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
10:49 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Ravi Coltrane: A Noble Sound, Witness To Its Heritage

Ravi Coltrane's new album is called Spirit Fiction.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:54 am

The jazz musician Ravi Coltrane, 47, didn't make his burden any lighter by choosing to play tenor and soprano saxophones — the same instruments his father, John Coltrane, indelibly stamped with his influence.

Ravi knew early he needed his own voice. On tenor, he has his own ways of bending and inflecting a note, applying flexible vibrato. Even when his noble sound bears witness to his heritage, Ravi Coltrane can draw on his father's language and make it his own.

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Religion
9:54 am
Tue July 17, 2012

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:18 pm

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

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Television
9:09 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 10:16 am

Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

"It suits my style," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I like writing about heroes [who] don't wear capes or disguises. You feel like, 'Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can't that be the real world?' "

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Fresh Air Weekend
5:43 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Iraq, Guthrie, 'Margaret'

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 10:26 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
11:15 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Tanglewood Celebrates 75th With Free Web Stream

The scene at Tanglewood.
courtesy of Tanglewood

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 8:53 am

On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.

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Television
9:19 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Aaron Paul: Playing A Meth Dealer On 'Breaking Bad'

Aaron Paul plays a meth-making drug dealer on the AMC drama Breaking Bad. He also played a recurring character on the HBO series Big Love.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:56 am

This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011. Breaking Bad begins its fifth season on Sunday, July 15th at 10 PM EST.

Vince Gilligan's AMC drama Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who turns to dealing drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. White's partner-in-crime throughout the series is his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by actor Aaron Paul.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

'Margaret': The Tortured Journey Of A Girl, On Screen

Sarah Steele, Anna Paquin and Matthew Broderick in Margaret. The DVD release of Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed second film includes the theatrical version and an extended 186-minute cut.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:56 am

"A fiasco with a great first half" is what I called Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret when it was dumped in one New York theater last fall, five years after it was shot, amid a legal battle between Lonergan and a producer.

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Music Interviews
10:03 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Fresh Air Celebrates Woody Guthrie At 100

Woody Guthrie
Smithsonian Folkways

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 10:52 am

Lots of people know Woody Guthrie's classic 1940 ballad "This Land Is Your Land," but the story behind the tune may not be as familiar.

Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this week, wrote "This Land" as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," a song he felt was overly patriotic and not directed at ordinary Americans like himself.

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Television
8:03 am
Thu July 12, 2012

The 'Political Animals' Running Washington, D.C.

In Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, the current secretary of state and a former first lady.
USA Networks

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 1:36 pm

If you only knew about America from watching TV, the last few months might lead you to think that women here wield enormous political power. First you had Game Change, the story of Sarah Palin's attempt to become vice president. Then you had Veep, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character has accomplished just that. Now comes Political Animals, a new USA network series about a strong female secretary of state who I suspect even a Martian would realize is based on Hillary Clinton.

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Movie Interviews
10:47 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'Margaret:' Inside The 'Fall' Of A Teenager

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 11:32 am

Kenneth Lonergan's critically acclaimed film Margaret was completed in 2006, but because of several lawsuits, it wasn't released until last year.

Called "nothing short of a masterwork" by The New Yorker, the film stars Anna Paquin as Lisa, a Manhattan teenager who tries to make sense of a bus accident she may have caused — one that resulted in a woman's death. Lonergan tells Terry Gross that he wrote the film because he was interested in how teenagers transition into an adult world.

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Book Reviews
10:40 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'A Door In The Ocean' Leads To Dark Depths

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 12:23 pm

Many of the key scenes in David McGlynn's striking new memoir, A Door in the Ocean, take place at the beach or in swimming pools. McGlynn was a surfer and competitive swimmer in his school days and still squeezes into his Speedos for races like the annual 5K "Gatorman" off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. Ocean swimming, in particular, transports McGlynn to another realm, and he does a terrific job of dramatizing the allure of solitary swims in open water. Midway through his book, he writes:

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Music Reviews
10:08 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'St. Matthew Passion': A Monumental Bach Feast

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra.
Getty Digital

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 10:25 am

Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.

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Afghanistan
9:51 am
Tue July 10, 2012

After Troops Leave, What Happens To Afghanistan?

Afghan army soldiers, like the one pictured here, will be responsible for protecting Kabul and holding critical cities and roads together after the planned 2014 American troop withdrawal.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:29 pm

This past weekend brought news of more violence in Afghanistan.

Seven Western troops, five Afghan police officers and at least 18 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. The toll included six Americans killed by a single bomb in Wardak province, south of Kabul.

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Author Interviews
9:46 am
Mon July 9, 2012

'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
Joey Campagna Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:08 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Summer Cooking From Top Chefs

Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop prepare a traditional summer barbecue, as imagined by WHYY's artist-in-residence, Tony Auth.
Tony Auth

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 9:57 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:


Summer Cooking Tips From 'America's Test Kitchen': Jack Bishop and Bridget Lancaster highlight some of their favorite grilling techniques and summer recipes — everything from meats to vegetables to, yes, even desserts.

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Music Reviews
9:44 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Big K.R.I.T.: Music Straight 'From The Underground'

Big K.R.I.T.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:20 pm

Big K.R.I.T.'s distinction as a rapper is the way he spreads his vowels out over his beats like gravy. There's little that's harsh in his phrasing, even as his lyrics can be tart or tough. In general, though, his tone over the course of Live From the Underground is a voice of coolness, of relaxation or resignation, even occasionally serenity.

