Fresh Air on IPR News & Studio One

Weekdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Hosted by Terry Gross

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
9:48 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Festival Au Desert: Music Of Peace Not Silenced By War

Tartit performs at the Festival au Desert.
Chris Nolan Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 8:20 am

Long ago, one of my college history professors hammered home a durable truth: "If you love art," she said, "you should hate war." Because some art is always among war's victims.

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Books
3:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 11:40 am

Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."

"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Movie Interviews
1:12 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

From Boos To Bravos: A Recap Of Cannes

French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager named Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux).
Wild Bunch

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 3:30 pm

"It was the film of the festival," critic John Powers tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about Blue Is the Warmest Color, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. When Powers says "film of the festival" he means "it was the film that people loved the most, some hated the most, and everyone talked about the most."

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Author Interviews
2:18 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

Stephen King delves into the seedy underworld of carnies for his latest novel, Joyland.
Hard Case Crime

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 1:29 pm

For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.

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Movie Reviews
11:02 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Vampire Weekend Comes Of Age In 'The City'

Vampire Weekend (left to right: Chris Tomson, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij, Ezra Koenig) met while they were all students at Columbia University.
Alex John Beck XL Recordings

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:02 pm

The New York City band Vampire Weekend has carved out a sense of immaculate melancholy for our era as surely as Steely Dan once did for Upstate New York in the '70s. Characterized most immediately by the earnest, concise, sometimes surprisingly expansive vocals of Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend makes atmospheric music.

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Interviews
8:33 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Soldier-Poet Brian Turner, Framing War In Verse

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

After that interview, we set up an interview with poet Brian Turner, whose poems took Nagl back to his days fighting in Iraq - back to the ghosts he tried to put away. Turner was a team leader for the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. It was the first Stryker brigade to be sent into the combat zone in Iraq in 2003. Turner's book of poems about Iraq is called "Here, Bullet."

Let me ask you to read the title poem from your collection "Here, Bullet."

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Interviews
8:33 am
Tue May 28, 2013

In Iraq, Tactical Theory Put Into Practice

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 10:16 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

On this Memorial Day, we want to honor those who have died in war, and pay tribute to those who have risked their lives and are coping with the aftermath of war. In a couple of minutes, we're going to hear from Brian Turner, who fought in Iraq and wrote a book of poems about facing the constant possibility of death. The book's called "Here, Bullet."

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Music Interviews
11:03 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Quincy Jones: The Man Behind The Music

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:33 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 5, 2001.

Quincy Jones is one of those people to whom the word "legendary" is often attached. So it was no surprise when, on May 18, the 80-year-old Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Jones grew up poor on the south side of Chicago during the Depression, but moved to Seattle when he was 10. It was there, as a teenager, that Jones befriended and began collaborating with Ray Charles — a friendship that would remain strong until Charles' death in 2004.

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Commentary
10:18 am
Mon May 27, 2013

After WWII, A Letter Of Appreciation That Still Rings True

U.S. Navy sailors form a ceremonial guard at a wreath-laying ceremony to memorialize the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor and pay tribute to the veterans of World War II in front of the Lone Sailor statue at the Naval Memorial in Washington, D.C., in December 2003.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:43 am

In the fall of 1945, my father was honorably discharged from the Navy. He was one of the lucky ones. He'd served on a destroyer escort during the war, first in convoys dodging U-boats in the Atlantic and then in the Pacific where his ship, the USS Schmitt, shot down two kamikaze planes. My dad always kept a framed picture of the Schmitt above his dresser, but, like most men of his generation, he didn't talk a lot about his war years.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Soderbergh, Sarah Vaughan, Julianne Moore

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star as Liberace and his young lover, Scott Thorson, in Steven Soderbergh's new HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Claudette Barius HBO

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 10:08 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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Movie Reviews
11:31 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Two New Stories With A New-Wave Vibe

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine in Before Midnight, the latest in Richard Linklater's series about a couple's relationship over the years.
Despina Spyrou Sony Pictures Classics

Lately I've been re-watching vintage Truffaut movies, and I've been struck by the resurgent influence on American independent films of the French New Wave of the late '50s and '60s.

