Fresh Air

Weekdays, Noon-1pm; repeat at midnight

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

Visit the Fresh Air website for more information.

Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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12:32pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Into Darkness,' Boldly And With A Few Twists

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Zoe Saldana is Uhura and Zachary Quinto is Spock in the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek: Into Darkness, the 12th installment in the franchise.
Zade Rosenthal Paramount Pictures

Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original Star Trek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.

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1:08pm

Wed May 15, 2013
Book Reviews

Coming To 'Americanah': Two Tales Of Immigrant Experience

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:34 pm

JOZZ iStockPhoto.com

First things first: Can we talk about hair? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a big knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color; but, as Adichie has said in interviews, she also knows that black women's hair can speak volumes about racial politics.

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1:08pm

Wed May 15, 2013
Movie Interviews

A Polley Family Secret, Pieced Deftly Together

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 3:04 pm

For her latest film, Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley turns her camera on her own family.
Roadside Attractions

Sarah Polley earned wide acclaim for directing the drama Away from Her, about a woman fading into the twilight of Alzheimer's, as well as for her acting performances in an array of films including The Sweet Hereafter and My Life Without Me. Her latest film, Stories We Tell, is a documentary, though — and a personal one at that.

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1:22pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Movie Interviews

Gerwig, Baumbach Poke At Post-College Pangs

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 2:33 pm

Director Noah Baumbach has made a name for himself with films such as The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding.
Wilson Webb IFC Films

In the film Frances Ha, Greta Gerwig stars as the title character, a 27-year-old living a good but not particularly successful post-college life in New York City.

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12:07pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Music Reviews

Dawes Knows Where It's Been And Where It's Headed

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 9:27 am

Noah Abrams Big Hassle

If you heard the Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface" and said, "Somebody's been listening to their old Jackson Browne albums," you're not exactly insulting Dawes. The band has actually backed Browne on tour — and Browne has sung backup on at least one of its songs — so you could say that Dawes comes by its riffs and phrasing honestly.

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1:38pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Author Interviews

In 'Passage', Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:39 pm

Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
NASA Getty Images

For the past 37 years, Robert Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.

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12:59pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Music Reviews

Bing Crosby: From The Vaults, Surprising Breadth

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:27 pm

A batch of reissues and archival releases from Bing Crosby's own vaults is getting a high-profile relaunch. Above, Crosby circa 1956.
Courtesy of Universal Music

Bing Crosby was the biggest thing in pop singing in the 1930s, a star on radio and in the movies. He remained a top star in the '40s, when Frank Sinatra began giving him competition.

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9:03am

Sat May 11, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Messud, Volk And Scorsese

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 11:12 am

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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12:12pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Interviews

The 'Real Life' Of Actor Steve Carell

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

Steve Carell spent six years as Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott on NBC's The Office before departing the show in 2011.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 24, 2007.

By the end of The-40-Year-Old Virgin, the title character had lost his virginity — and actor Steve Carell had become a star.

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12:12pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Interviews

Rainn Wilson: 'The Office' Drone Outside Of Work

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 30, 2008.

While his Office character always took himself seriously, actor Rainn Wilson seems to be all about the laughs. For the entirety of the series, Wilson has played beet-farming, archery-loving middle-management kook Dwight Schrute on the NBC hit television series.

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12:12pm

Fri May 10, 2013
Interviews

Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office'

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 3, 2008.

For nearly a decade, Jenna Fischer has played Pam, one of The Office's most recognizably real characters.

If you've ever worked in a clerical position in an alienating office, you'll relate to what Pam goes through. In this interview, Fischer tells Terry Gross about creating all those pained looks and knowing smiles — and about how her five years as an office temp helped to prepare her for the role.

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1:51pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Author Interviews

'The Woman Upstairs': A Saga Of Anger And Thwarted Ambition

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:59 pm

Picture of an old attic
Minas Panagiotakis iStockPhoto.com

"How angry am I? You don't want to know. Nobody wants to know." Those are the opening lines of Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs. The novel is about a single woman, Nora, who hasn't fulfilled her dreams of being an artist and having children. Nora's plight is complicated when she befriends a woman who has done both.

