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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.

Best Of: Choreographer Twyla Tharp / Henry Louis Gates On 'The Black Church'

Listen to Best Of: Choreographer Twyla Tharp / Henry Louis Gates On 'The Black Church''Twyla Moves,' a new documentary by PBS American Masters, tells the story of the legendary choreographer and dancer, who got her start performing on subway platforms and rooftops in the 1960s. "If it was kind of level, it was fair territory," she tells Terry Gross.

Kevin Whitehead reviews a newly unearthed album from Hasaan Ibn Ali.

'Finding Your Roots' host Henry Louis Gates has a new book and PBS series called 'The Black Church.' Gates describes the Black church as "the cultural cauldron Black people created to combat a system designed in every way to crush their spirit." We'll talk about the bargain Gates made with Jesus when he was 12 in an attempt to save his mother's life.

Native Peoples' 'Long, Brutal Fight For Survival'

Listen to Native Peoples' 'Long, Brutal Fight For Survival'Louise Erdrich's novel, 'The Night Watchman,' was inspired by her grandfather, a chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who fought a Congressional initiative to move indigenous peoples off their land and into cities. Erdrich says the policy amounted to tribal termination. "Termination was a way to finally resolve what Congress thought of as 'the Indian problem,'" she says.

David Bianculli reviews HBO's 'Mare of Easttown,' starring Kate Winslet.

'Resistance' Podcast Host On The Fight For Black Lives

Listen to 'Resistance' Podcast Host On The Fight For Black LivesSaidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. lost a close friend from college to police violence. His Spotify podcast, 'Resistance,' explores different aspects of the movement for Black lives — including Tejan-Thomas Jr.'s personal history. We talk about his childhood in Sierra Leone, his poetry, and losing his parents at a young age.

The 'Secret History' Of The Sackler Family & The Opioid Crisis

Listen to The 'Secret History' Of The Sackler Family & The Opioid CrisisThe Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, which made billions of dollars selling OxyContin, an opiate painkiller stronger than morphine. Introduced in 1996, OxyContin has been largely blamed for the opioid addiction crisis that followed. The Sacklers and the company are currently facing more than 2,500 lawsuits related to its practices. We talk with journalist Patrick Radden Keefe about the development of OxyContin, what the family knew about the danger of the drug, and how they have tried to thwart his reporting. His book is 'Empire of Pain.'

Henry Louis Gates Jr. On The Black Church

Listen to Henry Louis Gates Jr. On The Black ChurchThe 'Finding Your Roots' host has a new book and PBS series called 'The Black Church.' Gates describes the Black church as "the cultural cauldron Black people created to combat a system designed in every way to crush their spirit." We'll talk about the bargain Gates made with Jesus when he was 12 in an attempt to save his mother's life. He'll tell us how that bargain changed him, and how his relationship to the church has changed over the years.

Maureen Corrigan reviews the new novel 'The Final Revival of Opal and Nev,' about a '70s rock duo.

Leslie Odom Jr. / 'Promising Young Woman' Filmmaker Emerald Fennell

Listen to Leslie Odom Jr. / 'Promising Young Woman' Filmmaker Emerald FennellTony and Grammy-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. is best-known for his role as Aaron Burr in 'Hamilton.' Now he stars as Sam Cooke in Regina King's film 'One Night in Miami,' which imagines a night where Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Cooke meet. Odom talks about studying Cooke's voice, hearing Burr's song "Wait for It" for the first time, and how the musical 'Rent' inspired him as a teen. Odom is nominated for two Oscars — for his role as Sam Cooke and for his original song, "Speak Now."

In the dark comedy 'Promising Young Woman,' Cassie (Carey Mulligan) works at a coffee shop by day, and hunts sexual predators by night. She goes to bars, pretends to be falling down drunk — and then confronts the men who try to take advantage of her. Cassie is avenging the death of her best friend, who, the movie implies, has died by suicide after being raped at medical school. Writer and director Emerald Fennell says the film was inspired, in part, by the messages other movies send about alcohol and consent. We talk with Fennell about her Oscar-nominated film, her work on 'Killing Eve' and her portrayal of Camilla Parker Bowles on 'The Crown.'

