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George Whitmore Discusses Living with AIDS.

George Whitmore, author of Someone Was Here, profiles of people whose lives have been transformed by AIDS, like the 32-year-old New York advertising executive, a counselor in a gay men's health center, health workers at an AIDS clinic in a municipal hospital. The book grew out of a highly acclaimed 1985 article in The New York Times Magazine about a man with AIDS and his counselor at a health center.


Harry Crews Discusses His "Freakish" Characters.

Novelist and essayist Harry Crews. His nine novels include All We Need is Hell and The Gospel Singer. Oftentimes, the main characters of Crews' works are outsiders; The central character of Crews' most recent work, titled The Knockout Artist, is a boxer who specializes in knocking himself out. Crews' three works of nonfiction include the autobiography A Childhood, Blood and Grits, and Florida Frenzy.


Doris Lessing's Science Fiction.

Writer Doris Lessing. Since her first novel, The Grass is Singing, published in 1950, she has written many books and plays, including the Children of Violence series, The Golden Notebook, and more recently Shikasta and her "space-fiction" series. Her new novel is titled The Fifth Child. Fresh Air book critic John Leonard once described Mrs. Lessing as "one of the half-dozen most interesting minds to have chosen to write fiction in English in this century."


Truman Capote's Biographer Discusses His Life.

Writer Gerald Clarke. Clarke's biography of writer Truman Capote has just been published. Capote was the author of the seminal work In Cold Blood, but his writing was overshadowed by the excesses of his lifestyle and his reputation as the clownish fixture of the talk show circuit. Clarke's biography was 14 years in the making and was undertaken with Capote's full cooperation. Clarke has written extensively for Time magazine.


Estelle Freedman Asks "What is Sex?" and "What Does it Mean?" In Her New History.

Estelle Freedman co-author of Intimate Matters, A History of Sexuality in America. Among the principal observations Freedman makes in her book is that sexual puritanism was never as all-encompassing as most historians state when chronicling the mores of the 19th and early 20th Century. The book charts the liberalization of sex as value in itself, independent of reproduction. Freedman is a professor of history at Stanford University.


The "Decline" of Aging Rockers

Part I of Terry Gross's interview with filmmaker Penelope Spheeris. Spheeris talks about her new movie, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: the Metal Years, a documentary about the heavy metal scene. She thinks stereotypes of the inarticulate and unskilled metal musicians are unfair -- though it's often true that they embrace a drug-fueled, self-destructive lifestyle.


Body Image and the Demand to Be Attractive

Sociologist Barry Glassner's new book Bodies explores the pressures Americans face to conform to particular standards of health and beauty. He says this cultural expectation -- which even extends to the workplace -- has led to a proliferation of diet and exercise programs, which most participants are doomed to fail.


A Sci-Fi Writer from the Stonewall Generation

Samuel Delany's new memoir is called The Motion of Light in Water. Delany sees himself as part of newer, left-of-center generation of science fiction writers. He joins Fresh Air to talk about his position in the margins as a genre writer and a black gay man, his dyslexia, and his perspective on the AIDS epidemic.


How AIDS Affected Gay Life

Andrew Holleran has writes about the lives of gay men. Now that several years have passed since the height of the AIDS epidemic, he's observed a kind of resignation to mortality and changing sexuality within his community.. Holleran's new collection of essays is called Ground Zero.


A Beach Boy's Comeback

Brian Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown and spent years in seclusion. Now he's back with a new solo album. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how he approached songwriting early in his career, the influence of drugs on his music, and the role the controversial Dr. Eugene Landy plays in Wilson's personal and professional life.


A Movie with the Impact of a Just Say No Ad

Film critic Stephen Schiff says that Michael Keaton is too good an actor to star in Clean and Sober, a movie that focuses more on problems than characters. Schiff says the film feels like it was made for TV, rather than the big screen.

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