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This is FRESH AIR. Earlier this year, South African composer and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, once known as Dollar Brand, was enlisted into the ranks of NEA Jazz Masters. He also has a new album out. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says the new album shows off some of what makes Abdullah Ibrahim great.
Letter-for-letter, no part of speech gets people more worked up than pronouns do. Linguistic history is dotted with eruptions of pronoun rage. Right now, the provocation is the gender-neutral pronouns that some nonbinary people have asked to be called by, so that they won't have to be identified as "he" or "she."
Jia Tolentino's strict Christian upbringing backfired.
"I am sure that you don't send your kid to Christian school for 12 years and hope that they'll do what I did: Which is have The New Yorker publish 7,000 words about how the church led me to love doing MDMA and love rap music," she says.
This is FRESH AIR. We're going to listen back to an interview with one of America's foremost documentary filmmakers, D.A. Pennebaker. He died last Thursday at age 94. When presenting Pennebaker with an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2012, Michael Moore called him one of the filmmakers who, quote, "invented nothing less than the modern documentary," unquote. Pennebaker was a pioneer in creating the documentary form known as cinema verite, which did away with scripting, narration and staged scenes.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June was the planet's hottest month on record. Today we're going to listen to Terry's interview with self-described conservation photographer Paul Nicklen whose beautiful photos document some of the most dramatic consequences of climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic.
The title character in the coolly engrossing new movie Luce is a high school student who seems exemplary from every angle. Played in a remarkable performance by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Luce Edgar is handsome and popular, an academic and athletic star who gives inspiring speeches at school assemblies.
Before Wanda Sykes became a comic, she worked as a procurement officer for the National Security Agency and had top security clearance. But she always loved telling jokes, and when a local radio station sponsored a talent show that included a comedy category, she decided to audition.
"They put me on the show ... [and] I fell in love with it," she says. "I love doing stand-up. ... That's where I feel like I can be free."
Count Laura Lippman among those who take issue with President Trump's recent tweets characterizing Baltimore as a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess." The crime novelist, who lives in Baltimore, says the president's comments represent a "basic disrespect" for city residents.
There are quadrillions of insects on earth. Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, a professor of conservation biology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, estimates they outnumber human beings by a factor of 200 million to one.
But as awe-inspiring as that figure seems, the world's insect population is actually falling, Sverdrup-Thygeson notes.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The Netflix animated series "Tuca & Bertie" has a look that's similar to another Netflix animated series, "BoJack Horseman." That's because Lisa Hanawalt, the creator of "Tuca & Bertie," is also the creative designer of "BoJack."
This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of a new album by Titus Andronicus, a band that formed in New Jersey more than a decade ago. The album is called "An Obelisk." One of their previous albums was a collection based on the history of the Civil War. Last year's album, "A Productive Cough," was built around a series of ballads. Ken says the new album has a louder, more aggressive style.