Fresh Air on AM 870 NewsTalk

Weekdays, Noon - 1pm

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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Author Interviews
3:28 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Embarrassing Stains? This Housekeeping Guide Gets That Life Is Messy

Jolie Kerr says when you have a fresh red wine stain, pouring table salt β€” no water β€” on it will suck it right up. "You can go pour some wine on your carpet tonight and try it out!" she says.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 4:48 pm

Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that if you have bloodstains on your clothes, you probably have bigger problems than your laundry. But Jolie Kerr is here to help with all the stains β€” her new book is titled My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag ... and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha.

Kerr is known for giving cleaning advice for unconventional and embarrassing housecleaning and laundry problems β€” without the judgment of the typical holier-than-thou housekeeping advice columnist.

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Music Reviews
2:54 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Jon Langford Sings Our Impulse To Destroy

Jon Langford with Skull Orchard.
Courtesy of the artist

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All Tech Considered
2:00 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

While Warning Of Chinese Cyberthreat, U.S. Launches Its Own Attack

Staff members study networking at the training room of the Huawei Technologies Co. headquarters in Shenzhen, China, in June 2011.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 2:54 pm

The U.S. government has long complained about Chinese hacking and cyberattacks, but new documents show that the National Security Agency managed to penetrate the networks of Huawei, a large Chinese telecommunications firm, gathering information about its operations and potentially using equipment it sells to other countries to monitor their computer and telephone networks as well.

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Author Interviews
2:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

On A 'Rigged' Wall Street, Milliseconds Make All The Difference

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 2:01 pm

"The stock market is rigged," Michael Lewis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's rigged for the benefit for really a handful of insiders. It's rigged to ... maximize the take of Wall Street, of banks, the exchanges and the high-frequency traders at the expense of ordinary investors."

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Book Reviews
2:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish'

iStockphoto

The title of Maggie Shipstead's second novel is: Astonish Me. She did just that --astonish me -- with her debut novel of 2012, called Seating Arrangements. After reading that novel, I likened the then 20-something-year-old Shipstead to "Edith Wharton with a millennial generation edge." The comparison remains sound.

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Author Interviews
3:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida β€” at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

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Music Reviews
3:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Fight Sound With Sound: Grateful Dead's Arena Combat

Dave's Picks Volume 9 features a 1974 Grateful Dead concert played in Montana.
Courtesy of the artist

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:27 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Bryan Cranston, 'Redeployment' And A New Yorker Cartoonist

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

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
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Television
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Good Wife' Delivers A Game-Changing Stunner

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Interviews
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

This interview originally aired on Jan. 7, 2013.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

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Performing Arts
1:34 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

From Walter White To LBJ, Bryan Cranston Is A Master Of Transformation

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:15 pm

In the 2008 pilot of AMC's Breaking Bad, high school teacher Walter White fails to interest his chemistry students in the study of change. But over the course of the series, Walt himself came to exemplify radical change, using his knowledge of chemistry to become a master meth cook, and transforming himself into a notorious outlaw who was willing to kill, when necessary, to keep his operation running.

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Author Interviews
2:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Sleep Donation': A Dark, Futuristic Lullaby For Insomniacs

efenzi iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 4:42 pm

Imagine an America that has been plagued for years by a mysterious epidemic of insomnia β€” an affliction so serious that many are dying from lack of sleep. That's the futuristic premise of Karen Russell's new novella, Sleep Donation.

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Book Reviews
2:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:13 pm

Here's an old joke you may have heard: "How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "You wouldn't know, you weren't there."

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Europe
2:05 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How Crimea's Annexation Plays To Russians' Soviet Nostalgia

An activist carries a Russian flag during a rally on Sunday in eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 9:13 pm

According to political scientist Kimberly Marten, Russia's decision to annex Crimea from Ukraine may have changed its relationship with the outside world for many years to come.

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Book Reviews
2:05 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

'Thief' Delivers An Unfiltered Depiction Of Life In Lagos

Derrick Ceyrac AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:07 pm

Let's get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole's Every Day Is For The Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that's all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you'll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor's visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria.

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Music Reviews
2:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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Author Interviews
2:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Explores What Makes Us Get It

Bob Mankoff/The New Yorker Collection/CondΓ© Nast

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:43 pm

Bob Mankoff has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker ever since 1977 and now, as cartoon editor, he evaluates more than 500 cartoons submitted to the magazine each week.

Mankoff is proud of the many cartoons that have been published under his aegis. "Sometimes I take my aegis out of my drawer just to admire it," he writes.

His most well-known cartoon shows an executive looking at his desk calendar, saying to someone on the phone: "No, Thursday's out. How about never β€” is never good for you?"

