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Terry Gross

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

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Television
1:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

'Hill Street Blues' Created Two Eras For TV Drama: Before And After

Among Hill Street Blues' many innovations, says David Bianculli, was focusing on a large ensemble cast instead of one or two central stars. Pictured here: Veronica Hamel as Joyce Davenport, Daniel J. Travanti as Capt. Frank Furillo and Robert Prosky as Sgt. Stan Jablonski.
David Sutton NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 2:49 pm

It's very easy, and not at all inaccurate, to divide dramatic series television into two eras: before Hill Street Blues — which has just been released on DVD in its entirety for the first time -- and after. Before NBC televised Hill Street in 1981, most continuing drama series were presented as stand-alone, interchangeable hours starring the same characters. Every week, TV detectives Joe Mannix or Theo Kojak or Tony Baretta would investigate a crime, catch the villains and wait for next week to do it again.

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Author Interviews
1:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

From Poker Amateur To World Series Competitor In 'The Noble Hustle'

Poker players take part in the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

When the World Series of Poker began in 1970, it was a pretty modest affair — seven veterans of the game competing for just the honor, no prize money. Today, more than 6,000 players pay the $10,000 entrance fee for the No-Limit Texas Hold 'em Tournament. ESPN televises the final table, and last year the winner took home more than $8 million in prize money.

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The Fresh Air Interview
1:34 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Sam Baker: Finding Grace In The Wake Of Destruction

Sam Baker's new album is titled Say Grace.
C. Lawrence Courtesy of the artist

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Television
1:43 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Todd Barry's New Stand-Up Strategy: 'Does Anyone Want To Talk To Me?'

Todd Barry has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Late Show With David Letterman and Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
Mindy Tucker

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 3:51 pm

Todd Barry is one of comic Louis C.K.'s favorite comedians. So when Barry had the idea to film a tour in which all he did was crowd work — or, engage the audience in improvised conversations — Louis C.K. decided to produce the film, called The Crowd Work Tour, and feature it on his website.

Barry also plays a version of himself on Louis C.K.'s show Louie, which begins a new season on Monday. He's recorded several comedy albums, appeared in the film The Wrestler and done a lot of voice-over work for animated TV series.

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Book Reviews
1:43 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

In 'Hotel Florida,' Three Couples Chronicle The Spanish Civil War

Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, at the Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho.
AP

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 3:40 pm

There's something romantic about biographer Amanda Vaill's device of making the Hotel Florida in Madrid the hub of her new book about the Spanish Civil War, called Hotel Florida; but, then again, there's always been something romantic about the Spanish Civil War itself. For the Spanish loyalists — who were supported by Russia and Mexico as well as the International Brigades of civilians from Europe and the Americas — the Spanish Civil War was a gallant stand against fascism.

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Music Reviews
1:43 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

tUnE-yArDs: Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

tUnE-yArDs.
Holly Andres Courtesy of the artist.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:32 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Alan Cumming, 'Godzilla' And Matthew Weiner

This is the third time Alan Cumming has starred in Cabaret. Each of the productions with Cumming was directed by Sam Mendes. Rob Marshall choreographed both American productions and co-directed the new one.
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

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:

For Alan Cumming, Life Is (Once Again) A Cabaret: This is the third time Cumming has starred in the musical. He talks about the new production — everything from his costume (which he calls a "Wonder Bra" for men) to the darker themes of the show.

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Author Interviews
12:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

The Making Of 'Godzilla,' Japan's Favorite 'Mon-Star'

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

We're celebrating Godzilla's 60th anniversary today on FRESH AIR. When the film was first shown in America, about 40 minutes were deleted from the original Japanese version to make it shorter and to make way for new footage that was added to make the movie more marketable to American audiences. The new footage featured an American wire service reporter whose reports provided the narration for the story.

The reporter was played by Raymond Burr, who went on to play TV lawyer Perry Mason. Here's how Burr opened the film.

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Movie Reviews
12:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

'Ida': A Coming-Of-Age Story With An Eerie Luster

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The Polish-born director Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski's is best known for the English-language movie "My Summer of Love," a lesbian coming-of-age film that was a breakthrough for actress Emily Blunt. His new film is called "Ida," spelled I-D-A and centers on an orphan who learns the secret of her past when she's on the brink of becoming a nun. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Remembrances
12:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers British Actor Bob Hoskins

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 2:23 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

British actor Bob Hoskins, who played a human detective in a world of cartoon characters in the acclaimed movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," died this week after contracting pneumonia. He was 71 years old.

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Television
1:13 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner On The End Of Don Draper's Journey

Matthew Weiner says sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night wondering if there'd even be a Mad Men without Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 2:35 pm

It's now 1969 on AMC's Mad Men, and the start of advertising genius Don Draper's final journey. Show creator Matthew Weiner is currently at work writing and shooting the series' concluding episodes. The final season, which began last month, is divided into two parts, with the second half to be shown next year.

The new season opens with Don and his advertising agency dealing with the consequences of what happened at the end of Season 6, when the partners forced Don to take a leave of absence after he chose the wrong time to tell the truth about his past.

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Music Reviews
12:54 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

The Animals: The British Invasion That Wasn't

The Animals.
Courtesy of ABKCO Records

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 2:35 pm

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The Fresh Air Interview
2:27 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

At 90, 'Fiddler' Lyricist Tells His Story

Sheldon Harnick (right) with the late Jerry Bock, his long-time musical collaborator. Together they worked on musicals like Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 10:13 am

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NPR Story
3:28 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Exploring 'What We Left Behind' In Iraq

New Yorker writer Dexter Filkins finds an increasingly authoritarian prime minister — Nouri al-Maliki — sectarian violence, and concern for the future. Iraq holds parliamentary elections Wednesday.

Theater
2:42 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

For Alan Cumming, Life Is (Once Again) A Cabaret

This is the third time Alan Cumming has starred in Cabaret. Each of the productions with Cumming was directed by Sam Mendes. Rob Marshall choreographed both American productions and co-directed the new one.
Andrew H. Walker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 6:20 pm

Alan Cumming has starred in the musical Cabaret three times — a 1993 London production, a Tony-winning 1998 Broadway revival, and a new Broadway revival — and it hasn't gotten old. "It's so energetic, and it just takes up every single element of being an actor," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Cumming plays the master of ceremonies in a debaucherous Berlin nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub. The role was originated by Joel Grey, who starred in the original 1966 Broadway production as well as the 1972 movie.

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