Fresh Air

News & Information: Mon-Fri β€’ 3pm-4pm | 6pm-7pm
Terry Gross

A weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues featuring in-depth yet intimate conversations with top news makers. Interviews are complemented with contributions from well-known critics and commentators.

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Book Reviews
12:04 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Set In Appalachia, This Rewarding Story Collection Is 'Rich And Strange'

Ron Rash is a poet, novelist and short-story writer whose 2009 novel Serena was a New York Times bestseller. Rash's signature subject is life in Appalachia, past and present.
Ulf Andersen Courtesy of Ecco

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:29 pm

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

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Movie Interviews
12:04 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

After Decades Acting, Josh Brolin Still Wonders If He's 'Good Enough'

In Inherent Vice, Joaquin Phoenix (left) plays a burned-out hippie private eye, while Josh Brolin is a Los Angeles Police Department detective --€” Lt. Detective "Bigfoot" Bjornsen --€” who is investigating a murder and kidnapping case.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 6:34 am

The new film Inherent Vice satirizes overcomplicated detective-story plots by having an especially overcomplicated plot of its own. It's a Paul Thomas Anderson adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel.

"It's so dense," co-star Josh Brolin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I mean, Pynchon will be following some linear structure, and then suddenly he'll take a big bong hit and go off on some tangent that still, you realize, eventually comes around and actually is connected in various ways."

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Music
10:21 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Three Books For The Jazz Lover On Your List

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:33 pm

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday seasonβ€”a singer's biography, a pianist's autobiography, and a fat coffee table book. Whitehead says they're all worth a look, though he has a couple of quibbles β€” and also a confession.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Politics
10:21 am
Wed December 3, 2014

President Obama And The Courts: A Shift In Balance

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:53 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Television
12:12 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Peter Pan's Magic Is In The Pixie Dust

In Peter Pan Live, Christopher Walken plays Captain Hook. David Bianculli says Walken has credibility that should draw people to the live telecast on Thursday.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 12:15 pm

NBC devotes all three hours of its prime-time lineup Thursday to a new production of the musical Peter Pan. It will be performed and broadcast live, nearly 60 years after the first live telecast.

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Shots - Health News
11:51 am
Tue December 2, 2014

How Girls Are Developing Earlier In An Age Of 'New Puberty'

Julianna Deardorff (left) is a clinical psychologist and is on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Louise Greenspan is a clinical pediatric endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente and is on the faculty at University of California, San Francisco.
Majed Abolfazli Courtesy of Rodale Books

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 5:32 am

Many girls are beginning puberty at an early age, developing breasts sooner than girls of previous generations. But the physical changes don't mean the modern girls' emotional and intellectual development is keeping pace.

Two doctors have written a book called The New Puberty that looks at the percentage of girls who are going through early puberty, the environmental, biological and socioeconomic factors that influence when puberty begins, and whether early puberty is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.

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Author Interviews
11:30 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Historian Illustrates Racial Intolerance In The Northeast In Post-War U.S.

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 11:00 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Remembrances
11:30 am
Mon December 1, 2014

P.D. James Believed Mysteries Were Made Of Clues, Not Coincidences

British mystery writer P.D. James wrote 18 novels, seven of which were adapted for the public television series Mystery. She died Thursday at the age of 94.
Henny Ray Abrams AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 10:32 am

British mystery author P.D. James wrote 18 crime novels β€” many with shocking, horrible endings. But, in a personal twist, James admitted to Fresh Air in 1987 that she has a deep fear of violence β€” and writing helped her exorcise it.

"I'm frightened of violence; I dislike violence," she told Terry Gross. "I do love good order, good social order, good psychological order. I don't like messy lives."

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:31 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: A Bob Hope Bio, Christmas Albums And An Accordionist

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 9:02 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:

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope: Hope was a comedy trailblazer, but in his twilight years he alienated younger audiences with his political views. "He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long," says Hope biographer Richard Zoglin.

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Music Interviews
10:17 am
Fri November 28, 2014

How The Four Seasons Clashed, Dealt With The Mob And Made Lasting Hits

Bob Gaudio wrote most of The Four Seasons' hits, some of which are compiled in a new anthology. He tells Fresh Air about the band's history, including why its songs had some "anger" in them.

Originally broadcast Sept. 9, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Music Interviews
4:01 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Marty Stuart: Keeper Of Country Music's Cowboy Couture

Out of love and necessity, Stuart has become a country-music historian. "People were throwing things away," he says. "I just took it as a family matter."

Originally broadcast Oct. 1, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Music Interviews
1:05 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Naive, Yet Revolutionary: Ray Davies On 50 Years Of The Kinks

The Kinks in 1970.
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 10:19 am

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Music
11:42 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Four Holiday Goodies, Including 'Christmas At Downton Abbey'

In the record industry, it's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them. He's narrowed down his list of goodies to these four: A Merry Friggin' Christmas soundtrack, Christmas at Downton Abby, Earth Wind and Fire's Holiday and the Living Sisters' Harmony is Real.

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Author Interviews
11:42 am
Tue November 25, 2014

In 'Redeployment,' Former Marine Explores The Challenges Of Coming Home

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Movie Reviews
11:42 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch Lifts Above Biopic Formula In 'Imitation Game'

Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Allen Leech in The Imitation Game.
Jack English The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 4:25 pm

Major studios once churned out scores of great-person biographical pictures. But now you rarely see them except during awards season. They're prime Oscar bait. The new Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory Of Everything, is a perfect specimen. It's a letdown, finally, but Eddie Redmayne is amazingly tough. He captures the fury inside Hawking's twisted frame.

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Books
11:52 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Decades Later, Laurie Colwin's Books 'Will Not Let You Down'

Colwin was known for making her own baby food for her daughter, Rosa, pictured here in 1985.
Courtesy of Open Road Media

Many years ago, Laurie Colwin began an essay she wrote about the magic of roast chicken like this: "There is nothing like roast chicken. It is helpful and agreeable, the perfect dish no matter what the circumstances. Elegant or homey, a dish for a dinner party or a family supper, it will not let you down." Substitute the phrase "Laurie Colwin's writing" for the words "roast chicken," take some poetic allowances with the word "dish," and you'll have an approximate description of Colwin's own elusive magic.

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Author Interviews
11:52 am
Mon November 24, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope

Bob Hope performs for servicemen at Munda Airstrip, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, in 1944.
U.S. Army AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 3:55 pm

For his first book, Comedy at the Edge, about standup comedy in the 1970s, Richard Zoglin interviewed comedians like Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld about who influenced their careers. He says he was surprised that none of them mentioned Bob Hope.

"It was very strange," Zoglin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It made me realize how off the radar he was."

The comedians instead mentioned people like Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny. Zoglin says he thought that it was "unjust" and that Hope wasn't getting the credit he deserved.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:07 am
Sat November 22, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Norman Lear, A Review Of Basement Tapes, Jon Stewart

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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Remembrances
10:23 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Film And Broadway Director Mike Nichols

Nichols directed such movies as The Graduate and Birdcage and Broadway musicals such as Spamalot. He won nine Tony Awards. Nichols died Wednesday at 83. He talked with Terry Gross in 2001.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Performing Arts
10:23 am
Fri November 21, 2014

For Alan Cumming, Life Is (Once Again) A Cabaret

This is the third time Cumming has starred in the musical. He talks about the new production β€” everything from his costume (which he calls a "Wonder Bra" for men) to the darker themes of the show.

Originally aired April 28, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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