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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, 2018
Jun 30, 2018

W. Kamau Bell joins Terry Gross to talk about his ancestry and spending time with the late Anthony Bourdain. His new Netflix special is 'Private School Negro,' and his CNN series 'United Shades of America' is in its third season. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews John Coltrane's album 'Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.' Also, Frank Newsome, a former coal miner who has black lung disease, started singing when he joined a church in 1963. He sings a cappella in a lined-out hymn style — one of America's oldest music traditions. 

Jun 29, 2018

Hall, who died Saturday at 89, wrote about farm work and his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, in the 1993 memoir 'Life Work.' He and Kenyon spoke to Fresh Air in 1996, and Hall was interviewed again in 2002 and 2012. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews Debra Granik's new film 'Leave No Trace,' which is based on a true story about a veteran suffering from PTSD who lives secretly in a municipal forest with his teenage daughter.

Jun 28, 2018

‘New Yorker’ writer Jonathan Blitzer has been in El Paso, Texas, reporting on immigration and family separation. "I've been meeting women who are crying so violently they can barely speak," he says. Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews ‘Everything is Love’ by The Carters, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Jun 27, 2018

Bell joins Terry Gross to talk about his ancestry, spending time with the late Anthony Bourdain, and the #MeToo movement. His new Netflix special is 'Private School Negro,' and his CNN series 'United Shades of America' is in its third season. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado.' 

Jun 26, 2018

'Squeezed' author Alissa Quart argues that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans. Also, Frank Newsome, a former coal miner who has black lung disease, started singing when he joined a church in 1963. His sings a cappella in a lined-out hymn style — one of America's oldest music traditions. He talks to producer Sam Briger. Also, critic-at-large John Powers reviews the new Amazon miniseries 'A Very English Scandal,' starring Hugh Grant.

Jun 25, 2018

After warning of elevated lead levels in her patients' blood in Flint, Mich., Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha faced a backlash: "The state said that I was an unfortunate researcher, that I was causing near hysteria." Her new book, 'What the Eyes Don't See,' is about exposing the crisis, the activist movement, and her personal story as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants. Also, TV critic David Bianculli raves about Paul McCartney's appearance on James Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke' segment on 'The Late Late Show.'

Jun 23, 2018

Singer, songwriter and guitarist John Prine underwent surgeries in 1996 and 2013 that affected his throat and voice. Now, he says, he likes his voice better: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." His new album, 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' is his first in 13 years. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.' Stephen McCauley's latest book, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay, but then they become friends. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says.

Jun 22, 2018

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. His book is now out in paperback. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.' 

Jun 21, 2018

'Vanity Fair' journalist Emily Jane Fox focused on Trump's three marriages and five children when writing her new book, 'Born Trump.' "His presence is overwhelming," she says of the president's role in the family. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews two books that celebrate road trips, 'Don't Make Me Pull Over!' and 'Main-Travelled Roads.'

Jun 20, 2018

McCauley's latest book, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay, but then they become friends. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says. Also, John Powers reviews two novels about unconventional women, 'Mirror, Shoulder, Signal,' and 'Convenience Store Woman.'

Jun 19, 2018

'New York Times' national security correspondent David Sanger says U.S. officials worry that foreign powers have planted malware that could take down critical infrastructure, including the electric power grid and cell phone systems. Sanger's new book is 'The Perfect Weapon.' Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the new Father John Misty record, 'God's Favorite Customer.'

Jun 18, 2018

The singer, songwriter and guitarist underwent surgeries in 1996 and 2013 that affected his throat and voice. Now, he says, he likes his voice better: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." His new album, 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' is his first in 13 years. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'There There,' a debut novel from Tommy Orange.

Jun 16, 2018
Schrader wrote and directed the new film 'First Reformed,' which stars Hawke as a pastor having a crisis of faith. Schrader also wrote 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull. He considers his new film to be his first spiritual film. Also, critic Justin Chang reviews the new Pixar movie 'Incredibles 2.' Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon writes about his relationship with his father, as well as his own experiences as the parent of four, in 'Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces.'
Jun 15, 2018

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 talk about the film. Also we remember war photographer David Douglas Duncan and Elvis Presley's drummer D.J. Fontana.

