Fresh Air

M-Th 7p
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

Fresh Air's Terry Gross
Credit Will Ryan

Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions.

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:

I doubt I'm alone when I say that this year has been a blur: Sometimes it feels like only yesterday that I was going to the office or heading outside without a mask, and sometimes it feels as though an eternity has passed. This past week I watched two absorbing new documentaries that both seem to bend and distort our sense of the passage of time.

One of them, which is actually called Time, spans more than two decades. The other one, titled Totally Under Control, focuses on the very moment we're living in.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Last week baseball lost one of its most memorable players.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Rumaan Alam's latest novel, Leave the World Behind, centers on a white family and an older Black couple who find themselves together in a beautiful vacation house on Long Island while a power outage — and possibly something much worse — grips much of the East Coast.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Growing up in New York City in the 1960s, musician Lenny Kravitz didn't spend much time thinking about being biracial. The only son of an interracial couple, he says, "I knew that my mother's skin tone was what it was and I knew that my father's skin tone was what it was. ... I thought nothing of it."

But things changed when he reached first grade: "My parents were the only ones that didn't match," he says. "And this kid jumped out and pointed his finger and said, 'Your father's white and your mother's Black!' "

In October 1859, a white abolitionist named John Brown led a three-day siege on the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va., hoping to spark a rebellion of enslaved people in the Southern states. Ultimately, the abolitionists were defeated by a company of U.S. Marines, and Brown was charged with treason and hanged. But the consequences of the raid were lasting.

"Harpers Ferry, to my mind and a lot of people's mind, is the first battle of the Civil War," actor Ethan Hawke says.

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:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Our guest Jill Heinerth has one of the most fascinating and dangerous jobs on Earth. She's one of a rare breed of technical divers who explore underground waterways and submerged caves deep beneath the Earth's surface or sometimes, as you'll soon hear, inside an iceberg.

Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Roseanne Barr, Chris Rock, Jim Carrey and Whoopi Goldberg are just a handful of the big name comics who got their start at Los Angeles' famed Comedy Store.

In the first presidential debate, President Trump was asked if he would refrain from declaring victory until the election has been independently certified. He refused to make that commitment.

Atlantic writer Barton Gellman was not surprised.

When Kirsten Johnson's dad started showing signs of dementia, she had a hard time accepting the fact that his death was getting closer. So she decided to make a movie about him.

Johnson's new Netflix documentary, Dick Johnson Is Dead, tells the story of moving her dad out of his home in Seattle and into her apartment in New York. It also enacts her father's death from imagined accidents, like getting hit in the head by a falling air conditioner or tripping on a crack in the sidewalk.

While the American film industry still has a long way to go in nurturing movies made by women and people of color, the Sundance Film Festival has long provided an important platform for marginalized voices.

Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind is a slippery and duplicitous marvel of a novel. When, deep into the night, a vacationing couple hears a knock at the door of their remote Airbnb rental in the Hamptons, as a reader you think, "Oh, this is a suspense story." Then, when that couple, who are white, opens the door to a couple outside who are Black and conversational awkwardness ensues, you think, "Oh, this is a comedy of manners about race, a kind of edgy riff on Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

Since the release of the Mueller report in April 2019, it's been analyzed, praised and criticized — and cited by President Trump as proof that there was no collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Andrew Weissmann was one of the lead prosecutors on special counsel Robert Mueller's team. In his new book, Where Law Ends, Weissmann looks back on where the Mueller investigation succeeded — and where it fell short.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

Our guest today is Gloria Steinem, who is having quite a year being portrayed on film and TV by various actresses. In April, FX on Hulu presented the miniseries "Mrs. America," a dramatization of the battle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. And next Wednesday, Amazon Prime Video presents a new movie called "The Glorias" directed by Julie Taymor who directed the film "Frida" and the Broadway musical version of "The Lion King."

When Fargo premiered on FX in 2014, the anthology miniseries promised to present its own take on the oddball spirit and quirky plots and characters of the brilliant 1996 movie by Joel and Ethan Coen. At the time, I didn't think series creator Noah Hawley could pull it off — but he did.

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For nearly a century, spy stories were a male preserve, one dominated by the likes of James Bond, or — at the classier end — John le Carré. That has finally begun to change, especially on television.

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Past occupants of the White House have placed their business holdings into a blind trust. Not President Trump.

Forbes magazine investigative journalist Dan Alexander has pored over business records, mortgage documents and government reports — and even staked out some Trump properties — to assemble a detailed picture of the president's business interests. He says the president has broken a number of pledges he made about how he would conduct business while in office.

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