Fresh Air

Weekdays at 3 pm
Terry Gross

For complete program information, visit the official Fresh Air website here.

About Fresh Air:

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

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Remembrances
11:59 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Remembering Vidal Sassoon, An Iconic Hairdresser

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:47 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 10, 2011.

The British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who created some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 20th century, died on May 9 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

Sassoon's creations included the geometric, the Wash-and-Wear, the short bob Nancy Kwan wore in The World of Suzie Wong and Mia Farrow's famous pixie cut for Rosemary's Baby.

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Middle East
12:08 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Why The U.S. Is Aggressively Targeting Yemen

Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. "The United States is doubling down on its use of air power and drones, which are swiftly becoming the primary focus of Washington's counterterrorism operations," writes Jeremy Scahill.
Muhammad ud-Deen AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 1:46 pm

U.S. intelligence officials announced last week that they had broken up a plan by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to blow up a plane headed toward the United States.

U.S. officials are aggressively targeting terrorists in Yemen, which is now considered to be "the greatest external threat facing the U.S. homeland in terms of terrorism," says investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill.

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Movie Reviews
12:15 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'The Dictator' Rules With A Satirist's Fist

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 1:30 pm

Many fans will be disappointed that Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is a more or less conventional comedy and not an ambush-interview mockumentary in the style of Borat and Bruno. But that guerrilla-clown shtick would be tough to sustain: Why not let him try something else? The good news is that The Dictator is loose and slap-happy and full of sharp political barbs and has funny actors moving in and out — and at a lickety-split 83 minutes, it doesn't wear out its welcome.

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Author Interviews
11:24 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Just What's Inside Those Breasts?

Breasts are getting bigger and arriving earlier. They're also attracting chemicals and environmental toxins, which are getting passed along in breast milk.
Photographer: B-D-S iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 1:31 pm

When writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she read a research study about toxins found in human breast milk. She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany.

What came back surprised her.

Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient — as well as high to average levels of flame retardants — were all found in her breast milk. How could something like this happen?

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Theater
10:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Audra McDonald: Shaping 'Bess' On Broadway

Audra McDonald.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 1:23 pm

Audra McDonald has starred in stage classics and on TV, where she played a leading role on the ABC drama Private Practice for four seasons. But the actress might be better known for her stunning voice and for her performances in the Broadway productions of Carousel, Master Class and Ragtime, which helped her rack up three Tony Awards before the age of 30. She won a fourth Tony for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun, putting her in the company of Broadway greats Gwen Verdon and Mary Martin.

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Remembrances
11:40 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Shooting Vietnam: Remembering Horst Faas

The sun breaks through dense jungle foliage as South Vietnamese troops, joined by U.S. advisers, rest after a cold, damp and tense night of waiting in an ambush position for a Viet Cong attack that didn't come, January 1965.
Horst Faas AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:47 am

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Horst Faas, who captured several iconic moments during the Vietnam War, died May 10. He was 79.

Haas was the chief of The Associated Press' Southeast Asia bureau from 1962 to 1974, where he covered the fighting and mentored dozens of young photographers who were sent out across Vietnam to capture images of the war's terror and inhumanity.

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Fresh Air Weekend
4:38 am
Sat May 12, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Lena Dunham, Gretchen Reynolds

Originally published on Sat May 12, 2012 11:22 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:

Lena Dunham Addresses Criticism Aimed At 'Girls': The creator and star of HBO's new series Girls addresses the growing backlash against the show, which follows four 20-somethings as they navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:25 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Fresh Air At 25: A Live Musical Tribute

Richard Thompson is one of many guests who have performed on Fresh Air.
Pamela Littky

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:48 am

Friday marks 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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Movie Reviews
12:42 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

'Dark Shadows': A Vampire Returns, Without His Bite

After Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) rises from the grave in the 1970s, 200 years after he was imprisoned, he returns to his ancestral home and befriends his descendants, including David Collins (Gully McGrath).
Peter Mountain Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 10:22 am

Two score and four years ago, I'd fly home from fourth grade for the 4 p.m. broadcast of Dark Shadows. In 1968, vampires and werewolves weren't mainstream — the era's horror films mostly played drive-ins — yet here on TV was a daily horror soap opera.

