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

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Books
12:08 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

How Obama, Roberts Interpret Laws In 'The Oath'

Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington.
Tim Sloan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 10:25 am

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama ran on the platform of "change we can believe in" — but he has a different approach to the Supreme Court's interpretation of constitutional law.

"Obama is a great believer in stability — in the absence of change — when it comes to the work of the Supreme Court," Jeffrey Toobin, author and senior legal analyst for CNN, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "He is the one trying to hold onto the older decisions, and [Chief Justice John] Roberts is the one who wants to move the court in a dramatically new direction."

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat September 15, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: W. Kamau Bell, Michael Lewis

W. Kamau Bell's new FX weekly series Totally Biased mixes standup, sketches and interviews.
Matthias Clamer

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:19 am

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:

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Movies
11:45 am
Fri September 14, 2012

'Chico & Rita': An Animated Film With A Cuban Beat

Chico's story mimics the stories of many Cuban musicians who left Havana and arrived in New York City in the 1940s — a time when musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were starting to emerge.
Luna Films

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 10:24 am

This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2012. Fernando Trueba's Chico & Rita is now out on DVD.

The animated film Chico and Rita is set in 1940s Havana, at a time when Cuban musicians were starting to leave the country and join the jazz scene in New York. It was also a time when musical styles were fusing — and changing the Afro-Cuban jazz scene entirely.

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Interviews
11:45 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Going Under The 'Boardwalk' With Michael Shannon

Michael Shannon plays federal agent Nelson Van Alden on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. "I think inside of Van Alden is a child — that arrested child — that never really got to develop its own identity," he says.
Macall B. Polay HBO

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 12:26 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 24, 2011. The third season of Boardwalk Empire starts Sunday.

HBO's Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City in the 1920s, is about organized crime in the era of Prohibition. The show stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, an Atlantic City politician who sees the coming of Prohibition as an opportunity to make even more money from illegal activities and kickbacks.

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Movie Reviews
11:10 am
Fri September 14, 2012

'The Master': Filling A Void By Finding A Family

Joaquin Phoenix stars as Navy veteran Freddie Quell in The Master.
Phil Bray The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 11:45 am

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is both feverish and glacial. The vibe is chilly, but the central character is an unholy mess — and his rage saturates every frame. He's a World War II South Pacific vet named Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix to the hilt — the hilt above the hilt. We meet him at war's end on a tropical beach where he and other soldiers seek sexual relief atop the figure of a woman made out of sand.

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Television
12:48 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

New Shows Hit Average In Fall TV Lineup

Mamie Gummer stars as the title character in Emily Owens, M.D., the best new show on broadcast television this fall.
Jack Rowand The CW

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 12:58 pm

Last year, the broadcast networks didn't do well at all when it came to new series development. We got ABC's clever Once Upon a Time, which was about it for the fall crop, until midseason perked things up with NBC's Smash. Otherwise, a year ago, all the exciting new fall series were on cable, thanks to Showtime's brilliant Homeland and FX's audacious American Horror Story.

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Television
12:04 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

'Totally Biased' Comic On Race, Politics And Audience

W. Kamau Bell's new FX weekly series Totally Biased mixes standup, sketches and interviews.
Matthias Clamer

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 3:03 pm

Before comic W. Kamau Bell became host of the new weekly political humor show Totally Biased, which mixes standup, sketches and interviews, he had a one-man show called The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.

"If you bring a friend of a different race, you get in 2 for 1," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Book Reviews
12:02 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

'The Scientists': A Father's Lie And A Family's Legacy

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 1:20 pm

Every New York story ever written or filmed falls into one of two categories. The first — like Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or the musical On the Town — regards New York as the representative American city, a jam-packed distillation of the country's dreams and nightmares. The second group views New York as a foreign place — a city off the coast of the U.S. mainland that somehow drifted away from Paris or Mars. Think every Manhattan movie ever made by Woody Allen.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Michael Lewis Studies 'Obama's Way'

Contributing editor Michael Lewis played basketball with President Obama while working on a piece for Vanity Fair.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 2:05 pm

Author Michael Lewis made a radical request to the White House that he says he was almost certain would be denied: He wanted to write a piece about President Obama that would put the reader in the president's shoes.

To do this, the Vanity Fair contributing editor would need inside access. So what did he propose?

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Animals
12:49 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

New Center Trains Detection Dogs To Save Lives

Eleven-week-old 11-week-old Bretagne is beginning her training as a detection dog at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, which opens Tuesday. Click here to see photos of Bretagne at the mic during her Fresh Air interview.
Sarah Griffith

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 1:27 pm

A detection dog-training center opens Tuesday, on the anniversary of Sept. 11, at the University of Pennsylvania so scientists can train dogs for search-and-rescue missions — and study what helps them succeed.

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