Fresh Air

Weekdays from 3pm to 4pm and repeated at 10pm
Terry Gross

Fresh Air is the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues from NPR hosted by Terry Gross. 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."

Composer ID: 
5187f157e1c837e16b69e494|5187f152e1c837e16b69e482

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Author Interviews
2:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Woodrow Wilson Brought New Executive Style To The White House

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:41 pm

Woodrow Wilson, America's 28th president, left the White House in 1921 after serving two terms. But today he remains a divisive figure.

He's associated with a progressive income tax and the creation of the Federal Reserve. During his re-election bid, he campaigned on his efforts to keep us out of World War I, but in his second term, he led the country into that war, saying the U.S. had to make the world safe for democracy. The move ended America's isolationism and ushered in a new era of American military and foreign policy.

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Author Interviews
1:41 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

For Novelist Jonathan Lethem, Radicalism Runs In The Family

Jonathan Lethem's other books include The Ecstasy of Influence, Chronic City and Girl in Landscape.
John Lucas Courtesy Doubleday

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 3:01 pm

People who don't believe in God but have an almost religious belief in causes are at the center of Jonathan Lethem's new novel, Dissident Gardens. The novel opens in 1955 Queens, N.Y., when Rose Zimmer, a secular Jew and Communist, is expelled from the party, ostensibly because the local committee disapproves of her affair with a black police officer.

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Music Reviews
12:20 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

When Duke Flirted With The Queen

Duke Ellington, looking dapper in 1958.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:35 am

In 1958, at an arts festival in Yorkshire, Duke Ellington was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. They tied up the reception line for a few minutes, exchanging royal pleasantries; our Duke politely flirted with Her Majesty. Soon afterward, maybe that very night, Ellington outlined the movements of The Queen's Suite. He recorded it with his orchestra the following year, sent it to Her Majesty, and declined to release it to the public in his lifetime. It's not clear whether Queen Elizabeth has listened to it.

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

Fresh Air Weekend: John Zorn, Superchunk And 'Cat Sense'

John Zorn's latest album is Dreamachines, which is inspired by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs' cut-up techniques.
Scott Irvine Courtesy of the artist

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:

At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn: At 60, New York City composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that, at his age, "there are no more doubts."

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Music Reviews
1:52 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

The Dawn Of Sun Records: 15 Hours Of Blues

The Prisonaires, a band formed in a Memphis-area prison, created one of Sun Records' early hits.
Courtesy of Bear Family Records

Sam Phillips is famous for saying that if he could find a white boy with the authentic Negro sound and feel, he'd make a billion dollars. Seeing Phillips in his striped sport coat and tie in 1950, you might well wonder if he'd know that sound and feel if it came up and bit him. But he'd been a fan of blues and country music since childhood, and he bet that his technical knowledge and feeling for this music could make him money.

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Interviews
10:43 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons Of Anarchy'

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 1:51 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 31, 2012.

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It's all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

"She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do."

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Music Reviews
1:57 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

On Its New Album, Superchunk Makes The Downtrodden Sound Upbeat

Superchunk's new album is titled I Hate Music.
Jason Arthurs Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 1:53 pm

"I hate music, what is it worth? / Can't bring anyone back to this earth," the band Superchunk sings. It's the kind of sentiment you'd imagine someone blurting out with bitter spontaneity, but it's not really music the band hates; it's the despair and grief to which their music bears witness. Superchunk's new downbeat-but-upbeat album, I Hate Music, is dedicated to a close friend who died last year.

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Author Interviews
1:46 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

What's Mittens Thinking? Make 'Sense' Of Your Cat's Behavior

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 6:43 pm

Cats have come a long way from being animals charged with catching mice to treasured, adorable creatures that snuggle with us in our beds. But this relatively new arrangement is creating issues for cats and the people who live with them.

John Bradshaw has studied the history of domesticated cats and how the relationship between people and cats has changed. He's the author of the new book Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, which is a follow-up to his book Dog Sense.

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Book Reviews
1:30 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

From McDermott, An Extraordinary Story Of An Ordinary 'Someone'

The main character of Alice McDermott's Someone grew up in 1920s and '30s New York.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 3:27 pm

Endurance, going the distance, sucking up the solitude and the brine: I'm not talking about the glorious Diana Nyad and her instantly historic swim from Cuba to Key West, but of the ordinary heroine whose life is the subject of Alice McDermott's latest novel, Someone. "Ordinary" is a word that's used a lot to describe McDermott's characters, mostly Irish and working class, mostly un-heroic in any splashy way.

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U.S.
1:04 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Program Fights Gun Violence Bravado With 'Story Of Suffering'

Dr. Amy Goldberg explains the medical treatment Adams received after he was shot. Part of her demonstration involves placing stickers on a student volunteer to mark bullet entry and exit points.
Courtesy Jessica Kourkounis

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:06 pm

In 2004, 16-year-old Lamont Adams was shot more than a dozen times near his home in North Philadelphia. He was taken to Philadelphia's Temple University Hospital, where trauma unit head Dr. Amy Goldberg fought to save his life. Goldberg lost that battle and Lamont died shortly after arriving at the hospital, but after treating so many gun injuries and watching so many victims die, Goldberg decided to make a change.

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All Tech Considered
12:37 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Beyond The Shadows: Apple's iOS 7 Is All About The Screen

Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, discusses features of the new iOS 7 during the keynote address of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10 in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:55 pm

At some point in the coming weeks, users of Apple iPhones and iPads will wake up to an alert that there is a new version of the company's mobile operating system, known as iOS, for them to install.