Jun 14, 2018

Conway, a women's history scholar and the first female president of Smith College, died June 1. She grew up on a remote Australian sheep farm and later went on to write three memoirs. She fought for women’s equality in education and in the workplace, and insisted on equality in her marriage. Also, Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Lush' by Snail Mail, and Justin Chang reviews 'Incredibles 2.'

Jun 13, 2018

As some athletes kneel for the national anthem to protest racial injustice, and others decline to visit the White House after championships, journalist Howard Bryant discusses the history of social protest among African-American athletes. His new book, 'The Heritage,' traces the tradition back to Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and others. Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album by pianist Shamie Royston.

Jun 12, 2018

Schrader wrote and directed the new film 'First Reformed,' which stars Hawke as a pastor having a crisis of faith. Schrader also wrote 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull.' "I was intoxicated by action and empathy, sex and violence," Schrader says of his early work. "And these are not [themes] in the transcendental tool kit." He considers his new film to be his first spiritual film. 

Jun 11, 2018

Carl Zimmer is a science columnist for the 'New York Times.' His new book, 'She Has Her Mother's Laugh,' is about the broader implications of genetic research and testing. Zimmer tells Terry Gross about genetically modified mosquitoes that are resistant to malaria, how genetic testing was used in the Golden State Killer case, and what he learned about his family history from having his entire genome sequenced. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews two mysteries she thinks would make for terrific summer reading.

Jun 9, 2018

Hernandez played on World Series-winning teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on 'Seinfeld.' His new memoir is 'I'm Keith Hernandez.' Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Hereditary,' which he says is the most emotionally devastating horror movie he's seen in ages. And Offerman has made a career out of playing colorful cranks — most notably, Ron Swanson, the boss on NBC's 'Parks and Recreation.' He now stars as a middle-age single dad in 'Hearts Beat Loud.'

Jun 8, 2018

Bourdain, who died at 61, traveled the world, sampling local cuisine and meeting people along the way. We listen back to his Fresh Air interview from 2016 when he talked about starting his career as a dishwasher, cooking for his daughter, and his love of street food. "I'm happiest experiencing food in the most purely emotional way," Bourdain said. And critic David Bianculli remembers the debut, 70 years ago this month, of two variety shows — one hosted by Milton Berle, the other by Ed Sullivan — that showcased the powerful impact of television.

Jun 7, 2018

After making a career playing colorful cranks, like Ron Swanson on 'Parks and Recreation,' Offerman plays a different, more nuanced character in 'Hearts Beat Loud.' "This is the largest role, by far, I've ever had in a film," he says. Also, critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews 'Cheek to Cheek,' a compilation of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. 

Jun 6, 2018

Clint Watts developed online relationships with terrorists and their sympathizers in order to understand and undermine terror networks. He also researched Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections. His new book is 'Messing with the Enemy.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a re-issue of a classic 1991 album by Anthony Braxton and his quartet, and film critic Justin Chang reviews the horror-thriller 'Hereditary,' starring Toni Collette. 

Jun 5, 2018

Rhodes was a speechwriter and deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He talks about some of his more intense moments with the president and about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rhodes' new memoir about his eight years in the White House is called 'The World as It Is.' Also, critic John Powers reviews the CIA thriller series 'Condor.'

Jun 4, 2018

Hernandez played on World Series-winning teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on 'Seinfeld.' His new memoir about learning baseball and being his own worst enemy is 'I'm Keith Hernandez.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Stranger Days' by 23-year-old trumpeter Adam O’Farrill.

Jun 2, 2018

Best-selling humorist writer David Sedaris talks about his hobby picking up trash on the side of the road, the secret to being in a long relationship, and his new collection of stories, 'Calypso. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Stephen McCauley's new satirical novel 'My Ex-Life.' André Leon Talley felt like a misfit growing up — until he stumbled upon a copy of 'Vogue.' Paging through the iconic fashion magazine, he says, was like traveling down a "rabbit hole [into] a world of glamour." Talley took over as the magazine's creative director in 1988, and served as editor-at-large from 1998 until 2013.

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