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Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11am
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

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.

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.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Bobby Vee, the teen idol of the '60s who had 38 hit singles, died Monday due to complications from Alzheimer's. He was 73. Among his hits were "Take Good Care Of My Baby," "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," "Rubber Ball," "Run To Him" and "Come Back When You Grow Up." He was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, N.D., the son of a chef who played fiddle and banjo. He...

When I was 6 years old, my mom woke up, got out of bed and crashed to the floor. That's when she figured out half her body was paralyzed. The left side. Right down the middle, like a paper doll folded at the center. She made it to the phone, called a guy she'd just started dating, asked him to take her to the hospital. When he rang the bell, my mom had to drag the limp half of her body backward, down the stairs, to open the door for him. She told me later, the guy was so scared that during...

As the host of the Peabody Award-winning series Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain has visited conflict zones like Beirut, Congo, Gaza and Libya — places his CNN colleagues routinely cover. But Bourdain is clear that he doesn't want to be mistaken for a journalist. "Journalists drop into a situation, ask a question, and people sort of tighten up," he tells Fresh Air 's Dave Davies. "Whereas if you sit down with people and just say, 'Hey what makes you happy? What do you like to eat?' They'll...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: Our next guest, Charlie Warzel, has written a series of articles about harassment on Twitter and how the company is trying to deal with it. Warzel is a technology reporter for BuzzFeed. Charlie Warzel, welcome to FRESH AIR. As you point out in your articles, one of Twitter's greatest strengths is also one of its vulnerabilities, free speech. The founders of Twitter were strong free speech advocates. It's the free...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Twitter is one of the stars of this election cycle. Everyone is tweeting their reactions to debates and linking to articles. Donald Trump tweets provocative messages even in the middle of the night. The paradox of Twitter is that it's become a great platform for free speech, enabling the voices of individuals and pro-democracy movements to be heard and to connect with others. But it...

It has become a familiar story in a world bristling with live mics. A public figure is caught out using a vulgarity, and the media have to decide how to report the remark. Web media tend to be explicit, but the traditional media are more circumspect. Take the vulgar epithet that George W. Bush was overheard using to describe a New York Times reporter during the 2000 presidential campaign. Some newspapers printed it with dashes or asterisks. Others said it was a word that rhymed with ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Donald Trump has promised to keep us in suspense about whether he'll accept the outcome of the election if he loses. While he warns his supporters about election fraud and a rigged system, many voters are worried that they won't be allowed to vote because of recent voter ID laws that Democrats accuse of targeting students, poor people and African-American and Latino voters. My guest...

Comic Chris Gethard knows what it's like to feel hopeless and alone. He tells Fresh Air 's Terry Gross that he has experienced depression so severe that it led to suicidal thoughts. "I didn't like who I was," he says. "I spent a lot of my life regretting who I was, which is a sad thing to say." Gethard relives some of his darkest moments in the one-man show, Career Suicide , which is billed as "a new comedy about suicide, depression, alcoholism, and all the other funniest parts of life." The...

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: For Film's Creators, 'Moonlight' Provided Space To Explore A Painful Past: Playwright Tarell McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins drew on their own childhood experiences in making Moonlight , a film...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our critic-at-large, John Powers, has a review of "13th," Ava DuVernay's new documentary that opened the New York Film Festival and is currently playing in selected theaters and on Netflix. In "13th," DuVernay, who's best known for directing "Selma," explores how the United States became the country with the world's largest prison population and why a hugely disproportional number of those prisoners...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Leonard Cohen has a new album called "You Want It Darker," which gives us the perfect opportunity to listen back to the interview I recorded with him in 2006. Cohen is 82 now and continues to be both a romantic and a cynic, longing for transcendence. The songs wrestle with mortality, are infused with biblical language and imagery and even argue with God. Let's hear the title song, ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. If you've ever been a victim of malware, been shamed on Twitter, tried to secretly watch online pornography or just worried about the unintended consequences of the Internet, social media and artificial intelligence, well, the British series "Black Mirror" is for you. It's a dystopian anthology series inspired by shows like "The Twilight Zone," but set in the digital era. My guest...

The Rocky Horror Show began as a stage musical in London in the early 1970s, starring Tim Curry as the outrageously dressed outer-space alien Frank N. Furter, self-described as a "sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania." Richard O'Brien, the composer of the play and its music, played Frank's hunchbacked assistant, Riff Raff — and the two of them repeated their roles in a 1975 movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The film flopped, originally, but got new life in midnight shows...

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell McCraney grew up just blocks away from each other in the same housing project in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood. They went to the same elementary school at the same time, but they did not meet until they were adults, when Jenkins contacted McCraney about adapting his play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, to the screen. Jenkins tells Fresh Air 's Terry Gross that he was drawn to McCraney's main character, a young African-American boy named...

