With just two episodes to go until the AMC series 'Mad Men' wraps for good, the show creator talks about everything his main character has lost — and what the show is all about. Critic at-large John Powers reviews a reissue of late crime writer Ted Lewis' final novel, 'GBH.'
'The Good Wife' writers and creators Michelle and Robert King talk about why they chose law as the backdrop to their show and the benefits of being on network TV versus cable. Kevin Whitehead reviews Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto's new album 'Triangles and Circles.' Then 'Walking Dead' showrunner Scott M. Gimple tells us how the gory zombie sound effects are made and and why he thinks the show is so successful.
Barry Estabrook wanted to know more about pigs and their journey from the farm to his plate. In a new book 'Pig Tales,' he explores the dichotomies of the industry that's raising our pork. Maureen Corrigan reviews journalist Asne Seierstad's chronicles of the 2011 shooting massacre in Norway. Her book is called 'One of Us.'
Baseball's Mike Matheny speaks with Fresh Air's Dave Davies about his playing career, managing in the big leagues and the pressures of youth sports. Matheny is the author of 'The Matheny Manifesto.' David Letterman retires this month after 33 years hosting late-night television. TV critic David Bianculli says that Letterman's humor "provided a new blueprint for the TV talk show."
Comic Louis CK talks about his first open mic night, how parenting changed his comedy, and tripping on acid in 8th grade. John Powers reviews Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical novel, 'My Struggle.' And, 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.
Actor Timothy Spall takes on 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner, a "master of the sublime" in 'Mr. Turner.' Spall won best actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Cannes Film Festival for the roll. David Edelstein reviews 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.'
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.'