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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: June, 2017
Jun 30, 2017

After starring in Broadway shows like ‘The Music Man’ and ‘Candide,’ Cook struggled with addiction, then staged a successful second career as a cabaret singer. Her memoir is ‘Then and Now’ is out in paperback. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Tony Allen’s tribute to drummer Art Blakey.

Jun 29, 2017

West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country. ‘New Yorker’ writer Margaret Talbot interviewed addicts, their families, and health professionals to understand why. Also, actor Sam Elliott (Tombstone, Road House, The Big Lebowski) says that being cautious about the roles he takes has helped him maintain his acting career for nearly 50 years. He plays an aging actor with a stalled career in the new film, ‘The Hero.’

Jun 28, 2017

'Vox' correspondent Sarah Kliff says Republicans determined to replace and repeal Obamacare are finding it's "awfully difficult to write a bill that would get rid of it entirely." Also, David Edelstein reviews ‘Baby Driver,’ a film by Edgar Wright.

Jun 27, 2017

In ‘The Best Land Under Heaven,’ Michael Wallis chronicles the saga of a band of pioneers who resorted to cannibalism after getting stranded en route West. He says "there's so much more" to the story.  Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Okja,’ coming to Netflix this week.

Jun 26, 2017

Author James Ledbetter says many of the nation's worst economic catastrophes happened while on the gold standard. His new book traces the fascination with gold as a symbol of permanence and quality. His book is ‘One Nation Under Gold.’ Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Sexmob’s album ’Cultural Capital.’

Jun 24, 2017

Roxane Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least." Gay’s new memoir, ‘Hunger,’ is about being hundreds of pounds overweight, and how she first started gaining weight after being sexually assaulted when she was 12. Also, Sherman Alexie discusses his new memoir about growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, where poverty and violence were routine. His new book is ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.’

Jun 23, 2017

Cline's ‘Lovers’ is a collection of lushly arranged versions of American popular songs, covers and originals. He says it's a "mood-music record" that isn't "cheesy." [Originally broadcast Sept. 2016.] Ken Tucker reviews an album of new material from late rock icon Chuck Berry. David Edelstein reviews Sofia Coppola’s film ‘The Beguiled.’

Jun 22, 2017

‘Wired’ journalist Andy Greenberg says Ukraine has been the victim of a "cyber-assault unlike any the world has ever seen." Cybersecurity experts think Russia is perfecting attacks that could be used on the U.S. TV critic David Bianculli reviews ‘GLOW’ and ‘Prime Suspect.’

Jun 21, 2017

In ‘Raven Rock,’ Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a catastrophe. One Cold War-era plan put the post office in charge of cataloging the dead. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘The Big Sick,’ starring comic Kumail Nanjiani.

Jun 20, 2017

Alexie’s new memoir, ‘You Don't Have to Say You Love Me,’ is about his traumatic childhood on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, his difficult relationship with his parents, and how brain surgery has changed him.

Jun 19, 2017

Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least." The moment she realized she "never want to write about fatness" was the same moment she knew this was a memoir she had to write. Her new book is ‘Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.’

Jun 17, 2017

Before taking over the reins at 'Late Night,' Seth Meyers 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. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says people have been complaining about the overuse of the exclamation since Victorian times, but he thinks the exclamation point gets a bad rap. Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Terry Gross about President Trump’s tweets, and the effect racism had on the Obama administration.

Jun 16, 2017

Last night Jay Z became the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2010 about growing up in a housing project in Brooklyn, finding his identity in the recording studio, and misogyny in rap lyrics. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘The Mummy.’

Jun 15, 2017

Former Vice President Joe Biden has figured something out: "I learned how to become one of the most popular politicians in America," he says. "Announce that you are not running for president, and be authentic." In front of a live audience at WHYY studios, Joe Biden talks with Terry Gross about Donald Trump, his Catholic faith, and his plans on returning to electoral politics.  Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Do Not Become Alarmed,' the new novel by Maile Meloy.

