Fresh Air Weekend

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every week she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns. 

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Pop Culture
10:40 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Maria Bamford: A Seriously Funny Comedian

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 12:05 pm

It's almost uncomfortable to laugh at Maria Bamford's comedy, because so much of it is about really serious problems she has: OCD, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts. She's been hospitalized several times. But you have to laugh, because she's that funny.

In addition to the difficulties from which she suffers, Bamford — who has a new comedy CD out called Ask Me About My New God! — incorporates her family into much of her material. She's close to both her parents, in part, she says, because they've been through so much together.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:46 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Jason Isbell Locates His Musical Compass On 'Southeastern'

Jason Isbell was previously a member of Drive-By Truckers. His solo albums include Sirens of the Ditch and Here We Rest.
Eric England Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:38 am

When singer-songwriter Jason Isbell used to get drunk, he'd sometimes tell his then-girlfriend, the musician Amanda Shires, that he needed to quit the bottle — and that if it was going to take, he'd have to go to rehab. Eventually, she said the next time he told her that, she'd hold him to it. And she did. And he went. And, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "The jury is still out on whether or not it worked, but it worked today and all the days leading up to this."

Initially, he says he was scared about what sobriety would do to his personality and his creativity.

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Television
1:29 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Laughs And Drama Behind Bars With 'Orange Is The New Black'

Taylor Schilling and Lin Tucci in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
Jessica Miglio Netflix

Netflix's original series Orange Is the New Black has two important TV predecessors. One is HBO's Oz, the 1997 men-in-prison drama from Tom Fontana that paved the way for HBO's The Sopranos. The other is Showtime's Weeds, which in the fourth season put one of its central characters behind bars.

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Around the Nation
1:29 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Investigation Reveals A Military Payroll Rife With Glitches

Scot Paltrow is a special enterprise correspondent for Reuters.
Reuters

A new investigative report from Reuters says payroll errors in the military are widespread. And that "once mistakes are detected, getting them corrected — or just explained — can test even the most persistent soldiers."

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Music Reviews
10:40 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Sylvester: 'Mighty Real' Disco Star Deserves A Modern Spotlight

Sylvester's 1978 album Step II resulted in a couple of smash singles, "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)."
Fantasy Archives

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 1:29 pm

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Author Interviews
12:04 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Christ In Context: 'Zealot' Explores The Life Of Jesus

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 2:13 pm

Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from Iran, and Aslan's conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent's attempt to fit into American life and culture. "My parents were certainly surprised," Aslan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Fresh Air Weekend
6:03 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Liev Schreiber, Tomi Ungerer And Jay-Z

Tomi Ungerer's 1967 book Moon Man follows its lonely protagonist as he visits Earth for the very first time.
Tomi Ungerer

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Fresh Air Weekend
6:03 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Schreiber, Ungerer And 'The Newsroom'

Liev Schreiber as Hollywood lawyer Ray Donovan in Ray Donovan.
Suzanne Tenner Showtime

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Movie Reviews
10:57 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Introducing Oscar Grant, The Man Behind The Headlines

Based on a true story, Fruitvale Station won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Michael B. Jordan stars as Oscar Grant and Ariana Neal stars as his young daughter, Tatiana.
Cait Adkins The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:44 am

The actor Michael B. Jordan gives a major performance in Ryan Coogler's debut film, Fruitvale Station. He plays 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was shot in a run-in with cops at an Oakland, Calif., train stop in the early hours of 2009. The film opens with cellphone footage of the actual event, so you know what's coming. But the Oscar you meet on the last day of 2008 remains a man, not a martyr.

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Television
10:23 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Back For More: Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Is A Serious Standout

Jeff Daniels returns to Aaron Sorkin's HBO series The Newsroom as cable news anchor Will McAvoy.
HBO

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:44 am

The one major change series creator Aaron Sorkin made to The Newsroom between seasons was a structural one. Instead of having each week's show focus on a separate major storyline, this year's edition of The Newsroom follows a single story over the course of the entire season. And it's a season-long plot line in which anchor Will McAvoy and the other employees of the fictional Atlantic Cable News network get one important news report very wrong.

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Interviews
8:00 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Jeff Daniels: Anchoring The Cast Of 'The Newsroom'

After a public meltdown and a wholesale staff defection, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) decides to take a different approach with his nightly news show.
HBO

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 11:44 am

This interview was originally broadcast on June 20, 2012.

Aaron Sorkin's HBO drama The Newsroom revolves around Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), a popular cable-news anchor floating happily along with his nightly newscast, which does well in the ratings but doesn't tend to delve into anything that could offend or alienate anyone.