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:07 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Blood Will Out,' An Opera Powerhouse And A Reading

When hitting a high note, mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says, "You have to have support. You have to have resonance. People have to understand what you're saying."
David Sauer Courtesy of the artist

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
10:13 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Criminologist Believes Violent Behavior Is Biological

Adrian Raine has studied the brains of violent criminals, including that of serial killer Randy Kraft, aka the "Freeway Killer."
University of Southern California

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:09 pm

This interview originally aired on April 30, 2013.

Twenty years ago, when brain imaging made it possible for researchers to study the minds of violent criminals and compare them to the brain imaging of "normal" people, a whole new field of research β€” neurocriminology β€” opened up.

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Movie Reviews
10:13 am
Fri March 21, 2014

'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms

Felicity Gilbert, Shia LaBeouf and Stacy Martin in one of the episodic flashbacks that spin out the story of Nymphomaniac: Volume I.
Christian Geisnaes Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:09 pm

Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac, which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy!

Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially when there's sex in the equation. And it's funny, sometimes intentionally.

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Music Reviews
5:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Sara Evans: Country Power Ballads With A Punch

Sara Evans.
Robert Ascroft Courtesy of the artist

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Food
5:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

'Test Kitchen': Have Your (Gluten-Free) Cake, And Love Eating It Too

According to America's Test Kitchen, the best gluten-free flours to bake with contain four ingredients β€” brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch.
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:06 am

It took hundreds of batches of muffins, cakes and cookies before Jack Bishop and Julia Collin Davison β€” of the public TV series America's Test Kitchen β€” figured out the best ways to make delicious baked goods without gluten. They also conducted taste tests of packaged gluten-free breads and pasta.

Collin Davison tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the show's normal testing procedures "really worked to help us get at the heart of what makes gluten-free things taste just as good as traditional baked goods."

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Deceptive Cadence
3:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

For Opera Powerhouse Dolora Zajick, 'Singing Is Connected To The Body'

When hitting a high note, mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says, "You have to have support. You have to have resonance. People have to understand what you're saying."
David Sauer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:29 pm

Dolora Zajick discovered opera as a 22-year-old pre-med student. "That's when I discovered I had a voice," she tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross, "and I actually had a crack at a singing career. And I decided to take the chance."

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Television
2:48 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

When Your Best Friend Is A Star β€” And You're Her Minion

Dolly Wells (left) and Emily Mortimer have been real-life friends since childhood. Now they're co-starring in an inside-showbiz comedy airing on HBO.
HBO

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:29 pm

HBO has done very well in the past with comedy series that explore and expose the inner workings of show business, from Garry Shandling in The Larry Sanders Show to Ricky Gervais in Extras. Wednesday night, the network presents its newest entry in that self-obsessed Hollywood genre: Doll & Em, a British comedy series that's a vanity production in the most literal sense of the word.

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Music Interviews
1:45 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Jazz Composer Tries Something New With 'A Trumpet In The Morning'

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 11:46 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Marty Ehrlich is a jazz composer who plays clarinet and saxophones. But he doesn't play much on his latest album. He conducts his large ensemble performing his compositions. It's his first album devoted to his orchestral music.

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Author Interviews
1:45 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Cannibals And Colonialism: Solving The Mystery Of Michael Rockefeller

Michael Rockefeller, the youngest son of New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, was reported missing on Nov. 21, 1961
AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:14 pm

In 1961, the 23-year-old son of one of America's wealthiest families disappeared in a remote coastal area off the island of New Guinea in the South Pacific, a region inhabited by the Asmat, a tribe known to engage in headhunting and cannibalism.

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Book Reviews
1:45 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

What U.S. Learned From 'Heathen School' Wasn't Part Of The Lesson Plan

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:51 am

Picture this. You're a young girl, living in a remote town in Connecticut in 1825. You've taken refuge in a neighbor's house and, as night falls, you peek out a window to see your friends and family members assembling outdoors around two crude paintings: One is of a young white woman (you); the other painting is of a man, a Native American.

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Author Interviews
1:52 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Author Penelope Lively Shares 'The View From Old Age'

Penelope Lively's other books include A Stitch In Time, Astercote and The Road To Lichfield.
Robbin Matthew Photography Courtesy of Viking

Penelope Lively describes her latest book, Dancing Fish And Ammonites, as "not quite a memoir," but rather "the view from old age," a subject she says she can report on with some authority β€” Monday is the British writer's 81st birthday.

Lively was born in Egypt, where her father was working at the time. She and her mother fled the country during World War II. When she was 12, in 1945, Lively was sent to live with her grandmothers in England.

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Remembrances
1:52 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Comedian David Brenner

David Brenner performs at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1981.
Las Vegas News Bureau AP

Comedian David Brenner became a star in the 1970s, with the help of The Tonight Show. He made his first appearance with Johnny Carson in 1971 and returned to the show more than 150 times, often as the substitute host. He also had his own short-lived late night show in the mid '80s.

Brenner died Saturday at 78. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Fresh Air is produced, and spoke to Terry Gross in 1990.


Interview Highlights

On how he started doing observational comedy

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