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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11:36am

Fri June 14, 2013
Television

John Oliver: Topical Comedy With A Crisp Accent

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 1:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 5, 2010.

With Daily Show host Jon Stewart on leave for the summer, comedian John Oliver has stepped in to host the show that's become his television home base.

Oliver relocated from the U.K. in 2006 to become the "Senior British Correspondent" on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. For his work there, he won an Emmy in 2009.

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2:58pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Remembrances

Israeli Writer Yoram Kaniuk, 83, On Pain And Peace

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Yoram Kaniuk speaks in 2008 at the AFI Fest premiere of Adam Resurrected, based on a novel he wrote.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.

"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.

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2:57pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Author Interviews

Florida-Grown Fiction: Hiaasen Satirizes The Sunshine State

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:45 pm

As with many of his novels, Hiaasen sets his latest — Bad Monkey — in his home state of Florida.
Knopf

As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.

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12:03pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Music Reviews

Slaid Cleaves: 'Still Fighting' With Smart Lyrics And Stories

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Slaid Cleaves' music is influenced by singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
Karen Cleaves Courtesy of the artist

Raised in South Berwick, Maine, and residing in Austin, Texas, Slaid Cleaves is no one's idea of a music-industry insider. He writes and sings songs primarily about working-class people and romantics both hopeful and hopeless. That said, it's also not difficult to hear another element of the fortysomething Cleaves' past: He was an English and philosophy major at Tufts, and his lyrics are underpinned by both a fine sense of meter and moral perspicacity.

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1:35pm

Wed June 12, 2013
Music Reviews

Fame Studios And The Road To Nashville Songwriting Glory

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 9:57 am

Fame Studio

Wallace Daniel Pennington grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.

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1:28pm

Wed June 12, 2013
Movie Interviews

'20 Feet From' The Spotlight, There's Singing Worthy Of One

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 2:31 pm

Singer Merry Clayton performs in Hollywood during a celebration of Carole King and her music.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

The documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which explores the world of rock 'n' roll's backup singers, opens to the soundtrack of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Reed sings half the refrain — "And the colored girls go, doo do doo do doo" — until a chorus of backup singers pick up the "Do doo" line. At first these women sound far away, but as the chorus progresses, their voices get louder, less produced and polished, more real and intimate.

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1:45pm

Tue June 11, 2013
Movie Interviews

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg: Friends Til 'The End'

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:16 pm

James Franco (from left), Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play versions of themselves in the post-apocalyptic comedy This Is the End, written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.
Suzanne Hanover Columbia Pictures

In This Is the End, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jay Baruchel — all playing themselves — are at a party at Franco's L.A. home when an earthquake hits.

At least, they think it's an earthquake. Turns out it's the Rapture — the End of Days, as foretold in the Book of Revelation, has arrived.

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2:24pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Author Interviews

Flying High And Low In 'Full Upright And Locked Position'

In Full Upright and Locked Position aviation consultant Mark Gerchick looks at post-Sept. 11 air travel.
W.W. Norton & Co.

No, you aren't imagining it: There is indeed less leg room on some airplanes than there used to be.

"Back in the old days, probably 20 years ago, the tendency was to have about 34 inches," says Mark Gerchick, a former chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. "Now the standard is about 31 inches in the United States. ... Some of the low-cost airlines have tightened that up to about 28 inches, which is now approaching the limits of anatomical possibility."

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1:06pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Music Reviews

Arctic Records: Drafting A Blueprint For The Philly Sound

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 2:24 pm

Barbara Mason had had one minor hit on Arctic by the time "Yes I'm Ready" came out in March 1965, and hit the Top 10 on both the R&B and pop charts.
Courtesy of the artist

Arctic Records opened for business late in 1964. The label was the brainchild of Jimmy Bishop, the program director of WDAS — at the time Philadelphia's No. 1 black radio station. If that sounds like a conflict of interest, you don't know much about the music business in Philadelphia back then. Besides, it didn't help Arctic's first single, "Happiest Girl in the World" by the Tiffanys, three local teenagers who sang backup in various studios.

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9:03am

Sat June 8, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Mitch Hurwitz, Jason Isbell And 'Before Midnight'

Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 10:52 am

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

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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2:30pm

Fri June 7, 2013
Book Reviews

'Beside Ourselves' Explores Human-Animal Connections

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 3:47 pm

Note: The audio and text of this review describe a major plot point that is not revealed until partway into the book.

If you know Karen Joy Fowler's writing only from her clever, 2004 best-seller, The Jane Austen Book Club, you're in for a shock. Fowler's new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is a different literary creature altogether — still witty but emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler's other books that toy with the sci-fi genre.

