Fresh Air

Weekdays at noon

Fresh Air opens the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. Terry Gross hosts this multi-award-winning daily interview and features program. The veteran public radio interviewer is known for her extraordinary ability to engage guests of all dispositions. Every weekday she delights intelligent and curious listeners with revelations on contemporary societal concerns.

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In 1922, seven Western states — Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and California — drew up an agreement on how to divide the waters of the Colorado River. But there was one big problem with the plan: They overestimated how much water the river could provide.

As a result, each state was promised more water than actually exists. This miscalculation — and the subsequent mismanagement of water resources in those states — has created a water crisis that now affects nearly 40 million Americans.

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Since it opened in 1911, the building has become a New York City landmark, praised not only for its beauty but also for its functional brilliance. In the words of one contemporary architect, the main branch of The New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is "a perfect machine for reading." The grand Reading Room sits atop seven levels of iron and steel books stacks whose contents could, at one time, be delivered to anybody who requested a book within a matter of minutes via a small elevator. Those stacks also support the floor of the Reading Room above.

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Back in college English, I was taught that it was foolish to think that fictional characters have any reality beyond the page. You shouldn't speculate about how many children Lady Macbeth had or what job Holden Caulfield wound up doing as a grown-up.

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Michelangelo is known for masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel and the statue of David, but most people probably don't know that he actually got his start in forgery. The great artist began his career as a forger of ancient Roman sculptures, art scholar Noah Charney tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

By the time Michelangelo's forgery was revealed, the Renaissance master was famous in his own right. But many other artistic forgers continue to copy the work of past artists in the hopes of passing their creations off as authentic.

Comedian Marc Maron's WTF podcast might not seem like the place for a typical presidential interview, but several months ago the White House reached out to Maron to see if he'd be interested in having Barack Obama as his guest. "I just didn't think that it would ever happen," Maron says.

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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:

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Last weekend, HBO presented the season finales of its three Sunday night prime-time spring series, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep. This weekend, HBO unveils its new Sunday night lineup: the all-new second season of True Detective, and two new comedies, Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as the wrestler called The Rock, and The Brink, starring Tim Robbins and Jack Black.

As a kid, Judd Apatow was obsessed with comedy. "No other kids in my school cared about it at all," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "There was no one to talk about it with."

That's all different now. Today, Apatow says there's a "giant culture of comedy nerds." But as a kid, he was on his own — and in some ways, that worked in his favor. "Back then I was alone and I had a little confidence about it because I felt like: 'This is my thing. This is the only thing that only I know about,'" he says.

As Israeli writer Etgar Keret waited for his son to be born, victims of a terrorist attack were being brought into the same hospital. "The idea that you bring your son into a world in which he can be hurt and killed by a random and violent act — it's kind of discouraging," Keret tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's scary enough ... assuming the responsibility of being a parent without having that in your face the day that your son is being born."

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This is FRESH AIR. Rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new fourth album from the band Dawes called "All Your Favorite Bands." The California quartet is led by lead vocalist and main songwriter Taylor Goldsmith.

The initial "selling point" of Mia Alvar's debut short story collection, In the Country, is its fresh subject matter: namely, Filipinos living under martial law in the 1970s in their own country and in exile, working as maids, engineers, teachers, health care workers and hired hands in the Middle East and the United States.

Richard Nixon's presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

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:

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We English-speakers take a perverse pride in the orneriness of our spelling, which is one reason why the spelling bee has been a popular entertainment since the 19th century. It's fun watching schoolchildren getting difficult words right. It can be even more entertaining to watch literate adults getting them wrong.

Why do songs get stuck in your head? Where did that weird dream come from last night? The new Disney Pixar film Inside Out takes an animated peek into the inner workings of our minds.

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Mahatma Gandhi, who used passive resistance in the fight for Indian independence, is known worldwide as a symbol of peace. But Americans know much less about the violence that erupted when the British pulled out of India in 1947.

After Muslim leaders demanded their own state, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs attacked each other in riots and massacres. In his new book, Midnight's Furies, Nisid Hajari explores the partition that created Pakistan as a separate state, the violence surrounding the partition and why those tensions persist to this day.

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