Fresh Air

Weekdays 3-4 pm
Terry Gross


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About the Show: This Peabody Award winning program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with authors, musicians, politicians, activists, experts and everyday people, providing a look at our contemporary culture. In 2003, WHYY'S Terry Gross, Host of Fresh Air, was honored with the Prestigious Murrow Award, for 'Outstanding Contributions to Public Radio'.

IT'S MOVIE TIME:Every Friday afternoon at 3:01pm, you can also hear WCBE's award-winning module, "It's Movie Time", with John DeSando and Carolyn Bruck. You can also find "It's Movie Time" on Facebook.

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Literature
1:50 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the document was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army.

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Music Reviews
12:47 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

Joe Barry was a pioneer of "swamp-pop" in the early 1960s.
Johnny Vallis

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:50 pm

Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

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Movie Reviews
1:35 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Mozart's Starring Role In 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'

John Schlesinger's 1971 film Sunday Bloody Sunday has just been released on Blu-ray. The film's complex love triangle starred Peter Finch, Murray Head and Glenda Jackson.
The Kobal Collection

Sunday Bloody Sunday is one of those films that lets you into the lives of believable, complicated characters. A handsome, self-centered young artist played by the actor/rock singer Murray Head is having simultaneous affairs with both an older woman (played with infinitely nuanced self-irony by Glenda Jackson) and an older man, a Jewish doctor (the touching Peter Finch), two intelligent adults who have mutual friends and even know each other slightly.

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Arts + Life
1:23 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Julian Fellowes On The Rules Of 'Downton'

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. The third season premiered on PBS Sunday.
WGBH/PBS

Julian Fellowes may be the Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, but the English screenwriter, director and novelist says his background "was much more ordinary than the newspapers have made it." What he means is that he did not grow up with servants waiting on him hand and foot, as people have seen done for the Crawley family on Downton Abbey, the hit television series Fellowes created. The third season premiered Sunday.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Tarantino, Waltz, 'Downton'

Christoph Waltz (right, with Jamie Foxx) stars in Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained.
Andrew Cooper The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 3:16 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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Book Reviews
12:04 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

'A Grain Of Truth' About Memory And Modern Poland

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:26 pm

My mother is Polish, which meant that during the holidays when I was a kid, we broke out the polka records and kielbasa for special occasion meals from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Certainly, nostalgia for those belch-y festivities of yore led me to A Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski, a Polish mystery novel that unexpectedly turns out to be as hard-boiled as the skin around a circlet of that ubiquitous holiday kielbasa.

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Remembrances
11:38 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Remembering 'Rescue Me' Singer Fontella Bass

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:04 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Soul and gospel singer Fontella Bass, whose 1965 hit "Rescue Me" endures as one of the most recognizable soul records of the '60s, died last week on the day after Christmas. She was 72 years old. Despite the success of "Rescue Me," it was the number one R&B single for four weeks, it took years of litigation before Bass could claim her share of songwriting credit and royalties. In 1993, she sued American Express for using the song in a commercial and received what she said was a significant settlement.

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Author Interviews
11:33 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Frank Calabrese Jr. On Opening His 'Family Secrets'

Defendants in the "Operation Family Secrets" trial included Frank Calabrese Sr. (clockwise from left), Joey Lombardo, Anthony Doyle, Paul Shiro and James Marcello. The men are pictured during an Aug. 15, 2007, court hearing in Chicago.
Verna Sadock AP

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 12:04 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on March 14, 2011. Frank Calabrese's father, the Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., died on Christmas Day.

When Frank Calabrese Jr. was a teenager, his father came home one night and took him into the bathroom for a chat.

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Africa
2:02 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Northern Mali: A Violent Islamist Stronghold

A Malian troop member checks bushes after a military raid in the Wagoudou forest.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:16 pm

This past spring, Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida took control of northern Mali after a coup destabilized the country. Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north — but has had to do so by telephone. The kidnapping threat for reporters covering the conflict is virtually 100 percent, he says.

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Television
2:02 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

'Downton' Returns With Aristocratic Class And Clash

Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of Downton Abbey, starting Sunday on PBS. Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:16 pm

Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.

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Remembrances
11:56 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Western Star Harry Carey Jr., 1921-2012

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 1:57 pm

We'll listen back to a 1989 interview with actor Harry Carey Jr., who died Dec. 27. Carey co-starred with John Wayne in the classic Westerns She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and 3 Godfathers. He talked to Fresh Air about filming epic cavalry-versus-Indian scenes — and his most challenging stunts.

Movie Interviews
11:48 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Quentin Tarantino, 'Unchained' And Unruly

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino, seen here at a 2009 screening of Inglourious Basterds, tells Terry Gross that the only film violence that truly disturbs him involves actual harm to animals.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:46 pm

Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired revenge film set in the antebellum South; it's about a former slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to target the plantation owner who owns his wife.

The cinematic violence that has come to characterize Tarantino's work as a screenwriter and director — from Reservoir Dogs at the start of his career in 1992 to 2009's Inglourious Basterds -- is front and center again in Django. And he's making no apologies.

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Movie Interviews
10:18 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Jack Black: On Music, Mayhem And Murder

In Bernie, Jack Black plays a small-town mortician who murders his live-in companion after she won't stop nagging him. The movie is based on a true story.
Deana Newcomb Wind Dancer Films

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:44 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on April 23, 2012.

Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his film Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.

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Television
9:59 am
Wed January 2, 2013

'Totally Biased' Comic On Race, Politics And Audience

W. Kamau Bell's new FX weekly series Totally Biased mixes standup, sketches and interviews.
Matthias Clamer

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:05 am

This show was originally broadcast on September 13, 2012.

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Music
10:44 am
Mon December 31, 2012

'Fresh Air' At 25: A Live Musical Tribute

Terry Gross, shown above in 1987, has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in greater Philadelphia.
NPR's Fresh Air

This show was originally broadcast on May 11, 2012.

Friday, May 11, 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the day Fresh Air became a daily national NPR program. Before that, the show was broadcast only on WHYY in Philadelphia. How long ago was May 11, 1987? On Fresh Air's first edition, TV critic David Bianculli reviewed the finale of the TV series Hill Street Blues.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Critics' Picks For 2012

Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel... is Ken Tucker's pick for best album of 2012.
Dan Monick

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 11:08 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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Pop Culture
11:48 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Colbert On Musical Moments And 'America Again'

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. This week we've been revisiting some of our favorite interviews of 2012, and we conclude the week by presenting two more: Terry's visits with Stephen Colbert and Doris Day.

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Movie Interviews
11:48 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Doris Day: A Hollywood Legend Reflects On Life

Doris Day will celebrate her 88th birthday on Tuesday, April 3.
Sony Picture Archives

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:23 pm

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 2, 2012.

The biggest female box-office star in Hollywood history, Doris Day started singing and dancing when she was a teenager, and made her first film when she was 24. After nearly 40 movies, she walked away from that part of her life in 1968, and started rescuing and caring for animals.

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Sports
12:18 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

R.A. Dickey On 'Winding Up' As A Knuckleballer

R.A. Dickey currently plays for the New York Mets. He was previously with the Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
courtesy of the author

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012.

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

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Arts + Life
12:18 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on July 16, 2012.

Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

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