If users follow historical patterns, within a few days of the launch of iOS 7, almost all of them will install the updated software and, just like that, more than 500 million phones and tablets will be made new. Never before has a technology industry launch come close to matching the scale and speed of this switch.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:06 am
Tue September 3, 2013

At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn

John Zorn's latest album is Dreamachines, which is inspired by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs' cut-up techniques.
Scott Irvine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 1:25 pm

At 60, New York City-based composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. His oeuvre is fantastically wide, from cutthroat jazz improvisation and pummeling noise-rock to gorgeous chamber music and, believe it or not, a genuine Christmas album.

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Music Interviews
11:03 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Jason Isbell Locates His Musical Compass On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell was previously a member of Drive-By Truckers. His solo albums include Sirens of the Ditch and Here We Rest.
Eric England Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 2:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 17, 2013.

When singer-songwriter Jason Isbell used to get drunk, he'd sometimes tell his then-girlfriend, the musician Amanda Shires, that he needed to quit the bottle — and that if it was going to take, he'd have to go to rehab. Eventually, she said the next time he told her that, she'd hold him to it. And she did. And he went. And, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "The jury is still out on whether or not it worked, but it worked today and all the days leading up to this."

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'America's Test Kitchen,' 'Short Term 12' And Demian Bichir

Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen says the trick to grilling peaches is using fruit that's ripe but firm.
mccun934 via Flickr

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:20 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:

'America's Test Kitchen' On Grilling Peaches, Tofu And Burgers: Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop advise using ripe fruit, extra-firm tofu and poking your hamburgers so they don't puff up like tennis balls.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:42 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Questlove's Roots: A 'Meta' Memoir Of A Lifetime In Music

In his new memoir, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson describes his life in music — and how he mimicked beats at just 10 months old.
Danny Clinch Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 1:51 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 24, 2013. Questlove's hip hop band The Roots is preparing to move from Late Night to The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon takes over as the host in February. We kick off this hour with a conversation between TV critic David Bianculli and Fresh Air host Terry Gross about the history of Tonight Show bands.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
12:22 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Seth Meyers' Prime-Time Political Parody

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
11:04 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Late Night 'Thank You Notes' From Jimmy Fallon

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 Thu August 29, 2013 12:22 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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Movie Reviews
1:16 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Reaching Across What's Broken, 'Short Term' Fix Or No

In Short Term 12 — named for the youth facility where it's primarily set — John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson play young counselors not too far removed from their own adolescent struggles.
Cinedigm

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 4:02 pm

It's easy to make fun of a certain kind of therapeutic language — the kind you hear all through the movie Short Term 12.

That title comes from the name of a group home for abused and/or unstable teens. Early on, a young counselor named Grace (Brie Larson) tells one smart-mouthed kid that "your attitude is not helping either one of us" — which would tend to make her a repressive drag in a typical Hollywood teen picture.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
12:06 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel: Making Late Night A Family Affair

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel interviews Mel Brooks on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Randy Holmes ABC

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 1:16 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 29, 2013.

This year, Jimmy Kimmel's late-night ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, joined the 11:35 p.m. nightly lineup — which put him in direct competition with two reining comedy kings: Jay Leno and Kimmel's idol, David Letterman.

Kimmel, who paid tribute to Letterman at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, didn't break the news to Letterman himself.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
1:53 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Conan's 'Uphill Climb' To Late-Night Throne

Conan O'Brien interviews Bruce Willis in a 2005 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 1:57 pm

Conan O'Brien has probably had the most unusual career trajectory of any current late-night host. When he joined NBC's Late Night in 1993, replacing David Letterman, he had virtually no on-air experience. He did, however, have comedy-writing chops: O'Brien edited the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon as a student, then wrote for Saturday Night Live and was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.

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Fresh Air Theme Week: Late Night TV
11:38 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jay Leno: 'Tonight' Was About 'Trying To Get Johnny To Laugh'

Jay Leno delivers the opening monologue during the inauguration of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 25, 1992.
Craig Fujii AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 1:53 pm

In 1992, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he was already a familiar presence, having served as one of Carson's regular substitute hosts. Despite that experience, Leno's first few years on Tonight were rocky.

"When he started, when he was up against Letterman, Letterman beat him for the first couple of years," critic David Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But once Leno came ahead, he was unstoppable. He never lost that audience."

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Television
1:19 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Letterman And 'Tonight' Vet Go Behind The Scenes Of Late Night

David Letterman, pictured here in January 1982, premiered Late Night With David Letterman just a few months after his Fresh Air interview.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 10:43 am

Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'World's End,' Robin Thicke And The 'Sports Gene'

Martin Freeman (from left), Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan star as five old high school friends who reunite to finish an epic pub crawl in The World's End, directed by Edgar Wright.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:32 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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Remembrances
1:15 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Fresh Air Remembers 'Piano Jazz' Host Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz featured performances and conversation with a variety of pianists, including Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck.
Courtesy Marian McPartland

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:36 pm

For more than 30 years, jazz pianist Marian McPartland hosted one of public radio's most beloved shows, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. As NPR's Felix Contreras writes, she "gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation." McPartland died of natural causes on Tuesday at the age of 95.

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Remembrances
1:15 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Fresh Air Remembers Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard published 46 novels over a career that lasted more than 60 years.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Prolific crime novelist Elmore Leonard died Tuesday at the age of 87. Leonard was known for crisp dialogue and memorable villains. "The bad guys are the fun guys," he said in a 1983 interview. "The only people I have trouble with are the so-called normal types."

Many of Leonard's books and short stories were adapted to films. Those books include Get Shorty, The Big Bounce and Rum Punch, which became the Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. His short story "Fire in the Hole" was the basis for the FX TV series Justified.

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