Fresh Air

Weekdays at Noon

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

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Music
12:55 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Rare Latin Grooves Excavated In Anthology

There's a new entry in the ongoing series of Rough Guide music anthologies called Latin Rare Groove Volume 2. The mostly instrumental cuts draw on salsa, funk, soul and rock from vintage and new performers. Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles surveys the terrain and wonders what exactly to call this combination.

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Politics
11:15 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Alabama Judge Says Raising Money To Be Elected Is 'Tawdry'

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 12:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We're used to lots of political ads on TV in election season, but more and more these days, we're also seeing ads for judicial candidates.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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Music
11:15 am
Tue March 31, 2015

No Hits, No Problem: Captain Beefheart's Major Label Run

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 12:27 pm

In 1970, Warner Bros. Records had an unusual philosophy: they'd sign artists and, instead of wanting a hit single immediately, they'd develop them over several albums. This way, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Little Feat, and Randy Newman got big career boosts. They also took a chance on Captain Beefheart, and although neither a hit single nor a hit album resulted, some very interesting music did. Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward has the story.

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Book Reviews
1:38 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Open A Critic's 'Poetry Notebook' And Find The Works That Shaped Him

Clive James — an author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist — was diagnosed with leukemia a few years ago.
Courtesy of Liveright

Clive James' most anthologized poem is commonly known by its first two lines: "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered/And I Am Pleased." Those lines tell the uninitiated almost all they need to know about the pleasures to be found in reading James: chief among them, his wit and his appreciation of the underlying absurdity of so much literary effort — including his own.

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Author Interviews
1:38 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

How 'One Nation' Didn't Become 'Under God' Until The '50s Religious Revival

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 3:27 pm

The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase "In God we trust" on the back of a dollar bill haven't been there as long as most Americans might think. Those references were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, the same decade that the National Prayer Breakfast was launched, according to writer Kevin Kruse. His new book is One Nation Under God.

In the original Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy made no mention of God, Kruse says. Bellamy was Christian socialist, a Baptist who believed in the separation of church and state.

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Music
1:38 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Art Pepper's Startling Intensity Captured On Live Recordings

Since 2006, Laurie Pepper, the widow of jazz saxophonist Art Pepper, has been releasing live recordings her husband made during the last years of his life. A new batch of these recordings from 1981 is out. Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says that Art Pepper played like he was making up for lost time.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:58 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: Graham Yost, Review Of Courtney Barnett, 'American Crime'

Timothy Olyphant plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on FX's Justified, which is based on a novella by Elmore Leonard. The show's creator, Graham Yost, says the only "tussle" the writers had with Leonard happened during the pilot, over which hat Raylan should wear.
Prashant Gupta FX

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
11:15 am
Fri March 27, 2015

In 'While We're Young,' The Border Between Ridicule And Sympathy Is Thin

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Television
11:15 am
Fri March 27, 2015

An Oncologist's 'Biography Of Cancer' Adapted Into A Documentary

In The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee chronicled how our understanding of cancer has evolved. Starting Monday, Ken Burns' three-part documentary will air on PBS. Terry Gross talked with Mukherjee in 2010.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Music
1:31 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Courtney Barnett Makes Ennui Vivid On Debut Album

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 9:01 am

Courtney Barnett is an Australian singer-songwriter in her late 20s who's just released her first full album. It's called Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. Barnett fills her songs with details about things she observes around her, everyday details that Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says she somehow manages to infuse with a freshness rare in any songwriter, let alone one this young.

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Television
1:29 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

'Justified' Creator Aims To Stay True To The Late Writer Elmore Leonard

Timothy Olyphant plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on FX's Justified, which is based on a novella by Elmore Leonard. The show's creator, Graham Yost, says the only "tussle" the writers had with Leonard happened during the pilot, over which hat Raylan should wear.
Prashant Gupta FX

The FX series Justified, which is in its sixth and final season, is based on the novella Fire in the Hole by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was an executive producer of the series until his death in 2013. The show's creator and showrunner, Graham Yost, says he has made it his mission to stay as true as he can to Leonard's vision and storytelling style.

