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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The Fresh Air Interview
9:06 am
Tue September 3, 2013

At 60, 'Challenges Are Opportunities' For John Zorn

John Zorn's latest album is Dreamachines, which is inspired by Brion Gysin and William Burroughs' cut-up techniques.
Scott Irvine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:25 am

At 60, New York City-based composer John Zorn is wiser, sure, but no less prolific, thoughtful and antagonistic than before. His oeuvre is fantastically wide, from cutthroat jazz improvisation and pummeling noise-rock to gorgeous chamber music and, believe it or not, a genuine Christmas album.

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Music Interviews
9:03 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Jason Isbell Locates His Musical Compass On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell was previously a member of Drive-By Truckers. His solo albums include Sirens of the Ditch and Here We Rest.
Eric England Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 12:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 17, 2013.

When singer-songwriter Jason Isbell used to get drunk, he'd sometimes tell his then-girlfriend, the musician Amanda Shires, that he needed to quit the bottle — and that if it was going to take, he'd have to go to rehab. Eventually, she said the next time he told her that, she'd hold him to it. And she did. And he went. And, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "The jury is still out on whether or not it worked, but it worked today and all the days leading up to this."

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'America's Test Kitchen,' 'Short Term 12' And Demian Bichir

Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen says the trick to grilling peaches is using fruit that's ripe but firm.
mccun934 via Flickr

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:20 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:

'America's Test Kitchen' On Grilling Peaches, Tofu And Burgers: Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop advise using ripe fruit, extra-firm tofu and poking your hamburgers so they don't puff up like tennis balls.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
8:42 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Questlove's Roots: A 'Meta' Memoir Of A Lifetime In Music

In his new memoir, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson describes his life in music — and how he mimicked beats at just 10 months old.
Danny Clinch Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 11:51 am

This interview was originally broadcast on June 24, 2013. Questlove's hip hop band The Roots is preparing to move from Late Night to The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon takes over as the host in February. We kick off this hour with a conversation between TV critic David Bianculli and Fresh Air host Terry Gross about the history of Tonight Show bands.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Seth Meyers' Prime-Time Political Parody

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:36 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's late-night week on FRESH AIR. One of the big late-night changes scheduled for early next year is Seth Meyers moving to NBC's "Late Night," replacing Jimmy Fallon when Fallon moves to "The Tonight Show." Seth Meyers has been the head writer and co-anchor or anchor of "Weekend Update" since the fall of 2006.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:22 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Late Night 'Thank You Notes' From Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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Movie Reviews
11:16 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Reaching Across What's Broken, 'Short Term' Fix Or No

In Short Term 12 — named for the youth facility where it's primarily set — John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson play young counselors not too far removed from their own adolescent struggles.
Cinedigm

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:02 pm

It's easy to make fun of a certain kind of therapeutic language — the kind you hear all through the movie Short Term 12.

That title comes from the name of a group home for abused and/or unstable teens. Early on, a young counselor named Grace (Brie Larson) tells one smart-mouthed kid that "your attitude is not helping either one of us" — which would tend to make her a repressive drag in a typical Hollywood teen picture.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
10:06 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Jimmy Kimmel: Making Late Night A Family Affair

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel interviews Mel Brooks on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Randy Holmes ABC

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 11:16 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 29, 2013.

This year, Jimmy Kimmel's late-night ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, joined the 11:35 p.m. nightly lineup — which put him in direct competition with two reining comedy kings: Jay Leno and Kimmel's idol, David Letterman.

Kimmel, who paid tribute to Letterman at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, didn't break the news to Letterman himself.

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
11:53 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Conan's 'Uphill Climb' To Late-Night Throne

Conan O'Brien interviews Bruce Willis in a 2005 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 11:57 am

Conan O'Brien has probably had the most unusual career trajectory of any current late-night host. When he joined NBC's Late Night in 1993, replacing David Letterman, he had virtually no on-air experience. He did, however, have comedy-writing chops: O'Brien edited the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon as a student, then wrote for Saturday Night Live and was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.

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Fresh Air Theme Week: Late Night TV
9:38 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jay Leno: 'Tonight' Was About 'Trying To Get Johnny To Laugh'

Jay Leno delivers the opening monologue during the inauguration of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 25, 1992.
Craig Fujii AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 11:53 am

In 1992, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he was already a familiar presence, having served as one of Carson's regular substitute hosts. Despite that experience, Leno's first few years on Tonight were rocky.

