1. George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.
He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68. 
Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life: 

The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.

Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly  View in High-Res

    George Takei became famous for his role in Star Trek as Mr. Sulu, but in the last decade, he’s drawn followers who admire him because of who he is—not just who he has played. The new documentary about his life is called To Be Takei.

    He joins Fresh Air to talk about growing up in a Japanese internment camp, avoiding stereotypical roles, and coming out as gay at 68. 

    Here he explains why he was closeted for most of his life: 

    The thing that affected me in the early part of my career was … there was a very popular box office movie star — blonde, good-looking, good actor — named Tab Hunter. He was in almost every other movie that came out. He was stunningly good-looking and all-American in looks. And then one of the scandals sheets of that time — sort of like The Inquirertoday — exposed him as gay. And suddenly and abruptly, his career came to a stop.

    That was, to me, chilling and stunning. I was a young no-name actor, aspiring to build this career — and I knew that [if] it were known that I was gay, then there would be no point to my pursuing that career. I desperately and passionately wanted a career as an actor, so I chose to be in the closet. I lived a double life. And that means you always have your guard up. And it’s a very, very difficult and challenging way to live a life.

    Photo by Kevin Scanlon via LA Weekly 

  2. george takei

    to be takei

    star trek

    lgbt

    hollywood

    fresh air

    terry gross

    interview

  1. Arthur Allen's book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, tells the story of two scientists—one Christian and one Jewish—who battled typhus and sabotaged the Nazis during WWII. 
Transmitted by body lice, typhus killed untold numbers of soldiers and civilians during the war. Today’s interview explores the labor-intensive process of making the vaccine and the way the lab sabotaged the Nazis by weakening their vaccines and sneaking doses into Jewish ghettos. 
Allen explains how the Nazis used lice imagery after they invaded Poland: 

"The Nazis … always described the Jews as "vermin" and sometimes used the word "lice." …And this was an ideology that was belittling and obviously also associating Jews with sort of filth and contamination, parasitism — all of these things that you metaphorically can link lice to.
[The Nazis] made it very concrete after they took over the first Polish cities, that there were signs that went up all over Warsaw, for example … that would have a picture of a bearded Jew with a louse that said, “Lice, Jews, typhus,” to make that association in the minds [of] Poles — the idea of keeping them from protecting Jews, [of] seeing Jews as part of this invasive, parasitic, dangerous force that they had to avoid and exterminate.”


German anti-Jewish propaganda: “Jews, lice, typhus.” Poster printed in Warsaw in 1941 and distributed throughout the GG. Courtesy of ŻIH. View in High-Res

    Arthur Allen's book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, tells the story of two scientists—one Christian and one Jewish—who battled typhus and sabotaged the Nazis during WWII. 

    Transmitted by body lice, typhus killed untold numbers of soldiers and civilians during the war. Today’s interview explores the labor-intensive process of making the vaccine and the way the lab sabotaged the Nazis by weakening their vaccines and sneaking doses into Jewish ghettos. 

    Allen explains how the Nazis used lice imagery after they invaded Poland: 

    "The Nazis … always described the Jews as "vermin" and sometimes used the word "lice." …And this was an ideology that was belittling and obviously also associating Jews with sort of filth and contamination, parasitism — all of these things that you metaphorically can link lice to.

    [The Nazis] made it very concrete after they took over the first Polish cities, that there were signs that went up all over Warsaw, for example … that would have a picture of a bearded Jew with a louse that said, “Lice, Jews, typhus,” to make that association in the minds [of] Poles — the idea of keeping them from protecting Jews, [of] seeing Jews as part of this invasive, parasitic, dangerous force that they had to avoid and exterminate.”

    German anti-Jewish propaganda: “Jews, lice, typhus.” Poster printed in Warsaw in 1941 and distributed throughout the GG. Courtesy of ŻIH.

  2. typhus

    jewish history

    WWII

    science

    history

    holocaust

    aruthur allen

    fresh air

    terry gross

  1. “I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in … because when you improvise you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow—you’re right in the moment. Being in that moment really gives you a perspective of life that you never get at any other time as far as learning about your ego… You have to see your unimportance before you can see your importance and your significance to the world.”
-Charlie Haden, jazz bass player 1937 - 2014 

In remembrance of Haden we put together some of his best interview moments. He spoke to Terry five times, beginning in 1983. You can listen to the show and read more quotes here. 




