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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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Jill Lepore & Nate Silver Weigh In: Is Polling Good Or Bad For Democracy?

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 11, 2016


New Yorker writer Jill Lepore examines the history of polling in America. She says that today's polls may be less reliable — and more influential — than ever before. Then, statistician Nate Silver analyzes polls and predicts election outcomes on his website, FiveThirtyEight. He says this year's is "Maybe the most fascinating nomination race that we've ever seen."

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Zach Galifianakis / The Duplass Brothers

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 10, 2016


Galifianakis plays a bitter rodeo clown in his new FX series 'Baskets.' He's also the creator of the Emmy-winning web comedy series 'Between Two Ferns.' Then Fresh Air producer Ann Marie Baldonado talks with brothers Jay and Mark Duplass about their HBO series 'Togetherness.' Jay stars in the Amazon series 'Transparent.'

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Original 'Cabaret' Emcee Joel Grey

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 09, 2016


Joel Grey explains how he brought his decadent Cabaret character to life on both the stage and screen, and reflects on coming out as gay after years of being closeted. His memoir is 'Master Of Ceremonies.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Classic James P. Johnson Sessions (1921 - 1943).'

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'Mad Max' Director George Miller

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 08, 2016


George Miller, who directed the first Mad Max film in 1979, says it will be a few years before he has any idea as to whether 'Mad Max: Fury Road' "really stuck." The film is nominated for 10 Oscars. Music historian Ed Ward remembers Dan Hicks.

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Best Of: Bassem Youssef / 'Homegrown Terrorists' / Why Our 'First Bite' Matters

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 05, 2016


Known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart," Bassem Youssef created what became the most popular TV show in Egypt's history, but the government had the show cancelled, and Youssef fled. Then, CNN's Peter Bergen describes how the Internet and social media have been used to radicalize and recruit Americans to jihad. Finally, Bee Wilson says that our taste preferences can be formed even before birth. Her new book is 'First Bite.'

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Family Secret Revealed In 'My Father, The Pornographer'

Author: NPR
Fri, Feb 05, 2016


Chris Offutt's late father went from running a small insurance agency to writing more than 400 books, mostly pornography. The writer tells Fresh Air his dad believed he would be "extremely famous" for it. Ken Tucker reviews Sia's album 'This is Acting.'

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How We Learn To Eat

Author: NPR
Thu, Feb 04, 2016


Bee Wilson says that our taste preferences can be formed even before birth. Her new book, 'First Bite,' examines how genetics, culture, memory and early feeding patterns contribute to a child's palate. Also, David Edelstein reviews the Coen brothers' new epic, 'Hail, Caesar!'

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Political Satirist Bassem Youssef

Author: NPR
Wed, Feb 03, 2016


Known as the "Egyptian Jon Stewart," Bassem Youssef created what became the most popular TV show in Egypt's history — but the government had the show cancelled, and Youssef fled. He talks about leaving a career in medicine for comedy, being detained and life after the Arab Spring. Also, Milo Miles reviews 'Big Grrrl Small World' from alt-rapper Lizzo.

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Who Are America's 'Homegrown Terrorists'?

Author: NPR
Tue, Feb 02, 2016


CNN's Peter Bergen describes how the Internet and social media have been used to radicalize and recruit Americans to jihad — and how some new jihadists then use those same tools to draw in others. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Yid.'

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The Consequences Of China's One-Child Policy

Author: NPR
Mon, Feb 01, 2016


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mei Fong says that China's one-child policy drastically reshaped the country's demographic make-up. "China has 30 million more men than women," she says. Her book is 'One Child.' John Powers reviews the 10-part FX series 'The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares early recordings from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

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Best Of: Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard / 'Mind Over Body' Science

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 29, 2016


The lead singer and a guitarist of Alabama Shakes was raised on her father's junkyard in the woods of Athens, Alabama. She reflects on small town life and big-time music. The band's second album 'Sound & Color' is nominated for six Grammys. Then, commentator Sarah Hepola tells us how online dating taught her something she's struggled to do all her life: Tell men the truth. Also, the mind has the ability to directly affect our health, from pain and depression to heart disease. Science writer Jo Marchant describes how things like mindfulness, virtual reality and the placebo effect are being harnessed in medical treatments.

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Mike Nichols / Carol Burnett

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 29, 2016


Filmmaker Mike Nichols directed 'The Graduate' and 'The Birdcage' and the Broadway musical 'Spamalot, and he's the subject of the new PBS American Masters documentary. Nichols spoke to Fresh Air in 2001. Carol Burnett was among the first women to host a TV variety show. This weekend, she'll receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Burnett spoke to Terry Gross in 2003. Film critic David Edelstein reviews indie film 'Naz & Maalik.'

