Fresh Air

Weekdays 3-4 pm
Terry Gross


Next on Fresh Air:



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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Author Interviews
12:04 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Blurring The Line Between Life And Death

Doctors perform a kidney transplant operation in Spain in 2010.
Xurxo Lobato Cover/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 7:24 pm

Dick Teresi wanted to write about how science determines the point between life and death. After a decade of research, Teresi says he still doesn't know what death is, but that the breadth of his ignorance has been widely expanded. Teresi's findings have been published in his new book, The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers — How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death.

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Fresh Air Weekend
10:30 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Drones, Homes & Dave Brubeck

The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Hulton Archive 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:

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

David Edestein Reviews 'Casa De Mi Padre'

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

At age 44, Will Ferrell has played an anchorman, championship NASCAR driver, ice skater, an elf, and George W. Bush. What's his next challenge? Making a movie in which he speaks nothing but Spanish. The Mexican-set action comedy "Casa de mi Padre" is directed by Matt Piedmont, who collaborated with Ferrell on his website Funny Or Die. Film critic David Edelstein has a review.

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Author Interviews
9:48 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Revisiting John Updike's 'Fresh Air' Interviews

John Updike wrote more than 25 novels. He was also a prolific short story and essay writer. Hundreds of his poems, criticisms and reviews appears in The New Yorker.
Martha Updike AP

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:47 am

These interviews were originally broadcast on March 17, 1988, March 16, 1989, and Oct. 14, 1997. You can listen to the original broadcasts in their entirety here.

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Movie Reviews
2:33 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

On DVD: Inside Bill Clinton's Campaign 'War Room'

George Stephanopoulos (left) and James Carville advised President Clinton during the 1992 election. Their strategic sessions in Clinton's "War Room" were filmed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.
October Films/Everett Collection

I think everyone can agree that the Republican Party's search for its presidential nominee has been a long, strange trip. For me, one of the strangest things about it is that, after all this time, I barely know who's running Mitt Romney's, Rick Santorum's and Newt Gingrich's campaigns. You see, over the past 30 years, political strategists have gone from being shadowy figures to being celebrities in their own right.

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Book Reviews
10:50 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Two Books That Delight In New York City's Dirt

Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 11:25 am

Some years ago I was visiting Disneyland and had a culture-clash encounter there with my one of fellow Americans. I was standing with my daughter on the miles-long meandering line for "It's a Small World After All" and I fell into a conversation with another mom; when this woman found out I was a native New Yorker, she treated me to her verdict on the city: "It's so dirty there!"

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Television
10:46 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Traveling To The Corners Of Our 'Frozen Planet'

An Adelie penguin male builds a stone nest in anticipation of the females' arrival. The males compete over the precious stones, often resorting to stealing to get the best ones.
Jeff Wilson Discovery Channel/BBC

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:47 am

I don't want to complain about Frozen Planet, however, until I dish out a little praise.

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Book Reviews
10:40 am
Wed March 14, 2012

'Coral Glynn': The Art Of Repression

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 12:03 pm

I was in my local independent bookstore last week, enjoying the endangered pleasure of wandering around and snuffling through interesting-looking books, when I overheard two women talking in front of the new releases section. "I need a new British novelist," one of them said. Ladies, I should have spoken up, but the moment passed and, besides, it was too awkward to explain that one of the best British novelists writing today was born in New Jersey.

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Author Interviews
10:01 am
Tue March 13, 2012

'If Walls Could Talk': A History Of The Home

Lucy Worsley works as the chief curator in several palatial buildings in London, including Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. In contrast, she lives in what she calls a "normal, boring modern flat."

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Remembrances
11:47 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Peter Bergman: Remembering The 'Firesign' Satirist

Peter Bergman graduated from Yale University and later attended the Yale School of Drama as a Eugene O'Neill playwriting fellow.
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Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 7:52 am

Peter Bergman, one of the founding members of the four-man surrealist comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre, died Friday of complications from leukemia. He was 72.

Bergman, along with collaborators David Ossman, Phil Proctor and Phil Austin, created satire out of the political and civil upsets of the 1960s and 1970s, blending surrealism, absurdities, non sequiturs, paranoia, parodies of the Establishment, sound effects, in-jokes about hippies and knowing allusions to literature and trash culture.