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1:29pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Television

In A Cluster Of New Sitcoms, 'Family Tree' Stands Tall

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:29 pm

In the new HBO series Family Tree, Chris O'Dowd (above left, with the series' writer-director-producer Christopher Guest) stars as a guy who has just lost his job and girlfriend and fills the void by looking into his family genealogy.
HBO

Christopher Guest, co-creator with Jim Piddock of the new HBO comedy series Family Tree, obviously is having a good time making this show — and it's contagious. It's several shows in one, and every element is a self-assured little delight.

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12:20pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Remembrances

Remembering Monster-Maker Ray Harryhausen

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:19 pm

Medusa from 1981's Clash of the Titans is among legendary animator Ray Harryhausen's many creations.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Ray Harryhausen, who died Tuesday in London at age 92, became fascinated with animation after seeing King Kong in 1933. He went on to create some of the most memorable monsters of old Hollywood, from dinosaurs to mythological creatures.

His monsters, however, were never completely divorced from the real world.

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2:33pm

Wed May 8, 2013
Economy

Nearly Three Years After Dodd-Frank, Reforms Happen Slowly

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 3:06 pm

loveguli iStockPhoto.com

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as the Dodd-Frank bill. Reporter Gary Rivlin says "the passage of Dodd-Frank was something of a miracle." But to the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents 100 of the country's largest financial institutions, it was just "halftime."

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11:30am

Wed May 8, 2013
Movie Reviews

Natalie Maines: A Country-Music Rebel Rocks On Her Own

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 3:06 pm

Natalie Maines, former singer for the Dixie Chicks, placed the group at the center of controversy in 2003, when she publicly criticized George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
Danny Clinch Courtesy of the artist

Natalie Maines doesn't hesitate to make audacious moves, and wresting away "Mother" — Roger Waters' hymn to oppressive maternal authority figures from Pink Floyd — is the biggest one on her first solo album. Maines takes the "Mother" from Pink Floyd's The Wall and deconstructs it, emotional brick by emotional brick.

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3:18pm

Tue May 7, 2013
Author Interviews

'Shocked': Patricia Volk's Memoir About Beauty And Its Beholders

Patricia Volk is an essayist, novelist and memoirist. She recounts her experiences growing up in a restaurant-owning family in New York City, in her memoir Stuffed.
Random House

Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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1:20pm

Tue May 7, 2013
Movies

Scorsese Talks 'The Language of Cinema'

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:34 pm

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Martin Scorsese is a legend of a director — and he's also a great film teacher, a man who balances a passion for the medium with a deep knowledge of its history. Delivering this year's installment of the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Jefferson Lecture — a talk he titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema" — Scorsese demonstrated his speaking chops as well.

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1:54pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Television

Linney Mines 'The Big C' For Serious Laughs

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

Laura Linney and Alan Alda star in The Big C, now in its fourth season on Showtime. Linney took on the role not long before her own father died of cancer.
Showtime

From a young age, Laura Linney knew what she wanted to do with her life: act. There was no question.

She was a drama nerd in high school, and went onto Juilliard to study theater. But film acting was never the dream, and movie stardom definitely wasn't the goal.

"I was always completely intimidated by film," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I was not the sort of person who grew up thinking, 'Oh, I want to be in the movies.' I loved movies; I just didn't think I particularly belonged there."

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12:56pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Book Reviews

Godwin's 'Flora': A Tale Of Remorse That Creeps Under Your Skin

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

Gail Godwin, whose latest novel is Flora, has been a finalist for the National Book Award and a Guggenheim fellow.
David Hermon Bloomsbury Press

Gail Godwin says one of the inspirations for her new novel, called Flora, is Henry James' ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge. There are ghosts in Flora, too: specters that arise out of what our narrator calls her "remorse." Godwin had me at that word, "remorse": It's such a great, old-fashioned word, and it suggests that there'll be a lot of awful things going on in this novel that will need to be atoned for.

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11:39am

Mon May 6, 2013
Music Reviews

Caitlin Rose: A Singer Grounded In The Details Of Yearning

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

Caitlin Rose's newest album is titled The Stand-In.

"Pink Champagne," a song on Caitlin Rose's second album The Stand-In, presents Rose's voice in its sparest purity and veiled shrewdness. She sends her voice skyward, the notes as buoyant and light as the bubbles of the pink champagne she's singing about. Her high trills could, with only a slight shift in tone and attitude, become self-conscious with a Betty Boop coyness, as they do once or twice on The Stand-In. But most of the time, Rose keeps her music grounded in the details of yearning, heartache and a welcome sense of gratefulness and enthused energy.

