The star of John Irving's new novel, In One Person, is Billy Abbott. Billy is a character at the mercy of his own teenage crushes, which are visited upon by a whole repertory company of gender-bending characters.
It's a repertory company in the most literal sense, too. Billy spends many days backstage at the local theater — where gender can also fluctuate and where his family members are regulars.
Iowans attend a marriage rally sponsored by The Family Leader on Tuesday at the Statehouse in Des Moines. The head of the organization says President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage could cost him the election.
Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.
Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.
A billboard reads "Afghan National Police: The real guardian. We defend our own homes." It sits next to one of the main roads leading in and out of an area where the local population supports the Taliban.
The American military has two main jobs now in Afghanistan: sweeping the remaining Taliban from safe havens and getting Afghan security forces to take charge in the fight.
On a recent day, the Afghan National Army, or ANA, is to be out front on a joint Afghan-U.S. patrol in the countryside outside Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. It may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a big deal.
Sgt. Matthew McMurray lets his platoon know.
"ANA is going to lead, too. If they don't want to lead, just stop and make them walk ahead of you," he says.
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:
Lena Dunham Addresses Criticism Aimed At 'Girls': The creator and star of HBO's new series Girls addresses the growing backlash against the show, which follows four 20-somethings as they navigate the ups and downs of life in New York City.
[Roman Totenberg was a child prodigy who became a violin virtuoso, as well as a master teacher who passed along his command of craft and his love of music — and life — to thousands. He was also the man you wanted to sit next to at the table because he was so funny. Totenberg died this week at the age of 101, surrounded by loving family, friends and students. We asked his daughter, Nina Totenberg, for this remembrance. — Scott Simon]
Interesting discussions at George Colligan's blog this week. An informed opinion on the charge that music schools produce "cookie cutter" musicians. Some thoughts on sight reading, that misunderstood skill among the jazz community. And a low brass forum erupts.
When The Ting Tings exploded onto the pop scene in 2007, their grunge-chic style and sound were destined for success. Now, five years after the debut of their hit single "That's Not My Name/Great DJ" and four years after their first full length, We Started Nothing, The Ting Tings are back.