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

Fri January 18, 2013
Author Interviews

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:41 pm

An illustration shows heretics being tortured and nailed to wooden posts during the first Inquisition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 23, 2012.

The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.

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1:13pm

Thu January 17, 2013
Around the Nation

'Grayest Generation': Older Parenthood In The U.S.

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:47 pm

iStockphoto.com

In a December article for The New Republic, "The Grayest Generation: How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society," the magazine's science editor Judith Shulevitz points out how the growing trend toward later parenthood since 1970 coincides with a rise in neurocognitive and developmental disorders among children.

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1:05pm

Thu January 17, 2013
Book Reviews

How A 'Madwoman' Upended A Literary Boys Club

This week, the National Book Critics Circle announced that two feminist literary scholars, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, would be the recipients of its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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10:53am

Wed January 16, 2013
Movie Interviews

'Quartet': Dustin Hoffman, Behind The Camera

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 3:08 pm

Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with the film Quartet. He has starred in such classics as The Graduate, Kramer vs. Kramer and Tootsie.
Kerry Brown The Weinstein Company

In December, the actor Dustin Hoffman sat in a box seat at the Kennedy Center as his old friend, Robert De Niro, saluted him at a celebration marking one of the highest accolades for an artist in the United States: a Kennedy Center Honor.

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1:15pm

Tue January 15, 2013
Book Reviews

George Saunders Lives Up To The Hype

George Saunders' previous books include In Persuasion Nation and The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip. He won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006.
Basso Cannarsa Courtesy Random House

I was baffled by the cover of The New York Times Magazine two Sundays ago. You may remember that the headline of the cover story was: "George Saunders Has Written The Best Book You'll Read This Year." I was baffled because the only George Saunders I could think of was that old movie star who was always playing cads in films like Rebecca and All About Eve.

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10:22am

Tue January 15, 2013
Movie Interviews

Affleck On 'Argo' And The 1979 Hostage Crisis

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 1:11 pm

Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo. Affleck also directed the film, which is based on events surrounding the Iran hostage crisis of 1979.
Keith Bernstein Warner Brothers

At Sunday's Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.

The film, which Affleck produced and in which he also stars, is the mostly true story of the CIA operative who helmed the rescue of six U.S. diplomats who managed to escape at the outset of the 1979 Iran crisis that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran.

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1:16pm

Mon January 14, 2013
Author Interviews

Retired Bishop Gene Robinson On Being Gay And Loving God

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:25 pm

Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, has retired. He'll start working with the Center for American Progress, a progressive research and policy organization, on issues of faith and gay rights.
BProud Photography Knopf

For many years, it didn't occur to Bishop Gene Robinson — the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church — that he might retire before age 72, the mandatory retirement age for Episcopal bishops. But then, in 2010, Mary Glasspool, who is also openly gay, was elected bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles and, for the first time, Robinson reconsidered his retirement plans.

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11:19am

Mon January 14, 2013
Commentary

"The Whole Nine Yards" Of What?

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:25 pm

There are those who say the phrase "the whole nine yards" comes from a joke about a prodigiously well-endowed Scotsman who gets his kilt caught in a door.
iStockPhoto

Where does the phrase "the whole nine yards" come from? In 1982, William Safire called that "one of the great etymological mysteries of our time."

He thought the phrase originally referred to the capacity of a cement truck in cubic yards. But there are plenty of other theories.

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9:03am

Sat January 12, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Civil War, 'Downton' And 'Girls'

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:43 am

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

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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12:46pm

Fri January 11, 2013
Music Reviews

Grant Green: The 'Holy Barbarian' Of St. Louis Jazz

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 8:14 am

Grant Green.
Courtesy of the artist

Grant Green, The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959 could be the name of a fine stage play, perhaps based on the actual circumstances of the recording. One musician on the way up, another past his moment in the limelight and one more who had his chance but never quite made it all convene on Christmas night, part of their week-long stand at the Holy Barbarian, a beatnik hangout replete with chess players and a local artist painting portraits.

