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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Movie Reviews
10:53 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Historical, Fictional Icons Take To The Big Screen

Daniel Craig stars as the quintessential MI6 agent, James Bond, in Skyfall. The Bond franchise is 50 years old this year.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:52 pm

Two icons, Abraham Lincoln and James Bond, make triumphant appearances this week in movies with more in common than you'd expect. True, Lincoln is a titan of history, liberator of slaves, and as such an adversary of Western colonialism, while 007 is an outlandish stereotype embodying white male Western authoritarian power. But the makers of these films do a sterling job of testing their respective subjects in front of our eyes — before pronouncing them fit to carry on in our collective imagination.

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Arts & Life
2:16 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

'Crushing Eastern Europe' Behind The 'Iron Curtain'

Courtesy of Doubleday

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 3:47 pm

If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.

"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."

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Arts & Life
11:34 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Samuel Yirga Ushers In A Golden Age Of Ethiopian Music

Samuel Yirga plays Ethiopian standards with a voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 11:09 am

Ethiopia enjoys a rich tradition of enticing music, filled with asymmetric rhythms set to a haunting, five-note scale and sly double-entendre lyrics in the Amharic language. It's a shame that, for Western listeners, a full, clear picture of Ethiopian music has been elusive.

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Author Interviews
2:04 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Ornstein: Could A Second Term Mean More Gridlock?

Basic Books

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 12:00 pm

President Obama has been re-elected. Democrats and Republicans have maintained their respective majorities in the Senate and in the House. So does this mean there will be more partisan gridlock?

Norm Ornstein, a writer for Roll Call and a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that it's a mixed message.

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Music News
1:38 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Always A Rose: Elliott Carter Remembered

Elliott Carter at Tanglewood in 2008 on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is sitting right behind Carter.
Michael J. Lutch

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:02 pm

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Oliver Sacks is a physician, author and professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. He also frequently contributes to The New Yorker.
Elena Seibert Knopf

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:58 am

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.

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Author Interviews
2:11 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

An 'Oddly Normal' Outcome For A Singular Child

Courtesy of Gotham

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:59 am

John Schwartz and Jeanne Mixon first suspected that their son, Joe, was gay when he was 3 years old — and they wanted to be as supportive and helpful as they could.

"As parents you love kids," Schwartz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "As parents, you want your kid to be happy."

Schwartz and Mixon drew on the experiences they had raising their other two children and by asking their gay friends about the best way to talk to Joe about his sexuality.

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Book Reviews
2:11 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

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Music Reviews
12:34 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Taylor Swift Leaps Into Pop With 'Red'

Taylor Swift's Red challenges her diehard fans while inviting naysayers to give her music another try.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:44 pm

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Katey Sagal, Sherry Turkle

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 10:44 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:

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons Of Anarchy': The actress plays Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series. She's best-known for playing the acerbic Peg Bundy on the long-running show Married With Children.

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Animals
11:50 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Animal Stage Trainer Makes Stars Out Of Pound Pups

Bill Berloni was responsible for making sure that chihuahua Bruiser could both bend and snap in the Broadway production of Legally Blonde.
Paul Kolnik

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 12:09 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Fresh Air on July 18, 2008.

A new revival of the hit musical Annie is now in previews on Broadway, scheduled to open Thursday. In the new production, the canine co-star Sandy is played by "Sunny," who has an understudy named "Casey." Bill Berloni trained them both — and, like the original Sandy in the original Broadway show, those dogs, too, were rescue dogs, found in animal shelters.

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Author Interviews
11:50 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Rin Tin Tin: A Silent Film Star On Four Legs

Susan Orlean is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has contributed articles to Vogue, Rolling Stone and Esquire. She is the author of several books, including The Orchid Thief.
Gasper Tringale

This interview originally aired on Fresh Air on Jan. 9, 2012. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend is now out in paperback.

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Arts & Life
1:26 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Ricks: Firing 'The Generals' To Fight Better Wars?

Penguin Group USA

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 4:17 pm

When Thomas Ricks first learned that Terry Allen, the successful general in charge of the 1st Infantry Division during World War II's Sicily campaign, had been fired, he says, his jaw dropped.

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Arts & Life
12:30 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Even Americans Find Some Britishisms 'Spot On'

Geoff Nunberg says that, like a lot of the Britishisms peppering American speech these days, "spot on" falls somewhere in the blurry region between affectation and flash.
Zdenek Ryzner iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:26 pm

Mitt Romney was on CNN not long ago defending the claims in his campaign ads — "We've been absolutely spot on," he said. Politics aside, the expression had me doing an audible roll of my eyes. I've always associated "spot on" with the type of Englishman who's played by Terry-Thomas or John Cleese, someone who pronounces "yes" and "ears" in the same way — "eeahzz." It shows up when people do send-ups of plummy British speech. "I say — spot on, old chap!"

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Environment
2:59 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Sandy Raises Questions About Climate And The Future

Taxis sit in a flooded lot in Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic Seaboard.
Michael Bocchieri Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 4:12 pm

If you ask climate scientist Radley Horton, it's difficult to say that Hurricane Sandy was directly caused by climate change, but he sees strong connections between the two. Horton is a research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He says that in New York City, the sea level has gone up about a foot over the past century and that researchers expect that rise to continue and even accelerate.

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