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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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Now displaying: 2016
Sep 6, 2016

Pamela Adlon says her long-time collaboration with Louis C.K. helped hone her writing voice. Her new series for FX, ‘Better Things,’ is based on her experiences as the single mother of three daughters. Also, the media have used a variety of epithets to describe white working-class Trump supporters. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says these terms embody the class contention that is central to this year's election.

Sep 5, 2016

Three years ago, Sharon Jones, the energetic lead singer for The Dap-Kings was forced to take a hiatus from the band after she was diagnosed with cancer. The new documentary 'Miss Sharon Jones,' by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, is about the period in 2013 when Jones couldn’t perform—when she was getting months of chemo and recovering from extensive surgery. After the chemo, she did a world tour with The Dap-Kings.  The cancer has since returned, but she’s still performing. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews a Beatrix Potter book, just published for the first time, about a cat who leads a double life.

Sep 3, 2016

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson's new novel 'Another Brooklyn' is based in part on her memories of growing up there in the 1970s. Woodson describes adolescence as an "amazing and urgent moment" in life. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the soundtrack to the new Netflix series 'The Get Down,' about the rise of early hip-hop. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares a batch of previously unknown Charlie Parker performances. Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe, authors of 'A Square Meal,' discuss the food trends of the Depression.

Sep 2, 2016

Our best of 2016 series concludes with Ray Liotta. He has a reputation for playing cops and criminals on the big screen, and plays both in the NBC drama series 'Shades of Blue.' The actor, who turned 61 last year, says the role is an extension of a personal goal to keep growing and evolving as an actor. "I really believe you never stop learning and you never really ever get there — just like in life," Liotta says. Also, Ed Ward reviews  the music of one-hit wonder Jody Reynolds, who never connected with the public again after his 1958 hit 'Endless Sleep.'

Sep 1, 2016

Our best of 2016 series continues with Sarah Paulson. She's nominated for two Emmys, one for her performance in 'American Horror Story:Hotel,' the other for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in the FX series 'The People vs. O.J. Simpson.' The series is based on the bestselling book about the 1995 trial by legal reporter and analyst Jeffrey Toobin.  Paulson also talks about her role in the film 'Carol' and her relationship with actress Holland Taylor.

Aug 31, 2016

Our best of 2016 series continues with Larry Wilmore. Comedy Central unexpectedly canceled his satirical news show 'The Nightly Show' earlier this month. Wilmore managed to find comic and sincere ways of addressing the news on 'The Nightly Show,' including incidents where police harassed or killed African Americans.  Wilmore wrote for 'In Living Color,' created 'The Bernie Mac Show,' worked on 'The Office,' and the ABC series, 'Blackish.' We listen back to excerpts from three of Terry's interviews with Larry Wilmore. 

Aug 30, 2016

Actor Gene Wilder died Monday at 83. Wilder, known for roles in films like ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ and ‘Blazing Saddles,’ spoke to Terry Gross in 2005 about how he met Mel Brooks, what he learned from Richard Pryor, and his relationship with Gilda Radner.

Aug 29, 2016

This week we’re replaying some of the best interviews of 2016. Tom Hanks spoke to Terry Gross in April about his film, ‘A Hologram for the King.’ He talks about playing brave men in films like ‘Captain Phillips’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ his unusual childhood, and charming his way out of difficult situations. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the soundtrack to the new Netflix series ‘The Get Down,’ about the rise of early hip-hop.

Aug 27, 2016

John Krasinski says he's thankful for his big break "every single day." Three years after the wrap of 'The Office,' he continues to branch out — he's now directing and co-starring in the film 'The Hollars.' Ken Tucker reviews 'Real' from singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless. Also, in her new book, 'The Grid,' Gretchen Bakke argues that the under-funded power grid is incapable of taking the U.S. into a new energy future.

Aug 26, 2016

The feminist icon says she is free of the "demands of gender" that she faced from adolescence onward. Her memoir is 'My Life on the Road,’ is now out in paperback. David Edelstein reviews ‘Southside With You,’ a film based on the real story of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date.

Aug 25, 2016

Seth Freed Wessler reported on the substandard medical care in privately-run prisons in the federal corrections system for ‘The Nation.' His work may have led the Justice Department to phase out private prisons. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two reissues from saxophonist Teddy Edwards.

