Fresh Air

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Fresh Air is a Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues hosted by Terry Gross. 

Gross gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics, commentators and more.

In the new film Top Five, Chris Rock plays Andre Allen, a standup comedian who has starred in a series of blockbuster comedies as a catchphrase-spewing character called Hammy the Bear.

When Top Five begins, Allen has given up the Hammy movies, given up drinking and is trying to reshape his career with his new dramatic film about a Haitian slave rebellion. Like Allen, Rock says he has had doubts about his own career.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two reissues featuring the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy — a live recording of a 1963 quartet that only played Thelonious Monk tunes, and later music for solo soprano. Monk was always Lacy's biggest influence.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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:

Naive, Yet Revolutionary: Ray Davies On 50 Years Of The Kinks: "I think if I had been an accomplished songwriter, I wouldn't have written 'You Really Got Me,'" Davies tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says that one of the best books he's ever read about punk rock is a new memoir by Viv Albertine, one of the founding members of the British punk rock band the Slits. The book, titled Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. chronicles Albertine's life with punk legends such as Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols and Mick Jones of the Clash, on through subsequent careers as a film director and mother.

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Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

The new film Inherent Vice satirizes overcomplicated detective-story plots by having an especially overcomplicated plot of its own. It's a Paul Thomas Anderson adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel.

"It's so dense," co-star Josh Brolin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I mean, Pynchon will be following some linear structure, and then suddenly he'll take a big bong hit and go off on some tangent that still, you realize, eventually comes around and actually is connected in various ways."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday season—a singer's biography, a pianist's autobiography, and a fat coffee table book. Whitehead says they're all worth a look, though he has a couple of quibbles — and also a confession.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

NBC devotes all three hours of its prime-time lineup Thursday to a new production of the musical Peter Pan. It will be performed and broadcast live, nearly 60 years after the first live telecast.

Many girls are beginning puberty at an early age, developing breasts sooner than girls of previous generations. But the physical changes don't mean the modern girls' emotional and intellectual development is keeping pace.

Two doctors have written a book called The New Puberty that looks at the percentage of girls who are going through early puberty, the environmental, biological and socioeconomic factors that influence when puberty begins, and whether early puberty is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

British mystery author P.D. James wrote 18 crime novels — many with shocking, horrible endings. But, in a personal twist, James admitted to Fresh Air in 1987 that she has a deep fear of violence — and writing helped her exorcise it.

"I'm frightened of violence; I dislike violence," she told Terry Gross. "I do love good order, good social order, good psychological order. I don't like messy lives."

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:

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope: Hope was a comedy trailblazer, but in his twilight years he alienated younger audiences with his political views. "He had, unfortunately, stuck around too long," says Hope biographer Richard Zoglin.

Bob Gaudio wrote most of The Four Seasons' hits, some of which are compiled in a new anthology. He tells Fresh Air about the band's history, including why its songs had some "anger" in them.

Originally broadcast Sept. 9, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Out of love and necessity, Stuart has become a country-music historian. "People were throwing things away," he says. "I just took it as a family matter."

Originally broadcast Oct. 1, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In the record industry, it's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them. He's narrowed down his list of goodies to these four: A Merry Friggin' Christmas soundtrack, Christmas at Downton Abby, Earth Wind and Fire's Holiday and the Living Sisters' Harmony is Real.

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