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:
Lately I've been re-watching vintage Truffaut movies, and I've been struck by the resurgent influence on American independent films of the French New Wave of the late '50s and '60s.
The Truffaut borrowings are fairly explicit in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, while Richard Linklater's Before Midnight takes its cues from Eric Rohmer's gentle but expansive talkfests. That's not a criticism: With mainstream movies seeming ever more machine-tooled nowadays, the impulse to reach back to an age of free-form filmmaking feels especially liberating.
The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music's tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors' distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."
A longer version of this interview was originally broadcast on June 28, 2012.
Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.
In the film What Maisie Knew, Julianne Moore plays a troubled rock star whose young daughter witnesses her parents' volatile behavior as they argue over custody during their rocky separation.
On the surface, Moore's character, Susanna, might seem to be an entirely terrible one — a self-involved person and inappropriate mother who's not paying attention to her child. But Moore makes her more complicated than that.
Before you see any of Behind the Candelabra -- when you just consider the concept of the TV movie and its casting — this new HBO Films production raises all sorts of questions: How much will be based on verifiable fact, and how much will be fictionalized? On an anything-goes premium-cable network such as HBO, how graphic will the sex scenes be?
And the most important questions involve the drama's two leading men, playing an ultra-flamboyant piano player and the wide-eyed young man who becomes his behind-the-scenes companion for five years. Michael Douglas? Matt Damon?
After years of trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to pursue a domestic open adoption. They were told they'd be matched within a year; it took four. And along the way they faced complicated decisions and heartbreak.
I freely admit that, until the new Random Access Memories, I wasn't much of a Daft Punk fan. I could appreciate the craft and imagination that went into creating the French duo's mixture of electronic genres — techno, house, disco — but the mechanical repetitions and heavily filtered vocals didn't turn me on in any other way.
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star as Liberace and his young lover, Scott Thorson, in Steven Soderbergh's new HBO biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Credit Keystone Features / Getty Images
Liberace sits at a gold-leafed piano in the living room of his then-new Hollywood mansion in November 1961.
Credit Claudette Barius / HBO
Soderbergh made his name as a director in 1989, with the critically acclaimed Sex, Lies, and Videotape. He's since turned in crowd-pleasing hits like Magic Mike, Erin Brockovich and Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, as well as more adventurous films including Contagion,Solaris and The Girlfriend Experience.
Director Steven Soderbergh had been looking for a way to frame a film about the extravagant entertainer Liberace for years when a friend recommended the book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace.
The book — a memoir — is by Scott Thorson, who for five years was Liberace's lover, though that wasn't publicly disclosed at the time.
Once vehemently opposed to the idea of being the subject of a documentary, Brooks had a change of heart. The result is a new American Masters episode, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.
Credit Brooksfilms LTD
Comedian, writer, director, producer and actor Mel Brooks is one of only 11 people to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. Others in the elite EGOT club include Mike Nichols and Whoopi Goldberg.
Credit Robert Trachtenberg / WNET/American Masters
Carl Reiner and Brooks teamed up as a comedy duo in 1960, creating such now-legendary skits as "The 2,000-Year-Old Man." "Carl's still my best friend in the world," says Brooks.
Over the 60 years that Mel Brooks has been in the entertainment business, his name has become synonymous with comedy. He is the man who broke Broadway records for most Tony Award wins with The Producers (an adaptation of his own movie); who satirized Westerns and racism in Blazing Saddles; and who poked fun at monster movies with Young Frankenstein.