OUR PRAYERS ANSWERED: Philly Opening Of The New Wes Anderson Movie Moved Up To June 8th

FRESH AIR Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom is his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Starring Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, the quirky independent picture tells the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who fall in love and then make a pact to run off into the woods together. Anderson tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross that the movie, set on a remote (and fictional) island off the coast of New England, is what he calls “a memory of a fantasy.” “I […]

PLUTOCRACY NOW: A Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

FRESH AIR: Republican legislators picked up 680 seats in state House and Senate chambers in the 2010 elections. “They now hold more state legislative seats than at any time since 1928, the year that Herbert Hoover came to the presidency,” says reporter John Nichols. “They control 25 states [with] both houses of the legislature. There are also 21 states where Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governorship. And in the backroom of politics, that’s what people really want. If you’ve got governor, state House and state Senate, you can pretty much roll through whatever legislation you want.” […]

NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

FRESH AIR Lawrence Wright‘s cover story in the current edition of The New Yorker reports on the Church of Scientology and focuses on why screenwriter and director Paul Haggis resigned from the organization in 2009 after spending nearly 35 years with it. Haggis, who directed Crash and wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby, spoke with Wright about his reasons for leaving the church and the response from his fellow Scientologists. Wright tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross about the detailed fact-checking process his article went through — The New Yorker assigned five fact checkers to the story and sent the […]

Mississippi NPR Chief Pulls Fresh Air From State Airwaves, Citing No Redeeming Educational Value

THE ATLANTIC: The state of Mississippi’s public radio has banned nationally syndicated interview show Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The afternoon program, in which Gross holds relaxed chats with artists, academics, and celebrities, claims 4.5 million listeners across 450 public radio stations. Mississippi Public Broadcasting cited “recurring inappropriate content” in announcing that they will no longer allow the show. What was the offending content? Mississippi was mum, but MSNBC’s Laura Conaway thinks she’s found the answer… MSNBC: Mississippi Public Broadcasting shares a campus with offices for the state’s colleges and universities, and we have learned that some of those offices […]

NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

FRESH AIR Actor Ben Stiller has starred in a wide range of movies, from big comedy hits like Meet the Parents and its sequel, Meet the Fockers, to indie films like The Royal Tenenbaums and Your Friends and Neighbors. In Noah Baumbach’s new film, Greenberg, Stiller takes a darker turn, playing Roger Greenberg, a 40-year-old ex-musician who’s just had a mental breakdown. After recovering in a hospital for several weeks, Greenberg agrees to house-sit at his brother’s place in Los Angeles. Alone in L.A. while his brother’s family is on a long vacation in Vietnam, he tries to reconnect with […]

NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

FRESH AIR There’s an abundance of journalist coverage of U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, but Jeremy Scahill has found a niche investigating Blackwater, a military contractor with a long involvement in the war. He’s broken many stories in The Nation, and his latest, published Nov. 23, uncovers the contractor’s involvement in a covert program run by the U.S. Joint Special Command (JSOC). Scahill says that even though tax payers are funding this shadow army, their operations are shrouded in secrecy. In his article, Scahill reports that Blackwater (which has officially changed its name to Xe Services LLC) is operating […]

NPR 4 THE DEF: Giving Public Radio Edge Since 2006

[Photo by JONATHAN VALANIA] FRESH AIR Love, violence, death and America have always been themes for Australian-born singer-composer Nick Cave — Murder Ballads and Abbatoir Blues are just two of his album titles — so he was perhaps a natural to compose the soundtrack for last year’s epically paranoid Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Cave also wrote the screenplay and soundtrack for the Australian epic The Proposition, which Roger Ebert described as “pitiless and uncompromising, so filled with pathos and disregarded innocence that it is a record of those things we pray to be […]