Fresh Air

By NPR

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 Aug 17, 2018

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Description

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.

Episode Date
Best Of: Aretha Franklin / Growing Up On A Secret Missile Range
3001
Aretha Franklin died Thursday at 76. When she spoke with Terry Gross in 1999, she told stories behind some of her greatest recordings, like "Respect." The "Queen of Soul" also talked about her formative years, singing gospel music in the Baptist church where her father Rev. C. L. Franklin preached.

Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Crazy Rich Asians.'

When Karen Piper was six her family moved to the Mojave Desert to a secretive missile testing facility. In 'A Girl's Guide To Missiles' she describes how her parents designed weapons, but she didn't understand how it all connected to war.
Aug 18, 2018
Novelist And Former Spy John Le Carré
2925
Le Carré worked for MI5 and MI6 early in his career. "I felt I had to suppress my humanity," he said of those years. His novel 'A Legacy of Spies' came out in 2017.

Rock critic Ken Tucker shares an appreciation of the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, who died this week.
Aug 17, 2018
Remembering Aretha Franklin
2924
Franklin died today at 76. When she spoke with Terry Gross in 1999, she told stories behind some of her greatest recordings, like "Respect." The "Queen of Soul" also talked about her formative years, singing gospel music in the Baptist church where her father Rev. C. L. Franklin preached.
Aug 16, 2018
The Consequences Of Climate Change
2935
2018 is shaping up to be the fourth hottest year on record. Somini Sengupta, international climate reporter for 'The New York Times,' discusses the dire consequences of rising temperatures, such as drought, famine, disease, war and increased migration.
Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Crazy Rich Asians,' and rock critic Ken Tucker reviews SOPHIE's album 'OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES.'
Aug 15, 2018
Growing Up On A Secret Missile Range
2841
When Karen Piper was six her family moved to the Mojave Desert to a secretive missile testing facility. In 'A Girl's Guide To Missiles' she describes how her parents designed weapons, but she didn't understand how it all connected to war.
Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Andy Biskin's 'Songs From The Alan Lomax Collection.'
Aug 14, 2018
Sire Records' Seymour Stein / 'Lodge 49' Creator Jim Gavin
2889
In his autobiography, 'Siren Song,' Seymour Stein writes about how he started out in the music business as a teen before going on to sign groundbreaking artists like Talking Heads, The Ramones, Madonna, and Ice-T.

Jim Gavin, creator of the AMC comedy series 'Lodge 49,' talks about strip mall culture, why he likes to write characters who are fools, and explains why he defines success as "just sticking around."

Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine,' a book of stories by Kevin Wilson.
Aug 13, 2018
Best Of: Creator Of HBO's 'The Tale' / Reducing Mass Incarceration
2860
In 1973, Jennifer Fox wrote a story for her 8th grade English class called 'The Tale,' which alluded to an intimate relationship between a 13-year-old girl and her running and riding coaches. Her teacher thought it was fiction. It wasn't. "I wrote at 13 with no concept of abuse at all," she says. "It was a love story." Decades later, Fox's mother found the story, forcing her to confront her past trauma and see it with new eyes. Fox wrote and directed the new HBO film 'The Tale,' starring Laura Dern.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews Spike Lee's new film 'BlacKkKlansman.'

Julian Adler, co-author of 'Start Here,' and Judge Victoria Pratt discuss alternatives to jail, including community service, social services and even personal essays. Adler and his co-author Greg Berman write, jails "are accelerants of human misery."
Aug 11, 2018
David Sedaris Revisits His Diaries
2828
Sedaris pulls from his decades-old diaries in 'Theft by Finding.' In it, he revisits major turning points, such as the death of his mother, as well as more prosaic, everyday moments. Sedaris talks with Terry Gross about how his writing has changed, leaving Raleigh for the Art Institute of Chicago, and why he stopped drinking. (Originally broadcast May 2017)
Film critic Justin Chang reviews Spike Lee's new film 'BlacKkKlansman.'
Aug 10, 2018
'How ICE Went Rogue'
2832
Journalist Franklin Foer says President Trump has "radicalized" Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), opening the door for the agency to deport any undocumented immigrant. "Never before have we had such a large, dedicated police force whose mission is to remove undocumented immigrants from the communities in which they're rooted." Foer's cover story in 'The Atlantic' explores how the Trump administration's immigration policy relies upon cultivating fear.

