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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History
11:57 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Civil War Historian Drew Gilpin Faust On PBS

Historian Drew Gilpin Faust speaks onstage at the American Experience Death and the Civil War panel in July.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:57 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 9, 2008. Gilpin is featured in PBS's American Experience called Death and the Civil War. It premiered Sept.

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Movie Reviews
10:41 am
Fri September 21, 2012

The Art Of Preserving A High School 'Wallflower'

Charlie (Logan Lerman), Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) navigate the joys and pains of high school in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
John Bramley Summit Entertainment

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 11:57 am

The hero of both the novel and the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a high school freshman loner named Charlie whose best friend committed suicide the previous spring. He's on psychiatric meds, lots of them, and still has blackouts and mysterious visions of a doting aunt who died when he was 7.

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Music Reviews
8:48 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Vince Guaraldi Didn't Just Play For 'Peanuts'

Vince Guaraldi had range, as well as an instrumental hit right when jazz was vanishing from AM radio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 11:57 am

There must have been times in 1963, when Vince Guaraldi was riding high on his surprise hit "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," when he thought, "This is what I'll be remembered for." Not that he minded. He said taking requests for the tune was like signing the back of a check. The song's got a great hook tied to a poppy, uplifting chord sequence.

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Author Interviews
1:30 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

A Close Look At Your Bills' 'Fine Print'

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 1:20 pm

Americans are paying high prices for poor quality Internet speeds — speeds that are now slower than in other countries, according to author David Cay Johnston. He says the U.S. ranks 29th in speed worldwide.

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Television
12:59 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Kelly Macdonald: A Strong Woman On The 'Boardwalk'

In Boardwalk Empire, Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) is married to corrupt political boss "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi.)
Macall B. Polay HBO

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:24 pm

When Kelly Macdonald landed her first acting gig in Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed 1996 film, Trainspotting, her lack of experience made it hard for her to relax on set.

"I don't think I spoke very much — I was very, very shy," Macdonald tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "I kind of hid in the toilets most of the time when we weren't required on set."

Before Trainspotting, Macdonald was working at a bar in Glasgow, Scotland. After two friends separately handed her fliers for the movie's open casting call, she decided to audition.

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Music Reviews
1:04 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Dwight Yoakam: Weary And Wary On '3 Pears'

Dwight Yoakam recently released his new record, titled 3 Pears.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:06 pm

Dwight Yoakam persists in mixing genres in a way that may leave him out of the country mainstream, but puts him in a good position to make a personal album with some of his best music.

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Author Interviews
1:04 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Debunking The 'Myth Of The Muslim Tide'

Philippe Huguen Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 5:36 am

The violent protests that erupted in North Africa and the Middle East over a video insulting the Prophet Muhammad were in part a reflection of conflicting values — Islamic strictures on images of the prophet versus the Western principle of respect for free speech.

But journalist Doug Saunders says that the video itself reflects a troubling current in Western political discourse — an irrational fear of Muslim communities in Europe and the United States.

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Book Reviews
12:35 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

'Life Of Objects' Tells A Cautionary WWII Fairy Tale

Knopf

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 10:25 am

Susanna Moore's latest novel, The Life of Objects, is a slim World War II saga that reads like a cautionary fairy tale: It's packed with descriptions of ornate furniture and paintings, lavish banquets, demons and diamonds. At the center of the story is a young girl bewitched by her own desire to live a larger life, a wish that's granted with grim exactitude.

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Middle East
2:01 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Journalist Examines Chaotic Fighting In Syria

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad is a correspondent for The Guardian reporting for PBS Frontline.
Martin Argles/The Guardian AP

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:23 pm

The battle in Syria is being fought by rebel fighters who lack many of the basics typically associated with warfare: helmets, a large supply of ammo, and military planning.

"I was with one fighter who had 11 bullets, and he was, like, roaming as a freelance fighter along the front line trying to pick up a fight somewhere," journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies.

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Music Reviews
12:00 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Brad Mehldau: (Unlikely) Songs By Other People

Brad Mehldau's latest covers project, Where Do You Start, came out Tuesday.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:23 pm

At this point, there's nothing special about jazz musicians playing post-Beatles pop: It's just the new normal. But one of the trendsetters on that score was pianist Brad Mehldau and his versions of Radiohead and Nick Drake tunes. Now, Mehldau's trio has a new covers album out.

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Books
1:08 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

How Obama, Roberts Interpret Laws In 'The Oath'

Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington.
Tim Sloan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 11:25 am

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama ran on the platform of "change we can believe in" — but he has a different approach to the Supreme Court's interpretation of constitutional law.

"Obama is a great believer in stability — in the absence of change — when it comes to the work of the Supreme Court," Jeffrey Toobin, author and senior legal analyst for CNN, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "He is the one trying to hold onto the older decisions, and [Chief Justice John] Roberts is the one who wants to move the court in a dramatically new direction."

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat September 15, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: W. Kamau Bell, Michael Lewis

W. Kamau Bell's new FX weekly series Totally Biased mixes standup, sketches and interviews.
Matthias Clamer

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 11:19 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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Movies
12:45 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

'Chico & Rita': An Animated Film With A Cuban Beat

Chico's story mimics the stories of many Cuban musicians who left Havana and arrived in New York City in the 1940s — a time when musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were starting to emerge.
Luna Films

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 11:24 am

This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2012. Fernando Trueba's Chico & Rita is now out on DVD.

The animated film Chico and Rita is set in 1940s Havana, at a time when Cuban musicians were starting to leave the country and join the jazz scene in New York. It was also a time when musical styles were fusing — and changing the Afro-Cuban jazz scene entirely.

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Interviews
12:19 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Going Under The 'Boardwalk' With Michael Shannon

Michael Shannon plays federal agent Nelson Van Alden on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. "I think inside of Van Alden is a child — that arrested child — that never really got to develop its own identity," he says.
Macall B. Polay HBO

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 24, 2011. The third season of Boardwalk Empire starts Sunday.

HBO's Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City in the 1920s, is about organized crime in the era of Prohibition. The show stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, an Atlantic City politician who sees the coming of Prohibition as an opportunity to make even more money from illegal activities and kickbacks.

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Movie Reviews
12:10 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

'The Master': Filling A Void By Finding A Family

Joaquin Phoenix stars as Navy veteran Freddie Quell in The Master.
Phil Bray The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 12:45 pm

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is both feverish and glacial. The vibe is chilly, but the central character is an unholy mess — and his rage saturates every frame. He's a World War II South Pacific vet named Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix to the hilt — the hilt above the hilt. We meet him at war's end on a tropical beach where he and other soldiers seek sexual relief atop the figure of a woman made out of sand.

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