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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
4:03 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Bishop Blair, Sister Farrell

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 12:43 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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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

'Fresh Air' Bids Farewell To Melody Kramer

Producer Melody Kramer, who developed a strong social-media presence for Fresh Air over the last several years, departs this week.
Sam Briger WHYY

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:47 pm

Today, reluctantly, we say goodbye to someone our listeners may have come to feel attached to, even though they've never heard her voice on our show.

Until about 3 years ago, we were so obsessed with getting Fresh Air on the air every day that we were virtually ignoring all the social media possibilities, and our website was pretty bare-boned. Then we hired Melody Kramer to be our associate producer for online media.

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Movie Reviews
12:06 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Two Films Shoot Past Realism To Weirder Territory

A Dallas hard-luck case (Emile Hirsch, left) hires a corrupt cop (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his estranged mother when he hears about her rich insurance policy. Needless to say, the plot of Killer Joe doesn't quite work out as planned.
Skip Bolen LD Entertainment

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 3:12 pm

Amid the slapstick comedies, sequels and superhero movies that have come to define summer moviegoing, two films opening today center on disturbed and disturbing romantic ties. Ruby Sparks and Killer Joe aren't fantasy or horror pictures, but they're within screaming distance — close enough to remind you how much deeper artists go when they barrel past realism into weirder areas of the psyche.

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Author Interviews
10:31 am
Fri July 27, 2012

In '1493,' Uncovering The World Columbus Discovered

Charles C. Mann is a journalist and contributing editor for Atlantic Monthly and Science.
J.D. Sloan

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:47 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on August 8, 2011. 1493 is now available in paperback.

"In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," goes the old elementary school rhyme.

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Music Reviews
4:00 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Ocean's 'Orange' Revolution

Frank Ocean performs onstage at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April.
Karl Walter Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 6:35 pm

Born in New Orleans and still in his mid-20s, Frank Ocean has already written songs for major pop stars. He sang on the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne, and he's been part of the tumultuous Los Angeles musical collective known as Odd Future. None of which quite prepares a listener for the beautifully moody music that dominates his new album, Channel Orange.

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The Fresh Air Interview
1:11 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Christopher Beha, On Faith And Its Discontents

Christopher Beha is an associate editor at Harper's magazine and the author of The Whole Five Feet.
Josephine Sittenfeld Tin House Books

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 4:15 pm

In the novel What Happened to Sophie Wilder, writer Charlie Blakeman runs into his former college love after 10 years and finds out that she has converted to Catholicism. Charlie can't make sense of her conversion, but as he finds out more about Sophie's past, he sees her life is more complicated than he previously thought. When Sophie once again disappears, Charlie sets out to discover what has happened to her.

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Movie Reviews
1:10 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

In China, A Persistent Thorn In The State's Side

Although Ai Weiwei's art is internationally recognized, much of his worldwide fame comes from his political activism in China. The latter is the focus of Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Ted Alcorn IFC Films

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 11:05 am

A couple of months ago, I visited Beijing, and like so many before me, I was stunned by how hypercapitalist Communist China has become — the hundreds of glossy highrises, the countless shops selling Prada and Apple, the traffic jams filled with brand new Audis. You felt you could be in L.A. or Tokyo — until you wanted some information. Then you discovered that Facebook was permanently blocked, certain words in Google searches always crashed your browser, and, as my wife joked, it was easier to buy a Rolls-Royce than a real newspaper. Here was a country at once booming — and repressive.

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Religion
1:10 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Bishop Explains Vatican's Criticism Of U.S. Nuns

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Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio is the bishop who assessed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. You can hear Blair discuss the nuns' organization here.
Courtesy Catholic Diocese of Toledo

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Four years ago, a Vatican group called "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" began an assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic nuns in the United States. The assessment was designed to take a careful look at whether the nuns were acting in accordance with the teachings of the church.

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Author Interviews
2:04 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

'The Twilight War' Between The U.S. And Iran

David Crist's father, George (left), discusses operations against Iranian attack boats with Navy Lt. Paul Hillenbrand. George Crist, a Marine Corps general, was commander of CENTCOM from 1985-1988.
Courtesy of David Crist

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 3:54 pm

In The Twilight War, government historian David Crist outlines the secret history of America's 30-year conflict with Iran. The book, based on interviews with hundreds of officials as well as classified military archives, details how the covert war has spanned five American presidential terms and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare.

