the vast complicated immigration system in the United States.

NPR is not using her name for her protection.

Terese Marie Mailhot started her new memoir, Heart Berries, while she was in a mental institution, where she had committed herself after a breakdown. The pages bleed with the pain of mental illness, lost love and her family history on an Indian reservation in British Columbia.

It's a collection of essays filled with what she called "heavy material": experiences of poverty, addiction and abuse. But she also says she's finding joy in cultivating art. She spoke with me about her work and her life from Spokane, Wash.

In the summer of 1967, Linda Walker was at Girl Scout camp in North Carolina when a lightning bolt struck her.

She says she was in a tent with three other girls when they all ran out after the crackle and boom. Walker was on the floor, unresponsive.

"But as Girl Scouts you always keep up with your buddy — you never lose track of your buddy," Walker says. "And my buddy walked out, ran out of the tent without me, but realized I wasn't with her and came back. Had she not done that, I wouldn't be here today ... because she saved my life."

Solar eclipses, supermoons, a star-studded night sky — for us earthlings, looking up into space can be a transformative experience.

But what about the other way around? What is it like to see the entire earth from space? Only a select group of astronauts have had that grand opportunity.

"There was actually a physical moment in time when we answered a puzzle — something that's puzzled us throughout the whole of human history: What did the Earth look like from the outside?" says science historian Christopher Potter.

In the 2012 best-selling novel Me Before You, an idealistic young Englishwoman named Louisa Clark becomes the caretaker of a wealthy businessman left paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. They fall in love. Then tragedy strikes, and Louisa is left to pick up the pieces.

This past week, a FedEx employee from Germantown, Tenn., made a massive discovery — and it wasn't in any packages. John Pace found the largest prime number known to humankind.

And that number goes on to more than 23 million digits.

"So it's longer than anybody really wants to sit down and hear," he says.

If you're not great at math, here's a primer: Prime numbers can only be divided by 1 and themselves.

Editor's note on Jan. 18: This story should have noted that artnet News was the first to report that the High Museum's proportion of nonwhite visitors has grown to 45 percent and now is close to the percentage of people of color who live in the Atlanta metropolitan area. That news site's report about the museum's "valuable case study" concerning how to diversify audiences is online here.

Just off a Houston freeway, in a strip mall with an Indian tailor and South Asian grocery store, is a small restaurant with an out-size reputation. It's called Himalaya and its chef and owner is a Houston institution.

Chef Kaiser Lashkari is a large man with a bushy salt-and-pepper mustache. He's constantly in motion — greeting clients, inspecting steaming dishes carried by busy waiters, calling out to his wife overseeing the kitchen. He offers us food before we've even sat down.

It's that time of year — Sugar Plum fairies dancing in delight, the Mouse King, a gorgeous Christmas party, a prince, and that instantly recognizable music.

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday perennial, but Wicked author Gregory Maguire's new novel Hiddensee — which is based on the Nutcracker tale — is not exactly meant for the kiddos. It tells the backstory of the powerful toymaker, Herr Drosselmeier, who gives the Nutcracker to Clara.

If you're reading this through some kind of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi gadget, here's an interesting fact: Some ideas behind that technology can be traced back to a famous actress from the 1930s. Her name was Hedy Lamarr.

In a new hour-long special, "Sexual Harassment: A Moment of Reckoning," Weekend Edition Sunday host Lulu Garcia-Navarro takes a deep dive into a national conversation that is growing louder by the day.

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