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 Reviews
10:03 am
Mon October 14, 2013

'The Blow' Puts An Artsy, Electro-Pop Spin On Attraction

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new album, "The Blow" by the music and performance are duo called The Blow which was conceived by its singer, Khaela Maricich. Melissa Dyne plays a more behind the scenes role, arranging, mixing and co-producing much of this new collection. The music made by The Blow can be broadly labeled as electro pop, but Ken says it goes further than that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A KISS")

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Tom Hanks, Ben Franklin's Sister, Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe tells Fresh Air that his parents were initially hesitant about letting him play Harry Potter.
Warwick Saint

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:51 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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Author Interviews
10:33 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Parenting A Child Who's Fallen 'Far From The Tree'

iStockphoto.com

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 12, 2012.

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Movie Reviews
10:11 am
Fri October 11, 2013

A Pirate Saga More Sobering Than Swashbuckling

Barkhad Abdi (middle) plays Muse, the leader of a band of Somali pirates who take over a freighter in Captain Phillips.
Hopper Stone Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 11:52 am

Most kidnapping melodramas have final scenes — after their climaxes — that are, effectively, throwaways. There are sighs of relief, tearful reunions with families, cameras that dolly back on domestic tableaux to suggest the world has at last been righted.

I think it's telling that in Captain Phillips the most overwhelming scene is after the resolution, in the infirmary of a ship. So much terror and moral confusion has gone down — so much pain — that the cumulative tension can't be resolved by violence. The movie's grip remains strong even when it cuts to black.

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Book Reviews
11:13 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Meet Ben's Sister Jane, History's Forgotten Franklin

Quill pen and ink
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 12:32 pm

"Her days were days of flesh." That's just one of a multitude of striking observations that Jill Lepore makes about Jane Franklin, the baby sister of Ben. What Lepore means by that line of near-poetry is that Jane Franklin's life, beginning at age 17 when she gave birth to the first of her 12 children, was one of nursing, lugging pails of night soil, butchering chickens, cooking and scrubbing.

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Music Reviews
11:13 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Two Bluegrass Truths From James King And Alan Jackson

James King.
Julie Lilliard King Courtesy of the artist

On Three Chords and the Truth, bluegrass musician James King picks from the canon of country music to rearrange its songs as bluegrass. On The Bluegrass Album, country star Alan Jackson has recorded his first collection of bluegrass music — some classics, some originals.

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Movie Interviews
11:01 am
Thu October 10, 2013

From Child Actor To Artist: Radcliffe Reflects On Post-Potter Life

Daniel Radcliffe tells Fresh Air that his parents were initially hesitant about letting him play Harry Potter.
Warwick Saint

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 10:11 am

Many child stars find themselves washed up by the time they reach adulthood, but Daniel Radcliffe's career is going strong — and that's no accident.

"There is never a moment's doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "If I die on a film set when I'm 80, I'll be happy with that."

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Energy
1:58 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

One Thing Obama Can Do: Decide The Fate Of The Keystone Pipeline

President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla., in March 2012.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Journalist Ryan Lizza says there's one far-reaching, controversial issue President Obama will soon get to decide all by himself, without having to ask Congress. He alone can approve or reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to take heavy crude oil extracted from Alberta, Canada, through America's heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

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Music Reviews
12:26 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning'

Ahmad Jamal.
Courtesy of the artist

Jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, Saturday Morning, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.

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Author Interviews
1:16 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Elizabeth Smart Says Kidnapper Was A 'Master At Manipulation'

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:08 pm

Elizabeth Smart has the kind of fame no one would want: In the summer of 2002, at the age of 14, she became one of the nation's most famous kidnap victims when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, where she lived with her devout Mormon family.

Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, saw himself as a religious prophet and took her to be his second wife in a polygamous marriage. With a knife at her throat, Mitchell forced her to go with him to his remote camp on a mountain near Salt Lake, where they lived during the first stage of her nine-month captivity.

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Book Reviews
1:38 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Out Of Lahiri's Muddy 'Lowland,' An Ambitious Story Soars

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 1:53 pm

Geography is destiny in Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland. Her title refers to a marshy stretch of land between two ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood where two very close brothers grow up. In monsoon season, the marsh floods and the ponds combine; in summer, the floodwater evaporates. You don't need your decoder ring to figure out that the two ponds symbolize the two brothers — at times separate; at other times inseparable. But there's still more meaning lurking in this rich landscape.

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Movie Interviews
1:24 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Tom Hanks Is 'Captain Phillips' In High-Seas Hostage Drama

Prior to filming, director Paul Greengrass kept the pirate crew and the boat crew separate to make the hijacking scenes feel more authentic. "The hair did stand up on the back of our heads," says Tom Hanks, above.
Hopper Stone, SMPSP

In April 2009, Somali pirates boarded an American-flagged container ship and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage on a small lifeboat. That led to a five-day drama at sea, much of it covered on television, as a U.S. Navy destroyer tailed the lifeboat and Navy SEAL sharpshooters eventually freed the captain. In 2010 Phillips wrote a memoir called A Captain's Duty and the harrowing experience has now been adapted into a film called Captain Phillips.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Breaking Bad,' Holland's 'Prism,' Pitcher Jamie Moyer

Bryan Cranston (left) starred as chemistry teacher turned meth dealer Walter White, and Aaron Paul played former student and drug-dealing co-conspirator Jesse Pinkman in AMC's Breaking Bad, which wrapped up its fifth and final season on Sunday.
Ben Leuner AMC

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 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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Movie Reviews
11:58 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity'

In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an astronaut careening through space after an accident.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:51 pm

In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal Breaking Bad and Netflix's elating Orange Is the New Black, Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. But they can give you what TV can't: absolute, total bombardment.

