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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Music Reviews
11:17 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Justin Timberlake Returns To Music With Enthusiasm And 'Experience'

The 20/20 Experience is Justin Timberlake's first album since 2006.
Tom Monro RCA

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 8:03 am

The orchestral swirls, the transition to a soul-man groove, the falsetto croon — there you have some of the key elements to Justin Timberlake's album The 20/20 Experience. The title implies a certain clarity of vision, even as any given song presents the singer as a starry-eyed romantic, bedazzled by a woman upon whom he cannot heap enough compliments, come-ons and seductive playfulness.

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Television
9:27 am
Tue March 19, 2013

A Measured Look At Roth As The Writer Turns 80

A new documentary about Philip Roth premieres on PBS next week as part of a slew of celebrations in honor of the novelist's 80th birthday.
PBS

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:11 pm

In Chinua Achebe's novel The Anthills of the Savannah, one of the characters says, "Poets don't give prescriptions. They give headaches."

The same is true of novelists, and none more so than Philip Roth. If any writer has ever enjoyed rattling people's skulls, it's this son of Newark, N.J., who's currently enjoying something of a victory lap in the media on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The celebration reaches its peak with a new documentary — Philip Roth Unmasked — that will screen on PBS next week as part of the American Masters series.

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Television
11:56 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Two New TV Dramas Look Below The Surface

Elisabeth Moss (right) and Thomas Wright star in Jane Campion's new series Top of the Lake.
The Sundance Channel

Top of the Lake, a new seven-part miniseries premiering tonight on the Sundance Channel, was co-created and co-directed by Jane Campion, who teamed with Holly Hunter 20 years ago on the movie The Piano. Hunter is back for this new project, playing a mysterious New Agey guru of sorts. She's started a small commune for emotionally damaged women, on a remote strip of land in New Zealand.

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Author Interviews
11:26 am
Mon March 18, 2013

'Still Point': A Meditation On Mothering A Dying Child

Emily Rapp is also the author of Poster Child, about a congenital birth defect that led to the amputation of her leg when she was a child, and about how she subsequently became a poster child for the March of Dimes.
Anne Staveley Penguin Press

In January 2011, writer Emily Rapp was a happy new mother when she and her husband found themselves in a pediatric ophthalmologist's office with their 9-month-old son, Ronan. They were worried about Ronan's development and had gone to the eye doctor to rule out vision problems as the culprit. Checking Ronan's retinas, the doctor saw "cherry-red spots on the backs of his retinas," Rapp writes in her new memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World. Ronan's diagnosis that day was Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic and degenerative condition that is always fatal. There is no cure.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Adrian Younge, 'Frankenstein's Cat' And Tegan And Sara

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 8:30 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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Movie Reviews
9:43 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Three New Films Examine What It Means When Girls Act Out

Ginger & Rosa (starring Alice Englert and Elle Fanning) was directed by Sally Potter, who is perhaps best known for her 1992 film Orlando.
Sally Potter

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 3:37 pm

In the '60s, some fervent rock groupies formed a band called the GTOs — short for "Girls Together Outrageously" — and while it didn't last, the name captures the impulse behind stories in which women chafe against the male-centric society that pulls their strings. This week you can see a girls-together-outrageously triple bill: Spring Breakers, Ginger & Rosa and Beyond the Hills.

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Movie Interviews
8:35 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Man Behind 'The Master'

Navy veteran Freddie (Phoenix) falls under the influence of cult leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in Anderson's film, which critic Ella Taylor describes as "one of the most twisted father-son tales ever told."
Phil Bray The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 9:52 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 2, 2012.

For Paul Thomas Anderson, moviemaking is not just an art; it's also about time management.

"At its best, a film set is when everybody knows what's going on and everybody's working together," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "At its worst, [it's] when something's been lost in communication and an actor's not sure how many shots are left or what's going on, and the makeup department's confused."

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Author Interviews
1:24 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Two Awards In One Day For 'Battleborn' Author Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins' debut collection of short stories — Battleborn — is informed by her childhood in the West.
Riverhead Books

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 2:19 pm

The 10 stories in Claire Vaye Watkins' debut collection — Battleborn — explore the past and present of the American West, specifically Nevada, where Watkins spent much of her childhood and adolescence. On Wednesday, it was announced that the 28-year-old author had won two major literary prizes for Battleborn: the $10,000 Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the $20,000 Story Prize.

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Media
1:24 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Jake Tapper Takes A Host Chair At CNN

The veteran reporter has recently moved from ABC News to CNN where he now hosts his own show and serves as Chief Washington Correspondent. In Part II of this interview, Tapper talks about fact-checking the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and blow back from the White House after asking tough questions.

