Fresh Air

Weekdays 3-4 p.m., rebroadcast 9-10 p.m.
Terry Gross

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

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Music Reviews
4:12 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Before He Joined Congress, A South African Janitor's Disco Past

Penny Penny.
Courtesy of the artist

The appearance of Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu in the American market is welcome not only in itself, but also as a sign of a larger trend. Five or six years ago, it was clear the music business was going into long-term sales decline, and I was certain that a prime victim of that would be African pop. The established imports of the '80s and '90s would be available as MP3 downloads, but surely new discoveries and reissues would slow to a trickle, if not cease altogether. I'm grateful that that has simply not happened.

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All Tech Considered
1:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Author: When It Comes To High-Speed Internet, U.S. 'Falling Way Behind'

Susan Crawford says that in cities like Seoul and Stockholm, high-speed, high-capacity networks are taken for granted. "It really is astonishing what's going on in America," she says. "We're falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 11:41 am

For an increasing number of Americans, access to high-speed Internet has become an essential part of our lives. We do work, email friends, find restaurants, watch videos and movies, and check the weather. And the Internet is increasingly used for important services, like video medical consults and online education, and is relied upon by businesses for critical operations.

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Arts & Life
12:47 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Tim Gunn: On And Off The Runway, 'Life Is A Big Collaboration'

"The term 'vegan leather' makes me think that you peeled a carrot and took the skin and made a jacket out of it," says Tim Gunn, pictured above at the Under the Gunn finale fashion show.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 4:19 pm

"Make it work," fashion guru Tim Gunn tells young designers on Project Runway. But life hasn't always "worked" for Gunn. "I can't even recite the number of schools I went to as a kid because I was constantly running away from them," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's so ironic that I would become a career educator because I hated school so profoundly. It wasn't the learning experience that I hated. I hated the social aspects."

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Book Reviews
12:31 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Triumph Of The Bookworms: Two Novels To Cure Your Winter Blues

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 4:19 pm

In the opening paragraph of Moby-Dick, Ishmael tells us he takes to sea whenever he feels the onset of "a damp, drizzly November in [his] soul." I know how he feels. Whenever the frigid funk of February settles in, I, too, yearn to get out of town. This year I have, thanks to two exquisite vehicles of escape fiction. Both Rachel Pastan's Alena and Katherine Pancol's The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles are smart entertainments perfect for curling up with on a winter's night.

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Television
11:48 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Borgen' Is Denmark's 'West Wing' (But Even Better)

Borgen's heroine is Birgitte Nyborg, superbly played by Sidse Babett Knudsen. Pilou Asbaek plays Don Draper-ish spin doctor Kasper Juul.
MHz Networks

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:10 am

The Danish television series Borgen about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister was a hit in its home country and in the U.K. It won numerous international prizes, and a cult following in the U.S. after its sporadic TV broadcasts — Stephen King named it his favorite piece of pop culture of 2012. The third and final season has just been released on DVD by MHz Networks, which also brought out seasons one and two.

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Author Interviews
11:48 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Are We Having Fun Yet? New Book Explores The Paradox Of Parenting

The title of Jennifer Senior's book — All Joy and No Fun — contrasts the strains of day-to-day parenting with the transcendent experience of having a child.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 3:09 pm

When you're a parent — even when you're a miserably sleep-deprived parent — sometimes magical things happen in the dead of night. Jennifer Senior's son was 1 month old when, during a late-night feeding, he looked directly at her and cooed. "It was this recognition, like 'Oh, you're my mom,' " she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'd like to think that when I'm dying I'll remember that. ... Even in my depressive, sleep-deprived, hysterical, Looney Tunes state, I remember thinking that was just the bomb — that was magic."

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Remembrances
12:57 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman On Acting: An 'Exhausting' And 'Satisfying' Art

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday. He was 46.
Evan Agostini Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:21 pm

It's easy to lose yourself in Philip Seymour Hoffman masterful portrayals, but those performances were anything but effortless.

