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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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Jan 17, 2018

Medical journalist Jeanne Lenzer warns that implanted medical devices are approved with far less scrutiny and testing than pharmaceutical drugs. As a result, she says, some have caused harm and even death. “Walmart tracks heads of lettuce they have on a shelf at any given time. They know how many they have to replace. They can track those a lot better than we’re tracking medical devices implanted in people,” Lenzer says. Her new book is ‘The Danger Within Us.’  Also, TV critic David Bianculli discusses the comeback of the anthology series.

Jan 16, 2018

The Netflix series, now in its second season, centers on a young Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. One of the figures in the series is Elizabeth’s uncle, the former King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 and was ostracized by the family. “What we have here is a fantastic family saga,” Morgan says. “And no family is complete without an embarrassing uncle, and [Edward] is the ultimate embarrassing uncle.” Morgan also wrote the screenplays for the films ‘Frost/Nixon’ and ‘The Queen.’ Also, John Powers reviews the second installment of ‘American Crime Story’ with ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace.’

Jan 15, 2018

In 1957, three years after the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional, nine black students were chosen by the NAACP to try to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The students were met by an angry white mob, and it took the presence of federal troops to get them into class. One of the students was Melba Pattillo Beals. She’s written a new book called ‘I Will Not Fear,’ about her childhood.  Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘In The Fade.’

Jan 13, 2018

Actress and writer Lena Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing, for her work on Aziz Ansari's Netflix series 'Master of None.' Now she's lending her voice to a new Showtime series, 'The Chi,' set in the South Side Chicago. Also, John Powers reviews ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ a Golden Globe award-winning series on Amazon. Co-directors and co-writers Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina spent six years creating their Pixar film ‘Coco,’ about the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday on which the living remember their deceased loved ones.

Jan 12, 2018

Holmes' HBO show 'Crashing' is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy" comic, not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club." Holmes spoke with Terry Gross in 2017. ‘Crashing’ is back for a second season. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new David Letterman Netflix series ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.’

Jan 11, 2018

Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing, for her work on Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series ‘Master of None.’ Now she’s lending her voice to a new Showtime series, ‘The Chi,’ set in the South Side Chicago.

Jan 10, 2018

Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina spent six years creating their animated film about the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday on which the living remember their deceased loved ones. The movie is about how the dead remain alive in our hearts as long as we keep them in our memories and tell their stories. ‘Coco’ just won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film. Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a collection of live recordings from soprano Maria Callas.

Jan 9, 2018

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. Her new book is ‘Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide.’  Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Largesse of the Sea,’ a book of short stories by the late writer Denis Johnson.

Jan 8, 2018

‘Vox’ drug policy reporter German Lopez details the scope of the opioid epidemic. There were nearly 64,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2016. “To put that in context, that’s more than gun deaths. That’s more than car crashes. It’s more than HIV/AIDS during the peak of that epidemic,” Lopez says. Also, WHYY criminal justice reporter Bobby Allyn talks about the safe injection site being considered in Philadelphia.

Jan 6, 2018

Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli says, "Just the last few years alone have seen some serious breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research.”  His new book is 'The Pursuit of Memory.' Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews ‘Face Your Fear,’ an album by singer-songwriter Curtis Harding. Also, ’Vanity Fair' editor-at-large Cullen Murphy talks about growing up the son of a cartoonist. His father, John Cullen Murphy, drew the popular Prince Valiant strip, which Murphy eventually wrote for 14 years. His new memoir is 'Cartoon County.' 

Jan 5, 2018

‘Get Out’ tells the story of a young black man whose white girlfriend takes him to meet her parents for the first time. Writer-director Jordan Peele, who calls the movie a “social thriller,” says, “It was very important to me to just get the entire audience in touch in some way with the fears inherent [in] being black in this country,” Peele says. The film is nominated for two Golden Globes. Also, we remember jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, who died last month. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

Jan 4, 2018

Neal Katyal wrote the special counsel regulations when he worked for the Clinton administration. He lays out the legal issues that could arise if Trump tries to interfere with the Mueller investigation. Also rock critic Ken Tucker reviews a new box set of Louisiana Hayride performances from the ‘50s.

Jan 3, 2018

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Evan Osnos talks about how China learned to use President Trump to its advantage. He says that as the president withdraws the U.S. from commitments around the globe, strategists in Beijing see an opening. Osnos also explains why China's president thinks flattery is the way to win over Trump.