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Movie Reviews
9:06 am
Fri July 6, 2012

'Savages:' A Violent, Drug-Induced High

In Savages, the love triangle among Chon (Taylor Kitsch), O (Blake Lively) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) is disrupted when O is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel.
Francois Duhamel Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 9:57 am

Often I'm asked, "What's the worst movie ever made?" and I say, "I don't know, but my own least favorite is Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers." The early script by Quentin Tarantino was heavily revised, and the final film became a celebration of serial killers, now existential heroes with absolute freedom. Beyond the bombardment that was Stone's direction, the worldview was abominable.

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Music Interviews
8:30 am
Fri July 6, 2012

James Murphy: The Brains Behind LCD Soundsystem

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:01 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 21, 2012. The new film Shut Up and Play the Hits documents LCD's Soundsystem's farewell concert at Madison Square Garden.

When LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy attended live concerts, he says he always felt like there was something missing.

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Music Reviews
10:50 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Linda Oh: Connecting Points On A Musical Map

Linda Oh
Vincent Soyez courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 10:01 am

In a good jazz rhythm section, the players function independently and as one. Their parts and accents crisscross and reinforce each other, interlocking like West African drummers. Beyond that, the bass is a band's ground floor. When it changes up, the earth shifts under all the players' feet. From moment to moment, Linda Oh's bass prowls or gallops, takes giant downward leaps, or stands its ground.

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Around the Nation
10:22 am
Thu July 5, 2012

AIDS In Black America: A Public Health Crisis

Dr. David Ho, an HIV/AIDS specialist, draws blood from Magic Johnson, one of the people featured in Endgame: AIDS in Black America.
Renata Simone Productions/Frontline

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:10 pm

Of the more than 1 million people in the U.S. infected with HIV, nearly half are black men, women and children — even though blacks make up about 13 percent of the population. AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44, and the mortality rate is 10 times higher for black Americans than for whites.

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Interviews
1:28 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Jimmy Fallon's Tribute To Neil Young

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 9:08 am

We're replaying a portion of this interview today. Specifically, it's the part where Jimmy Fallon imitates Neil Young. Why? Because we're also playing our Neil Young interview today. If you're like to listen to the full Jimmy Fallon interview, you can do so here.

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Music Interviews
1:13 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Neil Young's Fascination With 'Americana'

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 9:08 am

This interview was originally broadcast on June 6, 2012.

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Fresh Food
10:23 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Summer Cooking Tips From 'America's Test Kitchen'

Grilled short ribs are a delicious addition to any summer barbecue.
Carl Tremblay America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 11:34 am

Tired of regular old hamburgers and hot dogs for July 4?

You're in luck. On Tuesday's Fresh Air, Jack Bishop and Bridget Lancaster from America's Test Kitchen join Terry Gross to highlight some of their favorite grilling techniques and summer recipes — everything from meats to vegetables to, yes, even desserts.

Bishop and Lancaster have been grilling for years. They love the technique because it concentrates flavors and makes food taste really, really good.

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Music Reviews
10:23 am
Tue July 3, 2012

The dB's: Still Plaintive After All These Years

The dB's.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 1:05 pm

If there was any doubt that The dB's have any use for being considered through the haze of memory, or limited to the misty fondness from fans who remember them from the early 80s, the blast that opens their new album Falling Off the Sky, a song called "That Time Is Gone," could not be more explicit. Group leaders Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, along with drummer Will Rigby and bassist Gene Holder, are taking back their sound after 30 years, sprucing it up and re-exploding it for the days we live in now.

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Judging The Health Care Law
10:39 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Assessing The Supreme Court's Recent Term

The U.S. Supreme Court justices (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan — pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 12:43 pm

An eventful term of the U.S. Supreme Court ended Thursday with the landmark 5-4 ruling affirming the legality of the Affordable Care Act. Much attention has focused on the pivotal role of Chief Justice John Roberts in the case — and whether some elements of his opinion in the health care ruling will have a conservative influence on future cases.

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Book Reviews
10:16 am
Mon July 2, 2012

'The Age Of Miracles' Considers Earth's Fragility

iStock

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:39 am

The Age of Miracles is literary fiction, but it spins out the same kind of "what if?" disaster plot that distinguishes many a classic sci-fi movie. Too bad the title The Day the Earth Stood Still was already taken, because it really would have been the perfect title for Thompson's novel.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:43 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Alec Baldwin, College Tuition

In Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, Alec Baldwin lives vicariously through the lives of three younger people.
Sony Picture Classics

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 11:05 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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Sports
8:53 am
Fri June 29, 2012

R.A. Dickey On 'Winding Up' As A Knuckleballer

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

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:53 am

This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012. Since it aired, R.A. Dickey has pitched two consecutive one-hitters.

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

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

'Beasts': Taking Southern Folklore To The Next Level

Hushpuppy, the 6-year-old at the center of Beasts of the Southern Wild, is played by Quvenzhane Wallis, who was found by director Benh Zeitlin in a Louisiana elementary school.
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:58 pm

The parents of director Benh Zeitlin are folklorists, which is as good a way as any to account for the ambitions of his first feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film is a mythic odyssey laced with modern ecological anxieties, captured in a free-form, image-driven narrative that recalls Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. It's clear from the outset that Zeitlin aims to take the family folklore business to the next level.

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Fresh Food
11:16 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Marcus Samuelsson: On Becoming A Top Chef

James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson has been a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America and Chopped.
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.

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