"Like any job," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2008, it could be exhausting. In our day to day lives, "we're not too introspective," he said. "We don't walk around our lives just constantly trying to delve into the understanding of ourselves unless you're in therapy or something. But that's what actors do, you know? We really explore ourselves and other people."

Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

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Interviews
1:53 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Ann Patchett, Ray Didinger And A Country Dilemma

Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. Her other books include Truth & Beauty, The Magician's Assistant and Run.
Heidi Ross Courtesy of Harper

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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Interviews
3:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Pioneer Billie Jean King Moved The Baseline For Women's Tennis

Billie Jean King, seen here in 1977, learned to play tennis on the public courts near her Long Beach, Calif., home.
Kathy Willens AP/Press Association Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 12, 2013.

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Music Reviews
11:56 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads

Jane Ira Bloom.
Johnny Moreno Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 3:08 pm

When soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom plays Kurt Weill's "My Ship" on her new album Sixteen Sunsets, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano.

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Book Reviews
10:13 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Midwestern Memoir Tracks 'Flyover Lives' Of Author's Forebears

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 3:08 pm

The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she's so smart. Her first best quality — and one that's far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she's writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers' minds.

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Sports
12:53 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Sports Writer Ray Didinger On The Myth Of The 'Dumb' Football Player

A.J. Rich iStockphoto

On Sunday, the Super Bowl will draw a TV audience of more than 100 million people, spawn countless watching parties and generate a week's worth of chatter about the half-time show and the best commercials. But at the heart of it is a game — one that Ray Didinger has been covering for decades for a variety of media organizations, including NFL Films.

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Sports
12:53 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Ron 'Jaws' Jaworski On What It's Like To Play The Super Bowl

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. To find out what it feels like to play pro football and to play in the Super Bowl, we reached out to former quarterback Ron Jaworski who is now a football analyst for ESPN. Jaworski spent spent 16 years in the NFL, most of them with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he took to the Super Bowl 15 in 1981. Jaws, as he was often known, had a great passing year then but a rough time in the big game.

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Around the Nation
12:36 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

How Industrial Chemical Regulation Failed West Virginia

Jonathan Steele, owner of Bluegrass Kitchen, fills a jug with bottled water from a tank he installed in the back of his Charleston restaurant.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 6:55 pm

On Jan. 9, people in and around Charleston, W.Va., began showing up at hospitals: They had nausea, eye infections and some were vomiting. It was later discovered that around 10,000 gallons of toxic chemicals had leaked into the Elk River, just upstream from a water treatment plant that serves 300,000 people. Citizens were told not to drink or bathe in the water, and while some people are now using water from their taps, many still don't trust it or the information coming from public officials.

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Music Reviews
11:55 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Don't Pigeonhole Me, Bro: New Country Albums On The Borderline

Jon Pardi.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:20 pm

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Author Interviews
1:17 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Entrepreneurs Looking For 'Windfall' Cash In On Climate Change

A boat skims through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fjord in August 2008, on the western coast of Greenland.
Steen Ulrik Johannessen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:48 pm

In 2008, as scientists documented a record melt in the Arctic ice and Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth was in theaters, a half dozen major investment houses launched mutual funds designed to take advantage of financial opportunities offered by climate change.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:45 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Remembers Guthrie, Hopping Trains And Sharing Songs

Pete Seeger.
Joe Kohen WireImage

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:48 pm

Pete Seeger believed songs were a way of binding people to a cause. He popularized "This Land is Your Land" and "We Shall Overcome" and wrote "If I Had a Hammer." In 1940s, he co-founded The Weavers, who surprised everyone, including themselves, when they became the first group to bring folk music to the pop charts — until they were black listed. Seeger refused to answer questions about his politics when he appeared before House Un-American Activities committee in 1955.

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Author Interviews
11:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:45 pm

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists when Benito Mussolini's party ruled over Italy in the 1920s and '30s. But in The Pope and Mussolini, David Kertzer says the historical record and a trove of recently released archives tell a very different story.

