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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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Mar 25, 2017

Pete Holmes' new HBO show 'Crashing' is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage as a stand-up comic. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy," not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club." Author Ron Powers’ new book ‘No One Cares About Crazy People’ is both a memoir about his two sons with schizophrenia and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally.

Mar 24, 2017

In the first half of the 20th century, American eugenicists used forced sterilization to "breed out" traits they considered undesirable. The Nazis borrowed from the U.S. eugenics sterilization program. Adam Cohen tells the story in his book, 'Imbeciles,’ now out in paperback. Film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘Wilson,’ adapted from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel.

Mar 23, 2017

Day was a champion of the poor and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Her granddaughter, writer Kate Hennessy, talks about her grandmother’s bohemian past. Hennessy’s new biography of Day draws from family letters, diaries, interviews and her own memories.  Also, ‘Fresh Air’ remembers Chuck Barris, creator of ‘The Dating Game,’ ‘The Newlywed Game,’ and ‘The Gong Show.’ He died Tuesday at 87. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1986. 

Mar 22, 2017

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Jane Mayer talks about Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, who have poured millions of dollars into ‘Breitbart News’ and pushed to have Steve Bannon run Trump’s campaign. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Devil and Webster,’ a novel about a New England college in turmoil.

Mar 21, 2017

Holmes’ new 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."

Mar 20, 2017

"There is no greater feeling of helplessness than to watch two beloved sons deteriorate before [your] eyes," says Ron Powers. His new book 'No One Cares About Crazy People' is both about his sons and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally. Also, rock historian Ed Ward looks back on Chuck Berry’s early career. He died Saturday at 90.

Mar 18, 2017

'Get Out' is about a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of 'Key & Peele') calls his movie a "social thriller." Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Frank Carlberg’s meditation on Thelonious Monk. Author Sebastian Barry discusses his book ‘Days Without End' with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. It's about an Irish immigrant conscripted right off the boat, who falls in love with one of his fellow soldiers.

Mar 17, 2017

To mark the Broadway composer's 90th birthday, we’re replaying excerpts of his 1991 and 2015 interviews with Terry Gross. David Bianculli reviews ‘Julie’s Greenroom’ on Netflix, a children’s series starring Julie Andrews and Jim Henson puppets. Film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘T2 Trainspotting.’

Mar 16, 2017

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Elif Batuman talks about her Turkish-American roots and her new novel, which follows a young woman's first year at Harvard University in the ‘90s, and how she finds love through email. It’s based on her own experiences. Also, writer Daniel Torday reflects on the vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Milo Miles reviews Sxip Shirey’s album ‘A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees.’

Mar 15, 2017

‘Get Out’ tells the story of a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time — without first telling them he’s black. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of ‘Key & Peele’) calls his movie a “social thriller.” He talks about his love of horror, his biracial identity, and making a film that would play differently to black and white audiences.

Mar 14, 2017

Rukmini Callimachi covers ISIS for the ‘New York Times.’ She just returned from Iraq where she was embedded with Iraqi soldiers as they battled to liberate the western half of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS. She says ISIS is more fierce than ever.

Mar 13, 2017

Author Adam Alter says that technology is designed to be addictive, and that the gratification it provides is similar to that of other addictive behaviors, such as drug abuse or gambling. Alter’s book is ‘Irresistible.’ Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews ‘Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares,’ from pianist and composer Frank Carlberg. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel ‘Heretics’ by Leonardo Padura.

Mar 11, 2017

'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,' now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,’ misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president.  Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Personal Shopper,’ starring Kristen Stewart. Finally, author Mohsin Hamid talks about his new novel, 'Exit West,' which is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants.

Mar 10, 2017

According to Adam Hochschild, about 2,800 Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War, and some were bombed by Nazis years before the U.S. entered World War II. His book, ‘Spain in Our Hearts,’ is now in paperback.  Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘The Sense of an Ending.’

Mar 9, 2017

'New York Times’ journalist Emily Bazelon says the relationship between the Trump strategist and the attorney general predates the 2016 campaign, and that their anti-immigration policies come from fears of a growing minority population.

Mar 8, 2017

Hamid's new novel, ‘Exit West,’ is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants. Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but has lived in New York and London. He talks about feeling like an outsider, social media and anxiety, and the power of language. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares an appreciation of composer and pianist Misha Mengelberg, who died recently.

Mar 7, 2017

Author Norman Ohler says that Hitler's drug abuse increased "significantly" from the fall of 1941 until the winter of 1944: "Hitler needed those highs to substitute [for] his natural charisma." Methamphetamine was distributed to German troops to keep them awake and "reduce fear" during long battles. Ohler’s new book is ‘Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich.’ TV critic David Bianculli reviews the premiere of FX’s 5th season of ‘The Americans.’

Mar 6, 2017

‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,’ now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,”misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album ‘I See You’ from the British group The xx.

Mar 4, 2017

Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar talks about being shot down by the Taliban, being a warrior and mother, and why being told she "shoots like a girl" is a compliment. TV critic David Bianculli reviews ‘Feud: Bette and Joan.’ Also, ‘National Geographic' photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. (So far he's photographed about 6,500.) He talks about racing against time to photograph endangered species for ‘The Photo Ark.’

Mar 3, 2017

Anderson delivers a standout performance as the mother of an embittered rodeo clown in ‘Baskets.’ The show, co-created by Louis C.K, Zach Galifianakis, and Jonathan Krisel, is in its second season.  TV critic David Bianculli reviews ‘Feud: Bette and Joan.’ David Edelstein weighs in on the new X-Men film, ‘Logan.’

Mar 2, 2017

Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar talks about being shot down by the Taliban, accidentally getting high from burning marijuana fields, and why being told she “shoots like a girl” is a compliment. She served three tours in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross with a Valor Device.

Mar 1, 2017

David Remnick and Evan Osnos of ‘The New Yorker’ say Russia was caught off guard by Trump's election. "This was like a bank heist that, instead of blowing the doors off the safe, they blew the safe up entirely," Osnos says. Also, Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘Waking Lions’ by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen.

Feb 28, 2017

Author Kay Redfield Jamison’s new book describes how Lowell’s manic-depressive illness influenced his life and work. “His manias tended to lead him into writing a fresh kind of poetry,” she says. Lloyd Schwartz reviews a reissue of ‘Chimes At Midnight’ starring Orson Welles, and jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from saxophonist Miguel Zenón.

Feb 27, 2017

‘National Geographic’ photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. So far he’s photographed about 6,500 species. He talks about some of the challenges he faces on the job, like getting an arctic fox to hold still, and being chased by elephants.  Also, we remember actor Bill Paxton who died this past weekend. Paxton starred in HBO’s ‘Big Love,’ and in the films ‘A Simple Plan,’ and ‘Titanic.’ He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

Feb 25, 2017

After working mostly as a behind-the-scenes guy on 'Chappelle's Show' and 'Inside Amy Schumer,' comic Neal Brennan is stepping out as a performer with his new Netflix special, '3 Mics.' John Powers reviews 'My Favorite Thing is Monsters,' a new graphic novel by first-time writer Emil Ferris. Author Glenn Frankel talks about the Hollywood blacklist and the making of the classic film 'High Noon,' which was written as a parable about the blacklist.

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