Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Weeknights at 7
  • Local Host Romania Jones

The Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues.

It's easy to giggle at the hero of Jeff Nichols' second feature, Take Shelter. Michael Shannon is Curtis, a crew chief for an Ohio sand-mining company who's ravaged by apocalyptic visions and nightmares. He's wiggy to start with and increasingly more unhinged, on a switchback track to madness that threatens to devastate his family. Curtis sees funnel clouds, locusts, even people staggering through the night like zombies. He knows it might all be in his head: His mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia at about the same age he is now. But in the end, he follows his dreams.

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

"Class warfare" was a dodgy phrase from the outset. In one of the most famous sentences in the history of political thought, Marx and Engels wrote in their 1848 Communist Manifesto: "The history of all society up to now is the history of..."

Gordon-Levitt, Reiser Tackle '50/50' Odds

Sep 28, 2011

When screenwriter Will Reiser was 24 and diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer, he coped by thinking up ideas for cancer comedies with his best friend, actor Seth Rogen.

"We wanted to do a parody of The Bucket List where you do really absurd and ridiculous things," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Like skydiving with hookers and things that were completely outlandish. But it was a joke and it was sort of a coping mechanism for me at the time."

You've got to hand it to Russell Banks: He's certainly not writing with an eye to please readers or to be taken up by book clubs across the land. Lost Memory of Skin is not aiming to be a "crossover" literary stealth hit. If you're going to read it, you're the one who will have to "cross over" to Banks' world, and it ain't very pretty on his side of the social divide.

When they started out at the beginning of the 1980s, The Bangles' members were never part of the Los Angeles punk scene that slightly predated them, with bands such as X, the Germs and the other significant all-girl bands of that era, The Runaways and The Go-Gos. The Bangles were always more interested in jangling guitar sounds, plaintive harmonies, catchy choruses and wistful melancholy.

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:

It becomes clear early on that Low Cut Connie are a bunch of talented musicians who pride themselves on their low-down, low-rent, low-minded methods and instincts. They like to sing about intercourse, inebriation, and an inability to have a good time. Recorded for what sounds like a suitably low budget, Low Cut Connie benefits mightily from the buzzsaw yowl of Adam Weiner.

Note: Wilhelm Furtwangler's last name is typically spelled with an umlaut over the 'a' character. The npr website does not support characters with umlauts over characters. A variation of Furtwangler's name without the umlaut is spelled Furtwaengler.

Wilhelm Furtwaengler's name may be hard for Americans to pronounce, but the reason this great conductor isn't so well-remembered here is that he chose to remain in Germany during WWII, though he was never a member of the Nazi Party, and was exonerated by a postwar tribunal.