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Fresh Air

Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.

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Best Of: Anita Hill / Ben Platt

It's been 30 years since the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, where Anita HIll testified he'd sexually harassed her. We'll talk about the hearings, and how they changed her life.Her memoir is 'Believing.'

Also we talk with Ben Platt, star of the hit broadway musical 'Dear Evan Hansen' and of the new film adaptation. Platt plays a high school senior overcome by his insecurities and social anxiety. We'll talk about going back to the role and separating his own anxieties from those plaguing his character.

Ken Tucker will review a new Beach Boys collection.
2021-10-02
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Remembering Melvin Van Peebles, Godfather of Black Film

Melvin Van Peebles, considered the Godfather of Black cinema, died last week. He's best known for his 1971 film, 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.' We listen back to archival interviews with Peebles and his son Mario.

And we remember Bishop John Shelby Spong, who died earlier this month. In 1977, he became one of the first American bishops to ordain a woman into the clergy. In 1989, he was the first to ordain an openly gay man.

David Bianculli reviews the new Netflix series 'Maid.'
2021-10-01
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What's Happening At The U.S.-Mexico Border?

'Atlantic' immigration reporter Caitlin Dickerson talks about Haitian immigrants at the border, and explains how both Trump and Biden immigration policies are based on a racist system created by the Founding Fathers. "The story of the United States being a nation of immigrants is much more complex than we often discuss and acknowledge as a country," Dickerson says. She explains how the legacy of racist immigration law is very much alive today.

Also, Ken Tucker reviews remixed Pere Ubu albums.
2021-09-30
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'Me Too' Founder Tarana Burke

Burke says society often ignores Black girls' sexual trauma ? and that the R. Kelly trial, coming after 25 years of allegations, highlights the "stark difference" in response to victims of color. "We are socialized to respond to the vulnerability of white women," she says. "[There's a] stark difference in what it takes to get attention around Black women and girls." Burke's new memoir, 'Unbound,' is about her activism and her own experience with sexual violence and healing. She spoke with guest interviewer Tonya Mosley.
2021-09-29
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Anita Hill

In 1991, Anita Hill testified that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Thomas was confirmed regardless. Since then, another Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh, has joined the bench, despite Christine Blasey Ford's testimony that he sexually assaulted her. We talk with Hill about how her life and work has changed over the last 30 years, how she wants the confirmation process to change, and President Biden's apology for how she was treated in the '91 hearings. Her new memoir is 'Believing.' "There is victory in being able to come forward and state what has happened to you," she says.

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Anthony Doerr's new novel, 'Cloud Cuckoo Land.'
2021-09-28
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Ben Platt

Platt stars in 'Dear Evan Hansen,' the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. He originated the role. We talk about anxiety, falling in love with another 'Evan Hansen' actor, and his upcoming project with Richard Linklater, filming a musical over the course of 20 years.
2021-09-27
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Best Of: B.J. Novak / Colson Whitehead

B.J. Novak played Ryan on 'The Office' and served as a writer and an executive producer of the series. His new FX/Hulu anthology show, 'The Premise,' deals with important cultural issues, like social justice, sex tapes, guns, and how we're shaped by social media. We talk about Novak's early stand-up and his friendship with Mindy Kaling.

Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the reboots of 'The Wonder Years' and 'Scenes from a Marriage.'

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead's new book, 'Harlem Shuffle,' is about a furniture store owner in Harlem whose sideline is fencing stolen goods. We talk about heists, how New York City has changed, and writing in the pandemic.
2021-09-25
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Ray Charles On Country Music

Last month, Ray Charles was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. That may sound odd to you since he's such a pivotal figure in soul music and rhythm & blues. But his 1962 album, 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,' became one of his best known records, and included two of his biggest hits, "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "You Don't Know Me." Charles spoke with Terry Gross in 1998.

Also, John Powers reviews two thriller films: 'Wife of a Spy' and 'Azor.'
2021-09-24
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The Facebook Files: What Leaked Documents Tell Us

'Wall Street Journal' reporter Jeff Horwitz says Facebook executives often choose to boost engagement at the expense of tackling problems like misinformation and mental health issues in teens that are rampant on their platforms.
2021-09-23
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B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak played Ryan on 'The Office' and served as a writer and an executive producer of the series. His new FX/Hulu anthology show, 'The Premise,' deals with important cultural issues, like social justice, sex tapes, guns, and how we're shaped by social media. We talk about Novak's early stand-up, doing the MTV prank show 'Punk'd,' and his friendship with Mindy Kaling.
2021-09-22
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Who Is Tech Billionaire & 'Contrarian' Peter Thiel?

Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal, invested early in Facebook, secretly funded the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that put the website Gawker out of business, and put more than a million dollars into Trump's campaign just after the appearance of the 'Access Hollywood' tapes. Thiel is also known for his interest in some unusual ideas, like independent city-states that float on the ocean, free from oppressive governments. We talk with 'Bloomsberg Businessweek' tech reporter Max Chafkin about his book on Thiel, 'The Contrarian.'

Also, critic David Bianculli reviews two remakes of classic TV shows, 'The Wonder Years' and 'Scenes from a Marriage.'
2021-09-21
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Evan Osnos On The 'Making Of America's Fury'

How did Americans become so divided? And how did we come so close to overturning the results of a presidential election? These are some of the questions at the heart of the new book 'Wildland,' by 'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos. Osnos bookended his coverage of Trump by reporting on Trump's white nationalist support during his 2016 campaign and the attack on the capital by Trump supporters after the 2020 election. Osnos is also the author of a book about Joe Biden, and has profiled Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. He'll offer some insights into Manchin and his complicated relationship with Biden, now that Manchin holds the key vote on infrastructure and voting rights legislation.

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Fortnight in September,' by R.C. Sherriff.
2021-09-20
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Best Of: Banjo Star Béla Fleck / When Animals Break The Law

Béla Fleck is one of the most famous banjo players in the world. He's taken that instrument out of its folk and bluegrass traditions to play pretty much any kind of music, including jazz and pop to classical and reggae. But bluegrass has always been where he comes from ? and he's returned to it for his new album, 'My Bluegrass Heart.'

Science writer Mary Roach ('Stiff', 'Gulp') explores scenarios where animals are the ones committing "crimes" ? and how society deals with it. We talk about bear attacks, drunk elephants, and monkey thieves. Her new book is 'Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.'
2021-09-18
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Jean Smart / Remembering Newport Jazz & Folk Festival Founder George Wein

Jean Smart is nominated for two Emmys ? one for her lead role in 'Hacks' and one for her supporting role in 'Mare of Easttown.' We're revisiting her May 2021 interview.

Pioneering music impresario George Wein created the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. He died Sept. 13. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2003.
2021-09-17
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The Battle To Keep Local Journalism Alive

In the past 15 years, one in four newspapers has shuttered in the U.S. We talk with Art Cullen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, editor, and co-owner of 'The Storm Lake Times' in the meatpacking town of Storm Lake, Iowa. He and his family are the subject of a new documentary, called 'Storm Lake,' about the challenges the industry is facing as news moves to free digital platforms and ad revenues dwindle. The film is opening in select theaters and be on PBS Nov. 15.
2021-09-16
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Colson Whitehead On His Crime Novel 'Harlem Shuffle'

Whitehead's new novel 'Harlem Shuffle,' is about a furniture store owner in Harlem whose sideline is fencing stolen goods. Whitehead won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel 'The Underground Railroad,' about a 15-year-old enslaved girl who escapes a brutal Georgia plantation. The novel was adapted into a TV series that is now nominated for several Emmys. Whitehead won another Pulitzer for his next novel 'The Nickel Boys,' based on the story of the Dozier School for Boys, a segregated reform school notorious for its brutal punishment. We talk about heists, how New York City has changed, and writing in the pandemic

Justin Chang reviews the film 'Blue Bayou.'
2021-09-15
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The Weird World Of Animal Crimes

Science writer Mary Roach ('Stiff', 'Gulp') explores scenarios where animals are the ones committing "crimes" ? and how society deals with it. We talk about bear attacks, drunk elephants, and monkey thieves. Her new book is 'Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.'

Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from saxophonist Joel Frahm.
2021-09-14
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Banjo Player Béla Fleck

Béla Fleck is perhaps the most famous banjo player in the world. He's taken that instrument out of its folk and bluegrass traditions to play pretty much any kind of music: from jazz and pop to classical and reggae. But bluegrass has always been where he comes from ? and he's returned to it for his new album, 'My Bluegrass Heart.' He's dedicated it to two musical heroes that died in the last year: Chick Corea and Tony Rice. Fleck joins Sam Briger to play his banjo, and talk about returning to his roots; his trip to Africa, the continent of the banjo's origin; and meeting his father for the first time in his 40s.

