Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11am
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.

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Television
11:43 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Kevin Bacon, Seeking A TV 'Following'

Jeannane Goossen and Kevin Bacon star as FBI special agents tracing a network of serial killers in Fox's new crime drama The Following.
Fox

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 11:46 am

In the new Fox TV series The Following, Kevin Bacon plays a former FBI agent asked to help apprehend an escaped serial killer he once put behind bars. The show is from Kevin Williamson, who also created the Scream horror-movie franchise.

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Author Interviews
11:19 am
Mon January 21, 2013

'Double V': The Fight For Civil Rights In The U.S. Military

The fight to integrate the U.S. military began with the Revolutionary War, says author Rawn James, Jr.
Bloomsbury Press

In his new book, The Double V: How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military, author Rawn James Jr. argues that if one wants to understand the story of race in the United States, one must understand the history of African-Americans in the country's military. Since the country was founded, he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, the military "has continually been forced to confront what it means to segregate individuals according to race."

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Ben Affleck And Dustin Hoffman

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

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 9:59 am

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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Movies
10:32 am
Fri January 18, 2013

'Mama': A Good Old-Fashioned Horror Movie

Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and her sister, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), are near-feral orphans in the horror thriller Mama.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:29 am

I was weaned on horror movies and love them inordinately, but the genre has gone to the dogs — and to the muscle-bound werewolves, hormonal vampires, flesh-eating zombies, machete-wielding psychos, etc. It's also depressing how most modern horror pictures have unhappy nihilist endings in which everyone dies and the demons pop back up, unvanquished — partly because studios think happy endings are too soft, but mostly because they need their monsters for so-called franchises.

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Author Interviews
8:49 am
Fri January 18, 2013

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

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

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 11:41 am

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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Book Reviews
11:00 am
Thu January 17, 2013

How A 'Madwoman' Upended A Literary Boys Club

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:05 am

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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Around the Nation
11:00 am
Thu January 17, 2013

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

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 11:47 am

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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Movie Interviews
8:53 am
Wed January 16, 2013

'Quartet': Dustin Hoffman, Behind The Camera

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

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:08 pm

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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Book Reviews
11:11 am
Tue January 15, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 11:15 am

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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Movie Interviews
8:22 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Affleck On 'Argo' And The 1979 Hostage Crisis

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

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 11:11 am

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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Author Interviews
11:16 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Retired Bishop Gene Robinson On Being Gay And Loving God

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

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 12:25 pm

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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Commentary
9:19 am
Mon January 14, 2013

"The Whole Nine Yards" Of What?

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

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 12:25 pm

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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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat January 12, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:43 am

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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Music Reviews
10:46 am
Fri January 11, 2013

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

Grant Green.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 6:14 am

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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Television
9:40 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Lena Dunham Addresses Criticism Aimed At 'Girls'

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

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:25 pm

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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Television
6:33 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Season Two Brings Changes For 'Girls'

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

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:25 pm

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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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

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

Barry Lopez
David Liittschwager Barry Lopez

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 7:03 pm

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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Theater
9:59 am
Wed January 9, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 10:25 am

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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Music Reviews
8:54 am
Wed January 9, 2013

'Nashville' Soundtrack Stands On Its Own

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

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 12:08 pm

"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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Author Interviews
11:50 am
Tue January 8, 2013

'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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Music Reviews
10:47 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

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

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 11:50 am

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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Movie Reviews
11:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

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

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:35 am

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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Television
11:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

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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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Tarantino, Waltz, 'Downton'

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

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 1:16 pm

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:

Read more
Book Reviews
10:04 am
Fri January 4, 2013

'A Grain Of Truth' About Memory And Modern Poland

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:26 am

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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Remembrances
9:38 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Remembering 'Rescue Me' Singer Fontella Bass

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:04 am

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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Author Interviews
9:33 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Frank Calabrese Jr. On Opening His 'Family Secrets'

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

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:04 am

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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Africa
12:16 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Northern Mali: A Violent Islamist Stronghold

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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Television
11:58 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Downton' Returns With Aristocratic Class And Clash

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

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 12:16 pm

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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Remembrances
9:56 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Western Star Harry Carey Jr., 1921-2012

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:57 am

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.

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