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

Pages

Remembrances
2:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Gandolfini Through The Eyes Of Those He Worked With

Actor James Gandolfini speaks at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in January 2013. He died on June 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

As New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007, James Gandolfini created a character that helped open television to a new era of great and nuanced acting. When he died in Italy on Wednesday at the age of 51, fans around the world were shocked.

And as Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli noticed, there was an instant online outpouring that celebrated "what an iconic performance he gave us in terms of television."

Read more
Around the Nation
1:17 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'The Watchers' Have Had Their Eyes On Us For Years

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:07 pm

The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.

In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.

Read more
Fine Art
1:14 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Art Of Life: Claes Oldenburg At MOMA

Oldenburg's fascination with simple, everyday objects often led him to food as a subject, as with Pastry Case, I, 1961-62.
Claes Oldenburg Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 4:05 pm

The sculptor Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm but grew up in Chicago, went to Yale and came to New York in 1956, where he became a key player in the pop art movement — the major counter-reaction to the abstract expressionism that dominated the 1950s. So much for art history.

Although Oldenburg is a serious artist, probably no artist in history ever created works that were more fun. In a new show at the Museum of Modern Art — really two shows — practically everyone, including myself, was walking through the galleries with a huge grin.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:43 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Cécile McLorin Salvant: Making Old Songs New Again

Miami-born Cécile McLorin Salvant learned about improvisation and sang with her first band after moving to France in 2007.
J.R. Photography Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 3:46 pm

Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Miami to French and Haitian parents, and started singing jazz while living in Paris. Back in the U.S., she won the Thelonious Monk vocal competition in 2010. The 23-year-old's first album, WomanChild, is now out — and few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash.

Read more
Music Interviews
1:30 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Samberg, Taccone And Schaffer: Three's Not A Lonely Island

As kids, Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer were all obsessed with hip-hop and TV shows like Yo! MTV Raps.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 5:09 pm

Read more
Author Interviews
2:21 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

WWII 'Deserters': Stories Of Men Who Left The Front Lines

The Deserters is Charles Glass' second book relating to World War II. His last book, Americans in Paris, told the story of the U.S. citizens who remained in the French capital after the 1940 German invasion.
Penguin Press

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 5:11 pm

Few citizens are more honored than military veterans, and there's particular reverence for those who defeated the Nazis in World War II. Like any war, however, World War II was complicated and traumatic for those on the ground, and not a few deserted from the front lines.

Read more
Book Reviews
1:42 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

In 'TransAtlantic,' The Flight Is Almost Too Smooth

Colum McCann's new book imagines the intersections of three historic flights across the Atlantic Ocean.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Here we go into the wild blue yonder again with Colum McCann. In his 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spin, McCann swooped readers up into the air with the French aerialist Philippe Petit, who staged an illegal high-wire stunt walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Strictly speaking, Let the Great World Spin was not a Sept. 11 novel, and yet almost everyone rightly read it as one, since McCann's tale commemorated the towers at the literal zenith of their history.

Read more
Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Rogen, Goldberg, '20 Feet From Stardom' And 'Much Ado'

Jo Lawry, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer are three of the backup singers profiled in the new documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.
RadiusTWC

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 11:25 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:

Read more
Movie Reviews
1:31 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Whedon's Touch Finds A Match With 'Much Ado'

Fran Kranz stars as Claudio in Joss Whedon's new take on Shakespeare's classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing.
Elsa Guillet-Chapuis Roadside Attractions

One word sums up my reaction to Joss Whedon's film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing: Huzzah!

Here is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — and the director of The Avengers — working with American TV actors who have little or no training in verse-speaking. Who could have predicted such a team would produce the best of all filmed Shakespeare comedies?

Read more
Author Interviews
1:26 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Mantel Takes Up Betrayal, Beheadings In 'Bodies'

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall won both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, won this year's Man Booker Prize.
Francesco Guidicini

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 26, 2012.

Read more
Television
11:36 am
Fri June 14, 2013

John Oliver: Topical Comedy With A Crisp Accent

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 1:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 5, 2010.

With Daily Show host Jon Stewart on leave for the summer, comedian John Oliver has stepped in to host the show that's become his television home base.

Oliver relocated from the U.K. in 2006 to become the "Senior British Correspondent" on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. For his work there, he won an Emmy in 2009.

Read more
Remembrances
2:25 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Israeli Writer Yoram Kaniuk, 83, On Pain And Peace

Yoram Kaniuk speaks in 2008 at the AFI Fest premiere of Adam Resurrected, based on a novel he wrote.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.

"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Florida-Grown Fiction: Hiaasen Satirizes The Sunshine State

As with many of his novels, Hiaasen sets his latest — Bad Monkey — in his home state of Florida.
Knopf

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:45 pm

As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.