Crist tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that there have been several incidents that have almost resulted in battle over the past 30 years.

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Commentary
2:04 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Swearing: A Long And #%@&$ History

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 4:29 pm

Sometimes it's small government you need to keep your eye on. Take Middleborough, Mass., whose town meeting recently imposed a $20 fine for swearing in public. According to the police chief, the ordinance was aimed at the crowds of unruly teenagers who gathered downtown at night yelling profanities at people, not just someone who slams a finger in a car door. But whatever the exact idea was, nobody thought it was a good one.

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Author Interviews
12:43 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Unraveling The Genetic Code That Makes Us Human

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:18 pm

There's enough DNA in the human body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back. But don't confuse DNA with your genes, says writer Sam Kean.

"They are sort of conflated in most people's minds today but they really are distinct things," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Genes are like the story and DNA is the language that the story is written in."

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Space
12:38 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Jill Tarter: A Scientist Searching For Alien Life

The Eskimo Nebula, as shown through the Hubble Telescope.
NASA/Flickr

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:18 pm

As a child, astronomer Jill Tarter would walk along the beaches of western Florida with her father and look up at the stars.

"I assumed, at that time, that along some beach on some planet, there would be a small creature walking with its dad and they would see our sun in their sky, and they might wonder whether anyone was there," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "But I never thought about it professionally until graduate school."

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Fresh Air Weekend
1:38 am
Sat July 21, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Weaver, Sorkin, 'Dark Knight'

Sigourney Weaver stars as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in the USA Network miniseries Political Animals.
Andrew Eccles USA Network

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 1:12 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:

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom': HBO's new behind-the-anchor-desk drama follows in the footsteps of Sorkin's hit series The West Wing. "I like writing about heroes that don't wear capes or disguises," he says.

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Music Reviews
11:55 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Jesse Davis: Live From New York's Other Basement Club

Saxophonist Jesse Davis performs at Smalls Jazz Club in New York.
Michelle Watt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 4:26 pm

Many jazz musicians, the kind who wear jackets and ties on stage, are often carelessly referred to as playing bebop. In reality most of them are post-boppers, who build on that dynamic style that burst forth after World War II, without bringing it back in pure form. It's the rare modernist who gets an authentic bebop sound on alto saxophone, who catches some of the raw explosiveness and rapid-fire grace of jazz god Charlie Parker. And then there's Jesse Davis.

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Music Interviews
11:55 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Eddie Palmieri: Now A True 'Jazz Master'

Eddie Palmieri
Raymond Roig AFP/Getty Images

Pianist Eddie Palmieri has been given many nicknames. He's been called The Latin Monk because of his Thelonious Monk-inspired dissonances. He's been called The Piano Breaker Man, because he hits the keys so hard. He's even been called the 'madman of Latin music.' He's taken many of the innovations of modern jazz pianists and brought them into his Latin bands. But he's never stopped playing good dance music.

In 1994, Palmieri's lobbying culminated in the announcement of a new Grammy Award category for Afro-Caribbean Jazz.

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Author Interviews
10:28 am
Fri July 20, 2012

When Zombies Attack Lower Manhattan

Colson Whitehead is a 2002 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. His writing has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, and The New York Times.

Erin Patrice O'Brien Doubleday

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:55 am

A zombie plague has wiped out 95 percent of America. Camps of survivors band together in pockets across the country, waiting for small squadrons of human "sweepers" to inch their way across major cities, destroying the remaining zombie-like creatures hiding out in office buildings and shopping malls.

But now the human sweepers have to tackle their biggest challenge yet: clearing the undead from Lower Manhattan.

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Remembrances
12:34 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Actress Celeste Holm

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 1:44 pm

Celeste Holm, the actress of stage and screen, passed away of a heart attack on July 15. She was 95 years old.

Made famous on Broadway for her role as Ado Annie in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Holm earned more fans for her performances in All About Eve (1950), The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956).

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:21 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Sigourney Weaver's Stately Role In 'Political Animals'

Sigourney Weaver stars as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in the USA Network miniseries Political Animals.
Andrew Eccles USA Network

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 5:56 pm

In the new USA Network miniseries Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays smart, tough Secretary of State Elaine Barrish. It's a role many critics have likened to current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Weaver says the show's creators were thinking beyond Clinton when they devised the role.

