Fresh Air

Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

There's a temperature at which water boils and there's a temperature at which the brain melts and we've reached it. It's August, and almost everywhere in the country, it's hot. The will to think has oozed out in millions of droplets of forehead sweat. That's why it's such a minty fresh delight to open up Kevin Wilson's debut novel, The Family Fang, and feel the revitalizing blast of original thought; robust invention; screwball giddiness.

"In fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," goes the old elementary school rhyme.

But it was Columbus' activities in the years that followed, says writer Charles C. Mann, that really created the new world. When Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492, his journey prompted not only the exchange of information — but also of food, animals, insects, plants and viruses between the continents.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Fresh Air Weekend emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. On this weekend's show:

This interview was originally broadcast on Aug. 9, 2010. 'Get Capone' is now available in paperback.

In Get Capone, writer Jonathan Eig takes us back to the roaring '20s in Chicago, when cops and judges were on the take — and unsolved murders piled up by the dozens every year.

There's a dreamy summer breeze wafting through much of Sky Full of Holes, as though Fountains of Wayne wanted to make its new album synch up with the season. And, just as this summer has been hotter than many recent ones, there's also a warm intensity to many of the songs, such as the album's first single, "Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart."

Actor Andy Serkis is Hollywood's go-to actor for playing computer-generated characters. In The Lord of the Rings, he supplied the voice, facial expressions, body language and physical movements for his character Gollum in front of a green screen, so that visual effects artists could later animate his performance. He also played the title role in Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong remake, worked with video game developers on the 2007 Playstation game Heavenly Sword and will appear in the upcoming The Adventures of Tintin.

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 1999.

There are many things that make the 1933 movie King Kong great — the special effects, the image of the giant ape climbing the Empire State Building, Fay Wray's screams — and the score, composed by Max Steiner.

In the liner notes to a new CD of two live concerts by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, the director Stephen Wadsworth, who worked with her, writes what a lot of people who loved her and cherished her singing must also feel. "Her work has such immediacy," he writes, "is so alive, that I even dread hearing her sometimes, because it makes me miss her and feel the just plain awfulness of her absence."

For 11 years, former gang members in Chicago have entered dangerous neighborhoods in the city and staged group interventions for at-risk youth, in an effort to try to stop the cycle of retaliatory gang violence that plagues the city's western and southern neighborhoods.

When Rosanne Cash was 18, her father (you may have heard of him; some call him the Man in Black) presented her with a gift: a list of 100 essential country songs, chosen to help the budding singer-songwriter connect with and better understand the music that came before her.

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