Fresh Air on WLRN

Monday - Thursday at 12:00pm
Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

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Author Interviews
3:15 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

From Sulking To Sanctions, A Street-Level View Of Life In Iran

Iranian demonstrators march in Tehran in 2011, during a protest asking the government to intensify its enforcement of the Islamic dress code.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Monday is the 34th anniversary of the 1979 storming of the American Embassy in Tehran, when Iranian militants took 66 hostages and held them for more than a year. U.S.-Iranian relations have been contentious ever since, but recent events have stirred hopes for progress.

Iranian voters overwhelmingly chose a more moderate president in June, and American and Iranian mediators are meeting to try to resolve disputes about Iran's nuclear program.

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Book Reviews
3:01 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Female Friendship Puts 'New' Angle On Italian Classism And Machismo

The Story Of A New Name Book Cover

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:46 am

Some writers you read and move on, but every now and then you read one whose work knocks you back against the wall. This happened to me with the great Italian novelist Elena Ferrante.

I first encountered her through her scalding 2002 novel, The Days Of Abandonment, whose narrator, Olga, may be the scariest jilted wife since Medea. What makes Olga scary is not what she does, but what she thinks and feels, and her ferocious precision in describing everything from lousy sexual encounters to her not-altogether-maternal feelings about her children.

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Music Reviews
12:08 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Amir ElSaffar Navigates Uncharted Blue Notes On 'Alchemy'

Amir ElSaffar's new album is called Alchemy.
Nicole LeCorgne Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 3:01 pm

Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar grew up near Chicago, playing jazz trumpet. In the early 2000s, while in his mid-20s, he began investigating the music of his Iraqi heritage, studying in Baghdad and with expatriate musicians in Europe. Then he began combining the two.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Chris Hadfield, Brandy Clark, Kennedy Conspiracies

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has spent a total of six months in space. In his new book, he writes that getting to space took only "8 minutes and 42 seconds. Give or take a few thousand days of training."
NASA Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 11:34 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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Remembrances
11:34 am
Fri November 1, 2013

The Story Behind The Stunts: Remembering Hollywood's Hal Needham

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:54 pm

Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham — one of the most famous practitioners of his dangerous craft — died of cancer on Oct. 25 at age 82. We'll listen back to a conversation with Needham from Feb. 7, 2011, when he had just published a memoir, called Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life.

Hal Needham spent most of the 1950s and '60s falling off horses, wrecking stagecoach wagons and falling from really, really high places.

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Interviews
11:34 am
Fri November 1, 2013

From Kids' Books To Erotica, Tomi Ungerer's 'Far Out' Life

Tomi Ungerer has published more than 140 books.
Sam Norval Corner of the Cave Media

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:54 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 1, 2013. Far Out Isn't Far Enough has just been released on DVD.

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Movie Interviews
3:25 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Jared Leto Was 'Seduced' By Role Of Rayon In 'Buyers Club'

In Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman who is HIV-positive and struggling with a drug habit. "I always saw Rayon as someone who wanted to live ... life as a woman, not just someone who enjoyed putting on women's clothing," Leto says.
Anne Marie Fox Focus Features

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the story of Ron Woodroof, a rodeo cowboy and electrician, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1985. With the latest drugs still in the trial phase, he was told he didn't have long to live. Without access to possibly life-prolonging drugs, he sought out alternative treatments in Mexico and smuggled those drugs into the U.S., forming a buyers club for fellow HIV patients.

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Book Reviews
2:53 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Dickensian Ambition And Emotion Make 'Goldfinch' Worth The Wait

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:39 pm

"Dickensian" is one of those literary modifiers that's overused. But before I officially retire this ruined adjective (or exile it to Australia, as Dickens himself would have done), I want to give it one final outing, because no other word will do. Here goes: Donna Tartt's grand new novel, The Goldfinch, is Dickensian both in the ambition of its jumbo, coincidence-laced plot, as well as in its symphonic range of emotions.

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Music Reviews
12:06 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Brandy Clark Tells The 'Stories' That Are Tough To Hear

Brandy Clark's new album is titled 12 Stories.
Becky Fluke Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 9:12 am

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Author Interviews
2:43 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Brings Lessons From Space Down To Earth

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has spent a total of six months in space. In his new book, he writes that getting to space took only "8 minutes and 42 seconds. Give or take a few thousand days of training."
NASA Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:30 pm

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The Fresh Air Interview
2:43 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Never Back Down: Fresh Air Remembers Lou Reed

"[Lou Reed] really saw the beauty of life, and wanted to be a person who could live in that beauty as often as possible," longtime publicist Bill Bentley says.
Karl Walter Getty Images

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Author Interviews
12:56 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Botched Investigation Fuels Kennedy Conspiracy Theories

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 3:11 pm

It's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Though an official investigation concluded that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, conspiracy theories about the assassination were spawned almost immediately, and they keep coming to this day: Republican consultant Roger Stone has a new book — The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ — arguing Lyndon Johnson was behind the crime.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: 'Wheelmen,' 'Jezebel' And '12 Years A Slave'

Originally published on Sat October 26, 2013 12:13 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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Interviews
12:22 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Anat Cohen: Bringing The Clarinet To The World

Claroscuro showcases the range of Anat Cohen's influences, from New Orleans-style jazz to the music of Brazil.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 1:21 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 6, 2013.

Clarinetist Anat Cohen is one of a handful of Israeli jazz musicians making a mark on the American jazz scene. She's been voted Clarinetist of the Year six years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association, and her album, Claroscuro, showcases the range of her talents and musical influences, from New Orleans-style jazz to Israel to Latin music — particularly that of Brazil.

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Movie Reviews
12:22 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

In Emotionally Charged 'Blue,' Sex Is Graphic, But Not Gratuitous

Blue Is the Warmest Color chronicles the love affair between high school student Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos, left) and Emma (Léa Seydoux), who is older and more experienced.
IFC Films/Sundance Selects/Wild Bunch

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 2:30 pm

Blue Is the Warmest Color is a lesbian coming-of-age movie, and its long and graphic sex scenes have already generated controversy. The director, Abdellatif Kechiche, is a man, and at least one prominent female critic has accused him of leading with his own libido — a charge that I vigorously dispute, but of course I'm a man so take that as you will. Here's what I saw: a film that captures the intensity of sexual discovery — and dependency — in a way I've never seen. It's 179 minutes, every one of them charged. It's a remarkable experience.

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