From Producer Ann Marie Baldonado:

Terry always says it’s difficult to pick favorite interviews, and I totally agree.  I can’t even remember the interview I worked on this week or what we have booked for next week (That’s a slight exaggeration.  This week I worked on Jill Soloway.  Next week it’s Hasan Minaj.)  Still, I will try to point out a few interviews that I will always remember when forced to go through my mental archives.

David Rakoff 
A lot of public radio listeners will remember the late David Rakoff from his work on This American Life.  In 2001, he talked to Terry about his acting career, and being frustrated by the roles that were offered to him.  He said they would fall under two categories – “Jew-y McHebrew’ or ‘Fudgy McPacker.’  He did dramatic/hysterical renditions of the lines he remembered.  He was so funny, and elicited the much sought after Terry “snort.”  Now, I have laughed a lot while logging interviews on Fresh Air, but during this one, I had to stop logging because I was crying from laughing so hard.  Fresh Air replayed this part of the interview when Rakoff passed away too soon in 2012.

Thelma Schoonmaker 
I first stated booking film, TV, and theater interviews for Terry in the spring of 2005, so this is an early one.  Schoonmaker is the film editor who has worked with Martin Scorsese for over 40 years.  She has edited all of his films since Raging Bull in 1980.  She’s just this wonderful, thoughtful artist who works behind the scenes, plugging away, making great films.  Terry’s interview with her was one smart lady who loves movies talking to another smart lady who loves movies.

Originally posted by orwell

Mike Mills

I have loved booking directors, actors, and comedians early in their careers and watching their bodies of work grow.  People like Lena Dunham, Flight of the Conchords, and Hari Kondobolu come to mind. I have loved booking interviews with director Mike Mills over the years. We booked him after his first film Thumbsucker in 2005, then for his movies Beginners and 20th Century Women.  He is the ideal guest: open, smart, self-deprecatingly funny, and talks so well about how his work connects to his life, a favorite Fresh Air theme.  I feel their conversations about his films, that in reality are like love letters to his parents, end up leading to larger conversations between Terry and Mike,  about their parents who they have lost.

Originally posted by rizsahmed

Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang
This one is a little more current.  I am not alone in this but one of my favorite recent TV shows has to be Master of None.   Some of the episodes from that first season (Parents and Indians on TV) live on my list of favorite episodes of TV ever.  I loved hearing friends Aziz and Alan talk about their own lives and how they incorporated their experiences into the show.  Everyone loves Aziz; I am glad we were able to have Alan on too.  We should forever thank them not just for this show, but for their work on Parks and Recreation.  And this is just one of the interviews that covered these great, really personal shows based on the lives of a great comedian, sort of the antecedents of Louie.  I am glad in the last few years, we have featured interviews with people like Aziz and Alan, Donald Glover, Issa Rae, and Rachel Bloom.

Sacha Baron Cohen 
I am proud of booking this one.  Up until this point, Sacha Baron Cohen was very committed to staying in character as Borat while doing all the promotion of his movie.  We were so happy that he agreed to do Fresh Air as himself, thus revealing that he was this accessible, intelligent guy.  He was quick to slip into his Borat voice though.  We love when guests slip into their characters’ voices.

Originally posted by balaidegatoteam

Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva
It was a round about way to book an interview.  The movie The Bang Bang Club, starring Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Phillippe, told the story of a group of war photographers in South Africa during Apartheid.  We used the movie as an excuse to book an interview with Marinovich and Silva, two of the real photographers who inspired the film.  Both of them had lost dear friends to the work.  And both of them had been injured while trying to visually capture combat situations.  In fact,  Silva was recording his part of the interview from Walter Reed Army Medical Center; he had lost both of his legs in a land mine explosion in Afghanistan and was still recovering.  At one point, a nurse comes in to talk to Silva.  It was such a rare radio moment that we decided to leave it in the interview.  Terry has spoken to many war correspondents and photographers over the years. These interviews are inevitably harrowing, tragic, thoughtful, and moving.