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Music Reviews
11:04 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Forgotten Gems From The Dave Brubeck Quartet

The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

After Dave Brubeck signed with Columbia Records in the mid-1950s, his quartet made a few albums a year, and now that material has been collected in a 19-disc box set called The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:05 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Maya Rudolph, William Shatner

In his solo show, Shatner shares stories about his childhood, his father, and his lengthy acting career.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 11:44 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
7:06 am
Fri March 9, 2012

'1861': A Social History Of The Civil War

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:12 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2011. 1861: The Civil War Awakening is now available in paperback.

The first shots of the American Civil War were fired almost 151 years ago in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. Less than two days later, Fort Sumter surrendered. It would take the Union army nearly four years to bring the coastal fortification back under its command.

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Movie Reviews
5:39 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

'Friends With' Benefits From Its Complications

In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
JoJo Whilden Roadside Attractions

The premise of Friends with Kids is the stuff of high-concept romantic comedies: Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie, who's at the age when her odds of childbearing lessen each year, and there's no mate in sight. So her best friend, Jason, played by Adam Scott, volunteers to impregnate her.

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Television
12:24 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Maya Rudolph: The Fresh Air Interview

Maya Rudolph spent seven seasons on Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. Now she's exploring what's funny about parenting in the new movie Friends with Kids and the TV series Up All Night.
Courtesy of Maya Rudolph

When Maya Rudolph returned to the set of Saturday Night Live in February to guest host, she says it was like coming home.

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Television
11:39 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Is 'Game Change' Fair To Sarah Palin? You Betcha

Ed Harris and Julianne Moore star as Arizona Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the HBO made-for-TV movie Game Change, based on a book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin about the 2008 presidential race.
HBO

There are times when TV dramas about national politics and politicians deserve criticism, even ridicule, for their fast-and-loose narratives and characterizations. Recent miniseries about the Reagans and the Kennedys, loaded with unsubstantiated dialogue and action, are only two very fresh examples.

But Game Change — HBO's new take on the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign — is entertaining, and commendable, precisely because it stays so close to the facts, not because it strays from them.

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Music Reviews
11:52 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Bruce Springsteen: A Universal, Original 'Wrecking Ball'

Bruce Springsteen.
Courtesy of the artist

It's not difficult to guess what the over-arching theme might be on an album Bruce Springsteen characterizes as being "as direct as any I ever made." The title song from Wrecking Ball is one he wrote a few years ago to commemorate the demolition of Giants Stadium in New Jersey. It was written from the point of view of the stadium, but in its new context, the wrecking ball is a symbol of the implacable forces that have wrecked the economy for millions of people.

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Religion
11:18 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Book Of Revelation: 'Visions, Prophecy And Politics'

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 1:57 pm

The Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, has some of the most dramatic and frightening language in the Bible.

In her new book Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation, Princeton University religious professor Elaine Pagels places the Book of Revelation in its historical context and explores where the book's apocalyptic vision of the end of the world comes from.

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Theater
11:08 am
Tue March 6, 2012

In 'Shatner's World,' Stories About Acting, Loss, Life

In his solo show, Shatner shares stories about his childhood, his father, and his lengthy acting career.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 10:32 am

William Shatner has played an attorney, a starship captain, an alien and a Roman tax collector, among many other roles. Over the past half-century, the Canadian actor has performed on television, in commercials, in movies and on Broadway — and penned several novels.

He recently returned to Broadway for the first time in over 40 years with a new solo show, Shatner's World: We Just Live In It. In the 90-minute performance, Shatner talks about his childhood growing up in Montreal and reflects on his many acting roles with an assortment of photos and video clips.

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Music Reviews
12:27 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Dierks Bentley's 'Home' Is Full Of Country Struggles

Courtesy of the artist

Dierks Bentley has a nice, deep voice; an open, friendly demeanor; and a knack for working in a variety of country-music genres, from bluegrass to power ballads. For all that, it's always been difficult to pin down what Bentley aims to do. Although he's only in his 30s, Bentley sounds as though he's working through a bit of a midlife crisis on his new album Home. Take, for example, the single "Am I the Only One," a novelty tune about going out to party with a twist — not many of Bentley's pals want to join him, because they've settled into adulthood, and he hasn't.

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