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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3:00pm

Tue November 20, 2012
Book Reviews

Hungry Hearts And Family Matters In 'Middlesteins'

iStockphoto.com

At first glance, a novel in which the main character eats herself to death may not seem like the most felicitous pick for Thanksgiving week; but The Middlesteins turns out to be a tough but affecting story about family members putting up with each other, even in their most unlovely, chewing-with-their-mouths-open life moments. If you have a Thanksgiving family reunion looming before you that doesn't exactly promise to be a Norman Rockwell painting, The Middlesteins may just be the perfect literary corrective to overindulgence in high-calorie holiday expectations.

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2:30pm

Tue November 20, 2012
Author Interviews

A Model Career: 'Grace' Goes From Runway To Vogue

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 4:25 pm

Grace Coddington grew up on what she calls "an island off an island," far from the fashion industry. Her new memoir, Grace, chronicles her journey from a sleepy town on the coast of Wales to her current job as the creative director of Vogue magazine.

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12:52pm

Tue November 20, 2012
Music Reviews

The Insect Trust: An American Band Deconstructed

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:40 am

The Insect Trust.
Courtesy of the artist

3:15pm

Mon November 19, 2012
Movie Interviews

'Life Of Pi' Star On The 'Duet' Of Acting

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 4:54 pm

Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) looks back on the adventure he went on as a teenager in Life of Pi.
Peter Sorel Twentieth Century Fox

You might think that actor Irrfan Khan — the co-star of the special effects-filled film Life of Pi -- performed his scenes by himself, or with inanimate objects that would later be transformed via CGI. Not so: As the older Pi in Ang Lee's new adaptation of the best-selling novel, Khan went back to the basics.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of scenes as being like duets: "You strike a note, and somebody responds, and then you respond accordingly," Khan says.

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2:35pm

Mon November 19, 2012
Author Interviews

'Color Of Christ': A Story Of Race And Religion In America

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 4:55 pm

UNC Press

What did Jesus look like? The many different depictions of Christ tell a story about race and religion in America. Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explore that history in their new book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. The book traces how different races and ethnic groups claimed Christ as their own — and how depictions of Jesus have both inspired civil rights crusades, and been used to justify the violence of white supremacists.

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9:03am

Sat November 17, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Andrew Solomon, Tony Dokoupil

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 11:45 am

iStockphoto.com

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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1:55pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Author Interviews

Finding 'Life, Death And Hope' In A Mumbai Slum

Courtesy of Random House

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 8, 2012. On Wednesday, Katherine Boo won the National Book Award for nonfiction for Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

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12:20pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Movie Reviews

In 'Silver Linings Playbook,' Lawrence Is Golden

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 3:14 pm

Jacki Weaver and Chris Tucker also help round out a team of actors who score a touchdown with the critics.
The Weinstein Co.

The best thing about David O. Russell is that he cultivates his disequilibrium. In Silver Linings Playbook, his hero is disturbed and his heroine possibly more so, and his other characters have a grip on reality that is only marginally more secure. Russell might have made them seem the dreaded "q" word — quirky — and OK, he does, a bit, at the end, which broadly conforms to the rom-com template. But until then, Bradley Cooper's Pat Solatano is someone you'd be less likely to dream about than get a restraining order against.

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12:05pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Author Interviews

'When God Talks Back' To The Evangelical Community

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 1:55 pm

iStockphoto.com

This interview was originally broadcast on Fresh Air on March 26, 2012. When God Talks Back was released in paperback on Nov. 13.

While attending services and small group meetings at The Vineyard, an evangelical church with 600 branches across the country, anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann noticed that several members of the congregation said God had repeatedly spoken to them and that they had heard what God wanted them to do.

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2:49pm

Thu November 15, 2012
Books

Doris Kearns Goodwin On Lincoln And His 'Team Of Rivals'

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 8, 2005.

When Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg were working on the film Lincoln, they had many conversations with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is about Lincoln's relationship with his cabinet. Both her book and the film showcase Lincoln's remarkable political skills.

