Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11am
Terry Gross

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:43 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Alec Baldwin, College Tuition

In Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, Alec Baldwin lives vicariously through the lives of three younger people.
Sony Picture Classics

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 11:05 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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Sports
8:53 am
Fri June 29, 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

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:53 am

This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012. Since it aired, R.A. Dickey has pitched two consecutive one-hitters.

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

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

'Beasts': Taking Southern Folklore To The Next Level

Hushpuppy, the 6-year-old at the center of Beasts of the Southern Wild, is played by Quvenzhane Wallis, who was found by director Benh Zeitlin in a Louisiana elementary school.
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:58 pm

The parents of director Benh Zeitlin are folklorists, which is as good a way as any to account for the ambitions of his first feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film is a mythic odyssey laced with modern ecological anxieties, captured in a free-form, image-driven narrative that recalls Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. It's clear from the outset that Zeitlin aims to take the family folklore business to the next level.

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Fresh Food
11:16 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Marcus Samuelsson: On Becoming A Top Chef

James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson has been a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America and Chopped.
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.

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Television
10:08 am
Thu June 28, 2012

'Louie': TV's Most Original Comedy Returns

Louis C.K. has written for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Chris Rock Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
FX

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 10:50 am

A lot of stand-up comedians make us laugh, but only a handful, like Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen or Richard Pryor, actually change the way that comedy is done. It's too early to be sure, but another one of them may be Louis C.K., the paunchy, balding, ginger-haired comic who's something of a quiet radical. He has one of those comic talents that's at its best when it isn't worried about being funny.

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Author Interviews
10:53 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Why Flying Is No Fun (And May Be More Dangerous)

Michal Krakowiak iStockphoto.com

After the airline industry was deregulated in 1978, flying changed considerably.

Some of those changes have improved commercial flying, but others have made the skies much less friendly, says journalist and airline veteran William J. McGee.

McGee's new book, Attention All Passengers, details how airlines are cutting costs through regional carriers, outsourcing airline maintenance, mishandling baggage and overbooking airplanes.

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Remembrances
9:52 am
Wed June 27, 2012

A Laugh A Minute, On Screen And In Life

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 10:52 am

Nora Ephron, the essayist, novelist, screenwriter and film director, died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71, and suffered from leukemia.

She's most widely known for films including Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally, which she wrote, and Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia, which she wrote and directed. She also wrote many frank, humorous essays, some of which were collected in books.

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Education
11:17 am
Tue June 26, 2012

What's Driving College Costs Higher?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 8:47 am

Just days before student loan rates are set to double for millions of Americans, President Obama and congressional leaders haven't reached an agreement on legislation to keep those rates at 3.4 percent.

The debate reflects the growing concern over the debt burden many take on to get a college education. About two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients borrow money to attend college, and collectively, student debt has topped $1 trillion.

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Music Reviews
10:53 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Fiona Apple's 'Wheel' Of Extravagant Emotions

Known for brevity's sake as The Idler Wheel..., Fiona Apple's new album is her first in seven years.
Lionel Deluy

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 8:49 am

"These ideas of mine / percolate the mind," Fiona Apple sings in "Every Single Night," the song that opens her new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Some people are going to listen to the entire record and come away with the feeling that the percolation in Apple's mind has bubbled over like a coffee pot left on a stove too long. But for me and perhaps for you, Apple's bubbling thoughts, words and music are thrilling — eager and direct, heedless about being judged or misunderstood.

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Remembrances
11:38 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Broadway's Richard Adler

Celebrated composer and lyricist Richard Adler has died at the age of 90.
Bob Gomel Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 9, 1990.

In 1955, The New York Times called Richard Adler and his writing partner, Jerry Ross, "Broadway's hottest young composers." Together, they wrote the music and lyrics for The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, two shows that became known for the songs "Hey There," "Steam Heat," "Hernando's Hideaway" and "Whatever Lola Wants."

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Movie Interviews
10:38 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Alec Baldwin: A 'Rock' Throughout The Ages

Club owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin, left) and his assistant Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) try to figure out a way to keep their nightclub open in the movie adaptation of Rock of Ages.
David James David James

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 11:38 am

Alec Baldwin stars in two movies this summer — and they couldn't be more different.

In Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, Baldwin joins an ensemble cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni and Penelope Cruz as they romp around the Eternal City — running into trouble, weathering existential crises and falling in — and out — of love.

