Fresh Air

Weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to noon and from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
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Author Interviews
1:20 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Ricks: Firing 'The Generals' To Fight Better Wars?

Penguin Group USA

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 4:17 pm

When Thomas Ricks first learned that Terry Allen, the successful general in charge of the 1st Infantry Division during World War II's Sicily campaign, had been fired, he says, his jaw dropped.

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Opinion
12:30 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Even Americans Find Some Britishisms 'Spot On'

Geoff Nunberg says that, like a lot of the Britishisms peppering American speech these days, "spot on" falls somewhere in the blurry region between affectation and flash.
Zdenek Ryzner iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:26 pm

Mitt Romney was on CNN not long ago defending the claims in his campaign ads — "We've been absolutely spot on," he said. Politics aside, the expression had me doing an audible roll of my eyes. I've always associated "spot on" with the type of Englishman who's played by Terry-Thomas or John Cleese, someone who pronounces "yes" and "ears" in the same way — "eeahzz." It shows up when people do send-ups of plummy British speech. "I say — spot on, old chap!"

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Environment
2:48 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Sandy Raises Questions About Climate And The Future

Taxis sit in a flooded lot in Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic Seaboard.
Michael Bocchieri Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 4:12 pm

If you ask climate scientist Radley Horton, it's difficult to say that Hurricane Sandy was directly caused by climate change, but he sees strong connections between the two. Horton is a research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He says that in New York City, the sea level has gone up about a foot over the past century and that researchers expect that rise to continue and even accelerate.

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Television
11:46 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons of Anarchy'

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 2:59 pm

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It's all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

"She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do."

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Music
3:43 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

After 26 Years, The Sam Rivers Trio Resurfaces

Sam Rivers' trio with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul (not pictured) recently released its 2007 reunion show on CD.
Ken Weiss Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:00 am

This review was originally broadcast on Sept. 26, 2012.

Jazz multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, who died at 88 in December 2011, recorded with many trios in the 1970s. But his most celebrated trio was barely recorded at all. In 2007, it played a reunion concert — its first in 26 years.

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Author Interviews
9:59 am
Tue October 30, 2012

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Hyperion

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 3:35 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 26, 2012.

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

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Music
11:36 am
Mon October 29, 2012

The Fresh Air Interview: Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 24, 2010.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Dexter Filkins, Joe Turner, Tom Wolfe

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others. His latest novel is Back to Blood.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 11:04 am

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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Music Interviews
2:04 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

John Cage At 100: Remembering A Revolutionary Composer

Composer John Cage was born in 1912 and died in 1992. He's show above in May 1972.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This fall, arts organizations around the world are celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of composer John Cage, who was born on September 5th, 1912.

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Movie Reviews
1:33 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:43 pm

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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Music Reviews
12:59 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

George Cables: A Heartfelt Tribute To His 'Muse'

Saxophonist Art Pepper called George Cables his favorite pianist.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:43 pm

In the 1970s and '80s, George Cables was the pianist of choice for saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper; Pepper called him his favorite pianist.

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Music Interviews
12:22 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Moogfest' Celebrates The Synthesis Of New Sounds

Bob Moog, namesake of the annual Moogfest music festival in Asheville, N.C.
Courtesy of the Bob Moog Foundation

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 28, 2000.

Follow NPR's All Songs Considered (@allsongs) this weekend for reports and photos from the 2012 Moogfest. Check NPR Music next week for concert recordings from the festival and explore our 2011 archive here.

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Author Interviews
2:31 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

A Journalist Chronicles Lives After Guantanamo Bay

Journalist Michelle Shephard has been covering stories from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the Toronto Star.
Michelle Shephard AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:45 pm

The presidential candidates may not be talking much about Guantanamo Bay, but the U.S. detention center there has been at the forefront of Michelle Shephard's mind for the last decade. The national security correspondent for the Toronto Star has traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, more than two dozen times; she even got enough stamps on her Guantanamo Starbucks card for a free latte.

