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Fresh Air

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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. Subscribe to Fresh Air Plus! You'll be supporting the unique show you can't get enough of - and you can listen sponsor-free. Learn more at plus.npr.org/freshair

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. Subscribe to Fresh Air Plus! You'll be supporting the unique show you can't get enough of - and you can listen sponsor-free. Learn more at plus.npr.org/freshair

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WHYY

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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. Subscribe to Fresh Air Plus! You'll be supporting the unique show you can't get enough of - and you can listen sponsor-free. Learn more at plus.npr.org/freshair

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@nprfreshair

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Episodes

Best Of: George Floyd's Life / The Queer History Of A Women's Prison

5/21/2022
We remember George Floyd as we approach the second anniversary of his murder. We'll speak with Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa. They argue that George Floyd's struggles in life reflect the challenges and pressures of institutional racism in the country. Their new book is His Name is George Floyd. Also, we'll hear about the Women's House of Detention, the forgotten women's prison in Greenwich Village that played a role in the gay rights movement of the '60s,...

Duration:00:48:26

George Carlin

5/20/2022
Carlin was one of the most famous comics to emerge from the '60s counterculture. After it was broadcast on radio, his comic monologue Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television became the focus of an obscenity case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Carlin is the subject of a new two-part HBO documentary by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio. Carlin spoke with Terry Gross in 1990 and 2004. Our TV critic, David Bianculli also reviews the documentary. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead...

Duration:00:46:32

Political Discord In The White Evangelical Church

5/19/2022
New York Times journalist Ruth Graham says many pastors are being pressured to resist vaccines and mask mandates, embrace Trump's claims about election fraud and adopt QANON-based conspiracy theories. Maureen Corrigan shares four terrific novels perfect for your early summer reading: This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub, Search by Michelle Huneven, One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips, and Knock Off the Hat by Richard Stevenson.

Duration:00:45:07

How Systemic Racism Shaped George Floyd's Life

5/18/2022
As we approach the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, two journalists report on the life of the man whose death sparked a massive protest movement and a national conversation about race. Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa drew on hundreds of interviews and countless public and private records to reconstruct the course of Floyd's often-troubled life. A gentle man who sometimes worried that his size intimidated people, George Floyd grew up in poverty,...

Duration:00:45:51

Frank Bruni On Vision Lost & Found

5/17/2022
After experiencing a rare kind of stroke, NYT writer Frank Bruni suddenly became blind in his right eye. Doctors told him there was a decent chance the same could happen to his other eye. It forced him to make a decision: He could focus on what had been lost or on what remained. He chose the latter. Bruni's new memoir is The Beauty of Dusk.

Duration:00:45:44

The Queer History Of The Women's House Of Detention

5/16/2022
In New York City, in the 20th century, tens of thousands of women and transmasculine people were incarcerated at the so-called "House of D." Author Hugh Ryan says that in many cases, the prisoners were charged with crimes related to gender non-conforming behavior. "Drunkenness, waywardism, disobedience to their parents, being out at night by themselves, wearing pants, accepting a date from a man, accepting a ride from a man," Ryan says. "All of these things could have gotten you arrested if...

Duration:00:45:22

Best Of: Rosie Perez / Stephen Merchant

5/14/2022
Rosie Perez was a dancer on Soul Train, the choreographer for "the Fly Girls," the dancers on the sketch comedy show In Living Color, and she did the now-famous dance in the opening credit sequence of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. She's now co-starring in the HBO max series The Flight Attendant. We'll talk about her career and how she managed to become so successful after having been raised as a ward of the state in St. Joseph's Catholic Home for Children in New York, and later in foster...

Duration:00:48:43

Met Opera Star Anthony Roth Costanzo

5/13/2022
A decade ago, Costanzo had surgery that threatened to destroy his singing voice. Now he stars as a gender-fluid Egyptian pharaoh in the Met Opera's production of Philip Glass' Akhnaten. He's a countertenor, meaning he sings in a high range that's associated with women's voices. He knows all about the history of countertenors and their predecessors, castrati. Justin Chang reviews the new film Memoria, starring Tilda Swinton, which he calls a "sonic detective story."

Duration:00:49:24

How Tucker Carlson Conquered Cable

5/12/2022
The New York Times did an exhaustive survey of the Fox News hosts' broadcasts. Reporter Nicholas Confessore says Carlson's show is based on ideas that were once "caged in a dark corner of American life." Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Trust by Hernan Diaz.