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Remembrances
9:16 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Author Maurice Sendak

In this Sept. 25, 1985 file photo, author Maurice Sendak poses with one of the characters from his book Where the Wild Things Are, designed for the operatic adaptation of his book in St. Paul, Minn. Sendak died, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn. He was 83.
LS AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:49 am

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are became a perennial and award-winning favorite for generations of children, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Sendak appeared on Fresh Air with Terry Gross several times over the years. In 1989, he told Terry Gross that he didn't ever write with children in mind — but that somehow what he wrote turned out to be for children nonetheless.

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Remembrances
11:44 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch

Adam Yauch.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 3:31 pm

Adam "MCA" Yauch, one of the founding members of the Beastie Boys, died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 47.

With his raspy voice, Yauch started making music with Michael Diamond (Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) when they were all teenagers in New York City in the early 1980s. The Beastie Boys started out as a punk band, but in 1987, the group released Licensed to Ill, the first hop-hop album to reach No. 1 on the pop charts.

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Fresh Air Weekend
3:13 am
Sat May 5, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Sissy Spacek, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Sissy Spacek received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat May 5, 2012 11:32 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
11:23 am
Fri May 4, 2012

A Gershwin Biopic That Ain't Necessarily So True

George Gershwin's most famous works include Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and the opera Porgy and Bess.
Warner Archives

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 3:58 pm

The movie Rhapsody in Blue, a biography of George Gershwin, was released only eight years after his death from a brain tumor at the age of 38. It's a good subject: Gershwin wrote some of the best popular songs ever produced in this country, but he also had ambitions to be a serious classical composer and wrote symphonic music, concertos and an opera — all of which are still performed.

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Author Interviews
10:58 am
Fri May 4, 2012

The U.S. Ambassador Inside Hitler's Berlin

Adolf Hitler (right) with his foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in 1941.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 11:23 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 9, 2011. In The Garden Of Beasts is now available in paperback.

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Movie Reviews
11:54 am
Thu May 3, 2012

'The Avengers': A Marvel-Ous Whedonesque Ride

Thor (Chris Hemsworth, left) and Captain America (Chris Evans) join up with Iron Man and the Hulk to save the Earth in The Avengers.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 6:29 pm

Two spheres merge in The Avengers: the Marvel Comics universe and the Whedonverse, fans' name for the nerdy wisecracking existentialist superhero world of writer-director Joss Whedon.

The Whedon cult is smaller but maybe more fervent, inspiring academic conferences on such subjects as free will vs. determinism in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find a lot of Whedon's banter self-consciously smart-alecky, but I love how he can spoof his subjects without robbing them of stature.

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Book Reviews
11:56 am
Tue May 1, 2012

'The Newlyweds': A Match Made Online

Random House

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 12:38 pm

There continues to be a lot of talk about gender bias in the book industry. The core argument goes that, while both male and female authors write novels about relationships and the domestic sphere, when a woman does so her books are relegated to "chic lit," and when a man (like Jonathan Franzen) does, he's lauded for serious literary achievement.

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Osama Bin Laden Killed
11:56 am
Tue May 1, 2012

The 'Manhunt' To Capture Osama Bin Laden

On May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 12:29 pm

A year ago Tuesday, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces inside a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. When President Obama announced the news, he called the death of bin Laden "the most significant achievement to date" in the war against al-Qaida.

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Music Reviews
12:45 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

A Sure-Footed Collection Of 'African Blues'

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 6:18 pm

I have to hand it to the Putumayo label. Since it started as a soundtrack-provider to a clothing store in the early '90s, the operation has placed racks of CDs with friendly-primitivist art by Nicola Heindl into Starbucks and Whole Foods everywhere. Putumayo is as responsible as anything for making music buyers ask "Where's the world music section?" in shops or online.

