Fresh Air

Weekdays at noon and 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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2:36pm

Tue June 17, 2014
Author Interviews

Joshua Ferris Takes On Atheism In 'To Rise Again'

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 4:11 pm

Joshua Ferris has written two other novels — The Unnamed and Then We Came to the End.
Beowulf Sheehan Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.

Staring into the mouths of his patients all day, the dentist in Joshua Ferris' new novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, becomes obsessed with decay and death. He wishes he had religious faith and could believe in something larger than himself, but to him church is "a dark bus station of the soul."

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2:36pm

Tue June 17, 2014
Music

Parquet Courts' Misery Is Exhilarating

Parquet Courts is a Brooklyn by way of Texas band that has just released its new third record, Sunbathing Animal. The quartet has drawn comparisons to New York rock and punk acts as various as the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, and Sonic Youth, but rock critic Ken Tucker says this album proves Parquet Courts is an original.

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3:43pm

Mon June 16, 2014
Remembrances

'Fresh Air' Remembers Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:19 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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3:43pm

Mon June 16, 2014
Interviews

'Fargo' TV Series Captures The Best And Worst Of America

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 10:46 am

Allison Tolman plays Deputy Sheriff Molly Solverson in the FX TV series Fargo. It's a breakout role for the actress who had done only theater and commercials.
Chris Large

The season finale of the FX TV series Fargo airs Tuesday. The series is an "original adaptation" of Joel and Ethan Coen's 1996 film, a dark comedy set in the wintry landscape of rural Minnesota. Nearly 20 years ago, the film won Oscars for best screenplay and best actress.

The 10-episode TV series has a different story and characters, but critics agree that it captured the look and tone of the film, mixing eccentric characters and deadpan humor with sudden and savage violence.

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3:43pm

Mon June 16, 2014
Pop Culture

A-List Celebrities Flock To Late-Night 'Graham Norton Show'

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Now that the late-night talk show wars have settled down again, our TV critic David Bianculli says there's a talk show we should be watching that's not broadcast by CBS, NBC or ABC or even Comedy Central. It's "The Graham Norton Show," imported by BBC America and shown on Saturday nights. Here's David's review.

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9:03am

Sat June 14, 2014
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Supermensch,' Conference Calls And John Waters

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 12:00 pm

In addition to managing careers, Gordon (left) was also instrumental in creating personas — he was the one who dreamed up some of Alice Cooper's (right) onstage antics.
Dogwoof Films

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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2:58pm

Fri June 13, 2014
Author Interviews

'Lawrence' Of Arabia: From Archaeologist To War Hero

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:34 am

Scott Anderson's book explains how British officer T.E. Lawrence used his knowledge of Arab culture and medieval history to advance British causes. Originally broadcast Aug. 19, 2013.

2:58pm

Fri June 13, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Obvious Child': A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 4:33 pm

Jenny Slate plays Donna, a standup comic who gets pregnant after sleeping with an earnest, Vermont-bred business student named Max (Jake Lacy).
Courtesy of A24 Films

Obvious Child centers on Donna Stern, an aspiring standup comic in her late 20s who's out of her depth in the grown-up world. After getting smashed and having unprotected sex with a guy she barely knows, Donna discovers she's pregnant and decides to have an abortion. It shouldn't be a particularly earthshaking turn. But in a world of rom-coms like Knocked Up and Juno, in which the heroines make the heartwarming decision to go ahead with their pregnancies, this modest little indie movie feels momentous.

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4:01pm

Thu June 12, 2014
Politics

Hillary Clinton: The Fresh Air Interview

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 12:40 pm

Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Hard Choices, outlines her four years as secretary of state under President Obama. She talks about her vote for the Iraq War, women's rights and political "gamers."
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Hillary Clinton is on a national book tour for her new memoir, Hard Choices. The book outlines her four years as secretary of state during President Obama's first term, when she met with leaders all over the world.

One of her priorities was to campaign for gay rights and women's rights. She says she saw the "full gamut" on how women were treated, and in some cases it was "painful to observe."

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3:43pm

Wed June 11, 2014
The Fresh Air Interview

In Big Bill Broonzy's Blues, Brothers Find A Way To Sing Together

Dave (left) and Phil Alvin.
Beth Herzhaft Courtesy of the artist

4:04pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Author Interviews

John Waters Hitchhikes Across America, And Lives To Write About It

"My early films look terrible!" says filmmaker John Waters. "I didn't know what I was doing. I learned when I was doing it. I never went to film school." Waters, who is known for films such as the outlandish Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, has written a new book, Carsick.
Kathy Willens AP

Film director and writer John Waters has broken many taboos and created intentionally perverse scenarios in his films — most notably in Pink Flamingos, about a competition for the title "the filthiest person alive."

