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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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Movie Reviews
1:42 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

'Hugo:' A Dazzling 3-D Display Of Movie Magic

Orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield and his vivacious new friend Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) marvel at the magic of the motion picture in Hugo.
Jaap Buitendijk Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 12:53 pm

In Hugo, Martin Scorsese has hired himself a bunch of A-plus-list artists and techies, and together they've crafted a deluxe, gargantuan train-set of a movie in which the director and his 3-D camera can whisk and whizz and zig and zag and show off all his expensive toys — and wax lyrical on the magic of movies.

The source is Brian Selznick's illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which takes place in 1930 and centers on an orphaned 12-year-old, played in the film by Asa Butterfield, who lives in a flat in the bowels of the Paris station.

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Movie Interviews
12:27 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

The Muppet Fans Who Made 'The Muppets' Movie

Jason Segel (left) and Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) try to reunite the original Muppets in the new family comedy The Muppets.
Disney
  • 'Frank Oz on Fresh Air in 1988'

Nicholas Stoller made his directorial debut with 2008's raunchy comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which starred Jason Segel as a guy who had to reassess his life after his girlfriend of five years dumped him.

Segel famously dropped his towel in the opening scenes of the film, which led The New York Times to call him "a young actor with nothing to hide."

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Movie Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Francis Ford Coppola Reflects On His Film Career

Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Part II and Dracula. He also co-produced George Lucas' first film, THX 1138.
Kevork Djansezian AP

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 12:42 pm

Note: In September, Francis Ford Coppola spoke to Cameron Bailey, the director of the Toronto International Film Festival, in front of a sold-out audience at TIFF's Bell Lightbox multiplex. During the discussion, Coppola also took questions from audience members about working with A-list actors, his writing process, screenwriting and rumors about another Godfather movie. Fresh Air is broadcasting excerpts from that 85-minute discussion on today's program.

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Music Reviews
12:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

David Lynch Dreams Up 'Crazy Clown Time'

David Lynch.
Mark Berry

David Lynch commences Crazy Clown Time with "Pinky's Dream," featuring a vocal by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O and summoning up, as the song title suggests, a dreamy atmosphere. With Karen O's pretty voice and the galloping rock beat, it's as though Lynch is trying to ease us into his album, ushering us into a welcoming waiting room before the real operation, when the scalpel comes out.

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Food
9:13 am
Tue November 22, 2011

Delicious Turkey Tips From Food Scientists

Mmmm. Turkey
NPR

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 12:54 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

If you're roasting a turkey on Thanksgiving, we've got some advice that might be helpful or that might strike you as really weird. The weird comes a little later. We start with Shirley Corriher, a cookbook author who writes about the chemistry of cooking. Back in 1997, I asked her to explain some of the principles that would help us make a better turkey. It's still really good advice.

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Fresh Air Weekend
3:46 am
Sat November 19, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Regis Philbin, Alexander Payne

George Clooney in The Descendents
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Sat November 19, 2011 4:52 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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Movie Interviews
11:24 am
Fri November 18, 2011

In 'Beginners,' A Gay Man Comes Out Late In Life

Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer (left) and Ewan McGregor star as father and son in Mike Mills' Beginners.
Focus Features

This interview was originally broadcast on June 2, 2011. Beginners is now available on DVD.

Filmmaker Mike Mills' parents met in junior high school. For 45 years, they lived together, raising Mills and his older sisters, until Mills' mother died in 1999. Six months later, Mills' father — a 75-year-old retired museum director — announced that he's gay.

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Movie Reviews
7:58 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

'The Descendants': In Paradise, A Stranger To Himself

Island Son: George Clooney (left, with Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) navigates tricky territory as a Hawaii man whose wife is on life support.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Writer-director Alexander Payne is either the American cinema's most acerbic humanist or its most empathetic jerk. Whichever it is, the protagonists of the novels he adapts are outsiders who pay an emotional price for their sense of superiority.

Payne's The Descendants is his first film to be told from the perspective of a person of privilege, but real-estate lawyer Matt King (George Clooney) is the ultimate outsider: a stranger to his family and his lifelong home, Hawaii.

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Movie Interviews
12:08 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Troubled Tropical Paradise In Payne's 'Descendents'

George Clooney plays an indifferent husband and father to two daughters, including Shailene Woodley, in The Descendants.
Merie Wallace Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 8:04 pm

Though he's directed only five feature films, Alexander Payne has built a reputation as one of Hollywood's most respected filmmakers. His movies find comedy in the crises of his flawed protagonists — among them Matthew Broderick as a high school teacher in Election, Jack Nicholson as a widower in About Schmidt and Paul Giamatti as a struggling author and wine snob in Sideways, for which Payne shared an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Music Reviews
10:51 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Miles Davis' Great, Often Bizarre 1967 Quintet

Miles Davis performs at the 1967 Newport Jazz Festival.
New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

Most of the material from Live in Europe 1967 has surfaced before — the set is subtitled The Bootleg Series, Vol. 1 — but the Belgian concert that performance comes from makes its debut here. This Miles Davis quintet was consistently amazing, not least on its last big tour, when Davis' trumpet chops were in good shape.

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Book Reviews
12:49 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

A Quaint, Compelling 'Pilgrim' Tale In The New World

I'll admit, it's kind of hokey to be talking about a novel called The Pilgrim right before Thanksgiving. What's even more quaint is the fact that The Pilgrim is one of those straightforward works of historical fiction the likes of which we don't see so much anymore.

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Television
4:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Filmmaker Woody Allen Gets The 'Masters' Treatment

Woody Allen's career goes under the American Masters microscope on Sunday and Monday.
MGM/Brian Hamill PBS

Woody Allen: A Documentary is the result, though not the culmination, of three very long and distinguished careers.

