Fresh Air

Monday through Thursday at Noon, and Monday through Friday at 7pm on WMRA
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

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

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF THELONIOUS MONK'S "ERONEL")

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's a commonplace these days to say that real life has become so unpredictable that it outstrips anything anyone could dream up in fiction. I think I'm guilty of having made that banal observation a few times.

But that was before I read The Obama Inheritance, a collection of 15 stories so sly, fresh and Bizarro World witty, they reaffirm the resiliency of the artistic imagination.

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:

New Muhammad Ali Biography Reveals A Flawed Rebel Who Loved Attention: "I don't think we do Ali any good by treating him as a saint," says biographer Jonathan Eig. "He was a human being, and he was deeply flawed, but ... he had the spirit of a rebel."

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Decades before NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police treatment of African-Americans, boxer Muhammad Ali roiled white America with his 1967 resistance to the Vietnam War draft.

The boxer had converted to the Nation of Islam a few years earlier, and he explained his resistance to the war by saying, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong."

If you're into counterculture kitsch, you might want to check out the nostalgia-themed resort hotel at Walt Disney World in Florida. It features a "Hippy Dippy" swimming pool, surrounded by flower-shaped water jets, peace signs and giant letters that spell out "Peace, Man," "Out of Sight" and "Can You Dig It?"

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Music critic Milo Miles has a review of "Afrobeats Hot Hits." The collection introduces a type of African fusion that melds electronics, voices and rhythms.

Tom Petty, leader of The Heartbreakers and member of The Traveling Wilburys, died Monday night from cardiac arrest. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was 66 years old.

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is a city person. She grew up in an apartment building in Brooklyn, N.Y., and though she moved to the suburbs as an adult when she was pregnant with her second child, she never stopped loving the grit and excitement of New York City.

"Just about every street in Manhattan has that kind of density of visual information," she says. "It's just fun. I like looking at it. Everything seems to suggest stories."

Classics scholar Daniel Mendelsohn was preparing to teach his freshman seminar on Homer's Odyssey a few years back when he got an unusual add-in request: His father, Jay, wanted to join the class.

At first Mendelsohn wasn't sure it was a good idea. "I was a little bit afraid that having my 81-year-old dad in the class was going to disrupt the dynamic," he says.

But Mendelsohn agreed to let his dad join the class — in part because Jay promised to sit in the corner and listen silently to the seminar.

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