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Fresh Air

Podcasts | Fresh Air

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 624 NPR stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network. In 2015, Fresh Air was the No. 1 most downloaded podcast on iTunes.

Fresh Air latest podcasts.

TV Critic Emily Nussbaum

Listen to TV Critic Emily NussbaumThe Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for 'The New Yorker' talks about the art of "terrible men" in the #MeToo era, TV's revolution (from low to high brow), and what she calls "the bad fan." Her new book of essays and reviews is 'I Like to Watch.'

Best Of: Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof' / How 'Maiden' Sailed Into History

Listen to Best Of: Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof' / How 'Maiden' Sailed Into HistoryA new Yiddish language production of 'Fiddler on the Roof' is currently running off-Broadway. Steven Skybell, who plays Tevye, and Joel Grey, who directs the show, explain why the play still resonates.

Film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Midsommar.'

In 1989, 26-year-old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was considered an unthinkable journey for a woman — to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Round The World Race. She assembled an all-female crew, restored a shabby racing yacht, and took to sea. The new documentary 'Maiden' tracks their 9-month-long race and the sexism they faced at every turn. Edwards spoke with 'Fresh Air' contributor Dave Davies.

MLB's Keith Hernandez / Remembering Pitcher Jim Bouton & Actor Rip Torn

Listen to MLB's Keith Hernandez / Remembering Pitcher Jim Bouton & Actor Rip TornThe former first baseman played on championship teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on 'Seinfeld.' His memoir, now out in paperback, is 'I'm Keith Hernandez.'

MLB pitcher Jim Bouton, who died Wednesday, spoke to 'Fresh Air' in 1986 about his 1970 tell-all memoir, 'Ball Four,' in which he drew on his seven years with the Yankees to offer an insider's guide to baseball.

Actor Rip Torn, who died Tuesday, won an Emmy Award for playing the gruff producer Artie on 'The Larry Sanders Show.' In 1994, he told Terry Gross that he based his character on Johnny Carson's long time producer.

Also, critic John Powers reviews 'London Kills,' about a Scotland Yard team led by a detective whose wife has gone missing.

The Ongoing Crisis At The U.S.-Mexico Border

Listen to The Ongoing Crisis At The U.S.-Mexico BorderNY Times reporter Caitlin Dickerson has been documenting the impact of the Trump administration's policies on migrants — and on the workers who deal with the large number of people held in detention. Dickerson talks about the squalid conditions at the Clint, Texas, border patrol center, where toddlers were living for weeks without diapers, and kids were living in cold, crowded holding areas without showers, clean clothes, toothbrushes, or enough food.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'The Farewell,' starring Awkwafina.

Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof'

Listen to Yiddish 'Fiddler On The Roof'A new, Yiddish language production of the musical is currently running off-Broadway. Steven Skybell, who plays Tevye, and Joel Grey, who directs the show, explain why the play still resonates.

Gerrymandering, The 2020 Census & Voter Suppression

Listen to Gerrymandering, The 2020 Census & Voter Suppression'Mother Jones' journalist Ari Berman says recent Supreme Court decisions on redistricting and the 2020 census will determine which party is in power in the next decade. Berman says while Americans are justifiably worried that Russia might try again to interfere in our 2020 election, we also need to also be focusing on homegrown threats to our democracy. "The Russians didn't invent voter suppression. The Russians didn't gut the Voting Rights Act. The Russians didn't draw heavily gerrymandered maps in the last redistricting cycle. The Russians didn't add a citizenship question to the 2020 census." Berman also explains how the gerrymandering decision and the citizenship question could determine the political future.

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Copperhead' by Alexi Zentner.

A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids

Listen to A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With OpioidsTravis Rieder became dependent on opioids after a motorcycle accident in 2015 that crushed his left foot, and forced him to endure six surgeries. His book 'In Pain' draws on his insights as a patient, and his subsequent research into pain medicine, to examine the larger problems and dilemmas surrounding prescription opioids and the larger opioid crisis.

Best Of: Sarah Jessica Parker / 'Leaving The Witness'

Listen to Best Of: Sarah Jessica Parker / 'Leaving The Witness'Parker is best-known for her role as the iconic single New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw on 'Sex and the City.' Now, on the HBO series 'Divorce,' she plays Frances, a woman navigating the dissolution of her marriage.

Also, Ken Tucker reviews two country hits that are challenging traditional notions of the genre, by Lil Nas X and Blanco Brown.

Amber Scorah was a third-generation Jehovah's Witness raised to believe that the Armageddon was imminent. Scorah talks about her decision to leave her marriage and her religion and start over. Her memoir is 'Leaving the Witness.'

Willie Nelson

Listen to Willie NelsonAt the age of 86, Nelson is still going strong. He's touring and has a new record, 'Ride Me Back Home.' We'll listen back to two interviews with Nelson and hear a review of the new album. When Terry Gross spoke to him in 1996 he told her why he had trouble fitting in to country music. "My songs had a few chords in them, and the country songs weren't supposed to have over three chords. My phrasing was sort of funny. I didn't sing on the beat. I just didn't fit the slots, you know? And I wouldn't take orders and so I became one of those guys that you know they had to call something else."

Lizzo

Listen to LizzoThe flute-playing pop star celebrates self-love on her latest album, 'Cuz I Love You.' About 10 years ago, "I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body," she says. Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism, and using music to help people find a positive place within themselves.

