Fresh Air on The News And Ideas Network

Weekdays, 1pm - 2pm; Saturdays, 4pm - 5pm
Hosted By: Terry Gross

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. The show is well known for Terry's interesting and intimate conversations with a wide variety of guests.

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Commentary
11:47 am
Mon January 14, 2013

'The Whole Nine Yards' Of What?

There are those who say the phrase "the whole nine yards" comes from a joke about a prodigiously well-endowed Scotsman who gets his kilt caught in a door.
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:25 pm

Where does the phrase "the whole nine yards" come from? In 1982, William Safire called that "one of the great etymological mysteries of our time."

He thought the phrase originally referred to the capacity of a cement truck in cubic yards. But there are plenty of other theories.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Civil War, 'Downton' And 'Girls'

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:43 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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Music Reviews
1:19 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Grant Green: The 'Holy Barbarian' Of St. Louis Jazz

Grant Green.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 8:14 am

Grant Green, The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959 could be the name of a fine stage play, perhaps based on the actual circumstances of the recording. One musician on the way up, another past his moment in the limelight and one more who had his chance but never quite made it all convene on Christmas night, part of their week-long stand at the Holy Barbarian, a beatnik hangout replete with chess players and a local artist painting portraits.

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Television
11:40 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Lena Dunham Addresses Criticism Aimed At 'Girls'

Girls has been compared to Sex and the City. The characters, played by (from left) Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet, navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.
HBO

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:25 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on May 7, 2012.

Lena Dunham was just 23 years old when her second feature film, Tiny Furniture, won the best narrative feature prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The movie's success led to Dunham striking a deal with HBO for a comedy series about a group of 20-something girls navigating New York City.

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Television
8:33 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Season Two Brings Changes For 'Girls'

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:25 pm

Of all the cable comedies returning with new episodes Sunday, Girls is the most ambitious — as well as the most unpredictable, and occasionally unsettling.

When thirtysomething premiered on ABC more than 25 years ago — yes, it's been that long — that drama series was both embraced and attacked for focusing so intently on the problems of self-obsessed people in their 30s. What that drama did for that generation, Girls does for a new one — and for an even younger demographic, by presenting a quartet of young women in their mid-20s.

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Author Interviews
5:01 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

In 'Sliver Of Sky,' Barry Lopez Confronts Childhood Sexual Abuse

Barry Lopez
David Liittschwager Barry Lopez

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:03 pm

Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper's Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.

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Theater
12:18 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Bobby Cannavale, At Home On Broadway

Bobby Cannavale (right) stars in Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway. Cannavale has also starred in television shows such as HBO's Boardwalk Empire and in films such as The Station Agent.
Scott Landis JRA Broadway

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 12:25 pm

Bobby Cannavale may have acted in film and on television, but at heart, he's a theater guy. Always has been, always will be.

Last season he starred as Gyp Rosetti on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He's currently on Broadway opposite Al Pacino in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross -- but the stage has been his calling since he was a kid growing up in Union City, N.J.

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Music Reviews
10:54 am
Wed January 9, 2013

'Nashville' Soundtrack Stands On Its Own

Connie Britton (pictured) and Hayden Panetierre star as country singers of different generations on the ABC series Nashville.
Courtesy of ABC

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 2:08 pm

"Telescope," the fictional hit single by the fictional country star Juliette Barnes on Nashville, is sung by the actress who plays Juliette, Hayden Panetierre. If it didn't become a real-life hit when the song was released a few months ago to country radio stations, it wasn't for lack of catchiness, courtesy of producers T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller.

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Music Reviews
1:50 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

The Unsung Pioneer Of Louisiana Swamp-Pop

Joe Barry was a pioneer of "swamp-pop" in the early 1960s.
Johnny Vallis

Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

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Author Interviews
1:50 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the document was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army.

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Television
12:53 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 12:18 pm

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on July 16, 2012.

Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

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Author Interviews
12:18 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

R.A. Dickey On 'Winding Up' As A Knuckleballer

R.A. Dickey currently plays for the New York Mets. He was previously with the Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
courtesy of the author

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 10, 2012.

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

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Music Interviews
9:55 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Catherine Russell: The Fresh Air In-Studio Concert

Catherine Russell.
Stefan Falke

As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 21, 2012.

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Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:37 am

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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Music Interviews
2:05 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Most Meaningful Musical Moments

Stephen Colbert (right) performs with Ben Folds on the set of his TV show, The Colbert Report.
Kris Long

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:12 am

Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."

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The Impact of War
4:41 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Iraq Vet Seeks Atonement For Early War Tragedy

A scene from the early days of the fighting in Iraq in the spring of 2003. In one incident, three members of an Iraqi family were killed. A U.S. Marine involved in the shooting recently tracked down the family to ask for forgiveness.
Laurent Rebours AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 5:09 pm

On April 8, 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, the Kachadoorian family found themselves in the middle of a firefight at a major intersection in Baghdad.

They had approached the intersection in three cars and didn't respond to Marines' warnings to stop and turn around; so the Marines opened fire, killing three men and shooting a young woman in the shoulder, not realizing that the people in the car were civilians.

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Movie Interviews
3:15 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course

Ava DuVernay also directed the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop.
Liz O. Baylen Contour by Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:59 pm

In January, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win Sundance's best directing award for her second feature-length film, Middle of Nowhere. The film is about a young black woman named Ruby, who puts her life and dreams of going to medical school on hold while her husband is in prison.

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Music Reviews
12:35 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

The Big Man Behind 'Shake, Rattle And Roll'

No figure in the history of rock 'n' roll is more incongruous than Big Joe Turner.
Heinrich Klaffs Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:59 pm

Big Joe Turner's hardest-hitting singles have been collected on a new compilation, titled Big Joe Turner Rocks.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat October 20, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Feinstein, Roxy Music, Tyler Perry

Michael Feinstein (right) worked for six years as Ira Gershwin's cataloger and archivist.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 4:59 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:

Read more
Music Reviews
12:55 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Gary Clark Jr.: A Raucous Blues Shout

Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu is an eclectic romp through the blues.
Frank Maddocks

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:49 pm

On his major-label debut Blak and Blu, you can hear the roar in Gary Clark Jr.'s blues guitar, and in his vocal throughout "Bright Lights." It's one of the few straight-up blues songs on what is essentially an introduction to one of the most highly praised young blues guitarists in recent times. While Clark comes out of a blues tradition, he's also a twentysomething who's taken in all of contemporary music.

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