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11:40am

Fri January 11, 2013
Television

Lena Dunham Addresses Criticism Aimed At 'Girls'

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:25 pm

Girls has been compared to Sex and the City. The characters, played by (from left) Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet, navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.
HBO

This interview was originally broadcast on May 7, 2012.

Lena Dunham was just 23 years old when her second feature film, Tiny Furniture, won the best narrative feature prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The movie's success led to Dunham striking a deal with HBO for a comedy series about a group of 20-something girls navigating New York City.

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8:33am

Fri January 11, 2013
Television

Season Two Brings Changes For 'Girls'

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:25 pm

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Of all the cable comedies returning with new episodes Sunday, Girls is the most ambitious — as well as the most unpredictable, and occasionally unsettling.

When thirtysomething premiered on ABC more than 25 years ago — yes, it's been that long — that drama series was both embraced and attacked for focusing so intently on the problems of self-obsessed people in their 30s. What that drama did for that generation, Girls does for a new one — and for an even younger demographic, by presenting a quartet of young women in their mid-20s.

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5:01pm

Thu January 10, 2013
Author Interviews

In 'Sliver Of Sky,' Barry Lopez Confronts Childhood Sexual Abuse

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:03 pm

Barry Lopez
David Liittschwager Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper's Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.

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12:25pm

Wed January 9, 2013
Theater

Bobby Cannavale, At Home On Broadway

Bobby Cannavale (right) stars in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. Cannavale has also starred in television shows such as HBO's Boardwalk Empire and in films such as The Station Agent.
Scott Landis JRA Broadway

Bobby Cannavale may have acted in film and on television, but at heart, he's a theater guy. Always has been, always will be.

Last season he starred as Gyp Rosetti on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He's currently on Broadway opposite Al Pacino in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross -- but the stage has been his calling since he was a kid growing up in Union City, N.J.

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10:54am

Wed January 9, 2013
Music Reviews

'Nashville' Soundtrack Stands On Its Own

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 2:08 pm

Connie Britton (pictured) and Hayden Panetierre star as country singers of different generations on the ABC series Nashville.
Courtesy of ABC

"Telescope," the fictional hit single by the fictional country star Juliette Barnes on Nashville, is sung by the actress who plays Juliette, Hayden Panetierre. If it didn't become a real-life hit when the song was released a few months ago to country radio stations, it wasn't for lack of catchiness, courtesy of producers T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller.

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1:50pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Author Interviews

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the document was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army.

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12:47pm

Tue January 8, 2013
Music Reviews

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:50 pm

Joe Barry was a pioneer of "swamp-pop" in the early 1960s.
Johnny Vallis

Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

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1:35pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Movie Reviews

Mozart's Starring Role In 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'

John Schlesinger's 1971 film Sunday Bloody Sunday has just been released on Blu-ray. The film's complex love triangle starred Peter Finch, Murray Head and Glenda Jackson.
The Kobal Collection

Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of those films that lets you into the lives of believable, complicated characters. A handsome, self-centered young artist played by the actor/rock singer Murray Head is having simultaneous affairs with both an older woman (played with infinitely nuanced self-irony by Glenda Jackson) and an older man, a Jewish doctor (the touching Peter Finch), two intelligent adults who have mutual friends and even know each other slightly.

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1:23pm

Mon January 7, 2013
Television

Julian Fellowes On The Rules Of 'Downton'

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. The third season premiered on PBS Sunday.
WGBH/PBS

Julian Fellowes may be the Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, but the English screenwriter, director and novelist says his background "was much more ordinary than the newspapers have made it." What he means is that he did not grow up with servants waiting on him hand and foot, as people have seen done for the Crawley family on Downton Abbey, the hit television series Fellowes created. The third season premiered Sunday.

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9:03am

Sat January 5, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Tarantino, Waltz, 'Downton'

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 3:16 pm

Christoph Waltz (right, with Jamie Foxx) stars in Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained.
Andrew Cooper The Weinstein Company

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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12:26pm

Fri January 4, 2013
Book Reviews

'A Grain Of Truth' About Memory And Modern Poland

My mother is Polish, which meant that during the holidays when I was a kid, we broke out the polka records and kielbasa for special occasion meals from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Certainly, nostalgia for those belch-y festivities of yore led me to A Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski, a Polish mystery novel that unexpectedly turns out to be as hard-boiled as the skin around a circlet of that ubiquitous holiday kielbasa.