The Truffaut borrowings are fairly explicit in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, while Richard Linklater's Before Midnight takes its cues from Eric Rohmer's gentle but expansive talkfests. That's not a criticism: With mainstream movies seeming ever more machine-tooled nowadays, the impulse to reach back to an age of free-form filmmaking feels especially liberating.

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Interviews
10:11 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Remembering Ray Manzarek, Keyboardist For The Doors

The Doors at London Airport in 1968. Left to right: John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek. Manzarek died May 20 of bile-duct cancer.
Express Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:04 pm

This interview was originally broadcast in 1998.

The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music's tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors' distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."

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Interviews
9:55 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Marcus Samuelsson: On Becoming A Top Chef

James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson has been a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America and Chopped.
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 11:31 am

A longer version of this interview was originally broadcast on June 28, 2012.

Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.

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Movie Interviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Julianne Moore, Relishing Complicated Characters

Moore (photographed at New York Fashion Week in February 2013) has earned Oscar nominations for her roles in Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, Far From Heaven and The Hours.
Slaven Vlasic Getty Images

In the film What Maisie Knew, Julianne Moore plays a troubled rock star whose young daughter witnesses her parents' volatile behavior as they argue over custody during their rocky separation.

On the surface, Moore's character, Susanna, might seem to be an entirely terrible one — a self-involved person and inappropriate mother who's not paying attention to her child. But Moore makes her more complicated than that.

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Television
1:19 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Douglas, Damon Illuminate HBO's 'Candelabra'

Michael Douglas stars as the flamboyant pianist and entertainer Liberace in Steven Soderbergh's new HBO biopic, Behind the Candelabra.
Claudette Barius HBO

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 5:43 pm

Before you see any of Behind the Candelabra -- when you just consider the concept of the TV movie and its casting — this new HBO Films production raises all sorts of questions: How much will be based on verifiable fact, and how much will be fictionalized? On an anything-goes premium-cable network such as HBO, how graphic will the sex scenes be?

And the most important questions involve the drama's two leading men, playing an ultra-flamboyant piano player and the wide-eyed young man who becomes his behind-the-scenes companion for five years. Michael Douglas? Matt Damon?

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Author Interviews
12:08 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Fictional 'Mothers' Reveal Facts Of A Painful Adoption Process

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 3:38 pm

After years of trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to pursue a domestic open adoption. They were told they'd be matched within a year; it took four. And along the way they faced complicated decisions and heartbreak.

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Music Reviews
10:14 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Daft Punk: Accessing Electronic Music's Humanity

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are the two men behind Daft Punk.
David Black Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 12:08 pm

I freely admit that, until the new Random Access Memories, I wasn't much of a Daft Punk fan. I could appreciate the craft and imagination that went into creating the French duo's mixture of electronic genres — techno, house, disco — but the mechanical repetitions and heavily filtered vocals didn't turn me on in any other way.

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Movie Interviews
12:34 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Soderbergh's Liberace, 'Behind The Candelabra'

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star as Liberace and his young lover, Scott Thorson, in Steven Soderbergh's new HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Claudette Barius HBO

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 5:45 pm

Director Steven Soderbergh had been looking for a way to frame a film about the extravagant entertainer Liberace for years when a friend recommended the book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace.

The book — a memoir — is by Scott Thorson, who for five years was Liberace's lover, though that wasn't publicly disclosed at the time.

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Television
12:40 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brooks: "I'm An EGOT; I Don't Need Any More"

Once vehemently opposed to the idea of being the subject of a documentary, Brooks had a change of heart. The result is a new American Masters episode, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.
WNET/American Masters

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 10:54 am

Over the 60 years that Mel Brooks has been in the entertainment business, his name has become synonymous with comedy. He is the man who broke Broadway records for most Tony Award wins with The Producers (an adaptation of his own movie); who satirized Westerns and racism in Blazing Saddles; and who poked fun at monster movies with Young Frankenstein.

