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An award-winning show and one of public radio's most iconic programs, Fresh Air is a weekday "talk show" that hardly fits the mold. Fresh Air Weekend collects the week's best cultural segments and crafts them together for great weekend listening. The show is produced by WHYY.

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions.

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Nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties across America are currently participating in a massive multidistrict civil lawsuit against the opioid industry for damages related to the abuse of prescription pain medication. The defendants in the suit include drug manufacturers like Mallinckrodt, wholesale distributors McKesson and Cardinal Health, and pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

Essayist Margaret Renkl writes about what she calls "backyard nature," which, to those of us who live in crowded cities, might call to mind creatures to trap or squash, like rats, squirrels, mice and water bugs. Renkl, however, grew up in Alabama and now lives in Tennessee, so her catalog of all creatures great and small is, at once, more expansive and accepting, and includes chickadees, red-tailed hawks, rat snakes, rattle snakes and crawdads.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

In the terrifically smart and genuinely inspiring comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, Jillian Bell stars as Brittany, a 27-year-old New Yorker who decides to turn her life around. When we first meet Brittany, she has a dead-end job at a small theater and spends most of her nights out drinking and partying with friends. She gets in shape, takes up long-distance running and decides to give the New York City Marathon a try.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. You might not recognize the name of our guest Stephen Root, but chances are awfully good you've seen his work. He's a character actor who's appeared in nearly 800 TV episodes and a hundred movies and sometimes brief appearances, like one as a bank manager on "Seinfeld" or his short but memorable scenes as the sad sack office worker Milton in the film "Office Space." He's had several recurring roles in TV series over the years, including "The West Wing," "NewsRadio" and "Justified."

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. Americans are talking a lot about race these days and whether immigrants from certain regions should be welcomed into the country. Our guest, Charles King, writes about a time a little more than 100 years ago when he says educated people in the U.S. believed it was established science that there is a natural hierarchy of cultures, with Western civilization at the top, and that people's abilities and potential were defined by their race and gender.

You recall back in 2004 when George W. Bush referred to "rumors on the Internets." That instantly became a classic Bushism, but to my mind he got it right — not just because what we call the Internet originated as a collection of networks 40 years ago, but because what people call "Internet culture" is an ocean of yammer strewn with innumerable islands and continents, each with its own rules, customs and conversations.

Talk about chutzpah. Two female mystery writers have just helped themselves to the titles of two novels written by canonical male authors, without even a please or a thank you.

Diver and photographer Jill Heinerth has explored unmapped, underwater caves deep in the earth, as well as the submerged crevices of an iceberg. She has seen hidden creatures and life forms that have never been exposed to the light of day.

"Since I was the smallest child, I always wanted to be an explorer — to have an opportunity to go someplace where nobody has ever been before," she says. "As an artist with my camera, it's an incredible opportunity to document these places and bring back images to share with others."

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:

Colson Whitehead On The True Story Of Abuse And Injustice Behind 'Nickel Boys: Whitehead's new novel is based on a notorious Florida reform school where boys were beaten and sexually abused. "If there's one place like this, there are many," he says.

The writer-director Richard Linklater has said that he cast Cate Blanchett in his new comedy, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, because, in his words, "only a genius can portray a genius believably."

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The saxophonist and clarinetist, a student of Sidney Bechet and a specialist in early styles of the music, died Aug. 4 at the age of 91. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1988, excerpted here. (Hear the full interview through the Fresh Air archive.)

In addition to personally taking care of newborn kittens, Hannah Shaw, known as the Kitten Lady on social media, consults with shelters and cities on homeless cat management.

Janet Mock remembers when she saw the documentary Paris is Burning for the first time. She was in 10th grade, living in Hawaii, and had already socially transitioned her gender identity. She was about to embark on her medical transition.

"My friend had a VHS that she got from another friend," Mock says. "It was kind of like this little magic ticket that was passed down to a bunch of us."

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, are famous for the wealth they've amassed through Koch Industries - together they're worth more than $100 billion - and for creating a powerful political influence network. The network is designed to amplify messages pushed by Koch Industries, support legislation that favors Koch's needs and goals and defeat legislation that stands in the way of Koch profits. Koch has used this network to prevent or try to dismantle regulations that affect the businesses.

Sister Helen Prejean is best known for her 1993 memoir, Dead Man Walking, about her role as a spiritual adviser to a convicted killer on death row. The story was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Prejean has accompanied six prisoners to their executions and has been at the forefront of activism against the death penalty.

I'm not sure that any creature is more marvelous than the honeybee, with its highly evolved social organization, its ability to create honey, and, of course, the stinger that causes us to take heed whenever we hear buzzing. The pain it threatens makes it easy to think you need an almost-monastic devotion to become a beekeeper.

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, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Today's show is devoted to Toni Morrison, one of the most celebrated writers of our time, who died Monday. She was 88 years old.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. When a young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered in Washington, D.C., in 2016, it appeared to be a street robbery gone wrong. But the death of Seth Rich became the subject of wild conspiracy theories, some planted by Russian intelligence operatives and promoted by allies of President Trump and covered on Fox News. The theories assert that Seth Rich was the person who gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks, which were then released to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

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. Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Barry White, Bob Marley, Patti LaBelle are just some of the many performers our guest, Bruce Talamon, has photographed on stage and off. A book collecting his music photos from 1972 to '82 is titled "Soul. R&B. Funk."

Jia Tolentino's strict Christian upbringing backfired.

"I am sure that you don't send your kid to Christian school for 12 years and hope that they'll do what I did: Which is have The New Yorker publish 7,000 words about how the church led me to love doing MDMA and love rap music," she says.

Letter-for-letter, no part of speech gets people more worked up than pronouns do. Linguistic history is dotted with eruptions of pronoun rage. Right now, the provocation is the gender-neutral pronouns that some nonbinary people have asked to be called by, so that they won't have to be identified as "he" or "she."

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Earlier this year, South African composer and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, once known as Dollar Brand, was enlisted into the ranks of NEA Jazz Masters. He also has a new album out. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says the new album shows off some of what makes Abdullah Ibrahim great.

(SOUNDBITE OF ABDULLAH IBRAHIM'S "THE BALANCE")

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to listen back to an interview with one of America's foremost documentary filmmakers, D.A. Pennebaker. He died last Thursday at age 94. When presenting Pennebaker with an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2012, Michael Moore called him one of the filmmakers who, quote, "invented nothing less than the modern documentary," unquote. Pennebaker was a pioneer in creating the documentary form known as cinema verite, which did away with scripting, narration and staged scenes.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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