"When he started, when he was up against Letterman, Letterman beat him for the first couple of years," critic David Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But once Leno came ahead, he was unstoppable. He never lost that audience."

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Television
11:19 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Letterman And 'Tonight' Vet Go Behind The Scenes Of Late Night

David Letterman, pictured here in January 1982, premiered Late Night With David Letterman just a few months after his Fresh Air interview.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 8:43 am

Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:32 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'World's End,' Robin Thicke And The 'Sports Gene'

Martin Freeman (from left), Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan star as five old high school friends who reunite to finish an epic pub crawl in The World's End, directed by Edgar Wright.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

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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Music
11:36 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Fresh Air Remembers 'Piano Jazz' Host Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz featured performances and conversation with a variety of pianists, including Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck.
Courtesy Marian McPartland

For more than 30 years, jazz pianist Marian McPartland hosted one of public radio's most beloved shows, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. As NPR's Felix Contreras writes, she "gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation." McPartland died of natural causes on Tuesday at the age of 95.

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Remembrances
11:15 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Fresh Air Remembers Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard published 46 novels over a career that lasted more than 60 years.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Prolific crime novelist Elmore Leonard died Tuesday at the age of 87. Leonard was known for crisp dialogue and memorable villains. "The bad guys are the fun guys," he said in a 1983 interview. "The only people I have trouble with are the so-called normal types."

Many of Leonard's books and short stories were adapted to films. Those books include Get Shorty, The Big Bounce and Rum Punch, which became the Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. His short story "Fire in the Hole" was the basis for the FX TV series Justified.

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Movie Reviews
10:31 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Boozy Bromance 'World's End' Rises Above Its Lowbrow Tactics

Nick Frost (from left), Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman play a group of friends who reunite for a pub crawl challenge in The World's End.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:30 pm

The World's End is a world-shaking, genre-bending, sci-fi comedy, and a splendid capper to what British writer-director Edgar Wright and actor-writer Simon Pegg call their "Cornetto trilogy," for an ice cream they eat on their side of the Atlantic. This one's arguably the best of the three, but who wants to argue over gorgeous satires like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End? It's like ice cream flavors: Have them all.

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Television
11:29 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Aussie Detective Jack Irish Is More Than Old-School Macho

Guy Pearce (front left) plays Jack Irish in TV movie adaptations of two Peter Temple novels. The films, Bad Debts and Black Tide, are broadcast by digital provider Acorn TV.
Lachlan Moore Acorn TV

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:28 pm

When Raymond Chandler first set Philip Marlowe walking down the mean streets of L.A., he couldn't have imagined that eventually every city, from ancient Athens to 21st century Bangkok, would have its own detective series. Of course, they're not all equally good.

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Movie Interviews
10:59 am
Thu August 22, 2013

An Epic Pub Crawl Gone Wrong Culminates In 'World's End'

Martin Freeman (from left), Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan star as five old high school friends who reunite to finish an epic pub crawl in The World's End, directed by Edgar Wright.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:33 pm

If you've ever participated in a miserably long pub crawl, you'll understand the plight of the characters in The World's End, the latest from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. The film follows five old high school friends who reunite to finish a pub crawl they started 20 years earlier. But as they travel from pub to pub in their old hometown, they find strange, supernatural things start to happen.

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Music Reviews
8:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Robin Thicke: Smirky But Sincere On 'Blurred Lines'

Robin Thicke on the cover of Blurred Lines.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:57 am

Robin Thicke exudes a kind of oily charm that is, with the right material, by no means off-putting. A prime example is the single "Blurred Lines," which gives you the complete Robin Thicke Experience. The song is a come-on, because basically all Thicke does in his music is try to put the make on women. What prevents him from being too creepy is that he's also genial, even gentlemanly and debonair, when the object of his lust shoots him down.

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Television
10:10 am
Wed August 21, 2013

'Bridge' Actor Demian Bichir On Portraying Border Life

Mexican detective Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) teams up with his American counterpart, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger), to solve a murder in FX's The Bridge.
Byron Cohen FX Network

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:34 am

The new FX series The Bridge begins with the discovery of a body on a bridge that connects El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. In it, a Mexican detective, played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir, has to work with an El Paso homicide cop to solve what turns out to be a serial murder case.

