Fresh Air on Xtra HD

Weekdays at 3:00pm
Terry Gross

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

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Book Reviews
2:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish'

iStockphoto

The title of Maggie Shipstead's second novel is: Astonish Me. She did just that --astonish me -- with her debut novel of 2012, called Seating Arrangements. After reading that novel, I likened the then 20-something-year-old Shipstead to "Edith Wharton with a millennial generation edge." The comparison remains sound.

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Author Interviews
2:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

On A 'Rigged' Wall Street, Milliseconds Make All The Difference

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 2:01 pm

"The stock market is rigged," Michael Lewis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's rigged for the benefit for really a handful of insiders. It's rigged to ... maximize the take of Wall Street, of banks, the exchanges and the high-frequency traders at the expense of ordinary investors."

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Author Interviews
3:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

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Music Reviews
3:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Fight Sound With Sound: Grateful Dead's Arena Combat

Dave's Picks Volume 9 features a 1974 Grateful Dead concert played in Montana.
Courtesy of the artist

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:27 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Bryan Cranston, 'Redeployment' And A New Yorker Cartoonist

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

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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Movie Reviews
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Television
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Good Wife' Delivers A Game-Changing Stunner

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Interviews
11:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Fall Of The House Of Dixie' Built A New U.S.

Random House

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 2:20 pm

This interview originally aired on Jan. 7, 2013.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

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Performing Arts
1:34 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

From Walter White To LBJ, Bryan Cranston Is A Master Of Transformation

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:15 pm

In the 2008 pilot of AMC's Breaking Bad, high school teacher Walter White fails to interest his chemistry students in the study of change. But over the course of the series, Walt himself came to exemplify radical change, using his knowledge of chemistry to become a master meth cook, and transforming himself into a notorious outlaw who was willing to kill, when necessary, to keep his operation running.

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Author Interviews
2:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Sleep Donation': A Dark, Futuristic Lullaby For Insomniacs

efenzi iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 4:42 pm

Imagine an America that has been plagued for years by a mysterious epidemic of insomnia — an affliction so serious that many are dying from lack of sleep. That's the futuristic premise of Karen Russell's new novella, Sleep Donation.

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Book Reviews
2:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:13 pm

Here's an old joke you may have heard: "How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "You wouldn't know, you weren't there."

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Europe
2:05 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How Crimea's Annexation Plays To Russians' Soviet Nostalgia

An activist carries a Russian flag during a rally on Sunday in eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 9:13 pm

According to political scientist Kimberly Marten, Russia's decision to annex Crimea from Ukraine may have changed its relationship with the outside world for many years to come.

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Book Reviews
2:05 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

'Thief' Delivers An Unfiltered Depiction Of Life In Lagos

Derrick Ceyrac AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:07 pm

Let's get the negative stuff out of the way first. Teju Cole's Every Day Is For The Thief is not much of a novel. Forget plot or character development: This is a piece of writing that's all about setting. If you take what Cole is offering here and value it on its own terms, you'll probably appreciate the curious magic at work in this slim not-quite-a-novel. In chapters that stand as separate, short vignettes, Every Day Is For The Thief describes a young New York doctor's visit back to his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria.

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Music Reviews
2:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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Author Interviews
2:14 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Explores What Makes Us Get It

Bob Mankoff/The New Yorker Collection/Condé Nast

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:43 pm

Bob Mankoff has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker ever since 1977 and now, as cartoon editor, he evaluates more than 500 cartoons submitted to the magazine each week.

Mankoff is proud of the many cartoons that have been published under his aegis. "Sometimes I take my aegis out of my drawer just to admire it," he writes.

His most well-known cartoon shows an executive looking at his desk calendar, saying to someone on the phone: "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?"

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