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Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
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Feb 19, 2018

'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' had its first national broadcast on public television 50 years ago. TV critic David Bianculli has an appreciation. And we listen back to Rogers' interview with Terry Gross in 1984. Also, actor Doug Jones, who is a frequent collaborator of Guillermo del Toro's, tells Sam Briger about playing the fish man in the Oscar-nominated film 'The Shape of Water.'

Feb 17, 2018

Religion scholar Kate Bowler used to believe God had a plan for her life. Then, at 35, she was diagnosed with incurable stage-4 colon cancer. "I really had to rethink what trust and hope looks like," she says. Her new memoir is 'Everything Happens For A Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved).' Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews the 'Black Panther' soundtrack, which features Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA. And Finn Murphy has logged over a million miles hauling people's belongings across the country. His new memoir, 'The Long Haul,' is filled with insights about life on the road, and the subculture of truckers.

Feb 16, 2018

The real-life couple co-wrote the romantic comedy 'The Big Sick,' which stars Nanjiani, and is based on their own relationship. The movie is nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay. Also, we remember cabaret singer Wesla Whitfield, who died last week at the age of 70. She spoke with Terry Gross in 1988.

Feb 15, 2018

'New Yorker' staff writer Jonathan Blitzer says President Trump uses the notorious gang to paint a portrait of rampant criminality among immigrants — and "as a stand-in for immigrants generally." He also talks with Terry Gross about the uncertain fate of DACA, and the Senate debate on overhauling immigration policy. Also, David Edelstein reviews Marvel's new film 'Black Panther.'

Feb 14, 2018

Finn Murphy has logged over a million miles hauling people’s belongings across the country. His new memoir, ‘The Long Haul,’ is filled with insights about life on the road, and the subculture of truckers. Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews the ‘Black Panther’ soundtrack, which features Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA.

Feb 13, 2018

After chief strategist Steve Bannon was ousted from the Trump White House in August, Joshua Green was the first journalist he called. Green’s best-selling book about Bannon’s role in Trump’s election, ‘Devil’s Bargain,’ might’ve played a part in his exit. We talk with Green about what Bannon thinks of #MeToo, the future of the nationalist movement, and his eagerness to get back to the White House. Also, we remember Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, who died Sunday.

Feb 12, 2018

Religion scholar Kate Bowler used to believe God had a plan for her life. Then, at 35, she was diagnosed with incurable stage-4 colon cancer. “I really had to rethink what trust and hope looks like," she says. Her new memoir, ‘Everything Happens For A Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved),' is about how her illness has affected her faith. 

Feb 10, 2018

Maggie O'Farrell has survived some terrifying episodes. Her new memoir, 'I Am, I Am, I Am,' details 17 near-death experiences, and what she's learned from them. Also, to mark Black History Month, Penguin Press is reprinting six books from the Harlem Renaissance. Maureen Corrigan has an appreciation. Comic Jordan Klepper got his big break as a comedian when he was hired to be a correspondent on 'The Daily Show' with Jon Stewart. Now he hosts his own show on Comedy Central called 'The Opposition.’ Klepper spoke with Terry Gross about how he modeled his character after right-wing conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.

Feb 9, 2018

Mahoney, best-known for his role on the sitcom ‘Frasier,' died Sunday. He joined Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre shortly after he began acting at the age of 37. Mahoney spoke with Terry Gross in 1990. Also, we remember Internet pioneer (and Grateful Dead lyricist) John Perry Barlow. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1996. Film critic David Edelstein reviews the thriller ‘The 15:17 to Paris.’

Feb 8, 2018

Writer Robert Draper talks about state-of-the-art surveillance, from closed-circuit TV to drones -- and the consequences on our sense of privacy. Draper writes in 'National Geographic' that the proliferation of cameras focused on the public has led “to the point where we’re expecting to be voyeur and exhibitionist 24/7.” 

Feb 7, 2018

Klepper got his big break as a comedian when he was hired to be a correspondent on 'The Daily Show' with Jon Stewart. Now he hosts his own show on Comedy Central called 'The Opposition.' "He creates his own reality," Klepper says of his character, who's modeled after far-right conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones. "He sees the two dots and he fills the spaces with the things that make him feel more comfortable." Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the debut novel 'Self-Portrait with Boy' by Rachel Lyon.

Feb 6, 2018

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll warns that there is no end in sight to America's longest war: "Most of the generals ... say in public, 'There's no military solution to this war.'" His new book is ‘Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.’

Feb 5, 2018

Maggie O’Farrell has survived some terrifying episodes. She’s had a machete pressed to her throat during a robbery, once contracted amoebic dysentery while traveling, and nearly bled out while giving birth. Her new memoir ‘I Am, I Am, I Am,’ details 17 near-death experiences, and what she’s learned from them.  Also, critic John Powers reviews the thriller novel ‘This is What Happened,’ and the German TV series ‘Babylon Berlin’ on Netflix.