Linguist Geoff Nunberg examines the term "deep state."
Aug 09, 2018
Filmmaker Reckons With Childhood Sexual Abuse In 'The Tale'
2748
In 1973, Jennifer Fox wrote a story for her 8th grade English class called 'The Tale,' which alluded to an intimate relationship between a 13-year-old girl and her running and riding coaches. Her teacher thought it was fiction. It wasn't. "I wrote at 13 with no concept of abuse at all," she says. "It was a love story." Decades later, Fox's mother found the story, forcing her to confront her past trauma and see it with new eyes. Fox wrote and directed the new HBO film 'The Tale,' starring Laura Dern, about her reckoning with the abuse. "The film is about the stories we tell ourselves to survive," she says.
Aug 08, 2018
How The U.S. Undermined Democracy In Egypt
2762
David Kirkpatrick, author of Into the Hands of the Soldiers, says the Obama White House watched Arab democracy fall and now the Trump administration is embracing Egypt's autocratic president. Kirkpatrick was the New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief from 2011-15. During the coup, he was in Rabaa Square when soldiers massacred protesters, killing as many as 1,000 people.
Aug 07, 2018
How Can America Reduce Mass Incarceration?
2832
Julian Adler, co-author of 'Start Here,' and Judge Victoria Pratt discuss alternatives to jail, including community service, social services and even personal essays. Adler and his co-author Greg Berman write, jails "are accelerants of human misery. If you are poor or mentally ill or struggling to keep your family together when you enter, the chances are that all of these conditions will be markedly worse when you come out."

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Hive Mind' by the band The Internet.
Aug 06, 2018
Best Of: Tony Shalhoub / Journalist Recalls 2.5 Years Kidnapped By Pirates
3024
After being kidnapped in Somalia, journalist Michael Scott Moore was desperate to escape. But jumping off the deck of a boat didn't work. "They found me eventually with the search lights," he says. He tells 'Fresh Air' about how he was beaten and considered suicide before eventually being released for ransom. Moore's book is 'The Desert and the Sea.'

TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Better Call Saul' season 4, which begins Monday, Aug. 6.

Former 'Monk' star Tony Shalhoub recently won a Tony award for his role in 'The Band's Visit' and is up for an Emmy for 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' He talks to 'Fresh Air' about why the film 'Big Night' was a turning point in his career.
Aug 04, 2018
'Better Call Saul' Interviews: A Compilation
2930
We mark the return of the 'Breaking Bad' spinoff by listening to archival interviews with star Bob Odenkirk, series co-creator Peter Gould and actors Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks. Season 4 begins Monday, Aug. 6.
Aug 03, 2018
'Documenting Hate' In America
2968
Journalist A.C. Thompson warns that white power groups in the U.S. increasingly view themselves as paramilitary organizations. His reporting is featured in a new 'Frontline' and 'ProPublica' investigation.

Film critic David Edelstein reviews a documentary about the "pimp of Hollywood," Scotty Bowers.
Aug 02, 2018
What Scientists Have Learned From 'Spying On Whales'
2955
Smithsonian paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says about 40 to 50 million years ago whales had four legs and walked on land. Pyenson notes that the largest whales alive today are the biggest that have ever existed: "They are absolutely the largest vertebrate animals to have ever evolved in the history of life on Earth. No dinosaur was heavier." He'll explain how echolocation works, how they hold their breath for hours, and why we're in the "golden age" of whale science. Pyenson's new book is 'Spying on Whales.'

Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Incendiaries: A Novel' by R.O. Kwon.
Aug 01, 2018
Tony Shalhoub
2804
The former 'Monk' star recently won a Tony for his role in 'The Band's Visit' and is up for an Emmy for 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' Despite his success, he still feels like each role could be his last.

Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new release from Soprano Bethany Beardslee.
Jul 31, 2018
Journalist Recalls 2.5 Years Kidnapped By Pirates
2871
After being kidnapped in Somalia, Journalist Michael Scott Moore was desperate to escape. But jumping off the deck of a boat didn't work. "They found me eventually with the search lights," he says. He tells 'Fresh Air' about how he was beaten, considered suicide, before eventually being released for ransom. Moore's book is 'The Desert and the Sea.'

Last year, Tufts University hosted a symposium on Art, Race and Politics, which included a panel discussion (and later a concert) with musicians Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp and William Parker. Kevin Whitehead has a review.
Jul 30, 2018
Best Of: 'Cameron Post' Creators / Writer Michael Arceneaux
3003
'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' is a new film about a high school girl who's sent to a Christian gay conversion therapy center after she's caught kissing another girl. We talk with filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan, and Emily Danforth who wrote the novel that the film's based on.

