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This Author: Terry Gross
This Publisher: National Public Radio

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast by Terry Gross

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast

by Terry Gross

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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.


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Inside DARPA: The 'Imagineers Of War'

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 28, 2017


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, develops innovative technologies for the military. Its innovations led to the Internet, communication satellites, stealth aircrafts, drones, and driverless cars. Sharon Weinberger's book, 'The Imagineers of War,' tells the untold story of DARPA. Also, we say goodbye to 'Fresh Air' producer John Sheehan.

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How For-Profit Colleges Sell 'Risky Education'

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 27, 2017


Tressie McMillan Cottom worked in enrollment at two for-profit colleges, but quit because she felt uncomfortable selling students an education they couldn't afford. Her new book, 'Lower Ed,' argues that for-profit colleges can exploit racial, gender and economic inequality.

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Best Of: Pete Holmes / 'No One Cares About Crazy People'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 24, 2017


Pete Holmes' new HBO show 'Crashing' is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage as a stand-up comic. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy," not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club." Author Ron Powers' new book 'No One Cares About Crazy People' is both a memoir about his two sons with schizophrenia and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally.

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The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70k Forced Sterilizations

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 24, 2017


In the first half of the 20th century, American eugenicists used forced sterilization to "breed out" traits they considered undesirable. The Nazis borrowed from the U.S. eugenics sterilization program. Adam Cohen tells the story in his book, 'Imbeciles,' now out in paperback. Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Wilson,' adapted from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel.

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The Remarkable Story Of Dorothy Day

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 23, 2017


Day was a champion of the poor and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Her granddaughter, writer Kate Hennessy, talks about her grandmother's bohemian past. Hennessy's new biography of Day draws from family letters, diaries, interviews and her own memories. Also, 'Fresh Air' remembers Chuck Barris, creator of 'The Dating Game,' 'The Newlywed Game,' and 'The Gong Show.' He died Tuesday at 87. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1986.

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Inside The Wealthy Family That's Been Funding Bannon's Plan For Years

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 22, 2017


'New Yorker' staff writer Jane Mayer talks about Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, who have poured millions of dollars into 'Breitbart News' and pushed to have Steve Bannon run Trump's campaign. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Devil and Webster,' a novel about a New England college in turmoil.

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Comic Pete Holmes

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 21, 2017


Holmes' new HBO show 'Crashing' is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy" comic, not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club."

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Father Of 2 Sons With Schizophrenia On His Struggle To Save Them

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 20, 2017


"There is no greater feeling of helplessness than to watch two beloved sons deteriorate before [your] eyes," says Ron Powers. His new book 'No One Cares About Crazy People' is both about his sons and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally. Also, rock historian Ed Ward looks back on Chuck Berry's early career. He died Saturday at 90.

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Best Of: Jordan Peele On 'Get Out' / Irish Novelist Sebastian Barry

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 17, 2017


'Get Out' is about a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of 'Key & Peele') calls his movie a "social thriller." Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Frank Carlberg's meditation on Thelonious Monk. Author Sebastian Barry discusses his book 'Days Without End' with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. It's about an Irish immigrant conscripted right off the boat, who falls in love with one of his fellow soldiers.

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'Cabaret' & 'Chicago' Composer John Kander

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 17, 2017


To mark the Broadway composer's 90th birthday, we're replaying excerpts of his 1991 and 2015 interviews with Terry Gross. David Bianculli reviews 'Julie's Greenroom' on Netflix, a children's series starring Julie Andrews and Jim Henson puppets. Film critic David Edelstein reviews 'T2 Trainspotting.'

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Writer Elif Batuman On Her Novel 'The Idiot'

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 16, 2017


'New Yorker' staff writer Elif Batuman talks about her Turkish-American roots and her new novel, which follows a young woman's first year at Harvard University in the '90s, and how she finds love through email. It's based on her own experiences. Also, writer Daniel Torday reflects on the vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Milo Miles reviews Sxip Shirey's album 'A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees.'

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'Get Out' Director Jordan Peele

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 15, 2017


'Get Out' tells the story of a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time — without first telling them he's black. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of 'Key & Peele') calls his movie a "social thriller." He talks about his love of horror, his biracial identity, and making a film that would play differently to black and white audiences.

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On The Front Line Of The War Against ISIS

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 14, 2017


Rukmini Callimachi covers ISIS for the 'New York Times.' She just returned from Iraq where she was embedded with Iraqi soldiers as they battled to liberate the western half of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS. She says ISIS is more fierce than ever.