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Music Reviews
1:11 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Jay-Z Swings Triumphant Then Trivial On 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'

Jay-Z's previous albums include Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint. He collaborated with Kanye West for Watch the Throne.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 1:19 pm

Now 43 years old, Jay-Z has become the Jay Gatsby of hip-hop: a man with a checkered background playing host to endless parties, celebrating excellence, the good life and himself. It's no wonder that he was asked to oversee the music for director Baz Luhrmann's amusement park ride version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's romantic fantasy.

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Health Care
12:59 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Former Insurance Exec Offers An Insider's Look At Obamacare

Pill bottles
iStockphoto.com

On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It's aimed at making health insurance more affordable and reducing the overall costs of health care.

Some parts of the law have already gone into effect: Insurers can't impose lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays; children can stay on their parents' plan until they're 26; children with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage; and all new insurance plans must cover preventive care and medical screenings.

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Author Interviews
11:47 am
Wed July 10, 2013

'Blue Plate Special': A Generous Helping Of Life

Author Kate Christensen weaves her love of food and cooking into a new memoir.
Michael Sharkey Doubleday

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 12:56 pm

When novelist Kate Christensen was just a toddler, she witnessed her father beating her mother. It was a scene that would haunt Christensen for decades.

And so it's with a description of that morning that she chooses to begin her memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites. The book that unfolds is an examination of the reverberations of her father's violence in her life, and a meditation on how her love of food helped her cope.

As a child, she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, she refused to identify with her mother in the scenario.

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Books
11:28 am
Wed July 10, 2013

'Eating On The Wild Side:' A Field Guide To Nutritious Food

The cover of Eating on the Wild Side.
Little Brown and Company

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 7:17 am

We like to think that if we eat our recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, we're doing right by our bodies. Think again, says health writer Jo Robinson.

In her new book, Eating on the Wild Side, Robinson argues that our prehistoric ancestors picked and gathered wild plants that were in many ways far more healthful than the stuff we buy today at farmers' markets.

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Music Reviews
11:11 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Two New Jazz Albums Recall The Wide Open Spaces of The West

Rich Halley and his quartet play with Bobby Bradford at the Penofin Jazz Festival.
Bob Pyle Rich Halley

Portland, Ore. tenor saxophonist Rich Halley's quartet album Crossing the Passes on his Pine Eagle label commemorates a week-long trek over the Wallowa mountain range in Northeast Oregon, where Halley's been climbing since he was a boy. We could talk about his dual obsessions with music and nature as cultivating a love of wide-open improvisational spaces; he's got one band that only plays outdoors. But all that climbing also has practical benefits: It builds lung-power.

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Latin America
10:42 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

In his new book, Alfredo Corchado writes about the escalating violence in Mexico.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:11 am

When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for The Dallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.

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Television
10:29 am
Mon July 8, 2013

'The Bridge:' Mayhem On The Border, With Big Issues At Stake

In the new FX series The Bridge, Diane Kruger stars as a detective investigating a murder along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Jordin Althaus FX Networks

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 12:37 pm

The FX version of the Scandinavian series The Bridge, like the Showtime version of the Israeli TV series that inspired Homeland, is a major revamp as well as a crucial relocation. With Homeland, the focus became American politics and home-soil terrorism. In The Bridge, premiering July 10, the setting is changed to the U.S.-Mexico border. This allows executive producer Meredith Stiehm, a writer-producer from Homeland, to deal with everything that relocation provides — including the white-hot issues of immigration reform and border security.

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Television
10:29 am
Mon July 8, 2013

As 'Ray Donovan,' Liev Schreiber Cleans Up Hollywood's Messes

One of the aspects that attracted Schreiber to Ray Donovan was the prospect of playing a character for whom words were relatively unimportant.
Showtime

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 5:53 am

In the new Showtime series Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber stars in the title role as a man who knows how to handle a crisis. It's Donovan's job to clean up the messes of Hollywood's rich and powerful while trying to keep his own personal problems under wraps.

A TV series is something of a new turn for Schreiber, who's been acting onstage and in movies for two decades. But playing complicated characters is something he's earned a reputation for, with roles in films like Defiance and The Manchurian Candidate.

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Music Reviews
9:46 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Eleanor Friedberger's 'Personal Record' Examines The Little Things

Personal Record is the second solo album by Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 10:29 am

One major source of pleasure in the music Eleanor Friedberger makes as half of The Fiery Furnaces is a matter of sheer density — the density of The Fiery Furnaces' musical ideas, the thick layers of words, lyrics that operate as dense sounds with meaning to be extracted from them.

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