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11:38am

Fri January 4, 2013
Remembrances

Remembering 'Rescue Me' Singer Fontella Bass

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Soul and gospel singer Fontella Bass, whose 1965 hit "Rescue Me" endures as one of the most recognizable soul records of the '60s, died last week on the day after Christmas. She was 72 years old. Despite the success of "Rescue Me," it was the number one R&B single for four weeks, it took years of litigation before Bass could claim her share of songwriting credit and royalties. In 1993, she sued American Express for using the song in a commercial and received what she said was a significant settlement.

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11:33am

Fri January 4, 2013
Author Interviews

Frank Calabrese Jr. On Opening His 'Family Secrets'

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:04 pm

Defendants in the "Operation Family Secrets" trial included Frank Calabrese Sr. (clockwise from left), Joey Lombardo, Anthony Doyle, Paul Shiro and James Marcello. The men are pictured during an Aug. 15, 2007, court hearing in Chicago.
Verna Sadock AP

This interview was originally broadcast on March 14, 2011. Frank Calabrese's father, the Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., died on Christmas Day.

When Frank Calabrese Jr. was a teenager, his father came home one night and took him into the bathroom for a chat.

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2:02pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Africa

Northern Mali: A Violent Islamist Stronghold

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:16 pm

A Malian troop member checks bushes after a military raid in the Wagoudou forest.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

This past spring, Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida took control of northern Mali after a coup destabilized the country. Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north — but has had to do so by telephone. The kidnapping threat for reporters covering the conflict is virtually 100 percent, he says.

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2:02pm

Thu January 3, 2013
Television

'Downton' Returns With Aristocratic Class And Clash

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:16 pm

Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of Downton Abbey, starting Sunday on PBS. Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece

Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.

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11:56am

Wed January 2, 2013
Remembrances

Western Star Harry Carey Jr., 1921-2012

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 1:57 pm

We'll listen back to a 1989 interview with actor Harry Carey Jr., who died Dec. 27. Carey co-starred with John Wayne in the classic Westerns She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and 3 Godfathers. He talked to Fresh Air about filming epic cavalry-versus-Indian scenes — and his most challenging stunts.

11:48am

Wed January 2, 2013
Movie Interviews

Quentin Tarantino, 'Unchained' And Unruly

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:46 pm

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino, seen here at a 2009 screening of Inglourious Basterds, tells Terry Gross that the only film violence that truly disturbs him involves actual harm to animals.
Evan Agostini AP

Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired revenge film set in the antebellum South; it's about a former slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to target the plantation owner who owns his wife.

The cinematic violence that has come to characterize Tarantino's work as a screenwriter and director — from Reservoir Dogs at the start of his career in 1992 to 2009's Inglourious Basterds -- is front and center again in Django. And he's making no apologies.

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10:05am

Wed January 2, 2013
Movie Interviews

Jack Black: On Music, Mayhem And Murder

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:44 pm

In Bernie, Jack Black plays a small-town mortician who murders his live-in companion after she won't stop nagging him. The movie is based on a true story.
Deana Newcomb Wind Dancer Films

This interview was originally broadcast on April 23, 2012.

Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his film Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.

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10:05am

Wed January 2, 2013
Television

'Totally Biased' Comic On Race, Politics And Audience

W. Kamau Bell's new FX weekly series Totally Biased mixes standup, sketches and interviews.
Matthias Clamer

This show was originally broadcast on September 13, 2012.

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10:44am

Mon December 31, 2012
Music

'Fresh Air' At 25: A Live Musical Tribute

Terry Gross, shown above in 1987, has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in greater Philadelphia.
NPR's Fresh Air

This show was originally broadcast on May 11, 2012.

Friday, May 11, 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the day Fresh Air became a daily national NPR program. Before that, the show was broadcast only on WHYY in Philadelphia. How long ago was May 11, 1987? On Fresh Air's first edition, TV critic David Bianculli reviewed the finale of the TV series Hill Street Blues.

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