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Opinion
10:26 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Taboo Revival: Talking Private Parts In Public Places

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 6:35 am

Geoff Nunberg is the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air. His new book, Ascent of the A-Word, will be appearing this summer.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:38 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Jeff Daniels, Bob Ojeda

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:44 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:


Jeff Daniels: Anchoring The Cast Of 'The Newsroom': The actor stars in Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom, playing an anchorman inspired to give up fluff pieces and return to hard-hitting journalism.

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Movie Reviews
11:29 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Pixar's Fast And 'Brave' Female Comedy: 'Delightful'

In Brave, Merida goes in search of a spell to get back at her mother, who wants to force her to marry a suitor.
Disney/Pixar

First, I hate the title, and not because it's an adjective. Notorious, Ravenous, Rabid: great titles. Brave? Generic. And with the poster of a girl with flame-red curls pulling back a bow, it looks like yet another female-warrior saga, another you-go-girl action picture suggesting the biggest injustice to women over the last millennium has been the suppression of their essential warlike natures.

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Television
9:13 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Louis C.K. On Comedy, Love, Life And Loss

Louis C.K. has written for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Chris Rock Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
FX

Originally published on Fri June 22, 2012 11:29 am

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2011. The third season of Louis C.K.'s show Louie starts Thursday, June 28 on the FX network. Season 2 just came out on DVD.

In the FX TV series Louie, comic Louis C.K. plays a divorced father of two struggling to balance his comedy career with being a single dad. The show, which has just been picked up for a third season, is often based on events that have happened to C.K. in his own life.

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Remembrances
10:23 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Film Critic Andrew Sarris

Film critic Andrew Sarris was married to fellow critic Molly Haskell.
Dave Kotinsky Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:56 am

This interview was originally broadcast on August 8, 1990.

Andrew Sarris, who popularized the auteur theory and was called the "dean of American film critics," died on Wednesday. He was 83.

In 1962, Sarris became the first American film critic to write about the auteur theory. That's the idea that the director of a movie is the person most responsible for it, and that movies can be better understood if they're seen in the context of a director's complete body of work.

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Television
10:11 am
Thu June 21, 2012

'The Newsroom' Caught Up In A Partisan Divide

In Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama, The Newsroom, producer MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) and anchorman Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) tackle real hard-hitting news stories and call out those who don't tell the truth.
HBO

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:56 am

If anyone in Hollywood wears his idealism like a boutonniere, it's Aaron Sorkin. As The West Wing made clear, Sorkin loves telling stories about principled individuals — especially liberals — struggling with institutions that might compromise their integrity.

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Business
9:55 am
Thu June 21, 2012

The Impossible Juggling Act: Motherhood And Work

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:56 am

For two years, Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter was the director of policy planning at the State Department. It was her "dream job" — the job she imagined herself doing in college.

"I loved the work," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was work I was so passionate about."

Slaughter commuted to the State Department in Washington, D.C., every week from Princeton, N.J., where her husband and two teenage sons lived.

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Television
9:57 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Jeff Daniels: Anchoring The Cast Of 'The Newsroom'

After a public meltdown and a wholesale staff defection, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) decides to take a different approach with his nightly news show.
HBO

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:22 am

Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom revolves around Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a popular cable-news anchor floating happily along with his nightly newscast, which does well in the ratings but doesn't tend to delve into anything that could offend or alienate anyone.

After McAvoy has a public meltdown at a university lecture, he's put on a three-week hiatus by his boss (Sam Waterston). During McAvoy's time off, his staff defects and a new executive producer named Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) is hired to take the helm of McAvoy's show.

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Sports
10:17 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Bob Ojeda: Pitching Through The Pain

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 1:27 pm

Over the course of his 14 years in baseball, Bob Ojeda threw more than 1,000 strikeouts and countless pitches across the plate.

The lefty, who spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets, retired in 1994 after winning a World Series in 1986 and leading the American League in shutouts in 1984.

During that entire time, his left pitching arm hurt.

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Author Interviews
9:01 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Edible Fermentables: Wine, Beer, Cheese, Meat

Beer may be the oldest fermented beverage on the planet.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 8:15 am

In the beginning, the self-described "fermentation fetishist" Sandor Katz loved sour pickles.

"For whatever reason, I was drawn to that flavor as a child," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And then when I was in my 20s, I did quite a bit of dietary experimentation and ... I started noticing that whenever I ate sauerkraut or pickles, even the smell of it would make my salivary glands start secreting."

After Katz moved from New York City to a rural community in Tennessee, his fascination with all things fermented increased.