It's fascinating, Kertzer tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "how in a very brief period of time, Mussolini came to realize the importance of enlisting the pope's support."

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Book Reviews
11:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed

Detail from the cover of The Empire of Necessity.
Courtesy of Metropolitan Books

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:14 pm

Shortly after sunrise, on the morning of Feb. 20, 1805, sailors on an American ship called the Perseverance, anchored near an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, spied a weird vessel drifting into view. It flew no flag and its threadbare sails were slack. The captain of the Perseverance, a man named Amasa Delano, decided to come to the aid of the ship, whose name, painted in faded white letters along its bow, was the Tryal.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:32 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Joaquin Phoenix And A Self-Help Skeptic

Joaquin Phoenix's Her character, Theodore, has a job writing intimate — and sometimes erotic — cards and letters on behalf of other people.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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
9:31 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Middle-Aged And Divorced, 'Gloria' Takes On Life's Uncertainties

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:23 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Interviews
9:31 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Tom Hanks Is 'Captain Phillips' In High-Seas Hostage Drama

Prior to filming, director Paul Greengrass kept the pirate crew and the boat crew separate to make the hijacking scenes feel more authentic. "The hair did stand up on the back of our heads," says Tom Hanks, above.
Hopper Stone, SMPSP

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 3:34 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 7, 2013.

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Music Reviews
1:45 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

On 'Hard Working Americans,' Songs For The Ordinary Joe

Hard Working Americans.
James Martin Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:39 pm

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Author Interviews
11:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. Her other books include Truth & Beauty, The Magician's Assistant and Run.
Heidi Ross Courtesy of Harper

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:58 pm

The title essay of Ann Patchett's latest book, This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage, isn't exactly what it sounds like. It's actually the story of an unhappy marriage that ends quickly in divorce and results in a strongly defended refusal to marry that lasts many years. But eventually, it does lead to the happy marriage.

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Author Interviews
12:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Skeptic Takes A Tour Of Self-Help's 'Promise Land'

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:29 pm

A lot of self-help books have simple formulas. They promise 30 days or 10 easy steps to having thinner thighs, landing a spouse, having a great sex life, starting a new life after divorce, climbing the corporate ladder while dressed for success, and, of course, finding inner peace. And while many swear by the power of their favorite self-help philosophy, there are still a lot of skeptics.

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Movie Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Phoenix To Self: 'Why Am I Talking About This? ... Joaquin, Shut Up'

Joaquin Phoenix's Her character, Theodore, has a job writing intimate — and sometimes erotic — cards and letters on behalf of other people.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:56 pm

Joaquin Phoenix started his acting career in 1982, when he was about 8, on an episode of the TV series Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. (His brother, the late River Phoenix, was a regular in the series.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still vividly remembers his first time on a set.

"I remember feeling like I was buzzing, like my whole body was vibrating, because it was just so exciting to experience this thing that wasn't real but at moments felt like it was real," he says. "It's basically the feeling that I've been chasing ever since."

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Author Interviews
11:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act

Demonstrators march down Constitution Avenue during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 5:35 pm

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations — including restaurants, hotels and motels — ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

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Music Reviews
11:02 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World

Lafayette Gilchrist.
Leo H. Lubow

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 12:57 pm

For someone who came to piano rather late, at 17, Lafayette Gilchrist has dug deep into its history. He loves the old piano professors who'd pack the punch of a dance band into two hands at the keyboard. Players like Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith could keep going for hours without exhausting their folkloric materials.

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Fresh Air Weekend
4:05 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Roger Ailes, Rosanne Cash And Sonia Sotomayor

In addition to being the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor was New York state's first Hispanic federal judge.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:34 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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Interviews
10:59 am
Fri January 17, 2014

'Klansville, U.S.A.' Chronicles The Rise And Fall Of The KKK

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:07 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 14, 2013.

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