Aug 24, 2016

Krasinski says he's thankful for his big break "every single day." Three years after the wrap of ‘The Office,’ he continues to branch out -- he's now directing and co-starring in the film ‘The Hollars.’ Also, Milo Miles shares an appreciation of African bandleader E.T. Mensah.

Aug 23, 2016

‘Washington Post’ reporters Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher talk about Donald Trump’s upbringing, business dealings, and philosophy, “When you’re hit, hit back ten times harder.” Their new book is ‘Trump Revealed.’ Ken Tucker reviews ‘Real’ from singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless.

Aug 22, 2016

In her new book, ‘The Grid,’ Gretchen Bakke argues that the under-funded power grid is incapable of taking the U.S. into a new energy future. Bakke says, “We can make a lot more electricity than we can use, and we can make more electricity than the grid can carry, but the grid is the weakest link.” Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews ‘Let Me Tell You,’ by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen in collaboration with soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan.

Aug 20, 2016

Julie Klausner plays an unsuccessful comic who quips about celebrities in her Hulu series, 'Difficult People.' She says that she and her co-star Billy Eichner bonded over their shared love of show business and pop culture.  John Powers reviews ‘War Dogs,’ a new comedy about the business of war. Science writer Ed Yong says billions of microbes that live on and within our bodies affect digestion, immunity, body weight and general health. His new book is 'I Contain Multitudes.'

Aug 19, 2016

Asali Solomon's novel ‘Disgruntled’ is about a girl growing up in West Philadelphia whose parents were black nationalists. "My parents taught us to revere Africa — people at school made fun of Africa," she says. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares a batch of previously unknown Charlie Parker performances. John Powers reviews the new satirical film ‘War Dogs’ starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill.

Aug 18, 2016

Science writer Ed Yong says billions of microbes that live on and within our bodies affect digestion, immunity, body weight and general health. His new book is ‘I Contain Multitudes.’ Also, Milo Miles reviews the ‘Best Of’ album from Brazilian trio Bossacucanova.

Aug 17, 2016

Vance grew up in a Rust Belt town in Ohio, in a family from the hills of eastern Kentucky. His new memoir details the social isolation, poverty, and addiction that afflict poor white communities. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album ‘Rattle and Roar’ from The Earls of Leicester.

Aug 16, 2016

Klausner plays an unsuccessful comic who quips about celebrities in her Hulu series, ‘Difficult People.’ She says that she and her co-star Billy Eichner bonded over their shared love of show business and pop culture. Biologist Bill Streever talks about sailing from Texas to Guatemala while doing research for his book, ‘And Soon I heard a Roaring Wind.’

Aug 15, 2016

During the Depression, cheap, nutritious and filling food was prioritized — often at the expense of taste. Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe, authors of 'A Square Meal,' discuss food trends of the time. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Trials of the Earth.'

Aug 13, 2016

Streep talks about learning to sing badly in 'Florence Foster Jenkins,' her natural singing voice, and why sometimes just being Meryl Streep is more nerve-racking than performing. Maureen Corrigan reviews 'You Will Know Me,' a book about the fierce and frenzied world of gymnastics. Finally, novelist Colson Whitehead discusses his latest book -- where the Underground Railroad is an actual locomotive that slaves ride to freedom.

Aug 12, 2016

From Julius Caesar's last words to what Gladiator duels were actually like, classicist Mary Beard sets the record straight. Her book 'SPQR' is now out in paperback. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Hell or High Water.'

Aug 11, 2016

'New York Times' reporter Rukmini Callimachi says ISIS' recruiting efforts focus on both the "mentally unwell" and those who have been "radicalized since birth."

Aug 10, 2016

Streep works hard to sing badly in her new film, 'Florence Foster Jenkins.' In it, she plays the title role, a character based on an actual heiress and socialite who devoted her life to music -- despite having a squeaky, screechy singing voice. Streep also discusses working with Stephen Sondheim for the screen adaptation of 'Into the Woods,' and why sometimes just being Meryl Streep is more nerve-racking than performing.

Aug 9, 2016

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson's new novel 'Another Brooklyn' is based in part on her memories of growing up there in the 1970s. Woodson describes adolescence as an "amazing and urgent moment" in life. Rock critic Ken Tucker shares political songs from The Mekons and The Mavericks.

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