Author Interviews
10:44 am
Wed March 13, 2013

A Young Man Gets 'Filthy Rich' Boiling, Bottling Tap Water

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:16 am

In his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid's nameless protagonist is an ambitious young man who moves from the countryside to a megalopolis in search of his fortune. The city is modeled on Lahore, Pakistan, where Hamid was born and partly raised and where — after living in the United States and England — he has now settled with his family.

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Music Reviews
10:26 am
Wed March 13, 2013

The Moving Sidewalks: Where The British Invasion Met Texas Blues

Before ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons (second from right) was in the more psychedelic Moving Sidewalks.
Rancho Deluxe Productions

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:22 pm

There must be something in the water — or the beer — in Texas that caused the huge eruption of garage bands and psychedelic bands in the mid-1960s, because there sure were a lot of them, and their records on obscure labels have kept collectors busy for decades. Most of them were amateurs, but the Coachmen, who came together around 1964, were different.

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Music Interviews
12:23 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Adrian Younge: Looking Back To Move Hip-Hop Forward

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 3:13 pm

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Book Reviews
12:01 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

'Lean In': Not Much Of A Manifesto, But Still A Win For Women

AP

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 12:19 pm

Sheryl Sandberg tells an anecdote in her new book, Lean In, about sitting down with her boss, Mark Zuckerberg, for her first performance review as chief operating officer at Facebook. Zuckerberg told her that her "desire to be liked by everybody would hold [her] back." I hope she's worked on that problem because over the past few weeks, there sure have been a lot of people hating on Sheryl Sandberg.

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Music Reviews
10:52 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Tegan And Sara Reach Out To New Audiences With 'Heartthrob'

Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have been writing songs since they were 15 and independently released their first full-length album in 1999. Since then, they've produced seven studio albums.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:06 pm

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Author Interviews
9:56 am
Mon March 11, 2013

'Frankenstein's Cat': Bioengineering The Animals Of The Future

Cover of Frankenstein's Cat

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 11:52 am

In her new book, Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how the landscape of bioengineering has expanded since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. Scientists, she says, are now working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant, goats that produce valuable protein-rich milk, and cockroaches that could potentially serve as tiny scouts into danger zones for the military.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Mike White, Mike Piazza And David Bowie

In HBO's Enlightened, Laura Dern stars as corporate executive Amy Jellicoe, who returns from a post-meltdown retreat to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Series creator Mike White stars as Tyler, Amy's friend and co-worker.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 8:50 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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Author Interviews
10:37 am
Fri March 8, 2013

The History Of The FBI's Secret 'Enemies' List

John Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation gives a speech on November 17, 1953, in Washington.
Bob Mulligan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 11:00 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 14, 2012.

Four years after Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tim Weiner published Legacy of Ashes, his detailed history of the CIA, he received a call from a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

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Movies
10:04 am
Fri March 8, 2013

'Oz': Neither Great Nor Powerful

James Franco stars as the Wizard of Oz before the Wizard meets Dorothy in Oz the Great and Powerful.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 11:34 am

Oz the Great and Powerful. Say that name aloud and you will smile, I guarantee you: It will conjure up so many images, characters, actors, songs. Then hold that smile as long as you can, because you won't be doing much smiling at the movie called Oz the Great and Powerful, the so-called "prequel" to The Wizard of Oz from Disney Studios.

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Author Interviews
12:50 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Making It In The Big Leagues Was A 'Long Shot' For Catcher Mike Piazza

Retired Major League Baseball player Mike Piazza's new autobiography, Long Shot, addresses the steroid controversy and recalls the first game after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Simon and Schuster

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:30 pm

Back in 1988, it wasn't until the 62nd round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally picked Mike Piazza. Nobody expected him to make it in the big leagues. But he did. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 1992, and he hit his first home run just 12 days later.

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Music Reviews
10:33 am
Thu March 7, 2013

David Bowie Awakens To 'The Next Day' Of His Career

After a 10-year hiatus, David Bowie has just returned with The Next Day.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:30 pm

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Around the Nation
12:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Supreme Court's 'Heavyweight'

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses during a group photo in September 2009 in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 12:33 pm

In his profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this week's issue of The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin writes: "Ginsburg has suggested that she would like to serve as long as Louis Brandeis, her judicial hero, who retired at eighty-two." Ginsburg turns 80 this month and is marking her 20th year on the court. She has had cancer — colon and pancreatic — and her tiny, frail-looking stature leads many people to wonder if she'll be retiring soon.

