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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10:01am

Fri April 20, 2012
Remembrances

Levon Helm: The 2007 Fresh Air Interview

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 3:37 pm

Levon Helm was the longtime drummer and occasional vocalist for The Band.
Rob Loud Getty Images

Levon Helm, the longtime drummer of The Band who backed Bob Dylan and sang with Van Morrison, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 71.

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11:04am

Thu April 19, 2012
Music Reviews

From Dominican Roots, Bachata Is Here To Stay

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 11:39 am

Joan Soriano.
Alicia Santistevan

11:01am

Thu April 19, 2012
Movie Interviews

The Stooges Are Back, And Nyukking Things Up Again

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 12:11 pm

After they leave their orphanage for the first time, Curly (Will Sasso) bears a heavy burden — his fellow Stooges, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos, left) and Larry (Sean Hayes).
Peter Iovino Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Farrelly brothers have long been known for their gross-out humor and their shocking comedies. After writing and directing movies like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal -- where agreeable idiots get caught up in all sorts of trouble — Peter and Bobby Farrelly decided to tackle another set of goofy doofuses: The Three Stooges.

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10:31am

Thu April 19, 2012
Animals

Following The Lives Of Chimpanzees On Screen

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 11:49 am

Over the course of filming, Oscar (pictured above) learned how to use rudimentary tools and how to get along with the other members of his clan.
Disney

The new Disneynature film Chimpanzee started off the way most movies do. Co-producers and directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, who had previously worked together on the documentary film Earth, approached Disney with a 70-page script about a group of chimpanzees living in Western Africa. There was just one problem: Chimps don't take direction — or read scripts.

So Fothergill and Linfield teased out a narrative from more than three years' worth of footage they took in Western Africa while observing a large clan of chimpanzees.

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12:36pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Movie Reviews

In 'Monsieur Lazhar,' Grief Lingers In The Classroom

Fellag, an Algerian comedian, plays the title character in the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar, who steps in to teach a class of middle school students after tragedy has struck their classroom.
Music Box Films

Teacher movies tend to be more alike than unalike, but Monsieur Lazhar makes the familiar unusually strange. The note on which it opens is shocking, tragic: A Montreal middle school student, Simon, enters his classroom ahead of the other kids and finds his teacher hanging from a pipe, dead by her own hand.

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10:46am

Wed April 18, 2012
Music Reviews

Jenny Scheinman's 'Mayhem' Hard To Pin Down

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 12:24 pm

Jenny Scheinman's (left) quartet represents players raised on and used to playing all kinds of music.
Michael Gross

Violinist Jenny Scheinman's band and new album are both called Mischief and Mayhem. The record was made just after her quartet played a week at the Village Vanguard, but despite the jazz cred of regular Vanguard appearances, their stylistically fluid music draws on a lot of traditions.

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12:22pm

Tue April 17, 2012
Music Interviews

The Jazz Drummer Who Makes Music Out Of Everything

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:04 pm

Han Bennink drums on whatever surface he can find — and plays with tone and rhythm while manipulating the drum with parts of his own body.
Michael Jackson

12:19pm

Tue April 17, 2012
Health

The Race To Create The Best Antiviral Drugs

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:42 pm

The HIV-1 virus cultivated with human lymphocytes.
C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus CDC Public Health Image Library

If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.

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11:41am

Mon April 16, 2012
Music Reviews

Loudon Wainwright III Looks Back At His 'Old Man'

As Loudon Wainwright III says in his song "In C," he likes to sing about "my favorite protagonist — me."

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11:26am

Mon April 16, 2012
Religion

Interpreting Shariah Law Across The Centuries

promo image of Mecca
iStockphoto.com

Sadakat Kadri is an English barrister, a Muslim by birth and a historian. His first book, The Trial, was an extensive survey of the Western criminal judicial system, detailing more than 4,000 years of courtroom antics.

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12:42am

Sat April 14, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: R.A. Dickey, Carole King

Carole King was in a doo-wop group called the Co-Sines when she was a teenager.
Jim McCrary

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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10:40am

Fri April 13, 2012
Television

Lena Dunham's 'Girls' Navigate New York City Life

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

This Sunday, HBO premieres a new comedy series that's written and directed by Lena Dunham, who grabbed the media spotlight in 2010 with her film Tiny Furniture. She's 25 years old now, and stars in this new TV series as well.

