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 Interviews
12:09 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Viola Davis: The Fresh Air Interview

Minny (Octavia Spencer) and Aibileen (Davis) are two domestics who team up with a writer to break the code of silence about the conditions they work under in 1960s Mississippi.
Dale Robinette Dreamworks Pictures

Actress Viola Davis has been nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the maid Aibileen in the film The Help, set in 1960s Mississippi. But not everyone has applauded the film, which has been criticized for its portrayal of black domestic servants in the civil rights era.

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Music Interviews
11:34 am
Mon February 13, 2012

'Conchords': Musical Comedy from Clueless Kiwis

Jemaine Clement (left) and Bret McKenzie: Witty musical parodists play witless musicians in Flight of the Conchords.
HBO

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 11:29 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 14, 2007. You can listen to the complete interview with Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie here.

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, aka the folk-parody band Flight of the Conchords, hail from New Zealand. They were named best alternative-comedy act at the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

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Music Interviews
11:06 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Bret McKenzie: A Manly Muppet And A Muppet Of A Man

Bret McKenzie (left) wrote five of the songs in The Muppets, including the Oscar-nominated "Man or Muppet" and the opening number, "Life's a Happy Song."
Andrew Macpherson Disney

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Movie Interviews
10:05 am
Fri February 10, 2012

'The Interrupters': Keeping Peace On The Streets

Ameena Matthews, a violence interrupter with the Chicago organization CeaseFire, mediates disputes to prevent gang violence from escalating.
Aaron Wickenden Kartemquin Films

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 12:19 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 1, 2011. The Interrupters will be broadcast on Frontline on Feb. 14, 2012.

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Book Reviews
12:37 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Scrappy 'Girlchild' Forms A Girl Scout Troop Of One

You'd think that, by now, the news that Americans are spoiling their children would be as attention-getting as the fabled headline, "dog bites man," but, apparently, we never weary of hearing about how bad we're doing as parents. Last year, it was the Tiger Mom; this year, a hot new book called Bringing Up Bebe, tells us that the French have us beat by an indifferent shrug when it comes to the art of raising independent kids.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:22 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Meryl Streep, Yoga

Meryl Streep stars as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady.
The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 11:58 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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Movie Reviews
12:11 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

'Safe House,' 'Haywire': Watch Them Back To Back

Mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a highly trained covert operative, in a twisty, tautly wrought thriller.
Claudette Barius Relativity Media

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 12:19 pm

The flashy Denzel Washington thriller Safe House will probably gross in a few hours what Steven Soderbergh's Haywire has made in several weeks, but if you like action you ought to catch both back to back. Soderbergh's film is a reaction to the jangled, high-impact style of Safe House and its ilk.

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Poetry
11:57 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Donald Hall: A Poet's View 'Out The Window'

Poet Donald Hall spends much of his time in his blue armchair, looking at the landscape out his window. The 83-year-old former poet laureate has lived for years on the same New Hampshire farm that his grandparents used to own, and still writes in the room he slept in as a child.

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Music Reviews
11:28 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Chuck Prophet's 'Beautiful' Homage To San Francisco

Chuck Prophet.
Charlie Homo

Chuck Prophet's new album, Temple Beautiful, takes its name from a former synagogue that hosted punk-rock shows in the late '70s and early '80s; it was next door to the temple overseen by cult leader Jim Jones. That may sound like a grim or black-humored reference point around which to erect an album, but with Prophet, grimness, humor, fact and fiction mingle freely. Before anything else, he's a guitar player with a melodically nasal voice whose phrasing favors the whimsical and the querulous.

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Author Interviews
10:42 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Finding 'Life, Death, And Hope' In A Mumbai Slum

cover detail

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 12:01 pm

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo spent more than three years in Mumbai's Annawadi slum to do research for her new book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Residents of the slum — which is located next to the Mumbai airport and in the shadow of several luxury hotels — live in devastating poverty.

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Television
10:31 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Two Rowdy Talk Shows Showcase Vintage Humor

Writers for Sid Caesar include Mel Brooks (front, lower right corner) and Neil Simon (back row, upper left corner.)
courtesy of Michael Hirsh

The two DVDs I want to talk about today are hilarious, but they aren't sitcoms. They're talk shows — well, one's a talk show, and one's a filmed seminar. But they're both fascinating examples of a specific pop-culture moment frozen in time.