Photo: Charlie Haden, bass, performs at the BIM Huis on May 18, 1989 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. by Frans Schellekens/Redferns View in High-Res

    I think it’s very important to live in the present. One of the great things that improvising teaches you is the magic of the moment that you’re in … because when you improvise you’re in right now. You’re not in yesterday or tomorrow—you’re right in the moment. Being in that moment really gives you a perspective of life that you never get at any other time as far as learning about your ego… You have to see your unimportance before you can see your importance and your significance to the world.

    -Charlie Haden, jazz bass player 1937 - 2014 

    In remembrance of Haden we put together some of his best interview moments. He spoke to Terry five times, beginning in 1983. You can listen to the show and read more quotes here

    Photo: Charlie Haden, bass, performs at the BIM Huis on May 18, 1989 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. by Frans Schellekens/Redferns

  2. music

    jazz

    charlie haden

    fresh air

    interview

    terry gross

  1. Our youngest fan is keepin’ it Fresh, listening to Terry’s book, All I Did Was Ask.

Photo: Lisa O’brien and baby Ruby May Berger, from Christine Dempsey, WHYY’s Vice-President, Chief Content Officer

View in High-Res

    Our youngest fan is keepin’ it Fresh, listening to Terry’s book, All I Did Was Ask.

    Photo: Lisa O’brien and baby Ruby May Berger, from Christine Dempsey, WHYY’s Vice-President, Chief Content Officer

  2. fresh air

    terry gross

    all i did was ask

    public radio

  1. The Art of Dog-Earing: Yes, Terry Reads The Books View in High-Res

    The Art of Dog-Earing: Yes, Terry Reads The Books

  2. fresh air

    terry gross

    reading

    books

    research

  1. Tomorrow we’re recording with Jenny Slate (right) and director Gillian Robespierre to talk about their new film Obvious Child. The film is about a aspiring stand-up comic Donna (Slate) who, after a drunken one-night-stand, gets pregnant and has an abortion. To read more about the movie, here’s our film critic David Edelstein’s take. 

You might also know Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation (Mona-Lisa Saperstein, sister of Jean Ralphio), Kroll Show (PubLIZity) or her internet sensation, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.  View in High-Res

    Tomorrow we’re recording with Jenny Slate (right) and director Gillian Robespierre to talk about their new film Obvious Child. The film is about a aspiring stand-up comic Donna (Slate) who, after a drunken one-night-stand, gets pregnant and has an abortion. To read more about the movie, here’s our film critic David Edelstein’s take

    You might also know Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation (Mona-Lisa Saperstein, sister of Jean Ralphio), Kroll Show (PubLIZity) or her internet sensation, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  2. jenny slate

    obvious child

    gillian robespierre

    abortion

    comedy

    film

    interview

    fresh air

    terry gross

    parks and recreation

  1.  "As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you’re making fun of also are because you’ll realize, at the end of the day, they’re just people. You can’t risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it’s to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes. … A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He’s supposed to be outside looking in. I don’t want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn’t be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there’s a big problem. That’s what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that’s a red flag. There should be a kind of awkward tension whenever a journalist walks into a room that politicians are in, because you should’ve done things that annoyed them in the past. It’s the same as a comedian. You’re no one’s friend.”

- John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart


The full interview with John Oliver is here, so check it out!

Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times View in High-Res

     
    "As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you’re making fun of also are because you’ll realize, at the end of the day, they’re just people. You can’t risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it’s to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes. …
     
    A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He’s supposed to be outside looking in. I don’t want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn’t be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there’s a big problem. That’s what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that’s a red flag. There should be a kind of awkward tension whenever a journalist walks into a room that politicians are in, because you should’ve done things that annoyed them in the past. It’s the same as a comedian. You’re no one’s friend.”

    - John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

    The full interview with John Oliver is here, so check it out!

    Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times

  2. comedy

    satire

    john oliver

    jon stewart

    last week tonight

    the daily show

    fresh air

    interview

    terry gross

  1. Poet and memoirist Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86.
In 1986, she spoke with Terry Gross about choosing to be mute as a child after she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and the moment she tried to speak —- 

"Mrs. Flowers, a lady in my town, a black lady, had started me to reading, when I was about 8…I was already reading, but she started me reading in the black school and I read all the books in the black school library. She had some contact with the white school, and she would bring books to me, and I would just eat them up. When I was about 11 and a half, she said to me one day — I used to carry a tablet around on which I wrote answers —  and she asked me, "Do you love poetry?" I wrote yes. It was a silly question from Mrs. Flowers. She knew.  She told me, “You do not love poetry. You will never love it until you speak it, until it comes across your tongue, through your teeth, over your lips, you will never love poetry.” And I ran out of her house. I thought I’ll never go back there again.  She was trying to take my friend.  
She would catch me and say, “You do not love poetry, not until you speak it.” I’d run away and every time she’d see me she would just threaten to take my friend.  Finally, I did take a book of poetry and I went under the house and tried to speak, and could.”

You can listen to the rest of the interview here. 

Photo via PR Newswire View in High-Res

    Poet and memoirist Maya Angelou died today at the age of 86.

    In 1986, she spoke with Terry Gross about choosing to be mute as a child after she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and the moment she tried to speak —- 

    "Mrs. Flowers, a lady in my town, a black lady, had started me to reading, when I was about 8…I was already reading, but she started me reading in the black school and I read all the books in the black school library. She had some contact with the white school, and she would bring books to me, and I would just eat them up. When I was about 11 and a half, she said to me one day — I used to carry a tablet around on which I wrote answers —  and she asked me, "Do you love poetry?" I wrote yes. It was a silly question from Mrs. Flowers. She knew.  She told me, “You do not love poetry. You will never love it until you speak it, until it comes across your tongue, through your teeth, over your lips, you will never love poetry.” And I ran out of her house. I thought I’ll never go back there again.  She was trying to take my friend.  

    She would catch me and say, “You do not love poetry, not until you speak it.” I’d run away and every time she’d see me she would just threaten to take my friend.  Finally, I did take a book of poetry and I went under the house and tried to speak, and could.”

    You can listen to the rest of the interview here. 

    Photo via PR Newswire

  2. Maya Angelou

    Fresh Air

    Terry Gross

    Reading

    speaking

    poetry

  1. I believe we’re shaped by our failures, by our weaknesses and setbacks, at least as much as we are by our successes. In many cases, those failures make ultimate success possible.

    — Terry Gross, Bryn Mawr College Commencement Address 2014

  2. terry gross

    quote

    bryn mawr college

    speech

    failure

  1. Big news: CBS just announced Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on The Late Show next year. Thoughts?

    You can hear the 2012 Fresh Air interview here

  2. stephen colbert

    the late show

    the colbert report

    fresh air

    interview

    terry gross

  1. Posted on 4 April, 2014

    1,555 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from nprbooks

    nprbooks:

    In Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It’s about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there’s a credit at the end that reads: “Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig.”

    Last month, Anderson told Fresh Air's Terry Gross that until a few years ago, he had never heard of Zweig — and he's not alone. Many moviegoers share Anderson's past ignorance of the man who was once one of the world's most famous and most translated authors.

    George Prochnik is out to change that. His forthcoming book is called The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World. Check out his conversation with NPR’s Robert Siegel here.

  2. wes anderson

    terry gross

    zweig

  1. lemonysnicketlibrary:

    nprfreshair's Terry Gross reads from Lemony Snicket's new book File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents, which we’re sad to announce has published today.

    And as if that weren’t bad enough, you, too, can start reading it here.

    Have you heard Terry’s interview with Lemony Snicket?

