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Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
529 Episodes
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Anita Hill

Anita Hill

2021-09-2844:52

In 1991, Anita Hill testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Thomas was confirmed regardless. Since then, another Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh, has joined the bench, despite Christine Blasey Ford's testimony that he sexually assaulted her. We talk with Hill about how her life and work has changed over the last 30 years, how she wants the confirmation process to change, and President Biden's apology for how she was treated in the '91 hearings. Her new memoir is 'Believing.' "There is victory in being able to come forward and state what has happened to you," she says. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Anthony Doerr's new novel, 'Cloud Cuckoo Land.'
Ben Platt

Ben Platt

2021-09-2745:30

Platt stars in 'Dear Evan Hansen,' the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. He originated the role. We talk about anxiety, falling in love with another 'Evan Hansen' actor, and his upcoming project with Richard Linklater, filming a musical over the course of 20 years.
B.J. Novak played Ryan on 'The Office' and served as a writer and an executive producer of the series. His new FX/Hulu anthology show, 'The Premise,' deals with important cultural issues, like social justice, sex tapes, guns, and how we're shaped by social media. We talk about Novak's early stand-up and his friendship with Mindy Kaling.Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the reboots of 'The Wonder Years' and 'Scenes from a Marriage.' Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead's new book, 'Harlem Shuffle,' is about a furniture store owner in Harlem whose sideline is fencing stolen goods. We talk about heists, how New York City has changed, and writing in the pandemic.
Last month, Ray Charles was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. That may sound odd to you since he's such a pivotal figure in soul music and rhythm & blues. But his 1962 album, 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,' became one of his best known records, and included two of his biggest hits, "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "You Don't Know Me." Charles spoke with Terry Gross in 1998. Also, John Powers reviews two thriller films: 'Wife of a Spy' and 'Azor.'
'Wall Street Journal' reporter Jeff Horwitz says Facebook executives often choose to boost engagement at the expense of tackling problems like misinformation and mental health issues in teens that are rampant on their platforms.
B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak

