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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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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Movie Interviews
10:08 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Bradley Cooper Finds 'Silver Linings' Everywhere

Bradley Cooper was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2012 role in the film Silver Linings Playbook.
Jojo Whilden The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 12:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 7, 2013.

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Author Interviews
4:05 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Ethical Fashion: Is The Tragedy In Bangladesh A Final Straw?

Casual clothing detail fashion background made in the USA
iStockPhoto.com

A garment factory that manufactures products for international clothing companies collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, last month, killing more than 400 workers and injuring scores of others. It came on the heels of a fire at another factory in November 2012; that incident killed 112 workers.

Factories like these in Bangladesh pump out what author Elizabeth Cline calls "fast fashion," or clothes made on the cheap by big chains such as H&M, Zara, Esprit, Lee, Wrangler, Nike, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart.

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Movie Reviews
3:51 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Peeling Away The Layers In A 'Portrait Of Jason'

Jason Holliday (nee Aaron Payne) is the soloist in front of the camera in Shirley Clarke's seminal 1967 documentary, Portrait of Jason.
Milestone Film

If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.

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Movie Reviews
1:42 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Two Indie Directors Go Confidently Mainstream

In Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price, Zac Efron stars as a teen rebelling against his family and dreaming of becoming a professional race car driver. Sound like a generic summer pic? Critic David Edelstein says the film has "a hell of a sting in its tail."
Hooman Bahrani Sony Pictures Classics

Studios are putting most of their eggs in $100 million baskets these days, even as American independent filmmakers go hungry from lack of mainstream attention. But two of my favorite American indie writer-directors, Jeff Nichols and Ramin Bahrani, have new films with bigger stars than they've had before — films they hope will break through to wider audiences. The results, at least artistically, are impressive.

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Author Interviews
1:22 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Criminologist Believes Violent Behavior Is Biological

iStockphoto.com

Twenty years ago, when brain imaging made it possible for researchers to study the minds of violent criminals and compare them to the brain imaging of "normal" people, a whole new field of research — neurocriminology — opened up.

Adrian Raine was the first person to conduct a brain imaging study on murderers and has since continued to study the brains of violent criminals and psychopaths. His research has convinced him that while there is a social and environmental element to violent behavior, there's another side of the coin, and that side is biology.

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Interviews
12:04 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

C.J. Chivers: On The Ground In Syria

Gmutlu iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers, has spent much of the past year with the rebels in Syria, and has written poignantly about the impact of the fighting on the lives of ordinary Syrians and its devastating impact on that ancient land. Before becoming a journalist Chivers was a Marine and his knowledge of the military sometimes leads him to stories that only an insider would see.

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Author Interviews
12:47 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Marc Maron: A Life Fueled By 'Panic And Dread'

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 Mon April 29, 2013 2:15 pm

When Marc Maron started his podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" out of his garage in September 2009, he was in a dark place: He was going through a divorce, his comedy career had hit a wall and — in his mid-40s — he didn't have a Plan B.

"I was at a place in my life where I had gotten very cynical," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had lost a lot of hope for my comedy and everything else, and I really feel that I was no longer able to really appreciate other people's stories. I had lost my ability to really kind of listen and enjoy the company of other people."

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:13 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: David Sedaris And Matthew Weiner

Mad Men's sixth season, which premiered April 7, revolves around (from left) Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley), Bobby Draper (Mason Vale Cotton), Betty Francis (January Jones), Gene Draper (Evan and Ryder Londo), Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka), Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm).
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 12:21 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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Remembrances
1:17 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

A Conversation With Country Superstar George Jones

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 12:07 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The great country singer George Jones died today. He was 81. We're going to listen back to an excerpt of the interview I recorded with him.

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Movie Interviews
12:03 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

'Guilt Trip': Streisand On Songs, Film And Family

Barbra Streisand is Joyce Brewster in The Guilt Trip. The multitalented performer has won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony — a feat achieved by fewer than a dozen artists.
Sam Emerson Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:04 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 17, 2012.

If a good voice is genetic, it's likely Barbra Streisand got hers from her mother. Streisand's mother was too shy to ever perform professionally, but she had a lyric soprano and would sing at bar mitzvahs in their Brooklyn neighborhood when Streisand was a girl.

