October 30, 2013 The former International Space Station commander achieved Internet stardom with his in-space rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." After three missions and a total of six months in space he shares what he's learned in a new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.
October 29, 2013 "In Lou Reed's world, when you were Lou's friend you knew it," his longtime publicist Bill Bentley tells Terry Gross. Fresh Air dedicates an entire hour to the transgressive and transcendent Velvet Underground co-founder, with music and commentary by original Velvets John Cale and Maureen Tucker.
October 28, 2013 It's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act, explores what keeps these conspiracy theories alive.
October 26, 2013 The new book Wheelmen exposes doping culture and the Lance Armstrong conspiracy. Critic Maureen Corrigan says if you're looking to read "lady things," choose Jezebel over Bridget Jones. And director Steve McQueen and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor talk about the new film 12 Years a Slave.
October 25, 2013 On her latest album, Claroscuro, the jazz clarinetist explores influences that range from Louis Armstrong to Brazilian music to that of her native Israel. It's this desire to adapt the instrument to so many musical traditions that has earned Cohen such acclaim. (Originally broadcast on Feb. 6, 2013.)
October 25, 2013 Blue Is the Warmest Color, a coming-of-age movie about the love affair between two young women, has been criticized as pornographic and exploitive. But critic David Edelstein says the film artfully captures the intensity of sexual discovery — and dependency. (Recommended)
October 24, 2013 Yale historian David Blight says Americans like to think of themselves as "the country that freed the slaves," but prefer not to dwell on the sobering history that came first. He says the new film 12 Years a Slave is a rare, effective depiction of slavery in the United States.
October 24, 2013 Director Steve McQueen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he wanted to help fill a "huge hole in the canon of cinema." And actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose parents are from Nigeria, says he grew up feeling "a sense of unity amongst African people and people of African heritage."
October 23, 2013 What had been an infrequent novelty — mixing electronic and '30s beats with scat and big band-ish horn solos — has become more and more common among European dance musicians and producers. Critic Milo Miles looks at two compilations that highlight this European dance trend.
October 23, 2013 New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin explains the Republican rift that was widened by the recent budget battles. He talks about how the divisions may play out in upcoming elections and traces the history of the battle between establishment Republicans and the "insurgent" conservatives.
October 21, 2013 Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell say that champion cyclist Lance Armstrong was at the center of "the greatest sports conspiracy ever." Their book chronicles everything from group blood transfusions on the team bus to extensive efforts to silence and intimidate those who might expose the abuse.
October 21, 2013 Bridget Jones hasn't aged well. At 51, she's the "geriatric mum" of two small children, and finds herself yearning to plunge back into dating. Critic Maureen Corrigan says if you're looking for jolly feminist cultural commentary, you'd be better off reading a witty "encyclopedia of lady things" from the creators of the website Jezebel.
October 19, 2013 Crystal isn't happy about turning 65, but at least he's finding a way to laugh about it. His new book is called Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? And British singer-songwriter Graham Nash has written new memoir Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life.