Ken Tucker reviews, 'Dreaming of You,' a collection of songs by actor Karen Black, best known for 'Easy Rider' and 'Five Easy Pieces.' Black died in 2013.
2021-09-13
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Best Of: Michael K. Williams / Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Michael K. Williams was best known for playing Omar on 'The Wire' and Chalky White on 'Boardwalk Empire.' He died Sept. 6 of a suspected drug overdose. In 2008, Williams told Terry Gross the story behind the scar on his face and his background in dance. In 2016, he reflected on his lucky breaks and what it was like to leave Omar behind. "When 'The Wire' and the character of Omar ended, I had zero tools, personally speaking, in how to deal with letting that go. ... I didn't equip myself with the tools of how to wash that off my psyche."

Maureen Corrigan reviews Sally Rooney's new novel, 'Beautiful World, Where Are You.'

Also, we hear from U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. She's the first Native American appointed to the position. She has a new memoir, 'Poet Warrior,' that's in part about her family's history. She's a member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation.
2021-09-11
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The Rise And Fall Of Osama Bin Laden

As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, a new biography traces Osama bin Laden's path from a shy, religious teenager to the leader of a global jihadist group dedicated to mass murder. Journalist Peter Bergen, who met the al-Qaida leader in 1997, says that a series of events kept pushing bin Laden "further and further down the path of radicalization." We also talk about conditions in Afghanistan after the U.S. troop withdrawal, and the chances that terrorist organizations will flourish there as al-Qaida did in the '90s. Bergen's new book is 'The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.'

Also, Justin Chang reviews the new Paul Schrader film 'The Card Counter,' starring Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish.
2021-09-10
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SCOTUS & The Future Of Roe V. Wade

Ian Millhiser covers the Supreme Court for Vox. He says the Court's decision to uphold the recent Texas abortion law was a generational victory for abortion opponents: "They've spent many decades working for this moment."

Maureen Corrigan reviews Sally Rooney's new novel, 'Beautiful World, Where Are You.'
2021-09-09
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Remembering Michael K. Williams

Williams was best known for playing Omar on 'The Wire' and Chalky White on 'Boardwalk Empire.' In 2008, Williams told Terry Gross the story behind the scar on his face and his background in dance. In 2016, he reflected on his lucky breaks and what it was like to leave Omar behind. "When 'The Wire' and the character of Omar ended, I had zero tools, personally speaking, in how to deal with letting that go. ... I didn't equip myself with the tools of how to wash that off my psyche." Williams died Sept. 6 of a suspected drug overdose.

Also, critic David Bianculli reviews the new reboot of Doogie Howser, M.D.
2021-09-08
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Poet Laureate Joy Harjo / Historian Tiya Miles

The nation's first Native American poet laureate has a new memoir in which she tells her own story ? as well as the story of her sixth-generation grandfather, who was forced from his land in the Trail of Tears. It's called 'Poet Warrior.' "If my work does nothing else, when I get to the end of my life, I want Native peoples to be seen as human beings," she says.

Historian Tiya Miles tells the story of an enslaved woman who, upon hearing that her child was being sold off, hastily packed her a cotton sack with a few personal items. That cotton bag remained in the child's possession and was passed on from one generation to the next, and at one point in the early 1900s, was inscribed with the family's tale. Eventually it ended up at the National Museum of African American History. Miles joins contributor Arun Venugopal to talk about what this story tell us about slavery. Her book is 'All That She Carried.'
2021-09-07
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Mavis Staples / Gladys Knight

We conclude our Summer of Soul series with Mavis Staples and Gladys Knight, two performers featured in Questlove's documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. As a teenager, Mavis Staples performed with her family in the Staple Singers, led by her father, "Pops" Staples. By the late '50s, the Staple Singers was one of the most popular gospel groups in the country. In the early '70s, they crossed over to the top of the pop charts.

Gladys Knight's Motown hits with the Pips included "I heard it Through the Grapevine," "Neither One of Us," and "The End of Our Road." She had one of her biggest hits after leaving Motown: "Midnight Train to Georgia."
2021-09-06
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Best Of: Sandra Oh / Aretha Franklin

Sandra Oh stars in the new comedy series 'The Chair,' as the newly appointed chair of the English department at a prestigious college-- the first woman and first person of color to hold the position. Oh co-starred in Grey's Anatomy and is currently shooting the fourth and final season of the spy thriller series 'Killing Eve.'