And they're something else as well: Both are highly entertaining real-time examples of talk-show Darwinism. Both shows feature a large, unwieldy guest roster, all of the guests competing for attention at the same time — and by the time the programs are over, the winners are apparent.

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Author Interviews
11:34 am
Tue February 7, 2012

The Risks And Rewards Of Practicing Yoga

Five people on a beach stand in the warrior pose.
iStockphoto.com

Twenty million people practice yoga in the United States. William Broad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for The New York Times, is one of them. Broad started doing yoga as a freshman in college in 1970 and has been practicing ever since.

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Music Reviews
11:01 am
Tue February 7, 2012

Matt Wilson: Trios, Quartets And 'Don Knotts'

Like a comedian, drummer Matt Wilson knows about offhand dexterity and split-second timing.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 10:35 am

Brooklyn drummer Matt Wilson keeps busy with many bands and projects — other people's and his own. Two new Wilson albums find him as part of a co-op all-star trio, and at the helm of one of his own quartets. Part of Wilson's appeal is that he keeps things light, in a good way.

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Movie Interviews
11:36 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Meryl Streep: The Fresh Air Interview

As of 2012, Meryl Streep holds the record for the actor with the most Academy Award nominations — her tally stands at 17.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 10:39 am

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Music Interviews
11:17 am
Fri February 3, 2012

A Studio On The Road To 'Fame' For Soul Musicians

Ace Records

Rick Hall and Billy Sherrill were a couple of Alabama boys in their teens when they started writing songs. At first, the only place they had to record was in a room in the back of the Trailways bus station in Florence, Ala. But one of the songs they recorded there, "Sweet and Innocent," became a small local hit, and a guy named Tom Stafford read about it in the local paper. He built a recording studio above City Drugs in Florence and went into business with the two young men. It didn't last long: Sherrill was hugely ambitious and was soon off to Nashville.

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Movie Interviews
10:00 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Going In '50/50' On A Cancer Comedy, With Laughs

In 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a public radio host stricken with cancer who enlists his best friend, played by Seth Rogen, for moral and physical support.
Chris Helcermanas-Benge Summit Publicity

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 11:26 am

This interview was originally broadcast on September 28, 2011. 50/50 is now available on DVD.

When screenwriter Will Reiser was 24 and diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer, he coped by thinking up ideas for cancer comedies with his best friend, actor Seth Rogen.

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Fresh Air Weekend
2:02 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Baratunde, Stew, Leonard Cohen

Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter." href="/post/fresh-air-weekend-baratunde-stew-leonard-cohen" class="noexit lightbox">
Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 10:24 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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Energy
12:20 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Clean-Tech Industry Facing Lean Times After Solyndra

President Obama tours the headquarters of the Solyndra solar panel company in Freemont, Calif., on May 26, 2010.The company declared bankruptcy in August 2011.
Pool Getty Images

Three years ago, venture capitalists were pouring billions of dollars into technologies like solar power, wind power, biofuels and fuel cells. The federal government followed, directing some $44.5 billion into clean technology from late 2009 to late 2011 through loans, subsidies and tax incentives.

But now the clean-tech industry is facing leaner times, in part because of cheaper natural gas prices, the effects of the financial crisis and China's growing solar industry.

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Music Reviews
11:58 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Lana Del Rey: The Self-Made Pop Star As Target

Lana Del Ray
Nicole Nodland Shore Fire

Lana Del Rey appeared on Saturday Night Live recently, giving two rather tentative performances that, depending on your point of view, were awkward and amateurish or shrewdly restrained and vulnerable. Del Rey, in her mid-20s, attracts polarizing opinions.

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Television
11:04 am
Thu February 2, 2012

The Producers Behind NBC's Musical 'Smash'

Ivy Lynn (played by Megan Hilty) is one of two actresses vying for the coveted lead role in Smash, which premieres Monday on NBC.
Will Hart NBC

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 12:30 pm

Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan have been making musicals together for almost 20 years. They're the team behind movie musicals like Hairspray, Chicago and Annie, and the TV musicals Gypsy and The Music Man.

Now Meron and Zadan have teamed up once again on the new NBC series Smash, a drama that goes behind the scenes as a motley crew of creative types put together a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

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