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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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Movie Interviews
9:01 am
Thu April 12, 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

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.

The film tells the story of Chico, one of the best piano players in Havana, and Rita, his sultriest singer. They're lovers, and eventually their migration takes them past New York to Paris — criss-crossing continents to make music while struggling to keep themselves and their relationship afloat.

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Politics
8:16 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Welfare Overhaul's Impact On America's Poorest

In August 1996, President Clinton prepares to sign legislation overhauling America's welfare system in the Rose Garden of the White House.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 7:03 pm

The welfare program that operated in the United States between the Franklin Roosevelt administration and the Clinton administration offered poor families assistance with few requirements or time frames. States could enroll as many people as they wanted in the program, and the federal government would match their funds.

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Book Reviews
10:16 am
Wed April 11, 2012

'Present': For Nadine Gordimer, Politics Hit Home

Nadine Gordimer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo courtesy of the author

Nadine Gordimer's trademark characters live for politics, the Struggle. You get the feeling they would be sick to their collective stomachs if they ever even tried to bite into a gourmet cupcake.

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Author Interviews
9:58 am
Wed April 11, 2012

For Carole King, Songwriting Is A 'Natural' Talent

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 12:42 pm

Carole King initially found it extremely difficult to navigate the social hierarchies of high school. The Grammy Award-winning songwriter was a few years younger than her fellow classmates and was often dismissed as being "cute."

"And it was like, no, I don't want to be cute, I want to be beautiful and smart," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And that wasn't happening, and then I connected through music. So music became a way of identifying my particular niche. How lucky for me."

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Music Reviews
10:25 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Bonnie Raitt's 'Slipstream': A Barnstorming Good Time

Bonnie Raitt.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 2:39 pm

The warmth and vigor of Bonnie Raitt's voice throughout her new album Slipstream, even when she's covering an oldie such as Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," is vital and fresh — urgent, even. Raitt has always possessed a gift for taking a familiar phrase and rendering it in a manner that compels a listener to think anew about what the words really mean.

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Sports
9:54 am
Tue April 10, 2012

'Winding Up' As The Mets' Knuckleball Pitcher

R.A. Dickey currently plays for the New York Mets. He was previously with the Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
courtesy of the author

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 8:58 am

Most pitchers in the majors stick to fastballs, curveballs, sliders and change-ups when facing batters at the plate.

But not New York Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey. Dickey is currently the only knuckleball pitcher in a current rotation. At 37, he's also one of the older pitchers in the league and has seen his career — and life — mimic the erratic trajectory of the difficult pitch he throws game after game.

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Religion
9:10 am
Mon April 9, 2012

'When God Talks Back' To The Evangelical Community

T.M. Luhrmann's book When God Talks Back examines how evangelicals perceive and relate to God.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 10:09 am

While attending services and small group meetings at The Vineyard, an evangelical church with 600 branches across the country, anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann noticed that several members of the congregation said God had repeatedly spoken to them and that they had heard what God wanted them to do.

In When God Talks Back, which is based on an anthropological study she did at The Vineyard, Luhrmann examines the personal relationships people developed with God and explores how those relationships were cemented through the practice of prayer.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:15 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Paul McCartney, Aziz Ansari

Paul McCartney.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:11 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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Sports
9:37 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Behind The Plate, A Baseball Catcher Tells All

Ausmus (left), playing for the Houston Astros in 2006, talks with pitcher Brad Lidge on the mound during a game.
David. J Philip AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:39 am

This interview was originally broadcast on August 18, 2011.

Brad Ausmus has spent most of his career in a squatting position. As a major league catcher, he crouched behind home plate for roughly seven months a year while playing with the San Diego Padres, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

How did he practice for games? Even more squats.

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Music Reviews
9:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Finding And Curating The Roots Of Soul Music

The Burden Lifters.
Tompkins Square Records

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:50 am

Some years back, I was driving across the South with a German friend, leaving early Sunday morning from Athens, Ga., and heading to Louisiana. I turned on the radio and found a black church service in progress, and a woman with a remarkable voice singing. "Who's that?" my friend asked. I told him I had no idea. "But with a voice like that, she must be famous," he said. Some miles down the road, when the station had faded out, he still didn't believe me.

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