I need a moment away from unceasing word drip of debates about the election, about whether Elena Ferrante has the right to privacy , about whether Bob Dylan writes "Literature." I need a moment, more than a moment, in the steady and profound company of Mary Oliver and I think you might need one too. Oliver's latest book is a collection of essays called Upstream . Most of these pieces have been published elsewhere, but reshuffled here they form a kind of sporadic spiritual autobiography. If...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. In the era of the freak show when people paid to gawk at people who look different, two albino African-American brothers whose condition left them with white skin and light-colored hair were exhibited as rarities. They were billed in several ways Eko and Iko, the sheep-headed cannibals, two Ecuadorean white savages, ambassadors from Mars. One spiel about them said the brothers were...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of a new album by Mahalia Jackson called "Moving On Up A Little Higher." It contains 22 never-released tracks from the 1940s and '50s, when Jackson became the most famous gospel singer in the world. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THERE'S BEEN A GREAT CHANGE IN ME") MAHALIA JACKSON: (Singing) And there's a great change in me, great change in me. I am so happy. I am so free ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says five decades after Wadada Leo Smith began recording, the trumpeter and composer is having his moment with a Pulitzer nomination three years ago and a bounty of institutional support. Smith's Golden Quintet is both a jazz band and a chamber ensemble. Their new album is called "America's National Parks." Here's Kevin's review. (SOUNDBITE OF WADADA LEO SMITH...

If you feel like Internet ads are more pervasive and invasive than ever before, you're not alone. Author Tim Wu tells Fresh Air 's Terry Gross that the Web has gotten worse over the years, not better — and unrelenting ads are to blame. "I think you spend 50 percent of your mental energy trying to defeat ad systems," Wu says. "It's amazing that we've got this great scientific invention, the Web and the Internet, and then it has come to the point where using it reminds me of swatting mosquitoes...

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: 'I Never Set Out To Be An Actor,' Says 'Transparent' Star Gaby Hoffmann: Hoffmann grew up in the Chelsea Hotel with her mother, an actress in Andy Warhol's Factory. Gaby appeared in Field of Dreams...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Our first guest is writer Jacqueline Woodson. Her latest novel, "Another Brookyln," is a finalist for this year's National Book Awards to be announced in November. Woodson's the author of a number of award-winning children's, middle-school and young-adult books. And she's the Young People's Poet Laureate, a position named by the Poetry Foundation. Woodson's books...

Tower is an animated documentary that tells the story of a massacre that happened 50 years ago and was a historic first: A man with no record of violence shot at people at random for no logical reason. It was Aug. 1, 1966, in the middle of a 100-degree day at the University of Texas at Austin. The shots came from the clock tower at the center of the campus. A woman eight months pregnant was the first to fall, soon to be followed by her boyfriend and a boy delivering newspapers on his bicycle....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Jack Greenberg, the last surviving attorney to argue the cases that led to the 1954 Brown versus Board of Education school desegregation decision, died Wednesday in New York. He was 91. Greenberg was part of a civil rights team assembled by Thurgood Marshall. When Marshall was appointed to the federal bench, Greenberg took over as director of the NAACP Legal...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guests are two vegan chefs who are working to redefine cooking with vegetables to make the food exciting and satisfying, even for meat eaters. Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby own two restaurants in Philadelphia. Vedge takes a fine dining approach, while V Street is inspired by street food from around the world. Their new "V Street" cookbook collects many of the recipes they developed...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. During the 1980s, Australia was producing some very interesting bands. But so was New Zealand, where a label called Flying Nun seemed to have a monopoly on the best bands in the country. One of their big names was The Chills. And now there's a newly-released overview of their early years called "The Chills - Kaleidoscope World." Rock historian Ed Ward has their story. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROLLING...

America has a long and storied history with marijuana. Once grown by American colonists to make hemp rope, by 1970, it was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Possession of it was — and is — a federal crime, despite the fact that in recent years 25 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Author John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, traces the history of America's laws and attitudes...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Bob Weir is best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead. In recent years, he's continued to tour, performing Grateful Dead material with a group called Dead & Company. Now Weir has released a solo album, his first album of entirely new material since 1978. It's called "Blue Mountain," and our rock critic, Ken Tucker, has a review. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ROSE") BOB WEIR: ...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. One of October's most talked about books is a debut novel about a trio of young African-Americans in Southern California who are dealing with their community's expectations and their own mistakes and ambitions. Our book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review of "The Mothers" by Brit Bennett. MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: Brit Bennett first generated major buzz with a provocative 2014 essay she wrote in...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest Jonathan Safran Foer has written a new novel that revolves around fundamental questions like what does it mean to live a good life? Is happiness the ultimate ambition? And what is happiness? Do you hold the family together even when the marriage is fracturing? Do religious rituals still have meaning if you don't believe in God? The story is told from the points of view of...

Actress Gaby Hoffmann is at home with non-traditional families — as a child in the 1980s, she lived in Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel with her mother, an actress in Andy Warhol's Factory. "I grew up with artists and drag queens," Hoffmann tells Fresh Air 's Terry Gross. "These were just my neighbors and friends and the people who are raising me." After getting into acting as a child, Hoffmann took a break to go to Bard College. She didn't think think she would act again, but after exploring other...

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