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Music Reviews
9:19 am
Wed August 21, 2013

'Beauty' On Orrin Evans' Block

Orrin Evans.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:10 am

On Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans' trio version of Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation," drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Eric Revis set a New Orleans second-line groove tinged with vintage hip-hop. A beat like that is catnip to Evans, who gets right down and rolls in it.

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Author Interviews
11:56 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Wild, Wild Web: Policing An Early, Lawless Internet

The self-proclaimed sovereign principality of Sealand, aboard a World War II artillery platform, began hosting the Internet haven HavenCo in 2000.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 12:36 pm

Today's Internet users have become accustomed to stories of hacking, identity theft and cyberattacks, but there was a time when the freedom and anonymity of the Web were new, and no one was sure what rules — if any — applied to its use. Many thought the Internet was beyond government regulation, its very chaos a source of creativity and strength.

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Music Reviews
11:56 am
Tue August 20, 2013

'Looking For The Next One' Reveals An Underappreciated Sax Trio

John Surman, Mike Osborne and Alan Skidmore were all saxophonists and teamed up in 1973 to form the short-lived trio S.O.S.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 6:46 pm

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Author Interviews
12:02 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

'Lawrence' Of Arabia: From Archaeologist To War Hero

T.E. Lawrence, shown here on Oct. 3, 1928, wore Arab clothing in an effort to be seen as trustworthy.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:52 pm

One of the most intriguing figures of 20th-century warfare is T.E. Lawrence, the British army officer who immersed himself in the culture of the Arabian Peninsula's Bedouin tribes and played a key role in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. He became a well-known and romanticized figure in post-war England, and was immortalized in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Orange Is The New Black,' Valerie June, Sherpas

Janae Watson (Vicky Jeudy), Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and Dayanara Diaz (Dascha Polanco) arrive in prison in the first episode of Orange Is the New Black.
Barbara Nitke Netflix

Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 9:30 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
8:28 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 21, 2012.

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

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Interviews
8:20 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Bobby Cannavale, At Home On Broadway

Bobby Cannavale (right) starred in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. Cannavale has also starred in television shows such as HBO's Boardwalk Empire and in films such as The Station Agent.
Scott Landis JRA Broadway

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 9, 2013.

Bobby Cannavale may have acted in film and on television, but at heart, he's a theater guy. Always has been, always will be.

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Author Interviews
12:13 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Of Neurons And Memories: Inside The 'Secret World Of Sleep'

iStockphoto.com

What happens in our brains while we're asleep? That's one question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer. She directs the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester in England. Her new book is The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest.

Lewis joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about how sleep affects memory, and how REM sleep can affect depression.


Interview Highlights

On how sleep makes memory stronger

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Book Reviews
11:41 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Gossipy, Nostalgic History Of A Publishing 'Hothouse'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:28 pm

In the world of book publishing, ravaged though it may be, the name Farrar, Straus & Giroux still bespeaks literary quality. It's a publishing house that boasts a roll call of 25 Nobel Prize winners and heavyweights like Susan Sontag, Carlos Fuentes, Joan Didion, Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen. A lot of writers, past and present, have turned down higher advances for their books from other publishing houses for the honor of being an FSG author.

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Music Reviews
11:32 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Forgotten Quartet, Reissued And Reevaluated

A new collection of Brahms and Mozart recordings by the Stuyvesant Quartet from 1947 conveys a kind of inward grace.
Jay Shulman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 11:50 am

A movie last year called A Late Quartet told the traumatic story of what happens when a famous string quartet has to change personnel. But, in fact, most string quartets — like symphony orchestras, only more conspicuously — continually change players, because players retire, or die, or get more lucrative offers.

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Author Interviews
1:39 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Shipping: The 'Invisible Industry' That Clothes And Feeds You

Ninety percent of what we wear, eat and consume is carried by container ships like this one at the state-run Jaya Container Terminal of Sri Lanka's port of Colombo.
Lakruwan Wanniarachchi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:38 pm

Imagine a ship carrying goods in containers that, if lined up, would stretch around 11,000 miles long, or nearly halfway around the planet. Rose George spent several weeks aboard one such ship as research for her new book, Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car and Food on Your Plate.

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