Fresh Air on WUTC

Weekdays, Noon - 1pm
Terry Gross

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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11:23am

Fri May 4, 2012
Movie Reviews

A Gershwin Biopic That Ain't Necessarily So True

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 3:58 pm

George Gershwin's most famous works include Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and the opera Porgy and Bess.
Warner Archives

The movie Rhapsody in Blue, a biography of George Gershwin, was released only eight years after his death from a brain tumor at the age of 38. It's a good subject: Gershwin wrote some of the best popular songs ever produced in this country, but he also had ambitions to be a serious classical composer and wrote symphonic music, concertos and an opera — all of which are still performed.

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10:58am

Fri May 4, 2012
Author Interviews

The U.S. Ambassador Inside Hitler's Berlin

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 11:23 am

Adolf Hitler (right) with his foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in 1941.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on May 9, 2011. In The Garden Of Beasts is now available in paperback.

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11:54am

Thu May 3, 2012
Movie Reviews

'The Avengers': A Marvel-ous Whedonesque Ride

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 6:29 pm

Thor (Chris Hemsworth, left) and Captain America (Chris Evans) join up with Iron Man and the Hulk to save the Earth in The Avengers.
Walt Disney Pictures

Two spheres merge in The Avengers: the Marvel Comics universe and the Whedonverse, fans' name for the nerdy wisecracking existentialist superhero world of writer-director Joss Whedon.

The Whedon cult is smaller but maybe more fervent, inspiring academic conferences on such subjects as free will vs. determinism in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find a lot of Whedon's banter self-consciously smart-alecky, but I love how he can spoof his subjects without robbing them of stature.

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11:47am

Thu May 3, 2012
Television

The Man Who Revitalized 'Doctor Who' And 'Sherlock'

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 12:35 pm

Steven Moffat is the co-creator of Sherlock. He's also the lead writer and executive producer for the British science-fiction TV show Doctor Who.
Toby Canham Getty

TV writer and producer Steven Moffat specializes in injecting new life into old, familiar characters and stories. He first worked his magic on the revived edition of Doctor Who, leading to several BAFTA and Hugo Awards for the series.

More recently, he has turned his eye to the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. As the co-creator of the critically acclaimed BBC series Sherlock, Moffat is responsible for updating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional creation for a modern-day audience.

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11:40am

Thu May 3, 2012
Television

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: From 'Seinfeld' To 'Veep'

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 12:35 pm

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won several awards, including Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe.
Melanie Acevedo Courtesy of Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus will forever be known to millions as Elaine Benes, the character she played for nine seasons on Seinfeld. But she was also an early cast member of Saturday Night Live, and she won the Emmy for Best Comedy Actress while starring in the CBS series The New Adventures of Old Christine, which ran for five seasons after Seinfeld.

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12:27pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Pop Culture

Sherlock: A Character Who's More Than Elementary

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 1:04 pm

Basil Rathbone (right) as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1945.
AP

One of my favorite professors, the late Ian Watt, taught that there were four great myths of modern individualism: Faust, Don Juan, Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe. This always got me wondering which, if any, pop-culture heroes might endure in the same way. James Bond? Luke Skywalker? The Avengers? C'mon. In fact, there's only one who I feel sure will last — Sherlock Holmes.

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10:36am

Wed May 2, 2012
Author Interviews

ExxonMobil: A 'Private Empire' On The World Stage

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 12:30 pm

Steve Coll was a managing editor at The Washington Post and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for reporting about the Securities and Exchange Commission and in 2004 for his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
Courtesy of the author

In Private Empire, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Steve Coll investigates how ExxonMobil has used its money and power to wield significant influence in Washington, D.C., particularly during the Bush administration.

Executives at the company maintained close personal connections with members of the Bush administration — but Coll says the "cliched idea that Exxon-Mobil was just an instrument of the Bush administration's foreign policy — a kind of extension of the American government during the Bush years — is just wrong."

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11:56am

Tue May 1, 2012
Book Reviews

'The Newlyweds': A Match Made Online

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 12:38 pm

Random House

There continues to be a lot of talk about gender bias in the book industry. The core argument goes that, while both male and female authors write novels about relationships and the domestic sphere, when a woman does so her books are relegated to "chic lit," and when a man (like Jonathan Franzen) does, he's lauded for serious literary achievement.

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12:28pm

Mon April 30, 2012
Author Interviews

Sissy Spacek's 'Extraordinary Ordinary Life'

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 12:45 pm

Sissy Spacek received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter.
Courtesy of the author

When Sissy Spacek started her film career, she was told to lose her heavy Texas accent. But her famous drawl became one of her greatest assets when Terrence Malick cast her in his 1973 crime drama Badlands.

Spacek played Holly, a teenage girl from South Dakota who became an accomplice on a cross-country murder spree. The film, which also starred Martin Sheen, was narrated in Spacek's distinctive Southern voice.

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12:27pm

Mon April 30, 2012
Music Reviews

A Sure-Footed Collection Of 'African Blues'

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 6:18 pm

I have to hand it to the Putumayo label. Since it started as a soundtrack-provider to a clothing store in the early '90s, the operation has placed racks of CDs with friendly-primitivist art by Nicola Heindl into Starbucks and Whole Foods everywhere. Putumayo is as responsible as anything for making music buyers ask "Where's the world music section?" in shops or online.

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5:48am

Sat April 28, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Jack Black, Hugh Laurie

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 12:18 pm

Hugh Laurie has received two Golden Globe awards and two Screen Actors Guild awards for his portrayal of Dr. Gregory House.
Fox

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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8:42am

Fri April 27, 2012
Author Interviews

Tracing The Divides In The War 'To End All Wars'

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 2:51 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on August 11, 2011. To End All Wars is now available in paperback.

The human cost of World War I was enormous. More than 9 million soldiers and an estimated 12 million civilians died in the four-year-long conflict, which also left 21 million military men wounded.

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5:03pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Movie Reviews

A 'Five-Year Engagement' Leaves A Bitter Taste

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:38 am

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) celebrate their impending nuptials with their families before Violet drops a bomb: She's been accepted at a program at the University of Michigan, and wants to move there and postpone their wedding day.
Universal Pictures

There are many dramas and comedies in which career trajectories take couples to different corners of the country, complicating or ending romantic relationships. There will be many more, at least until someone invents a teleportation machine. What's different about each work is how the problem gets interpreted.

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11:40am

Thu April 26, 2012
Music Reviews

Howlin' Wolf: A Blues Legend With An Earthy Sound

Howlin' Wolf's masters from the Chess label have just been released on a four-disc set titled Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1931-1960.

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10:57am

Thu April 26, 2012
Book Reviews

Lillian Hellman: A 'Difficult,' Vilified Woman

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 12:17 pm

"Difficult" is probably the most tactful word one could use in characterizing Lillian Hellman. If ever there were an author safer to meet through her art rather than in real life, she was the one. Born in New Orleans into a Jewish family, Hellman came of age in the Roaring '20s, liberated by flappers and Freud. Hellman drank like a fish, swore like a sailor and slept around like, well, like most of the men in her literary circle, chief among them Dashiell Hammett, with whom she had an open relationship spanning three decades. She was, recalled one observer, a "tough broad ...

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