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Lori McKenna's album 'The Tree.'

Michael Arceneaux's new book, 'I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race And Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé,' is a collection of essays about growing up gay, black, and Catholic in Texas.
Jul 28, 2018
Stephen King
2933
The new Hulu horror series 'Castle Rock' is based on Stephen King's fictional town in Maine. King spoke to Terry Gross in 1992, 2000 and 2013 about his career writing horror, getting hit by a van, and his fear of losing his mind.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Mission: Impossible –Fallout.'
Jul 27, 2018
Russian Maria Butina's Story Reveals Pro-Putin Views In The U.S.
2894
'Washington Post' investigative reporter Rosalind Helderman says Maria Butina was welcomed by members of the Christian right and the NRA who had "become intrigued with Putin's Russia." Helderman tells us about Butina's political connections, relationship to the NRA, and possible involvement in the 2016 election.

Also, critic John Powers reviews the documentary about Mr. Rogers, 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' and Hannah Gadsby's Netflix comedy special, 'Nanette.'
Jul 26, 2018
'Cameron Post' Creators Take Aim At Gay Conversion Therapy
2908
'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' is a new film about a high school girl who's sent to a Christian gay conversion therapy center after she's caught kissing another girl. We talk with filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan, and Emily Danforth who wrote the novel that the film's based on. Akhavan is bisexual, and her parents are Iranian immigrants. "I didn't even hear of one Iranian homosexual my whole life," she tells Terry Gross. "And when I came out, it was like coming out as a leprechaun or a unicorn. It was like a fictitious thing."
Jul 25, 2018
Food Writer Becomes A Butcher To Learn The Value Of Meat
2870
Is it possible to slaughter animals and eat meat in an an ethical way? That's the question Camas Davis set out to answer when she moved to the southwest of France to apprentice as a butcher on a small, family-run farm and slaughterhouse. She then founded the Portland Meat Collective to teach people about conscientious farming, slaughtering, and eating. Her new book is 'Killing It.'

Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Give Me Your Hand' by Megan Abbott, and rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Lori McKenna's album 'The Tree.'
Jul 24, 2018
Michael Arceneaux On Growing Up Black, Gay & Catholic In Texas
2810
Arceneaux's new book, 'I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race And Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé,' is a collection of essays about his early years. Beyoncé, he says, taught him a valuable lesson: "Just be yourself and be very good at what you do." Also, we remember late radio DJ Adrian Cronauer who inspired the film 'Good Morning Vietnam,' starring Robin Williams.
Jul 23, 2018
Best Of: 'Eighth Grade' Dir. Bo Burnham / Punk Pioneer Viv Albertine
2901
Bo Burnham, a former YouTube star, explores coming of age online in his new film 'Eighth Grade.' "This awful D-list celebrity pressure I had experienced onstage has now been democratized," Burnham says. Ken Tucker reviews Gorillaz's album 'The Now Now.' Viv Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She talks about her career-long fight against the patriarchy. Her new memoir is 'To Throw Away Unopened.'
Jul 21, 2018
'Why We Sleep'
2903
Sleep scientist Matthew Walker says sleep deficiency is associated with problems with concentration, memory and the immune system — as well as with shorter lifespans. Walker discusses the effects of caffeine, alcohol and sleeping pills, and also offers some tips to help you sleep better. His book, 'Why We Sleep,' is now out in paperback. (Originally broadcast October 2017) Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Sorry to Bother You' and 'Blindspotting.'
Jul 20, 2018
The Links Between Russia, Trump And Brexit
2877
Carole Cadwalladr's investigation into Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit led her to Russian connections and the Trump campaign. She says British investigators are working "closely with the FBI." Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'The Last Cruise' by Kate Christensen.
Jul 19, 2018
Comic Bo Burnham On 'Eighth Grade,' Social Media & Anxiety
2927
The former YouTube star explores coming of age online in his new film 'Eighth Grade.' "This awful D-list celebrity pressure I had experienced onstage has now been democratized," Burnham says. He talks about living with anxiety, being embarrassed by some of his early material, and why he wrote a film about a 13-year-old girl.
Jul 18, 2018
The Political Battle For Wisconsin
2956
Dan Kaufman, author of 'The Fall of Wisconsin,' says the state has experienced a conservative transformation in recent years — despite a tradition of progressive politics dating back to the 19th century. Ken Tucker reviews Gorillaz's album 'The Now Now.' Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg examines the tug-of-war over the English language between the British and Americans.
Jul 17, 2018
Punk Pioneer & Slits Guitarist Viv Albertine
2997
Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She talks about her early days onstage, finding her mother's diaries, and why she's done with dating and relationships. Her new memoir is 'To Throw Away Unopened.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new HBO documentary 'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.'
Jul 16, 2018
Best Of: Trump & Fox News / The Science Of Fish Oil Supplements
2984
'Vanity Fair' reporter Gabriel Sherman talks about former Fox News co-president Bill Shine's new role as deputy chief of staff, the president's relationship with Sean Hannity, and the ways in which Trump acts as an "executive producer" of the cable news network. Also, critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary 'Three Identical Strangers' about triplets separated at birth and then reunited. Author Paul Greenberg talks efficacy of fish oil supplements. His new book is 'The Omega Principle.'
Jul 14, 2018
Cartoonist John Callahan / Remembering Actor Tab Hunter
2913
Cartoonist John Callahan was a paraplegic and recovered alcoholic who poked fun at people like himself. He died in 2010; the film 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot,' starring Joaquin Phoenix is based his life. He spoke with Terry Gross in '89 and '91. Also, we remember 1950's Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, who died Sunday. He made more than 50 films, including 'Damn Yankees,' 'Battle Cry' and 'That Kind of Woman,' before coming out as gay later in life. He spoke to 'Fresh Air' in 2005. Finally, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new movie 'Eighth Grade,' directed by Bo Burnham.
Jul 13, 2018
The Ties Between Fox News & The Trump White House
2727
'Vanity Fair' reporter Gabriel Sherman says the president is in regular contact with Fox News host Sean Hannity: "They speak almost daily, after Hannity's show, sometimes before, and sometimes for up to an hour a day." Sherman talks about former Fox News co-president Bill Shine's new role as deputy chief of staff, and the ways in which the president acts as an "executive producer" of the cable news network.
Jul 12, 2018
Once Militantly Anti-Abortion, Evangelical Minister Lives 'With Regret'
2756
After decades in the militant anti-abortion movement, Rev. Rob Schenck had a change of heart; he now sees abortion as an issue that should be resolved by "an individual and his or her conscience." His new memoir about his conversions over the years is 'Costly Grace.'
Jul 11, 2018
'America's Criminal Treatment Of Mental Illness'
2817
While visiting jails across the country, journalist Alisa Roth witnessed mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement, wearing restrictive jumpsuits and receiving very limited therapy. Roth estimates nearly 50 percent of inmates are mentally ill. Her book is 'Insane.' Also, critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation,' a novel by Ottessa Moshfegh.
Jul 10, 2018
The Science, Business & Health Effects Of Fish Oil Supplements
2754
Author Paul Greenberg says the harvesting of tiny fish for omega-3 supplements is having a ripple effect, leading to less healthy and bountiful oceans. His new book is 'The Omega Principle.' Also, critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary 'Three Identical Strangers' about triplets separated at birth and then reunited when they were in college.
Jul 09, 2018
Best Of: Filmmaker Boots Riley / Flint Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
2950