Jan 2, 2018

"Just the last few years alone have seen some serious breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research," neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli says. His new book is ‘The Pursuit of Memory.’ Book critic Maureen Corrigan shares an appreciation of "alphabet" mystery writer Sue Grafton, who died last week. We’ll also hear an excerpt of her 1989 interview with Terry Gross.

Jan 1, 2018

Our Best of 2017 series comes to an end with actor Jonathan Groff. He stars in the Netflix series 'Mindhunter' as an FBI agent trying to understand the minds of serial killers. He played King George III in Broadway's 'Hamilton,' had a recurring role on 'Glee,' and did the voice of iceman Kristoff in 'Frozen.'

Dec 30, 2017

Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price pawned her wedding ring — and her husband sold their car — to pay for the recording studio to make her 2016 debut album, 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter.' Now she's released her second album, 'All American Made,' an overtly political and feminist record that grapples with the current political climate. Book critic Maureen Corrigan shares her list of the best books of 2017. Also, therapist Esther Perel has spent the past six years focusing on couples who are dealing with infidelity. "It's never been easier to cheat — and it's never been more difficult to keep a secret," she says. Her new book is 'The State of Affairs.'

Dec 29, 2017

Our Best of 2017 series continues with ’Daily Show' correspondent Hasan Minhaj. He describes himself as a "third-culture kid" who doesn't fully belong in either the world of his parents or that of his hometown of Davis, Calif. Also we’ll hear from ‘Late Night’ host Seth Meyers. He spent spent 13 years at 'Saturday Night Live,' first as a performer, then as head writer and the co-host of 'Weekend Update.' He talks about political satire in the Trump era and being a comedian without demons. 

Dec 28, 2017

Our Best of 2017 series continues with best-selling novelist John Le Carré. The 85-year-old writer is familiar with the moral tension inherent to working in the espionage community: "I felt I had to suppress my humanity," Le Carre says of his time as a spy. His latest book is 'A Legacy of Spies.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews an album from Marta Sánchez’s quintet.

Dec 27, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we're listening back to some of our favorite interviews from this year. After the sudden death of his wife in April 2016, comic Patton Oswalt felt his life slipping away. He talks about grief, returning to comedy, and falling in love again. His new Netflix special is 'Patton Oswalt: Annihilation.'

Dec 26, 2017
As 2017 comes to a close, we're listening back to some of our favorite interviews from this year. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the man behind the Broadway sensation 'Hamilton,' a hip-hop musical about the founding fathers. Miranda discusses his Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning project, as well as his role in the Disney animated film 'Moana.' This interview originally aired on Jan. 3, 2017. Also, David Edelstein shares his picks for the 10 best films of 2017.
Dec 22, 2017

Smith, who died Saturday, was discovered by bandleader Louis Prima as a teenager. She later married Prima, and the two became a popular Las Vegas lounge act. She spoke with Terry Gross in 2000. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from trombonist Roswell Rudd, and film critic David Edelstein reviews Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film ‘Phantom Thread,’ starring Daniel Day-Lewis. 

Dec 21, 2017

The longtime host of ‘All Things Considered’ will retire in January. Siegel joined NPR in 1976 when, as he says, the network had only been on the air for five years and, “we really could make it up as we went along." Also, TV critic David Bianculli shares his picks for best shows of 2017.

Dec 20, 2017

Filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski spent nearly 10 years filming Christopher Rainey and his family, who run a recording studio in a working-class African-American neighborhood of North Philadelphia. During the course of the film we see the Raineys get married, raise their daughter, and try to recover from a traumatic turn of events when she is hit by a stray bullet. Olshefski and Christopher “Quest” Rainey join us. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘The Post.’

Dec 19, 2017

In her new book 'Moral Combat,' academic R. Marie Griffith writes about how battles around sex, gender and sexual orientation became part of American politics, including issues of women's suffrage and marriage equality. Also, writer Dagoberto Gilb tells a story about his much-anticipated trip to Mexico, in which he found himself stuck indoors during an earthquake strike. And critic Kevin Whitehead remembers some of the jazz musicians who died this year.

Dec 18, 2017

Chef-turned-advocate Barton Seaver works to get people excited about fish. He says there are a lot of species that are not endangered that we should be eating. Film critic Justin Chang picks his top 12 movies of 2017. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jennifer Egan talks about her work of historical fiction, ‘Manhattan Beach,’ which imagines the lives of women who worked on the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. Rock critic Ken Tucker looks back on the year in music.

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