Fresh Air on WEKU

Weekdays 3-4PM
Terry Gross

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. 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-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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1:11pm

Thu July 26, 2012
The Fresh Air Interview

Christopher Beha, On Faith And Its Discontents

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 4:15 pm

Christopher Beha is an associate editor at Harper's magazine and the author of The Whole Five Feet.
Josephine Sittenfeld Tin House Books

In the novel What Happened to Sophie Wilder, writer Charlie Blakeman runs into his former college love after 10 years and finds out that she has converted to Catholicism. Charlie can't make sense of her conversion, but as he finds out more about Sophie's past, he sees her life is more complicated than he previously thought. When Sophie once again disappears, Charlie sets out to discover what has happened to her.

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1:10pm

Thu July 26, 2012
Movie Reviews

In China, A Persistent Thorn In The State's Side

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 11:05 am

Although Ai Weiwei's art is internationally recognized, much of his worldwide fame comes from his political activism in China. The latter is the focus of Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Ted Alcorn IFC Films

A couple of months ago, I visited Beijing, and like so many before me, I was stunned by how hypercapitalist Communist China has become — the hundreds of glossy highrises, the countless shops selling Prada and Apple, the traffic jams filled with brand new Audis. You felt you could be in L.A. or Tokyo — until you wanted some information. Then you discovered that Facebook was permanently blocked, certain words in Google searches always crashed your browser, and, as my wife joked, it was easier to buy a Rolls-Royce than a real newspaper. Here was a country at once booming — and repressive.

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1:10pm

Wed July 25, 2012
Religion

Bishop Explains Vatican's Criticism Of U.S. Nuns

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio is the bishop who assessed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. You can hear Blair discuss the nuns' organization here.
Courtesy Catholic Diocese of Toledo

Four years ago, a Vatican group called "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" began an assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic nuns in the United States. The assessment was designed to take a careful look at whether the nuns were acting in accordance with the teachings of the church.

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2:04pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Author Interviews

'The Twilight War' Between The U.S. And Iran

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 3:54 pm

David Crist's father, George (left), discusses operations against Iranian attack boats with Navy Lt. Paul Hillenbrand. George Crist, a Marine Corps general, was commander of CENTCOM from 1985-1988.
Courtesy of David Crist

In The Twilight War, government historian David Crist outlines the secret history of America's 30-year conflict with Iran. The book, based on interviews with hundreds of officials as well as classified military archives, details how the covert war has spanned five American presidential terms and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare.

Crist tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that there have been several incidents that have almost resulted in battle over the past 30 years.

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2:04pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Commentary

Swearing: A Long And #%@&$ History

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 4:29 pm

iStockphoto.com

Sometimes it's small government you need to keep your eye on. Take Middleborough, Mass., whose town meeting recently imposed a $20 fine for swearing in public. According to the police chief, the ordinance was aimed at the crowds of unruly teenagers who gathered downtown at night yelling profanities at people, not just someone who slams a finger in a car door. But whatever the exact idea was, nobody thought it was a good one.

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12:43pm

Mon July 23, 2012
Author Interviews

Unraveling The Genetic Code That Makes Us Human

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:18 pm

iStockphoto.com

There's enough DNA in the human body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back. But don't confuse DNA with your genes, says writer Sam Kean.

"They are sort of conflated in most people's minds today but they really are distinct things," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Genes are like the story and DNA is the language that the story is written in."

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12:38pm

Mon July 23, 2012
Space

Jill Tarter: A Scientist Searching For Alien Life

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:18 pm

The Eskimo Nebula, as shown through the Hubble Telescope.
NASA/Flickr

As a child, astronomer Jill Tarter would walk along the beaches of western Florida with her father and look up at the stars.

"I assumed, at that time, that along some beach on some planet, there would be a small creature walking with its dad and they would see our sun in their sky, and they might wonder whether anyone was there," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "But I never thought about it professionally until graduate school."

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1:38am

Sat July 21, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Weaver, Sorkin, 'Dark Knight'

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 1:12 pm

Sigourney Weaver stars as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in the USA Network miniseries Political Animals.
Andrew Eccles USA Network

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:

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom': HBO's new behind-the-anchor-desk drama follows in the footsteps of Sorkin's hit series The West Wing. "I like writing about heroes that don't wear capes or disguises," he says.

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11:55am

Fri July 20, 2012
Music Reviews

Jesse Davis: Live From New York's Other Basement Club

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 4:26 pm

Saxophonist Jesse Davis performs at Smalls Jazz Club in New York.
Michelle Watt Courtesy of the artist

Many jazz musicians, the kind who wear jackets and ties on stage, are often carelessly referred to as playing bebop. In reality most of them are post-boppers, who build on that dynamic style that burst forth after World War II, without bringing it back in pure form. It's the rare modernist who gets an authentic bebop sound on alto saxophone, who catches some of the raw explosiveness and rapid-fire grace of jazz god Charlie Parker. And then there's Jesse Davis.

