LISTEN: Questlove Talks Prince, Ping Pong, Philly in Interview With NPR’s Terry Gross

Terry Gross (Daniel Burke/Fresh Air), Questlove (Jeff Fusco)

Terry Gross (Daniel Burke/Fresh Air), Questlove (Jeff Fusco)

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has had a tumultuous and emotional few weeks, with the deaths of his friends and music legends Prince — about whom he penned an essay for Rolling Stone — and Billy Paul. Just over a month ago, the Roots drummer lost his father, Lee Andrews, at the age of 79. His friend Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest, died a week later.

His live interview from Sunday with Terry Gross, host of the WHYY-produced, nationally syndicated radio show Fresh Air, will be broadcast on WHYY and other NPR stations tonight at 7 p.m., and is streaming now on NPR’s website. In their talk, Questlove opens up about some of his recent losses:  Read more »

5 Things I Learned at Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! at the Mann Center

Photo courtesy of Derek Brad Photography

Photo courtesy of Derek Brad Photography

On Thursday, a live recording of  Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! was held at the Mann Center. Hosted by humorist, Peter Sagal, the podcast game show is a hilarious review of the past week’s current events. I braved the stormy weather for what turned out to be a highly educational experience. In addition to catching up on on my current events I also learned some fun facts about elusive Fresh Air host Terry Gross.

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Tonight at the Mann: Fresh Air Meets Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!


Podcast host Marc Maron and Terry Gross at a recent interview in Brooklyn. | Courtesy of NPR

Looking for a last-minute way to spend your Thursday evening? Philly-based Fresh Air talk show host Terry Gross will make an appearance at The Mann Center tonight for a live recording of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

Gross joins the show as a special guest during the “Not My Job” segment. As the title suggests, Gross will be asked a series of questions about topics that have nothing to do with being the host of Fresh-Air. If you listened to her interview with comedian and fellow podcast host Marc Maron recently, you know she hates talking about her personal life. So this should be fun.

Peter Segal and human-scoreboard Bill Kurtis will lead a satirical and hilarious review of this past week’s current events, so you could be in for commentary on everything from Bill Cosby to the fired lesbian teacher to Donald Trump. Panelists will include Peter Grosz, Amy Dickson and Tom Bodett.

The show will be held at the Mann Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

If you can’t make the show tonight, you can listen to the recording this Saturday, July 11th on WHYY Saturdays at 10AM and 4PM.

LISTEN: Neil Patrick Harris Chats With Terry Gross About Playing Hedwig, Escaping Doogie Howser and Coming Out in Press Release in 2006

In the latest episode of Philly-produced podcast Fresh Air, host Terry Gross conducts an interview with triple-threat talent and one of today’s shiniest gay stars, Neil Patrick Harris.

Harris was there to chat about his new memoir Choose Your Own Autobiography, which is structured like one of those choose-your-own-adventure books you probably read as a kid. Throughout the course of interview he and Gross cover everything from escaping the Doogie Howser label and playing a transgender dynamo in his Tony-winning role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to his decision to reveal he was gay via press release in 2006 when bloggers like Perez Hilton were putting pressure on him to come out.

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HEADS UP: Terry Gross Chats With George Takei

The latest episode of Philly-produced radio talk show Fresh Air finds host Terry Gross chatting with legendary gay advocate George Takei. It’s a good listen. The Star Trek alum delves into his reasons for not coming out until he was 68 years old, his years in a Japanese internment camp, and how he transitioned into becoming one of our most outspoken celebrity champions for gay rights. A blip about his coming out:

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Philadelphians Who Deserve Murals Instead of Kurt Vile


On Saturday, a Philadelphian decided to buff the Kurt Vile mural, causing shrieks of horror from hip Philadelphians and a Philadelphia public art meme.

People have said the reaction is overblown, but (1) it’s good when people discuss and debate public art and (2) of course it is. Literally everything on the Internet, even the most serious issues, can get overblown — there’s no sense complaining about it. But, sure, this isn’t the nose of the Old Man in the Mountain collapsing — the defacer has already apologized and even the artist says you should calm down. ESPO, aka Steve Powers, was similarly undisturbed about psychylustro covering up. “Nobody writing [graffiti] cares and any attempt to make it appear otherwise is click bait,” he told Hidden City (the Buzzfeed of Philadelphia Buildings, I guess) in May.

That is a point to take: Graffiti by its very nature is a transient art form, and murals come and go, too. David Guinn — who has more good murals in the city than anyone — once had four seasons in South Philadelphia. Now there are only three. The enormous Frank Sinatra mural is gone. Both were covered up by new residential construction, which is a better use of space than a mural. This one just disappeared in a more fantastic fashion. (And, obviously, the uproar was so great that it will be fixed up.)

But the mural got me thinking. I have passed the Kurt Vile mural several times where someone comments about how — while it’s cool — the mural is also an ad for his latest album. That’s weird, no? Did we paint a Boyz II Men album in the mid-’90s? (Not that they needed the increased sales.) A mural that’s also an ad is not exactly the end of the world: We have a mural for Jane Seymour’s jewelry line, after all, and a Vile album ad is certainly a better choice than that. But it got me thinking about other Philadelphians who deserve a mural, perhaps ones who aren’t selling anything. Time for some jokes mixed in with real suggestions!

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Terry Gross Is Bad for the Country

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Photo: William F. Steinmetz/Philadelphia Inquirer

Conventional wisdom holds that Terry Gross, host of WHYY-produced NPR staple Fresh Air, is the best interviewer in the business. Conventional wisdom is full of shit. Let’s start with her mannerisms. Sarah Miller captured them perfectly in her New Yorker parody “Gwyneth Paltrow Talks to Terry Gross About Conscious Uncoupling”:

GROSS: Okay, I wonder — could you maybe take — you know, like a typical scene from a breakup and describe it as though it were an opera? And then, maybe, could you describe the same scene through the lens of conscious uncoupling? Could you … do you think you could maybe do that, for us?

The hesitant, beseeching ingénue, so timidly obsequious — cut the crap, Terry. You’ve been doing this for 40 years. If you asked guests to strip naked and stick daisies up their arses, they would. Read more »

Mike Nutter Hates WHYY Pledge Drives As Much As You

Every year I get suckered into thinking that my contribution to the local public radio outfit will somehow make the local public radio outfit stop asking me for money, as if my dial was linked into my personal account. (Wait, that’s an amazing idea. If NPR actually figured out a way to do this, donations would skyrocket.) In any event, Michael Nutter is just as annoyed as the rest of you with WHYY’s current fall membership drive.

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