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2:47pm

Thu November 15, 2012
Movie Reviews

The New British Empire: Pop-Culture Powerhouses

The HBO documentary Crossfire Hurricane, about The Rolling Stones, prompts critic John Powers to reflect on the band's five decades of fame.
HBO Films

It seems that every time you turn around, you find another anniversary of some big cultural or historical event. I'm weary of the media's habit of playing all these things up, so I'm abashed to admit I'm about to do just that.

But you see, in the same three-day period I recently saw the new James Bond picture, Skyfall, and Crossfire Hurricane, a new HBO documentary about The Rolling Stones. And because the Bond movies and the Stones both turn 50 this year, I began thinking about how they might fit together.

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1:29pm

Thu November 15, 2012
Movie Interviews

Kushner's 'Lincoln' Is Strange, But Also Savvy

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm

Tony Kushner based his screenplay for Lincoln in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of the president, Team of Rivals — but he read many other histories and biographies, in addition to Lincoln's own writings.
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

Tony Kushner spent years writing the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, but that wasn't the only heavy lifting he had to do. It also took some effort to overcome Daniel Day-Lewis' reluctance to play the title role.

"I wanted to write to him and say, 'Daniel, apart from the fact that you're like one of the greatest actors ever, look in the mirror. God is trying to tell you something — you look like Abraham Lincoln!" Kushner tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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2:28pm

Wed November 14, 2012
Author Interviews

A Young Reporter Chronicles Her 'Brain On Fire'

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:47 pm

Susannah Cahalan is a reporter and book reviewer at the New York Post.
Julie Stapen Free Press

In 2009, Susannah Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old reporter for the New York Post, when she began to experience numbness, paranoia, sensitivity to light and erratic behavior. Grasping for an answer, Cahalan asked herself as it was happening, "Am I just bad at my job — is that why? Is the pressure of it getting to me? Is it a new relationship?"

But Cahalan only got worse — she began to experience seizures, hallucinations, increasingly psychotic behavior and even catatonia. Her symptoms frightened family members and baffled a series of doctors.

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2:28pm

Wed November 14, 2012
Book Reviews

Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth' Leaves A Sour Taste

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:49 pm

iStockphoto.com

Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth is that oddest of literary achievements: an ingenious novel that I compulsively read, intellectually admired and increasingly hated. By the time I got to McEwan's last sneer of a plot twist, I felt that reading Sweet Tooth is the closest I ever want to come to the experience of watching a snuff film. Think that's harsh? Open up Sweet Tooth and find out what McEwan thinks of you, Dear Reader, particularly if you're a woman, as most readers of fiction are.

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12:35pm

Wed November 14, 2012
Music Reviews

An Unlikely Tribute: Jamey Johnson Covers Hank Cochran

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:41 pm

Jamey Johnson's new album pays tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran.
Courtesy of the artist

Jamey Johnson, one of the most popular country singers of recent years, has just released an album titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.

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4:26pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Around the Nation

Legalizing And Regulating Pot: A Growth Industry

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:53 pm

On Election Day, residents in Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Above, marijuana plants grow at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center in Los Angeles.
David McNew Getty Images

When reporter Tony Dokoupil was a teenager, he found out that his father had sold marijuana, but he just thought his parents "were hippies." A few years ago, while working on a story about his father's drug dealer past, he discovered that actually, in the 1970s and '80s, his father, Anthony Dokoupil, had been a big-time marijuana smuggler.

"He was arrested in the early '90s on a job selling 17 tons of marijuana," Dokoupil tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "which was enough at the time to roll a joint for every college kid in the U.S."

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4:41pm

Mon November 12, 2012
Author Interviews

Parenting A Child Who's Fallen 'Far From The Tree'

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:09 pm

iStockphoto.com

When Andrew Solomon started his family with his husband, John Habich, he says, people were surprised that he wasn't afraid to have children, given the topic of the book he was writing. That book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, explores what it's like for parents of children who are profoundly different or likely to be stigmatized — children with Down syndrome, deafness, autism, dwarfism, or who are prodigies, become criminals, or are conceived in rape.