Best Of: Brandi Carlile / Palestinian Cookbook Author Reem Kassis

Listen to Best Of: Brandi Carlile / Palestinian Cookbook Author Reem KassisSix-time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile got her start onstage as a kid, singing backup for an Elvis impersonator. Her new memoir, 'Broken Horses,' is about her early life and the family of misfits she's built. "I think I'm starting to really feel sort of solid and loved in my world. Like maybe I've kind of finally found my place," she says.

Maureen Corrigan reviews Kaitlyn Greenidge's novel 'Libertie.'

Palestinian cookbook author Reem Kassis began gathering family recipes after the birth of her first child. The recipes, she says, "could be the story of any and every Palestinian family." Her new cookbook is 'The Arabesque Table.'

Prolific Background Singer Merry Clayton

Listen to Prolific Background Singer Merry ClaytonSinger Merry Clayton did the iconic background vocals of the 1969 Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter." But despite the fame and success of the record, Clayton remained largely anonymous. Until, that is, she was featured as one of the backup singers in the 2014 Oscar-winning documentary '20 Feet from Stardom.' Over the course of her career, Clayton sang with Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Carole King and many others. Now she's got a new album — where she's front and center — called 'Beautiful Scars.' She spoke with Terry Gross in 2013.

Also, we'll hear some of our 2020 interview with filmmaker Craig Foster. His Netflix documentary 'My Octopus Teacher' is nominated for an Oscar.

Choreographer Twyla Tharp

Listen to Choreographer Twyla Tharp'Twyla Moves,' a new documentary by PBS American Masters, tells the story of the legendary choreographer and dancer, who got her start performing on subway platforms and rooftops in the 1960s. "If it was kind of level, it was fair territory," she says. We talk about starting an all-women dance company, mixing classical and modern dance, and choreographing dancers over Zoom in the pandemic.

Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'The Nevers' on HBO Max.

Palestinian Cookbook Author Reem Kassis

Listen to Palestinian Cookbook Author Reem KassisReem Kassis began gathering family recipes after the birth of her first child. The recipes, she says, "could be the story of any and every Palestinian family." We talk about her favorite fried egg recipe, the importance of za'atar seasoning, and her unlikely friendship with Israeli chef Michael Solomonov. Her new cookbook is 'The Arabesque Table.'

The Intersection Of Black Performance, Joy & Pain

Listen to The Intersection Of Black Performance, Joy & PainWhat do 'Soul Train' and Whitney Houston tell us about race in the U.S? Poet and culture critic Hanif Abdurraqib's book, 'A Little Devil in America,' traces the history of Black performance through moments in pop culture, emphasizing the joy and excellence. He spoke with contributor Arun Venugopal.

Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews a posthumous record by jazz pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali, and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Libertie,' a new novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge.

Brandi Carlile

Listen to Brandi CarlileThe six-time Grammy winner got her start onstage as a kid, singing backup for an Elvis impersonator. Her new memoir, 'Broken Horses,' is about her early life and the family of misfits she's built. "I think I'm starting to really feel sort of solid and loved in my world. Like maybe I've kind of finally found my place," Carlile says.

Best Of: The Amazing Lives Of Migratory Birds / 'Lovecraft Country' Creator

Listen to Best Of: The Amazing Lives Of Migratory Birds / 'Lovecraft Country' CreatorAuthor and bird researcher Scott Weidensaul shares amazing stories of the billions of migratory birds that journey over our heads every year, how they manage their feats physically, and how they're threatened by economic development and climate change. His new book is 'A World on the Wing.'

Ken Tucker reviews the first full-length solo album from gospel singer Elizabeth King.

Also, we hear from Misha Green, the creator of the HBO series 'Lovecraft Country,' which takes the real horrors of the Black experience in the 1950s and adds to it the supernatural terrors of the horror genre.

