Fresh Air

Monday-Thursday, 3 - 4 p.m.

Fresh AirΒ opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

You can learn more about Fresh Air on their website.

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Author Interviews
11:40 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Victor LaValle On Mental Illness, Monsters And Survival

Victor LaValle is also the author of Slapboxing with Jesus, The Ecstatic and Big Machine.
E. Robateu Random House

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 12:58 pm

In Victor LaValle's new novel, The Devil in Silver, a man is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital where a buffalo-headed monster stalks patients at night.

The plausibility of a monster roaming the hospital's halls made sense, says LaValle, who has a personal connection to the mentally ill.

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Author Interviews
1:34 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

'Real Romney' Authors Dissect His Latest Campaign

Michael Kranish (left) is the deputy chief of the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe. Scott Helman is a staff writer at The Globe. Both have covered politics, presidential campaigns and Congress.
courtesy of the authors

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 11:17 am

In The Real Romney, Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman examine Mitt Romney's political rise since 1994, when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. They explain how Romney shifted from supporting abortion rights to heavily courting social conservatives in the 2008 Republican primary.

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Book Reviews
11:30 am
Mon August 27, 2012

In 'The Brontes,' New Details Of Family's 'Strange World'

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 2:13 pm

In the new, updated edition of her landmark biography The Brontes, Juliet Barker tells a sad story about Branwell, the infamous brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

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Music Interviews
11:30 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Regina Spektor: On Growing Up A 'Soviet Kid'

"To me, the voice is an instrument, just like any other instrument," Regina Spektor says.
Shervin Lainez

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:05 pm

Regina Spektor plays the piano so loudly, she has to convince piano tuners to adjust the instrument to her liking.

"It gets so loud that the strings reverberate in a certain way," Spektor says. "And I always want them to work on the voicing and to soften the hammers, and they get kind of argumentative with me β€” they're like, 'You're not supposed to play this loud.'"

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Mike Birbiglia, Bill Hader

Scenes in the movie Sleepwalk With Me -- about Mike Birbiglia's sleep disorder β€” made him emotional while filming them.
Adam Beckman IFC Films

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 5:10 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
11:41 am
Fri August 24, 2012

How Brazil Lives Now, In 'Neighboring Sounds'

Joao (Gustavo Jahn) and Sofia (Irma Brown) are among the inhabitants of the Recife, Brazil, street where Neighboring Sounds takes place.
Victor Juca Cinema Guild

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 3:39 pm

Between mass tourism and the Internet, it's never been easier to learn about other cultures. Yet we often stay on the surface. Watching the Olympics opening ceremony a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much of what was presented as quintessential Britishness came from pop culture β€” James Bond and Mary Poppins and the chorus to "Hey Jude." Although Britain had a global empire not that long ago, the show's director, Danny Boyle, grasped that the world's image of his green and pleasant land now largely derives from movies and songs.

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Author Interviews
10:29 am
Fri August 24, 2012

'Incognito': What's Hiding In The Unconscious Mind

Dr. David Eagleman is a neuroscientist and writer. He directs the Laboratory of Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine.
Sharon Steinmann Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Texas, Houston Medical School

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 11:48 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 31, 2011. David Eagleman's Incognito is now out in paperback.

Your brain doesn't like to keep secrets. Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, have shown that writing down secrets in a journal or telling a doctor your secrets actually decreases the level of stress hormones in your body. Keeping a secret, meanwhile, does the opposite.

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Politics
1:07 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Jane Mayer: Obama In 'Impossible Bind' Over Donors

President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:12 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs β€” entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns β€” have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.

Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.

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Author Interviews
11:57 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Paul Auster Meditates On Life, Death And Near Misses

Paul Auster is the author of fiction including The New York Trilogy and In the Country of Last Things.
Lotte Hansen Picador

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:28 pm

Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.

Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality β€” including his mother's death.

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Interviews
12:00 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Bill Hader On Sketch Comedy, His Love Of Old Films

Bill Hader was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:12 pm

Comedian Bill Hader is adept onstage and doing live performances. But he's scared to death of standup.

He says he remembers watching Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special, Bring the Pain, and thinking, "I don't know how people do that."

"I need a character," Hader tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I need people out there with me."

So Hader has stuck with sketch comedy β€” where he has been wildly successful.

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Author Interviews
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Remembrances
1:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Comedian Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller plays peekaboo with the cameraman before the start of her television show Bonkers in 1979.
Central Press/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:35 pm

Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.

Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.

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Movie Interviews
12:32 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Mike Birbiglia, 'Sleepwalk'-ing On The Big Screen

Comedian Mike Birbiglia co-wrote the script for the new film about himself: Sleepwalk With Me.
Brian Friedman

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:58 pm

When comedian Mike Birbiglia opened his one-man show Sleepwalk With Me in 2008 at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York, he didn't anticipate that it would become material for a popular piece on This American Life and a New York Times best-seller. He especially didn't think it would turn into a feature film.

Birbigilia had never made a film before. And he was initially hesitant to make one about his dangerous sleepwalking condition, because he wanted to distance himself from the topic he had been immersed in for more than four years.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat August 18, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Susie Arioli, Frank Langella

Susie Arioli's new album, All the Way, was released in June.
Marianne Larochelle

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 4:09 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:

Jazz Vocalist Susie Arioli Goes 'All The Way': Listen to an in-studio concert and conversation with the Canadian singer and her longtime guitarist, Jordan Officer.

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Author Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Donald Ray Pollock On Finding Fiction Late In Life

This interview was originally broadcast on July 26, 2011. Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time is now out in paperback.

Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet in southern Ohio. In the 1950s, Knockemstiff had three stores, a bar and a population of about 450 people. Most of those people, says fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock, were "connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another."

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Movie Interviews
11:34 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen: The Fresh Air Interview

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:12 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 21, 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is now out on DVD.

Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters β€” Ali G., Borat, Bruno β€” into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.

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Movie Interviews
12:39 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Frank Langella Embodies Wicked In 'Robot & Frank'

In Robot & Frank, a robot cares for an aging ex-burglar who has dementia. Frank Langella, who plays the burglar, says his character "becomes fond of the robot only because it is a tool for his wicked, wicked ways."
Samuel Goldwyn Films and Stage 6 Films

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 9:07 am

Frank Langella's career has not been an upward trajectory of success β€” and he likes it that way. He's had memorable roles on stage and screen, and times when he couldn't find work, or even an agent.

Now at 74, Langella is as busy as ever, and, as he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, he's never been hungrier to act.

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Music Reviews
11:06 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Autosalvage: The Psychedelic Band That Vanished

Autosalvage, a New York quartet, made one album and then stopped playing.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:14 pm

A little over 10 years ago, a friend with a small record company in England called me and asked if I wanted to do liner notes for an album he was re-releasing. When he told me it was the Autosalvage album, I flipped. Of course I did!

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Music Reviews
2:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

How Jan Garbarek Came To Epitomize Nordic Jazz

A new box set of early albums captures Jan Garbarek's forming saxophone sound β€” austere and astringent.
Roberto Massoti ECM Records

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 2:22 pm

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a teenage protege of American composer George Russell in Norway in the 1960s and later played in Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. More recently, he has collaborated with the vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble, improvising as they sing medieval music.

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Politics
2:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Do Voter ID Laws Prevent Fraud, Or Dampen Turnout?

Pennsylvania voters show identification as they sign in to vote during the Republican primary in Philadelphia in April.
Jessica Kourkounis Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:36 pm

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, key states have adopted voter ID laws and other measures that could affect voter turnout. It's created a national controversy about who will be most affected.

According to the New York Times, 33 states now have laws requiring identification for voting, and five require specific kinds of photo IDs to vote.

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Author Interviews
12:03 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Climate 'Weirdness' Throws Ecosystems 'Out Of Kilter'

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the past year through June 2012 has been the hottest year in the continental U.S. since modern record-keeping started in 1895. Above, New Yorkers flocked to Coney Island to try to beat the heat in early August.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:47 pm

Science journalist Michael Lemonick doesn't want to be a doomsday prophet, but he does want to be realistic about the threat of climate change. "Since I started writing about climate change all the way back in 1987, we've known what the cause is, we've known what the likely outcome is, and we've had time to act β€” and essentially we haven't acted," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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Arts & Life
10:30 am
Tue August 14, 2012

With Ryan's Ascent, A Few Thoughts On 'Entitlement'

Rep. Paul Ryan has made changes to social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security β€” often called "entitlements" β€” a key part of his political agenda.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 2:27 pm

People are saying that Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate creates an opportunity to hold what Ryan likes to call an "adult conversation" about entitlement spending. In the present political climate, it would be heartening to have an adult conversation about anything. But bear in mind that "entitlement" doesn't put all its cards on the table. Like a lot of effective political language, it enables you to slip from one idea to another without ever letting on that you've changed the subject.

