Journalist Mark Arax discusses the battle for water involving corporate agriculture, suburbs, cities and small farming communities. "It used to be the farmers against the delta smelt fish, and now it's the urbanite against the almond," he says. In honor of Billie Holiday's 100th birthday this month, several artists are releasing out Holiday tribute albums. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at a couple of these by other singers. One he rather likes; the other, not so much.
Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus recount being kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro who held them captive for a decade before their dramatic escape. Their new book, written with journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, is called 'Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.' Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new album from string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and John Powers reviews Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical novel, 'My Struggle.'
Comic Louis CK talks about his first open mic night, how parenting changed his comedy, and tripping on acid in 8th grade.
To mark the release of Pokey LaFarge's seventh album, the singer-songwriter brings his acoustic guitar to the Fresh Air studio to sing some new songs as well as some of his favorites from the 1920s and '30s. Ken Tucker reviews 'Sound & Color' by Alabama Shakes and linguist Geoff Nunberg discusses the buzzword 'disrupt.'
Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison discusses her latest book, 'God Help the Child,' about distinguishing color from race. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Ross Macdonald's crime fiction. Actor Will Forte talks about landing a job on 'Saturday Night Live' and learning from Bruce Dern on the set of 'Nebraska' that acting is "all about commitment."
It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime. Kertzer recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his book 'The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe.' Film critic David Edelstein reviews the Iranian mystery film 'About Elly.'
Reporter Gregory Johnsen talks about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and how the chaos is impacting the U.S. fight against al-Qaida. Johnsen describes a country torn apart. "I don't even think it's accurate to speak of Yemen as one country anymore," he says. "I think the country has been definitively and decisively broken in the way that no one will ever be able to put it back together again." Ken Tucker reviews Dwight Yoakam's new album 'Second Hand Heart.'
Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo talks about what it takes to make 150 voices sound like one. Actor Will Forte talks about his new show 'Last Man On Earth,' and what he learned from Bruce Dern on the set of 'Nebraska.'
Retired New York City police officer Steve Osborne shares stories including chasing a robber into a train tunnel and breaking up a knife fight. "Your heart is pounding; your adrenaline is shooting out of your ears," he says. "And you got one second to get it right." Over his 20 years of duty he never fired his gun. His new memoir is called 'The Job.' Also book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews four crime fiction stories by Ross MacDonald.
Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison discusses her new novel, 'God Help the Child.' At 84, she looks back on her life and says she regrets everything. "It's not profound regret," she says. "It's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on."
Terry Gross interviews DJ, musician and record producer Mark Ronson. Ronson’s hit song ‘Uptown Funk’ features vocals by Bruno Mars and spent 14 weeks as Billboard’s #1 single. Also Beau Willimon, the creator of the Netflix series ‘House of Cards.’ And Ken Tucker reviews the new album from the band The Mountain Goats.
Actor Joel McHale, star of the comedy series ‘Community.’ Last year, NBC cancelled the series after five seasons, but now ‘Community’ is back, streaming new episodes on Yahoo. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘True Story,’ starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.
DJ, musician and record producer Mark Ronson talks about his life in music. Ronson’s hit song ‘Uptown Funk’ featuring Bruno Mars spent 14 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s ‘Hot 100’ chart. Ronson had his first big success producing Amy Winehouse and has produced recordings by Paul McCartney, Adele, Christina Aguilera, Nas, and Lily Allen. Also, tech contributor Alexis Madrigal reflects on YouTube’s first decade.
In the new FX series 'The Comedians,' Billy Crystal and Josh Gad star as satirical versions of themselves. The show is about how the two comedians are hesitant to work together and share the spotlight, but they do, and they begin a strained relationship, in which they're separated from each other by a generational comedy gap. They discuss their new show, their respective work on Broadway and voicing animation. Also David Bianculli shares his thoughts on the series finale of 'Justified.'
'House of Cards' showrunner Beau Willimon talks about his work as a campaign advance man, using soliloquies in the show, and the "litmus test" in the pilot episode. Ken Tucker reviews The Mountain Goats' new album, 'Beat The Champ' and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Children's Crusade.'
Bryan Burrough's new book 'Days of Rage' describes the Weather Underground and other militant groups' tactics to protest the government in the 1970s. He interviews former radicals who had never gone on the record before. We also remember historian Stanley Kutler who helped uncover over 200 hours of Watergate tapes.
Before pursuing acting, Adam Driver was in the Marines. He says acting and being in the military aren't so different, "You have a group of people trying to accomplish a mission that's greater than themselves. It's not about one person." Driver stars in the new film comedy 'While We're Young.' Ken Tucker reviews Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly.' Composer Phillip Glass' new memoir, 'Words Without Music,' looks back on his childhood, travels through Asia and when his music provoked violence.
Dr. Kevin Fong explores how humans survive extremes of heat, cold, outer space and deep sea. He compares the exploration of medicine with the "explorers of the 20th century and every age before them. His book is called 'Extreme Medicine.' David Edelstein reviews 'Clouds of Sils Maria.'
Actor Adam Driver of 'Girls' now stars in Noah Baumbach's new film, 'While We're Young.' He talks about leaving the Marines for Juilliard, doing sex scenes in 'Girls,' and why he'll never watch his own performances. Ken Tucker reviews Kendrick Lamar's newest album, 'To Pimp a Butterfly.'
Brooke Borel tells us about the creepy, crawly world of bed bugs and how they have infiltrated our homes. Her new book is called 'Infested.' Also cartoonist Lucy Knisley discusses her new travelogue 'Displacement.' David Bianculli reviews 'The Comedians' and the new season of 'Louie.'
Journalist Masha Gessen's new book 'The Brothers' is about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing. She shares her reportage from Dzhokhar's trial as well as her travels to Dagestan, where she learned more about the Tsarnaevs' background. Also, April 7 marks the hundredth birthday of singer Billie Holiday, born in Philadelphia. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has some thoughts on Holiday’s changing style, her influences, and singers she influenced.
For the composer, life is how the past and the future connect. Philip Glass' new memoir, 'Words Without Music,' looks back on his childhood, travels through Asia and when his music provoked violence.
Russell T. Davies, creator of the BBC series 'Queer As Folk,' talks about his new series 'Cucumber' and 'Banana.' Rock historian Ed Ward tells the story of Captain Beefheart and New Yorker cartoonist and 'Girls' producer Bruce Eric Kaplan (aka BEK) discusses his new illustrated memoir 'I Was A Child.'
Hilary Mantel is the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel, 'Wolf Hall,' and also for its 2012 sequel, 'Bring Up the Bodies.' She spoke to Terry Gross in 2012. 'Wolf Hall' is now a PBS Masterpiece costume drama airing Sunday April 5th. John Powers, our critic at large, reviews the new TV production.
Bruce Eric Kaplan (aka BEK) has a new illustrated memoir called 'I Was A Child.' It describes his life in Maplewood, N.J., in the '60s and '70s. He says it's a way of keeping his parents alive, "not just for me, but for the world." He's also a producer on the HBO series 'Girls.' Then we remember Cynthia Lennon, Beatle John Lennon's first wife. She died yesterday at 75.