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:
This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2011. 1861: The Civil War Awakening is now available in paperback.
The first shots of the American Civil War were fired almost 151 years ago in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. Less than two days later, Fort Sumter surrendered. It would take the Union army nearly four years to bring the coastal fortification back under its command.
In Friends With Kids, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) play two best friends who decide to have a baby together while keeping their relationship platonic — so that the baby doesn't interfere with their own romantic relationships.
Credit Roadside Attractions
Chris O'Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Jon Hamm play characters whose own relationships contrast with that of friends Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott)
The premise of Friends with Kids is the stuff of high-concept romantic comedies: Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie, who's at the age when her odds of childbearing lessen each year, and there's no mate in sight. So her best friend, Jason, played by Adam Scott, volunteers to impregnate her.
Maya Rudolph spent seven seasons on Saturday Night Live and went on to star in the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. Now she's exploring what's funny about parenting in the new movie Friends with Kids and the TV series Up All Night.
Ed Harris and Julianne Moore star as Arizona Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the HBO made-for-TV movie Game Change, based on a book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin about the 2008 presidential race.
Game Change has been attacked in advance by Sarah Palin, who recently said on Fox News, "Hollywood lies are Hollywood lies."
There are times when TV dramas about national politics and politicians deserve criticism, even ridicule, for their fast-and-loose narratives and characterizations. Recent miniseries about the Reagans and the Kennedys, loaded with unsubstantiated dialogue and action, are only two very fresh examples.
But Game Change — HBO's new take on the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign — is entertaining, and commendable, precisely because it stays so close to the facts, not because it strays from them.
It's not difficult to guess what the over-arching theme might be on an album Bruce Springsteen characterizes as being "as direct as any I ever made." The title song from Wrecking Ball is one he wrote a few years ago to commemorate the demolition of Giants Stadium in New Jersey. It was written from the point of view of the stadium, but in its new context, the wrecking ball is a symbol of the implacable forces that have wrecked the economy for millions of people.
Elaine Pagels has been called one of the world's most important writers and thinkers on religion and history. She won the National Book Award for her book The Gnostic Gospels. She is also the author of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas.
The Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, has some of the most dramatic and frightening language in the Bible.
In her new book Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation, Princeton University religious professor Elaine Pagels places the Book of Revelation in its historical context and explores where the book's apocalyptic vision of the end of the world comes from.
William Shatner has played an attorney, a starship captain, an alien and a Roman tax collector, among many other roles. Over the past half-century, the Canadian actor has performed on television, in commercials, in movies and on Broadway — and penned several novels.
He recently returned to Broadway for the first time in over 40 years with a new solo show, Shatner's World: We Just Live In It. In the 90-minute performance, Shatner talks about his childhood growing up in Montreal and reflects on his many acting roles with an assortment of photos and video clips.
Dierks Bentley has a nice, deep voice; an open, friendly demeanor; and a knack for working in a variety of country-music genres, from bluegrass to power ballads. For all that, it's always been difficult to pin down what Bentley aims to do. Although he's only in his 30s, Bentley sounds as though he's working through a bit of a midlife crisis on his new album Home. Take, for example, the single "Am I the Only One," a novelty tune about going out to party with a twist — not many of Bentley's pals want to join him, because they've settled into adulthood, and he hasn't.
Think about something it took you a really long time to learn, like how to parallel park. At first, parallel parking was difficult and you had to devote a lot of mental energy to it. But after you grew comfortable with parallel parking, it became much easier — almost habitual, you could say.