Also, we'll listen to our 1999 interview with Aretha Franklin. She's portrayed by Jennifer Hudson in the new biopic 'Respect.'

And Justin Chang reviews 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.' It's the first Marvel movie to feature an Asian superhero.
2021-09-04
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Abbey Lincoln / Max Roach

We're continuing our "Summer of Soul" series with archival interviews with singer Abbey Lincoln and drummer Max Roach. Both were featured in the Questlove documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Abbey Lincoln started out as a seductive nightclub singer in the 1950s, but after meeting Max Roach, she started performing in a style influenced by modern jazz and the civil rights movement. She evolved into an introspective singer who wrote achingly beautiful songs about love and life. Max Roach was one of the inventors of modern jazz drumming. He helped formulate the language of bebop. In the early 1960s, he recorded some of the first jazz music inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.

Also, John Powers reviews the PBS Masterpiece series 'Guilt.'
2021-09-03
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B.B. King / Hugh Masekela

We're revisiting archival interviews with some of the musicians featured in the documentary 'Summer of Soul.' The film is about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of free concerts which reflected changes in Black culture and politics. Today we'll hear our 1996 interviews with B.B. King, perhaps the most famous blues singer and guitarist of his generation, and our 1988 interview with Hugh Masekela, the South African trumpeter who was described in the 'New York Times' as a symbol of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, even as he spent three decades in exile.
2021-09-03
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Questlove Revives "Black Woodstock" With 'Summer Of Soul'

Today we begin our series Summer of Soul, featuring interviews from our archive with some of the performers showcased in the documentary 'Summer of Soul,' about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The festival was a series of six concerts that reflected changes in Black music, culture and politics. Over the next few days, we'll hear interviews from our archive with B.B. King, Hugh Masekela, Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln. We start with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, who directed the documentary. Questlove founded the band The Roots, the house band of 'The Tonight Show' and is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B.

Justin Chang reviews 'Shang-Chi,' Marvel's first superhero film starring an Asian lead.
2021-09-01
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Celebrating Aretha Franklin, Queen Of Soul

To mark the debut of the biopic 'RESPECT,' we listen back to archival interviews with Aretha, as well as with Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler, and songwriter Dan Penn, who co-wrote "Do Right Woman." We'll hear about Aretha's upbringing in the church, the iconic "sock-it-to-me's" in Respect, and recording at Muscle Shoals.
2021-08-31
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Sandra Oh

Oh stars as chair of the English department at a prestigious university in the Netflix series 'The Chair.' The 'Grey's Anatomy' co-star joined us to talk about her upbringing in Canada, breaking barriers for Asian women in Hollywood, and the sexual tension between her 'Killing Eve' character and the psychopath Villanelle.

TV critic David Bianculli shares his first impressions of the Hulu comedy 'Only Murders in the Building,' starring Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez as amateur sleuths.
2021-08-30
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Best Of: 'Schmigadoon!' Co-Creator / How Dopamine Works

Cinco Paul loves musicals ? unlike his long-time writing partner, Ken Daurio, with whom he created the new Apple TV+ satire, 'Schmigadoon!' Their series centers on a couple who become trapped in a musical town. We talk with Paul about what inspired the series.

Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'CODA.'

Psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke's new book, 'Dopamine Nation,' explores the brain's connection between pleasure and pain. It also helps explain addictions ? not just to drugs and alcohol, but also to food, sex and smart phones.
2021-08-28
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Remembering Chuck Close, Joe Galloway, Charlie Watts

We remember an artist, a journalist and a musician, each of whom made significant contributions to their respective fields: Known for his giant hyper-realist paintings of faces, Chuck Close was one of the leading artists of his generation. After a stroke left him partially paralyzed, he was able to keep painting. Former war correspondent Joe Galloway was the only civilian to be awarded the Medal of Valor in the Vietnam War. And Charlie Watts, the drummer for the Rolling Stones, who helped define rock 'n' roll.
2021-08-27
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CNN's Clarissa Ward On The Taliban & Afghan Women

Clarissa Ward, CNN's chief international correspondent, spent 3 weeks in Afghanistan, first with the Afghan military in Kandahar, just before it fell; then in Ghazni province, in territory that was taken over by the Taliban, and in Kabul, where the Taliban were celebrating their victory. After reporting on the chaos and danger at the airport, as thousands of people tried to escape on U.S. military flights, she got on an Air Force C-17 to Doha, Qatar, along with hundreds of evacuees. We'll talk about what she learned and what she experienced.
2021-08-26
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The Neuroscience Of Pleasure, Pain And Addiction

Psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke's new book, 'Dopamine Nation,' explores the brain's connection between pleasure and pain. It also helps explain addictions ? not just to drugs and alcohol, but also to food, sex and smart phones. "Living in this modern age is very challenging," Lembke says. "We're now having to cope with: How do I live in a world in which everything is provided? And if I consume too much of it ? which my reflexes compel me to do ? I'm going to be even more unhappy."

