It's a common pledge of candor for a roster of presidential hopeful. As linguist Geoff Nunberg explains, the promise to "tell it like it is" has its roots in black speech from the '40s and '50s.
The former member of the Drive-by Truckers unleashes his storytelling skills in his new album, Something More Than Free. Rock critic Ken Tucker says Isbell's lyrics reward a close listen.
Dr. David Casarett used to think of medical marijuana as "a joke." But after taking a deeper look, he's changed his mind. Casarett's new book is Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana.
Growing up in Baltimore, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates faced threats from both the streets and the police. His book, Between the World and Me, is an open letter to his teenage son.
Depending on whom you ask, Go Set a Watchman is either a recently discovered first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird — or a failed sequel. Either way, critic Maureen Corrigan calls it "kind of a mess."
Reviewer Justin Chang says a new film about transgender sex workers on Christmas Eve is a "warts-and-all immersion in one of L.A.'s seamier subcultures — and a terrific girlfriend movie to boot."
In the dawning of the digital age, "She was the unlucky one to be having a nervous breakdown in public at the time," Amy director Asif Kapadia tells Fresh Air. Originally broadcast July 8, 2015.
In July 1970, Duke Ellington recorded two tunes engineered by Conny Plank. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says The Conny Plank Session, which is now on CD, is a window onto Ellington's working method.
Wonder Woman's creator had a few secrets of his own. Historian Jill Lepore describes William Moulton Marstothe's unusual life in The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Originally broadcast Oct. 27, 2014.
In Do I Sound Gay?, director David Thorpe discusses the so-called "gay voice" and reveals his own attempt (with speech pathologist Susan Sankin) to sound "less gay." Originally broadcast July 7, 2015.
For 25 years, attorney Mary Bonauto and activist Evan Wolfson helped shape the gay marriage movement. They discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling, which represented the culmination of their efforts.
Sean Baker's bleak, boisterous farce follows two transgender sex workers on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. David Edelstein says Tangerine is "brilliantly shaped, edited, scored and performed."
In the dawning of the digital age, "She was the unlucky one to be having a nervous breakdown in public at the time," Amy director Asif Kapadia tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Two new works of art — the documentary film Cartel Land and the novel The Cartel — shine a light on the seemingly endless drug war in Mexico. John Powers says both works are bleak, but gripping.
In Do I Sound Gay?, director David Thorpe searches for the origin of the so-called "gay voice" and documents his own attempts (with speech pathologist Susan Sankin) to sound "less gay."
The 26-year-old singer focuses on cleverly constructed lyrics — instead of rebellion — in her new record. Critic Ken Tucker says the singer falls short of creating a "sustained great album."
"Good people with the best of intentions ... can get things terribly, terribly wrong," says legal scholar Adam Benforado. His book, Unfair, explores the intrinsic flaws of the American justice system.
Summer and suspense fiction go together like the Fourth of July and firecrackers. Book critic Maureen Corrigan recommends four books that are deadly accurate in their aim to entertain.
Mat Johnson discusses his book Loving Day. David Bianculli says cable comics keep news-makers honest. Rick Famuyiwa calls Dope a celebration of kids whose interests don't fit into pop-culture norms.
The new film illustrates the inner workings of an 11-year-old's mind. Her emotions — Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Joy — are the stars. Originally broadcast June 10, 2015.