Fresh Air

Weekdays from 2-3 PM
Hosted by: Terry Gross

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

In addition to Terry's fascinating interviews and features, Fresh Air's stellar roster of contributors includes classical music reviewer Lloyd Schwartz of The Boston Phoenix, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism; language commentator Geoffrey Nunberg, usage editor of The American Heritage Dictionary; rock critic reviewer Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly; John Powers of Vogue; Maureen Corrigan, book reviewer and professor of literature at Georgetown University; David Bianculli, TV critic for the New York Daily News; and critic-at-large Gerald Early.

Visit Fresh Air at NPR.org

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Theater
9:02 am
Tue May 22, 2012

David Alan Grier's 'Sporting Life' On Broadway

In Porgy and Bess, David Alan Grier plays the drug dealer Sporting Life, a role closely associated with Sammy Davis Jr. and Cab Calloway.
Courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

In 1935, George Gershwin brought the script for his folk opera Porgy and Bess to the opera's original cast, which was entirely made up of African-American actors. "[In the original], every other word was N-word this, N-word that," says actor David Alan Grier. "[And] there's a very famous story: Al Jolson really wanted to play Porgy, in blackface."

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Book Reviews
9:02 am
Tue May 22, 2012

'Right-Hand': A Lush Prequel To 'Mason's Retreat'

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 9:22 am

Whenever I think about Christopher Tilghman's writing — and I have many times since his atmospheric novel, Mason's Retreat, came out more than 15 years ago — I think of critic John Leonard. John, among many other distinctions, was my predecessor as book critic for Fresh Air and, every once in a while before his death in 2008, we'd have occasion to talk or exchange e-mails about books. I remember John sending me a note in 1996, in which he mentioned Mason's Retreat and said of Tilghman, "He's the real deal."

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Music Reviews
9:17 am
Mon May 21, 2012

John Fullbright: How To Connect 'From The Ground Up'

Though he's not yet 25, Fullbright's music sounds like he's lived through a lot — or at least thought it through.
Vicki Farmer

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 5:51 am

John Fullbright's voice rises up and around the guitar chords in "Me Wanting You," his tone intended to haunt the person he's addressing. His desire, his "me wanting you," is as direct as he can possibly make it — it's not a cry of despair or hope or lust. It's the sound of someone intent on making as strong a connection with the listener as he possibly can.

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Movie Interviews
9:16 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen: The Fresh Air Interview

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 5:51 am

Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.


Interview Highlights

On why he enjoyed playing a dictator

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Fresh Air Weekend
2:43 am
Sat May 19, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Audra McDonald, 'Weight Of The Nation'

Audra McDonald.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 2:49 pm

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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Remembrances
9:30 am
Fri May 18, 2012

A Conversation With Author Carlos Fuentes

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes poses for a photo after a news conference in Mexico City on March 12. Fuentes died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 12:35 pm

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most influential writers in the Latin American world, died Tuesday at a hospital in Mexico City. He was 83. A prolific writer, Fuentes wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as political nonfiction and essays that criticized the Mexican government during the 1980s and '90s.

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Remembrances
9:30 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Fresh Air Remembers Donna Summer, Queen Of Disco

Donna Summer, pictured above in 1976, died Thursday at age 63. She had cancer.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 12:34 pm

Donna Summer, the queen of disco, died Thursday at her home in Naples, Fla., after a long struggle with cancer. She was 63. Born LaDonna Andrea Gaines, she grew up in a large Boston family singing gospel music and became an icon of a powerful cultural movement, a celebrated sex queen and a staple of gay club life.

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Remembrances
8:59 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Remembering Vidal Sassoon, An Iconic Hairdresser

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:47 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 10, 2011.

The British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who created some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 20th century, died on May 9 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

Sassoon's creations included the geometric, the Wash-and-Wear, the short bob Nancy Kwan wore in The World of Suzie Wong and Mia Farrow's famous pixie cut for Rosemary's Baby.

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Movie Reviews
9:15 am
Wed May 16, 2012

'The Dictator' Rules With A Satirist's Fist

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist of The Dictator.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 10:30 am

Many fans will be disappointed that Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is a more or less conventional comedy and not an ambush-interview mockumentary in the style of Borat and Bruno. But that guerrilla-clown shtick would be tough to sustain: Why not let him try something else? The good news is that The Dictator is loose and slap-happy and full of sharp political barbs and has funny actors moving in and out — and at a lickety-split 83 minutes, it doesn't wear out its welcome.

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Theater
7:45 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Audra McDonald: Shaping 'Bess' On Broadway

Audra McDonald.
Michael Wilson Courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 10:23 am

Audra McDonald has starred in stage classics and on TV, where she played a leading role on the ABC drama Private Practice for four seasons. But the actress might be better known for her stunning voice and for her performances in the Broadway productions of Carousel, Master Class and Ragtime, which helped her rack up three Tony Awards before the age of 30. She won a fourth Tony for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun, putting her in the company of Broadway greats Gwen Verdon and Mary Martin.

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