Maureen Corrigan reviews Yoon Choi's collection of stories 'Skinship.'
2021-08-25
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The Story Of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher

In 2018, a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL was arrested and accused of some shocking crimes. Investigators said, while Eddie Gallagher was leading a platoon of these elite commandos in the battle to retake Mosul, Iraq from ISIS, he stabbed a defenseless prisoner to death. The accusations came from SEALs in Gallagher's own platoon, who also said he was known for taking shots at civilians from his sniper's nest, and killing at least two. We talk with 'New York Times' correspondent Dave Philipps, who covered Gallagher's trial and interviewed many of the Navy SEALs who leveled the accusations against Gallagher. His new book is 'Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs.'
2021-08-24
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'Schmigadoon!' Songwriter & Co-Creator Cinco Paul

Cinco Paul loves musicals ? unlike his long-time writing partner, Ken Daurio, with whom he created the new Apple TV+ satire, 'Schmigadoon!' Their series centers on a couple who become trapped in a musical town. Paul talks about his songwriting process and how the Marx Brothers inspired him.

Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'CODA.'
2021-08-23
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Best Of: Billie Jean King / Kenan Thompson

Tennis legend Billie Jean King is known for winning a record 20 Wimbledon titles and defeating Bobby Riggs in the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes." But she's also remembered for taking on the tennis establishment and fighting for recognition and pay for women players, a high-risk undertaking that opened doors for generations of women that followed. Her new book is 'All In: An Autobiography.'

TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Nine Perfect Strangers' on Hulu.

Kenan Thompson joined the 'SNL' cast in 2003, making him the longest-running cast member on the show. We'll talk about his sitcom 'Kenan' and some of his more memorable 'SNL' sketches.
2021-08-21
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Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett, the singer Frank Sinatra called "the best in the business," is retiring from performing at the age of 95, after eight decades on stage and in clubs. Earlier this year it was announced he had Alzheimer's disease, diagnosed five years earlier; but he'd continued to perform. His last performance was just two weeks ago, with Lady Gaga, in sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1982, 1991, and 1998.
2021-08-20
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America's Failed Mission In Afghanistan: Intentions & Mistakes

The stunning collapse of the government of Afghanistan following President Biden's decision to remove U.S. troops from the country has led to chaotic scenes throughout Afghanistan, including at the airport in Kabul, where many are desperate to leave. It has also left countless Afghans wondering what the future holds as the Taliban takes control of the country. "They're frightened. They don't know what awaits them. ... It's devastating. It's a country that deserved better," 'New Yorker' staff writer Steve Coll says.
2021-08-19
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Who Is Doing Your Dirty Work?

Author Eyal Press calls them "jobs of last resort" ? slaughtering animals, working in prisons, engaging in remote drone combat ? society needs them, but doesn't want to talk about them.

Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Dream Girl,' a new suspense-thriller novel from Laura Lippman.
2021-08-18
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Tennis Legend Billie Jean King

King is known for winning a record 20 Wimbledon titles and defeating Bobby Riggs in the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes." But she's also remembered for taking on the tennis establishment and fighting for recognition and pay for women players, a high-risk undertaking that opened doors for generations of women that followed. In a new memoir, King describes her battles for equity and inclusion in the game, becoming an activist for women's and LGBTQ rights, and some difficult moments in personal life, including having a closeted lesbian relationship outed in a lawsuit. Her new book is 'All In: An Autobiography.'

Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews a new film about Broadway, from 1959 through the '80s.
2021-08-17
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Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal

In his new book, 'The State Must Provide,' Adam Harris explains how slavery, segregation and continuing racism prevented or stymied Black education. He examines some of the turning points when higher education could have been made equal and centuries of discrimination could have been remedied. He also writes about the important role Historically Black Colleges and Universities have played, and the reasons why they have been underfunded. Harris went to an HBCU, Alabama A&M University. He's now a staff writer at 'The Atlantic.'
2021-08-16
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Best Of: Sondheim Collaborator James Lapine / SNL's Cecily Strong

Lapine collaborated with Stephen Sondheim to create three musicals ? 'Sunday in the Park with George,' 'Into the Woods' and 'Passion.' Lapine's new book is about the making-of 'Sunday in the Park' called 'Putting it Together.' It's based on Lapine's memories, as well as interviews with Sondheim, and members of the cast and crew.

