Nearly 20 years ago, reporter and pop music critic Jim DeRogatis broke the story that R&B superstar R. Kelly was allegedly sexually abusing underage girls. It all started with an anonymous fax to his office at the ‘Chicago Sun-Times.’ Fourteen months after the first story was published, he received the now-infamous videotape in his home mailbox. DeRogatis spoke with Terry Gross about his two decades following this story, the current charges against Kelly’, and his new book ‘Soulless.’
Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the debut novel ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ from Vietnamese-American author Ocean Vuong.
Environmental journalist Amanda Little talks about efforts to create a global food supply for a world that will be hotter, drier and more crowded. Little writes about meat cultured in a lab, 3D printed food, and indoor vertical farming in ‘The Fate of Food.’
Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new recording from the Boston Symphony Orchestra of Busoni’s Piano Concerto.
As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain and family therapist B. Janet Hibbs are the authors of ‘The Stressed Years of Their Lives.’ They say today’s college students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety” — much of it centered on “surviving college and doing well.”
Justin Chang reviews the new Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman.’
Journalist Daniel Okrent says that the eugenics movement — a junk science that stemmed from the belief that certain races and ethnicities were morally and genetically superior to others — informed the Immigration Act of 1924, which restricted entrance to the U.S. Jews, Italians, Greeks and other Eastern Europeans were targeted. His book is ‘The Guarded Gate.’
The HBO series about a lawless mining town in 19th century South Dakota is now the basis of a new film. TV critic David Bianculli shares his review and then we’ll listen back to interviews with actor Timothy Olyphant, who played the sheriff Seth Bullock, and we’ll also hear from David Milch who created and wrote the show.
And film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman.’
‘New York Times’ correspondent Adam Liptak talks about how President Trump’s two appointees might change the Supreme Court — including its direction on abortion: “It’s not hard to write a decision striking down Roe,” he says. “It’s built on quicksand.”
Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews drummer Jeff Williams’ new album ‘Bloom.’
The art installation ‘Sara Berman’s Closet’ chronicles the life of a woman who grew up in a shtetl in Belarus, fled with family to Palestine, and then eventually moved to New York City to start a new life. Berman’s daughter, children’s book author and illustrator Maira Kalman and Berman’s grandson, designer Alex Kalman, tell her story in a new book accompaniment to the museum exhibit.
Also, we remember Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Tony Horwitz. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1998 when ‘Confederates in the Attic’ was published. He died this week at age 60. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews his new book ‘Spying on the South,’ published just weeks before his death.
As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may actually be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of ‘The Stressed Years of Their Lives,’ notes that today’s college students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety” — much of it centered on “surviving college and doing well.” Co-author and family therapist B. Janet Hibbs joins Rostain to talk about the root causes of the stress and how families can help.
Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews four newly released books by Asian writers.
The new biographical musical film ‘Rocketman’ is based on Elton John’s life story. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2013 about what he calls “Elton John excess,” his fear of sex as a young man, and how Liberace’s example encouraged him to make the piano a star instrument and embrace wild costumes.
John Waters has made a career out of rebelling against the norm. The ‘Pink Flamingos’ and ‘Hairspray’ director returns to ‘Fresh Air’ to talk about what he was like as a kid, and how he still finds ways to break the rules as a self-described “filth elder.” His new book about his career in Hollywood is ‘Mr. Know-It-All.’
Rapper, singer and flutist Lizzo talks to Terry Gross about collaborating with Prince, feminism, and using music to help people find a positive place within themselves. Her new album is ‘Cuz I Love You.’
Pollan discusses the history of psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms, and explains how they’re currently being used experimentally in therapeutic settings to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death. The author experimented with psychedelics for research. “I had an experience that was by turns frightening and ecstatic and weird,” he says. ‘How To Change Your Mind’ is now out in paperback.
Also, critic John Powers reviews ‘Booksmart,’ a film about two brainy girls who are desperate to party with the cool kids in the final 24 hours before high school graduation.