1. Thursday we’re airing our interview with Terence Winter, the creator and writer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  Winter also was the executive producer.writer for The Sopranos. 
In the meantime, here’s our interview with Vince Giordano who does the music for the Prohibition-era show.  View in High-Res

    Thursday we’re airing our interview with Terence Winter, the creator and writer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  Winter also was the executive producer.writer for The Sopranos

    In the meantime, here’s our interview with Vince Giordano who does the music for the Prohibition-era show. 

  2. boardwalk empire

    the sopranos

    steve buscemi

    prohibition

    hbo

    fresh air

    interview

  1. Sunday night, HBO presents a new TV version of  "The Normal Heart", Larry Kramer’s 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS crisis. Kramer himself wrote the screenplay adaptation, which stars Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts and is directed by Ryan Murphy, producer of “Glee.” 
Our TV critic, David Bianculli says — 

"When Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart was presented by New York’s Public Theater in 1985, its inside-out look at the early history of the spread of the HIV virus and AIDS was both a howl of pain and a call for action and help. When a new production appeared in 2011, it won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Play. Now it’s back again, in a substantially revised made-for-TV movie on HBO – and one of the remarkable things about it is that, nearly 30 years after it first was staged, The Normal Heart still seems both raw and relevant.”

You can listen to the rest of Bianculli’s review here. 
Photo via HBO View in High-Res

    Sunday night, HBO presents a new TV version of  "The Normal Heart", Larry Kramer’s 1985 play about the early years of the AIDS crisis. Kramer himself wrote the screenplay adaptation, which stars Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts and is directed by Ryan Murphy, producer of “Glee.” 

    Our TV critic, David Bianculli says — 

    "When Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart was presented by New York’s Public Theater in 1985, its inside-out look at the early history of the spread of the HIV virus and AIDS was both a howl of pain and a call for action and help. When a new production appeared in 2011, it won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Play. Now it’s back again, in a substantially revised made-for-TV movie on HBO – and one of the remarkable things about it is that, nearly 30 years after it first was staged, The Normal Heart still seems both raw and relevant.”

    You can listen to the rest of Bianculli’s review here. 

    Photo via HBO

  2. tv worth watching

    David Bianculli

    HBO

    The Normal Heart

    reviews

  1. Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli (of tvworthwatching) reviews the new HBO series Doll & Em, starring real life best friends Dolly Wells (left) and Emily Mortimer.
After a traumatic break up, Dolly leaves England for Los Angeles to serve as Emily’s personal assistant while she films a movie. The two must navigate the “fairly rigid Hollywood class system,” exposing vanity and insecurities along the way. Bianculli writes:

What weighs down this sitcom, especially at first, is its lack of subtlety. Plot points, like recurring jokes, are hammered home too hard and much too obviously. Even the closing theme song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” telegraphs that things will get worse before they get better.
Despite all that, though, if you stick with Doll & Em, eventually it will stick with you, too. And as the central dynamic shifts and the friendship unravels, you’ll care about both of them, and what happens next.


image via HBO View in High-Res

    Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli (of tvworthwatching) reviews the new HBO series Doll & Em, starring real life best friends Dolly Wells (left) and Emily Mortimer.

    After a traumatic break up, Dolly leaves England for Los Angeles to serve as Emily’s personal assistant while she films a movie. The two must navigate the “fairly rigid Hollywood class system,” exposing vanity and insecurities along the way. Bianculli writes:

    What weighs down this sitcom, especially at first, is its lack of subtlety. Plot points, like recurring jokes, are hammered home too hard and much too obviously. Even the closing theme song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” telegraphs that things will get worse before they get better.