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Author Interviews
11:51 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Looking To The 'Stars' For A Reason To Live

iStockphoto.com

When Peter Heller sat down to work on his first novel, all he knew was that he wanted to have the experience of writing without knowing the ending. As an expedition kayaker, Heller was already the author of many works of travel and outdoor-adventure writing. With his debut novel, The Dog Stars, Heller returned to fiction β€” his first love. But as the novel took a post-apocalyptic turn, he found himself relying on his real-life scrapes and survival skills.

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Interviews
8:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Chris Rock, Dan Auerbach

Chris Rock stars as Julie Delpy's boyfriend in 2 Days in New York. Delpy directed the film, a follow-up to her 2007 romantic comedy 2 Days in Paris.
Walter Thomson Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 9:04 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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Remembrances
1:14 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

David Rakoff: 'There Is No Answer As To Why Me'

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 6:28 am

Writer and humorist David Rakoff, who died Thursday at the age of 47, wrote with a perfect balance of wit and gravity about the cancer that would ultimately take his life.

Rakoff developed a devoted following as a regular contributor to the public radio program This American Life. His books of essays include Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable. Rakoff's most recent book, Half Empty, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2011.

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Movie Interviews
1:32 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Chris Rock On The Funny Business Of Finding Success

"I don't believe I can offend you in a comedy club," Rock says. Star comedians use comedy clubs to try out new material. "I think that's the deal that's made when you see a famous guy in one of these clubs."
Michael Parmelee Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 2:01 pm

How much funny family dysfunction can you pack into two days? Plenty, if you're Mingus and Marion (Chris Rock and Julie Delpy) an interracial, multinational Manhattan couple β€” each with kids from previous relationships β€” hosting Marion's family visiting from France. The film, 2 Days in New York, is a sequel to Delpy's 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris.

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Movies
10:47 am
Thu August 9, 2012

60 Years Later, Still 'Singin' In The Rain'

Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain. In celebration of the 1952 musical's 60th birthday, a newly restored print was released in theaters for a one-night public screening, and a new edition has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Warner Home Video

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 1:37 pm

Hollywood is often at its best when it's making fun of itself, and few movies are funnier or more fun than Singin' in the Rain, the broadly satirical musical comedy about the transition from silent movies to sound.

Gene Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen, stars as the stuntman turned matinee idol who falls in love with adorable Debbie Reynolds. He even gets to parody his own swashbuckling in MGM's Technicolor Three Musketeers.

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Music Interviews
12:03 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Susie Arioli On Fresh Air

Susie Arioli's new album, All the Way, was released in June.
Marianne Larochelle

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 7:03 am

Fresh Air's Terry Gross has been listening to jazz singer Susie Arioli since she first heard Arioli's 2002 album Pennies From Heaven. Arioli is Canadian and has a big following there, but she's not well known in the U.S., and hasn't toured in many American cities. So when Arioli and her longtime guitarist and arranger, Jordan Officer, stopped in for an in-studio concert and conversation, Gross was thrilled.

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Movie Reviews
12:03 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Sixty And Sexless, But 'Hope Springs' Eternal

In Hope Springs, Kay (Meryl Streep) forces Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) into a week of couples therapy after she gets tired of β€” among other things β€” sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 1:58 pm

The last time my 14-year-old daughter saw me and my wife being affectionate, she said, "Ewwww, old people kissing." Now, I'm not so old β€” barely half a century. But let's be frank. My daughter's no different from many people whose objects of fantasy are young and freakishly fit. So even a mild, cutesy little comedy like Hope Springs about two sexagenarians trying to have sex can seem shocking, even transgressive.

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Book Reviews
1:06 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

'Dreamland': Open Your Eyes To The Science Of Sleep

iStockphoto.com

Step, if you will, into my bedroom at night. (Don't worry, this is a PG-rated invitation.) At first, all is tranquil: My husband and I, exhausted by our day's labors, slumber, comatose, in our double bed. But, somewhere around 2 a.m., things begin to go bump in the night. My husband's body starts twitching, like Frankenstein's monster receiving his first animating shocks of electricity. Thrashing about, he'll kick me and steal the covers. In his dreams, he's always fighting or being chased; one night he said he dreamt Dick Cheney was gaining on him.

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