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8:52am

Fri April 13, 2012
Poetry

Poet Marie Howe Reflects On The 'Living' After Loss

Marie Howe is the author of three collections of poetry. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Brad Fowler courtesy of the author

This interview was originally broadcast on October 20, 2011.

A few years after her younger brother John died from AIDS-related complications in 1989, poet Marie Howe wrote him a poem in the form of a letter. Called "What the Living Do," the poem is an elegiac description of loss, and of living beyond loss.

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11:01am

Thu April 12, 2012
Movie Interviews

'Chico & Rita': An Animated Film With A Cuban Beat

Chico's story mimics the stories of many Cuban musicians who left Havana and arrived in New York City in the 1940s — a time when musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were starting to emerge.
Luna Films

The animated film Chico and Rita is set in 1940s Havana, at a time when Cuban musicians were starting to leave the country and join the jazz scene in New York. It was also a time when musical styles were fusing — and changing the Afro-Cuban jazz scene entirely.

The film tells the story of Chico, one of the best piano players in Havana, and Rita, his sultriest singer. They're lovers, and eventually their migration takes them past New York to Paris — criss-crossing continents to make music while struggling to keep themselves and their relationship afloat.

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12:16pm

Wed April 11, 2012
Book Reviews

'Present': For Nadine Gordimer, Politics Hit Home

Nadine Gordimer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo courtesy of the author

Nadine Gordimer's trademark characters live for politics, the Struggle. You get the feeling they would be sick to their collective stomachs if they ever even tried to bite into a gourmet cupcake.

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11:58am

Wed April 11, 2012
Author Interviews

For Carole King, Songwriting Is A 'Natural' Talent

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 2:42 pm

Carole King initially found it extremely difficult to navigate the social hierarchies of high school. The Grammy Award-winning songwriter was a few years younger than her fellow classmates and was often dismissed as being "cute."

"And it was like, no, I don't want to be cute, I want to be beautiful and smart," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And that wasn't happening, and then I connected through music. So music became a way of identifying my particular niche. How lucky for me."

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12:25pm

Tue April 10, 2012
Music Reviews

Bonnie Raitt's 'Slipstream': A Barnstorming Good Time

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 4:39 pm

Bonnie Raitt.
Courtesy of the artist

The warmth and vigor of Bonnie Raitt's voice throughout her new album Slipstream, even when she's covering an oldie such as Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," is vital and fresh — urgent, even. Raitt has always possessed a gift for taking a familiar phrase and rendering it in a manner that compels a listener to think anew about what the words really mean.

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11:54am

Tue April 10, 2012
Sports

'Winding Up' As The Mets' Knuckleball Pitcher

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 10:58 am

R.A. Dickey currently plays for the New York Mets. He was previously with the Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
courtesy of the author

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

But not New York Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey. Dickey is currently the only knuckleball pitcher in a current rotation. At 37, he's also one of the older pitchers in the league and has seen his career — and life — mimic the erratic trajectory of the difficult pitch he throws game after game.

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11:10am

Mon April 9, 2012
Religion

'When God Talks Back' To The Evangelical Community

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 12:09 pm

T.M. Luhrmann's book When God Talks Back examines how evangelicals perceive and relate to God.
iStockphoto.com

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.

In When God Talks Back, which is based on an anthropological study she did at The Vineyard, Luhrmann examines the personal relationships people developed with God and explores how those relationships were cemented through the practice of prayer.

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9:15am

Sat April 7, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Paul McCartney, Aziz Ansari

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 1:11 pm

Paul McCartney.
Courtesy of the artist

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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11:37am

Fri April 6, 2012
Sports

Behind The Plate, A Baseball Catcher Tells All

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 11:39 am

Ausmus (left), playing for the Houston Astros in 2006, talks with pitcher Brad Lidge on the mound during a game.
David. J Philip AP

This interview was originally broadcast on August 18, 2011.

Brad Ausmus has spent most of his career in a squatting position. As a major league catcher, he crouched behind home plate for roughly seven months a year while playing with the San Diego Padres, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

How did he practice for games? Even more squats.

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11:35am

Fri April 6, 2012
Music Reviews

Finding And Curating The Roots Of Soul Music

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 11:50 am

The Burden Lifters.
Tompkins Square Records

Some years back, I was driving across the South with a German friend, leaving early Sunday morning from Athens, Ga., and heading to Louisiana. I turned on the radio and found a black church service in progress, and a woman with a remarkable voice singing. "Who's that?" my friend asked. I told him I had no idea. "But with a voice like that, she must be famous," he said. Some miles down the road, when the station had faded out, he still didn't believe me.

