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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Deceptive Cadence
1:49 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

How The Met Opera's Chorus Master Gets 150 To Sound Like One

Donald Palumbo became the Met's chorus master in the 2007-2008 season. He sang in choruses all his life, he says, and eventually worked his way up without any formal conservatory training.
Marty Sohl Courtesy of the Met

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 9:05 am

Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo knows voices, and how to instruct singers to protect them.

Palumbo says that all singers have to monitor their voices while rehearsing during the day. The goal, he says, is to insure singers are at their "freshest" and "most solid" for the evening performance.

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Television
1:46 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

'Last Man' Will Forte On Beards, Comedy And Bruce Dern's Acting Advice

A man and his beard: Will Forte plays a man seeking companionship in a world wasted by disease in The Last Man on Earth.
Jordin Althaus Fox

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:25 am

In Fox's television show The Last Man on Earth, Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte plays a man who survives a deadly virus that has decimated the human population. In the show, Forte's character, Phil, despairs when he thinks he is the last human on earth. He drives around a lonely landscape, creating billboards that announce "Alive in Tucson" on the off-chance that someone will see them.

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Author Interviews
1:25 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

After 20 Years On The Job, NYC Police Officer Tells His Intense Stories

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 4:46 am

In his 20 years as a New York City police officer, Steve Osborne made thousands of arrests. He says that when he was in uniform, it wasn't unusual to handle 20 jobs a night. And in plainclothes, in the anti-crime unit, his teams would make several felony collars a week, mostly robberies, assaults and gun arrests.

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Book Reviews
1:25 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Revisiting A Suburbia-Gone-Sour In Ross Macdonald's Crime Fiction

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 2:54 pm

Ross Macdonald had a smart answer to the tedious question of why he devoted his considerable talents to writing "mere" detective stories: Macdonald said that the detective story was "a kind of welder's mask enabling writers to handle dangerously hot material." Like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler (the great hard-boiled masters whom he revered), Macdonald set out to excavate the dark depths of American life, but to find his own "dangerously hot material" Macdonald descended into uncharted territory.

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Author Interviews
1:06 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

'I Regret Everything': Toni Morrison Looks Back On Her Personal Life

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 10:15 am

Now that she's in her mid-80s, celebrated author Toni Morrison feels aches, pains and regret.

She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "When I'm not creating or focusing on something I can imagine or invent, I think I go back over my life — I don't recommend this, by the way — and you pick up, 'Oh, what did you do that for? Why didn't you understand this?' Not just with children, as a parent, but with other people, with friends. ... It's not profound regret; it's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on."

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:34 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: Mark Ronson, The Mountain Goats, Beau Willimon

Mark Ronson is a music producer, DJ and guitarist who's recorded with Adele, Paul McCartney, Ghostface Killah, Lily Allen and Duran Duran, among others.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

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:

The Story Behind Mark Ronson's Hit Song 'Uptown Funk': The producer says there was a moment when his co-writers thought, "Maybe this song wasn't meant to be." He also describes working with Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars.

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Movie Reviews
11:17 am
Fri April 17, 2015

In 'True Story,' A Shamed Journalist Interviews A Fugitive Who Stole His Identity

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

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Pop Culture
11:17 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Comedian Joel McHale Talks Dyslexia, Bad TV And Filming A Thriller

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

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "COMMUNITY")

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Digital Life
1:08 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

On YouTube, A Global Archive Of Daily Life, Both Humble And Transcendent

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

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Music Interviews
1:08 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

The Story Behind Mark Ronson's Hit Song 'Uptown Funk'

Mark Ronson is a music producer, DJ and guitarist who's recorded with Adele, Paul McCartney, Ghostface Killah, Lily Allen and Duran Duran, among others.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 2:43 pm

When singer Bruno Mars and producer Mark Ronson first landed on the instrumental track and a few lines of what would become the hit song "Uptown Funk," Ronson says the room was filled with electricity.

"There's nothing more exciting than that period of the song, because the potential is unlimited," Ronson tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Television
12:48 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Billy Crystal And Josh Gad: Separated By A Generation But United By Laughs

Billy Crystal (left) says that onstage Josh Gad (right) "lights up."
Ray Mickshaw FX

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 3:58 pm

In the new FX series The Comedians, Billy Crystal and Josh Gad star as satirical versions of themselves. The show is about how the two comedians are hesitant to work together and share the spotlight, but they do, and they begin a strained relationship, in which they're separated from each other by a generational comedy gap.

But in real life, when Crystal and Gad met, they hit it off.

"Even though there's 30-something years between us, there's a lot of commonalities and a lot of interesting parallels in our careers," Crystal tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Television
12:22 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

'Justified' Ends With An Unpredictable, Poetic And Memorable Finale

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The TV series "Justified" ended its run on the FX cable network last night. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, couldn't wait to talk about it, so here he is.

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Television
12:32 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Forget Right And Wrong: 'House Of Cards' Is About Pragmatism And Power

In House of Cards, Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a politician who climbs to power using ruthless manipulation. Underwood's wife is Claire, played by Robin Wright.
David Giesbrecht Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 1:05 pm

["Spoiler" alert: This interview about House of Cards discusses plot points from first two seasons, as well as themes addressed in the third season.]