    Despite all that, though, if you stick with Doll & Em, eventually it will stick with you, too. And as the central dynamic shifts and the friendship unravels, you’ll care about both of them, and what happens next.

    image via HBO

  2. doll & em

    hbo

    emily mortimer

    dolly wells

    tvworthwatching

    david bianculli

  1. Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks' 1920-30s jazz transports audiences to the Prohibition era in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Fresh Air spoke to bandleader Vince Giordano about specializing in a style of music from nearly a century ago:

"What we’re hearing is almost like a unique language that is not spoken that much anymore because of the way these musicians in those years phrased [music]. It was very exciting. It was very on top of the beat. It was very melodic and, for lack of better words, a lot of fun."



photo via vibe View in High-Res

    Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks' 1920-30s jazz transports audiences to the Prohibition era in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Fresh Air spoke to bandleader Vince Giordano about specializing in a style of music from nearly a century ago:

    "What we’re hearing is almost like a unique language that is not spoken that much anymore because of the way these musicians in those years phrased [music]. It was very exciting. It was very on top of the beat. It was very melodic and, for lack of better words, a lot of fun."

    photo via vibe

  2. fresh air

    vince giordano

    the nighthawks

    prohibition

    1920s

    jazz

    boardwalk empire

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  1. 
"I think what caring for our mothers really taught us — all the way up through the hospice experience — was that this part of life that so many people are afraid of, for good reason, it’s kind of a privilege to be able to be there when you can. So we would go over and see Mark’s [Mark Olsen, the co-creator of "Getting On”] mom. He’d go over a lot and talk for hours, carrying on these one-sided conversations with her, and it always touched me to see how much energy it took to carry on a conversation when you’re the only speaker.
There was sort of a sense that, “Gosh, I was so afraid of this, I didn’t want to do it; I didn’t want to be here.” But being here is starting to feel like a good thing, a good part of life — something that we avoid in this culture. That actually is a rich experience, albeit painful; it’s actually so much a part of life.”


—- Will Scheffer, the co-creator of the HBO series Getting On, talks with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross on taking care of his mother while she was in hospice care and what inspired him and Mark Olsen to create the show
Photo via Dale Robinette/HBO View in High-Res

    "I think what caring for our mothers really taught us — all the way up through the hospice experience — was that this part of life that so many people are afraid of, for good reason, it’s kind of a privilege to be able to be there when you can. So we would go over and see Mark’s [Mark Olsen, the co-creator of "Getting On”] mom. He’d go over a lot and talk for hours, carrying on these one-sided conversations with her, and it always touched me to see how much energy it took to carry on a conversation when you’re the only speaker.

    There was sort of a sense that, “Gosh, I was so afraid of this, I didn’t want to do it; I didn’t want to be here.” But being here is starting to feel like a good thing, a good part of life — something that we avoid in this culture. That actually is a rich experience, albeit painful; it’s actually so much a part of life.”

    —- Will Scheffer, the co-creator of the HBO series Getting On, talks with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross on taking care of his mother while she was in hospice care and what inspired him and Mark Olsen to create the show

    Photo via Dale Robinette/HBO

  2. Will Scheffer

    Mark Olsen

    Getting On

    HBO

    Fresh Air

    Hospice

  1. Fresh Air’s TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO Documentary “Six by Sondheim" premiering Monday December 9th.

On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that’s part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It’s all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you’re new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you’re already a fan, it should delight you.
View in High-Res

    Fresh Air’s TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO Documentary “Six by Sondheim" premiering Monday December 9th.

    On Monday, HBO presents the premiere of Six by Sondheim, a new TV special that’s part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. It’s all about the life and music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, in which he explains, among many other things, how and why he became a musical theater composer and lyricist, and the inspirations for some of his most familiar songs. If you’re new to the works of Stephen Sondheim, this TV special should entice you. If you’re already a fan, it should delight you.

  2. fresh air

    review

    six by sondheim

    hbo

    stephen sondheim

  1. Vince Giordano's band The Nighthawks do a lot of the music for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. On today’s Fresh Air Giordano explains what makes big band jazz different from the jazz we know today:

What we’re hearing is almost like a unique language that is not spoken that much anymore because of the way these musicians in those years phrased [music]. It was very exciting. It was very on top of the beat.  [At that time] there was a limit to what you could do in jazz, mainly because jazz was right at the beginning and it was very melodic and for lack of better words, a lot of fun.


