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Jason Moran Modernizes Fats Waller, With Uneven Results

Monday, September 22, 2014

Now that the pianist's Fats Waller project tours and has a new album, Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead admits to mixed feelings.

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Ron Perlman On 'Sons Of Anarchy' And His Many On-Screen Transformations

Monday, September 22, 2014

Perlman played the ruthless leader of a motorcycle gang on the FX series. In his new book, Easy Street (The Hard Way), he talks about having a face "that was not ugly but surely one of its kind."

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Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' And 'Black-ish'

Monday, September 22, 2014

For major broadcast networks, Monday is the official start of the 2014-15 TV season. Fresh Air's critic has a not-very-long list of new shows you should make an effort to sample.

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Fresh Air Weekend: John Darnielle, Pere Ubu And Australian Comic Josh Thomas

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Mountain Goats' singer discusses his novel, Wolf in White Van; Kevin Whitehead reviews Pere Ubu's album Carnival of Souls; Thomas talks about his sitcom Please Like Me.

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Roosevelt's Polio Wasn't A Secret: He Used It To His 'Advantage'

Friday, September 19, 2014

In The Man He Became, historian James Tobin says, despite misimpressions to the contrary, Americans of Franklin Roosevelt's day were well-aware of his disability. Originally aired Nov. 25, 2013.

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A Detective's 'Walk Among The Tombstones' Is Gripping But Unsatisfying

Friday, September 19, 2014

In the '70s, novelist Lawrence Block created New York private investigator Matthew Scudder who chases extreme bad guys. Liam Neeson now plays the character the new grisly film directed by Scott Frank.

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Pere Ubu's 'Carnival Of Souls' Is A Dreamscape That's Never Dreamy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Led since the late '70s by co-founder David Thomas, Pere Ubu has created something far more rich, experimental, and emotional than the spooky, horror-movie that Carnival of Souls is named for.

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'Madame Secretary' Pales In Comparison To 'The Good Wife'

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The CBS dramas about women juggling family lives and high-intensity jobs showcase excellent acting. But while The Good Wife is one of the best shows on TV, Madam Secretary's writing is disappointing.

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The Long, Scary Journey From A 'Terrorist's Son' To A Peace Activist

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zak Ebrahim's father was convicted as a conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. For most of his life, Ebrahim lied to people about who his father was. His new memoir tells his story.

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As A Lyricist And Novelist, The Mountain Goats' Lead Man Writes About Pain

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

John Darnielle's novel, Wolf in White Van, is about a man who survives a trauma. The songwriter tells Fresh Air about his difficult childhood and finding shelter in music and the Incredible Hulk.

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13 Days Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lawrence Wright's new book examines the 1978 peace deal President Carter brokered between Egypt and Israel. During the tense summit, Carter had "never been angrier," Wright says.

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'Fresh Air' Remembers Pulitzer-Prize Winning Editorial Cartoonist Tony Auth

Monday, September 15, 2014

Auth worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 41 years. He died Sunday at the age of 72. In 1988, Auth talked with Terry Gross about how the Reagan era marked a turning point for political cartoonists.

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Australian Comic Finds Humor In Humiliation For His Sitcom 'Please Like Me'

Monday, September 15, 2014

Josh Thomas, 27, stars in the show geared toward 20-somethings on the new cable channel Pivot. He talks about coming out to his dad via text message and dealing with his mom's suicide attempts.

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For Duo Tennis, Pop Is A Natural Language

Monday, September 15, 2014

Can you re-invent lively pop from the distant past? Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles says the songwriting team Tennis does just that with their new third album, Ritual in Repeat.

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Fresh Air Weekend: 'So We Read On,' Roosevelt Documentary And Terence Winter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book critic Maureen Corrigan looks at the story behind The Great Gatsby; the new PBS biography of three Roosevelts is Ken Burns' best yet; Boardwalk Empire creator reminisces about how the show began.

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Woodrow Wilson Brought New Executive Style To The White House

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wilson used a groundbreaking moral argument to get the U.S. involved in World War I. A. Scott Berg's book fills in missing pieces of the president's life. Original interview broadcast Sept. 10, 2013.

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In 'The Drop,' Mob Bosses Bully Sad Characters At A Bar In Brooklyn

Friday, September 12, 2014

The film based on Dennis Lehane's short story Animal Rescue is supposed be a thriller, but the narrative doesn't have much urgency. The reason it's worth seeing? James Gandolfini is at his peak.

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'Fresh Air' Remembers Jazz Composer Gerald Wilson

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wilson, who was also a trumpet player, wrote the arrangements for such greats as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. He died Monday at 96 years old. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2006.

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Futuristic 'Bone Clocks' Encompasses A Strange, Rich World Of Soul-Stealers

Thursday, September 11, 2014

David Mitchell's latest fantasy is an odyssey into the dark side, spanning from 1984 to 2043. It's about a teenager who runs away from her London home and becomes prey to a ghastly gang of mystics.

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As 'Boardwalk Empire' Comes To A Close, Creator Reminisces About Its Start

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The HBO show began its final season Sunday. Terence Winter says he wrote the Prohibition-era drama in part to work with Martin Scorsese. It was "something I couldn't possibly ... pass up," he says.

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