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Charles Dance

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

With monster trucks and Comic-Con, Saudis defy killjoy image

Monster trucks, hip-hop dancing and Game of Thrones all have one surprising thing in common now: Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom, which bans movie theaters and other entertainment venues, is challenging its ultraconservative image and loosening the reins on fun by opening its doors to live shows, including some American ones.

Clerics and many citizens still consider it all very sinful, but the growing entertainment scene has a powerful backer — the second-in-line to the throne. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's support is key to this cultural push, which also means the fun is tightly controlled.

Still, it's a notable shift from just a few years ago, when the...

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