In the pilot of the Netflix series House of Cards, politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, strangles a dog that was hit by a car. According to creator and showrunner Beau Willimon, there was a big debate among the producers whether to show the dog or not.

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Book Reviews
12:29 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

'The Children's Crusade': A Heavily Plotted Family Saga To Dive Into And Savor

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 3:13 pm

Ann Packer's new novel, The Children's Crusade, opens in California, on a scene that's so bedrock American, it's borderline corny.

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Music
12:29 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Finds Refuge In The Ring

The Mountain Goats have a new album called Beat The Champ. It's unusual in that it is a concept album about professional wrestling, based on the interest in that sport band leader John Darnielle has had since he was a boy. Darnielle is also a prose writer whose novel Wolf in White Van was nominated for a 2014 National Book Award. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has this review.

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Author Interviews
11:46 am
Mon April 13, 2015

How Young People Went Underground During The '70s 'Days Of Rage'

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Remembrances
11:46 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Fresh Air Remembers Historian Stanley Kutler

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

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:33 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: Adam Driver, Kendrick Lamar's New Album, Philip Glass

In While We're Young, Adam Driver plays a young filmmaker who befriends an older couple played by Naomi Watts (left) and Ben Stiller.
Nicole Rivelli Courtesy of A24

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 3:35 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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Author Interviews
11:30 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Practicing 'Extreme Medicine,' From Deep Sea To Outer Space

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:00 pm

Dr. Kevin Fong explores how humans survive extremes of heat, cold, outer space and deep sea. He compares the exploration of medicine with the "explorers of the 20th century and every age before them."

Originally broadcast Feb. 11, 2014.

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

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Movie Reviews
11:30 am
Fri April 10, 2015

In 'Clouds Of Sils Maria,' An Actress Faces Past, Present And Future In An Instant

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:00 pm

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

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Music
1:27 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

There Is A Rich World In Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly'

Kendrick Lamar made a big impact for his storytelling skills on his 2012 major-label debut Good Kid, M.a.a.d City, and won two Grammys in February for the song "i." That song appears in Lamar's latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly, which Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker says has an excitingly adventurous sound.

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Movie Interviews
1:26 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Former Marine Adam Driver On What Acting And The Military Have In Common

Driver is best known for his role as Hannah's boyfriend on the HBO series Girls.
Craig Blankenhorn Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:35 pm

A year after Sept. 11, actor Adam Driver joined the Marine Corps. He was working odd jobs, selling vacuum cleaners and paying rent to live in his parents' house — and he says, like many other Americans, he felt a sense of patriotism and he wanted retribution.

"I wanted to 'test my manhood' and serve my country and just get even and ... get away from home and everything I didn't like about it," Driver tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "In retrospect, it was actually pretty great."

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Television
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Louie' Hits Its Mark While 'The Comedians' Hasn't Yet Fully Succeeded

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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

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Author Interviews
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

'Displacement': The Frustrations, Fears And Absurdities Of A Cruise Upended

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:25 pm

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Shots - Health News
12:59 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Creepy, Crawly World Of Bedbugs And How They Have 'Infested' Homes

Brooke Borel says bedbugs were essentially wiped out after World War II thanks to DDT. It's not totally clear why they came back in the past couple of decades.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:36 pm

Brooke Borel admits she has become either "the worst person" or "the best person" to talk to at a cocktail party. The journalist not only has had a few experiences with bedbugs, she also has written the new book Infested about the history of bedbugs. And she's not afraid to talk about it.

"I begrudgingly respect them," Borel tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I did not even know what I was getting myself into when I started working on this book and I really do find them endlessly fascinating."

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Author Interviews
1:07 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Tracing The Roots Of 'The Brothers' And The Boston Marathon Bombing

In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (third from right) is depicted with his lawyers and U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. (right) as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room at the federal courthouse in January. The jury started deliberating Phase 1 of the trial on Tuesday.
Jane Flavell Collins AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:32 am

Jurors started deliberating Tuesday in the case of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The defense has acknowledged that Dzhokhar planted the bomb that killed three people and injured 264 others two years ago. Since there's no doubt about Dzhokhar's involvement, the main question is about the likely sentence: life imprisonment or the death penalty.

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Music
1:07 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Billie Holiday's Voice Was Always Her Own

Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago Tuesday in Philadelphia. Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has some thoughts on Holiday's changing style, her influences, and singers she influenced.

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

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Music Interviews
1:20 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Philip Glass On Legacy: 'The Future ... It's All Around Us'

"I'm more and more coming to the idea," composer Philip Glass says, "that it's the lineage and the connection to the past and the connection to the future — that is the real connection."
Eamonn McCabe Redferns

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:21 pm

When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn't know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke. Glass says that in the '70s, audience members threw things at him while he was performing.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:55 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Fresh Air Weekend: Russell T. Davies, Captain Beefheart And Bruce Eric Kaplan

The new show from England, Cucumber, stars Vincent Franklin (left) as Henry and Cyril Nri as Lance. It premieres on Logo TV on April 13.
Ben Blackall Courtesy of Logo TV

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
1:22 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Mantel Takes Up Betrayal, Beheadings In 'Bodies'

Hilary Mantel is the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, and also for its 2012 sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. She discusses the books with Terry Gross.

Originally broadcast Nov. 26, 2012.

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

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