Riley's new film 'Sorry To Bother You' is a social and political satire inspired by his time as a telemarketer. Riley is the son of grassroots activists and the frontman for the hip-hop band The Coup, a self-described "revolutionary music collective." Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews​ the HBO limited series 'Sharp Objects​,​​'​ starring Amy Adams.​ ​ ​After warning of elevated lead levels in her patients' blood in Flint, Mich., Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha faced a backlash. Her new book, 'What the Eyes Don't See,' is about exposing the crisis, the activist movement, and her personal story as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants.
Jul 07, 2018
How The Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized Breakfast
2821
A century ago, two brothers took the world by storm with their mass-produced boxed cereal. Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles their contentious relationship, their prescient concepts of wellness, and their troubling ideas about eugenics and masturbation. (Originally broadcast August 2017.) TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO limited series 'Sharp Objects,' and Ken Tucker reviews the Drake album 'Scorpion.'
Jul 06, 2018
The State Of The Supreme Court
2859
'New York Times' journalist Adam Liptak says the court's conservative justices have increasingly based their decisions on the foundation of free speech —including a case that dealt a blow to unions. "The politics of the First Amendment have completely flipped," Liptak says.
Jul 05, 2018
Traditional Music Legend Doc Watson
2905
On this Fourth of July, we're going deep into our archive for some great American music. Watson, who died in 2012, was a pioneering bluegrass, country and folk guitarist and singer who changed the way people thought about mountain music. This show features parts of an interview that first aired in 1988, and a performance from 1989. Also, Ken Tucker reviews some newly released music that he likes to listen to with the volume way up.
Jul 04, 2018
'The Inside Story Of Russia And America'
2855
Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama, talks with Terry Gross about the upcoming Trump-Putin summit. He says Putin "doesn't meet just for the sake of a meeting; he seeks to advance Russian interests." McFaul's new memoir is 'From Cold War to Hot Peace.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Deborah Levy's new memoir about divorce at age 50.
Jul 03, 2018
Filmmaker And Rapper Boots Riley
2931
Riley's new film 'Sorry To Bother You' is a social and political satire inspired by his time as a telemarketer. It stars Lakeith Stanfield, the co-star of 'Get Out' and the television series 'Atlanta.' Riley is the son of grassroots activists. He's also the frontman for the hip-hop band 'The Coup,' a self-described "revolutionary music collective." And Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album of previously lost John Coltrane recordings.
Jul 02, 2018
Best Of: Comic W. Kamau Bell / Singer Frank Newsome
2971
W. Kamau Bell joins Terry Gross to talk about his ancestry and spending time with the late Anthony Bourdain. His new Netflix special is 'Private School Negro,' and his CNN series 'United Shades of America' is in its third season. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews John Coltrane's album 'Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album.' Also, Frank Newsome, a former coal miner who has black lung disease, started singing when he joined a church in 1963. He sings a cappella in a lined-out hymn style — one of America's oldest music traditions.
Jun 30, 2018
Remembering Poet Donald Hall
2937
Hall, who died Saturday at 89, wrote about farm work and his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, in the 1993 memoir 'Life Work.' He and Kenyon spoke to Fresh Air in 1996, and Hall was interviewed again in 2002 and 2012. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews Debra Granik's new film 'Leave No Trace,' which is based on a true story about a veteran suffering from PTSD who lives secretly in a municipal forest with his teenage daughter.
Jun 29, 2018
The Ongoing Crisis At The Border
2865
'New Yorker' writer Jonathan Blitzer has been in El Paso, Texas, reporting on immigration and family separation. "I've been meeting women who are crying so violently they can barely speak," he says. Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews 'Everything is Love' by The Carters, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Jun 28, 2018
Comic W. Kamau Bell
2902
Bell joins Terry Gross to talk about his ancestry, spending time with the late Anthony Bourdain, and the #MeToo movement. His new Netflix special is 'Private School Negro,' and his CNN series 'United Shades of America' is in its third season. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado.'
Jun 27, 2018
'Why Our Families Can't Afford America' / Singer Frank Newsome
2941
'Squeezed' author Alissa Quart argues that the costs of housing, child care, health care and college are outpacing salaries and threatening the livelihoods of middle class Americans. Also, Frank Newsome, a former coal miner who has black lung disease, started singing when he joined a church in 1963. His sings a cappella in a lined-out hymn style — one of America's oldest music traditions. He talks to producer Sam Briger. Also, critic-at-large John Powers reviews the new Amazon miniseries 'A Very English Scandal,' starring Hugh Grant.
Jun 26, 2018
The Pediatrician Who Exposed The Flint Water Crisis
2905
After warning of elevated lead levels in her patients' blood in Flint, Mich., Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha faced a backlash: "The state said that I was an unfortunate researcher, that I was causing near hysteria." Her new book, 'What the Eyes Don't See,' is about exposing the crisis, the activist movement, and her personal story as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants. Also, TV critic David Bianculli raves about Paul McCartney's appearance on James Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke' segment on 'The Late Late Show.'
Jun 25, 2018
Best Of: John Prine / Author Stephen McCauley
2963
Singer, songwriter and guitarist John Prine underwent surgeries in 1996 and 2013 that affected his throat and voice. Now, he says, he likes his voice better: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." His new album, 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' is his first in 13 years. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.' Stephen McCauley's latest book, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay, but then they become friends. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says.
Jun 23, 2018
The U.S. Gov't's Secret Plan To Save Itself (While The Rest Of Us Die)
2954
In 'Raven Rock,' Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a catastrophe. One Cold War-era plan put the post office in charge of cataloging the dead. His book is now out in paperback. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.'
Jun 22, 2018