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The Rise Of Addictive Technology

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 13, 2017


Author Adam Alter says that technology is designed to be addictive, and that the gratification it provides is similar to that of other addictive behaviors, such as drug abuse or gambling. Alter's book is 'Irresistible.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares,' from pianist and composer Frank Carlberg. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Heretics' by Leonardo Padura.

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Best Of: Samantha Bee & Jo Miller / Writer Mohsin Hamid

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 10, 2017


'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,' now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,' misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Personal Shopper,' starring Kristen Stewart. Finally, author Mohsin Hamid talks about his new novel, 'Exit West,' which is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants.

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The Spanish Civil War & The Fight Against Fascism

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 10, 2017


According to Adam Hochschild, about 2,800 Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War, and some were bombed by Nazis years before the U.S. entered World War II. His book, 'Spain in Our Hearts,' is now in paperback. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'The Sense of an Ending.'

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How Jeff Sessions & Steve Bannon Can Use The Justice Dept. To Remake America

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 09, 2017


'New York Times' journalist Emily Bazelon says the relationship between the Trump strategist and the attorney general predates the 2016 campaign, and that their anti-immigration policies come from fears of a growing minority population.

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Novelist Mohsin Hamid: 'Stories Are A Living Thing'

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 08, 2017


Hamid's new novel, 'Exit West,' is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants. Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but has lived in New York and London. He talks about feeling like an outsider, social media and anxiety, and the power of language. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares an appreciation of composer and pianist Misha Mengelberg, who died recently.

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How Hitler & The Nazis Were 'Blitzed' On Drugs During WWII

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 07, 2017


Author Norman Ohler says that Hitler's drug abuse increased "significantly" from the fall of 1941 until the winter of 1944: "Hitler needed those highs to substitute [for] his natural charisma." Methamphetamine was distributed to German troops to keep them awake and "reduce fear" during long battles. Ohler's new book is 'Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich.' TV critic David Bianculli reviews the premiere of FX's 5th season of 'The Americans.'

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Samantha Bee & Jo Miller Of 'Full Frontal'

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 06, 2017


'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,' now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,"misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'I See You' from the British group The xx.

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Best Of: Women In Combat / 'Feud' / 'The Photo Ark'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 03, 2017


Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar talks about being shot down by the Taliban, being a warrior and mother, and why being told she "shoots like a girl" is a compliment. TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Feud: Bette and Joan.' Also, 'National Geographic' photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. (So far he's photographed about 6,500.) He talks about racing against time to photograph endangered species for 'The Photo Ark.'

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Comic Louie Anderson On 'Baskets'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 03, 2017


Anderson delivers a standout performance as the mother of an embittered rodeo clown in 'Baskets.' The show, co-created by Louis C.K, Zach Galifianakis, and Jonathan Krisel, is in its second season. TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Feud: Bette and Joan.' David Edelstein weighs in on the new X-Men film, 'Logan.'

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Helicopter Medevac Pilot Takes Aim At Military Inequality

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 02, 2017


Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar talks about being shot down by the Taliban, accidentally getting high from burning marijuana fields, and why being told she "shoots like a girl" is a compliment. She served three tours in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross with a Valor Device.

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Trump, Putin, And The New Cold War

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 01, 2017


David Remnick and Evan Osnos of 'The New Yorker' say Russia was caught off guard by Trump's election. "This was like a bank heist that, instead of blowing the doors off the safe, they blew the safe up entirely," Osnos says. Also, Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Waking Lions' by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen.

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Bipolar And Creativity: A Study Of Poet Robert Lowell

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 28, 2017


Author Kay Redfield Jamison's new book describes how Lowell's manic-depressive illness influenced his life and work. "His manias tended to lead him into writing a fresh kind of poetry," she says. Lloyd Schwartz reviews a reissue of 'Chimes At Midnight' starring Orson Welles, and jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from saxophonist Miguel Zen?n.

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A 'Photo Ark' For Captive Animal Species

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 27, 2017


'National Geographic' photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. So far he's photographed about 6,500 species. He talks about some of the challenges he faces on the job, like getting an arctic fox to hold still, and being chased by elephants. Also, we remember actor Bill Paxton who died this past weekend. Paxton starred in HBO's 'Big Love,' and in the films 'A Simple Plan,' and 'Titanic.' He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

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Best Of: Neal Brennan / 'High Noon' and the Hollywood Blacklist

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 24, 2017


After working mostly as a behind-the-scenes guy on 'Chappelle's Show' and 'Inside Amy Schumer,' comic Neal Brennan is stepping out as a performer with his new Netflix special, '3 Mics.' John Powers reviews 'My Favorite Thing is Monsters,' a new graphic novel by first-time writer Emil Ferris. Author Glenn Frankel talks about the Hollywood blacklist and the making of the classic film 'High Noon,' which was written as a parable about the blacklist.