Photo of Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks via NYT View in High-Res

    Vince Giordano's band The Nighthawks do a lot of the music for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. On today’s Fresh Air Giordano explains what makes big band jazz different from the jazz we know today:

    What we’re hearing is almost like a unique language that is not spoken that much anymore because of the way these musicians in those years phrased [music]. It was very exciting. It was very on top of the beat.  [At that time] there was a limit to what you could do in jazz, mainly because jazz was right at the beginning and it was very melodic and for lack of better words, a lot of fun.

    Photo of Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks via NYT

  2. fresh air

    vince giordano

    boardwalk empire

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    the nighthawks

    1920s jazz

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  1. Did you catch the SNL parody of GIRLS? (feat. Tina Fey)

    We’re excited about the new SNL lineup. These new ladies can really do impressions!


    In case you missed it, here’s Lena’s interview with us in May of last year.

  2. fresh air

    girls

    hbo

    Saturday Night Live

    tina fey

    lena dunham

  1. Fresh Air speaks to Director Steven Soderbergh of “Behind the Candelabra,” the HBO Film about Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his lover (Matt Damon). Soderbergh accredits Liberace with being the first to do extravagant “bling” : 

You could make an argument that Liberace really invented the idea of ‘bling,’ I mean, nobody was dressing themselves like this. When you look at the people that have followed him — whether it’s Elvis or Elton John or Cher or Madonna or Lady Gaga — you know, all these people are sort of building on something that he began.

    Fresh Air speaks to Director Steven Soderbergh of “Behind the Candelabra,” the HBO Film about Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his lover (Matt Damon). Soderbergh accredits Liberace with being the first to do extravagant “bling” :

    You could make an argument that Liberace really invented the idea of ‘bling,’ I mean, nobody was dressing themselves like this. When you look at the people that have followed him — whether it’s Elvis or Elton John or Cher or Madonna or Lady Gaga — you know, all these people are sort of building on something that he began.

  2. fresh air

    steven soderbergh

    behind the candelabra

    bling

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    michael douglas

    matt damon

    emmys

    lady gaga

    hbo

  1. Give it up for glitter!
Tomorrow we revisit the interview with Steven Soderbergh, director of Behind the Candelabra. The hugely celebrated HBO film about Liberace was nominated for 10 Emmys and won 5.  The film is out on DVD this week.
Behind the Candelabra stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon… and the costumes are incredible. View in High-Res

    Give it up for glitter!

    Tomorrow we revisit the interview with Steven Soderbergh, director of Behind the Candelabra. The hugely celebrated HBO film about Liberace was nominated for 10 Emmys and won 5.  The film is out on DVD this week.

    Behind the Candelabra stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon… and the costumes are incredible.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    behind the candelabra

    steven soderbergh

    liberace

    michael douglas

    matt damon

    hbo

    emmys

  1. David Bianculli reviews the HBO comedy film Clear History, created by and starring Larry David:

Like Curb Your Enthusiasm, the movie Clear History is both largely improvised and carefully plotted. What has to happen in each scene is outlined in advance, but how the actors get there is up to them. It’s a wonderful way to work if you have the right actors, and David does.

Some of the actors include:  Jon Hamm, J.B. Smoove, Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Kate Hudson and Liev Schreiber.
image via elitedailty View in High-Res

    David Bianculli reviews the HBO comedy film Clear History, created by and starring Larry David:

    Like Curb Your Enthusiasm, the movie Clear History is both largely improvised and carefully plotted. What has to happen in each scene is outlined in advance, but how the actors get there is up to them. It’s a wonderful way to work if you have the right actors, and David does.

