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: 11 min 27 sec ago

Climbing Documentary 'Meru' Is A Hair-Raising 'Peak Experience'

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 1:27pm

A new documentary charts the attempts of a trio of American climbers to be the first to scale Mount Meru, a 21,000-foot Himalayan peak. Critic David Edelstein says Meru is "cunning" — and terrifying.

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'Fear The Walking Dead' And 'Documentary Now!' Riff On Familiar Themes

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 1:01pm

Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli reviews two very different new television projects – IFC's spoof show, Documentary Now!, and AMC's prequel series, Fear the Walking Dead.

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How Close Are We Really To A Robot-Run Society?

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:42pm

From self-driving cars to automated warehouses, humans are being pushed out of the equation. Soon, robots will "do a million other things we can't even conceive of," author John Markoff says.

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With 100th Episode, Larry Wilmore's 'Nightly Show' Has Found Its Voice

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 2:46pm

The self-deprecating host of Comedy Central's The Nightly Show says it took a few months to get comfortable in his new role. "People are holding your feet to the fire immediately," he says.

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Lily Tomlin At 75: The Actress Discusses Great Roles, Old Cars And Coming Out

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 1:25pm

The star of the film Grandma and the Netflix series Grace and Frankie married her partner of 42 years, Jane Wagner, in 2013. Tomlin discusses her work and her decision to be open about her sexuality.

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'The Thompson Fields' Mixes Prairie Dreaming With A Big-Band Beat

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 1:25pm

Composer Maria Schneider draws on her rural Minnesota roots in her new album. Critic Kevin Whitehead says that while Schneider can do grandeur, "once in awhile, the majesty gets a little too purple."

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Documentary Revisits The 'Dazzling' Polemics Of The Buckley-Vidal Debates

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:52pm

Best of Enemies chronicles the 1968 debates between conservative editor William F. Buckley and liberal novelist Gore Vidal. Critic John Powers weighs in on the legacy of their verbal crossfire.

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Lesbian Cartoonist Alison Bechdel Countered Dad's Secrecy By Being Out And Open

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 1:45pm

The musical and graphic novel Fun Home describe Bechdel's coming out, and her dad's closeted homosexuality. She says, "In many ways ... my professional career has been a reaction to my father's life."

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Fresh Air Weekend: Elephant Poachers; 'Mistress America'; A Teenage 'Diary'

Sat, 08/15/2015 - 8:03am

Journalist Bryan Christy talks about using GPS trackers to follow elephant poachers. Justin Chang reviews Mistress America. Phoebe Gloeckner and Marielle Heller discuss The Diary of a Teenage Girl.

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Jason Segel On Breakups, Bromances And 'Freaks And Geeks'

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 1:04pm

The star of the The End of the Tour may be best known for his "bromance" films. "These kind of buddy movies are allowing men to open up a little bit," Segel says. Originally broadcast March 23, 2009.

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David Foster Wallace: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 1:04pm

In 1996, Wallace's novel Infinite Jest was a critical and popular success. The new movie The End of The Tour recreates the author's tour for that book. Originally broadcast March 5, 1997.

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'Show Me A Hero' Offers A Nuanced Take On Public Housing Discrimination

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 11:28am

David Simon's new HBO mini-series, Show Me a Hero, examines racial biases in New York City's public housing laws. Critic David Bianculli says, "This 25-year-old true story couldn't seem more timely."

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On Screen, 'Diary Of A Teenage Girl' Packs The Punch Of A Good Graphic Novel

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:09pm

The new film directed by Marielle Heller is a sexual coming-of-age story about a 15- year-old girl who loses her virginity to her mother's boyfriend. Critic David Edelstein has a review.

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A 'Diary' Unlocked: A Teenage Coming-Of-Age Story Put On Film

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:04pm

When she was 15, Phoebe Gloeckner lost her virginity to her mother's boyfriend. Gloeckner wrote about the experience in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which Marielle Heller adapted into a film.

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Poetry Is Set To Melody In Iris DeMent's 'The Trackless Woods'

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:43pm

Poems by the Russian writer Anna Akhmatova form the basis of singer Iris DeMent's new album. Critic Ken Tucker says Akhmatova and DeMent share an urge to articulate "sorrow, sacrifice and gratitude."

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GPS Trackers In Fake Elephant Tusks Reveal Ivory Smuggling Route

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:33pm

Some 30,000 African elephants die each year as a result of poaching. Journalist Bryan Christy wanted to see where their tusks were going, so he ordered fake tusks and fitted them with trackers.

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Confronting Mortality In An Unsettling, Inspiring 'Tour Of Bones'

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 12:37pm

Before her death in 2014, author Denise Inge took a spiritual journey to bone houses throughout Europe. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the resulting book, The Tour of Bones, is "strange and chaotic."

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Legislating Desire: An Author's Take On 'Bad Laws And Good Sex'

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 12:37pm

American sex laws have not always kept pace with society's changing standards. In The Boundaries of Desire, Eric Berkowitz explores how the legal system has addressed sex in the last century.

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Music Journalist Chronicles The 'Wild Obsessive Hunt' For Rare 78 RPM Records

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 11:42am

In Do Not Sell At Any Price, Amanda Petrusich details the extreme measures collectors take in pursuit of rare 78s. "You can still find quite a few of them around at junk shops," she says.

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Block The Vote: A Journalist Discusses Voting Rights And Restrictions

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 1:21pm

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed racial discrimination in voting. But author Ari Berman says a 2013 Supreme Court ruling blocks the act's enforcement — and opens the door for new restrictions.

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