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'Moonlight' Creators / '20th Century Women' Dir. Mike Mills

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 24, 2017


Filmmaker Barry Jenkins and playwright Tarell McCraney drew on their own childhood experiences in making 'Moonlight,' a film about a boy growing up in a Miami housing project. 'Moonlight' is nominated for eight Academy Awards including best picture and direction. '20th Century Women' is nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay. Writer and director Mike Mills was inspired by his desire to understand his mother. Set in Santa Barbara in 1979, it stars Annette Bening as a woman figuring out how to raise her teenage son on her own. David Edelstein reviews 'Get Out,' the new horror/comedy film by Jordan Peele.

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'Chappelle's Show' Co-Creator Moves Into The Limelight

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 23, 2017


After working mostly as a behind-the-scenes guy on 'Chappelle's Show' and 'Inside Amy Schumer,' comic Neal Brennan is stepping out as a performer with his new Netflix special, '3 Mics.' Brennan says he didn't get serious about stand-up until 'Chappelle's Show,' which he co-created and co-wrote, ended abruptly after Chappelle left the country. He talks with Terry about his friendship with Dave Chappelle, his family, and growing up with an alcoholic father.

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Why Trump Is 'Openly Dismissive' Of The Intelligence World

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 22, 2017


Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times talks about some of the national security issues he's been following. He says that when it comes to national security, President Trump "doesn't trust the civilian national security establishment and they don't trust him." John Powers reviews 'My Favorite Thing is Monsters,' a new graphic novel by first-time writer Emil Ferris.

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The Hollywood Blacklist and the Classic Western 'High Noon'

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 21, 2017


Journalist Glenn Frankel talks about a chapter of paranoia and persecution in America, in which the president, Congress, the courts and the press all played a part. Frankel's new book is about the Hollywood Blacklist and the making of the classic film 'High Noon,' which was written as a parable about the blacklist.

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Presidential Secrets

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 20, 2017


Author Mary Graham says President Trump has demonstrated a lack of transparency, in his refusal to release his tax records and health records, and in his immigration ban, which was issued without consultation from government lawyers, or agencies. Her book is 'Presidents' Secrets.' Also, 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger talks to Sebastian Barry about his novel 'Days Without End,' about an Irish immigrant who enlists in the U.S. Army in the 1850s.

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Best Of: Mahershala Ali / James Baldwin / Dir. Raoul Peck

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 17, 2017


Actor Mahershala Ali talks about 'Moonlight,' converting to Islam, and why he didn't feel understood as a kid. Filmmaker Raoul Peck's documentary 'I Am Not Your Negro' features the work of late writer and social critic James Baldwin. "Baldwin was one of the first authors ever where I felt not only at home, but he was speaking directly to me," says Peck. We'll also listen back to a 1986 interview that Terry Gross recorded with James Baldwin.

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'Manchester By The Sea' Dir. Kenneth Lonergan

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 17, 2017


'Manchester by the Sea' is nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture. We listen back to Terry Gross' recent conversation with director Kenneth Lonergan. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the CBS 'Good Wife' spin-off 'The Good Fight,' and the HBO series 'Big Little Lies.' We remember jazz pianist and singer Barbara Caroll, and film critic David Edelstein reviews 'The Great Wall,' starring Matt Damon.

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Actor Mahershala Ali

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 16, 2017


The Oscar-nominated actor talks about 'Moonlight,' converting to Islam, and why he didn't feel understood as a kid. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the novella 'Ghachar Ghochar.'

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Climate Change And The Trump Presidency

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 15, 2017


'ProPublica' journalist Andrew Revkin talks about President Trump's possible cuts to the EPA, as well as the potential impact of pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Tift Merritt's album 'Stitch of the World.' Also, we remember heroic Vietnam War commander Lt. General Harold Moore who died last week. Critic at-large John Powers reviews 'Kedi,' a documentary about the street cats of Istanbul.

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James Baldwin / 'I Am Not Your Negro'

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 14, 2017


Filmmaker Raoul Peck's Oscar-nominated documentary 'I Am Not Your Negro' features the work of late writer and social critic James Baldwin. "Baldwin was one of the first authors ever where I felt not only at home, but he was speaking directly to me," says Peck. We'll also listen back to a 1986 interview that Terry Gross recorded with James Baldwin.

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How Retailers Are Watching Us

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 13, 2017


Consumers have grown accustomed to the idea of online retailers collecting information about them, but author Joseph Turow says now brick-and-mortar stores are doing it too. His book is 'The Aisles Have Eyes.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new Count Basie sampler album, and writer Sarah Hepola shares her complicated feelings about Valentine's Day.

