Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Weekdays at 6 p.m.
  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

Tom Petty, leader of The Heartbreakers and member of The Traveling Wilburys, died Monday night from cardiac arrest. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was 66 years old.

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is a city person. She grew up in an apartment building in Brooklyn, N.Y., and though she moved to the suburbs as an adult when she was pregnant with her second child, she never stopped loving the grit and excitement of New York City.

"Just about every street in Manhattan has that kind of density of visual information," she says. "It's just fun. I like looking at it. Everything seems to suggest stories."

Classics scholar Daniel Mendelsohn was preparing to teach his freshman seminar on Homer's Odyssey a few years back when he got an unusual add-in request: His father, Jay, wanted to join the class.

At first Mendelsohn wasn't sure it was a good idea. "I was a little bit afraid that having my 81-year-old dad in the class was going to disrupt the dynamic," he says.

But Mendelsohn agreed to let his dad join the class — in part because Jay promised to sit in the corner and listen silently to the seminar.

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:

I loved watching Larry David last year in his recurring guest role on NBC's Saturday Night Live, where he provided a perfect impersonation of outspoken politician Bernie Sanders. But I'm even more excited to watch David, beginning this Sunday, on the return of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he'll play an exaggerated version of himself in a role he last portrayed on TV six years ago.

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion. He was 91.

In 1999, Hefner told Fresh Air that his iconic magazine was inspired by his own repressive upbringing — he described his parents as typical "Midwestern Puritans."

"I saw things in growing up in my own home and in society around me that I felt were hurtful and hypocritical," he said. "... I believe and hope that Playboy [has] played some small part in changing the values — social and sexual — of our time."

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Is it possible to create a realistic television series about the commodification of sex workers and porn actors without being exploitative? That's the dilemma David Simon and George Pelecanos faced while creating their new HBO series, The Deuce.

"We didn't particularly want to do a show about pornography," Pelecanos says. "David and I worked on this for two or three years before we shot any film, and it was continually on our minds: How were we going to approach it?"

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