Fresh Air

Weekdays at 7:00pm and Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00pm
Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

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Author Interviews
11:21 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'

Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter." href="/post/baratunde-thurston-explains-how-be-black" class="noexit lightbox">
Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 11:55 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 1, 2012. How to Be Black will be released in paperback on Oct. 30.

It's no coincidence that Baratunde Thurston's new memoir and satirical self-help book How to Be Black was slated for release on the first day of Black History Month.

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Movie Reviews
9:51 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'The Sessions': Sex, Comedy And Something More

Living most of his life in an iron lung forces Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) to see the world from a different point of view.
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 9:53 pm

In 1983, Berkeley poet and journalist Mark O'Brien wrote an article about sexual surrogates — women and men trained to help people with disabilities learn to use their bodies to give themselves and others erotic pleasure.

For O'Brien, the subject wasn't academic. After a bout of childhood polio, he had spent much of his life in an iron lung. He could talk, and tap out words on a typewriter holding a stick in his mouth. He could feel things below the neck. But he couldn't move his muscles.

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Author Interviews
1:56 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

In Constant Digital Contact, We Feel 'Alone Together'

Courtesy of Basic Books

As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.

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Book Reviews
1:51 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

'Master' Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 1:59 pm

His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," there's compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.

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Author Interviews
1:57 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

'Gershwins And Me' Tells The Stories Behind 12 Songs

Michael Feinstein (right) worked for six years as Ira Gershwin's cataloger and archivist.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 3:49 pm

Long before singer and pianist Michael Feinstein became famous in his own right, he had the privilege of working closely with legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin, as his archivist and cataloger. In his new book, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs, Feinstein writes firsthand about the musical world of the American composers and brothers, George and Ira Gershwin.

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Music Reviews
12:40 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Budapest Quartet Gets To The Heart Of Beethoven

The Budapest String Quartet in 1919.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am

The Budapest String Quartet has always been my standard-bearer for chamber music. I grew up listening to their recordings, and especially admired not only their gorgeous sound, but also the uncanny interaction among all four players, even when there were changes in personnel. They had a way of playing as if they were speaking to each other, expressing deep and sometimes complicated feelings.

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Books
12:03 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

'Test Kitchen' Chefs Talk The Science Of Savory

Jack Bishop is the editorial director at America's Test Kitchen, where every day a near army of professional chefs test, test, then retest recipes to arrive at the best possible result.
Larry Crowe AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:22 pm

You might think that Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop — two of the culinary talents behind the public television shows America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country — would have their cooking techniques pretty much figured out. Think again.

For the new Cook's illustrated book The Science of Good Cooking, Bishop and Lancaster tested principles they assumed were true — and as Bishop tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Things that we thought were actually accurate turned out to be, perhaps, more complex."

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Movie Interviews
1:40 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Tyler Perry Transforms: From Madea To Family Man

Tyler Perry is currently starring in the new action thriller Alex Cross, which opens in theaters on Friday.
Sidney Baldwin 2012 Summit Entertainment LLC

Whenever Tyler Perry is in front of the camera, he's usually behind it as well. A screenwriter, director, producer and star, Perry grew up poor in New Orleans, but he has become a movie phenomenon — he was described in the New Yorker as the most financially successful black man the American film industry has ever known.

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Music Reviews
12:11 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

More Than This: The 'Complete' Roxy Music

Roxy Music's eight studio albums are now collected in one box set, titled The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982.
Keystone Hulton Archive

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 1:40 pm

Roxy Music's eight studio albums have just been collected in one box set, titled The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Tig Notaro, Louis C.K., Nate Silver

Comedian Tig Notaro dealt with a cancer diagnosis the best way she knew how — with humor.
tignation.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 1:22 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
12:01 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

'Argo': Too Good To Be True, Because It Isn't

CIA agents Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) plan a risky mission to save six Americans trapped in Iran.
Claire Folger Warner Bros. Pictures

Ben Affleck's Argo is two-two-TWO movies in one, and while neither is especially original, by merging them Affleck pulls off a coup. First, he gives you espionage with the You Are There zing of a documentary. Then he serves up broad showbiz satire. For his final feat, he blends the two into a pulse-pounding nail-biter of a climax. And this all really happened. Most of it. Except for that climax.

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Author Interviews
9:45 am
Fri October 12, 2012

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

H1N1 virus virons appear in a tissue sample.

C. Goldsmith and D. Rollin CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:53 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 11, 2011. The Viral Storm will be published in paperback on Oct. 16.

The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics.

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Technology
1:16 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

In Digital War, Patents Are The Weapon Of Choice

iStockphoto.com

If you don't think of patents as a particularly exciting or interesting field, consider a point Charles Duhigg makes in his recent New York Times article, "The Patent, Used as a Sword": According to an analysis done at Stanford: "In the smartphone industry alone ... as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions."

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Book Reviews
12:50 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'May We Be Forgiven': A Story Of Second Chances

Viking Adult

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:58 pm

A.M. Homes is a writer I'll pretty much follow anywhere because she's indeed so smart, it's scary; yet she's not without heart. It's been a while since her last book, the 2007 memoir The Mistress's Daughter, which is certainly the sharpest and most emotionally complex account of growing up adopted that I've ever read.

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Music Reviews
11:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Ron Miles Finds Wide-Open Spaces On 'Quiver'

For Ron Miles, the better he knows how a tune works, the less he has to play to put it across.
John Spiral

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:19 pm

Teaching jazz history got trumpeter Ron Miles deep into the pleasures of early jazz, with its clarity of form and emphasis on melodic improvising that doesn't wander far from the tune.

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