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Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard

Author: NPR
Thu, Jan 28, 2016


The lead singer and a guitarist of Alabama Shakes was raised on her father's junkyard in the woods of Athens, Alabama. She reflects on small town life and big-time music. The band's second album 'Sound & Color' is nominated for six Grammys.

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Why The Iowa Caucus Matters

Author: NPR
Wed, Jan 27, 2016


New York Times political reporter Trip Gabriel has spent the past year in Iowa, covering the political operations, speeches and rallies leading up to the first vote of the presidential campaign. Also, rock historian Ed Ward traces the brief, tumultuous existence of Ork Records.

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The Science Of 'Mind Over Body'

Author: NPR
Tue, Jan 26, 2016


The mind has the ability to directly affect our health, from pain and depression to heart disease. Science writer Jo Marchant describes how things like mindfulness, virtual reality and the placebo effect are being harnessed in medical treatments. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Portable Veblen.'

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Deconstructing Gov. Chris Christie's 'Bridge To Redemption'

Author: NPR
Mon, Jan 25, 2016


Journalist Matt Katz discusses Christie's rise to power in New Jersey, the "Bridgegate" scandal and his performance in the '16 Republican presidential primary. Katz is the author of 'American Governor.' Ken Tucker reviews the debut album 'Leave Me Alone' by Hinds.

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Best Of: The 'Secret History' Of Wonder Woman / Neil Patrick Harris

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 22, 2016


Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, had a secret life: He had a wife and a mistress and fathered children with both of them. Jill Lepore explains in 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman.' Also, Neil Patrick Harris discusses 'Hedwig,' coming out, and being a child actor.

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Toni Morrison

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 22, 2016


Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison discusses her novel, 'God Help the Child.' At 84, she looks back on her life and says she regrets everything. "It's not profound regret," she says. "It's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on." [Originally broadcast April 2015] TV critic David Bianculli reviews the 'X-Files' reboot on Fox.

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NYT Restaurant Critic Pete Wells / Mission Chinese Chef Danny Bowien

Author: NPR
Thu, Jan 21, 2016


New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells tells us about some of his more infamous reviews, including his zero star review of Guy Fieri's Times Square 'Kitchen & Bar.' Also, chef Danny Bowien talks about opening 'Mission Chinese,' and the hurdles he overcame along the way. John Powers considers the 5-part BBC America series 'London Spy.'

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'Blood And Earth': How Modern Slavery Contributes To Ecocide

Author: NPR
Wed, Jan 20, 2016


Kevin Bales discusses the lives of enslaved people and the environmental impact of human bondage. Slavery often exists in places where "the local environment [has] just been destroyed," Bales says. His book is 'Blood and Earth.' Ken Tucker reviews Benji Hughes' album 'Songs in the Key of Animals.'

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The 'Hidden History' Of The Koch Brothers

Author: NPR
Tue, Jan 19, 2016


Jane Mayer investigates the Koch family and how 'Dark Money' enters and influences our political system. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Past' by Tessa Hadley.

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A Family Discovers Its Connection To An Escaped Slave

Author: NPR
Mon, Jan 18, 2016


Regina Mason's great, great, great grandfather, a man named William Grimes, was as runaway slave and the author of what is now considered the first fugitive slave narrative. Mason talks about finding out her family's secret history. Kevin Whitehead reviews two unusual cross-cultural recordings from musicologist Joachim-Ernst Berendt.

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Best Of: Ray Liotta / 'Billions' / Elizabeth Strout

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 15, 2016


Ray Liotta has a reputation for playing tough guys — but he says he's never actually been in a fight. The 'Goodfellas' actor talks about the ups and downs of his career, and how he's now starring as a corrupt cop in the NBC series 'Shades of Blue.' Also, John Powers reviews the Showtime series 'Billions.' Then, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout discusses her latest novel, 'My Name is Lucy Barton.'

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'Fiddler On The Roof' Songwriters

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 15, 2016


Sheldon Harnick and the late Jerry Bock wrote the songs for the Broadway show 'Fiddler on the Roof.' They spoke to Terry Gross about putting themselves into the "soul of the characters." John Powers reviews the Showtime series 'Billions.'

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Was 1924 The Year That 'Made Hitler'?

Author: NPR
Thu, Jan 14, 2016


Years before he became the leader of the Third Reich, Adolph Hitler went on trial and served prison time for an attempted coup. Author Peter Ross Range says 1924 paved the way for his rise to power. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews '13 Hours.'