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Music Reviews
11:58 am
Fri October 4, 2013

This Opera Will Eat Your Heart Out

Barbara Hannigan and Bejun Mehta in the Festival at Aix production of Written on Skin.
Pascal Victor ArtComArt

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:05 am

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Interviews
9:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Pioneering 'Masters Of Sex' Brought Science To The Bedroom

Human sexuality researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson Masters, shown in San Francisco in 1972.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:58 am

This interview was originally broadcast on July 30, 2013.

William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous in the 1960s for their groundbreaking and controversial research into the physiology of human sexuality. Instead of just asking people about their sex lives, Masters and Johnson actually observed volunteers engaging in self-stimulation and sexual intercourse. Changes throughout their bodies during arousal were measured with medical equipment.

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Television
11:44 am
Thu October 3, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Writers: 'This Is It; There's No More'

Bryan Cranston (left) starred as chemistry teacher turned meth dealer Walter White, and Aaron Paul played former student and drug-dealing co-conspirator Jesse Pinkman in AMC's Breaking Bad, which wrapped up its fifth and final season on Sunday.
Ben Leuner AMC

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:05 pm

Before you read any farther or click the audio above, we have two words for you: Spoiler Alert. Also, a warning that if you have never seen Breaking Bad, we may touch on some plot points that will be hard to understand without context.

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Music Reviews
11:28 am
Wed October 2, 2013

On 'Days Are Gone,' Three Sisters HAIM It Up

HAIM.
Tom Beard Courtesy of the artist

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Sports
10:57 am
Wed October 2, 2013

At 49, Jamie Moyer's Pitching Career Goes Into Extra Innings

Jamie Moyer, shown above pitching for the Colorado Rockies in May 2012, made his major league debut back in 1986. He says that after decades in the major leagues, he'd occasionally have to remind himself that "in baseball terms, I really was old, but in everyday life, I really wasn't."
Andy Lyons Getty Images

We don't often think of professional athletes improving with age, but Jamie Moyer was a better pitcher in his 40s than he was in his 20s. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a Major League Baseball game when, in April 2012, at the age of 49 years, 150 days, he pitched the Colorado Rockies to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres.

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Author Interviews
11:26 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Chris Matthews Looks Back On A Time 'When Politics Worked'

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:49 pm

Before Chris Matthews grilled politicians and their surrogates on his MSNBC show Hardball, he was a top aide to House Speaker Tip O'Neill, advising him on how to deal with the press. Now Matthews has written a new book drawing on those experiences, called Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.

It's a look at how Speaker O'Neill and President Reagan managed to work together and reach compromise in spite of the fact that they disagreed not only on policy, but also on the role of government.

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Music Reviews
8:54 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly

Left to right: Craig Taborn (piano), Dave Holland (bass), Kevin Eubanks (electric guitar), Eric Harland (drums).
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 11:26 am

The quartet on jazz bassist Dave Holland's new album Prism is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified Miles Davis, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels.

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Author Interviews
12:54 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

How Our Stone Age Bodies Struggle To Stay Healthy In Modern Times

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:00 am

If you got sick, you probably wouldn't go to an evolutionary biologist to get treated. But Daniel Lieberman, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, says that his field can help you understand why you got sick, and make you more aware of healthy and harmful behaviors.

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Music Reviews
11:40 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Don't Feel Too Bad For Sad-Sack Bob Schneider

Burden of Proof is Bob Schneider's third album.
Dan Winters Kirtland Records

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:40 pm

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Fresh Air Weekend
2:26 pm
Sat September 28, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Elton John, 'Masters Of Sex' And 'Merchants Of Meth'

Elton John tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that The Diving Board is "a very adult album."
Joseph Guay 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:

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Interviews
10:16 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Vijay Iyer: Self-Taught Jazz Pianist Goes 'Solo'

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 14, 2010.

Jazz musician Vijay Iyer started playing the violin when he was 3, but when he was 4 or 5, he wanted to play another instrument: the piano.

"The piano was around because my sister was taking lessons, and so I just started messing on it and figuring things out little by little," Iyer tells Terry Gross. "I can't really pinpoint the beginning of it."

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Interviews
10:16 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Jeremy Denk: Playing Ligeti With A Dash Of Humor

Jeremy Denk has recently written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review.
Courtesy of the artist

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2012.

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Movie Reviews
9:55 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon' Is An Openhearted Directorial Debut

Joseph Gordon-Levitt --€” in his writing and directing debut --€” plays Jon, a porn addict with no interest in relationships until Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) changes things.
Relativity Media

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:15 pm

In phe last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has worked hard to establish himself as a serious actor, and he's been so successful it's easy to forget he came of age in the '90s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The guy has comedy chops, and he's exercising them again in a smart new movie he wrote and directed called Don Jon.

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Music Reviews
2:48 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Bumpy, Bikers And The Story Behind 'Leader Of The Pack'

The Shangri-Las on the cover of the "Leader of the Pack" single.
Courtesy of the artist

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Television
1:34 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

'Masters Of Sex' Get Unmasterful Treatment On Showtime

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan portray pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson in a new Showtime series.
Craig Blankenhorn Showtime

Way back in the 1950s — before people tweeted snapshots of their privates or posted their hookup diaries online — it was considered inappropriate to talk too much about sex. The guardians of culture treated it as something better kept in the dark.

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Health
1:34 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Big Pharma And Meth Cooks Agree: Keep Cold Meds Over The Counter

Key methamphetamine ingredient pseudoephedrine is most easily found in cold and allergy medicines.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Millions of Americans have seen the fictional world of meth use and production in AMC's Breaking Bad, but journalist Jonah Engle has spent a lot of time in the real world of meth.

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