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Book Reviews
1:08 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Portis 'Miscellany' Makes A High-'Velocity' Collection

Escape Velocity: book cover detail

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 2:31 pm

Whenever I hear someone called a "cult writer," my hackles jump toward the ceiling. It's not only that the phrase calls up images of self-congratulatory hipsters, but that writers who become cultish tend to do so because their work is steeped in bizarro sex, graphic violence, trippy weirdness or half-baked philosophy.

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Author Interviews
2:09 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 8:37 am

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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Music Interviews
1:05 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Most Meaningful Musical Moments

Stephen Colbert (right) performs with Ben Folds on the set of his TV show, The Colbert Report.
Kris Long

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:12 am

Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."

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The Impact of War
3:41 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Iraq Vet Seeks Atonement For Early War Tragedy

A scene from the early days of the fighting in Iraq in the spring of 2003. In one incident, three members of an Iraqi family were killed. A U.S. Marine involved in the shooting recently tracked down the family to ask for forgiveness.
Laurent Rebours AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 4:09 pm

On April 8, 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, the Kachadoorian family found themselves in the middle of a firefight at a major intersection in Baghdad.

They had approached the intersection in three cars and didn't respond to Marines' warnings to stop and turn around; so the Marines opened fire, killing three men and shooting a young woman in the shoulder, not realizing that the people in the car were civilians.

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Movie Interviews
2:41 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course

Ava DuVernay also directed the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop.
Liz O. Baylen Contour by Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 2:59 pm

In January, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win Sundance's best directing award for her second feature-length film, Middle of Nowhere. The film is about a young black woman named Ruby, who puts her life and dreams of going to medical school on hold while her husband is in prison.

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Music Reviews
11:35 am
Mon October 22, 2012

The Big Man Behind 'Shake, Rattle And Roll'

No figure in the history of rock 'n' roll is more incongruous than Big Joe Turner.
Heinrich Klaffs Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 2:59 pm

Big Joe Turner's hardest-hitting singles have been collected on a new compilation, titled Big Joe Turner Rocks.

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Fresh Air Weekend
8:03 am
Sat October 20, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Feinstein, Roxy Music, Tyler Perry

Michael Feinstein (right) worked for six years as Ira Gershwin's cataloger and archivist.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 3:59 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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Music Reviews
11:55 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Gary Clark Jr.: A Raucous Blues Shout

Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu is an eclectic romp through the blues.
Frank Maddocks

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 9:49 pm

On his major-label debut Blak and Blu, you can hear the roar in Gary Clark Jr.'s blues guitar, and in his vocal throughout "Bright Lights." It's one of the few straight-up blues songs on what is essentially an introduction to one of the most highly praised young blues guitarists in recent times. While Clark comes out of a blues tradition, he's also a twentysomething who's taken in all of contemporary music.

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Author Interviews
11:21 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'

Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 11:55 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 1, 2012. How to Be Black will be released in paperback on Oct. 30.

It's no coincidence that Baratunde Thurston's new memoir and satirical self-help book How to Be Black was slated for release on the first day of Black History Month.

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Movie Reviews
9:51 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'The Sessions': Sex, Comedy And Something More

Living most of his life in an iron lung forces Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) to see the world from a different point of view.
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 9:53 pm

In 1983, Berkeley poet and journalist Mark O'Brien wrote an article about sexual surrogates — women and men trained to help people with disabilities learn to use their bodies to give themselves and others erotic pleasure.

For O'Brien, the subject wasn't academic. After a bout of childhood polio, he had spent much of his life in an iron lung. He could talk, and tap out words on a typewriter holding a stick in his mouth. He could feel things below the neck. But he couldn't move his muscles.

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Book Reviews
1:59 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

'Master' Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Hulton Archive Getty Images

His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," there's compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.

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Author Interviews
1:56 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

In Constant Digital Contact, We Feel 'Alone Together'

Courtesy of Basic Books

As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.

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