[Originally broadcast In May 2019]

Sarah Jessica Parker

Listen to Sarah Jessica ParkerParker is best-known for her role as the iconic single New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw on 'Sex and the City.' Now, on the HBO series 'Divorce,' she plays Frances, a woman navigating the dissolution of her marriage. Parker spoke with Terry Gross about growing up poor but engaged in the arts, the #MeToo movement, and how she doesn't relate to Carrie (or the other 'SATC' characters) at all.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Midsommar.'

Uncovering The Story Of Chernobyl

Listen to Uncovering The Story Of ChernobylHBO's recent series 'Chernobyl' has renewed public interest in the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Journalist Adam Higginbotham has spent years investigating the causes of the accident and the dramatic efforts to contain the damage. He says design flaws, human hubris and Soviet secrecy all contributed to the disaster. His book is 'Midnight in Chernobyl.'

Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'I'm All Smiles' by pianist George Cables.

From Nightmares To PTSD, The Toll On Facebook Moderators

Listen to From Nightmares To PTSD, The Toll On Facebook Moderators'Verge' journalist Casey Newton investigated working conditions for the moderators who determine what material can be posted to Facebook. Many are traumatized by the images of hate and violence they see. "I've talked to folks who will wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. They will have nightmares about the content that they saw, and eventually, many of them get diagnosed with PTSD." Newton also talks about how Facebook is starting what's been called a "supreme court" for contested content decisions, and we'll discuss what the social network is doing to prepare for the 2020 election.

Also, Ken Tucker reviews two country hits that are challenging traditional notions of the genre, by Lil Nas X and Blanco Brown.

Best Of: Founders OF The 1st AIDS Ward / Comic Ramy Youssef

Listen to Best Of:  Founders OF The 1st AIDS Ward / Comic Ramy YoussefThe new documentary '5B' tells the story of America's first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and how they sought to give patients compassionate care through human touch when most medical workers wore full body suits because they were afraid they'd get infected.

Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Yesterday' by 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle.

In the semi-autobiographical Hulu series 'Ramy,' Youssef plays a first generation Muslim American who follows some — but not all — of the rules of his religion. Youssef, whose parents immigrated from Egypt, also co-created the series. He says he can relate to his character's "picking and choosing" approach to his faith. "Sometimes we would call it 'Allah carte,'" he says.

Novelist John Green On OCD

Listen to Novelist John Green On OCDGreen's latest novel, 'Turtles All The Way Down,' is about a teenage girl with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The author spoke with Terry Gross about his own experience with OCD in 2017. "It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have. It's like there's an invasive weed that just spreads out of control."

Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg considers how the word "algorithm" has come to stand in for the power that technology wields in our life. And TV critic David Bianculli reviews the Showtime mini-series 'The Loudest Voice' about Fox News creator, Roger Ailes.

How An All-Female Crew Sailed Round The World & Into The History Books

Listen to How An All-Female Crew Sailed Round The World & Into The History BooksIn 1989, 26-year-old skipper Tracy Edwards set out on what was thought of as an unthinkable journey for a woman — to sail the 33,000 mile Whitbread Round The World Race. She assembled an all-female crew, restored a shabby racing yacht, and took to sea. The new documentary 'Maiden' tracks their 9-month-long race and the sexism they faced at every turn. Edwards spoke with 'Fresh Air' contributor Dave Davies.

Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Yesterday,' by 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle.

Founders Of The First AIDS Ward

Listen to Founders Of The First AIDS WardThe new documentary '5B' tells the story of America's first hospital unit dedicated to the care of people with AIDS. Nurse Cliff Morrison helped create 5B in 1983, and worked on it with Dr. Paul Volberding. They talked with Terry Gross about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, how they sought to give patients compassionate care, and the rampant homophobia at the time.

Comic Ramy Youssef

Listen to Comic Ramy YoussefIn the semi-autobiographical Hulu series 'Ramy,' Youssef plays a first generation Muslim American who follows some — but not all — of the rules of his religion. Youssef, whose parents immigrated from Egypt, also co-created the series. He says he can relate to his character's "picking and choosing" approach to his faith. "Sometimes we would call it 'Allah carte,'" he says. Youssef talks with Terry Gross about the series, feeling torn between wanting to fit in and his faith, and his stand-up comedy.

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Ask Again, Yes' by Mary Beth Keane, which she describes as "profound, yet unpretentious."

A Former Jehovah's Witness Reflects On Leaving Her Faith

Listen to A Former Jehovah's Witness Reflects On Leaving Her FaithAmber Scorah was a third generation Jehovah's Witness raised to believe that the Armageddon was imminent. As a teenager she was shunned from her religious community for having sex with her boyfriend. Scorah went on to marry an elder in the church, and she and her husband traveled to China as missionaries. But gradually doubt began to set in. Scorah speaks with Terry Gross about her decision to leave her marriage and her religion and start over. Her memoir is 'Leaving the Witness.'

Also, John Powers reviews the HBO series 'Years and Years.'

Best Of: Ava DuVernay / Bill Hader

Listen to Best Of: Ava DuVernay / Bill HaderFilmmaker Ava DuVernay's Netflix series 'When They See Us' tells the story of how five black and brown boys, known as the Central Park Five, were manipulated into confessing to a brutal rape they did not commit. DuVernay focuses on the boys' perspective — and the criminal justice system that failed them.

Ken Tucker reviews Willie Nelson's new album 'Ride Me Back Home.'

Bill Hader, who became famous as a writer and performer on 'Saturday Night Live,' now stars in the HBO series 'Barry.' Hader speaks with Terry Gross about writing the series with Alec Berg and struggling with severe anxiety while on 'SNL.'