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: 
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Your Money
2:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Tricky Business Of Retirement: Hidden 401(K) Fees

iStockPhoto.com

A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

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Music Reviews
12:48 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

100 Years Of Woody Herman: The Early Bloomer Who Kept Blooming

American jazz musician Woody Herman rehearses in London during a tour of England.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Woody Herman, who would have turned 100 on Thursday, bloomed early and late — and then later still. He turned pro by age 9, singing and dancing in movie theaters on summer vacation. He'd perform one song deemed too risqué for radio when he recorded it decades later: "My Gee Gee From the Fiji Isles."

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Movie Reviews
12:26 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

'Into Darkness,' Boldly And With A Few Twists

Zoe Saldana is Uhura and Zachary Quinto is Spock in the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek: Into Darkness, the 12th installment in the franchise.
Zade Rosenthal Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original Star Trek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.

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Movie Interviews
1:08 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

A Polley Family Secret, Pieced Deftly Together

For her latest film, Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley turns her camera on her own family.
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 3:04 pm

Sarah Polley earned wide acclaim for directing the drama Away from Her, about a woman fading into the twilight of Alzheimer's, as well as for her acting performances in an array of films including The Sweet Hereafter and My Life Without Me. Her latest film, Stories We Tell, is a documentary, though — and a personal one at that.

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Book Reviews
1:08 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Coming To 'Americanah': Two Tales Of Immigrant Experience

JOZZ iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:34 pm

First things first: Can we talk about hair? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a big knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color; but, as Adichie has said in interviews, she also knows that black women's hair can speak volumes about racial politics.

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Movie Interviews
1:59 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Gerwig, Baumbach Poke At Post-College Pangs

Director Noah Baumbach has made a name for himself with films such as The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding.
Wilson Webb IFC Films

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 2:33 pm

In the film Frances Ha, Greta Gerwig stars as the title character, a 27-year-old living a good but not particularly successful post-college life in New York City.

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Music Reviews
12:07 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Dawes Knows Where It's Been And Where It's Headed

Noah Abrams Big Hassle

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 9:27 am

If you heard the Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface" and said, "Somebody's been listening to their old Jackson Browne albums," you're not exactly insulting Dawes. The band has actually backed Browne on tour — and Browne has sung backup on at least one of its songs — so you could say that Dawes comes by its riffs and phrasing honestly.

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Author Interviews
1:38 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

In 'Passage', Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles

Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:39 pm

For the past 37 years, Robert Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.

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Music Reviews
12:59 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Bing Crosby: From The Vaults, Surprising Breadth

A batch of reissues and archival releases from Bing Crosby's own vaults is getting a high-profile relaunch. Above, Crosby circa 1956.
Courtesy of Universal Music

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Bing Crosby was the biggest thing in pop singing in the 1930s, a star on radio and in the movies. He remained a top star in the '40s, when Frank Sinatra began giving him competition.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Messud, Volk And Scorsese

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 11:12 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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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

The 'Real Life' Of Actor Steve Carell

Steve Carell spent six years as Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott on NBC's The Office before departing the show in 2011.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 24, 2007.

By the end of The-40-Year-Old Virgin, the title character had lost his virginity — and actor Steve Carell had become a star.

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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Rainn Wilson: 'The Office' Drone Outside Of Work

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 30, 2008.

While his Office character always took himself seriously, actor Rainn Wilson seems to be all about the laughs. For the entirety of the series, Wilson has played beet-farming, archery-loving middle-management kook Dwight Schrute on the NBC hit television series.

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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office'

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 3, 2008.

For nearly a decade, Jenna Fischer has played Pam, one of The Office's most recognizably real characters.

If you've ever worked in a clerical position in an alienating office, you'll relate to what Pam goes through. In this interview, Fischer tells Terry Gross about creating all those pained looks and knowing smiles — and about how her five years as an office temp helped to prepare her for the role.

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Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

'The Woman Upstairs': A Saga Of Anger And Thwarted Ambition

Picture of an old attic
Minas Panagiotakis iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:59 pm

"How angry am I? You don't want to know. Nobody wants to know." Those are the opening lines of Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs. The novel is about a single woman, Nora, who hasn't fulfilled her dreams of being an artist and having children. Nora's plight is complicated when she befriends a woman who has done both.

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Television
1:29 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

In A Cluster Of New Sitcoms, 'Family Tree' Stands Tall

In the new HBO series Family Tree, Chris O'Dowd (above left, with the series' writer-director-producer Christopher Guest) stars as a guy who has just lost his job and girlfriend and fills the void by looking into his family genealogy.
HBO

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:29 pm

Christopher Guest, co-creator with Jim Piddock of the new HBO comedy series Family Tree, obviously is having a good time making this show — and it's contagious. It's several shows in one, and every element is a self-assured little delight.