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Author Interviews
12:05 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Sissy Spacek's 'Extraordinary Ordinary Life'

Sissy Spacek received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 12:45 pm

When Sissy Spacek started her film career, she was told to lose her heavy Texas accent. But her famous drawl became one of her greatest assets when Terrence Malick cast her in his 1973 crime drama Badlands.

Spacek played Holly, a teenage girl from South Dakota who became an accomplice on a cross-country murder spree. The film, which also starred Martin Sheen, was narrated in Spacek's distinctive Southern voice.

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Fresh Air Weekend
5:48 am
Sat April 28, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Jack Black, Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie has received two Golden Globe awards and two Screen Actors Guild awards for his portrayal of Dr. Gregory House.
Fox

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 12:18 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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Author Interviews
8:42 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Tracing The Divides In The War 'To End All Wars'

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 2:51 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on August 11, 2011. To End All Wars is now available in paperback.

The human cost of World War I was enormous. More than 9 million soldiers and an estimated 12 million civilians died in the four-year-long conflict, which also left 21 million military men wounded.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

A 'Five-Year Engagement' Leaves A Bitter Taste

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) celebrate their impending nuptials with their families before Violet drops a bomb: She's been accepted at a program at the University of Michigan, and wants to move there and postpone their wedding day.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:38 am

There are many dramas and comedies in which career trajectories take couples to different corners of the country, complicating or ending romantic relationships. There will be many more, at least until someone invents a teleportation machine. What's different about each work is how the problem gets interpreted.

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Music Reviews
11:40 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Howlin' Wolf: A Blues Legend With An Earthy Sound

Howlin' Wolf's masters from the Chess label have just been released on a four-disc set titled Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1931-1960.

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Book Reviews
10:57 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Lillian Hellman: A 'Difficult,' Vilified Woman

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 12:17 pm

"Difficult" is probably the most tactful word one could use in characterizing Lillian Hellman. If ever there were an author safer to meet through her art rather than in real life, she was the one. Born in New Orleans into a Jewish family, Hellman came of age in the Roaring '20s, liberated by flappers and Freud. Hellman drank like a fish, swore like a sailor and slept around like, well, like most of the men in her literary circle, chief among them Dashiell Hammett, with whom she had an open relationship spanning three decades. She was, recalled one observer, a "tough broad ...

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Movie Interviews
11:20 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Jack Black: On Music, Mayhem And Murder

In Bernie, Jack Black plays a local 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 Mon April 23, 2012 11:59 am

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

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Music Reviews
10:53 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Todd Snider: 'Stoner Fables' With A Layered Worldview

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 11:20 am

Todd Snider is, on one level, your average guitar-strumming singer-songwriter with varying amounts of musical accompaniment for songs he sings with mush-mouthed intimacy. But Snider, now in his mid-40s and impressively prolific, is also an exceptional singer-songwriter, able to set up scenes with quick, precise details.

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Interviews
3:08 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Carl Zimmer, The Three Stooges

After they leave their orphanage for the first time, Curly (Will Sasso) bears a heavy burden — his fellow Stooges, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos, left) and Larry (Sean Hayes).
Peter Iovino Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Originally published on Sat April 21, 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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Music Interviews
3:37 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Levon Helm: The 2007 Fresh Air Interview

Levon Helm was the longtime drummer and occasional vocalist for The Band.
Rob Loud Getty Images

Levon Helm, the longtime drummer of The Band who backed Bob Dylan and sang with Van Morrison, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 71.

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Movie Interviews
12:11 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

The Stooges Are Back, And Nyukking Things Up Again

After they leave their orphanage for the first time, Curly (Will Sasso) bears a heavy burden — his fellow Stooges, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos, left) and Larry (Sean Hayes).
Peter Iovino Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Farrelly brothers have long been known for their gross-out humor and their shocking comedies. After writing and directing movies like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal -- where agreeable idiots get caught up in all sorts of trouble — Peter and Bobby Farrelly decided to tackle another set of goofy doofuses: The Three Stooges.

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Music Reviews
11:39 am
Thu April 19, 2012

From Dominican Roots, Bachata Is Here To Stay

Joan Soriano.
Alicia Santistevan

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