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11:55am

Fri July 20, 2012
Music Interviews

Eddie Palmieri: Now A True 'Jazz Master'

Eddie Palmieri
Raymond Roig AFP/Getty Images

Pianist Eddie Palmieri has been given many nicknames. He's been called The Latin Monk because of his Thelonious Monk-inspired dissonances. He's been called The Piano Breaker Man, because he hits the keys so hard. He's even been called the 'madman of Latin music.' He's taken many of the innovations of modern jazz pianists and brought them into his Latin bands. But he's never stopped playing good dance music.

In 1994, Palmieri's lobbying culminated in the announcement of a new Grammy Award category for Afro-Caribbean Jazz.

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10:28am

Fri July 20, 2012
Author Interviews

When Zombies Attack Lower Manhattan

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:55 am

Colson Whitehead is a 2002 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. His writing has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, and The New York Times.

Erin Patrice O'Brien Doubleday

A zombie plague has wiped out 95 percent of America. Camps of survivors band together in pockets across the country, waiting for small squadrons of human "sweepers" to inch their way across major cities, destroying the remaining zombie-like creatures hiding out in office buildings and shopping malls.

But now the human sweepers have to tackle their biggest challenge yet: clearing the undead from Lower Manhattan.

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12:34pm

Thu July 19, 2012
Remembrances

Fresh Air Remembers Actress Celeste Holm

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 1:44 pm

Celeste Holm, the actress of stage and screen, passed away of a heart attack on July 15. She was 95 years old.

Made famous on Broadway for her role as Ado Annie in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Holm earned more fans for her performances in All About Eve (1950), The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956).

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11:21am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Fresh Air Interview

Sigourney Weaver's Stately Role In 'Political Animals'

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 5:56 pm

Sigourney Weaver stars as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in the USA Network miniseries Political Animals.
Andrew Eccles USA Network

In the new USA Network miniseries Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays smart, tough Secretary of State Elaine Barrish. It's a role many critics have likened to current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Weaver says the show's creators were thinking beyond Clinton when they devised the role.

"We've had three remarkable women who've been our secretaries of state in our last three administrations, but somehow we're not willing as a country to elect a woman president," she says. "And I think this show partially investigates what that's about."

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10:40am

Thu July 19, 2012
Book Reviews

A Little Advice On 'How To Be A Woman'

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:03 pm

iStockphoto.com

Funny feminists should never die; there are too few of them who've gained any cultural prominence in the first place. That's why Nora Ephron's death earlier this summer flattened me, even though I hadn't read her in a while and had mixed feelings about the whole "I Feel Bad About My Neck," self-flagellation routine. Still, she made me laugh at the same time she often made me think: I wanted her playing on Team Feminist forever.

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5:55pm

Wed July 18, 2012
Movie Reviews

As Class Warfare Brews, A 'Dark Knight Rises'

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 11:54 am

The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after The Dark Knight, with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living a reclusive life at his mansion alongside Alfred (Michael Caine). The movie is the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
Ron Phillips Warner Bros. Pictures

The canvas is epic, the themes are profound, the execution is ... clunky. Welcome to Christopher Nolan's third and allegedly final Batman picture, The Dark Knight Rises — that so-called rising taking hours, by the way. No Batman film ever had less Batman.

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12:33pm

Wed July 18, 2012
Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt

A Reporter Looks At Where Egypt May Be Headed

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:03 pm

Demonstrators chant slogans supporting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during a rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday.
Khalil Hamra AP

Reporter David Kirkpatrick covered Washington's political scene for many years for The New York Times. But early last year, he decided that he was ready for a change of scenery. Kirkpatrick volunteered to move to Egypt to become the Times' Cairo bureau chief — and boy, was his timing good.

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12:49pm

Tue July 17, 2012
Music Reviews

Ravi Coltrane: A Noble Sound, Witness To Its Heritage

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:54 am

Ravi Coltrane's new album is called Spirit Fiction.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy of the artist

The jazz musician Ravi Coltrane, 47, didn't make his burden any lighter by choosing to play tenor and soprano saxophones — the same instruments his father, John Coltrane, indelibly stamped with his influence.

Ravi knew early he needed his own voice. On tenor, he has his own ways of bending and inflecting a note, applying flexible vibrato. Even when his noble sound bears witness to his heritage, Ravi Coltrane can draw on his father's language and make it his own.

