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

kurt-vile-mural-2

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 »

Hillary Clinton Accuses Terry Gross of Being “Persistent”

TerryGrossHillary Clinton is on a book tour (PHOTOS: she’s was at the free library Friday morning), and this week, she sat down with Philadelphia’s Terry Gross for an interview that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air.

The interview has generated a lot of controversy thanks to a rather awkward section where Gross questions Clinton on the hot topic of gay marriage.

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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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PHOTO: Meet Terry Gross’s Cat

Terry Gross did a cat show today. So her staff decided to throw some pictures of their cats up on Tumblr. The big gray feline lady up top–Mighty Mite–is Terry’s. (Can I call you Terry?)

The best of the rest? A Fresh Air key:

(Left) Associate Producer John Sheehan’s cat Molloy

(Right) Assistant Producer Molly Seavy-Nesper’s cat Sullivan

(Left) Executive Producer Danny Miller’s cat Spotty

(Right) Administrative Assistant Dorothy Ferebee’s cat Mr. Sweetie

(Left) Director Roberta Shorrock’s  cats Sully (in a bag) and Gracie (right)