Fresh Air on WLRN

Monday - Thursday at 12:00pm
Terry Gross

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

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Music Reviews
1:29 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Jerry Lee Lewis: Live, Singing As If Life Depended On It

Jerry Lee Lewis shot to fame in the 1950s with hits such as "A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 5:49 pm

It was April 4, 1964, and Jerry Lee Lewis had officially bottomed out. He hadn't charted a record in years, and now, on tour in England and Germany, he was getting paid so little that he couldn't afford to bring his own musicians. Instead, he was forced to use pickup bands in England, and then, when he arrived in Hamburg, a British band called the Nashville Teens was waiting for him. The venue was the Star Club, where The Beatles, who had just leaped into stardom in America, had played not long before.

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Television
12:39 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Bill Hader On Sketch Comedy, Classic Hollywood

Bill Hader was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Stefon on Saturday Night Live.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 5:49 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 22, 2012.

Comedian Bill Hader is adept onstage and doing live TV. But he's scared to death of standup.

He remembers watching Chris Rock's 1996 HBO special, Bring the Pain, and thinking, "I don't know how people do that."

"I need a character," Hader tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I need people out there with me."

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Your Money
2:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Tricky Business Of Retirement: Hidden 401(K) Fees

iStockPhoto.com

A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

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Music Reviews
12:48 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

100 Years Of Woody Herman: The Early Bloomer Who Kept Blooming

American jazz musician Woody Herman rehearses in London during a tour of England.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Woody Herman, who would have turned 100 on Thursday, bloomed early and late — and then later still. He turned pro by age 9, singing and dancing in movie theaters on summer vacation. He'd perform one song deemed too risqué for radio when he recorded it decades later: "My Gee Gee From the Fiji Isles."

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Movie Reviews
12:32 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

'Into Darkness,' Boldly And With A Few Twists

Zoe Saldana is Uhura and Zachary Quinto is Spock in the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek: Into Darkness, the 12th installment in the franchise.
Zade Rosenthal Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original Star Trek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.

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Movie Interviews
1:08 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

A Polley Family Secret, Pieced Deftly Together

For her latest film, Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley turns her camera on her own family.
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 3:04 pm

Sarah Polley earned wide acclaim for directing the drama Away from Her, about a woman fading into the twilight of Alzheimer's, as well as for her acting performances in an array of films including The Sweet Hereafter and My Life Without Me. Her latest film, Stories We Tell, is a documentary, though — and a personal one at that.

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Book Reviews
1:08 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Coming To 'Americanah': Two Tales Of Immigrant Experience

JOZZ iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 2:34 pm

First things first: Can we talk about hair? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a big knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color; but, as Adichie has said in interviews, she also knows that black women's hair can speak volumes about racial politics.

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Movie Interviews
1:22 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Gerwig, Baumbach Poke At Post-College Pangs

Director Noah Baumbach has made a name for himself with films such as The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding.
Wilson Webb IFC Films

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 2:33 pm

In the film Frances Ha, Greta Gerwig stars as the title character, a 27-year-old living a good but not particularly successful post-college life in New York City.

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Music Reviews
12:07 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Dawes Knows Where It's Been And Where It's Headed

Noah Abrams Big Hassle

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 9:27 am

If you heard the Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface" and said, "Somebody's been listening to their old Jackson Browne albums," you're not exactly insulting Dawes. The band has actually backed Browne on tour — and Browne has sung backup on at least one of its songs — so you could say that Dawes comes by its riffs and phrasing honestly.

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Author Interviews
1:38 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

In 'Passage', Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles

Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:39 pm

For the past 37 years, Robert Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.

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Music Reviews
12:59 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Bing Crosby: From The Vaults, Surprising Breadth

A batch of reissues and archival releases from Bing Crosby's own vaults is getting a high-profile relaunch. Above, Crosby circa 1956.
Courtesy of Universal Music

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Bing Crosby was the biggest thing in pop singing in the 1930s, a star on radio and in the movies. He remained a top star in the '40s, when Frank Sinatra began giving him competition.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Messud, Volk And Scorsese

Animated as ever when it comes to the topic of film, director Martin Scorsese delivers the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the Kennedy Center on April 1.
NIcholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 11:12 am

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:

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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

The 'Real Life' Of Actor Steve Carell

Steve Carell spent six years as Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott on NBC's The Office before departing the show in 2011.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 24, 2007.

By the end of The-40-Year-Old Virgin, the title character had lost his virginity — and actor Steve Carell had become a star.

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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Rainn Wilson: 'The Office' Drone Outside Of Work

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on July 30, 2008.

While his Office character always took himself seriously, actor Rainn Wilson seems to be all about the laughs. For the entirety of the series, Wilson has played beet-farming, archery-loving middle-management kook Dwight Schrute on the NBC hit television series.

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Interviews
12:12 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Jenna Fischer: Keeping It Real At 'The Office'

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:37 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 3, 2008.

For nearly a decade, Jenna Fischer has played Pam, one of The Office's most recognizably real characters.

If you've ever worked in a clerical position in an alienating office, you'll relate to what Pam goes through. In this interview, Fischer tells Terry Gross about creating all those pained looks and knowing smiles — and about how her five years as an office temp helped to prepare her for the role.

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