"We've had three remarkable women who've been our secretaries of state in our last three administrations, but somehow we're not willing as a country to elect a woman president," she says. "And I think this show partially investigates what that's about."

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Book Reviews
10:40 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Little Advice On 'How To Be A Woman'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:03 pm

Funny feminists should never die; there are too few of them who've gained any cultural prominence in the first place. That's why Nora Ephron's death earlier this summer flattened me, even though I hadn't read her in a while and had mixed feelings about the whole "I Feel Bad About My Neck," self-flagellation routine. Still, she made me laugh at the same time she often made me think: I wanted her playing on Team Feminist forever.

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Movie Reviews
5:55 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

As Class Warfare Brews, A 'Dark Knight Rises'

The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after The Dark Knight, with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living a reclusive life at his mansion alongside Alfred (Michael Caine). The movie is the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
Ron Phillips Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 11:54 am

The canvas is epic, the themes are profound, the execution is ... clunky. Welcome to Christopher Nolan's third and allegedly final Batman picture, The Dark Knight Rises — that so-called rising taking hours, by the way. No Batman film ever had less Batman.

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Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt
12:33 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

A Reporter Looks At Where Egypt May Be Headed

Demonstrators chant slogans supporting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during a rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:03 pm

Reporter David Kirkpatrick covered Washington's political scene for many years for The New York Times. But early last year, he decided that he was ready for a change of scenery. Kirkpatrick volunteered to move to Egypt to become the Times' Cairo bureau chief — and boy, was his timing good.

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Music Reviews
12:49 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Ravi Coltrane: A Noble Sound, Witness To Its Heritage

Ravi Coltrane's new album is called Spirit Fiction.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:54 am

The jazz musician Ravi Coltrane, 47, didn't make his burden any lighter by choosing to play tenor and soprano saxophones — the same instruments his father, John Coltrane, indelibly stamped with his influence.

Ravi knew early he needed his own voice. On tenor, he has his own ways of bending and inflecting a note, applying flexible vibrato. Even when his noble sound bears witness to his heritage, Ravi Coltrane can draw on his father's language and make it his own.

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Religion
11:54 am
Tue July 17, 2012

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:18 pm

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

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Television
11:09 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

"It suits my style," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I like writing about heroes [who] don't wear capes or disguises. You feel like, 'Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can't that be the real world?' "

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:43 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Iraq, Guthrie, 'Margaret'

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 12:26 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:


Read more
Music Reviews
12:56 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Tanglewood Celebrates 75th With Free Web Stream

The scene at Tanglewood.
courtesy of Tanglewood

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 10:53 am

On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.

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Television
11:19 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Aaron Paul: Playing A Meth Dealer On 'Breaking Bad'

Aaron Paul plays a meth-making drug dealer on the AMC drama Breaking Bad. He also played a recurring character on the HBO series Big Love.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:56 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011. Breaking Bad begins its fifth season on Sunday, July 15th at 10 PM EST.

Vince Gilligan's AMC drama Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who turns to dealing drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. White's partner-in-crime throughout the series is his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by actor Aaron Paul.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

'Margaret': The Tortured Journey Of A Girl, On Screen

Sarah Steele, Anna Paquin and Matthew Broderick in Margaret. The DVD release of Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed second film includes the theatrical version and an extended 186-minute cut.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:56 pm

"A fiasco with a great first half" is what I called Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret when it was dumped in one New York theater last fall, five years after it was shot, amid a legal battle between Lonergan and a producer.

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Music Interviews
12:03 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Fresh Air Celebrates Woody Guthrie At 100

Woody Guthrie
Smithsonian Folkways

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:52 pm

Lots of people know Woody Guthrie's classic 1940 ballad "This Land Is Your Land," but the story behind the tune may not be as familiar.

Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this week, wrote "This Land" as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," a song he felt was overly patriotic and not directed at ordinary Americans like himself.

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Television
10:03 am
Thu July 12, 2012

The 'Political Animals' Running Washington, D.C.

In Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, the current secretary of state and a former first lady.
USA Networks

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 3:36 pm

If you only knew about America from watching TV, the last few months might lead you to think that women here wield enormous political power. First you had Game Change, the story of Sarah Palin's attempt to become vice president. Then you had Veep, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character has accomplished just that. Now comes Political Animals, a new USA network series about a strong female secretary of state who I suspect even a Martian would realize is based on Hillary Clinton.

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