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9:04am

Sat November 10, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Oliver Sacks And 'Oddly Normal'

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 12:17 pm

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker. His new book is called Hallucinations.
Elena Seibert Knopf

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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1:52pm

Fri November 9, 2012
Author Interviews

Interrupting Violence With The Message 'Don't Shoot'

David M. Kennedy is the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, and professor of criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Courtesy of David M. Kennedy

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 1, 2011. Don't Shoot is now out in paperback.

In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.

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12:22pm

Fri November 9, 2012
Music Reviews

Cody ChesnuTT Contains A Universe On 'Hundred'

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 1:52 pm

Cody ChesnuTT is the best sort of egomaniac: On Landing on a Hundred, he's preachy but delightful.
Courtesy of the artist

Cody ChesnuTT is the best sort of egomaniac. He places himself at the center of his musical universe; he contains that universe within him. On his new album, Landing on a Hundred, he sings one song in the voice of the entire continent of Africa.

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11:53am

Fri November 9, 2012
Movie Reviews

Historical, Fictional Icons Take To The Big Screen

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 1:52 pm

Daniel Craig stars as the quintessential MI6 agent, James Bond, in Skyfall. The Bond franchise is 50 years old this year.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Two icons, Abraham Lincoln and James Bond, make triumphant appearances this week in movies with more in common than you'd expect. True, Lincoln is a titan of history, liberator of slaves, and as such an adversary of Western colonialism, while 007 is an outlandish stereotype embodying white male Western authoritarian power. But the makers of these films do a sterling job of testing their respective subjects in front of our eyes — before pronouncing them fit to carry on in our collective imagination.

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3:16pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Author Interviews

'Crushing Eastern Europe' Behind The 'Iron Curtain'

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:47 pm

Courtesy of Doubleday

If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.

"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."

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12:34pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Music Reviews

Samuel Yirga Ushers In A Golden Age Of Ethiopian Music

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:09 pm

Samuel Yirga plays Ethiopian standards with a voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
Courtesy of the artist

Ethiopia enjoys a rich tradition of enticing music, filled with asymmetric rhythms set to a haunting, five-note scale and sly double-entendre lyrics in the Amharic language. It's a shame that, for Western listeners, a full, clear picture of Ethiopian music has been elusive.

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3:04pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Author Interviews

Ornstein: Could A Second Term Mean More Gridlock?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:00 pm

Basic Books

President Obama has been re-elected. Democrats and Republicans have maintained their respective majorities in the Senate and in the House. So does this mean there will be more partisan gridlock?

Norm Ornstein, a writer for Roll Call and a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that it's a mixed message.

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2:38pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Music News

Always A Rose: Elliott Carter Remembered

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 6:02 pm

Elliott Carter at Tanglewood in 2008 on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is sitting right behind Carter.
Michael J. Lutch

1:25pm

Tue November 6, 2012
Author Interviews

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:58 pm

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker.
Elena Seibert Knopf

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.

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3:11pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Author Interviews

An 'Oddly Normal' Outcome For A Singular Child

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:59 pm

Courtesy of Gotham

John Schwartz and Jeanne Mixon first suspected that their son, Joe, was gay when he was 3 years old — and they wanted to be as supportive and helpful as they could.

"As parents you love kids," Schwartz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "As parents, you want your kid to be happy."

Schwartz and Mixon drew on the experiences they had raising their other two children and by asking their gay friends about the best way to talk to Joe about his sexuality.

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3:11pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Book Reviews

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

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1:34pm

Mon November 5, 2012
Music Reviews

Taylor Swift Leaps Into Pop With 'Red'

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 5:44 pm

Taylor Swift's Red challenges her diehard fans while inviting naysayers to give her music another try.
Courtesy of the artist

9:03am

Sat November 3, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Katey Sagal, Sherry Turkle

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 11:44 am

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

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:

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons Of Anarchy': The actress plays Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series. She's best-known for playing the acerbic Peg Bundy on the long-running show Married With Children.

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