Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

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

Ever since childhood, author Kevin Wilson has lived with disturbing images that flash through his mind without warning.

"I've always had this kind of agitation and looping thoughts and small tics," he says. "Falling off of tall buildings, getting stabbed, catching on fire — they were these just quick, kind of violent bursts in my head."

Not that Wilson would ever harm anyone else — the harm in these quick, intrusive thoughts was strictly internal. The images fed off of his own anxiety, and left him feeling terrified.

Dan Piepenbring was a 29-year-old editor of the literary magazine The Paris Review in 2016 when he met Prince for the first time — and agreed to help the musical icon pen a memoir. It was the assignment of a lifetime for a writer who had not yet published a book, but Prince wanted someone he could open up to — and Piepenbring fit the bill.

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 in for Terry Gross. Our next guest is Booker T. Jones. In the 1960s and '70s, he led the band Booker T. and the M.G.'s, which had several hits, including the popular instrumental known as "Green Onions." He and his M.G.'s also were the house band for the Memphis-based soul label Stax Records, and they eventually received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Today's first guest is author Tom Perrotta, whose recent novel, "Mrs. Fletcher," is being dramatized this Sunday as a new HBO miniseries. Kathryn Hahn stars in the title role.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

When Kathryn Hahn first moved to LA to become an actor, she started auditioning — but quickly became disillusioned.

"When I started to see the roles that were available to me, what I was being seen for, I definitely thought ... 'This is just such a small part of me that's being seen. I wish somebody could see more of what I can offer,'" Hahn says.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This past summer, I made time to catch up on a book I'd missed when it was published two years ago. Ever since, I've been telling friends, students and random strangers on a train that they must read Daniel Mendelsohn's memoir called An Odyssey. In it, he recalls teaching a seminar on Homer's Odyssey that his then 81-year-old father sat in on as an auditor.

In the 1960s, Janis Joplin was an icon of the counterculture, a female rock star at a time when rock was an all-boys' club.

"At that point in time there weren't too many women taking center stage," biographer Holly George-Warren says. "Janis created this incredible image that went along with her amazing vocal ability. ... [She] was very, very different than most of the women that came before."

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Tonight HBO premieres a new four-part miniseries called "Catherine The Great" starring Helen Mirren as the 18th century Russian empress. Our TV critic David Bianculli has this review.

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:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Actor Robert Forster, best remembered as the bail bondsman in the Quentin Tarantino film "Jackie Brown," died last Friday in Los Angeles. He was 78.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Novelist Attica Locke writes, quote, "My bloodline runs along Highway 59 in East Texas," unquote. Highway 59 is a north-south route many African Americans traveled during the Great Migration, seeking opportunity in northern cities. But Attica Locke's family stayed. So did the family of Darren Mathews, the main character of her last two novels. The latest one is called "Heaven, My Home."

Ronan Farrow's 2017 exposé of the sexual misconduct allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in The New Yorker earned him a Pulitzer Prize and helped usher in the #MeToo movement. Now, in his new book, Catch and Kill, Farrow writes about the extreme tactics Weinstein allegedly used in an attempt to keep him from reporting the story.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The recent biopic Rocketman painted a Hollywood version of Elton John's life, but a new memoir, Me, comes straight from the artist himself. In it, he describes how, as a young man, he was determined to enter the music business, in spite of some misgivings about rock 'n' roll in his household. As he tells Fresh Air, "My dad, of course, hated it."

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, in for Terry Gross, continuing our salute to "Breaking Bad" and it's equally excellent spinoffs.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BREAKING BAD")

AARON PAUL: (As Jesse Pinkman) Yo, yo, yo, one, four, eight, three to the three to the six to the nine, representing the ABQ. What up, beeyotch (ph)? Leave it at the tone.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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

Editor's note: This interview contains a homophobic slur.

Growing up as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper was taught that God hated gay people. The church, which was founded by Phelps-Roper's grandfather, Fred Phelps Sr., became infamous for picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers — whose deaths it believed were a punishment for America's sins and its tolerance of homosexuality.

I was fortunate enough to go into Parasite knowing almost nothing about it. Bong Joon-ho's brilliant new movie packs the kinds of stunning, multi-layered surprises that deserve to be experienced as fresh as possible. I'll tread as cautiously as I can, but suffice to say that Parasite is a darkly comic thriller about two families: the Parks, who are very rich, and the Kims, who are very poor.

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