Fresh Air

Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on KUOW2

Fresh Air with Terry Gross is a Peabody Award-winning magazine of contemporary arts and issues. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators. Fresh Air is produced at WHYY in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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Author Interviews
12:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

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Music Reviews
12:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Fight Sound With Sound: Grateful Dead's Arena Combat

Dave's Picks Volume 9 features a 1974 Grateful Dead concert played in Montana.
Courtesy of the artist

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:27 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Bryan Cranston, 'Redeployment' And A New Yorker Cartoonist

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

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
8:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 11:20 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Television
8:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Good Wife' Delivers A Game-Changing Stunner

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 11:20 am

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Interviews
8:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 11:20 am

This interview originally aired on Jan. 7, 2013.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

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Performing Arts
9:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

From Walter White To LBJ, Bryan Cranston Is A Master Of Transformation

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 12:15 pm

In the 2008 pilot of AMC's Breaking Bad, high school teacher Walter White fails to interest his chemistry students in the study of change. But over the course of the series, Walt himself came to exemplify radical change, using his knowledge of chemistry to become a master meth cook, and transforming himself into a notorious outlaw who was willing to kill, when necessary, to keep his operation running.

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Author Interviews
11:50 am
Wed March 26, 2014

'Sleep Donation': A Dark, Futuristic Lullaby For Insomniacs

efenzi iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 1:42 pm

Imagine an America that has been plagued for years by a mysterious epidemic of insomnia — an affliction so serious that many are dying from lack of sleep. That's the futuristic premise of Karen Russell's new novella, Sleep Donation.

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Book Reviews
11:50 am
Wed March 26, 2014

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:13 pm

Here's an old joke you may have heard: "How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "You wouldn't know, you weren't there."

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Europe
11:05 am
Tue March 25, 2014

How Crimea's Annexation Plays To Russians' Soviet Nostalgia

An activist carries a Russian flag during a rally on Sunday in eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:13 pm

According to political scientist Kimberly Marten, Russia's decision to annex Crimea from Ukraine may have changed its relationship with the outside world for many years to come.

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Book Reviews
11:05 am
Tue March 25, 2014

'Thief' Delivers An Unfiltered Depiction Of Life In Lagos

Derrick Ceyrac AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 12:07 pm

Let's get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole's Every Day Is For The Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that's all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you'll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor's visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria.

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Music Reviews
11:14 am
Mon March 24, 2014

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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Author Interviews
11:14 am
Mon March 24, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Explores What Makes Us Get It

Bob Mankoff/The New Yorker Collection/Condé Nast

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:43 pm

Bob Mankoff has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker ever since 1977 and now, as cartoon editor, he evaluates more than 500 cartoons submitted to the magazine each week.

Mankoff is proud of the many cartoons that have been published under his aegis. "Sometimes I take my aegis out of my drawer just to admire it," he writes.

His most well-known cartoon shows an executive looking at his desk calendar, saying to someone on the phone: "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?"

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:07 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Blood Will Out,' An Opera Powerhouse And A Reading

When hitting a high note, mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says, "You have to have support. You have to have resonance. People have to understand what you're saying."
David Sauer Courtesy of the artist

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
7:13 am
Fri March 21, 2014

'Nymphomaniac': Chasing Sex, But Only On Her Terms

Felicity Gilbert, Shia LaBeouf and Stacy Martin in one of the episodic flashbacks that spin out the story of Nymphomaniac: Volume I.
Christian Geisnaes Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:09 am

Lars von Trier's latest provocation is an episodic sexual epic called Nymphomaniac, which comes in two two-hour parts, or "volumes," though it's basically one movie sliced in half. The thinking must have been, "Who wants four hours of hardcore sex and philosophizing?," and if you say, "Me, me!," I suggest seeing both back to back: It's an art-house orgy!

Should you see it at all? I recommend it guardedly. It's dumb, but in a bold, ambitious way movies mostly aren't these days, especially when there's sex in the equation. And it's funny, sometimes intentionally.

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