Duration:00:46:17

Former Attorney General Eric Holder

5/11/2022
Holder was America's first Black attorney general when he served in the Obama administration. He has a new book called Our Unfinished March: The Violent Past and Imperiled Future of the Vote.

Duration:00:46:29

British Comedy Writer & Actor Stephen Merchant

5/10/2022
Merchant co-created the British Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais. His new show, The Outlaws, is about people court-ordered to do community service for low-level crimes. He spoke with producer Sam Briger about what inspired the new series, his best writing advice, and how being very tall (6'7") has informed his personality. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from The Clarinet Trio.

Duration:00:45:49

Rosie Perez

5/9/2022
Raised in a convent for abandoned kids, The Flight Attendant co-star used to dream of stability and a loving home. Now that she has it, Perez says, "It's priceless." We talk with Perez about overcoming the trauma of her childhood, how a fight with Spike Lee helped land her breakthrough role in Do the Right Thing, and her brief — but impactful — time dancing on Soul Train.

Duration:00:46:37

Best Of: Alexander Skarsgård / Comedy Writer Jessi Klein

5/7/2022
Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård describes himself as "quite a mellow guy." Playing a Viking warrior in the film The Northman gave Skarsgård a chance to tap into his animalistic nature. We talk about being a child actor in Sweden, growing up in a bohemian family, and his roles in Big Little Lies and Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" music video. Ken Tucker reviews Bonnie Raitt's new album, Just Like That... Jessi Klein was the head writer of Inside Amy Schumer and is one of the lead voices in the...

Duration:00:49:37

'Better Things' Star Pamela Adlon

5/6/2022
Adlon is the co-creator, director and star of the FX comedy series Better Things, which ended its fifth and final season last month. The Peabody award-winning series has been heralded as a "masterpiece of unreal realism." Her character, like Adlon herself, is the single mother of three girls, who is also helping her aging mother, and trying to keep her acting career alive. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Justin Chang reviews the French film...

Duration:00:45:51

How The UK Became A Safe-Deposit Box For Russian Oligarchs

5/5/2022
We talk with journalist Oliver Bullough about how Russian oligarchs have stashed their wealth and laundered their money in Britain, and how that's helped Putin – and the Russian state – launch its war in Ukraine. There's so much oligarch money in London, it's been nicknamed "Londongrad." Bullough says the UK has developed a system of bankers, lawyers, accountants and PR managers who work to help Russian kleptocrats hide their wealth.

Duration:00:44:55

Alexander Skarsgård

5/4/2022
The Swedish actor describes himself as "quite a mellow guy." Playing a Viking warrior in the film The Northman gave Skarsgård a chance to tap into his animalistic nature. We talk about being a child actor in Sweden, growing up in a bohemian family, and his roles in Big Little Lies, Succession, and Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" music video. Also, John Powers reviews HBO Max's new drama series The Staircase, inspired by the true crime story and documentary series about the 2001 suspicious death of...

Duration:00:45:46

How GOP Leaders (Briefly) Turned Against Trump After Jan. 6

5/3/2022
In their book, This Will Not Pass, NYT journalists Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns reveal that GOP leaders, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Mitch McConnell privately discussed removing Trump from office.

Duration:00:46:14

Stopping Mass Shootings Before They Happen

5/2/2022
Mother Jones national affairs editor Mark Follman has studied mass shootings in America for much of the past decade. He says a growing number of mental health experts, educators and law enforcement leaders are engaged in the emerging field of behavioral threat assessment. They study the psychology and behavior of past mass shooters, interviewing many in prison. They then train local personnel to look for those patterns at schools or workplaces, and intervene to get troubled people help...

Duration:00:45:45

Best Of: Tim McGraw / Zain Asher

4/30/2022
Country music singers McGraw and Faith Hill star in the Paramount+ series 1883. The show tells the story of a group of Eastern European immigrants trying to make their way in covered wagons from Texas to Oregon. We talk with McGraw about the series and learning about his birth father, MLB pitcher Tug McGraw. When CNN international anchor Zain Asher was 5, her father died in a car accident in Nigeria. Asher's new memoir, Where the Children Take Us, is largely about her mother's remarkable...

Duration:00:48:50

The Wonder of the Human Voice

4/29/2022
We talk with 'New Yorker' writer John Colapinto, author of This Is the Voice, about how voices work, how they evolved in our prehistoric ancestors, how babies learn to vocalize words of their parents' languages so quickly, and what makes voices sexy or authoritative. Colapinto's own vocal injury led him to explore this subject. Film critic Justin Chang reviews Petite Maman, a new film by Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma.

Duration:00:46:32