Waters, who is now 68, was looking for an adventure he could write about. So he decided to hitchhike cross-country from his home in Baltimore to his co-op apartment in San Francisco.

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3:31pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Book Reviews

'Rise And Fall' Carries On Vagabond Adventure Tale Tradition

guldfisken via Flickr

Any novel that opens on a young American woman running a bookshop in a small town nestled in the Welsh countryside promises a glimpse into a life lived far from the madding crowd. That's the quaint plotline Tom Rachman's new novel tells uninterruptedly for the length of one brief chapter. Thereafter, Rachman returns only occasionally to the World's End bookshop and its shelves sporting idiosyncratic labels like: Artists Who Were Unpleasant to Their Spouses; History, the Dull Bits; and Books You Pretend to Have Read but Haven't.

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3:33pm

Mon June 9, 2014
Movie Interviews

Invisible 'Supermensch' Avoided The Spotlight While Making Others Famous

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 4:48 pm

In Supermensch, talent agent Shep Gordon recalls arriving in Los Angeles in 1968, dropping acid and getting slugged by a woman who later identified herself as Janis Joplin.
Dogwoof Films

Shep Gordon's job is managing musicians and chefs and turning them into stars. Gordon created celebrities out of the likes of Alice Cooper and Anne Murray, but he says fame isn't necessarily a good thing.

"I made excuses to myself for how I made a living and tried to do it as honorably as I could, but I can't say that I'm proud," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. " ... If you make someone famous, they have to pay a price."

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11:35am

Sat June 7, 2014
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Raisin In The Sun,' 'Orange Is The New Black,' China's 'Ambition'

Denzel Washington plays Walter Lee, the role played by Sidney Poitier in the 1959 Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Sophie Okonedo, known for her Academy Award nomination for Hotel Rwanda, plays Ruth Younger in her New York stage debut.
Brigitte Lacombe

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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1:02pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Television

New Season Of 'Orange Is The New Black' Has A Strong, Unsettling Start

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 5:31 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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1:02pm

Fri June 6, 2014
Movie Reviews

Beautiful Acting Aside, It Isn't Hard To Find Fault In 'Our Stars'

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 3:40 pm

Ansel Elgort (Augustus) and Shailene Woodley (Hazel) star in The Fault in Our Stars, the film adaptation of John Green's bestselling young adult novel about two teens with cancer.
James Bridges Twentieth Century Fox

I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars — at the movie they'll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn't cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered. But it's gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it's not in the stars.

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3:35pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Sports

For Jockey Donna Barton Brothers, Horse Racing Runs In The Family

Brothers rides down the front stretch before the 88th Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2012, in Baltimore.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

When the thoroughbreds burst out of the starting gate at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, fans will have their eyes on California Chrome as a potential Triple Crown winner. And there to interview the winner on horseback will be Donna Barton Brothers, an analyst for NBC Sports.

Before she was an analyst, Brothers had a distinguished career as a jockey, winning more than 1,100 races before retiring in 1998. When she retired, Brothers tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, she knew it was time to get out in part because it started to feel dangerous.

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3:19pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Theater

1936 'Show Boat': A Multiracial, Musical Melodrama, Now Out On DVD

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 9:32 am

Allan Jones plays debonair leading man Gaylord Ravenal and Irene Dunne is the enchanting Magnolia in the 1936 film version of Show Boat, which has just been released on DVD.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Broadway had never seen anything like it when Show Boat arrived at the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1927. The score was unforgettable and the story tackled complex racial issues. There have been three movie versions, but the best one — James Whale's 1936 production — has only just been released on DVD.

Show Boat was the first great serious Broadway musical. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, who wrote the songs, and Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., who produced it, departed from typical musical comedy material, with its chorus lines and songs showcasing star performers.

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3:28pm

Wed June 4, 2014
Music

Miranda Lambert's 'Platinum' Has Backyard Swagger

Miranda Lambert's new album is called Platinum. Lambert has become one of the best-selling artists in country music, and one of the most critically acclaimed. Rock critic Ken Tucker says her new album continues Lambert's ongoing project to create songs about women who are complex, fun-loving, and assertive.

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3:28pm

Wed June 4, 2014
Law

'Burning Down The House' Makes The Case Against Juvenile Incarceration

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 4:57 pm

The American rate of juvenile incarceration is seven times that of Great Britain, and 18 times that of France. It costs, on average, $88,000 a year to keep a youth locked up — far more than the U.S. spends on a child's education.