2021-09-2247:473

B.J. Novak played Ryan on 'The Office' and served as a writer and an executive producer of the series. His new FX/Hulu anthology show, 'The Premise,' deals with important cultural issues, like social justice, sex tapes, guns, and how we're shaped by social media. We talk about Novak's early stand-up, doing the MTV prank show 'Punk'd,' and his friendship with Mindy Kaling.
Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal, invested early in Facebook, secretly funded the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that put the website Gawker out of business, and put more than a million dollars into Trump's campaign just after the appearance of the 'Access Hollywood' tapes. Thiel is also known for his interest in some unusual ideas, like independent city-states that float on the ocean, free from oppressive governments. We talk with 'Bloomsberg Businessweek' tech reporter Max Chafkin about his book on Thiel, 'The Contrarian.'Also, critic David Bianculli reviews two remakes of classic TV shows, 'The Wonder Years' and 'Scenes from a Marriage.'
How did Americans become so divided? And how did we come so close to overturning the results of a presidential election? These are some of the questions at the heart of the new book 'Wildland,' by 'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos. Osnos bookended his coverage of Trump by reporting on Trump's white nationalist support during his 2016 campaign and the attack on the capital by Trump supporters after the 2020 election. Osnos is also the author of a book about Joe Biden, and has profiled Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. He'll offer some insights into Manchin and his complicated relationship with Biden, now that Manchin holds the key vote on infrastructure and voting rights legislation.Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Fortnight in September,' by R.C. Sherriff.
Béla Fleck is one of the most famous banjo players in the world. He's taken that instrument out of its folk and bluegrass traditions to play pretty much any kind of music, including jazz and pop to classical and reggae. But bluegrass has always been where he comes from — and he's returned to it for his new album, 'My Bluegrass Heart.'Science writer Mary Roach ('Stiff', 'Gulp') explores scenarios where animals are the ones committing "crimes" — and how society deals with it. We talk about bear attacks, drunk elephants, and monkey thieves. Her new book is 'Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.'
Jean Smart is nominated for two Emmys — one for her lead role in 'Hacks' and one for her supporting role in 'Mare of Easttown.' We're revisiting her May 2021 interview. Pioneering music impresario George Wein created the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. He died Sept. 13. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2003.
In the past 15 years, one in four newspapers has shuttered in the U.S. We talk with Art Cullen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, editor, and co-owner of 'The Storm Lake Times' in the meatpacking town of Storm Lake, Iowa. He and his family are the subject of a new documentary, called 'Storm Lake,' about the challenges the industry is facing as news moves to free digital platforms and ad revenues dwindle. The film is opening in select theaters and be on PBS Nov. 15.
Whitehead's new novel 'Harlem Shuffle,' is about a furniture store owner in Harlem whose sideline is fencing stolen goods. Whitehead won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel 'The Underground Railroad,' about a 15-year-old enslaved girl who escapes a brutal Georgia plantation. The novel was adapted into a TV series that is now nominated for several Emmys. Whitehead won another Pulitzer for his next novel 'The Nickel Boys,' based on the story of the Dozier School for Boys, a segregated reform school notorious for its brutal punishment. We talk about heists, how New York City has changed, and writing in the pandemic Justin Chang reviews the film 'Blue Bayou.'
Science writer Mary Roach ('Stiff', 'Gulp') explores scenarios where animals are the ones committing "crimes" — and how society deals with it. We talk about bear attacks, drunk elephants, and monkey thieves. Her new book is 'Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.' Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from saxophonist Joel Frahm.
Béla Fleck is perhaps the most famous banjo player in the world. He's taken that instrument out of its folk and bluegrass traditions to play pretty much any kind of music: from jazz and pop to classical and reggae. But bluegrass has always been where he comes from — and he's returned to it for his new album, 'My Bluegrass Heart.' He's dedicated it to two musical heroes that died in the last year: Chick Corea and Tony Rice. Fleck joins Sam Briger to play his banjo, and talk about returning to his roots; his trip to Africa, the continent of the banjo's origin; and meeting his father for the first time in his 40s. Ken Tucker reviews, 'Dreaming of You,' a collection of songs by actor Karen Black, best known for 'Easy Rider' and 'Five Easy Pieces.' Black died in 2013.
Michael K. Williams was best known for playing Omar on 'The Wire' and Chalky White on 'Boardwalk Empire.' He died Sept. 6 of a suspected drug overdose. In 2008, Williams told Terry Gross the story behind the scar on his face and his background in dance. In 2016, he reflected on his lucky breaks and what it was like to leave Omar behind. "When 'The Wire' and the character of Omar ended, I had zero tools, personally speaking, in how to deal with letting that go. ... I didn't equip myself with the tools of how to wash that off my psyche." Maureen Corrigan reviews Sally Rooney's new novel, 'Beautiful World, Where Are You.' Also, we hear from U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. She's the first Native American appointed to the position. She has a new memoir, 'Poet Warrior,' that's in part about her family's history. She's a member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation.
As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, a new biography traces Osama bin Laden's path from a shy, religious teenager to the leader of a global jihadist group dedicated to mass murder. Journalist Peter Bergen, who met the al-Qaida leader in 1997, says that a series of events kept pushing bin Laden "further and further down the path of radicalization." We also talk about conditions in Afghanistan after the U.S. troop withdrawal, and the chances that terrorist organizations will flourish there as al-Qaida did in the '90s. Bergen's new book is 'The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.'Also, Justin Chang reviews the new Paul Schrader film 'The Card Counter,' starring Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish.
Ian Millhiser covers the Supreme Court for Vox. He says the Court's decision to uphold the recent Texas abortion law was a generational victory for abortion opponents: "They've spent many decades working for this moment."Maureen Corrigan reviews Sally Rooney's new novel, 'Beautiful World, Where Are You.'
Williams was best known for playing Omar on 'The Wire' and Chalky White on 'Boardwalk Empire.' In 2008, Williams told Terry Gross the story behind the scar on his face and his background in dance. In 2016, he reflected on his lucky breaks and what it was like to leave Omar behind. "When 'The Wire' and the character of Omar ended, I had zero tools, personally speaking, in how to deal with letting that go. ... I didn't equip myself with the tools of how to wash that off my psyche." Williams died Sept. 6 of a suspected drug overdose.Also, critic David Bianculli reviews the new reboot of Doogie Howser, M.D.
The nation's first Native American poet laureate has a new memoir in which she tells her own story — as well as the story of her sixth-generation grandfather, who was forced from his land in the Trail of Tears. It's called 'Poet Warrior.' "If my work does nothing else, when I get to the end of my life, I want Native peoples to be seen as human beings," she says.Historian Tiya Miles tells the story of an enslaved woman who, upon hearing that her child was being sold off, hastily packed her a cotton sack with a few personal items. That cotton bag remained in the child's possession and was passed on from one generation to the next, and at one point in the early 1900s, was inscribed with the family's tale. Eventually it ended up at the National Museum of African American History. Miles joins contributor Arun Venugopal to talk about what this story tell us about slavery. Her book is 'All That She Carried.'
We conclude our Summer of Soul series with Mavis Staples and Gladys Knight, two performers featured in Questlove's documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. As a teenager, Mavis Staples performed with her family in the Staple Singers, led by her father, "Pops" Staples. By the late '50s, the Staple Singers was one of the most popular gospel groups in the country. In the early '70s, they crossed over to the top of the pop charts.Gladys Knight's Motown hits with the Pips included "I heard it Through the Grapevine," "Neither One of Us," and "The End of Our Road." She had one of her biggest hits after leaving Motown: "Midnight Train to Georgia."
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Comments (395)

