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.

I've been on a roll this summer reading and reviewing good novels about family crises — Rachel DeWoskin's Big Girl Small, Dana Spiotta's Stone Arabia, Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang.

Everything you wanted to know about bug sex (but didn't bother to ask) is explained in a new book by insect expert Marlene Zuk. Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love and Language from the Insect World, describes a world of small — but surprisingly sophisticated — insect behavior.

Thirty-seven years ago, identical twins Begona and Delia were born at almost the same time as another infant named Beatriz in a hospital in the Canary Islands. Due to a hospital mistake, one of the twins was switched with Beatriz.

"This caused the single child [Beatriz] to grow up with the wrong set of parents and caused an unrelated pair of girls to grow up in a family thinking all their lives that they were fraternal twins," says Nancy Segal, a psychologist at California State University, Fullerton.

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:

The new documentary Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place gathers never before seen footage shot during the Merry Pranskters' LSD-fueled bus trip across America in 1964. Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was the ring leader. The bus was driven by Neal Cassady, who was the inspiration for the main character in the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road.

The new documentary Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place gathers never before seen footage shot during the Merry Pranskters' LSD-fueled bus trip across America in 1964. Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was the ring leader. The bus was driven by Neal Cassady, who was the inspiration for the main character in the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road.

The new documentary Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place gathers never before seen footage shot during the Merry Pranskters' LSD-fueled bus trip across America in 1964. Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was the ring leader. The bus was driven by Neal Cassady, who was the inspiration for the main character in the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road.

Gary Burton has always counted on collaborators to pull him in various directions — not because the vibraphonist doesn't have his own preferences, but for the variety. Burton also likes a tight-knit working band, and he's got one in his new quartet, which is touring this summer and fall. Drummer Antonio Sanchez works hand in glove with bassist Scott Colley; they'd already teamed up in the drummer's band.

Sam Phillips possesses a distinctive voice, with a chalky plaintiveness and a slight nasality that only increases her intimate, confiding tone. The thing is, she's not much of a confessional songwriter. I was reminded of this as I listened to Solid State and heard her direct her thoughts outward, crafting music that advises people to be honest with each other, to locate the magic in everyday life, to generally look around you instead of navel-gazing.

The human cost of World War I was enormous. More than 9 million soldiers and an estimated 12 million civilians died in the four-year-long conflict, which also left 21 million military men wounded.

Few fictional films wear their political messages as proudly or loudly as The Help, which centers on black female domestic servants in Jackson, Miss., in the early 60s and a 23-year-old white woman who induces them to tell their stories for a book to be called, appropriately enough, The Help.

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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