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Novelist Elizabeth Strout

Author: NPR
Wed, Jan 13, 2016


Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Olive Kitteridge,' says she was a "bad lawyer" before turning her energies to writing. Her latest novel, 'My Name is Lucy Barton,' is about an aspiring writer. Then, commentator Sarah Hepola tells us how online dating taught her something she's struggled to do all her life: Tell men the truth. Finally, The singular, gender-neutral usage of "they" is now acceptable on college campuses, among the genderqueer and in the 'Washington Post.' Linguist Geoff Nunberg traces the rise of the new "they."

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Ray Liotta

Author: NPR
Tue, Jan 12, 2016


Ray Liotta has a reputation for playing tough guys — but he says he's never been in a fight in his whole life. The 'Goodfellas' actor talks about the ups and downs of his career, and how he's now starring in the NBC series 'Shades of Blue' as a corrupt cop opposite Jennifer Lopez. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Scott and Jeff Hamilton's 'Live in Bern.'

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David Bowie

Author: NPR
Mon, Jan 11, 2016


We remember David Bowie, who died Sunday, with his 2002 interview. He talks about creating — and leaving behind — the Ziggy Stardust persona, gender-bending in the early '70s, and why he's not "a very keen performer." Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Last Interview' series. Linguist Geoff Nunberg picks 'gig' as his word of 2015, and we listen back to an excerpt of late soul singer Otis Clay's 1999 interview.

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Best Of: 'Carol' Director & Screenwriter / Paramedic Kevin Hazzard

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 08, 2016


Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy and director Todd Haynes discuss their new film, 'Carol,' about two women who find themselves in an unlikely love affair. The movie, which is set in the 1950s, is based on the novel 'The Price of Salt' by Patricia Highsmith. Also, Ken Tucker reviews Ellie Goulding's new album, 'Delirium.' Then, former paramedic Kevin Hazzard shares stories of rescuing people from choking, overdoses, cardiac arrest, gunshot wounds and a host of other medical emergencies. His memoir is, 'A Thousand Naked Strangers.'

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Carole King / Aretha Franklin

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 08, 2016


Singer-songwriter Carole King just received a Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. During the ceremony, Aretha Franklin brought down the house with her rendition of '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.' In celebration of these women, we listen back to their 2012 and 1999 interviews.

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Journalist Says Iran-Saudi Showdown Comes At A 'Really Dangerous' Time

Author: NPR
Thu, Jan 07, 2016


Robin Wright, who writes about Saudi Arabia and Iran in the current issue of 'The New Yorker,' says the latest conflict between the countries comes at an especially sensitive moment. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Anomalisa.'

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In 'Carol,' Two Women Leap Into An Unlikely Love Affair

Author: NPR
Wed, Jan 06, 2016


Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy and director Todd Haynes discuss their new film, 'Carol.' Based on the novel 'The Price of Salt,' by Patricia Highsmith, Nagy describes the story as "extremely forward thinking." Also, we remember late French composer and musical provocateur Pierre Boulez in an excerpt of his 2005 interview.

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Paramedic Shares His Wild Ride Treating 'A Thousand Naked Strangers'

Author: NPR
Tue, Jan 05, 2016


Former paramedic Kevin Hazzard has rescued people from choking, overdoses, cardiac arrest, gunshot wounds and a host of other medical emergencies. His memoir is, 'A Thousand Naked Strangers.' Also, we remember late cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond in an excerpt of his 1990 interview.

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Inside The World's Largest Refugee Camp

Author: NPR
Mon, Jan 04, 2016


Founded in 1991 as a temporary shelter for Somalis, the Dadaab complex in northern Kenya now houses nearly half a million refugees. Ben Rawlence profiles nine of its residents in his new book, 'City of Thorns.' Also, Ken Tucker reviews Ellie Goulding's new album, ' Delirium.'

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Best Of: Fresh Air Critics' Picks 2015

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 01, 2016


Book critic Maureen Corrigan, TV critic David Bianculli, film critic David Edelstein, and rock critic Ken Tucker share their favorites of 2015.

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Jazz Singer CĂ©cile McLorin Salvant

Author: NPR
Fri, Jan 01, 2016


CĂ©cile McLorin Salvant initially studied classical voice, but turned to jazz because it offered her more range. "In jazz I felt I could sing these deep husky lows," she says. Her new album is 'For One to Love.'

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Mark Ronson / Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang On 'Master Of None'

Author: NPR
Thu, Dec 31, 2015


Our Best of 2015 series continues. DJ, musician and record producer Mark Ronson talks about his life in music. Ronson had his first big success producing Amy Winehouse and has produced recordings by Paul McCartney, Adele, Christina Aguilera, Nas, and Lily Allen. Then we hear from writing partners Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, who bonded over their similar experiences as first-generation Asian-Americans living very different lives from their parents. Their new Netflix series is 'Master of None.'

