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TV Actor Howard Hesseman

Hesseman played disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever in WKRP in Cincinnati, and now stars as a high school teacher in the comedy Head of the Class. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how his performances and personal experiences inform each other. Early in his career, Hesseman sold two ounces of marijuana to an undercover police officer; he later had his record expunged.


Fresh Air Book Critic John Leonard

Host Terry Gross continues her series of interviewers with Fresh Air contributors. Today she talks with John Leonard, whose criticism appears widely. As a college student he considered a life of political activism before deciding that writing was were his strengths lay. A recovering alcoholic, Leonard describes how, even while he bottomed out, he still delivered copy to his editors.


A Writer's Contentious Reputation

Harold Brodkey is famous for working on his as-of-yet unpublished novel for the past thirty years. Some critics think he's brilliant; others call him a fraud. His work deals with consciousness and memory.


Paul Krassner: The Fresh Air Interview

Krassner publishes the countercultural and satirical magazine The Realist; he founded it in 1958, while he still lived with his parents. He also cofounded the yippies, who sought to combine politics and theater--and participated in the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Krassner now brings his left-leaning politics to the comedy stage.


Portraits of Illness by Nicholas Nixon

Critic-at-large Laurie Stone reviews the photographer's new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Nixon's photos document the progression of sickness and disease -- including AIDS -- in his subjects. Stone says Nixon's moving work neither sentimentalizes nor intrudes.


Losing the the War on Drugs

Journalist Elaine Shannon's new book, Desperados, looks at the international impact of the illegal drug trade. She says that major banks and state governments have been complicit in drug trafficking by accepting bribes and laundering money. The U.S. government has faced difficulty curtailing these crimes, in part because of its desire to maintain diplomatic relations with the countries involved.


David Crosby is Back After a "Long Time Gone"

Part I of the Fresh Air interview. The folk-rock singer and songwriter battled drug addiction and eventually served eleven months in jail. He's now clean, and has a new autobiography about his life. He tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross about what made his bands The Byrds and Croby, Stills & Nash unique.


Two New Novels By Chilean Authors

Book John Leonard reviews Eva Luna by Isabel Allende and Mascara by Ariel Dorfman. Leonard says that, in different ways, neither of them are fully satisfying.


Art Collecting in the 1980s

New Yorker art writer Calvin Tompkins looks at the state of the art world. He says there has been a rise in corporate-owned collections, which often exclude more provocative or sexually-themed works.


An Author Find Horror in Decay

Writer Patrick McGrath grew up near England's Broadmoor mental hospital, where his father worked. He is now a horror writer. His collection of short fiction is called Blood and Water and Other Tales. A novel is forthcoming.


AIDS Activism Through Art

Critic-at-large Laurie Stone explores the work of the AIDS activist organization ACT UP, and the artist collective associated with them, Grand Fury. In light of the recent rise of inaccurate and hateful messages about people with the disease, Grand Fury launched a street art campaign throughout New York City to educate the public.


"No One Could Outperform Slim"

Eddie Jones, who later performed as Guitar Slim, was an early pioneer of rock and blues guitar. He died in 1959. Rock historian Ed Ward says that, had Slim lived, he could have outshone Jimi Hendrix.


America's Foremost Socialist

As a young man, Democratic Socialists of America co-chair Michael Harrington worked as social worker in St. Louis -- an experience which he credits with leading him to a life of service. Fatherhood readjusted his priorities; he moved to the suburbs and felt less conflicted about earning money. He is now a writer and social commentator. His new memoir, called The Long-Distance Runner, is about his struggle with cancer.


Detective Novelist Joseph Hansen

Hansen's books feature a gay man in the hyper-masculine role of private detective. Hansen himself is gay, and hopes that his novels will help his readers become more accepting of homosexuality.


A Westerner on Africa's Political "Madness"

New Yorker staff writer Alex Shoumatoff has a new book of essays called African Madness, about his travels throughout the continent. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the brutal reign of Emperor Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Dian Fossey's blind spots regarding the human populations near gorilla habitats, and the spread of AIDS.


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