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Fresh Air Weekend: Timothy Spall, Review Of D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah,' John Cleese

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Spall plays J.M.W. Turner in the new film Mr. Turner; Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for; Cleese'smemoir, So, Anyway..., covers his boyhood and early career.

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J.K. Simmons On Playing A Neo-Nazi On HBO's 'Oz'

Friday, December 19, 2014

Simmons was a regular on the HBO drama, which depicts the brutality of life in a maximum security prison. He spoke to Terry Gross in 1998.

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The Strange World — And Life — Of 'Mr. Turner'

Friday, December 19, 2014

The biopic of landscape painter J. M. W. Turner depicts a man whose mind is barely engaged by anything other than his work. He's a mystery, and his art is magically indefinite — just like the movie.

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Meryl Streep: The Fresh Air Interview

Friday, December 19, 2014

Meryl Streep won a Golden Globe for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. She talks about preparing for that role and how her perceptions of herself have changed over the years.

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A Tribute To Stephen Colbert, A Self-Proclaimed 'Junkie For Exhaustion'

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ahead of The Colbert Report's last episode, Fresh Air listens back to interviews with Colbert. "I didn't realize quite how liberal I was until I was asked to make passionate comedic choices," he said.

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Between World Wars, Gay Culture Flourished In Berlin

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Gay Berlin, Robert Beachy describes the rise of a gay subculture in the 1920s and '30s, how it contributed to our understanding of gay identity and how it was eradicated by the Nazis.

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D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah' Collapses Years, Genres

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for.

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Early On, Comedian John Cleese Says, He Had Good Timing But Little Else

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The co-founder of the Monty Python troupe admits he wasn't "naturally gifted" at physical comedy, and learned a lot by imitation. His new memoir, So, Anyway..., covers his boyhood and early career.

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Ken Tucker's Top 9 Albums Of 2014, Plus A Book

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Making new sounds while staying mindful of the past is a common theme in the Fresh Air music critic's year-end list.

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Timothy Spall Takes On Painter J.M.W. Turner, A 'Master Of The Sublime'

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 19th century painter wasn't always "very pleasant" and he was a "man of massive contradictions," Spall says. So Spall says he had to "dig deep" to play the title role in Mr. Turner.

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Sometimes You Can't Pick Just 10: Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

This year, Fresh Air's book critic rejects the tyranny of the decimal system and picks 12 titles published in 2014 — all with characters, scenes and voices that linger long past the last page.

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Fresh Air Weekend: Chris Rock, Nunberg's Word Of The Year, Jacqueline Woodson

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chris Rock talks about finding the line between funny and "too far"; Geoff Nunberg declares "God view" as the word of the year; National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson talks about her memoir.

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Depicting An Unstable Era, 'Inherent Vice' Never Jells, But It's Addictive

Friday, December 12, 2014

The film, based on Thomas Pynchon's novel, is set in 1970 in a beach town south of Los Angeles. With wonderful actors, it's like a gorgeous stoner art object: groovy, campy, dreamlike and funny.

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Funny, Dirty, Sad: The 'Holy Trinity' For 'Transparent' Creator Jill Soloway

Friday, December 12, 2014

When writer Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman, Soloway says, it was a huge relief. And it helped her create the series Transparent about "boundaries, legacy, gender, family."

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Filmed Over 12 Years, 'Boyhood' Follows A Kid's Coming Of Age

Friday, December 12, 2014

Writer-director Richard Linklater says picking the film's star was vital because he had to guess what he'd be like at 18. "I just went with a kid who seemed kind of the most interesting."

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Three Jazz Box Sets For Stocking Stuffers

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three box sets featuring memorable pianists.

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Richard Pryor, A Comedy Pioneer Who Was 'Always Whittling On Dynamite'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scott Saul's new book, Becoming Richard Pryor, describes how Pryor went from being raised by a grandmother, who was a bootlegger and madam, to being a transformative figure in entertainment.

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Feeling Watched? 'God View' Is Geoff Nunberg's Word Of The Year

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Uber's "God view" shows a map of the cars in an area and the silhouettes of the people who ordered them. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says Uber-Santa doesn't just know when you've been sleeping, but where.

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Jacqueline Woodson On Growing Up, Coming Out And Saying Hi To Strangers

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Woodson won the National Book Award for young people's literature for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She says that growing up in South Carolina, she knew that the safest place was with her family.

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Reporter In Kabul Wins Award For Courage In Journalism

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Rolling Stone's Matthieu Aikins reported on this year's opium harvest — the biggest in Afghanistan's history. He also talks about traveling with a rescue crew in Syria and a Shia militia in Iraq.

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