Fresh Air

Monday through Thursday at Noon on WMRA, and Weeknights at 6pm on WEMC
Terry Gross

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

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Music Reviews
11:01 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Ray Anderson: A Pocket-Size Suite Makes A Huge Racket

It's tricky making a little band sound big on Sweet Chicago Suite, but trombonist Ray Anderson knows his tricks.
Jeanne Moutoussamy Ashe

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 3:47 pm

Ray Anderson's Pocket Brass Band is about watch-pocket size: With three horns and drums, it couldn't get much smaller. On its new Sweet Chicago Suite, Anderson makes what the group does sound easy. Just write some catchy, bluesy tunes and then have the band blast them out.

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Book Reviews
12:41 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

'Beautiful Ruins,' Both Human And Architectural

In Jess Walter's new novel, Beautiful Ruins, there's a beaten-down character named Claire who works in Hollywood reading scripts for a living. Claire is inundated with reality TV show pitches, many of them featuring drunk models or drunk sex addicts — in short, scripts so offensive that, Claire thinks, to give them the green light for production would be akin to "singlehandedly hastening the apocalypse."

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Author Interviews
12:41 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A New Superman Bio!

Christopher Reeve played Superman in Richard Donner's 1978 film. Larry Tye has written a new biography of the Man of Steel.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:15 am

Eighty years ago, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the iconic comic book character Superman, but it took several years of rejections before they finally sold him to Detective Comics Inc. in 1938. The distinctive superhero made his first appearance in the comics in June 1938 — and since then has appeared in radio dramas, TV shows, video games, newspaper comics and countless films.

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Fresh Air Weekend
2:33 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Fermenting, Joan Rivers

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 12:17 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:


Joan Rivers Hates You, Herself And Everyone Else: Comedian Joan Rivers' new book I Hate Everyone, Starting With Me details the things Rivers can't stand.

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Television
11:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

'Car 54' Re-Release Drives An Old Fan To Reminisce

NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) patrolled the Bronx in the 1960s sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?
Shanachie Entertainment

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 6:24 pm

I grew up in New York City, but I didn't watch Car 54, Where Are You? until I got hooked on it in syndication long after it was originally aired. So I was very happy to see the complete series of 60 episodes released on two DVD boxed sets. The episode in Season 2 titled "I Hate Capt. Block," about trying to teach a recalcitrant parrot to talk and the way people are not much smarter than parrots, is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen on television, maybe as inspired as Sid Caesar's foreign film parodies or Carol Burnett's version of Gone with the Wind.

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Remembrances
11:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

For 'Wiseguy' Henry Hill, Mobster 'Days Were Over'

Hill (left, with Ray Liotta, who played him in the movie GoodFellas) was the central figure in Wiseguy, the 1986 Nicholas Pileggi book that later became the Martin Scorsese-directed film.
Rebecca Sapp WireImage

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 6:29 pm

Henry Hill, the mobster-turned-informant portrayed by Ray Liotta in the film Goodfellas, died Tuesday at age 69. Hill's colorful life — he lived in Cincinnati; Omaha; Butte, Mont.; Independence, Ky.; and Topanga, Calif., among other places — was documented in crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 book Wiseguy and then in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas, which was based on Pileggi's book.

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Around the Nation
12:22 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Radio's Bryan Fischer Tries Pushing Romney Right

Before hosting Focal Point, Bryan Fischer was the chaplain of the Idaho State Senate and the head of the Idaho chapter of the American Family Association.
Troy Maben AP

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 2:56 pm

In April, Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, to serve as his campaign's national security spokesman. Within hours, Grenell was being attacked by a Christian radio talk show host named Bryan Fischer, whose Focal Point call-in show reaches more than 1 million listeners a day.

Nine days after Fischer began his on-air attack, Grenell resigned. He had been the only openly gay member of Romney's campaign staff.

The Christian right and Fischer saw Grenell's resignation as a "tremendous victory," says New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer.

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Music Reviews
12:22 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

On 'Banga,' Patti Smith Pays Homage To Friends

Patti Smith.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 5:39 pm

Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.

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Fresh Food
12:16 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

'Fermentation': When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:48 pm

The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.

The process of fermenting our food isn't a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.

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Music Reviews
12:16 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

The Untold Story Of Singer Bobby Charles

Singer, songwriter and swamp-pop pioneer Bobby Charles poses for a portrait in 1972.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 2:31 pm

When he was around 13, Robert Charles Guidry began singing with a band around his hometown of Abbeville, La., deep in the Cajun swamps. The group played Cajun and country music and, after he passed through town and played a show, Fats Domino's music. It was a life-changing experience for the young man, and he found himself with a new ambition: to write a song for Fats.

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