First, there's Robert Weide, the writer-director whose examination of Allen's life and art follows similar — and similarly impressive — documentaries on the Marx Brothers, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce.

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Music Reviews
11:06 am
Tue November 15, 2011

The History Of Hillbilly Boogie's Earliest Days

Jimmy Bryant.
Sundazed

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 11:47 am

Boogie-woogie was a piano style that began sometime in the early 20th century — and, by the 1930s, became a huge pop-music fad. Here, rock historian Ed Ward explains how the genre re-emerged in country music after WWII, when it was an important precursor to rock 'n' roll. Most of the tracks in this piece are from Hillbilly Boogie (Proper UK) and Frettin' Fingers: The Lightning Guitar of Jimmy Bryant.

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Movie Reviews
10:55 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Astaire, Burns, Allen, In 'Distress' In London Town

Warner Archives

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 11:59 am

A Damsel in Distress was the third of only four films on which George Gershwin and his brother Ira collaborated. The star is Fred Astaire, but without Ginger Rogers. Their previous film together, Shall We Dance?, also with an unforgettable Gershwin score, hadn't lived up to studio expectations, and the now-famous stars were taking a break from each other.

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Television
2:12 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

Regis Philbin Explains How He 'Got This Way'

Regis Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera.
Yolanda Perez Photography LLC Harper

Regis Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for clocking more hours in front of a television camera than anyone else in the history of television. The game show and talk show host has been a TV presence for more than 50 years on shows like The Joey Bishop Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, America's Got Talent and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

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Music Reviews
10:02 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Two South-American Jazz Fusions (No, Not That Kind)

Sao Paulo Underground.
Paulo Borgia

Jazz has always drawn on the syncopated rhythms of Cuban music, and occasionally draws on other new world strains, like Brazilian bossa nova in the 1960s. But that interaction between North and South is ongoing.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:06 am
Sat November 12, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Kirsten Dunst, Darrell Hammond

Kirsten Dunst plays Justine, whose well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Sat November 12, 2011 12:22 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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Movie Reviews
12:10 pm
Fri November 11, 2011

As The World Ends, A Certain 'Melancholia' Sets In

Kirsten Dunst's well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Magnolia Pictures

Metaphors don't come balder than the one at the center of Lars von Trier's Melancholia. It's both the emotional state of the protagonist Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, and also the name of a small planet on what might be a collision course with Earth. Actually, it does strike Earth in a lyrical, eight-minute, slow-motion prelude, but there's no way to know if that's real or a dream. Of course, the whole film can be taken as a dream, a bad but gorgeous one scored to the same few bars of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:50 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Honoring Veterans With A Military Clarinet Quartet

The Bay State Winds feature, from left to right, TSgt. Christy Bailes, SSgt. Matthew Ayala, MSgt. Jennifer Dashnaw and MSgt. Kevin Connors
TSgt Weidemann US Air Force Bands of Liberty

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 12:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on September 9, 2011.

The Bay State Winds, the clarinet quartet of the Air Force Band of Liberty, plays music ranging from patriotic songs to Bach to Broadway. The three clarinetists and one bass clarinetist who make up the group routinely play for community members and troops both stateside and overseas.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:15 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Joe Henry: An Eclectic And Raucous 'Reverie'

Joe Henry's new album, Reverie, features all-acoustic performances from his basement.
Epitaph

Over the past two decades, Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry has worked with some of the biggest artists in rock, folk, jazz, soul and alt-country.

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Movie Interviews
10:57 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Dunst: Expressing Something Blue In Melancholia

Justine's well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Magnolia Pictures

Lars von Trier's Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst as a depressed woman on her wedding day, just before the end of the world. "Melancholia" refers not only to the mood of the film, but to the name of a planet that's now heading for a direct collision course with the planet Earth.

When it looks like Melancholia is going to destroy the planet, everyone around Dunst's character Justine panics. But Justine remains eerily calm, seeming almost revitalized by the knowledge that all life on Earth might end instantaneously.

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Country
11:19 am
Wed November 9, 2011

'Four The Record,' Lambert Comes To Terms With Herself

Miranda Lambert
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Four the Record is a transitional collection for Miranda Lambert. Her preceding three albums played up the idea of Miranda as a good ol' gal with an explosive emotional streak. You saw it in titles like "Kerosene," "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "Gunpowder and Lead." Four The Record is an album whose subtext is all about coming to terms with the expectations of her audience, and with her expectations for herself as a performer wanting to broaden her subject matter, to work in more varied styles.

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Book Reviews
3:52 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Life Without Plot In 'Leaving The Atocha Station'

Ben Lerner's debut novel, Leaving the Atocha Station is one of the most compelling books about nothing I've ever read.

Ordinarily, I'm not a fan of this kind of spinning-one's-wheels-in-the-sand fiction. Austen and Dickens and Hammett got to me early and spoiled me: I like plot. But Lerner's offbeat little novel manages to convey what everyday life feels like before we impose the structure of plot on our experience.

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Fine Art
10:59 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Degas' Nudes Depict The Awkwardness Of Real Life

Many of Degas' nudes have their backs turned to the viewer. Above, Degas' pastel work, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1886-95.
Photo Musee d'Orsay/rmn Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 2:32 pm

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris have two of the world's best collections of the work of the French postimpressionist Edgar Degas. The two museums have collaborated on an important show called Degas and the Nude, which includes pieces from major museums and private collections all over the world. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz, who lives in Boston, was moved by the show, which also triggered a sweet personal memory.

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Music Reviews
1:41 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Wilhelm Furtwaengler: A Complex German Conductor

German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwaengler.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 7:59 am

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.

Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was exonerated by a postwar tribunal.

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