Fresh Air

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This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.
Updated: 26 min 50 sec ago

Not-So-Cheery Disposition: Emma Thompson On Poppins' Cranky Creator

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 11:00pm

When it came to turning her children's book into a movie, Thompson says, P.L. Travers was patronizing, demeaning, rude — and "reminded me of Margaret Thatcher." Thompson plays the acerbic author in Saving Mr. Banks.

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Empty Nester In 'The Woods': A Modern Dantean Journey

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 11:00pm

When writer Lynn Darling found herself at a turning point in her life, she sought solitude and enlightenment in the woods of Vermont. Her new memoir, Out Of The Woods, describes that midlife experience. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan calls it "a compelling story of internal exploration, as well as outward-bound adventure."

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On TV This Week: 'Babylon' Has Good Fun, 'Detective' Is The Real Deal

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 1:35pm

Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli says two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different. The Spoils Of Babylon is a miniseries soap-opera spoof on IFC; True Detective looks like the best HBO drama since The Wire.

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The 'Pussy Riot' Arrests, And The Crackdown That Followed

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 8:53am

According to Russian journalist Masha Gessen, the 2012 arrests were the start of a campaign by Vladimir Putin and his supporters against government critics. Gessen, who is also an LGBT rights advocate, recently moved to New York with her partner and their children in response to the anti-gay laws Russia passed in June.

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'You Can't Be This Furry' And Other Life Lessons From Gary Shteyngart

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 8:54am

In Little Failure, the novelist recounts his emigration from the USSR to the U.S. when he was 7. For the first few years, he says, he would sit alone in the school cafeteria, talking to himself in Russian "in this gigantic fur hat and fur coat." It wasn't long before a teacher advised, "Children won't play with you if you have that much fur on."

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'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 12:16pm

Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television. And when the whole of the TV universe is fragmenting, that isn't just impressive — it's almost impossible. Critic David Bianculli ponders the hit show's unlikely success.

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Fear Of Fainting, Flight And Cheese: One Man's 'Age Of Anxiety'

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 9:15am

Since about age 2, Atlantic editor Scott Stossel has been "a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears and neuroses." Today, his phobias include asthenophobia, a fear of fainting; aerophobia, a fear of flying; and turophobia, a fear of cheese. He wrote his latest book to help him understand and find relief from his anxious suffering.

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Fresh Air Weekend: Mark Mulcahy, Netflix And 'Getting On'

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 8:00am

The songwriter behind the much-beloved "Hey Sandy" returns after eight years with Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You; Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal reflects on the online streaming and DVD rental service's bizarrely personalized microgenres; and a new HBO comedy takes place in the geriatric extended-care wing of a California hospital.

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'Angry Days' Shows An America Torn Over Entering World War II

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 11:24am

World War II is often thought of as a good and just war — a war the U.S. had to fight. But it wasn't that simple. Public debate was heated between interventionism, which President Roosevelt supported, and isolationism, which aviator Charles Lindbergh became an unofficial spokesman for.

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A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 9:40am

A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."

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When Memphis Made A Move On Nashville's Country Monopoly

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 1:11pm

A new nine-hour box set, titled Sun Country Box: 1950-1959, collects Sun Records' country output.

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Visible And Invisible: 'Servants' Looks At Life Downstairs

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 12:14pm

Author Lucy Lethbridge explores the history of British servants through their diaries, letters and memoirs. She says, "What I found particularly fascinating was how ... butlers were so butler-y;" the old caricature of the clever manservant and the silly master is one "butlers have appeared to play to the hilt."

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Netflix Built Its Microgenres By Staring Into The American Soul

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 11:02am

Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal counted 76,897 microgenres on the online streaming and DVD rental service, many of which are bizarrely personalized (Violent Action Thrillers Starring Bruce Willis, Tearjerkers From The 1970s). He says the company "knows you."

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A More Reflective Leap On Elton John's 'Diving Board'

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 11:00am

The pop star has a flair for the extravagant, to say the least, but his album The Diving Board is stripped down. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the "Elton John excess," his fear of sex as a young man, and how Liberace's example encouraged John to make the piano a star instrument.

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Samberg, Taccone And Schaffer: Three's Not A Lonely Island

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:01am

As the brains behind the hip-hop parody group responsible for digital shorts like "D--- in a Box," Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer have produced some of the funniest Saturday Night Live material in recent memory. Here, they talk about comedy, Yo! MTV Raps and adolescence.

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For Key And Peele, Biracial Roots Bestow Special Comedic 'Power'

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:01am

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele each have a white mother and black father, and a lot of the jokes on their Comedy Central show are about race. Peele tells Fresh Air that their backgrounds allow them to do characters others would feel uncomfortable doing.

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Vince Giordano: The Fresh Air Interview

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:01am

Giordano has been obsessed with 1920s jazz since he first heard it on his grandparents' Victrola. His band the Nighthawks performs the music heard on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

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Sales Take Center Stage: To Boost Morale, Companies Burst Into Song

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:01am

Industrial musicals were like Broadway shows, only written and performed for corporate sales meetings or conventions. And as ridiculous as the songs were — "My bathroom, my bathroom is a private kind of place" — they were often delivered by very talented people.

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