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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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
9:24 am
Fri December 30, 2011

South Park Creators Talk 'Book Of Mormon'

The Book of Mormon features music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone and plays at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City.
John Marcus Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 9:25 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 19, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
1:25 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Stephen Colbert: A 'Company' Man On Broadway

Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton perform a song from Company on stage during the 65th annual Tony Awards.
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on June 14, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
6:02 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Buddying Up To 'Follies' Star Danny Burstein

Follies, with Jenifer Foote (left) and Kiira Schmidt." href="/post/buddying-follies-star-danny-burstein" class="noexit lightbox">
Danny Burstein, as Buddy Plummer, performs "Buddy's Blues," the high-energy song-and-dance number at the end of Follies, with Jenifer Foote (left) and Kiira Schmidt.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 9:49 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on November 28, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
5:50 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death And Children's Lit

courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:10 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 20, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
6:20 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings: The Fresh Air Interview

The Harrow and the Harvest is the first new album from Gillian Welch and David Rawlings since 2003.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 5:37 pm

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on July 18, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
6:51 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Aaron Paul: Playing Bad 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 Tue December 27, 2011 8:18 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
6:49 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Margo Martindale: A 'Justified' Backwoods Matriarch

Margo Martindale is Mags Bennett, a charmingly villainous moonshiner in the FX series Justified. For her performance, Martindale drew on her roots in East Texas and Kentucky. "It's all part of my makeup. It's something I really understand," she says.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:39 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on September 12, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
9:15 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Jimmy Fallon's 'Thank You Notes' For Everything

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 Mon December 26, 2011 9:18 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
7:11 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Waits: Paying Homage To Outcasts On 'Bad As Me'

Tom Waits.

Jesse Dylan

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on October 31, 2011.


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Fresh Air Weekend
10:34 am
Sat December 24, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Trent Reznor, Elmo

Elmo and Clash, on the Sesame Street set in 2006.
Richard Termine Sesame Workshop

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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The Fresh Air Interview
8:54 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Singer Darrell Scott Reflects On His Father's Death

Darrell Scott released his father Wayne's first album in 2006. Wayne also wrote two of the songs on Darrell's forthcoming album, Long Road Home.
Scott Simontacchi Thirty Tigers

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 9:23 am

Country singer-songwriter Darrell Scott grew up playing with his father, Wayne, and helped his father release a debut album at age 71. They continued to collaborate in recent years.

Last month, Darrell was in Texas in between gigs when he learned that his father had died in a car accident.

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Holiday Music
11:42 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Some Christmas Tunes From Rebecca Kilgore And Pals

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 9:24 am

This interview was originally broadcast on December 19, 2005.

In time for the holidays, Fresh Air presents an in-studio concert. Singer Rebecca Kilgore, trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello played at the NOLA studios in Manhattan.

Kilgore is one of the leading interpreters of American songs. She became known for her work with pianist and composer Dave Frishberg.

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Holiday Music
8:31 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Hugh Martin's 'Hidden Treasures' Explored

The late Hugh Martin wrote the Christmas standard, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The Musical Theater Project

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:42 am

The late songwriter Hugh Martin wrote "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for Judy Garland's 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis, along with dozens of other songs for MGM and Broadway musicals.

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Movie Reviews
4:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Flicks, Picked (Redux): Edelstein's 2011 Top 10 Films

Beginners — based on director Mike Mills' life--Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finds out his father is gay, and has denied himself throughout his married life. After coming out, Oliver's dad becomes physically and spiritually transformed. " href="/post/flicks-picked-redux-edelsteins-2011-top-10-films" class="noexit lightbox">
In Beginners — based on director Mike Mills' life--Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finds out his father is gay, and has denied himself throughout his married life. After coming out, Oliver's dad becomes physically and spiritually transformed.
Focus Features

Fresh Air's film critic David Edelstein says 2011 was the kind of year without a list-topping film.

"There's no best film this year," says Edelstein. "This is in alphabetical order because I liked all these movies, I loved some of them, but I just couldn't pick a best. It wasn't that kind of year."

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Music Reviews
10:09 am
Wed December 21, 2011

El Rego: A Singer From Benin With Soul And Funk

El Rego, the godfather of Benin funk, and his band The Commandos.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:16 am

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.