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Best Of: 'Tower' Director / Writer Bharati Mukherjee

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 10, 2017


The new documentary film 'Tower' tells the story of the 1966 University of Texas shooting that killed more than a dozen people. Director Keith Maitland says the incident was largely pushed aside for years. Maureen Corrigan reviews George Saunders' first novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo.' Also, we remember writer Bharati Mukherjee who died last month. She spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

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Jeff Bridges

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 10, 2017


Bridges talks about the lessons he learned from his father, actor Lloyd Bridges, the cult of 'Big Lebowski' fans, and how he calms his nerves. Bridges is nominated for an Oscar for his role in 'Hell or High Water.' TV critic David Bianculli shares an appreciation of the 1960s duo The Smothers Brothers, and John Powers reviews the Criterion reissue of 'Black Girl,' by Senegalese director Ousmane Semb?ne.

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The GOP Wants To Repeal Obamacare. But Then What?

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 09, 2017


President Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but Sarah Kliff of 'Vox' says it's "an overreach" to say that Republicans have a plan for what comes next. Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews George Saunders' first novel, 'Lincoln in the Bardo.'

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The 1966 Campus Shooting That Was 'Pushed Aside'

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 08, 2017


The new documentary film 'Tower' tells the story of the 1966 University of Texas shooting that killed more than a dozen people. Director Keith Maitland and survivor Claire Wilson James say the incident was largely pushed aside for years afterwards. "I think that cost people ... an opportunity to deal with that trauma," says Maitland.

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Uncovering Wall Street's Biggest Insider-Trading Scandal

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 07, 2017


Sheelah Kolhatkar talks about the investigation into billionaire hedge-fund trader Steven A. Cohen. Her book is 'Black Edge.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new FX series 'Legion,' based on the Marvel comic.

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'The Shattering Of An All-American Town'

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 06, 2017


Once a bustling factory town, Lancaster, Ohio is now beset by unemployment, low wages and drug abuse. Brian Alexander chronicles the rise and fall of his hometown in his new book, 'Glass House.' Also, we remember writer Bharati Mukherjee. She spoke to Terry Gross in 2002.

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Best Of: Director Jim Jarmusch / Modern Death

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 03, 2017


Jarmusch's new movie, 'Paterson,' which was inspired by William Carlos Williams' epic poem, is about a bus driver who writes poetry. His previous film was a documentary about Iggy and the Stooges. Film critic David Edelstein reviews Asghar Farhadi's film 'The Salesman,' which is nominated for an Oscar. Dr. Haider Warraich talks about how advances in medicine have changed the dying process — and the tricky situations that can arise as a result. Warraich also shares his experience as a Pakistani Muslim living in the U.S.

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'La La Land' Director / Meryl Streep

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 03, 2017


'La La Land' hearkens back to Hollywood's glory days of song and dance. Director Damien Chazelle says he aimed to make a movie even musical skeptics would love. The film is nominated for 14 Oscars. Meryl Streep works hard to sing badly in her film, 'Florence Foster Jenkins.' In it, she plays the title role, a character based on an actual heiress and socialite who devoted her life to music — despite having a squeaky, screechy singing voice. Streep is nominated for an Oscar for the role.

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President Trump's Nationalistic & Christian Right Influences

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 02, 2017


Sarah Posner, a reporter with The Nation's Investigative Fund, talks about how the Steve Bannon-Jeff Sessions-Mike Pence nexus is influencing President Trump's policies.

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Would SCOTUS Nominee Gorsuch Rule Contrary To Trump?

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 01, 2017


Legal expert Jeffrey Rosen says of Neil Gorsuch: "If he thought that individual liberty was threatened by presidential or congressional overreaching, then he would step in." Also, we remember British actor John Hurt, who died last week. Film critic David Edelstein reviews Asghar Farhadi's film 'The Salesman,' which is nominated for an Oscar.

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Director Jim Jarmusch / Sundance Recap

Author: NPR
Tue, Jan 31, 2017


Jarmusch's new movie, 'Paterson,' which was inspired by William Carlos Williams' epic poem, is about a bus driver who writes poetry. His previous film was a documentary about Iggy and the Stooges. Also, 'Fresh Air' producer Ann Marie Baldonado talks with 'Los Angeles Times' film critic Justin Chang about the highlights from the Sundance Film Festival.

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Medicine And Modern Death

Author: NPR
Mon, Jan 30, 2017


Dr. Haider Warraich talks about how advances in medicine have changed the dying process — and the tricky situations that can arise as a result. Warraich also shares his experience as a Pakistani Muslim living in the U.S. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Perfect Little World' by Kevin Wilson.

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