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11:14am

Fri April 6, 2012
Movie Reviews

A Sublime, Impressionistic 'Deep Blue Sea'

Rachel Weisz plays the adulterous Lady Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea, turning in a performance as luminous as a Pre-Raphaelite portrait.
Music Box Films

Terence Davies' films aim for and often achieve a state of music, the camerawork in harmony with the soundtrack, the images connected by emotion rather than narrative.

Adapting Terence Rattigan's 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, he throws out the drama's tidy structure and much of the dialogue, and shows the events through the eyes of the adulterous Lady Hester Collyer, played by Rachel Weisz.

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12:02pm

Thu April 5, 2012
Book Reviews

Lionel Shriver's Not-So-'New Republic'

istockphoto.com

Lionel Shriver's new novel, called The New Republic, is actually an old manuscript with a star-crossed history. As Shriver explains in a prefatory note, this satire on (among other things) terrorism was finished in 1998, but, back then, publishers weren't interested. That was five years before Shriver's break-through novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin. Then, Sept. 11 happened: sincerity was in; irony was out. Publishers wouldn't touch this story that offered an ironic take on violent extremism.

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11:11am

Tue April 3, 2012
Music Reviews

There's Only 'One Direction' For This Boy Band: Up

One Direction.
Courtesy of the artist

The callow croon over a pulsating beat, the massed harmonies in the chorus, the lyrics about partying that name-check Katy Perry and include a wistful wish for a nameless girl to kiss the singer — this is boy-band music at its newest and its most timeless. The five young guys who comprise One Direction are single-minded.

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10:53am

Mon April 2, 2012
Pop Culture

Aziz Ansari's Latest Is 'Dangerously Delicious'

Aziz Ansari dissects a variety of topics in his latest comedy special, Dangerously Delicious.
Courtesy of Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is about to hit the road. The 29-year-old comedian and star of Parks and Recreation is embarking on a multicity comedy tour, where he'll be riffing on what he calls the "fears of adulthood."

You know, babies. Marriage. That kind of stuff.

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9:00am

Mon April 2, 2012
Movie Interviews

Doris Day: A Hollywood Legend Reflects On Life

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 12:54 pm

Doris Day's hits include "Sentimental Journey," "Till The End of Time" and "I Got the Sun in the Mornin'."
Sony Picture Archives

The biggest female box-office star in Hollywood history, Doris Day started singing and dancing when she was a teenager, and made her first film when she was 24. After nearly 40 movies, she walked away from that part of her life in 1968, and started rescuing and caring for animals.

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11:54am

Fri March 30, 2012
Television

'Thrones,' 'Killing' Return ... And Revert To Old Habits

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:36 pm

Game of Throne's Peter Dinklage returns to the Lannister kingdom more influential than ever, thanks to a scroll that gives him power by proxy.
Paul Schiraldi Paul Schiraldi Photography

AMC's The Killing started strong, with raves from critics and an impressively loyal core of viewers. But in the final episode of the year, when it left its season-long murder mystery intentionally unresolved, most fans felt angry, even betrayed. HBO's Game of Thrones, on the other hand, took a bit longer to get established, and to get as much attention. But thanks to some strong performances and a few bold strokes of plot, Game of Thrones — based on the George R. R.

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10:02am

Fri March 30, 2012
Author Interviews

Harry Crews On Writing And Feeling Like A 'Freak'

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:20 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 1988.

Writer Harry Crews had a hard life and didn't made it any easier for the characters in his novels. He died Wednesday at age 76.

Crews' novels were filled with freaks and losers with unusual gifts. In Naked in Garden Hills, there was the 600-pound man with a penchant for dietary supplements. The Gospel Singer featured lunatics and carnival characters. Car showcased a man who literally ate a Ford Maverick, several ounces at a time.

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1:06pm

Thu March 29, 2012
The Fresh Air Interview

Earl Scruggs: The 2003 Fresh Air Interview

Earl Scruggs onstage in 2007.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Banjo player Earl Scruggs, who helped shape the sound of American bluegrass music, died Wednesday. He was 88 years old.

Scruggs' name is almost synonymous with the banjo — and for good reason. He helped pioneer bluegrass music with his three-finger style of banjo picking, a technique now known as "Scruggs style."

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