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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Remembrances
1:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Surgeon And 'How We Die' Author Sherwin Nuland

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Because he was a doctor, Sherwin Nuland witnessed many deaths, including those in his own family. Dr. Nuland - who was a surgeon - was the author of "How We Die," an influential book about dying, which won a National Book Award. It was published in 1994. Twenty years after his book was published, Dr. Nuland himself died on Monday at his home in Connecticut from prostate cancer. He was 83.

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Interviews
1:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Americanah' Author Explains 'Learning' To Be Black In The U.S.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and Granta. She is also the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun.
Little, Brown and Co.

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:46 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 27, 2013.

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Movie Reviews
1:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe

Ralph Fiennes plays Gustave H., a hotel concierge given to bedding his elderly guests, in Wes Anderson's latest film.
Bob Yeoman Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 1:46 pm

Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found The Grand Budapest Hotel mostly delightful.

It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and II.

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Music Reviews
11:18 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy

Pharrell, sporting more conventional headwear.
Mimi Valdés Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:03 pm

Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.

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Around the Nation
10:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

How 4 Inmates Launched A Statewide Hunger Strike From Solitary

The July 8 hunger strike wasn't the first California's Pelican Bay State Prison has seen. Inmates in the prison's isolation unit also protested their conditions in 2011.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 3:30 pm

Last summer, four alleged leaders of rival prison gangs worked together to coordinate a hunger strike at California's Pelican Bay State Prison. They were protesting long-term, indefinite incarceration in solitary confinement.

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Book Reviews
12:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

'Schmuck' Revisits The Golden Age Of Radio, And A Bygone Manhattan

RTimages iStockphoto

Beginning in 1952, and running through 1968, there was a legendary radio show called Klavan And Finch that was on WNEW in New York City. It was a four-hour live program featuring music and antic conversation between handsome, straight man Dee Finch and his live-wire counterpart, Gene Klavan.

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Author Interviews
12:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Case For Tammany Hall Being On The Right Side Of History

Seen here in 1935, the building that housed Manhattan's Democratic Party, known as Tammany Hall, still stands today.
AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:18 am

Back in 1900, when Americans in cities counted on ice to keep food, milk and medicines fresh, New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck's career ended when it emerged that a company given a monopoly on the ice business was doubling prices while giving the mayor and his cronies big payoffs.

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Author Interviews
11:44 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:46 am

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember Justin Kaplan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who also edited the 16th edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," published in 1992 and the 17th edition, published in 2002. Justin Kaplan died Sunday at the age 88. His first book, a 1966 biography of Mark Twain, won a National Book Award, as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote biographies of Walt Whitman and Lincoln Steffens.

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Author Interviews
11:44 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'

Kevin Young's 2012 essay collection The Grey Album: On The Blackness Of Blackness was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Melanie Dunea CPi

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:46 am

In Kevin Young's new collection, Book Of Hours, poems about the death of his father appear alongside poems about the birth of his son.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that, in a way, those events were the anchors of his life.

"It was a way of just writing about what had happened and also the way that the cycle of life informed my life, from death to birth to ... a kind of rebirth that I felt afterward."

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All Tech Considered
11:43 am
Tue March 4, 2014

By The Time Your Car Goes Driverless, You Won't Know The Difference

Mercedes' S500 Intelligent Drive is one traditional carmaker's approach to driverless cars.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:23 am

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Author Interviews
10:04 am
Mon March 3, 2014

During World War II, Even Filmmakers Reported For Duty

Maj. Frank Capra sits at his War Department desk in Washington on March 6, 1942. Capra's non-War Department films include It's A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 10:35 am

When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.

Through the 1930s, Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films. The ideas was to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.

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Music Reviews
10:04 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Chuck Mead: Gleefully Sinister Country Serenades

Chuck Mead.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:25 am

In "Reno County Girl," Chuck Mead serenades us with a tale about a young woman with whom his narrator fell in love. It's a loping country song, Mead's version of cowboy music, but as its pretty melody unfurls, you realize that its scenario is bleak: Mead's character urged her to leave home despite the objections of her father, and it turns out Daddy was right — this guy leaves her all by her lonesome much of the time.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:55 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: The Cosmos, Harold Ramis, And Protecting Your Data Online

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

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
10:24 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Liam Neeson's Action Chops Take Flight In 'Non-Stop'

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Liam Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 with the thriller "Taken." Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists in the new action thriller "Non-Stop," most of which unfolds on a transatlantic flight from New York to London. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Interviews
9:23 am
Fri February 28, 2014

A New 'Testament' Told From Mary's Point Of View

Colm Toibin's novel, The Testament of Mary, imagines the life of the mother of Christ in her later years.
Steve Heap iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:24 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 28, 2012.

In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toibin imagines Mary's life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son's fate.

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