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Commentary
11:51 am
Fri April 26, 2013

'Horrific' And 'Surreal': The Words We Use To Bear Witness

Visitors paid their respects at a makeshift memorial on Boylston Street on April 20, near the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 3:33 pm

Mass shootings, bus crashes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks — we've gotten adept at talking about these things. Act of God or act of man, they're all horrific. At least that was the word you kept hearing from politicians and newscasters describing the Boston bombings and the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas.

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Television
1:21 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Matthew Weiner On 'Mad Men' And Meaning

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was also a writer and producer on The Sopranos for a time.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 1:37 pm

The sixth season of AMC's Mad Men, which premiered April 7, jumps forward in time a few months from where the fifth season concluded. The first episode of the season comes to a close on New Year's Day 1968. That date was designed to set the tone for the entire season.

That year, says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, is, "as far as I can tell, in the top two or three worst years in U.S. history."

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Author Interviews
2:05 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Let's Explore': David Sedaris On His Public Private Life

This American Life and in The New Yorker, and have now filled seven essay collections -- most recently, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls." href="/post/lets-explore-david-sedaris-his-public-private-life" class="noexit lightbox">
David Sedaris' stories have appeared on This American Life and in The New Yorker, and have now filled seven essay collections -- most recently, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls.
Hugh Hamrick Little, Brown and Co.

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:43 pm

David Sedaris writes personal stories, funny tales about his life growing up in a Greek family outside of Raleigh, N.C., about working as an elf in Santa's workshop at Christmastime, and about living abroad with his longtime partner, Hugh.

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Book Reviews
1:14 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Equilaterial': Martians, Oil And A Hole In The Desert

Johan Swanepoel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 10:08 am

Equilateral is a weird little novel, but any reader familiar with Ken Kalfus expects his writing to go off-road. Kalfus wrote one of the best and certainly the least sentimental novels about New York City post-9/11. I loved A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, but I stopped assigning it to students in my New York lit class because they were usually turned off by its black humor and lack of uplift. Equilateral doesn't run that same risk of being in bad taste as social commentary because, at first, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with current events.

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Movie Interviews
12:43 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Matthew McConaughey, Getting Serious Again

Matthew McConaughey stars as a man on the run from authorities in Jeff Nichols' Mud.
Jim Bridges Roadside Attractions Publicity

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:30 pm

Matthew McConaughey earned early attention as a sensitive actor with his turn in the 1996 legal drama A Time to Kill -- but since then he has mostly made a career with leading-man roles in romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days, Failure to Launch and The Wedding Planner.

He calls these "tomorrow roles," and he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he appreciates them for what they are: parts he could land one day and walk on set to film the next day.

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Author Interviews
2:04 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

'Zoobiquity': What Humans Can Learn From Animal Illness

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:05 am

Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a cardiologist at the UCLA Medical Center, coined the term "zoobiquity" to describe the idea of looking to animals and the doctors who care for them to better understand human health. Veterinary medicine had not been on her radar at all until about 10 years ago. That's when she was asked to join the medical advisory board for the Los Angeles Zoo and she began hearing about "congestive heart failure in a gorilla or leukemia in a rhinoceros or breast cancer in a tiger or a lion."

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Television
1:02 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

'Rectify': An Ex-Con Navigates The World Outside

Daniel (Aden Young) finds a supporter in the devout Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) — if not among all of his other neighbors — when he's exonerated after spending more than 19 years in prison for a crime he did't commit.
Sundance Film Channel

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:05 am

Rectify, a new drama series from the Sundance Channel, wants to stand out from the pack — and it certainly succeeds at that. It's a six-hour limited series, more along the British model of TV than ours here in the States. If these first six installments catch on enough, the story will continue. If not, that's it.

And Rectify is so unusual a show, with its own deliberate pace and premise and approach, that it may not build enough viewership to keep going. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile show, or a memorable one — because it is.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Tom Cruise's Latest Headed For 'Oblivion'

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 11:05 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In December, Tom Cruise starred as the title character in the film "Jack Reacher." In "Oblivion," which opened on Friday, he plays another Jack, one of few humans left on an Earth devastated by an alien invasion. "Oblivion" is based on a graphic novel co-written by Joseph Kosinski, who went on to direct the film, and it costars Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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