Jun 14, 2017

When it comes to comedy, 'Late Night' host Seth Meyers is clear about what drew him to the field: "I got into it because it looked like the most fun job in the world," he says. "And it has not led me astray." Before taking over the reins at 'Late Night,' he spent spent 13 years at 'Saturday Night Live,' first as a performer, then as head writer and the co-host, alongside Amy Poehler, of the show's 'Weekend Update' segment. This interview was recorded in front of a live audience on June 9, 2017 at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia to celebrate Fresh Air's 30th anniversary as a daily national program.

Jun 13, 2017

When 'Washington Post' correspondent Souad Mekhennet chooses to go and conduct an interview, it can be a life or death decision. She’s spent much of the past 15 years reporting on Islamic extremist groups, and she’s interviewed leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS. Mekhennet was raised as a Muslim in Germany. Her new memoir is 'I Was Told to Come Alone.' Linguist Geoff Nunberg says people have been complaining about the overuse of the exclamation since Victorian times, but he thinks the exclamation point gets a bad rap.

Jun 12, 2017

Mark Bowden, author of 'Black Hawk Down,' talks about a turning point in the Vietnam War, the ferocious battle for the old imperial capital of Hue. He says "it was the bloodiest battle of its kind in the war." Communist forces took the city as part of the Tet Offensive of 1968, a coordinated set of attacks that soured many Americans on the conflict, and undermined the story US military leaders were telling the public and themselves about the war. Bowden interviewed dozens of participants in the battle as well as civilians who suffered terribly in the fighting. His new book is 'Hue 1968.'

Jun 10, 2017

Six years after the demise of his 'Breaking Bad' character, Giancarlo Esposito is back on TV as the vicious drug lord Gus Fring in ‘Better Call Saul.’ He likens his current work to taking the character "back in time." Book critic Maureen Corrigan shares her early summer reading list. Photographer Paul Nicklen gets as close as possible to the animals he photographs. Once he found himself staring down the throat of an leopard seal in Antarctica: "Her head [was] twice as big as a grizzly bear."

Jun 9, 2017

Author Jill Lepore uncovers the political history behind Wonder Woman. The comic book icon’s creator, William Moulten Marston, was inspired by both the women’s suffrage movement and erotic pin-up art. Marston also had a secret life: He had a wife and a mistress and fathered children with both of them. Critic-at-large John Powers reviews the documentary 'Becoming Cary Grant.'  Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'My Cousin Rachel.'

Jun 8, 2017

In protest of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ban on women driving, Manal al-Sharif filmed herself driving and posted it on YouTube. She was arrested, but after expressions of outrage from around the world, she was eventually released. Her new memoir ‘Daring to Drive’ is about how she became a women’s rights activist after growing up in Mecca, and adhering to a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ’Beatriz at Dinner,’ starring Salma Hayek.

Jun 7, 2017

Six years after the demise of his ‘Breaking Bad’ character, Giancarlo Esposito is back on TV as the vicious drug lord Gus Fring. He likens his current work to taking the character "back in time."

Jun 6, 2017

Nicklen gets as close as possible to the animals he photographs. Once he found himself staring down the throat of an leopard seal in Antarctica: "Her head [was] twice as big as a grizzly bear."

Jun 5, 2017

Law professor Sheryll Cashin’s new book ‘Loving’ chronicles the landmark SCOTUS case Loving v. Virginia, which overturned state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Next week marks 50 years since the decision. Cashin also talks about growing up as the daughter of civil rights activists, and how her family integrated neighborhoods and schools in Alabama.

Jun 3, 2017

As a former 'SNL' cast member and writer, Franken tends to see humor in politics. Despite this, he says his gut reaction to the Trump administration isn't levity: "This guy is outside the norm in many ways." Also, humorist David Sedaris pulls from his decades-old diaries in his latest book, 'Theft by Finding.' In it, he revisits major turning points, such as the death of his mother, as well as more prosaic, everyday moments.

Jun 2, 2017

To mark the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of Sgt Pepper,’ we listen back to Terry Gross' 1995 interview with Ringo Starr, as well as her 2001 and 2012 interviews with Paul McCartney. David Edelstein reviews ’Wonder Woman.’

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