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.

Bob Dylan's career was interrupted in 1966 when he crashed his motorcycle while riding near his home in upstate New York. He wasn't badly injured, but used the occasion to disengage from the grind of touring he'd been doing, relax, and hang out with his band. During this hiatus, some tapes surfaced of new songs he'd been writing: the infamous Basement Tapes. On the occasion of the entire archive being released, Fresh Air critic Ed Ward takes a look at them.

When Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford was a young man, he says, he had a cynical view of aging.

"I sort of went through life thinking that when you got to be in your 60s that basically you weren't good for much," Ford tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "That's a younger man's view. I know that the AARP phones are ringing when I say that, but now I'm 70 and I don't think that anymore, OK?"

Saxophonist Oliver Lake was one of the founders of the World Saxophone Quartet in the 1970s, and plays in the co-op Trio 3. Lake has led numerous bands of his own, including an occasional big band, and an organ quartet. Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says that organ group is one to watch in a review for What I Heard.

Many veterans face an injury that goes largely unacknowledged — but journalist David Wood is bringing it to the forefront.

"I think that almost everyone who returns from war has suffered some kind of moral injury," Wood tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And I do not mean by that that they have done something wrong — only that they have seen or experienced things, which violate their own sense of who they are, their own sense of right and wrong, their own sort of moral compass."

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed "being Frank" Bascombe with us once again, as well as being "frank" about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all.

Will Holshouser has played all kinds of music on the accordion, including Cajun, avant garde jazz and indie rock. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross in her studio to play features from his new album.

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, 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:

In Liberia, Ebola Makes 'Pariahs' Out Of The Sick, Says NYT Reporter: Helene Cooper grew up in Liberia and still has family there. Reporting on the disease last month, she says when she saw a sick, little boy get out of an ambulance, she "completely lost it."

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

Transcript

The actor's new memoir, A Story Lately Told, ends just as her Hollywood career is taking off. It covers her early life growing up in Ireland, the daughter of Maltese Falcon director John Huston. The two first collaborated on 1969's Walk With Love And Death, a project that proved disastrous for their relationship.

Originally broadcast Nov. 19, 2013.

When NPR Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi opened a do-it-yourself car repair shop in Cambridge, Mass., in the early 1970s, Tom had never had so many laughs. The people who came into the shop were complete "wackos," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2001. "But man were they fun. And they weren't worried! When the guy jacked up his Lincoln Town Car and drove the floor jack through his oil pan, did he cry? He said, 'Uh oh.' I mean people could take a joke!"

It's time I admitted something: Though I've written about the Internet for years, my online security practices are not good. Despite constant warnings from knowledgeable friends, I persist in doing all the things with my passwords that you're not supposed to. I don't make them complicated enough. I reuse the same ones over and over. I don't change them very often. And I keep a list of important ones in a file on my computer. Frankly, it's shameful!

Aasif Mandvi is best known as The Daily Show's senior Muslim correspondent, but he insists that when he was hired he was "a terrible example of a Muslim."

"The idea that I had anything to do with speaking about Islam or about the Muslim world was just absurd to my family. ... I hadn't been to the mosque in like 10 years," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I know the Gospel according to Mark better than I know any sura in the Quran."

Olive Kitteridge, a new two-part, four-hour miniseries that runs on HBO Sunday and Monday, sounds like the kind of long-form dramas TV used to make back in the '70s and '80s when miniseries ruled. Like them, Olive Kitteridge covers an entire generation in the lives of its characters — a 25-year span — but otherwise, it couldn't be more different. Most of those sprawling classic miniseries were set against major historical events, and were as much about passionate romance and glamorous costumes as anything else.

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

"The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller, Joyland. The book, set in a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is part horror novel and part supernatural thriller. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, and about what scares him now.

Originally broadcast May 28, 2013.

When Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman — fairly late in life — Soloway says for her it was a huge relief.

"It's interesting, I think, to grow up in a family with this really huge missing piece and not know what that piece is — sort of like you're feeling around in a dark room," Soloway tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's like the elephant in the room, but all the lights are off. So you're feeling around and you're feeling this quite huge thing. It was an amazing relief for the lights to go on."

Taylor Swift's fifth album is called 1989, the year she was born. For the past few years, she's been the young queen of country music, by far its biggest-selling artist. But 1989 sidesteps country music entirely to become Swift's first pure pop album. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has a review.

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The disaster began on a day shift around lunchtime at a mine in Chile's Atacama Desert: Miners working deep inside a mountain, excavating for copper, gold and other minerals, started feeling vibrations. Suddenly, there was a massive explosion and the passageways of the mine filled up with a gritty dust cloud.

When comedian Amy Poehler was in her 20s, she read her boyfriend's journal and found out that he didn't think she was pretty.

"It was almost like an itch being scratched, which was, 'Aha! I knew that you didn't think I was pretty!' ... And then it was followed by a real crash because ... my ego was bruised," Poehler tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Poehler says it taught her that the earlier you figure out your "currency," the happier you'll be. For Poehler, that meant not leaning on her looks to be successful.

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