Fresh Air

Monday through Thursday at Noon, and Monday through Friday at 7pm on WMRA
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

The first time actor Antony Ramos saw In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway production about a Latinx community in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood, he was floored.

"The pulse of this musical, it feels close to me," he says. "I hadn't felt that watching a musical ever. ... Watching In the Heights, it just gave me this hope, like, wow, this is what a Broadway show can be."

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:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Next week, for the first time in over a year, Stephen Colbert will be taping "The Late Show" in front of a live audience again. We thought we'd listen back to Terry's conversation with him in April about producing the show from home. Here's how she introduced their interview.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Ransomware attacks have disrupted the flow of gas and the supply of meat in just the past few weeks after Colonial Pipeline and JBS, the meat processing company, had their computer systems held hostage for ransom. Similar ransomware attacks have been waged on many companies, large and small, and on hospitals, the police and cities. My guest got an inside look at how the new breed of ransomware attackers operate.

On the morning of Feb. 20, 1962, about 100,000 spectators gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the launch of the Friendship 7, the United States' first mission to put an astronaut in orbit around the Earth.

It was early in the space race, and the tension was palpable. Historian Jeff Shesol says there was real fear that astronaut John Glenn wouldn't survive the day.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Actor Rita Moreno never had an on-screen, Latina role model as a child. "There was no such thing then," she says. "Certainly not for little Puerto Rican girls like me."

That changed when Moreno, who moved with her mother to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico in 1936 and spent years working as a contract player for MGM, landed her breakout role as Anita in the 1961 film West Side Story.

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:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

In the sensational 2018 thriller A Quiet Place, humanity has been ravaged by hideous alien predators with extraordinary powers of hearing. The story follows the Abbotts, a family of survivors who must stay quiet at all times, unable to talk or sneeze or step on a creaky floorboard or they'll likely be dead.

It was a killer word-of-mouth hook: Here was a movie you had to watch in a theater in your own state of silence, with no slurping or popcorn crunching allowed.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Do Black people have full Second Amendment rights?

That's the question historian Carol Anderson set out to answer after Minnesota police killed Philando Castile, a Black man with a license to carry a gun, during a 2016 traffic stop.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Growing up in New Orleans, Atlantic writer Clint Smith was surrounded by reminders of the Confederacy. To get to school, he traveled down Robert E. Lee Boulevard. He took Jefferson Davis Highway when he went to the grocery store.

In elementary and middle school, Smith never learned about the legacy of slavery. Instead, his class took field trips to plantations — "places that were the sites of torture and intergenerational chattel bondage," he says, "but no one said the word 'slavery.'"

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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:

'70s Music Journalism Gets An Overdue Rewrite In Debut Novel 'Opal & Nev': Dawnie Walton's novel is a faux oral history about an interracial rock duo. Opal is a Black proto Afro-punk singer from Detroit, and Nev is a goofy white British singer-songwriter.

SAM BRIGER, HOST:

Chalk it up to our eternal fascination with human evil or to a movie industry that's short on original ideas, but it seems like almost every classic villain nowadays is guaranteed their own feature-length backstory.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In 1989, 15-year-old Yusef Salaam was one of five Black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly accused of assault and rape in the so-called Central Park jogger case.

At the time of his 1990 trial, Salaam, then out on bail, felt confident that the truth would come out and that he and the other teens would be proven innocent.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Dawnie Walton was working as the deputy managing editor at Essence in 2015 when she decided to leave her job to become a novelist.

"I had been writing on the sort of edges of my day, waking up at 5:00 in the morning, staying up [late] sometimes if I had the energy after work to to plug away," she says. "And I just thought, ... maybe it's time to do something completely selfish and and just take this risk."

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