But the biggest problem with juvenile incarceration, author Nell Bernstein tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, is that instead of helping troubled kids get their lives back on track, detention usually makes their problems worse, and sets them in the direction of more crime and self-destructive behavior.

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3:00pm

Tue June 3, 2014
All Tech Considered

Have We Reached The End Of The Line For The Conference Call?

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 3:53 pm

iStockphoto

Humans have put a man on the moon, harnessed the atom and built supercomputers that can perform quadrillions of calculations per second. But try to get five people with telephones talking to each other and our high-tech society can break down.

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3:00pm

Tue June 3, 2014
World

A 'New Yorker' Writer's Take On China's 'Age Of Ambition'

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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3:00pm

Tue June 3, 2014
Music

Golem Ain't Your Grandparents' Klezmer

The New York City band Golem describe their music as punk-klezmer. Music critic Milo Miles says that on the group's new album, Tanz, they mange to find new ways to balance urban irreverence with folk tradition.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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3:09pm

Mon June 2, 2014
Theater

'Raisin In The Sun' Revival: A Uniquely American Story Is Back On Broadway

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 4:05 pm

Denzel Washington plays Walter Lee, the role played by Sidney Poitier in the 1959 Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Sophie Okonedo, known for her Academy Award nomination for Hotel Rwanda, plays Ruth Younger in her New York stage debut.
Brigitte Lacombe

Denzel Washington and LaTanya Richardson Jackson have received rave reviews for their starring roles in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. The play by Lorraine Hansberry debuted on Broadway in 1959 and was adapted to a film two years later. The current production ends its run on June 15.

"I'm in tears because it has truly been the highlight of my theatrical career," Jackson tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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3:09pm

Mon June 2, 2014
Music Reviews

John Fullbright's Uneven 'Songs' Finds A Way To Fascinate

John Fullbright's new album is called Songs.
Courtesy of the artist

John Fullbright's Songs is the most interestingly uneven album I've heard in a while. The work of a smart young man, it's also the work of a self-conscious young man who's prone to mistaking articulate melancholy for wisdom. Fullbright's debut album contained bold melodies and told stories about daydreamers and offbeat people. On Songs, Fullbright opts for pure mood-setting, sounding morose in an attempt to signal subtle passion, but that's not really how it plays out.

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3:08pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Chris O'Dowd, The Nazi War On Modern Art And Cannes

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:26 pm

Max Beckmann's biblical and political triptych Departure (right) hangs on the same wall as Adolf Ziegler's Four Elements triptych, which Hitler owned. Both pieces are part of the Neue Galerie's "Degenerate Art" exhibit.
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

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:

Read more

11:47am

Fri May 30, 2014
Music Reviews

Jazz Pianist Ted Rosenthal Has A Feel For Gershwin

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:45 am

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. Ted Rosenthal an early winter of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition has played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" solo and with symphonic and jazz orchestras. Now he's recorded a version for jazz trio as part of the problem. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Rosenthal has a real feel for the material.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RHAPSODY IN BLUE")

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11:47am

Fri May 30, 2014
Interviews

Phoenix To Self: 'Why Am I Talking About This? ... Joaquin, Shut Up'

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 3:30 pm

Joaquin Phoenix's Her character, Theodore, has a job writing intimate — and sometimes erotic — cards and letters on behalf of other people.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 21, 2014.

Joaquin Phoenix started his acting career in 1982, when he was about 8, on an episode of the TV series Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. (His brother, the late River Phoenix, was a regular in the series.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still vividly remembers his first time on a set.

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2:18pm

Thu May 29, 2014
NPR Story

From The Screen To Broadway: Chris O'Dowd Takes On 'Of Mice And Men'

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:50 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest, the Irish actor Chris O'Dowd, was introduced to a large American audience through the film "Bridesmaids," in which he co-starred as a police officer with a crush on Annie, played by Kristen Wiig.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BRIDESMAIDS")

KRISTIN WIIG: (As Annie) I didn't know that you could be a cop here if you weren't a citizen.

O'DOWD: (As Rhodes) You can't.

WIIG: (As Annie) No?

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2:18pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Fine Art

'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:28 pm

The Neue Galerie exhibit's empty frames represent paintings that were lost or destroyed by the Nazis. They appear beside works that survived Nazi rule, like George Grosz's Portrait of the Writer Max Hermann-Neisse (lower right).
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York's Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Joseph Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hidebound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be "degenerate," a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture.

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