Fresh Air

  • Hosted by Terry Gross

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

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Iranian-born photographer Abbas knew from a very early age that he would spend his life taking pictures. Growing up in Algeria during that country's war for independence more than a half-century ago, he remember being struck by the violent, life-altering events taking place around him.

"I could see history being made in front of my eyes," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "For a young boy witnessing these events, it's almost normal to become a journalist or be interested in the present."

For broadcast TV, this year's fall season has been decidedly, and disappointingly, below average, especially for drama series. But on streaming television, there's a new show — available on Amazon Prime Video in its first-season entirety on Friday — that's about to change all that.

The show is called The Man in the High Castle. It's based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, the same writer whose stories inspired the movies Blade Runner and Total Recall, and it's excellent.

Growing up in New York City, film director and animator Peter Sohn remembers visiting the American Museum of Natural History as a kid and being awed by the dinosaurs on display there.

"There was a barosaurus in the atrium," Sohn tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was kind of standing on two legs, and it blew me away, that thing. ... It ignites the imagination to think that something that large could've roamed around New York."

When it comes to writing, David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, likes a challenge. Maybe that's why, in 2014, he began sharing his newest novel in a series of tweets.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

On Friday, more than 120 people were killed in a series of six coordinated attacks in Paris. Elaine Sciolino, an American journalist who has lived in the city since 2002, says the attacks highlight growing tensions in France concerning immigration and assimilation.

"In France you have this idealistic notion of what it means to be French," Sciolino explains to Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's an idealization of the secular republican ideal that doesn't recognize difference."

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

I hate to make so much of Roger Angell's age, but he started it. Angell is 95, and he's written decades' worth of books and articles (many of them about baseball), humor pieces, profiles, and poems — some of which are gathered in this new collection called, This Old Man.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Shonda Rhimes has been making up stories for a very long time. She's the creator of ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, and the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder.

When Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost and Michael Che became co-anchors of the show's "Weekend Update" segment, they knew they had big shoes to fill.

" 'Update' is such an institution," Che tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. At first, "you really just try to do what's worked before, what you've seen working, what you've loved about it."

But the co-anchors say they realized the segment was stronger if they dialed up their banter and acted more like who they are off camera. "Episode by episode, we've been bringing that a lot more," Che says.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

In the new film Room, actress Brie Larson plays Ma, a woman who has created an elaborate fantasy world for her 5-year-old son, Jack. The fantasy covers a harsh reality: She and Jack are imprisoned in a small backyard shed by the man who abducted Ma as a teen and raped and impregnated her.

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:

Nowadays, the news is full of stories about sexual assaults on children by priests and other religious authority figures, as well as battles over compensation for victims. There were many such cases in the last half of the 20th century, but the idea that such revelations would someday be routine — and be centered all over the U.S., in Ireland, in South America — was unimaginable.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

In the new Netflix series Master of None, comic Aziz Ansari plays an Indian-American actor in New York who's having a hard time finding good roles. It's a story that Ansari and other actors are familiar with.

David Karpoff, who died Oct. 27, was very important in my life and in the life of Fresh Air. In fact, he created the show, and came up with the name, when he was the program director of WHYY, back in 1973.

Fresh Air was very different then. It was a free-form, interview and music show, broadcast only in the Philadelphia area, every weekday afternoon from 2 until 5. There was at least one other host before me, and David had sometimes hosted the show himself.

Growing up in Miami as the child of a Haitian father and a French mother, singer Cécile McLorin Salvant heard a wide range of music, including that of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan.

If you asked me the difference between modern American novels and modern French ones, I'd start by saying, the French ones are shorter.

Now, I realize this isn't universally true — Proust's In Search of Lost Time makes The Great Gatsby look as thin as a SIM card. But where our writers tend to fatten their books in hopes of the Great American Novel, France has a taste for elegant concision that runs from Gide through Camus to the 2014 Nobel Laureate, Patrick Modiano. French readers don't feel cheated if a book runs only 120 pages.

Mention Oscar Hijuelos and most people think The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. And why not? It's his gorgeous second novel, the one that won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1990. More novels followed, as well as a memoir, but much of that work carried trace elements of the exuberance and melancholy that made Mambo Kings so distinctive.

Hijuelos' sudden in death in 2013 was one of those literary deaths that genuinely seemed to sadden a lot of readers — his work was beloved for, among other things, its sweet, sad take on the allure of dreaming big in America.

The home that Tracey Stewart shares with her husband, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, is a crowded one. In addition to the couple and their two children, the Stewart household includes four dogs, four pigs, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, one parrot, one hamster and two fish (as well as three horses, though they live off-site).

"I'm crazy," Tracey Stewart, a former veterinary technician, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It means I have hoarding tendencies."

Pages