Fresh Air

Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

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Author Interviews
5:02 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

The Long, Scary Journey From A 'Terrorist's Son' To A Peace Activist

In a March 2014 TED talk, Ebrahim credited The Daily Show's Jon Stewart with helping him realize that "a person's race, religion or sexual orientation had nothing to do with the quality of one's character."
Ryan Lash

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:39 pm

When Zak Ebrahim was 7 years old, his father, El Sayyid Nosair, assassinated Meir Kahane, the militant ultra-Orthodox, anti-Arab rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League. That was in 1990.

Then, from prison, Nosair helped plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — and was later convicted as one of the conspirators.

Ebrahim was shocked to learn what his father was capable of. So was Ebrahim's mother. Ebrahim writes his story in his new memoir, The Terrorist's Son.

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Television
4:55 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

'Madame Secretary' Pales In Comparison To 'The Good Wife'

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:39 pm

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Music
3:43 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Pere Ubu's 'Carnival Of Souls' Is A Dreamscape That's Never Dreamy

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:39 pm

Pere Ubu's new album, Carnival of Souls, is a reference to the 1962 cult horror film. But as Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker hears it, the band, led since the late '70s by co-founder David Thomas, has created something far more rich, experimental, and emotional than spooky, horror-movie music.

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Music Articles
2:01 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

As A Lyricist And Novelist, The Mountain Goats' Lead Man Writes About Pain

John Darnielle's first novel, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, was about a teenage boy in a psychiatric institution who is obsessed with heavy metal.
Lalitree Darnielle Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 3:35 pm

When The Mountain Goats' founder John Darnielle was a teenager, he went through a self-destructive phase.

"Your intelligence doesn't override your desire to destroy yourself," Darnielle tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I really, really did not want to be in my own skin. I really wanted to get high and stay high."

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Author Interviews
2:27 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

13 Days Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace

As President Jimmy Carter looks on, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left) shakes hands with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David on Sept. 6, 1978.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:13 pm

When President Jimmy Carter decided to bring Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David in 1978 to broker peace talks, his hope that the two men would like each other was "completely naïve and mistaken," says journalist Lawrence Wright.

The first couple of days turned into a screaming match.

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Remembrances
1:16 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Pulitzer-Prize Winning Editorial Cartoonist Tony Auth

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:19 pm

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Television
1:16 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Australian Comic Finds Humor In Humiliation For His Sitcom 'Please Like Me'

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:19 pm

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Music
1:16 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

For Duo Tennis, Pop Is A Natural Language

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:19 pm

Can you re-invent lively pop from the distant past? Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles says the songwriting team Tennis does just that with their new third album, Ritual in Repeat.

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Television
3:09 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

As 'Boardwalk Empire' Comes To A Close, Creator Reminisces About Its Start

On Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi's character, Nucky Thompson, is modeled after Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, the corrupt county treasurer of Atlantic City during the Prohibition years. The HBO show started its fifth and final season Sunday.
Macall B. Polay HBO

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 8:26 am

When HBO executives handed The Sopranos executive producer Terence Winter a copy of Boardwalk Empire by Nelson Johnson, he says they asked him if he could find a TV series in it. The book was about the history of corruption in Atlantic City through the 20th century.

"And [they] said ... 'Oh, by the way, Martin Scorsese is attached to this,' " Winter tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "So, without even reading the book, I said, 'Yes, there's a TV series in this, and I'm going to find it.' "

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Book Reviews
2:57 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Futuristic 'Bone Clocks' Encompasses A Strange, Rich World Of Soul-Stealers

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 2:56 pm

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Television
2:12 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

3 Roosevelts Come Alive In PBS Documentary, Ken Burns' Best Yet

In this undated photo, Theodore Roosevelt waves to a crowd.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his most resonant and famous line during his presidential inauguration speech of 1933: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It was resonant because he was being defiant, and optimistic, in the face of the Great Depression — and it was famous because it was broadcast live, to the entire nation, on the relatively new medium of radio.

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Iraq
1:38 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Islamic State Was Fueled By 'Epic American Failure In Iraq,' Reporter Says

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Music Interviews
3:58 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

How The Four Seasons Clashed, Dealt With The Mob And Made Lasting Hits

Along with the Broadway play, the new film Jersey Boys highlights Bob Gaudio's role in The Four Seasons: writing most of the group's hits. In the movie, John Lloyd Young stars as Frankie Valli (left), Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio (second from left), Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito (second from right), and Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi (right).
Keith Bernstein AP

Frankie Valli used to be the only name people recognized from The Four Seasons. But the Broadway musical and film Jersey Boys changed that: Now, more people know about Bob Gaudio.

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Author Interviews
2:07 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

How 'Gatsby' Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel

A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was displayed at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair in 2013. Book critic Maureen Corrigan — who calls the cover "striking" — says she likes to think that if it landed on her porch today among the more than 200 books she receives a week, she would read it.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 2:53 pm

When book critic Maureen Corrigan first read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in high school, she was unimpressed.