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9:16am

Fri June 7, 2013
Interviews

'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:30 pm

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
Joey Campagna Courtesy of the author

This interview was originally broadcast on July 8, 2012.

Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.

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2:02pm

Thu June 6, 2013
Author Interviews

The Patient Who Let Us Peek Inside A Brain In 'Present Tense'

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:03 pm

In her latest book about Henry Molaison, Corkin tells the story of the amnesic man she studied for a half-century, whose brain helped teach neuroscientists about the distinctions between memory and intellect.
Basic Books

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery in an attempt to alleviate his severe epileptic seizures. The surgery left him with a form of amnesia; he could remember many things from the past, but was unable to form new memories.

"He could tell us about where he was born, [that] his father's family was from Thibodaux, La., his mother came from Ireland," says neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin. "He talked about the towns in Hartford where he lived and about his specific neighbors. He knew the schools he attended, some of his classmates' names."

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2:01pm

Thu June 6, 2013
Music Reviews

Jason Isbell: Literary, But Keeping An Edge On 'Southeastern'

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 3:18 pm

Jason Isbell's latest album, Southeastern, is personal and intimate.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of the artist

When Jason Isbell was part of Drive-By Truckers, his guitar contributed to the band's sometimes magnificent squall of noise, while his songwriting contributed to the eloquence that raised the band high in the Southern rock pantheon. But the group was led by two other first-rate songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.

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1:07pm

Wed June 5, 2013
Television

'Arrested' No More: Hurwitz On Why The Bluths Are Back

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:05 pm

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

The Bluth family of the cult show Arrested Development can be oblivious, mean — to each other and anyone who enters their orbit — and eccentric. But that, says show creator Mitch Hurwitz, is in some ways the point.

"The goal with the show has always been that the Bluths are wrong," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They're] self-centered. They haven't had to develop. [Their] money allowed them to stop developing."

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4:45pm

Tue June 4, 2013
Middle East

In Syria, Conflict Has Spread Throughout The Region

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 6:54 pm

Fierce fighting has been reported between President Bashar Assad's forces and rebels around the ancient citadel in Aleppo.
Giovanni Rinaldi iStockPhoto.com

The civil war in Syria is attracting fighters from all over, increasing sectarian tensions in other Muslim countries, threatening the region's tenuous stability, bringing the threat of Russian missiles, and leaving the U.S with few good options.

More than 80,000 people have been killed so far in Syria's civil war, and 4 million of Syria's 20 million people have been displaced. Robert Malley, the program director for Middle East and North Africa for the International Crisis Group, calls it "one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters we're facing."

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3:03pm

Tue June 4, 2013
Television

New 'Arrested Development' Gags Are Best Served In One Sitting

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 4:45 pm

Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter reprise their roles as George and Lucille Bluth in Netflix's new fourth season of Mitch Hurwitz's Arrested Development.
Netflix

When Mitch Hurwitz and his collaborators began making the Fox sitcom Arrested Development 10 years ago, it was loaded with jokes — in-jokes, recurring jokes and just plain bizarre jokes — that rewarded viewers who watched more than once. But even though it won the Emmy for best comedy series one year, not enough viewers bothered to watch it even once, so the show was canceled in 2006 after three seasons. And that would have been it, except for a loyal cult following that built up once the show was released on DVD and the Internet.

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1:10pm

Mon June 3, 2013
Author Interviews

'Fairyland': A Girl Grows Up In San Francisco's Gay Community

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 9:58 am

W.W. Norton & Co.

While these days it's not uncommon to meet children with gay parents, in the 1970s it was. Alysia Abbott was one of those kids. When her parents met, her father — Steve Abbott — told her mother he was bisexual. But when Alysia was a toddler, her mother died in a car accident and Steve came out as gay. He moved with his daughter to San Francisco, just as the gay liberation movement was gaining strength.

While her father had not initially wanted a child, Abbott says he enjoyed spending time with her when she was a baby. Her mother's death brought the two of them even closer.