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Book Reviews
12:03 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

The Story Of The Chitlin' Circuit's Great Performers

Cover detail

During the years before the Civil Rights movement got underway, segregated American cities helped give birth to a touring circuit that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians and eventually brought about the birth of rock 'n' roll. Today, rock historian Ed Ward looks at two books, Preston Lauterbach's The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll and Fever, Susan Whitall's biography of Little Willie John, one of the Chitlin' Circuit's last stars.

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Best Music Of 2011
8:09 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Ken Tucker's Top 10: The Year In Music

Television
8:07 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Bianculli Picks The Best (And Worst) TV Of 2011

Over the past few seasons, Breaking Bad's Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has changed from meek hero to forceful villain. TV critic David Bianculli says he isn't just breaking bad anymore — he's entirely broken.
Gregory Peters AMC

Fresh Air's TV critic David Bianculli liked so many shows this year that he says he couldn't pick just 10 favorites. Instead, he split his favorites into several lists, including best documentaries and best scripted comedies/dramas.

Bianculli also highlights some of the worst shows to hit TV screens this year — including not one but two shows featuring Snooki.

Despite his Snooki misgivings, Bianculli says it was a banner year for TV.

"There is more good television on a weekly basis than there has ever been," Bianculli says. "I am absolutely certain of it."

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Music Reviews
9:58 am
Mon December 19, 2011

The Left Banke: Teenage Pioneers Of Jangle-Pop

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:24 am

If you were a New York teenager who played an instrument and wanted to be in a band, and all of a sudden British groups were coming to town and attracting rioting mobs of teenage girls, you might feel a certain urgency to get something together. Tom Finn had already had a band, The Magic Plants, when he ran into a guy named Steve Martin-Caro, a Spanish high-school student who recently arrived in the city, as they attempted to navigate the scene outside the hotel where The Rolling Stones' members were staying in 1965. The two became friends and decided to form another band.

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Music Interviews
9:22 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Trent Reznor: The Fresh Air Interview

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:43 am

When filmmaker David Fincher asked Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross to compose the music for his U.S. film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher had one request: for the music to sound 'textural.'

So Reznor and Ross, who won an Oscar for their score of Fincher's 2010 film The Social Network, experimented with sounds created by stretched-out bell tones, piano beds filled with nails and clothespins, and mixes of distorted instruments played imperfectly.

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Fresh Air Weekend
3:57 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Louis C.K., Sports Journalism

Louis C.K., born Louis Szekely, is a writer, actor, producer, director and star of the FX series Louie.
FX

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 1:45 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:

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Movie Reviews
9:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

An 'Impossible' Mission Full Of Fun And Wonder

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force go to great heights to combat the threat of a nuclear confrontation in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
Paramount Pictures

The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end — and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.

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Movie Interviews
10:28 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Kevin Clash: The Man Behind Elmo

Elmo and Kevin Clash have been working together for more than 20 years. Clash has also performed in Labyrinth, Muppets from Space, Follow that Bird and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Photo courtesy of Scott McDermott/Being Elmo

When Elmo first appeared on Sesame Street, the little red monster had a deep voice and rarely laughed. But then puppeteer Kevin Clash started working with the furry red creature. Clash, now the senior puppet coordinator and Muppet captain on Sesame Street, further developed Elmo's lovable personality and started providing his trademark voice. Over the past 25 years, Clash has transformed Elmo into one of the most recognizable characters on Sesame Street.

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Music Interviews
10:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Reviving 'Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set'

Idelsohn Society

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:45 am

Tikva Records was founded in 1947 as an independent Jewish record label. For the next 30 years, it would record an eclectic range of Jewish-American songs, including klezmer pop, cantorial singing, Catskills medleys and Israeli folk tunes.

Tikva Records folded in the late 1970s, but a number of singles on the label have been re-released by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and preserving Jewish music through museum exhibits, concert showcases and reissues of lost Jewish classics and compilations.

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Author Interviews
9:35 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Tracing Ballet's Cultural History Over 400 Years

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2010. Apollo's Angels is now available in paperback.

It is ballet season, which means many companies are performing The Nutcracker for the holidays and preparing their big shows for the winter months. Everywhere you turn these days, you can see toe shoes — but there is a deep and fascinating history to the art form that few people know.

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Books
3:51 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2011

This year-end list is dominated by fiction, but a couple of nonfiction titles also made the cut as well. Book critic Maureen Corrigan says that 2011 was a banner year for fiction — especially for several first-time novelists.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Music Reviews
11:41 am
Mon August 29, 2011

Wilhelm Furtwaengler: A Complex German Conductor

German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwaengler.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:59 am

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.

Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was exonerated by a postwar tribunal.

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