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11:54am

Tue July 17, 2012
Religion

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:18 pm

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

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11:09am

Mon July 16, 2012
Television

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

"It suits my style," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I like writing about heroes [who] don't wear capes or disguises. You feel like, 'Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can't that be the real world?' "

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7:43am

Sat July 14, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Iraq, Guthrie, 'Margaret'

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 12:26 pm

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

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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12:56pm

Fri July 13, 2012
Music Reviews

Tanglewood Celebrates 75th With Free Web Stream

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 10:53 am

The scene at Tanglewood.
courtesy of Tanglewood

On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.

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11:19am

Fri July 13, 2012
Television

Aaron Paul: Playing A Meth Dealer On 'Breaking Bad'

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:56 pm

Aaron Paul plays a meth-making drug dealer on the AMC drama Breaking Bad. He also played a recurring character on the HBO series Big Love.
Ursula Coyote AMC

This interview was originally broadcast on September 19, 2011. Breaking Bad begins its fifth season on Sunday, July 15th at 10 PM EST.

Vince Gilligan's AMC drama Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who turns to dealing drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. White's partner-in-crime throughout the series is his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by actor Aaron Paul.

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5:03pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Margaret': The Tortured Journey Of A Girl, On Screen

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:56 pm

Sarah Steele, Anna Paquin and Matthew Broderick in Margaret. The DVD release of Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed second film includes the theatrical version and an extended 186-minute cut.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

"A fiasco with a great first half" is what I called Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret when it was dumped in one New York theater last fall, five years after it was shot, amid a legal battle between Lonergan and a producer.

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12:03pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Music Interviews

Fresh Air Celebrates Woody Guthrie At 100

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:52 pm

Woody Guthrie
Smithsonian Folkways

Lots of people know Woody Guthrie's classic 1940 ballad "This Land Is Your Land," but the story behind the tune may not be as familiar.

Guthrie, who would have turned 100 this week, wrote "This Land" as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," a song he felt was overly patriotic and not directed at ordinary Americans like himself.

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10:03am

Thu July 12, 2012
Television

The 'Political Animals' Running Washington, D.C.

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 3:36 pm

In Political Animals, Sigourney Weaver plays Elaine Barrish, the current secretary of state and a former first lady.
USA Networks

If you only knew about America from watching TV, the last few months might lead you to think that women here wield enormous political power. First you had Game Change, the story of Sarah Palin's attempt to become vice president. Then you had Veep, in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character has accomplished just that. Now comes Political Animals, a new USA network series about a strong female secretary of state who I suspect even a Martian would realize is based on Hillary Clinton.

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12:40pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Book Reviews

'A Door In The Ocean' Leads To Dark Depths

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 2:23 pm

Many of the key scenes in David McGlynn's striking new memoir, A Door in the Ocean, take place at the beach or in swimming pools. McGlynn was a surfer and competitive swimmer in his school days and still squeezes into his Speedos for races like the annual 5K "Gatorman" off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. Ocean swimming, in particular, transports McGlynn to another realm, and he does a terrific job of dramatizing the allure of solitary swims in open water. Midway through his book, he writes:

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12:21pm

Wed July 11, 2012
Movie Interviews

'Margaret:' Inside The 'Fall' Of A Teenager

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:32 pm

In Margaret, Lisa (Anna Paquin) distracts a bus driver, which leads to an accident in which a pedestrian is run over and dies.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Kenneth Lonergan's critically acclaimed film Margaret was completed in 2006, but because of several lawsuits, it wasn't released until last year.

Called "nothing short of a masterwork" by The New Yorker, the film stars Anna Paquin as Lisa, a Manhattan teenager who tries to make sense of a bus accident she may have caused — one that resulted in a woman's death. Lonergan tells Terry Gross that he wrote the film because he was interested in how teenagers transition into an adult world.

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11:51am

Tue July 10, 2012
Music Reviews

'St. Matthew Passion': A Monumental Bach Feast

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra.
Getty Digital

Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.

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11:51am

Tue July 10, 2012
Afghanistan

After Troops Leave, What Happens To Afghanistan?

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:29 pm

Afghan army soldiers, like the one pictured here, will be responsible for protecting Kabul and holding critical cities and roads together after the planned 2014 American troop withdrawal.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

This past weekend brought news of more violence in Afghanistan.

Seven Western troops, five Afghan police officers and at least 18 civilians were killed in Afghanistan. The toll included six Americans killed by a single bomb in Wardak province, south of Kabul.

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11:46am

Mon July 9, 2012
Author Interviews

'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 2:46 pm

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
Joey Campagna Courtesy of the author

Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.

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