Fresh Air on IPR News and News/Studio One

Weekdays at 11 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

The Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. The one-hour program features Terry's in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

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Music Reviews
12:56 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

A Nostalgic — But Bumpy — Journey With The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys in 1964. Top row: Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson. Bottom row: Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 4:44 pm

All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.

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Book Reviews
12:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Frustrating Heroine Stars In Fresh, Feminist 'Nightingale'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:33 pm

There's an unforgettable moment in the diary of the great Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. He's on the beach and he spots a beetle that's been blown on its back by the wind and now lies there helplessly, legs wiggling, unable to right itself. Gombrowicz saves it by turning it over. He sees another upside-down beetle, and turns it over. Then, another. Looking along the sand, he realizes that there are so many beetles he can't possibly save them all. Eventually, he gives up trying.

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Music
12:38 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Review: Jonas Kaufmann Sings Wagner And Verdi

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:28 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation and one of the most versatile. Music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two of his recordings this year, dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Delia Ephron On The Closeness And Complexity Of Sisterhood

Delia Ephron is a novelist and playwright. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, O, Vogue and the Huffington Post. Her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, died in June 2012.
Elena Seibert Penguin Group

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:56 pm

In the opening chapter of her latest book, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, writer Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012. Delia and Nora were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Alexander Payne, Baby Photos And Ted Williams

Alexander Payne arrives at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 10:12 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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Television
1:35 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Delightful 'Six By Sondheim' Leaves You Wanting Six More

The life and work of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is examined in Six by Sondheim, a documentary from James Lapine, who also directed several of Sondheim's shows.
Jerry Jackson HBO

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:06 pm

On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that's part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It's all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you're new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you're already a fan, it should delight you.

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Theater
11:51 am
Fri December 6, 2013

'On Sondheim': The Musical-Theater Legend At 80

Sondheim, shown here in 1974, won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Sunday in the Park with George. He has also received eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy awards and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:05 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on April 21, 2010.

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Movie Reviews
11:50 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Great Soundtrack Aside, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Hits A Sour Note

In the Coen brothers' latest film, down and out Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is trying to make ends meet as a folk singer in New York in the early 1960s.
Alison Rosa Long Strange Trip/CBS Films

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:05 pm

The films of Joel and Ethan Coen pose a challenge: How do we reconcile their wildly disparate tones? Consider O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a burlesque of Homer's Odyssey centering on three stumblebums — but with a soundtrack assembled by T Bone Burnett of heartfelt historical gospel and country music. Ditto The Ladykillers: venal idiot characters, soaring African-American spirituals. The ridiculous and the sublime sit side by side, with no spillover.

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Fine Art
1:56 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

'Pearl Earring' Is The Crown Jewel Of The Frick's Dutch Exhibit

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of 15 17th century Dutch paintings on view at New York's Frick Collection through early 2014.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:48 pm

Some years ago, I wrote a poem called "Why I Love Vermeer," which ends "I've never lived in a city without a Vermeer." I could say that until 1990, when Vermeer's exquisite painting The Concert was one of the masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's still missing.

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Law
1:05 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Beyond Good Cop/Bad Cop: A Look At Real-Life Interrogations

A lot of what we think we know about interrogation tactics comes from television and movies. Above (from left), Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum and Robert Young appear in a scene from the 1947 film Crossfire.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:55 pm

We see a lot of police interrogation on TV, but how closely do those high-adrenaline scenes resemble the real thing? According to Douglas Starr, not much. In his new New Yorker article, "The Interview: Do Police Interrogation Techniques Produce False Confessions?", Starr examines the Reid technique, the style of interrogation most widely used by police forces in the U.S.

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Music Reviews
11:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set

William Parker.
Roberto Serra - Iguana Press Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:55 pm

Steve Lacy used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet William Parker founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes.

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Commentary
2:36 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

What To Expect When You're Expecting ... To Share Your Baby Photos

Where will you share your baby's adorable post-bath pics?
Chris Parypa iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:42 pm

This summer, I hit one of life's great milestones: I became a person who posts baby pictures on the Internet. A lot of them.

Our son was born in August, and I have already taken 15,000 pictures of him, hundreds that I want to share with our family and close friends, and a few dozen that I might want to show colleagues and acquaintances. But how?

In theory, we're in a golden age of photo sharing. There are literally dozens of ways to share photos with friends now. But with the new capabilities of the Internet come new and distinctly contemporary problems.

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The Fresh Air Interview
1:57 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Mark Mulcahy Is The 'Moving Forward Type'

Mark Mulcahy, the songwriter behind the much-beloved "Hey Sandy," returns after eight years and a tragic loss.
R. Murray Courtesy of the artist

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
12:14 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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Movie Interviews
1:18 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Director Alexander Payne On Mining Every Film For Comic Potential

Alexander Payne arrives at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.
Chris Pizzello AP

Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote the films Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. He's directed Jack Nicholson and George Clooney in starring roles and has won two Oscars for best adapted screenplay.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Anjelica Huston, 'Nebraska' And Turkey Tips

In a new memoir, Anjelica Huston recounts her childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London and her coming of age in New York.
Robert Fleischauer Courtesy of Scribner

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 11:44 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:

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Interviews
11:03 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Billy Crystal Finds Fun In Growing Old (But Still Can't Find His Keys)

Billy Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards more times than anyone except Bob Hope. "I love doing it because I love the danger of it," Crystal says. "You have to come through and think on your feet."
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 17, 2013.