Ann Marie Baldonado, Fresh Air producer 

PS. Ann Marie sometimes does interviews. Her latest was with SNL’s Sasheer Zamata.

I’m never ever gonna be unamused by clueless assholes insisting that general expressions of contempt for the heterosexism, homophobia, etc that cishets perpetuate means you hate your parents! I love it. Every time I get this big, shit-eating grin on my face in anticipation of the moment I get to say, “ACTUALLY…………..” because I’m a fucking brat.


Guys you know how we all grew up and starting taking showers because baths are for LITTLE BABIES and we’re busy on-the-go adults now?  


When you’re done with the world today, draw a bath, and this is the trick: COME PREPARED.  Glass of water, glass of whiskey on the rocks, a good book of critical essays (I recommend David Rakoff), and classy yet relaxing tunes, perhaps oh I don’t know some Mediterranean lute music?? Then lean back in the tub so everything’s in easy arm’s reach, and position yourself such that you can add more hot water by manipulating the dials with your feet, meaning you will not have to move for the next hour.  And when you’re done, make sure you have pyjamas, a bathrobe, and slippers ready!

I’ve lived in my house for years and yet this was the first bath I had in it, and here I am a day later and I’m still remembering it fondly.

Knuckle tat idea: “BATH TIME”.

What happens to your past if you don’t allow yourself to feel it when it happened? If you don’t have your experiences in the moment, if you gloss them over with jokes or zoom past them, you end up with curiously dispassionate memories. Procedural and depopulated. It’s as if a neutron bomb went off and all you’re left with are hospital corridors, where you’re scanning the walls for familiar photographs.

Sometimes in the absence of emotion, your only recourse is to surround yourself with objects; assemble the relics about you. Wagner was wrong when he said, “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” One can find joy in things, but it is a particular kind of joy - the joy of corroboration… For the moment, this physical evidence will have to serve as proof that all that has happened was real, because even now I only half believe what I am telling you.

—  David Rakoff, Fraud
Every Book I Read in 2015

This is inspired by Emily’s list, which you should go read too!  

My resolution in 2015 was to read 52 books in 52 weeks, which I exceeded!  These books are listed in the order I read them. Comics are only included if they’re book-length or if it ran for a year and I read every issue (Demon is the only one that meets that criteria, I think).  A * is a re-read.  

My resolution in 2016 is to read more non-fiction!

There’s a lot of Marvel history stuff at the beginning of the year because I hah hah hah there’s lots I don’t know about Marvel, WHOOOOPS

Fade In by Michael Piller - this is an unpublished book by the late Michael Piller, who did a lot of great work on Star Trek, talking about his first motion picture screenwriting credit: Star Trek Insurrection, aka Nobody’s Favourite Star Trek Movie.  It’s a really brave book, taking you from initial idea through first treatment, notes from Paramount, feedback from the actors, second drafts, shooting scripts, cuts made for budget reasons, up to release, and then a post-mortem where he talks about what, in retrospect, he would’ve liked to have changed.  It was fascinating, and made me appreciate Insurrection in a new light.  The final film has its problems, but Piller asks you what you’d do differently, and you can see pieces of the film he was trying to make left there still.  If you’re interested in both writing and Star Trek, this is an ideal book for you!  Unpublished (apparently Paramount changed their mind when they saw the manuscript), but available online if you Google it.  I devoured this book and read it in two days.

Demon by Jason Shiga - I LOVE JASON SHIGA.  The premise for this comic is great, the way it’s explored is great, everything is great.  Every time I read a Shiga book I learn something new.

Marvel Chronology - my parents got me this for Christmas: a big giant book with lots of pictures, talking about all the characters and stories Marvel did from start to finished.  Oddly, they re-typeset all the comics in it, so the old comics have great retro art and weird lifeless letters.  Still great to fill in the blanks in my Marvel knowledge though!  SQUIRREL GIRL IS BARELY IN IT AT ALL THOUGH, WTF

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