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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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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Author Interviews
11:43 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them

Routines are made up of a three-part "habit loop": a cue, a behavior and a reward. Understanding and interrupting that loop is key to breaking a habit, says journalist Charles Duhigg.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 1:46 pm

Think about something it took you a really long time to learn, like how to parallel park. At first, parallel parking was difficult and you had to devote a lot of mental energy to it. But after you grew comfortable with parallel parking, it became much easier — almost habitual, you could say.

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Fresh Air Weekend
1:56 am
Sat March 3, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Being Flynn,' Barry Blitt

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
11:25 am
Fri March 2, 2012

'The Lorax': A Campy And Whimsical Seussical

The Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms) and the Lorax (Danny DeVito) are surrounded by bar-ba-loots in Truffula Valley in Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 1:02 pm

At the far end of town
Where the Grickle-grass grows
And the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
And no birds ever sing excepting old crows ...
Is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.

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Author Interviews
11:22 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Frank Calabrese Jr. On Opening His 'Family Secrets'

This interview was originally broadcast on March 14, 2011. Operation Family Secrets is now available in paperback.

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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Television
11:57 am
Thu March 1, 2012

It's High Concept, But Will It Keep You 'Awake'?

In the new NBC drama Awake, Jason Issacs plays Michael Britten, a man who survives a car accident along with one of his loved ones — but which one?
Michael Desmond NBC

The premise of NBC's new detective series, Awake, is about as high concept as it gets. Jason Isaacs, one of the leads of Showtime's Brotherhood, stars as Michael Britten, who survives a horrible car crash intact. Well, his body is intact — but his mind, or at least his subconscious, is split.

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Music Reviews
8:22 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Hugh Masekela: Wedding Songs That Don't Sound Blue

Hugh Masekela.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:50 am

In 1968, Hugh Masekela was not quite 30 years old and though he was in exile from his homeland of South Africa, he seemed ready to become at home on the American jazz and pop markets. That summer, he had scored a number one single, "Grazing in the Grass." A year earlier, he'd been one of the few international performers at the 1967 Monterrey International Pop Festival and had appeared in its D.A. Pennebaker documentary. Yet strangely enough, over the next 45 years Masekela never quite found his sweet spot.

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Movie Interviews
11:50 am
Wed February 29, 2012

'Being Flynn': When Dad Needs To Take Shelter

Robert De Niro (left) plays Jonathan Flynn, the father of writer Nick Flynn (played by Paul Dano) who shows up at his son's workplace: a homeless shelter.
David Lee Focus Features

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 1:24 pm

Writer Nick Flynn was working in a homeless shelter in his 20s when his father — an alcoholic and self-proclaimed writer who left when Flynn was a baby — showed up as a client. Flynn wrote about the experience in his 2004 memoir, Another Bulls- - - Night in Suck City.

That story is now a movie called Being Flynn, starring Paul Dano as the young Nick Flynn and Robert De Niro as his father, Jonathan.

Flynn and Paul Weitz, the film's director, tell Fresh Air's Dave Davies that the film boils down to a few important themes.

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Book Reviews
12:16 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

China On The Court: NBA Meets The 'Brave Dragons'

iStockPhoto.com

"Linsanity" is the magical byword of this basketball season. As anyone who is even semi-conscious knows, Jeremy Lin, the NBA's first Taiwanese-American player by way of Harvard, was passed over for college athletic scholarships and ignored in NBA drafts. Then, he landed with the New York Knicks and has since proved to everybody that athletic prejudice against Asians is Lincredibly stupid. Except, as journalist Jim Yardley points out in his new book on basketball fever in China, Chinese players and coaches happen to endorse that prejudice.

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Author Interviews
8:08 am
Mon February 27, 2012

'Tinderbox': How The West Fueled The AIDS Epidemic

Craig Timberg is the former Johannesburg bureau chief of The Washington Post. He is current the deputy national security editor at the Post.
Bill O'Leary The Washington Post

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 10:16 am

HIV is a slow-moving time bomb.

Unlike Ebola, which infects and kills people quickly — and then disappears just as quickly — the HIV epidemic has become so good at killing people in part because it moves so very slowly, says journalist Craig Timberg.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:41 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Catherine Russell, Bret McKenzie

The cast of The Muppets includes (left to right) Floyd Pepper, Fozzie Bear, Lew Zealand, Janice, Swedish Chef, Camilla The Chicken, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Gonzo, Scooter and Beaker.
Scott Garfield Disney

Originally published on Sat February 25, 2012 9:43 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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Television
12:24 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

25 Years Later, 'The Singing Detective' Still Shines

Gambon's character slips in and out of feverish dreams in which his doctors and nurses start to sing and dance.
BBC

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:15 pm

The Singing Detective is the story of a writer of pulp-fiction novels, hospitalized for a horrible skin condition that has his entire body flaking and raw, and his mind slipping in and out of fever dreams.

Some of those hallucinations have the people around him breaking into song, or shifting into other places and times and characters, or both. He tries to maintain his sanity by rewriting, in his head, one of his old novels into a Hollywood screenplay — and, in his mind, he's the healthy, good-looking protagonist — the singing detective.

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Movie Reviews
11:43 am
Fri February 24, 2012

'Wanderlust': A Zany Blast From The Communal Past

Orange You Glad We Wound Up Here? George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) play an unemployed Manhattan couple who stumble into a hippie farming commune whose denizens include characters played by Justin Theroux and Alan Alda.
Gemma La Mana Universal PIctures

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:15 pm

In sophisticated comedy, what's funny is the tension between proper manners and the nasty or sexy subtext. Whereas in low comedy, there are no manners, and the nasty or sexy subtext is right there on the surface.

And then there's Wanderlust, in which the subtext is blasted through megaphones — the characters say so insanely much you want to scream. The satire is as broad as a battleship and equally bombarding. But it takes guts to do a comedy this big without gross-out slapstick, and the writers and the actors are all in.

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Movie Interviews
11:34 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Dustin Lance Black: Telling The Story Of 'J. Edgar'

Leonardo DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar, a biopic written by Dustin Lance Black.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:15 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 6, 2011.

In the first part of his career, J. Edgar Hoover was often hailed as a hero. As a young man, he helped reorganize the cataloging system at the Library of Congress. Later on, after Hoover became the first director of the FBI, he introduced fingerprinting and forensic techniques to the crime-fighting agency, and pushed for stronger federal laws to punish criminals who strayed across state lines.

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