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NPR Story
12:17 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Sarah Vaughan: A New Box Set Revels In Glorious Imperfections

Sarah Vaughan performs during the International Jazz Festival of Nice in southeast France in July 1984.
Raph Gatti AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Singer Sarah Vaughan came up in the 1940s alongside bebop lions Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, starting out in Earl Hines' big band. Hines had hired her as his singer and deputy pianist, while Gillespie praised her fine ear for chords as she grasped the arcane refinements of bebop harmony.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:09 pm
Sat May 18, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Gerwig, Baumbach, Dawes And Polley

For her latest film, Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley turns her camera on her own family.
Roadside Attractions

Fresh Air Weekendhighlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interview with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Music Reviews
12:40 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Jerry Lee Lewis: Live, Singing As If Life Depended On It

Jerry Lee Lewis shot to fame in the 1950s with hits such as "A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:49 pm

It was April 4, 1964, and Jerry Lee Lewis had officially bottomed out. He hadn't charted a record in years, and now, on tour in England and Germany, he was getting paid so little that he couldn't afford to bring his own musicians. Instead, he was forced to use pickup bands in England, and then, when he arrived in Hamburg, a British band called the Nashville Teens was waiting for him. The venue was the Star Club, where The Beatles, who had just leaped into stardom in America, had played not long before.

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Television
11:39 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Bill Hader On Sketch Comedy, Classic Hollywood

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 Mon July 1, 2013 4:49 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 22, 2012.

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

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."

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Your Money
1:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Tricky Business Of Retirement: Hidden 401(K) Fees

iStockPhoto.com

A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

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Music Reviews
11:48 am
Thu May 16, 2013

100 Years Of Woody Herman: The Early Bloomer Who Kept Blooming

American jazz musician Woody Herman rehearses in London during a tour of England.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 1:04 pm

Woody Herman, who would have turned 100 on Thursday, bloomed early and late — and then later still. He turned pro by age 9, singing and dancing in movie theaters on summer vacation. He'd perform one song deemed too risqué for radio when he recorded it decades later: "My Gee Gee From the Fiji Isles."

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Movie Reviews
11:32 am
Thu May 16, 2013

'Into Darkness,' Boldly And With A Few Twists

Zoe Saldana is Uhura and Zachary Quinto is Spock in the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek: Into Darkness, the 12th installment in the franchise.
Zade Rosenthal Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 1:04 pm

Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original Star Trek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.

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Movie Interviews
1:00 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

A Polley Family Secret, Pieced Deftly Together

For her latest film, Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley turns her camera on her own family.
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:04 pm

Sarah Polley earned wide acclaim for directing the drama Away from Her, about a woman fading into the twilight of Alzheimer's, as well as for her acting performances in an array of films including The Sweet Hereafter and My Life Without Me. Her latest film, Stories We Tell, is a documentary, though — and a personal one at that.

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Book Reviews
12:08 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Coming To 'Americanah': Two Tales Of Immigrant Experience

JOZZ iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 1:34 pm

First things first: Can we talk about hair? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a big knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color; but, as Adichie has said in interviews, she also knows that black women's hair can speak volumes about racial politics.

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Movie Interviews
12:22 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Gerwig, Baumbach Poke At Post-College Pangs

Director Noah Baumbach has made a name for himself with films such as The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding.
Wilson Webb IFC Films

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:33 pm

In the film Frances Ha, Greta Gerwig stars as the title character, a 27-year-old living a good but not particularly successful post-college life in New York City.

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Music Reviews
11:07 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Dawes Knows Where It's Been And Where It's Headed

Noah Abrams Big Hassle

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 8:27 am

If you heard the Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface" and said, "Somebody's been listening to their old Jackson Browne albums," you're not exactly insulting Dawes. The band has actually backed Browne on tour — and Browne has sung backup on at least one of its songs — so you could say that Dawes comes by its riffs and phrasing honestly.

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