    Some of the actors include:  Jon Hamm, J.B. Smoove, Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Kate Hudson and Liev Schreiber.


    image via elitedailty

  2. David Bianculli

    Clear History

    HBO

    Larry David

    Jon Hamm

    curb your enthusiasm

  1. Mike White (left), creator and co-star of HBO’s Enlightened speaks to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about his protagonist Amy (played by Laura Dern, right):

[T]he thing that I like about Amy as a character and why I feel like she’s worthy of a show is that she [has] … a righteous cause, but there is also, you know, somebody who potentially has a Joan of Arc complex or somebody who has a little bit of delusions of grandeur.

via the NYT View in High-Res

    Mike White (left), creator and co-star of HBO’s Enlightened speaks to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about his protagonist Amy (played by Laura Dern, right):

    [T]he thing that I like about Amy as a character and why I feel like she’s worthy of a show is that she [has] … a righteous cause, but there is also, you know, somebody who potentially has a Joan of Arc complex or somebody who has a little bit of delusions of grandeur.

    via the NYT

  2. fresh air

    interview

    mike white

    enlightened

    hbo

    laura dern

  1. Tomorrow: Mike White, creator of HBO’s show Enlightened (starring Laura Dern), explains to Terry Gross how he hopes the show will carry on, now that it’s over:

It’s a cliche, it’s a New Age cliche, but, ‘Be the change you want to see.’ It’s like, ‘How do I create the things I want to see, and how can you make something that is compassionate and potentially can be healing to someone?’ Or, you know, they talk about in Buddhism, there’s Tonglen practice, which is someone breathing in the suffering of either yourself or others, and breathing out a kind of hopefulness. And you can see art or fiction or whatever being a version of that, where you try to create something that’s hopeful, that also recognizes pain and doesn’t run from the pain.

    Tomorrow: Mike White, creator of HBO’s show Enlightened (starring Laura Dern), explains to Terry Gross how he hopes the show will carry on, now that it’s over:

    It’s a cliche, it’s a New Age cliche, but, ‘Be the change you want to see.’ It’s like, ‘How do I create the things I want to see, and how can you make something that is compassionate and potentially can be healing to someone?’ Or, you know, they talk about in Buddhism, there’s Tonglen practice, which is someone breathing in the suffering of either yourself or others, and breathing out a kind of hopefulness. And you can see art or fiction or whatever being a version of that, where you try to create something that’s hopeful, that also recognizes pain and doesn’t run from the pain.

  2. fresh air

    interview

    mike white

    enlightened

    hbo

    laura dern

  1. David Bianculli guest hosts tomorrow to talk about Larry David’s HBO film Clear History, the next installment of Breaking Bad, and the new AMC crime drama that follows it, Low Winter Sun.

    Trailers are here:

    Clear History (top) Breaking Bad (left) Low Winter Sun (right)

  2. David Bianculli

    Clear History

    Larry David

    Jon Hamm

    Breaking Bad

    Low Winter Sun

    HBO

    AMC

  1. John Gallagher Jr. of HBO’s The Newsroom spoke to us about memorizing the fast-paced, verbose lines:

[M]ost of the rehearsal happens when I’m alone at home in my apartment. I’ll work on the scenes; I’ll walk around; I’ll try to say them out loud. Sometimes I’ll record myself saying all of the lines, even the characters that aren’t mine, and I’ll listen to that while I’m doing dishes or cooking dinner, doing something else just so that I’m trying to get it in my head in a way that doesn’t feel like work. I’ve always been able to listen to a song … once or twice and know all of the lyrics, and so I find sometimes getting audible cues in my head will help me learn it in a way that, I’ll go to rehearse it again and all of the sudden it will be in there. It will start being a little more effortless.
View in High-Res

    John Gallagher Jr. of HBO’s The Newsroom spoke to us about memorizing the fast-paced, verbose lines:

    [M]ost of the rehearsal happens when I’m alone at home in my apartment. I’ll work on the scenes; I’ll walk around; I’ll try to say them out loud. Sometimes I’ll record myself saying all of the lines, even the characters that aren’t mine, and I’ll listen to that while I’m doing dishes or cooking dinner, doing something else just so that I’m trying to get it in my head in a way that doesn’t feel like work. I’ve always been able to listen to a song … once or twice and know all of the lyrics, and so I find sometimes getting audible cues in my head will help me learn it in a way that, I’ll go to rehearse it again and all of the sudden it will be in there. It will start being a little more effortless.

  2. fresh air

    interviews

    john gallagher jr

    the newsroom

    hbo

    aaron sorkin