Read more
Music Reviews
12:03 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Slaid Cleaves: 'Still Fighting' With Smart Lyrics And Stories

Slaid Cleaves' music is influenced by singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
Karen Cleaves Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Raised in South Berwick, Maine, and residing in Austin, Texas, Slaid Cleaves is no one's idea of a music-industry insider. He writes and sings songs primarily about working-class people and romantics both hopeful and hopeless. That said, it's also not difficult to hear another element of the fortysomething Cleaves' past: He was an English and philosophy major at Tufts, and his lyrics are underpinned by both a fine sense of meter and moral perspicacity.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:35 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Fame Studios And The Road To Nashville Songwriting Glory

Fame Studio

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 9:57 am

Wallace Daniel Pennington grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.

Read more
Movie Interviews
1:28 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

'20 Feet From' The Spotlight, There's Singing Worthy Of One

Singer Merry Clayton performs in Hollywood during a celebration of Carole King and her music.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 2:31 pm

The documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which explores the world of rock 'n' roll's backup singers, opens to the soundtrack of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Reed sings half the refrain — "And the colored girls go, doo do doo do doo" — until a chorus of backup singers pick up the "Do doo" line. At first these women sound far away, but as the chorus progresses, their voices get louder, less produced and polished, more real and intimate.

Read more
Movie Interviews
1:45 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg: Friends Til 'The End'

James Franco (from left), Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play versions of themselves in the post-apocalyptic comedy This Is the End, written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.
Suzanne Hanover Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:16 pm

In This Is the End, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jay Baruchel — all playing themselves — are at a party at Franco's L.A. home when an earthquake hits.

At least, they think it's an earthquake. Turns out it's the Rapture — the End of Days, as foretold in the Book of Revelation, has arrived.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:24 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Flying High And Low In 'Full Upright And Locked Position'

In Full Upright and Locked Position aviation consultant Mark Gerchick looks at post-Sept. 11 air travel.
W.W. Norton & Co.

No, you aren't imagining it: There is indeed less leg room on some airplanes than there used to be.

"Back in the old days, probably 20 years ago, the tendency was to have about 34 inches," says Mark Gerchick, a former chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. "Now the standard is about 31 inches in the United States. ... Some of the low-cost airlines have tightened that up to about 28 inches, which is now approaching the limits of anatomical possibility."

Read more
Music Reviews
1:06 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Arctic Records: Drafting A Blueprint For The Philly Sound

Barbara Mason had had one minor hit on Arctic by the time "Yes I'm Ready" came out in March 1965, and hit the Top 10 on both the R&B and pop charts.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 2:24 pm

Arctic Records opened for business late in 1964. The label was the brainchild of Jimmy Bishop, the program director of WDAS — at the time Philadelphia's No. 1 black radio station. If that sounds like a conflict of interest, you don't know much about the music business in Philadelphia back then. Besides, it didn't help Arctic's first single, "Happiest Girl in the World" by the Tiffanys, three local teenagers who sang backup in various studios.

Read more
Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Mitch Hurwitz, Jason Isbell And 'Before Midnight'

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

Originally published on Sat June 8, 2013 10:52 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:

Read more
Book Reviews
2:30 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

'Beside Ourselves' Explores Human-Animal Connections

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 3:47 pm

Note: The audio and text of this review describe a major plot point that is not revealed until partway into the book.

If you know Karen Joy Fowler's writing only from her clever, 2004 best-seller, The Jane Austen Book Club, you're in for a shock. Fowler's new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is a different literary creature altogether — still witty but emotionally and intellectually riskier, and more indebted to Fowler's other books that toy with the sci-fi genre.

Read more
Interviews
9:16 am
Fri June 7, 2013

'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 Fri June 7, 2013 2:30 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 8, 2012.

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.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The Patient Who Let Us Peek Inside A Brain In 'Present Tense'

In her latest book about Henry Molaison, Corkin tells the story of the amnesic man she studied for a half-century, whose brain helped teach neuroscientists about the distinctions between memory and intellect.
Basic Books

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:03 pm

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery in an attempt to alleviate his severe epileptic seizures. The surgery left him with a form of amnesia; he could remember many things from the past, but was unable to form new memories.

"He could tell us about where he was born, [that] his father's family was from Thibodaux, La., his mother came from Ireland," says neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin. "He talked about the towns in Hartford where he lived and about his specific neighbors. He knew the schools he attended, some of his classmates' names."

Read more
Music Reviews
2:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Jason Isbell: Literary, But Keeping An Edge On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell's latest album, Southeastern, is personal and intimate.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 3:18 pm

When Jason Isbell was part of Drive-By Truckers, his guitar contributed to the band's sometimes magnificent squall of noise, while his songwriting contributed to the eloquence that raised the band high in the Southern rock pantheon. But the group was led by two other first-rate songwriters, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.

Read more
Television
1:44 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'Arrested' No More: Hurwitz On Why The Bluths Are Back

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:05 pm

The Bluth family of the cult show Arrested Development can be oblivious, mean — to each other and anyone who enters their orbit — and eccentric. But that, says show creator Mitch Hurwitz, is in some ways the point.

"The goal with the show has always been that the Bluths are wrong," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They're] self-centered. They haven't had to develop. [Their] money allowed them to stop developing."

Read more

Pages