  2. lemony snicket

    terry gross

    13 suspicious incidents

  1. Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Peabody Awards! 
The list includes Orange is the New Black, Key & Peele,The Bridge,  The Race Card Project, and our friends at This American Life. 
Two of our most talked about interviews of last year were with “the real Piper,” Piper Kerman, and Orange is the New Black show creator Jenji Kohan. 
Other interviews with Peabody winners include Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele and the star of The Bridge, Demian Bichir.
We’ve also got reviews of Borgen and Six By Sondheim! View in High-Res

    Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Peabody Awards

    The list includes Orange is the New Black, Key & Peele,The Bridge,  The Race Card Project, and our friends at This American Life

    Two of our most talked about interviews of last year were with “the real Piper,” Piper Kerman, and Orange is the New Black show creator Jenji Kohan

    Other interviews with Peabody winners include Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele and the star of The Bridge, Demian Bichir.

    We’ve also got reviews of Borgen and Six By Sondheim!

  2. peabody awards

    orange is the new black

    key & peele

    this american life

    demian bichir

    jenji kohan

    tv

    radio

    interview

    fresh air

    terry gross

  1. "The stock market is rigged," Michael Lewis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. “It's rigged for the benefit for really a handful of insiders. It's rigged to … maximize the take of Wall Street, of banks, the exchanges and the high-frequency traders at the expense of ordinary investors.”
Lewis is the author of several books about the stock market, including Liar’s Poker and The Big Short. His new book Flash Boys is about the form of computerized transactions known as High Frequency Trading, in which the fastest computers with the most high speed connections get the information first, and make the trade before anyone else can. A nanosecond can make all the difference between how much money is made or lost on any transaction.
Brad Katsuyama (above) figured out how the system is rigged and set out to change it. Lewis explains:

"There is this perception that Wall Street insiders understand how Wall Street works — and it’s false. It’s especially false right now. Here you have this young man, this kid [Katsuyama] at the Royal Bank of Canada who’s engaged in this kind of science experiment in the market. He figures out at least one angle the predators are taking and he goes and talks to not just ordinary investors … the biggest investors, the smartest investors in the world and their jaws are on the floor. … Even these people have no idea what’s going on in the market and are being educated by this Canadian who has basically just arrived on the scene and has decided to make understanding [this] his business."

Photo of President and CEO of IEX Group Brad Katsuyama by Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal View in High-Res

    "The stock market is rigged," Michael Lewis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. “It's rigged for the benefit for really a handful of insiders. It's rigged to … maximize the take of Wall Street, of banks, the exchanges and the high-frequency traders at the expense of ordinary investors.”

    Lewis is the author of several books about the stock market, including Liar’s Poker and The Big Short. His new book Flash Boys is about the form of computerized transactions known as High Frequency Trading, in which the fastest computers with the most high speed connections get the information first, and make the trade before anyone else can. A nanosecond can make all the difference between how much money is made or lost on any transaction.

    Brad Katsuyama (above) figured out how the system is rigged and set out to change it. Lewis explains:

    "There is this perception that Wall Street insiders understand how Wall Street works — and it’s false. It’s especially false right now. Here you have this young man, this kid [Katsuyama] at the Royal Bank of Canada who’s engaged in this kind of science experiment in the market. He figures out at least one angle the predators are taking and he goes and talks to not just ordinary investors … the biggest investors, the smartest investors in the world and their jaws are on the floor. … Even these people have no idea what’s going on in the market and are being educated by this Canadian who has basically just arrived on the scene and has decided to make understanding [this] his business."

    Photo of President and CEO of IEX Group Brad Katsuyama by Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal

  2. stock market

    money

    wall street

    michael lewis

    flash boys

    interview

    terry gross

  1. News: Terry Gross will give the 2014 commencement address at Bryn Mawr College. You can read the announcement here. 

“Whether she’s interviewing a scientist, politician, or rock star, Terry Gross draws out her subjects in a way that gives listeners a real sense of who that person is and what motivates them,” says Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy. “Terry is an excellent choice to give this address since learning to ask probing questions is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.” 
View in High-Res

    News: Terry Gross will give the 2014 commencement address at Bryn Mawr College. You can read the announcement here. 

    “Whether she’s interviewing a scientist, politician, or rock star, Terry Gross draws out her subjects in a way that gives listeners a real sense of who that person is and what motivates them,” says Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy. “Terry is an excellent choice to give this address since learning to ask probing questions is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.” 

  2. bryn mawr college

    terry gross

    seven sisters

    graduation

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    fresh air