Billy Crystal isn't happy about turning 65, but at least he's finding a way to laugh about it. His memoir — Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? — is on the best-seller list.

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Movie Reviews
6:03 am
Fri November 29, 2013

A Korean Cult Thriller Gets A Spike Lee Makeover

After 20 years in captivity, Joe (Josh Brolin) is released into the world with a hammer and an appetite for revenge in Oldboy, a Spike Lee remake of the 2003 South Korean film.
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle FilmDistrict

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 9:04 am

Spike Lee's movies typically carry the label "A Spike Lee Joint," but Oldboy doesn't. He calls it "a Spike Lee Film," which my guess is Lee's way of saying he's a gun for hire — and that after a line of box office failures and difficulty getting financing for personal projects, he can make a fast, violent action thriller.

And as it happens, he can — a more-than-decent one. But this is also the first time I've come out of a Spike Lee film, bad or good, and not known why it had to be made. It's brutal, effective and utterly without urgency.

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Interviews
11:03 am
Thu November 28, 2013

In Memoir, Linda Ronstadt Describes Her 'Simple Dreams'

Linda Ronstadt performs in 1970.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 2:42 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 17, 2013.

With a career that spans rock, pop, country and everything in between, Linda Ronstadt knows no genre, only what her voice can accomplish. Her most famous recordings include "Heart Like a Wheel," "Desperado," "Faithless Love," and many more. But Ronstadt recently revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:19 am
Wed November 27, 2013

At The BBC, The Beatles Shocked An Institution

The Beatles on the stairs of NEMS — North End Music Stores, Brian Epstein's Liverpool record shop — having just signed a management deal, in 1964.
Mark and Colleen Hayward Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 3:13 pm

England got a lot more of The Beatles than Americans did during the group's formative years. Between 1962 and 1965, The Beatles were featured on 53 BBC radio programs, including their own series, Pop Go the Beatles. They performed originals and covers and chatted with BBC hosts.

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Book Reviews
3:15 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Thanksgivukkah Stress Getting You Down? Here's A Literary Escape Plan

Iryna Denysova iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 6:13 pm

Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.

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Food
12:05 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Don't Stuff The Turkey And Other Tips From 'America's Test Kitchen'

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 4:24 pm

If there's one Thanksgiving mistake Jack Bishop sees more than any other, it's people rushing to carve their birds. Bishop is editorial director of the public TV series America's Test Kitchen. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Turkey needs to rest before you carve it ... and a lot fewer juices will end up on the carving board."

Bishop and Bridget Lancaster, also of America's Test Kitchen, share their tips for buying, seasoning and cooking a turkey, and describe some of their favorite side dishes.

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Music Reviews
10:16 am
Tue November 26, 2013

After Ailing, A Favorite Conductor Stages His Comeback

Conductor James Levine in rehearsal with Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
Cory Weaver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:15 pm

An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.

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Author Interviews
1:15 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Roosevelt's Polio Wasn't A Secret: He Used It To His 'Advantage'

Franklin D. Roosevelt smiled upon hearing that he was leading the 1928 contest for governor of New York, more than six years after he contracted polio.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 3:07 pm

Americans remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the president who led the country through the Great Depression and World War II. He bolstered the nation's spirits with his confidence, strength and optimism, despite being crippled by polio, a disability that's largely invisible in photographs and newsreels of his presidency.

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Music Reviews
12:04 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Will The Real Llewyn Davis Please Stand Up?

Dave Van Ronk at the 1968 Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Diana Davies Courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 1:15 pm

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Junkyard,' 'Great Beauty,' 'Narco Cultura,' Key And Peele

Keegan-Michael Key (left) and Jordan Peele both started their careers at Second City, Peele in Chicago and Key in Detroit.
Ian White Comedy Central

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:06 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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The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later
1:50 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

How Live TV Helped America Mourn The Loss Of JFK

During JFK's funeral, live TV coverage helped make John-John Kennedy's salute an indelible image of American history.
Keystone Getty Images

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History
10:47 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Shortened Term Limited JFK's Accomplishments, But Not His Contributions

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:36 pm

Fresh Air's Dave Davies discusses John F. Kennedy's abbreviated term in office with presidential historian Robert Dallek, who finds that while you can make an argument that Kennedy accomplished little, he represents something special in the American experience. Dallek's latest book is Camelot's Court: Inside The Kennedy White House.

Interviews
10:47 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Botched Investigation Fuels Kennedy Conspiracy Theories

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:36 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 28, 2013.

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