Fresh Air with Terry Gross is weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues with intimate conversations and unusual insights.
From Julius Caesar's last words to what Gladiator duels were actually like, classicist Mary Beard sets the record straight. Her new book is 'SPQR.' Also, John Powers reviews France's Oscar submission, 'Mustang.'
Cécile McLorin Savant initially studied classical voice, but turned to jazz because it offered her more range. "In jazz I felt I could sing these deep husky lows," she says. Her new album is 'For One to Love.' Also, Justin Chang reviews 'The Danish Girl.' And music writer Peter Guralnick profiles the founder of Sun Records, Sam Phillips. Guralnick says Phillips rejected perfection in favor of spontaneity and individuality. Phillips discovered Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Howlin' Wolf, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison and others.
In the '70s, Richard Carpenter and his sister Karen made up the pop duo The Carpenters. On Dec. 5, PBS will begin airing Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters. [Originally broadcast Nov. 2009]
Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent describes herself as extremely shy, but says that "when the songs started coming to me, I felt I didn't have the option to hide and avoid" the stage. Her latest album is 'The Trackless Woods.' [Originally broadcast October 2015]
Kander and his partner Fred Ebb wrote the songs for a number of musicals, including 'Chicago,' 'Cabaret,' and 'Kiss of the Spider Woman.' His new album is 'John Kander: Hidden Treasures.' Also, David Edelstein reviews 'Carol,' starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers discusses efforts by ISIS to weaponize a mysterious substance known as Red Mercury. "It's never been seen," he says. "It essentially is an urban legend."