Emilia Gray

Now this kind of pastime no longer seems inaccessible. Everyone can afford it, I found tickets here https://www.cheapticketsite.com/category/broadway-tickets at very nice prices. Not to mention the unforgettable emotions that you will get as a result

Sep 28th
Reply

Philly Burbs

I love Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Huston & all members of the movie. It was missing something. Queen's movie was missing the same thing. We are living in a time when artist cares more about showing things the right way than how gritty things were. Queen was outrageous. Without the grittiness, we have a Hallmark movie, a very nice movie, not one to pay for in a theatre.

Sep 4th
Reply

Jason Arkles

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Aug 24th
Reply (1)

Mercedes Rogers

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Aug 21st
Reply

New Jawn

I'm sorry, but I think that was a very poor interview about a very interesting book. Rather than spend half the time focused on a single chapter, exploring thematic elements linking this type of work would have been better. It's as if Davies didn't read the book or that his staff provided poor notes. And Press didn't help matters by trying to come across as the most touchy sensitive man in America. Maybe he is, but it comes across so creepy.

Aug 19th
Reply

AJB

May his memory be a blessing! Rest in peace.

Aug 13th
Reply

Bea Kiddo

I can not wait until Trump goes to prison and is poor. He’ll flee before they come for him and make him accountable for being a traitor. Counting the days until then…

Aug 13th
Reply

Peter Chaloner

He was ebbu-lent ? Geddoutahere! A 'smart' guy who cannot get his tongue around ebullient? Inherently untrustworthy.

Aug 11th
Reply (2)

Jedi mind trick

"Now go on girl and use that sauce (that sauce) / If you don't, then that's your loss (your loss)" #janellemonáe

Aug 3rd
Reply

Jedi mind trick

...voodoo. I found this woman. #janellemonáe

Aug 3rd
Reply

Jedi mind trick

...you rated me a six I was like, "Damn" But even back then with the tears in my eyes I always knew I was the shit. #janellemonáe

Aug 3rd
Reply

itshak barlev

Thank you very much for the interesting and refreshing interview

Jul 28th
Reply

Laurie Doyle

((?mooxnkxu8ozzoxkooskz olooz(oxoxooo(k9(moms(oxxxxxfffffijjs(isslosuoeodmosk89t(lojosodookoeoskooook9I&lid9ioo

Jul 25th
Reply

Philly Burbs

is this true or bullshit?

Jul 3rd
Reply

Ami Blue

I wanted to listen but the swallowing noises!? why weren't they edited out! I had to remove my earbud.

Jun 29th
Reply

Bea Kiddo

I LOVE Desus & Mero. Funny show!!!

Jun 22nd
Reply

Philly Burbs

Expressway To Your Heart ❤ Brings back wonderful childhood memories of sitting on an alley wall, 45s, battery operated turn table & getting up & dancing our asses off. We thought we were soooo cool!

Jun 1st
Reply

Heinrich Lyle

Big fan of Seth Rogan, but it's disappointing to see him turning his back on his old friend James Franco. Are we seriously supposed to believe that all of these years Seth had no idea what his buddy was up to? Gee, Terri, thanks for the hard hitting interview.

May 19th
Reply

Heinrich Lyle

Big fan of Seth Rogan, but it's disappointing to see him turning his back on his old friend James Franco. Are we seriously supposed to believe that all of these years Seth had no idea what his buddy was up to? Gee, Terri, thanks for the hard hitting interview.

May 19th
Reply

Bea Kiddo

Tom Jones will always have a place in my heart.

May 16th
Reply
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