"Not a lot happens in Gatsby," Corrigan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's not a plot-driven novel and I also thought, 'Eh, it's another novel about rich people.' And I grew up in a blue-collar community."

She also couldn't relate, she says, because it doesn't feature any likeable female characters.

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Movie Reviews
1:47 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

In A Brilliantly Disorienting Film, A Teenager Is 'Starred Up' To An Adult Prison

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:09 pm
Sat September 6, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Neil Oxman, The New Pornographers, Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein has reported on education for several years, including in The Atlantic and The Daily Beast. Her new book is The Teacher Wars.
Michael Lionstar Courtesy of Doubleday

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
3:51 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

With Age, Joan Rivers Learned To Say Anything: 'It Has Freed Me Totally'

In 2009, Rivers presented "Comedy Roast with Joan Rivers" in Cannes, southeastern France.
Lionel Cironneau AP

Since the '60s, when Joan Rivers broke into the standup comedy scene aggressively and impressively, her act evolved into an intentionally brash showcase of "Can we talk?" confessionals. In her later years, she became much looser with her sharp tongue — sometimes even brutal and caustic.

Rivers died Thursday in New York. She was 81.

It was her age, she said, that opened her up to say whatever she wanted — without fear.

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Television
4:00 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

In 'The Chair,' Two Filmmakers Make Movies From The Same Script

One of the competitors on The Chair is Anna Martemucci, a graduate of New York University film school who has written and acted before, but never directed.
Helena Lukas Martemucci 2014 Chair One Productions

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 11:18 pm

Here's where I stand on so-called reality TV. All those shows that are built around people misbehaving to get attention and claw for fame — in other words, all those Real Housewives shows, and every Big Brother and any show like it — I have absolutely no use for.

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Music Reviews
3:53 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

In Tenor Saxophonist Mark Turner's New Album, The Music Unfolds Like A Narrative

Mark Turner.
Paolo Soriani ECM Records

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 7:38 pm

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National Security
3:53 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Reporter Reflects On Obama's Stalled Effort to Close Guantanamo

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Book Reviews
2:27 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

'10:04': A Strange, Spectacular Novel Connecting Several Plotlines

I admired Ben Lerner's last novel a lot; in fact, I ended my review of Leaving the Atocha Station by saying that "reading it was unlike any other novel-reading experience I've had for a long time." I could say the very same thing about Lerner's brilliant new novel, 10:04, which leads me to wonder: Just how many singular reading experiences can one novelist serve up? And if every one of Lerner's novels is singular, doesn't that make them, in a way, repetitive?

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Campaign Expert Neil Oxman Talks About How He Makes Political Ads

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Music Reviews
2:27 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

The New Pornographers Return With A 'Celebration Record' That's Fun To Figure Out

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Music Reviews
1:41 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

The Story Of Little Feat's Fame, Destruction And Revival

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Music Interviews
1:41 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Dom Flemons Holds On To Those Old-Time Roots

Prospect Hill is Flemons' first album since leaving the band Carolina Chocolate Drops. By coincidence, the multi-instrumentalist recorded the album the day Pete Seeger died.

Originally broadcast July 30.

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DOM FLEMONS: (Scat singing). Oh, yeah.

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Author Interviews
1:14 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Florida-Grown Fiction: Hiaasen Satirizes The Sunshine State

Novelist and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen writes with passion and purpose about the state he loves. His latest book, Bad Monkey, is an offbeat murder mystery set in Key West.

Originally broadcast June 13, 2013.

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Author Interviews
1:14 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

John Waters Hitchhikes Across America, And Lives To Write About It

The 68-year-old film director hitchhiked from Baltimore to San Francisco for his book Carsick. He says hitchhiking is "the worst beauty regimen ever" and admits he always kept his luggage with him.

Originally broadcast June 10.

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Television
1:57 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Louis C.K. Reflects On 'Louie,' Loss, Love And Life

C.K. won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series for an episode on his FX show Louie. In 2011, C.K. told Fresh Air about making his comedy special and his relationship with other comedians.

Originally broadcast Dec. 13, 2011.

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Television
1:57 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Aaron Paul On Playing A Meth Dealer On 'Breaking Bad'

Paul won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for playing student-turned-drug dealer Jesse Pinkman. In 2011, he said his character was supposed to die in the first season.

Originally broadcast Sept. 19, 2011.

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Interviews
1:57 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Sarah Silverman Discusses Her Movie 'Jesus Is Magic'

Silverman won the Emmy for best writing for a variety special for her HBO special We Are Miracles. In 2005, she spoke with Fresh Air about her movie based on her acts in New York and Los Angeles.

Originally broadcast Nov. 09, 2005.

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