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9:03am

Sat June 1, 2013
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Stephen King, Daft Punk And Cannes

Originally published on Sat June 1, 2013 11:18 am

A native of Maine, Stephen King has used the state as the backdrop for many of his novels and short stories. In Joyland, however, he sets his scene in North Carolina.
Shane Leonard Hard Case Crime

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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1:29pm

Fri May 31, 2013
Movie Reviews

Rediscover Your Inner Anarchist In The Anti-Corporate 'East'

In The East, Ellen Page (left) and Alexander Skarsgard play members of an anarchist eco-terrorist collective.
Fox Searchlight

The second collaboration between writer-director Zal Batmanglij and actress and co-writer Brit Marling is called The East, which happens to be the name of the movie's anti-corporate terrorist cult. Marling plays Sarah, an agent who infiltrates the group. She doesn't work for the FBI. Her employer is a private security and intelligence firm run by the sleek, profit-oriented Sharon, played by Patricia Clarkson. Its clients are Big Pharma, Big Oil, or Big Rich Any Corporation that, according to the group The East, poisons the world and everyone in it.

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10:47am

Fri May 31, 2013
Author Interviews

Whitey Bulger Bio Profiles Boston's Most Notorious Gangster

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 1:29 pm

FBI AP

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 25, 2013.

The remarkable story of gangster Whitey Bulger begins in the housing projects of South Boston and ends with his capture by the FBI in 2011 after his 16 years on the lam. By then, Bulger was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking for leading a criminal enterprise in Boston from the 1970s until 1995. During much of that time he was also an informant and being protected by the FBI.

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1:55pm

Thu May 30, 2013
Movie Interviews

'Before Midnight,' Love Darkens And Deepens

Before Midnight is the third film in Richard Linklater's series that explores the romance and life of a couple, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). The two previous films were Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
Sony Pictures Classics

In the 1995 Richard Linklater film, Before Sunrise, a young American man named Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and a young Frenchwoman named Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train from Budapest. Intrigued by one another, they get off the train together in Vienna and spend the night wandering the city, talking and falling in love, before they both return to their respective lives in their respective countries.

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10:48am

Thu May 30, 2013
Music Reviews

Festival Au Desert: Music Of Peace Not Silenced By War

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:20 am

Tartit performs at the Festival au Desert.
Chris Nolan Courtesy of the artist

Long ago, one of my college history professors hammered home a durable truth: "If you love art," she said, "you should hate war." Because some art is always among war's victims.

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4:30pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Books

How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt'

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 12:40 pm

iStockphoto.com

Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."

"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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2:12pm

Wed May 29, 2013
Movie Interviews

From Boos To Bravos: A Recap Of Cannes

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:30 pm

French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager named Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux).
Wild Bunch

"It was the film of the festival," critic John Powers tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about Blue Is the Warmest Color, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. When Powers says "film of the festival" he means "it was the film that people loved the most, some hated the most, and everyone talked about the most."

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2:56pm

Tue May 28, 2013
Author Interviews

Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 2:29 pm

Stephen King delves into the seedy underworld of carnies for his latest novel, Joyland.
Hard Case Crime

For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.

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12:02pm

Tue May 28, 2013
Movie Reviews

Vampire Weekend Comes Of Age In 'The City'

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 11:02 pm

Vampire Weekend (left to right: Chris Tomson, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij, Ezra Koenig) met while they were all students at Columbia University.
Alex John Beck XL Recordings

The New York City band Vampire Weekend has carved out a sense of immaculate melancholy for our era as surely as Steely Dan once did for Upstate New York in the '70s. Characterized most immediately by the earnest, concise, sometimes surprisingly expansive vocals of Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend makes atmospheric music.

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9:33am

Tue May 28, 2013
Interviews

Soldier-Poet Brian Turner, Framing War In Verse

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

After that interview, we set up an interview with poet Brian Turner, whose poems took Nagl back to his days fighting in Iraq - back to the ghosts he tried to put away. Turner was a team leader for the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. It was the first Stryker brigade to be sent into the combat zone in Iraq in 2003. Turner's book of poems about Iraq is called "Here, Bullet."

Let me ask you to read the title poem from your collection "Here, Bullet."

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9:33am

Tue May 28, 2013
Interviews

In Iraq, Tactical Theory Put Into Practice

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

On this Memorial Day, we want to honor those who have died in war, and pay tribute to those who have risked their lives and are coping with the aftermath of war. In a couple of minutes, we're going to hear from Brian Turner, who fought in Iraq and wrote a book of poems about facing the constant possibility of death. The book's called "Here, Bullet."

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12:03pm

Mon May 27, 2013
Music Interviews

Quincy Jones: The Man Behind The Music

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 9:33 am

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 5, 2001.

Quincy Jones is one of those people to whom the word "legendary" is often attached. So it was no surprise when, on May 18, the 80-year-old Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Jones grew up poor on the south side of Chicago during the Depression, but moved to Seattle when he was 10. It was there, as a teenager, that Jones befriended and began collaborating with Ray Charles — a friendship that would remain strong until Charles' death in 2004.

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