Fresh Air

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This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.
Updated: 45 min 53 sec ago

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: 'All I Could Do Was Weep'

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 8:00am

Regina Mason's great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, was a runaway slave and the author of what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

Fresh Air Weekend: Ray Liotta; Showtime's 'Billions'; Author Elizabeth Strout

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 8:00am

Ray Liotta discusses Goodfellas, acting and his return to TV. Critic John Powers reviews Showtime's new drama series, Billions. Olive Kitteridge author Elizabeth Strout discusses her latest novel.

Showtime's Financial Drama 'Billions' Doubles Down On Melodrama And Machismo

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:07pm

Critic John Powers says viewers shouldn't expect to learn about the inner working of Wall Street from the glossy new series Billions. Instead, the show offers clipping action and punchy dialogue.

'Fiddler' Songwriters Discuss Putting Themselves In The 'Soul Of The Characters'

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:07pm

Together Sheldon Harnick and the late Jerry Bock wrote the songs for the Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof. Both men spoke to Fresh Air in 2004; Harnick spoke to Fresh Air again in 2014.

The Fog Of War Collides With The Fog Of Michael Bay In '13 Hours'

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 1:56pm

Bay's new film presents the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya from the perspective of military contractors. Critic David Edelstein says 13 Hours is a "ham-handed but ... generally effective portrait."

The Failed Coup That Led To Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'

Thu, 01/14/2016 - 1:56pm

Adolf Hitler wrote his famous manifesto while serving time for an attempted coup that started in a German beer hall. Author Peter Ross Range says, "There was an obvious need to get his message out."

'My Ears Are Open': Novelist Elizabeth Strout Finds Inspiration In Everyday Life

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:00pm

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge says she was a "bad lawyer" before turning her energies to writing. Her latest novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, is about an aspiring writer.

Going Away Without 'Ghosting': A Better Way To Say 'I'm Not Into You'

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:00pm

The simple answer? Honesty. Commentator Sarah Hepola says that once she learned how to turn down dates with men she wasn't interested in, it became much easier to say yes to the ones she liked.

Everyone Uses Singular 'They,' Whether They Realize It Or Not

Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:00pm

The singular, gender-neutral usage of "they" is now acceptable on college campuses, among the genderqueer and in the Washington Post. Linguist Geoff Nunberg traces the rise of the new "they."

Saxophonist Scott Hamilton Harmonizes With The Jeff Hamilton Trio On 'Live In Bern'

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 2:07pm

For years, Scott Hamilton toured as a soloist. Recently he recorded a new album with drummer Jeff Hamilton's band. Critic Kevin Whitehead says the record showcases Scott Hamilton's ageless style.

Ray Liotta On 'Goodfellas,' Acting And His Return To TV

Tue, 01/12/2016 - 2:07pm

"When I first started," Liotta says, "television was kind of like the wasteland. ... Now [it's] very respected." Liotta plays a corrupt NYC police lieutenant on the new NBC series Shades of Blue.

Remembering Otis Clay, A Blues Hall Of Fame Musician

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 12:23pm

Clay, who died Friday in Chicago, made a name for himself as an R&B singer with hits like "Trying to Live my Life Without You" and "A Lasting Love." Originally broadcast in 1999.

David Bowie On The Ziggy Stardust Years: 'We Were Creating The 21st Century In 1971'

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 12:23pm

The legendary rock musician died Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday. In 2002, Bowie spoke with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about songwriting, performing and his Ziggy Stardust persona.

Goodbye Jobs, Hello 'Gigs': Nunberg's Word Of The Year Sums Up A New Economic Reality

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 12:23pm

Once used by '50s hipsters to connote a no-strings-attached job, "gig" has been co-opted by venture capitalists hyping the new economic order. Linguist Geoff Nunberg reflects on the word's resurgence.

Revisiting The 'Last Interview' Of Ernest Hemingway, Philip K. Dick And Nora Ephron

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 12:23pm

A series of books published by Melville House gathers together the final interviews conducted with prominent deceased writers and thinkers. Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the latest in the series.

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Carol'; Ellie Goulding's New Album; A Paramedic's 'Wild Ride'

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 8:00am

Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy and director Todd Haynes discuss their film, Carol. Ken Tucker reviews British singer Ellie Goulding's new record. Kevin Hazzard shares stories from his work as a paramedic.

Carole King: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 12:29pm

King, who recently received a Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, says the thrill of hearing one of her songs on the radio "doesn't go away." Originally broadcast April 11, 2012.

Aretha Franklin: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 12:29pm

The Queen of Soul, who recently brought down the house at the Kennedy Center with the hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about her life and music in 1999.

Journalist Says Iran-Saudi Showdown Comes At A 'Really Dangerous' Time

Thu, 01/07/2016 - 1:20pm

Robin Wright, who writes about Saudi Arabia and Iran in the current issue of The New Yorker, says upcoming Syrian peace talks have been compromised by the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric.

Animation Pairs With Soul-Crushing Isolation In 'Anomalisa'

Thu, 01/07/2016 - 12:43pm

The new film by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman uses stop-motion animation to tell a quasi-love story. Critic David Edelstein calls Anomalisa amazing — but also creepy and, ultimately, unsatisfying.

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