Christopher Meloni / Remembering Larry McMurtry & G. Gordon Liddy

Listen to Christopher Meloni / Remembering Larry McMurtry & G. Gordon LiddyWe remember novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry who died last week at the age of 84. Raised on a Texas ranch, McMurtry wrote about the American West in the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel 'Lonesome Dove', which was later made into a beloved miniseries. He also authored 'The Last Picture Show' and 'Terms of Endearment,' both of which were adapted into films.

Also, we listen back to some of our interview with actor Christopher Meloni. He's best known for his 12 seasons as detective Elliot Stabler on 'Law & Order: SVU.' He's returning to the franchise, starring in the new series 'Law & Order: Organized Crime.'

And we'll hear some of Terry's 1980 interview with Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy, who died Tuesday.

Tackling Child Poverty Through COVID Relief

Listen to Tackling Child Poverty Through COVID Relief'New York Times' reporter Jason DeParle says a provision in the new COVID relief package has the makings of a policy revolution — and "would roughly cut child poverty in half." Qualifying families with children will receive between $250 and $300 a month per child, money families can spend however they want. This kind of child allowance is the norm in other affluent countries, like Canada and the U.K., but is "stunning in the American context," he says.

Also, John Powers reviews the new Tunisian film 'The Man Who Sold His Skin,' nominated for the Oscar for Best International Feature.

The High Stakes Of Amazon's 'One-Click America'

Listen to The High Stakes Of Amazon's 'One-Click America'ProPublica journalist Alec MacGillis says a union vote by Amazon workers in Alabama could determine "what life is going to look like for the working class in America in years to come." We talk with MacGillis about how Amazon's size, aggressive business practices and warehouse working conditions are drawing the attention of union organizers and anti-trust crusaders in Congress. His new book is 'Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.'

Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews Erwin Helfer's record 'Celebrate the Journey.'

'Lovecraft Country' Creator Misha Green

Listen to 'Lovecraft Country' Creator Misha GreenThe HBO series 'Lovecraft Country' takes the real horrors of the Black experience in the 1950s and adds to it the supernatural terrors of the horror genre. We talk to series creator Misha Green about reclaiming the genre space for people of color, her writers' room, and how scary movies make her feel brave.

Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new Ken Burns PBS documentary series 'Hemingway.'

The Amazing Lives Of Migratory Birds

Listen to The Amazing Lives Of Migratory BirdsAuthor Scott Weidensaul talks about the millions of birds flying unseen over our heads in the night sky, how the bar-tailed godwit can fly more than a week over water without stopping, and how new tracking technology may help with strategies to keep them alive. His new book is 'A World on the Wing.'

Also, Ken Tucker reviews the first full-length solo album from gospel singer Elizabeth King.

Best Of: The Making Of 'Soul' / The Afterlife Of Mass Incarceration

Listen to Best Of: The Making Of 'Soul' / The Afterlife Of Mass IncarcerationThe Oscar-nominated animated film 'Soul' imagines a place where souls are matched with unique passions. It follows Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher and aspiring jazz musician, who nearly dies right after securing the gig of his life. Filmmakers Pete Docter and Kemp Powers say their movie is meant to challenge conventional notions of success and failure.

There are 45,000 laws, policies and administrative sanctions in the U.S. that target people with criminal records. We talk with University of Chicago sociologist Reuben Jonathan Miller about how they affect people's lives. "I want us to think about all these traps that we've created, we've produced, and I want us to unmake them," Miller says. His book is 'Halfway Home.'

Actors Riz Ahmed / Kathryn Hahn

Listen to Actors Riz Ahmed / Kathryn HahnRiz Ahmed plays a drummer who loses his hearing in 'Sound of Metal.' To prepare for the role, he immersed himself in deaf culture — an experience that changed the way he thought about communication and listening. The film earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Also, we listen back to our 2019 interview with actor Kathryn Hahn. She's known for her roles in 'Parks & Rec,' 'Mrs. Fletcher,' and 'I Love Dick.' Now she's co-starring in 'WandaVision' as a nosey and mysterious neighbor. "The most complicated and messy roles I've been able to get have been offered through women," she says. "I'm just so buoyed and galvanized that the juiciest part of [my career] has been post-kids."