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Remembrances
12:20 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Remembering Monster-Maker Ray Harryhausen

Medusa from 1981's Clash of the Titans is among legendary animator Ray Harryhausen's many creations.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:19 pm

Ray Harryhausen, who died Tuesday in London at age 92, became fascinated with animation after seeing King Kong in 1933. He went on to create some of the most memorable monsters of old Hollywood, from dinosaurs to mythological creatures.

His monsters, however, were never completely divorced from the real world.

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Economy
2:33 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Nearly Three Years After Dodd-Frank, Reforms Happen Slowly

loveguli iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 3:06 pm

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as the Dodd-Frank bill. Reporter Gary Rivlin says "the passage of Dodd-Frank was something of a miracle." But to the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents 100 of the country's largest financial institutions, it was just "halftime."

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Movie Reviews
11:30 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Natalie Maines: A Country-Music Rebel Rocks On Her Own

Natalie Maines, former singer for the Dixie Chicks, placed the group at the center of controversy in 2003, when she publicly criticized George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
Danny Clinch Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 3:06 pm

Natalie Maines doesn't hesitate to make audacious moves, and wresting away "Mother" — Roger Waters' hymn to oppressive maternal authority figures from Pink Floyd — is the biggest one on her first solo album. Maines takes the "Mother" from Pink Floyd's The Wall and deconstructs it, emotional brick by emotional brick.

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Author Interviews
2:33 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

'Shocked': Patricia Volk's Memoir About Beauty And Its Beholders

Patricia Volk is an essayist, novelist and memoirist. She recounts her experiences growing up in a restaurant-owning family in New York City, in her memoir Stuffed.
Random House

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 3:18 pm

Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Movies
1:20 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Scorsese Talks 'The Language of Cinema'

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:34 pm

Martin Scorsese is a legend of a director — and he's also a great film teacher, a man who balances a passion for the medium with a deep knowledge of its history. Delivering this year's installment of the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Jefferson Lecture — a talk he titled "Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema" — Scorsese demonstrated his speaking chops as well.

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Television
1:54 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Linney Mines 'The Big C' For Serious Laughs

Laura Linney and Alan Alda star in The Big C, now in its fourth season on Showtime. Linney took on the role not long before her own father died of cancer.
Showtime

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

From a young age, Laura Linney knew what she wanted to do with her life: act. There was no question.

She was a drama nerd in high school, and went onto Juilliard to study theater. But film acting was never the dream, and movie stardom definitely wasn't the goal.

"I was always completely intimidated by film," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I was not the sort of person who grew up thinking, 'Oh, I want to be in the movies.' I loved movies; I just didn't think I particularly belonged there."

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Book Reviews
12:56 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Godwin's 'Flora': A Tale Of Remorse That Creeps Under Your Skin

Gail Godwin, whose latest novel is Flora, has been a finalist for the National Book Award and a Guggenheim fellow.
David Hermon Bloomsbury Press

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

Gail Godwin says one of the inspirations for her new novel, called Flora, is Henry James' ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge. There are ghosts in Flora, too: specters that arise out of what our narrator calls her "remorse." Godwin had me at that word, "remorse": It's such a great, old-fashioned word, and it suggests that there'll be a lot of awful things going on in this novel that will need to be atoned for.

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Music Reviews
11:39 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Caitlin Rose: A Singer Grounded In The Details Of Yearning

Caitlin Rose's newest album is titled The Stand-In.

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:20 pm

"Pink Champagne," a song on Caitlin Rose's second album The Stand-In, presents Rose's voice in its sparest purity and veiled shrewdness. She sends her voice skyward, the notes as buoyant and light as the bubbles of the pink champagne she's singing about. Her high trills could, with only a slight shift in tone and attitude, become self-conscious with a Betty Boop coyness, as they do once or twice on The Stand-In. But most of the time, Rose keeps her music grounded in the details of yearning, heartache and a welcome sense of gratefulness and enthused energy.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Maron, Violent Minds And A Classic Documentary

Marc Maron, whose latest book is Attempting Normal, is also the author of The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life As a Reluctant Messiah.
Leigh Righton Spiegel & Grau

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 12:44 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
11:41 am
Fri May 3, 2013

'Iron Man 3': Tony Stark As Homebrew Hero

In Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), and Gwyneth Paltrow reprises hers as his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.
Paramout Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 4:01 pm

The third time might be the charm for some things, but the number three after a movie title is typically shorthand for a deal with the devil.

The studio thinks there's more money to be squeezed from a particular property, and voila: Spider-Man 3, Superman III, The Godfather — God help us — Part III. OK, The Godfather's a special case. Most other threes, though, are what happens when a too-thin plot meets a too-fat budget.

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