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9:03am

Sat May 4, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Maron, Violent Minds And A Classic Documentary

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 12:44 pm

Marc Maron, whose latest book is Attempting Normal, is also the author of The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life As a Reluctant Messiah.
Leigh Righton Spiegel & Grau

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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11:41am

Fri May 3, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Iron Man 3': Tony Stark As Homebrew Hero

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 4:01 pm

In Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises hers as his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.
Paramout Pictures

The third time might be the charm for some things, but the number three after a movie title is typically shorthand for a deal with the devil.

The studio thinks there's more money to be squeezed from a particular property, and voila: Spider-Man 3, Superman III, The Godfather — God help us — Part III. OK, The Godfather's a special case. Most other threes, though, are what happens when a too-thin plot meets a too-fat budget.

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10:08am

Fri May 3, 2013
Movie Interviews

Bradley Cooper Finds 'Silver Linings' Everywhere

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 12:37 pm

Bradley Cooper was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2012 role in the film Silver Linings Playbook.
Jojo Whilden The Weinstein Company

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 7, 2013.

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3:51pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Author Interviews

Ethical Fashion: Is The Tragedy In Bangladesh A Final Straw?

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:05 pm

Casual clothing detail fashion background made in the USA
iStockPhoto.com

A garment factory that manufactures products for international clothing companies collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, last month, killing more than 400 workers and injuring scores of others. It came on the heels of a fire at another factory in November 2012; that incident killed 112 workers.

Factories like these in Bangladesh pump out what author Elizabeth Cline calls "fast fashion," or clothes made on the cheap by big chains such as H&M, Zara, Esprit, Lee, Wrangler, Nike, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart.

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3:51pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Movie Reviews

Peeling Away The Layers In A 'Portrait Of Jason'

Jason Holliday (nee Aaron Payne) is the soloist in front of the camera in Shirley Clarke's seminal 1967 documentary, Portrait of Jason.
Milestone Film

If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.

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1:42pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Movie Reviews

Two Indie Directors Go Confidently Mainstream

In Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price, Zac Efron stars as a teen rebelling against his family and dreaming of becoming a professional race car driver. Sound like a generic summer pic? Critic David Edelstein says the film has "a hell of a sting in its tail."
Hooman Bahrani Sony Pictures Classics

Studios are putting most of their eggs in $100 million baskets these days, even as American independent filmmakers go hungry from lack of mainstream attention. But two of my favorite American indie writer-directors, Jeff Nichols and Ramin Bahrani, have new films with bigger stars than they've had before — films they hope will break through to wider audiences. The results, at least artistically, are impressive.

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1:22pm

Wed May 1, 2013
Author Interviews

Criminologist Believes Violent Behavior Is Biological

iStockphoto.com

Twenty years ago, when brain imaging made it possible for researchers to study the minds of violent criminals and compare them to the brain imaging of "normal" people, a whole new field of research — neurocriminology — opened up.

Adrian Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers and has since continued to study the brains of violent criminals and psychopaths. His research has convinced him that while there is a social and environmental element to violent behavior, there's another side of the coin, and that side is biology.

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12:04pm

Tue April 30, 2013
Interviews

C.J. Chivers: On The Ground In Syria

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

Gmutlu iStockphoto.com

New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers, has spent much of the past year with the rebels in Syria, and has written poignantly about the impact of the fighting on the lives of ordinary Syrians and its devastating impact on that ancient land. Before becoming a journalist Chivers was a Marine and his knowledge of the military sometimes leads him to stories that only an insider would see.

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12:47pm

Mon April 29, 2013
Author Interviews

Marc Maron: A Life Fueled By 'Panic And Dread'

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 2:15 pm

Marc Maron, whose latest book is Attempting Normal, is also the author of The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life As a Reluctant Messiah.
Leigh Righton Spiegel & Grau

When Marc Maron started his podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" out of his garage in September 2009, he was in a dark place: He was going through a divorce, his comedy career had hit a wall and — in his mid-40s — he didn't have a Plan B.

"I was at a place in my life where I had gotten very cynical," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had lost a lot of hope for my comedy and everything else, and I really feel that I was no longer able to really appreciate other people's stories. I had lost my ability to really kind of listen and enjoy the company of other people."

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