Then, Ken Tucker reviews a new posthumously released Prince album.

Finally, Strong is nominated for an Emmy for 'Saturday Night Live.' She also stars in the new show 'Schmigadoon,' about a couple that ends up trapped in a town where life is a musical and the townspeople frequently burst into song. Her new memoir is about the depression, anxiety, and grief she experienced during the first months of the pandemic.
2021-08-14
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Remembering Longtime NPR Host Neal Conan

Conan, who died Aug. 10, worked at NPR for 36 years, as a reporter, executive producer of 'All Things Considered' and host of 'Talk of the Nation.' He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

Also, Justin Chang reviews the new Aretha Franklin biopic 'Respect.'

And Ken Tucker shares his songs of the summer.
2021-08-13
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Investigating Trump's Efforts To Subvert The Election Results

'New York Times' reporter Katie Benner discusses the latest revelations about how former President Donald Trump pressured the Justice Department to undermine the results of the 2020 election.

Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the debut album by singer Samara Joy.
2021-08-12
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Kenan Thompson On 'SNL' And 'Kenan'

Thompson is currently nominated for two Emmys ? one for starring in his sitcom 'Kenan,' and another for 'Saturday Night Live.' He's been a cast member on 'SNL' since 2003, which makes him the performer with the longest tenure in the history of the show. Thompson talks about some of his most memorable 'SNL' sketches. He also talks about playing the Bill Cosby character Fat Albert in a 2004 movie, and later feeling disappointed by Cosby. "He was a prime example of a career that I wanted to have," Thompson says. "I felt super betrayed."

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Agatha Of Little Neon,' a novel about nuns that she calls "sharp and, by turns, melancholy and wry."
2021-08-11
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Trump Impeachment Key Witness Alexander Vindman

The retired Army officer who testified about President Trump's call to the president of Ukraine, talks about the experience and the price he paid. Vindman's new memoir is 'Here, Right Matters: An American Story.'

Also, John Powers reviews the novel 'Bullet Train,' a thriller about five assassins boarding the same train.
2021-08-10
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Cecily Strong On 'SNL,' 'Schmigadoon,' And Her New Memoir

Strong is nominated for an Emmy for 'Saturday Night Live.' She also stars in the new show 'Schmigadoon,' about a couple that ends up trapped in a town where life is a musical and the townspeople frequently burst into song. Her new memoir is about the depression, anxiety, and grief she experienced during the first months of the pandemic. "I just kept thinking, all the work I've done on myself with anxiety, I'm going to lose it all because of this," she says.

Also, Ken Tucker reviews a new posthumously released Prince album.
2021-08-09
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Best Of: Writer Tarell Alvin McCraney / Osama Bin Laden Biographer

After winning an Oscar for co-writing the film 'Moonlight,' McCraney says he received a lot of opportunities, many of which he turned down. "Some of it had to do with waiting for the other shoe to drop," he says. He's now the creator of the TV series 'David Makes Man,' which is in its second season on OWN. The series begins with a Miami boy whose mother struggles with addiction ? and has echoes of McCraney's own childhood.

Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Anthony Veasna So's posthumously published short story collection 'Afterparties.'

And as the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks approaches, a new biography traces Osama bin Laden's path from a shy, religious teenager to the leader of a global jihadist group dedicated to mass murder. Journalist Peter Bergen, who met the al-Qaida leader in 1997, says that a series of events kept pushing bin Laden "further and further down the path of radicalization." Bergen's new book is 'The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.'
2021-08-07
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'The Hiroshima Cover-Up'

76 years ago, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Historian Lesley M.M. Blume's book, 'Fallout,' tells the story of John Hersey, the young journalist whose on-the-ground reporting in Hiroshima exposed the world to the devastation of nuclear weapons. "Hersey had seen everything from that point, from combat to concentration camps," Blume says. "But he later said that nothing prepared him for what he saw in Hiroshima."

Also, we remember Ron Popeil, the inventor and TV pitchman whose products included the Veg-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone, and the smokeless ashtray.
2021-08-06
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