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Gloria Steinem / Jeffrey Tambor

Author: NPR
Wed, Dec 30, 2015


Our Best of 2015 series continues. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem says at 81 she is free of the "demands of gender" that she faced from adolescence onward. Her new memoir is 'My Life on the Road.' Jeffrey Tambor plays a 70-something transgender woman on the Amazon series 'Transparent.' It's a role he loves. As Maura, Tambor says, "I find myself much more vulnerable and I find myself less protective."

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Ta-Nehisi Coates / Cinematographer Haskell Wexler

Author: NPR
Tue, Dec 29, 2015


Our Best of 2015 series continues with National Book Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Growing up in Baltimore, Coates faced threats from both the streets and police. His book, 'Between the World and Me,' is an open letter to his teenage son. Also, we remember renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who passed away Sunday at 93.

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Larry Wilmore / SNL's Colin Jost & Michael Che

Author: NPR
Mon, Dec 28, 2015


As part of our Best of 2015 series we listen back to our interview with Larry Wilmore. The host of Comedy Central's 'Nightly Show' says it took a few months — and some advice from Jon Stewart — for him to get comfortable in his new role. Also, Saturday Night Live 'Weekend Update' co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che talk about working with Trump, the perils of cue cards, and how they got started in comedy.

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Nick Lowe

Author: NPR
Fri, Dec 25, 2015


Initially "appalled" by the notion of making a holiday album, Lowe came to see it as a challenge. 'Quality Street' tackles old classics and adds originals to the mix. [Originally broadcast Dec. 2015]

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Best Of: Jennifer Lawrence / 'Hateful Eight' Reviewed / 'Anomalisa' Directors

Author: NPR
Fri, Dec 25, 2015


The Oscar-winning actress talks about portraying QVC Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano in David O. Russell's new film, 'Joy.' Also, Justin Chang reviews 'The Hateful Eight' and filmmakers Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson talk about their new stop-motion animated film 'Anomalisa.'

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Critics Pick The Best Film & Television Of 2015

Author: NPR
Thu, Dec 24, 2015


Film critic David Edelstein and TV critic David Bianculli sit down with Terry Gross to discuss the best (and worst) of 2015.

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Adam McKay On 'The Big Short'

Author: NPR
Wed, Dec 23, 2015


Not only do the characters of McKay's new film foresee and warn about the collapse of the global economy — they make money off of it. McKay calls the movie "a traumedy" — a mixture of tragedy and comedy. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews 'Have Moicy 2.'

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Filmmakers Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson on 'Anomalisa'

Author: NPR
Tue, Dec 22, 2015


The directors talk about their new stop-motion animated film 'Anomalisa,' an existential love story about loneliness and disconnection — performed by puppets. Kaufman and Johnson discuss the challenges of choreographing puppets in everything from walking to a sex scene. Also, Lloyd Schwartz reviews the Blu-ray release of the 1955 production of 'Peter Pan' on NBC.

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Jennifer Lawrence

Author: NPR
Mon, Dec 21, 2015


The Oscar-winning actress talks about portraying QVC Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano in David O. Russell's new film, 'Joy.' Lawrence also talks about being discovered at 14, learning archery for 'The Hunger Games,' and her decision to address the pay gap in Hollywood.

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Best Of: Cary Fukunaga / Star Wars Reviewed / Andrew Haigh

Author: NPR
Fri, Dec 18, 2015


Long before director Cary Fukunaga made a name for himself with 'Jane Eyre' and HBO's 'True Detective,' he began work on a film about child soldiers in Africa. More than a decade later, 'Beasts of No Nation' is out on Netflix. Then, David Edelstein reviews 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' Also, Andrew Haigh's new film '45 Years' is about a married couple whose relationship is thrown into crisis just before their 45th anniversary party. Haigh also directed 'Weekend' and is the executive producer of the HBO series 'Looking.'

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Cannes-Winning Film Depicts Jews Forced To Help Nazis In Death Camps

Author: NPR
Fri, Dec 18, 2015


'Son of Saul,' set in a Nazi death camp in 1944, won the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Director László Nemes and star Géza Röhrig join us. Music critic Ken Tucker shares his Best of 2015 list.

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Abortion Providers' Untold Stories Of Threats And Violence

Author: NPR
Thu, Dec 17, 2015


David Cohen and Krysten Connon, authors of 'Living in the Crosshairs,' discuss the harassment, violence and constant fear that many abortion providers face — both in their clinics and at their homes. David Edelstein reviews 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

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Director Andrew Haigh

Author: NPR
Wed, Dec 16, 2015


Andrew Haigh's new film '45 Years' is about a married couple whose relationship is thrown into crisis just before their 45th anniversary party. Haigh also directed 'Weekend' and is the executive producer of the HBO series 'Looking.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of pianist Kenny Barron's solo album.

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