Fresh Air

Weekday at 6:00 p.m on News and Talk and News and Classical, Weekdays at 1:00 pm on News and Talk

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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Movie Reviews
10:10 am
Fri November 11, 2011

As The World Ends, A Certain 'Melancholia' Sets In

Kirsten Dunst's well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Magnolia Pictures

Metaphors don't come balder than the one at the center of Lars von Trier's Melancholia. It's both the emotional state of the protagonist Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, and also the name of a small planet on what might be a collision course with Earth. Actually, it does strike Earth in a lyrical, eight-minute, slow-motion prelude, but there's no way to know if that's real or a dream. Of course, the whole film can be taken as a dream, a bad but gorgeous one scored to the same few bars of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.

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The Fresh Air Interview
9:50 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Honoring Veterans With A Military Clarinet Quartet

The Bay State Winds feature, from left to right, TSgt. Christy Bailes, SSgt. Matthew Ayala, MSgt. Jennifer Dashnaw and MSgt. Kevin Connors
TSgt Weidemann US Air Force Bands of Liberty

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 10:26 am

This interview was originally broadcast on September 9, 2011.

The Bay State Winds, the clarinet quartet of the Air Force Band of Liberty, plays music ranging from patriotic songs to Bach to Broadway. The three clarinetists and one bass clarinetist who make up the group routinely play for community members and troops both stateside and overseas.

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The Fresh Air Interview
9:15 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Joe Henry: An Eclectic And Raucous 'Reverie'

Joe Henry's new album, Reverie, features all-acoustic performances from his basement.
Epitaph

Over the past two decades, Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry has worked with some of the biggest artists in rock, folk, jazz, soul and alt-country.

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Movie Interviews
8:57 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Dunst: Expressing Something Blue In Melancholia

Justine's well-planned wedding takes place as a planet called Melancholia heads directly towards Earth.
Magnolia Pictures

Lars von Trier's Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst as a depressed woman on her wedding day, just before the end of the world. "Melancholia" refers not only to the mood of the film, but to the name of a planet that's now heading for a direct collision course with the planet Earth.

When it looks like Melancholia is going to destroy the planet, everyone around Dunst's character Justine panics. But Justine remains eerily calm, seeming almost revitalized by the knowledge that all life on Earth might end instantaneously.

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Country
9:19 am
Wed November 9, 2011

'Four The Record,' Lambert Comes To Terms With Herself

Miranda Lambert
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Four the Record is a transitional collection for Miranda Lambert. Her preceding three albums played up the idea of Miranda as a good ol' gal with an explosive emotional streak. You saw it in titles like "Kerosene," "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and "Gunpowder and Lead." Four The Record is an album whose subtext is all about coming to terms with the expectations of her audience, and with her expectations for herself as a performer wanting to broaden her subject matter, to work in more varied styles.

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Author Interviews
10:24 am
Tue November 8, 2011

James Wolcott: 'Lucking Out' In 1970s New York

Two pedestrians stand on Broadway at West 44th Street in New York's Times Square on a November night in 1976. In his new memoir, critic James Wolcott writes about his life in 1970s New York.
AP

Originally published on Tue November 8, 2011 2:04 pm

When critic James Wolcott was a college sophomore, he wrote an article about Norman Mailer for his student paper. After the article was published, Wolcott found Mailer's address in a copy of Who's Who and mailed him a copy. Mailer wrote back.

"[He said]: 'When you leave college, I'd be willing to write a letter for you to editor Dan Wolf at The Village Voice," recalls Wolcott.

Wolcott knew he couldn't wait the two years until graduation. He wrote back to Mailer.

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Animals
10:01 am
Tue November 8, 2011

How Dogs Evolved Into 'Our Best Friends'

Dogs today evolved from wolves who first developed a relationship with humans on the hunting trail.
iStockphoto.com

Dogs have aided humans for thousands of years. Man's best friend has provided protection, companionship and hunting assistance since the days of the earliest human settlements.

But how and when dogs evolved from wolves is a matter of debate. Naturalist Mark Derr says there are two main schools of thought: Some researchers believe that humans domesticated wolves who were scrounging around their villages for trash. Others think that humans were taking care of wolves from the time they were puppies — until enough puppies were tamed and they somehow then evolved into dogs.

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Book Reviews
1:52 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Life Without Plot In 'Leaving The Atocha Station'

Ben Lerner's debut novel, Leaving the Atocha Station is one of the most compelling books about nothing I've ever read.

Ordinarily, I'm not a fan of this kind of spinning-one's-wheels-in-the-sand fiction. Austen and Dickens and Hammett got to me early and spoiled me: I like plot. But Lerner's offbeat little novel manages to convey what everyday life feels like before we impose the structure of plot on our experience.

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Author Interviews
10:16 am
Mon November 7, 2011

'SNL's' Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse

Darrell Hammond
HarperCollinsPublishers

In 14 years on Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond did many impressions, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sean Connery. Few of his cast members knew that Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and self-cutting as the result of childhood abuse.

In his memoir God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F-----: Tales of Stand-Up, 'Saturday Night Live' and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem, Hammond details the systematic brutality he suffered at the hands of his mother, who beat him, stabbed him and tortured him with a hammer and electrical outlet.

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Author Interviews
9:56 am
Mon November 7, 2011

How The World's Tallest Skyscrapers Work

Kate Ascher

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 12:01 pm

When the Empire State Building was constructed in 1931, it stood 1,250 feet tall. The famous skyscraper was the world's tallest building — and held that title for more than 40 years.

Today the world's tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It stretches more than 1,000 feet above the Empire State Building — 2,717 feet into the air. The Burj Khalifa smashed the record held by Taiwan's Taipei 101, a landmark skyscraper with 101 floors. And at 1,666-feet, Taipei 101 tops the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur by 183 feet.

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