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Book Reviews
12:37 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Do You Believe In Ghosts? You Might After Reading This Book

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:13 pm

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? The unseen hand moving a cup or the shadow climbing a staircase promises an existence beyond our mundane realities. Hannah Nordhaus' new book, American Ghost, is an offbeat mishmosh of memoir, cultural history, genealogical detective story and paranormal investigation, but it opens in the classic manner of spooky tales — with a sighting.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Journalist Says Ted Cruz's Message Is Clear That 'Compromise Is For Losers'

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. On Monday Ted Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas, became the first Republican candidate to officially declare he was running for president.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Television
12:42 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

'American Crime': A Series Packed With 'Emotional Honesty' About Race

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:59 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Television
12:42 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

James Corden Hits Late-Night TV With His Own Skill Set And Mindset

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:53 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Animals
3:44 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Former Orca Trainer For SeaWorld Condemns Its Practices

John Hargrove, a trainer who spent 14 years working with orcas, mostly at SeaWorld, eventually became disillusioned with the company's treatment of its killer whales.
Courtesy of Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 7:12 pm

Last year 4 million people visited SeaWorld's theme parks, where the top shows feature orcas, also known as killer whales. For years, activists have charged that keeping orcas in captivity is harmful to the animals and risky for the trainers who work with them, a case that gained urgency in 2010 when Dawn Brancheau, a veteran orca trainer, was dragged into the water and killed by a whale at the SeaWorld Park in Orlando, Fla. When Brancheau died, there was some dispute as to whether the whale's intent was aggressive and whose fault the incident was.

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Fresh Air Weekend
10:00 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: Daniel Genis, 'Seymour' Documentary And Norman Blake

Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre Alexander Genis, served 10 years in prison for armed robbery. He was released last year, and his essays about life in prison have been widely published.
Courtesy of Petra Szabo

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:

Released From Prison, 'Apologetic Bandit' Writes About Life Inside: Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre writer Alexander Genis, served 10 years for armed robbery. The crimes fueled his heroin addiction. "It was so obvious I didn't fit in," he says.

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Movie Reviews
12:01 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

'Seymour': A Loving Portrait Of An Acclaimed Classical Pianist

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Remembrances
12:01 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Fresh Air Remembers Blues And Jazz Historian Samuel Charters

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Author Interviews
12:01 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

In 'Redeployment,' Former Marine Explores The Challenges Of Coming Home

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Book Reviews
12:16 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

'A Little Life': An Unforgettable Novel About The Grace Of Friendship

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 11:52 am

America is hooked on stories of redemption and rebirth, be it Cheryl Strayed rediscovering herself by hiking the Pacific Trail or the late David Carr pulling himself out of the crack-house and into The New York Times. We just love tales about healing.

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Music Interviews
12:16 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Bluegrass Musician Norman Blake Releases An Album Of Original Songs

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 8:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Music Reviews
12:16 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Saxophonist Tony Malaby's New Quartet Brings Out His Rowdy Side

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Around the Nation
12:10 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Released From Prison, 'Apologetic Bandit' Writes About Life Inside

Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre Alexander Genis, served 10 years in prison for armed robbery. He was released last year, and his essays about life in prison have been widely published.
Courtesy of Petra Szabo

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 2:48 pm

After he was arrested for robbing people at knifepoint in 2003, Daniel Genis was nicknamed the "apologetic bandit" in the press. He offered apologies to his victims as he took their cash. The money was stolen to pay off his debt to his heroin dealer.

"I really, really did not want to do this," Genis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I had to work my nerve up every time and I was also really, really bad at it."

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

WWII Novel-Memoir Explores The Blurry Line Between Fact And Fiction

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 4:33 pm

Daniel Torday's new novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, is about how memoir and fiction can blur — and how hard it can be to convey truth.

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Music News
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Remastering 78s: A Company Brings Clarity To Pianist Artur Schnabel's Works

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Television
12:11 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Forget Binge Watching: Great Television Happens When Networks Pace Shows

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It's All Politics
11:40 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Barney Frank's Journey From Closeted To An Openly Gay Member Of Congress

Michael Halsband Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:49 pm

In 1972, former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., decided he would run for the state Legislature in Massachusetts — but he also explicitly decided to stay in the closet. And as he made this decision, he made a promise to himself to support LGBT rights.

"I could not live with myself if I did not oppose the discrimination," Frank tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

That year, two organizations asked candidates for the state Legislature if they would sponsor a gay rights bill. Frank says he enthusiastically agreed, expecting a senior member to take the lead.

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Music
11:40 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Brandi Carlile's Surging Voice Grounds 'The Firewatcher's Daughter'

Brandi Carlile is a singer-songwriter who has cited influences as various as Elton John, Patsy Cline, and Queen's Freddie Mercury. Carlile has been releasing albums for the past 10 years, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says her new one, called The Firewatcher's Daughter, is her best yet.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:00 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Better Call Saul,' James McMurtry And America's Test Kitchen

Tomato paste gives the Potato Vindaloo its "backbone," "structure" and "depth," says America's Test Kitchen's Jack Bishop. "'You probably wouldn't identify it in the finished dish, but leave it out and you would notice the difference."
Joe Keller Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

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

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