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Music Reviews
9:01 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Ray Anderson: A Pocket-Size Suite Makes A Huge Racket

It's tricky making a little band sound big on Sweet Chicago Suite, but trombonist Ray Anderson knows his tricks.
Jeanne Moutoussamy Ashe

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 1:47 pm

Ray Anderson's Pocket Brass Band is about watch-pocket size: With three horns and drums, it couldn't get much smaller. On its new Sweet Chicago Suite, Anderson makes what the group does sound easy. Just write some catchy, bluesy tunes and then have the band blast them out.

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Book Reviews
10:41 am
Mon June 18, 2012

'Beautiful Ruins,' Both Human And Architectural

In Jess Walter's new novel, Beautiful Ruins, there's a beaten-down character named Claire who works in Hollywood reading scripts for a living. Claire is inundated with reality TV show pitches, many of them featuring drunk models or drunk sex addicts — in short, scripts so offensive that, Claire thinks, to give them the green light for production would be akin to "singlehandedly hastening the apocalypse."

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Author Interviews
10:41 am
Mon June 18, 2012

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A New Superman Bio!

Christopher Reeve played Superman in Richard Donner's 1978 film. Larry Tye has written a new biography of the Man of Steel.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 8:15 am

Eighty years ago, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the iconic comic book character Superman, but it took several years of rejections before they finally sold him to Detective Comics Inc. in 1938. The distinctive superhero made his first appearance in the comics in June 1938 — and since then has appeared in radio dramas, TV shows, video games, newspaper comics and countless films.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:33 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Fermenting, Joan Rivers

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 10:17 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:


Joan Rivers Hates You, Herself And Everyone Else: Comedian Joan Rivers' new book I Hate Everyone, Starting With Me details the things Rivers can't stand.

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Television
9:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

'Car 54' Re-Release Drives An Old Fan To Reminisce

NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) patrolled the Bronx in the 1960s sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?
Shanachie Entertainment

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:24 pm

I grew up in New York City, but I didn't watch Car 54, Where Are You? until I got hooked on it in syndication long after it was originally aired. So I was very happy to see the complete series of 60 episodes released on two DVD boxed sets. The episode in Season 2 titled "I Hate Capt. Block," about trying to teach a recalcitrant parrot to talk and the way people are not much smarter than parrots, is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen on television, maybe as inspired as Sid Caesar's foreign film parodies or Carol Burnett's version of Gone with the Wind.

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Remembrances
9:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

For 'Wiseguy' Henry Hill, Mobster 'Days Were Over'

Hill (left, with Ray Liotta, who played him in the movie GoodFellas) was the central figure in Wiseguy, the 1986 Nicholas Pileggi book that later became the Martin Scorsese-directed film.
Rebecca Sapp WireImage

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:29 pm

Henry Hill, the mobster-turned-informant portrayed by Ray Liotta in the film Goodfellas, died Tuesday at age 69. Hill's colorful life — he lived in Cincinnati; Omaha; Butte, Mont.; Independence, Ky.; and Topanga, Calif., among other places — was documented in crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 book Wiseguy and then in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas, which was based on Pileggi's book.

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Around the Nation
10:22 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Radio's Bryan Fischer Tries Pushing Romney Right

Before hosting Focal Point, Bryan Fischer was the chaplain of the Idaho State Senate and the head of the Idaho chapter of the American Family Association.
Troy Maben AP

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:56 pm

In April, Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, to serve as his campaign's national security spokesman. Within hours, Grenell was being attacked by a Christian radio talk show host named Bryan Fischer, whose Focal Point call-in show reaches more than 1 million listeners a day.

Nine days after Fischer began his on-air attack, Grenell resigned. He had been the only openly gay member of Romney's campaign staff.

The Christian right and Fischer saw Grenell's resignation as a "tremendous victory," says New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer.

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Music Reviews
10:22 am
Thu June 14, 2012

On 'Banga,' Patti Smith Pays Homage To Friends

Patti Smith.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:39 pm

Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.

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Movie Interviews
10:16 am
Wed June 13, 2012

At The Heart Of 'Your Sister's Sister,' A Love Triangle

Iris (Emily Blunt, left) invites her best friend Jack to her family's vacation home after a death in his family. Unbeknownst to him, Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemary DeWitt) is already there, in the hopes of getting over a breakup.
IFC Films

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:27 pm

Lynn Shelton's 2009 movie Humpday was about two straight men making a gay-porn movie to win an amateur film competition. It might not have reached a mass audience, but Humpday was noticed by other directors and producers, including Matthew Weiner, who offered Shelton a job directing an episode of Mad Men.

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