Feb 3, 2018

Christian Picciolini spent eight years as a member of a violent, white power skinhead group. He eventually withdrew and co-founded a nonprofit to help extremists disengage. His new book is ‘White American Youth.’ Fresh Air also spoke with Patrice Banks about her new book,  ‘Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide.’ Banks left a six-figure salary as an engineer to pursue her dream of owning an auto shop. She went to technical school, worked for free, and in 2016 she opened Girls Auto Clinic. Her auto shop is staffed with women mechanics, and caters to female customers.

Feb 2, 2018

With the Academy Awards only a few weeks away, we’re revisiting Terry Gross’ interviews with filmmakers Greta Gerwig and Dee Rees. Gerwig, who co-wrote and starred in ‘Frances Ha’ and ‘Mistress America,’ makes her directorial debut with the film ‘Lady Bird.’ It’s about a high school senior preparing for college and trying to assert her independence from her mother. ‘Lady Bird’ has five Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director. Dee Rees’ film ‘Mudbound’ follows two families — one black and one white — just before, during and after WWII. Rees says the film was informed by her Nashville, Tenn., childhood. ‘Mudbound’ is nominated for four Oscars, including best adapted screenplay and cinematography. Critic Justin Chang reviews the Hungarian movie ‘On Body and Soul,’ which is nominated for best foreign language film.

Feb 1, 2018

Robert Mueller started as director of the FBI a week before the Sept. 11 attacks. We talk with journalist Garrett Graff about Mueller’s leadership style, his reputation in Washington, and what might happen to the current investigation of the Trump campaign if Mueller is fired as special counsel.

Jan 31, 2018

Investigative reporter Ronen Bergman says that while Israel's shootings, poisonings, bombings and drone strikes against its perceived enemies were "tactical successes," they were also diplomatically harmful. His book is ‘Rise and Kill First.’ Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews guitarist Wes Montgomery’s 1965 Paris concert.

Jan 30, 2018

Journalist Glenn Frankel talks about a chapter of paranoia and persecution in America, in which the president, Congress, the courts and the press all played a part. Frankel's book is about the Hollywood Blacklist and the making of the classic film 'High Noon,' which was written as a parable about the blacklist. Also, to mark Black History Month, Penguin Press is reprinting six books from the Harlem Renaissance. Maureen Corrigan has an appreciation. 

Jan 29, 2018

‘Atlantic’ journalist Franklin Foer says before Manafort became Trump's campaign manager, he rewrote the rules of lobbying and then became entangled in the world of dictators, oligarchs and dirty money. Foer’s article is called ‘The Plot Against America.’

Jan 27, 2018

Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson talks about his new film, ‘Phantom Thread,’ which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a renowned and obsessive fashion designer. It’s nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel ‘The Perfect Nanny,’ inspired by a tragic murder of two kids by their nanny. 'New York Times' reporter John Leland followed six people above the age of 85 for one year. That series changed his understanding of old age — and inspired his book, 'Happiness is a Choice You Make.' 

Jan 26, 2018

In 1986 Sam Baker was on a train in Peru when a bomb exploded in the luggage rack above him. His body was torn apart, he had a brain injury, and severe hearing loss. Somehow, during his long recovery, songs started coming to him. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2014 about how the bombing changed his life and made him a musician. His new album is ‘Land of Doubt.’

Jan 25, 2018

Dan Diamond, who covers the Dept. of Health and Human Services for ‘Politico,’ says the number of HHS leaders who previously worked in the anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ movement is “unusual and notable.” Also, Justin Chang reviews ‘Lover for a Day.' 

Jan 24, 2018

‘New York Times’ reporter John Leland followed six people above the age of 85 for one year. That series changed his understanding of old age — and inspired his book, ‘Happiness is a Choice You Make.’ Also, we remember feminist sci-fi and fantasy writer Ursula Le Guin. She died this week at 88. Le Guin spoke with Terry Gross in 1989 about the challenges of being a mother and a writer.

Jan 23, 2018

Set in 1950s London, Anderson's new film features Daniel Day-Lewis as a renowned and obsessive fashion designer. The director says he was inspired by fashion icons like Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga. He spoke with Terry Gross about ghosts, the importance of music in the film, and making sewing exciting on camera. 'Phantom Thread' has six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

Jan 22, 2018

Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are experts in what makes democracies healthy — and what leads to their collapse. They warn that American democracy is in trouble. Ken Tucker reviews Charli XCX’s album ‘Pop 2,’ and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Perfect Nanny,’ by award-winning Moroccan-French author Leïla Slimani.

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