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Books
12:30 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

A Fiendish Fly Recalls Kafka In 'Jacob's Folly'

iStockphoto.com

Man awakens to find out he has turned into an insect. And the Double Jeopardy question is, "What is Kafka's The Metamorphosis?" Well, what other response could there possibly be? Kafka all but cornered the market on that verminous plot in 1915; although, after nearly 100 years, the exclusivity clause may be about to expire. It takes a gutsy writer to pad in Gregor Samsa's sticky steps, but, by now, Rebecca Miller is clearly used to coping with the anxiety of influence and staying true to her own vision.

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Author Interviews
12:14 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

'Out Of Order' At The Court: O'Connor On Being The First Female Justice

Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as an associate justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger on Sept. 25, 1981. Holding two family Bibles is husband John Jay O'Connor.
Michael Evans AP

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 2:15 pm

Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't expecting the call from President Reagan that would change her life that day in 1981.

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Music Reviews
10:37 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Ashley Monroe Is 'Like A Rose,' Briars And All

Jim Wright Warner Nashville

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 12:14 pm

The high lonesome sound of Ashley Monroe's Tennessee voice in "Like a Rose" serves as a clear signal that she's working within a tradition that extends back well beyond her twentysomething years on Earth. One of Monroe's collaborators in that song was Guy Clark, a seventysomething Texas country veteran who's often too tough-guy romantic for his own good.

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Movie Reviews
11:53 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Cinerama Brought The Power Of Peripheral Vision To The Movies

A film still of New York City from 1952's This Is Cinerama. The film was meant to introduce audiences to the new Cinerama widescreen.
Flicker Alley LLC

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 12:51 pm

As early as silent film, directors attempted to create widescreen images. But in the 1950s it became a commercial necessity to give the multitude of new TV watchers what they couldn't get on a small screen. So even before CinemaScope, VistaVision, Todd-AO and Panavision, there was Cinerama — a process in which three projectors threw three simultaneous images onto a gigantic curved screen. Cinerama offered what no TV or movie screen could provide before — peripheral vision, which could make you feel as if you were really in the midst of the action.

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Movie Interviews
11:40 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Mike White On Creating HBO's 'Enlightened' Whistle-Blower

In HBO's Enlightened, Laura Dern stars as corporate executive Amy Jellicoe, who returns from a post-meltdown retreat to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Series creator Mike White stars as Tyler, Amy's friend and co-worker.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 12:51 pm

The HBO series Enlightened wrapped up its second season Sunday night. The show began as the story of a woman — the naive, idealistic, manipulative, determined and sincere Amy Jellicoe, played by Laura Dern — trying to put her life back together in the wake of a breakdown. After spending a couple of months at a New Age recovery center in Hawaii, Amy attempts to apply what she has learned to her life back in the real world of corporate America.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Whitey Bulger,' 'Salt Sugar Fat' And Historical Language

An early mug shot shows James "Whitey" Bulger in 1953.
Boston Police

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 10:40 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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Movie Reviews
12:26 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

A Disappointing Thriller Channels Hitchcock And Bram 'Stoker'

Nicole Kidman (left) and Mia Wasikowska star as Evelyn and India Stoker in Park Chan-wook's new thriller.
Macall Polay Fox Searchlight Pictures

Stoker has a ripely decadent, creepy-crawly feel that would have gotten under my skin if the tone weren't so arch and the people so ghoulishly remote. It's like a bad Strindberg play with added splatter. But director Park Chan-wook certainly works to make you uncomfortable. Take the early shot in which the teenage girl protagonist, India Stoker, played by Mia Wasikowska, sits in a meadow and muses in voiceover on the subject of free will versus destiny. She says, "Just as a flower doesn't choose its color, so we don't choose what we are going to be" — while draining a blister.

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Movie Interviews
9:26 am
Fri March 1, 2013

'Flight' Takes On Questions Of Accountability

Denzel Washington stars in Flight, the latest film from writer-producer-director Robert Zemeckis.
Robert Zuckerman Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 12:22 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 29, 2012. This interview features highlights from the original.

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Movie Interviews
9:22 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Denzel Washington Remembers 'Malcom X' And 'The Wizard Of Oz'

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:29 am

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Denzel Washington earned a sixth Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of an airline pilot with substance abuse problems in the film "Flight," which is now out on DVD. He's taken the Oscar home twice - for his starring role in "Malcolm X," and for his supporting role in "Cry Freedom." [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Washington won the Best Actor Oscar for "Training Day," and Best Supporting Actor for "Glory."]

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